Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Thursday, December 29, 2011

These Big Piggies Went to the Butcher. . .

to be made into sausage, bacon, steaks and scrapple.  They were our composters all summer and fall and enjoyed lazy days in the fresh air.  Their diets were extremely healthy - milk, food scrapes (no meat), mango beets and turnip tops.  Every time we raise pigs, I am reminded on how much it is an insult if someone indicates that you are anything like a pig (you know, comments like - "stop chewing like a pig").  And their eyes. . . they seem to look right through you!  We also know they would eat you alive if you happened to fall into their pen.  But, we continue to raise them for the meat.  Nothing like sausage or scrapple for breakfast!  To kill the pigs, Ben takes his pistol and shots them in the forehead (I know, it really is not a kind thing to do, is it? but it is a more humane way then some of the slaughter houses do it).  It will stun them and then their throats are slit so they bleed out.

Loaded up to take back to butcher shop....

We did not realize how much the cows would take an interest in what was going on.  Quite a pesty audience they were!

 skun out and ready to be gutted

Look like an appealing job?

Sawing in half

They were so lean that we will not be able to make lard :(
Soon to be bacon.....
We make our own without nitrates and nitrites, only salt.  Before we fry it, we have to cook it slightly first to remove some of the salt.  Down side of not using preservatives.

Roast ready for freezer....
pig heart....the medical world uses the valves from these hearts to replace faulty ones in human hearts

Finally, on the table....
To be continued after Saturday when we are making the scrapple and sausage....

Until next time. . . . . .

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Dave's Dream Come True

"I'm dreaming of a green Christmas....." has been a song that Dave has been composing for the last how many years? Well, today - Christmas day of 2011 - we had a Christmas when the cows could be out on the hills grazing on green grass!  For Pennsylvania, that's unusual!   Farmers who graze their cows dream of grazing as far into Winter as possible and as early in Spring as possible.  Extremely healthy for the cows, easier on the farmers, win- win situation!  Content cow's = happy farmers.  Dave's dream coming true means, though, that you folks who believe that we just HAVE to have snow on Christmas were disappointed today.  Start dreaming of your white Christmas and we will just have to wait to see who wins next year! :)  Maybe neither, it may just be brown....

little frost on the pastures yet, but they are green underneath. 

 pigs still have green turnip tops to eat.......

It was a good day all around!

Until next time.........

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 Christmas Newsletter

The Family's 2011 Revision of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
Once upon a now-a-days, deep in the acreage of Pennsylvania, lives a family.  The family has a tradition of writing a newsletter at Christmas time each year to let friends know what life was like the past 12 months.  This duty usually rests on the shoulders of Papa, but one thing the family learned this past year is that the word “should” can seem like a cuss word.  It dampens our ability to make a choice and creates pressure on us. “We should do this, or we should do that.  We should’ve made that decision, or we shouldn’t have made that decision…”.  Replace the “should” with “could” and the pressure is removed.  So, Papa said that he will not “should” on himself with writing the newsletter this year.  He said that mama could if she wants to.  
The past year has been somewhat eventful for the family and like life seems to be for the majority of families, it had it’s share of ups, as well as downs.   They have celebrated many times, and also had times where the words “why, Lord?” was the #1 question of the day.  It is a good thing that Papa has a large set of shoulders for he carried a big load and has cried that his porridge was too hot many times.  He was very busy with his masonry business, where he is the sole owner, operator and laborer, with occasional help of a friend.   He has found relief from heartburn by eliminating all wheat from his diet and is wondering how he could find relief from the responsibility of meeting deadlines, especially the “payment due date” deadlines, which by the way, are definitely shoulds!  :)   Mama has had the feeling like her porridge has been too cold.  That cuss word “should” has effected her, also.  She should keep the house cleaner, have better meals, provide the boys with a better education, and should never hear the words “do I have any clean clothes, mama?”  However, she has reached a point (most times) that it is ok that her porridge is not “just right”,  God knows her heart and papa would rather see her smile and her cubs would rather have a kind word spoken than have her stressed out trying to have the “perfect” den. She has realized that it is unwise to try to live by someone else’s standard.  Papa and mama happily celebrated 25 yrs. together this fall.  Ben has taken over much of the responsibilities on the farm and still works part time at the butcher shop.   He is such a nice soon-to-be-23 young fella, and puts up with the rest of the family harassing him about finding a nice young gal to share his porridge with.  The Our daughter's den has moved 2 miles from our home in June and we are lovin’ having them so close.  A smiley little female named Morgan Dixie was born in July and don’t-miss-a-thing 2 yr. old Oakley, is such a loving big sister to her .  Mama, who turned 21 this year, and Papa do a fabulous job of taking care of their den.  Solomon stills has his dangerous job of moving houses, turned the big 18 this year and always has a hug for mama.  We are excited that he was baptized this month.  George became a teenager, is very responsible on the farm, and shot his first buck, which was a 10 pt.!  He felt his porridge was just perfect at that time!  Uriah has many ambitions.  He turned 10, is a big help in the kitchen and is happy if he has “techie” stuff to work on.  Oliver will be 9 in Feb. and has to be busy at all times.   He will tackle any competition - he loves challenges. The boys never complain about their porridge whether it is too hot or too cold and work hard together at keeping the farm functioning.  The family is composing a song titled “I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas”, for they realize that hibernation is not going to happen for them, for either the bed is too hard or too soft for them to sleep the cold winter away.  They have not stored up enough “fat” and those dreadful deadlines!  Some of them say “January, February, and March”!   One thing that was glaringly evident this year was that God IS in control!  In control of the temperatures, the times of rain, the times of drought, the times of equipment working, the times of equipment not working, times of rejoicing,  times of sorrow.   He has never walked ahead of us, nor behind us, but beside us.  His “porridge” is just right and brings deep satisfaction, His “chair” is the perfect place for us to sit and commune with Him, and the place of rest He offers brings the most refreshment.
 And with this realization, the family will live happily ever after!
May you and your family find His porridge “just right” in the coming year of 2012!

“Come let us worship the King, Jesus the Savior is born 

Until next time.........(maybe next year)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baptism of Solomon

What a wonderful day it was!  This morning we heard a message on "words".  Wow!  My toes are black & blue, but I love hearing messages that are convicting,challenging, and motivating, without condemnation.  Thanks Bro. Dan!  This afternoon family & friends gathered at a pond to witness the baptism of Solomon.  I am finding a hard time putting words to all my thoughts - it was one of those days that I want to remember for a long time!  Praise God from whom all blessings flow..........  May Solomon's life have a positive rippling effect on other's lives as the ripples on this picture....

This picture turned out so beautiful and meaningful.  I love it!

Until next time..............

Friday, December 2, 2011

This Day in Review

Give us this day . . . . . .  an extra dose of grace & patience.  Did you ever have a day when you knew right away in the morning that it was going to be "one of those days?"  Today was one of those for me.  Got up later than I wanted to because I had spilled water on my alarm clock, now it doesn't work.  Then Dave reminded me that the laundry never got hung up from yesterday and is probably smelly.  Ebay questions needed to be answered, items needed to be packaged to be sent, lady who bought organ bench wants UPS to pick it up here.  How do you package an organ bench?  Other internet business needed attention, boys needed help with school, dishes are a mess and 3 baskets of laundry waiting to be folded and put away.  George decided to "European mount" his deer head and thought today would be a good day.  He and his brothers get a fire going under the butcher kettle and put head in to boil.  I told them I can't help, but after a long while they all came running in to inform me that they just could not do "that" anymore.  George had removed the hide and nose, but stopped at that.  He said that if he has to pick the meat off the deer head he would throw up.  I asked what would happen if I throw up?  "But, mom, can't you just try?"  So, off I trudge to the butcher shop to see if I could pick meat off of this.....
The big bad deer decides to stare at me while working.......
It wasn't too bad, but have to admit by then I was having a hard time being pleasant.   The boys soon ran off to start evening chores and after awhile I put the head back in water to cook some more and went to help boys with chores.  Hey, why don't I run the manure gutter for Dave, that way he does not have to do that when he gets home from work?  I know I can handle that!   So I run the gutter and decide that I can spread the manure as well.  So off I drive to the back field and just know that I can figure it all out, for afterall, I did it once before.  Well.........ummmmm.........it wasn't working, or should I say, I didn't get it.  I was able to empty all the liquid part, but why, oh, why did not the solids come out.  Well, I'll just have to drive back to the farm and tell Dave, who arrived home by now.  He takes one look at it and informs me that I jammed it!  I can imagine his thoughts towards me right then.  It was dark, the tractor does not have lights, he was tired from working all day, but that manure HAS to come out.  So, he drives that tractor and I drive the small JD with lights back to the field and he works and works and works at getting the jammed straw-y manure out of the spreader.  I felt like a loser, even though he did not call me one.  Finally!  he got it and back to the barn we went to help finish up chores.  The bright spot is that when I got into the house, Uriah and Oliver had folded all the laundry!  And they made hotdogs for supper.   Don't know what I would do without them!

I am alway saying that trials and hardships create character, but while escorting the jammed manure spreader, I was seriously wondering what good character building lesson could I learn from this?  Anyway, we had a good laugh about our day while relaying it to Solomon and Dave said he should buy me a t-shirt that says "hiring you is like losing 2 good men".  Oh, he's too funny!  And he is extremely patient and we are still in love!  That makes this day just dandy!
Until next time. . . . . . . .  

Monday, November 28, 2011

George's Big Buck

George got his first deer late this afternoon and it is a BIG buck!
I have learned that men want to know all the details......the weight, how many points, how long, how thick, how did you shoot it......, just like a woman wants to know all about newborn babies........what's the name, the weight, how long, how was the labor........

So, for you men......George and I were sitting out at the edge of the farm lane, George sitting on a chair with gun propped up beside him.  I was standing behind him glancing through a magazine and the dog was roaming all around the area.  We were back there for about 15 min. all the while surveying the hill in front of us and not sitting still at all.  All of a sudden we both saw 6 deer way up on the hill.  He slowly lifted his gun and handed me a pair of binoculars.  He studied them through his scope and me through the horrible pair of binoculars.  He sees horns (I see none) on the first deer, looks at the second deer and sees bigger horns (I think I see little ones) and tells me he is going to shoot!  Shoot he did - 150 yds - and the buck immediately dropped!  We ran/walked/puffed up the hill!  As we approached the deer, he tried to get up.  Who wouldn't if you had a dog nipping at your back end!  George shot him again and finally got a good look at the rack.  A 10 point with a 20" spread!  What a whooping and hollering went on!   His first shot hit the buck in the backbone, his second shot in the chest.  Let's see, any details I missed?  :) 
What a grand experience!   So fun and exciting!

Until next time. . . . . . . .

Resurrection of Mr. Dumpy

Announcing from the Weidenhammer farmstead, and not that lush, sunny island somewhere, that Mr. Dumpy is up and running!  He hated the word "junkyard"!  Hee! Hee!  Something (don't ask me what they call it) was broken - something connected to the clutch.  Should be good for another 100,000 miles!  There is a crew of very happy and relieved men.  We certainly aren't rich farmers, but only in paper money.  We have so much to be thankful for and so many blessings that shower down upon us that have nothing to do with money.  Some of those blessings, or maybe I should say many of those blessings, come to us through hardships like broken down equipment and imperfect circumstances.   So... "Thank you, Lord, for the roses, but thank you more for the thorns." 

Until next time . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Squirrel, Pork, and Dump Truck

First of all, for you who have read the post on freezing broccoli without blanching.......don't try it!  It's not worth being a rebel over!  The taste is too strong and with broccoli, that is NOT a good thing! 

The other day I was up in the milk house cleaning up and George comes in from the barn.  He told me that he heard this guy talking about evolution and how we all evolved from squirrels and he (George) believed him, for he is living proof!  What a squirrel!  The resemblance is definitely the blue duster tail! :)

Back in March, we bought 2 "composters" who have been thoroughly enjoying food scraps from our home as well as scraps from my mom and sister.  This Spring, Dave and boys had turned our chicken trailer in a pig hut.  This "hut" was originally up on a flat bed wagon, enclosed in wire with nesting boxes and ramps for the chickens to find their way down to pasture.  We had gotten rid of the chickens and needed something to "graze" the pigs in, so the hut was renovated.  We put the piglets-turning-into-hogs back in a field of turnips and every day they get pulled ahead onto fresh turnip greens.  The end of their lives is fast approaching and we will reap the benefits of pastured pork.  Hungry yet?  Can't you just taste that fresh sausage? 

The dump truck......oh, the wonderful, terrible dump truck......
We do not raise our own silage, but depend on neighboring farmers to supply it for us.  This year,  it is cheaper for us to run and pick some up every other day and since we have a dump truck, we did not think it would be that big of a deal.  Well, I guess the dump truck did, so it decided to be rebellious.  It didn't run right, so Ben replaced air hoses, spark plugs, etc..  Ran for a short time and then stopped starting all together.   After a week of fragmented time trying to find whatever was wrong with it, talking to several different mechanics, installing new battery, new ignition - it still did not start.  A friend of ours came to the rescue and finally discovered that a battery terminal was corroded!  Really!!  So, it worked for a blissful short time.  Then it stopped shifting correctly.  Must be the clutch.  Well, to get at the clutch the transmission must be moved.  The men worked at it for days and could not get the transmission to move.  Gordon, who does this kind of work all the time, came to help yesterday - all day!  After "all day" they finally got new clutch in - dump truck still does not work!  No one knows what is wrong with it.  We thought this morning, that since the men are spending so much time with this truck, maybe it should have a name, but all the names we could think of for it were not very nice ones, so we dropped that idea.  Wonder if the threat of  "junkyard" would scare it into working?  But, we can't afford to send it there, we need it too much and we need it tomorrow!  Last year, we had a pray-over baler.  Wouldn't start unless we prayed over it.  This year we have a dump truck that even prayer isn't helping!  Dave could use a break.  Anyone know of a nice island where we could take a really long vacation, maybe even move to?  Oh, it must be rent free, though, for Mr. Dumpy has sucked all the money out of our pockets.  No, wait, there was no money in our pockets.  Let's see.....Mr. Dumpy has sucked too much of our time, energy and sanity and we now have to pay for a shrink!  There, that is why it must be rent free!  :)

By the way, here is a picture of Mr. Dumpy, who I guess I did name after all!  Wondering why it doesn't want to work?  He thinks he belongs in a antique vehicle museum! :)

Until next time (maybe from that island!). . . . . . . . . . . . .   

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Am Not Dead Yet

No, I am very much alive!  Sad to say!

On Nov. 6th we had a worship service, followed by a full immersion baptism for a dear friend of mine.  Our elder had a wonderful message on repentance and baptism.  I regret not taking notes, however, there was one thing he said (and I don't have it word for word) that has me doing a lot of self examining.....   He said that he will hold her under until no more bubbles come up, then she will be lifted up into a new life. We grinned and softly chuckled, for we knew he would not do that, but we did understand his meaning. 

So what does it mean to live a life in which I has been buried with Christ and is now living a new life?  What does it look like?  Is it a life that would blend in with the surrounding world? 

A person buried with Christ would no longer be an I person.  They would be a person who, in all areas, would reflect Jesus.  They would not pursue their own interests, but those of Christ's.  They would not speak their own words, but those of Christ's.  They would not dress in a way that would draw attention to themselves, but in a way that would honor Christ.  They would not do things to promote themselves.  They would seek other's interest way before theirs.  They would constantly be communicating with the Heavenly Father . . . "Lord, give me the words to speak. Lord, who do You want me to help today?  Lord, how do you want to change me through these circumstances. . . . . "  I have often thought about the life of Jesus and all that He endured here on this earth.  He was ridiculed, mocked, spit upon, called names, let down by His friends.  He never held a huge concert where His followers came out and swooned all over Him! :)  Why on earth did He not go crazy or get severely depressed or get discouraged?  It is because His life was not His own, it belonged to His Father.  There was no I in his life.   Am I content to be a nobody?  Am I happy if nobody notices me, or talks to me?  Am I happy for others if they have more than I do?  Does my family see Jesus in me, or do they see a selfish mom?  Do fellow shoppers see a happy, serene woman, or a miserable impatient grump?  Do I blog to make people think that I have something important to say or do I blog for the glory of God?  Are my facebook stat's to bring attention to me or do they bring life to the readers?  Oh, my friends, I never want to be a hypocrite or a brag or a better-than-you kind of person and these are the questions I have been contemplating the last few weeks.  Am I buried in Christ?  And does my life point to the One who gave His life for me?  I have been sobered with the answer.  It is no, the bubbles are still coming up.  I still lives!   "Lord, no true happiness comes from an I life.  My flesh is so weak, but my spirit is willing.  Help me to live with my eyes constantly focused on You, that it would not be I that people see but You.  Bring strength and contentment to live a hidden, buried life filled with Your Holy Spirit and not a self serving spirit"

You will truly know if you are a servant when you are treated like one.

Until next time...........

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Our Blog's Name

These thoughts are what led us to name our blog "being tried as gold" many years ago.  We all have times in our lives when we feel like we are in the "fire", but when we truly understand what God is doing, the "trying" will not be so painful.

This is from Streams in the Desert and when I read it this morning, I knew I had to share it!

The Old Refiner

"He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver" (Mal. 3:3).
Our Father, who seeks to perfect His saints in holiness, knows the value of the refiner's fire. It is with the most precious metals that the assayer takes the most pains, and subjects them to the hot fire, because such fires melt the metal, and only the molten mass releases its alloy or takes perfectly its new form in the mould. The old refiner never leaves his crucible, but sits down by it, lest there should be one excessive degree of heat to mar the metal. But as soon as he skims from the surface the last of the dross, and sees his own face reflected, he puts out the fire.
--Arthur T. Pierson
"He sat by a fire of seven-fold heat,
As He watched by the precious ore,
And closer He bent with a searching gaze
As He heated it more and more.
He knew He had ore that could stand the test,
And He wanted the finest gold
To mould as a crown for the King to wear,
Set with gems with a price untold.
So He laid our gold in the burning fire,
Tho' we fain would have said Him 'Nay,'
And He watched the dross that we had not seen,
And it melted and passed away.
And the gold grew brighter and yet more bright,
But our eyes were so dim with tears,
We saw but the fire--not the Master's hand,
And questioned with anxious fears.
Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,
As it mirrored a Form above,
That bent o'er the fire, tho' unseen by us,
With a look of ineffable love.
Can we think that it pleases His loving heart
To cause us a moment's pain?
Ah, no! but He saw through the present cross
The bliss of eternal gain.
So He waited there with a watchful eye,
With a love that is strong and sure,
And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat,
Than was needed to make it pure."

Until next time..........

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Frugality and Food Preservation

The definition of "frugality", according to Mr. Webster from 1828, is "a sparing use or appropriation of money or commodities; that careful management of money or goods which expends nothing unnecessarily, and applies what is used to a profitable purpose; that use in which nothing is wasted."   Being frugal is wise and is certainly a necessary virtue when you have a large family with a stay-at-home mom.  Actually, now a days it is good to be frugal even in a 2 income family.   Everyone seems to be "tightening their belts" and trying to save money wherever they can.

It seems in the past, I have learned many ways of being frugal and I still have room to learn more.  Did you know that you can rinse off dental floss and reuse it?  Nothing wrong with that!  Can anyone beat that?  :)   Here are a few other ideas that we have learned and practice:
*have an extra freezer besides your fridge freezer
*buy in bulk as much as you can.  It is cheaper to buy a 50# bag of flour, sugar, oats, whatever and store the extras in freezer.   Find a bulk food store that would do that for you.  Hornings Mkt. will order big bags for you.  Also, look in the pet dept. of WalMart and you will find pet food containers that store large quantities of food.
*buy meat in bulk.  Do not buy already made hamburgers.  Buy loose burger and make your own patties or meatballs and put in freezer.  Find a butcher or local farmer who would be willing to sell you a whole, half or quarter of a beef.  If you only want burger and have to get meat at your local grocer, see if you can get a good discount if you buy a large amount. 

*buy by cases.  Sometimes they offer a discount if you buy by the case.  If you are fortunate to live close to a store who will sell by case (like Hornings and Bill's Produce), go this route, especially if you have an extra freezer.  We buy bananas by the case, peel them and put in freezer.  We put them in blender with milk and have a delicious milk shake and it is so much better for you than ice-cream.  We also do this with berries.  We buy frozen vegetables by the case.  Actually, your options are limitless.   It don't hurt to ask!
*dilute your laundry softener, liquid hand soap, fruit juices, and anything else you can think of
*bake your own desserts - they are healthier for you than packaged food, and cheaper.  Bake extra and put in freezer for another meal.  In fact, do this for main dishes also.
*shop Salvation Army stores and other second hand shops.  Who says your clothing has to be brand new?  And you can find a lot of other bargains besides clothing at these shops.  Mend (if possible) clothing instead of throwing them out.
*when you have to run errands, try to get all necessary stops in on the same day to save on gas and time
*staycations can be alot of fun and alot less stressful.  Stay at home for your vacation or just do local activities.  Put a campsite in your back yard - the children will love it! 

*make your own granola.  This can be done especially if you buy that 50# bag of oats! :)  There are other cereal recipes available as well.  Boughten cereal can be very expensive and they are usually loaded with additives
*use your local library instead of buying books.  If they do not have what you are looking for, they can try to get it from another library.  If you want your own copy - amazon is the way to go or other online sites.  Your library can also get materials you may need for homeschooling.
*try to fix stuff yourself instead of calling repair man first.  Don't be afraid of those hammers or screwdrivers.  Tackle home projects yourself.  Our children can learn alot of different skills by participating in projects.  Sometimes we can learn alot from our children, too, by having their participation! :)
*learn to cut your boys and husbands hair yourself.  We have saved a tremendous amount of money this way!
*buy a big clothes drying rack and use that in the winter instead of your dryer.  It will provide moisture in your home, too.  We have a woodstove in our basement and I hang ALL my laundry either on the rack or on hangers.

*can/freeze/preserve your own food, especially if you like to know where it is coming from, how it was grown, and don't care for additives.

ummmmmm........I am sure you can think of many more to add to this list, and I know that many of you are already practicing many of these suggestions.  This is from a mother's perspective.  There is probably a whole other list that a man could make.   I think contentment and not believing that we need to have the best of everything is a huge plus in being frugal.  Our frugality in the home blesses our husbands tremendously! 

Speaking of preserving food........
Today I had 2 bushels of broccoli to freeze.  The rebel that I am, I decided to go against what the cooperatives would tell you about blanching your veggies.  I simply washed the heads in a sink with cold water and Basic H (Shaklee), drained on towel, cut up, and put in freezer bags.  For the last few years I have froze green beans raw and wondered why I couldn't do broccoli and other vegetables that way.  I did some internet research and found that others were also being rebels, so I joined them. :) So much easier and alot less smelly and messy (cooking broc. does not make a home smell very welcoming ).  And I did not have to use propane to heat the kettles!  Frugal? 

A dear friend and her boys came down last week and brought apples (free for both of us - her father just wanted them used up) to make applesauce.  The boys were a huge help!

 You can see in this picture the "pet food" containers on the floor that I mentioned above.  They hold a 50# bag and I have one each for my grain, sugar, and an extra one for whatever I decide to put in it.  I love 'em!

I would love to hear frugal ideas from you.  Email them or post in comments.

Until next time. . . . . . . .

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy 18th to Solomon

This is the first time that we are not able to celebrate a birthday with any of our children.  Solomon turned 18 yesterday, but he has been on Fisher Island, just off of NY, for the past 2 weeks and will be there for another 2 weeks.  They are moving a huge house from the edge of a cliff that has a steep drop into the ocean.  To get to Fisher Island, you have to catch a ferry in Connecticut and travel 45 min. til you reach this approx. 9 mile long, 1 mile wide piece of ground that is 2 miles out from the port.  He said that they were spending the day over on the main land yesterday, shopping and catching a movie.  We miss you Solomon and hope you had a great day spent with friends.

This is Ben at almost 6 yrs old, Kelsey - 4 yrs, and Solomon at 1 yr. old.......
This is Solomon at 17 ......

One of his friends emailed these pictures from Fisher Island - thanks, Ben B!

Happy 18th Birthday, Solomon!  We love you!

Until next time.............

Monday, October 17, 2011

Our Farm Life Continued

Back in May, I had shared our farm life beginnings.  Those years were interesting years, adventurous years, goal driven years.  And they took us on quite a journey! http://beingtriedasgold.xanga.com/748067892/our-farm-life-beginnings/  At the end of the "beginnings", we had been led to purchase a farm, which we have named "Summer Hill Farm" and it is where we have lived for the past 7 years.   I would love to write that those 7 years were pain free, worry free, easy going, smooth years.  After all, is that not the kind of life we envision to live if we are living it for the Lord?  Shouldn't living for Him mean that all answers to all the decisions we face will be crystal clear to us?  No, my friend, it doesn't.  We have found that is doesn't and it was never promised in His word that a life committed to Him would be smooth, easy going, worry and pain free!  I have hesitated in sharing the story of the last 7 years.  It is my pride, though, that has made me hesitate.  It is not a glamorous, victorious story, but a story of deep faith testing, a time of much wondering if we truly were in the Lord's will.  A story where the characters feel defeated, beat up and somewhat lost at times.  I feel led to share it though, not for your sympathy, not to complain, not to be negative, but for God to use it to touch others lives, even if it be just one.  I have permission from all the characters involved to share this story.

All decisions that we have made as parents were always made with our children's best interest in mind.  It has been Dave's goal to provide opportunities for them in life, even if it meant sacrifice of time, money, and hard labor on his part.  The whole idea of farming was to be able to work together as a family, to expose our children to many different skills and responsibilities, all the while doing what comes natural, especially to Dave.  He is a farmer!

When we bought this farm, it had been a rental for about 20 years.  We knew it needed some attention, some paint, hammer and nails, and TLC.  We knew we could handle it.  Only after the project began did we realize how much attention it really needed.  A lot more work was needed than the first impression let on.  We worked, and worked hard, at getting our little cozy farm to function in tip top order.  Our lives were moving on and it was good.  However, we were so busy that we did not recognize that some needs of our children were not being met.  Kelsey became severely depressed and ended up in Phil Haven for 2 weeks, came home for a week, only to have to go back for another week.  What a painful time for her.  It was also an extremely painful time for all us.  What terrible parents we felt we were!  For surely it was all our fault?  What is going on in all our children's hearts that we are missing because we are so busy?  What are they feeling and thinking?   It is difficult to put into words what was going on in our minds and it is a time in our lives that Dave will not talk about.  He was told that it was a "father wound" and it devastated him.  He was only trying to do what he felt the Lord was telling him to do and what he thought was best for his family.  No, he was not a perfect father, but he was giving it his all and he felt like it was not good enough.  He decided that if this farming thing makes us too busy, too busy for our children, than we have to sell it and get out.  He laid the farm, his dreams, his goals at the Lord's feet and surrendered his will to His.  The cows (we kept the heifers) left on a truck, a real estate sign went up and we started looking to where we will move to.  We waited . . . waited. . . waited.  No buyers, only a few masonry jobs came in . . . . not enough money.   Have you ever faced a time like this?  You follow what you feel the Lord is telling you and then no answers come and no doors open?  I went to work doing in-home elder care and Dave held down the farm, taught school, did the wash, etc. and fit his masonry jobs with my schedule.  After months of nothing happening with the farm, we realize that we have to get cows again to have income coming off the farm.  So, a truck delivers a beautiful herd of cows and the milk pump starts working once again.  I continued doing elder care part time and life moved on.  Well . . .  milk prices plummet and feed prices sky rocket and we are looking to have to go in debt to buy feed!  Is that what God wants?  For us to go further in debt?  To feed cows?  No, we did not feel that was His will, so off go the cows on another truck and along with them went part of Dave and some of the children.  Now Dave still did not have an abundance of masonry work, and he is thinking that he needs to find a secure job.  He was hired at Dutch Valley working nights sweeping floors.  Now there is nothing wrong with sweeping floors, a humble job, but after months of working nights, coming home to sleep 2 hrs. and leaving to do his masonry work (which by the way, has picked up), coming home to go to bed for a few hrs and getting up to go sweep floors, he became ill.  His heartburn got so very bad, and his deprivation of sleep had changed him into a different person.  He had to quit or it would have killed him.  By this time our older boys were itching to milk cows again.  Can you believe it?  Another herd of cows? "Oh, dear Lord, what is Your will?  You didn't sell the farm, Dave wasn't created to work on 5 hrs. of sleep a day, our boys need something to do.  Should we really milk cows again?"  Here comes another truck delivering cows and that milking pump starts up yet again.  That has been 3 years ago and we are still milking cows.  During this journey of 7 years, at times our faith was rocked and at times it was strengthened.  If we follow the Lord's leading, why at times do questions go unanswered, why do doors not open, why does His face seem hidden?  Oh, we have had times of deep doubt, deep discouragement, distrust and then we had wonderful times of faith building and confidence in what we were doing.  We have had times where we told God we are done and that He would have to reveal to us that His love for us was unconditional and that He loves us right here, right now, just how we are, no matter what!  And you know, He has always came through!  He has always provided for us and all things were done on His timing not ours.   We have come to realize that He loves to surprise us!  We do not know what the future holds for us here on the farm and sometimes it seems more than I can bear not knowing the answers, but they are not mine to know and it is better that way.   Only when I surrender, fully surrender, it to Him, to Him that knows the future and holds tomorrow, do I find peace.  He is working in our lives in ways that we do not always understand.  We have often, and still do, talk about some characters in the Bible.  I can only imagine what went through Joseph's mind.  His brothers betrayed him, he lived as a slave and ended up in prison for 7 years for something he did not do.  I wonder if he wondered where God was and why was he in prison where he was not doing anyone any good?  Did his faith waiver?  Then I see how God used him after he was released from his cell!  Oh, why do we doubt, why does our faith waiver, why do we despair and grow discouraged when life brings hardships and trials?   They are to make us more like Him.   We need to keep our eyes focused on Him and our lives surrendered.  Only then are we able to come through the fire and not be scorched, nor have one hair singed.  Only then will we be able to have the strength to face whatever comes our way.  Oh, the lessons we learn from the past.....

I read this quote after I had typed this post and thought I would insert here, for it goes with my questioning.
"During a test, the teacher is silent."  I like it!!!!

This is our barn with 42 milking stalls......  (I had included in the "beginning" blog, pictures of our previous milking facilities.  This is by far the best one!  :)

Until next time..............................

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Switching Over

We have been blogging since 2008 on Xanga, but due to having some difficulties with them, we decided to try Blogger.  Our past posts can still be viewed at http://beingtriedasgold.xanga.com/, but we will use this site for all future posts.   I have been trying retrieve my Xanga posts and insert them on this site, but it seems that is no easy task.  I would be extremely grateful to anyone who could advice me or help me with that.

Until next time.............

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

Tuesday, 04 October 2011

  • Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

    Dave & I are now married for a quarter of a century as of today at 2:00 PM!  Seems like yesterday in some ways, but also seems like I have always known him.  So very much has happened in 25 years and we have had many happy times, many sad times.  We have experienced many thrilling times, many scary times.  We have felt many secure and confident times, many insecure and inferior times.  But one thing remains and that is the fact that we stuck together through all those times and I look forward to staying glued to this man who God knew I needed all those years ago.   Kelsey and my mom put their heads together and planned a surprise celebration for us to take place this past Sunday.  It was beautiful and we really enjoyed seeing people we haven't seen for awhile and fellowshipping with our friends and family that came to honor us.  We were blessed!!
    I thought it would be fun to do a pictorial comparison from our wedding to our 25th anniversary.

    We were married at my home, back in the woods.  It was a nice day, but the threat of rain kept some of us looking heavenward a few times....

    1986 - Wedding

    25 years later

    From 2 to 11

    Bridal Party

    Bridal party transportation to reception

    Weidenhammer family transportation

    Wedding cake

    Anniversary cake

    Our parents at wedding

    Will add a recent picture when I get one..
    Grandparents - they are all deceased now

    waiters and waitresses

    The rest of the pictures were taken at anniversary party

    My sister-in-law, Mary did the decorating and it was so pretty and romantic.  My sister, Karen, was the photographer and I look forward to receiving the memory book she is putting together.  Much planning, work, and trying to keep secrets was put into the celebration and we are extremely honored.  Thanks so much to everyone who was involved.

    I just had to share the saying from the card from Dave's mom & dad.....
    "I'll love you for heifer!" he said without shame.  "I'll give you my heart and I'll give you my name."  She batted her eyes and blushed with a shudder as she felt the blood rush from one end to the udder.  From that moment forward, he stayed true to his word.  And together they raised one sizable herd!

    Until next time..............