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

Monday, July 28, 2014

With a Bak Bak Here and a Bak Bak There

Uriah started his own little business called "Bubbsie's Best Broilers."
Back in May, he bought 100 peeps, diligently fed and cared for them. 

They soon grew old enough to go out in the range huts.  Each day, the huts would be moved ahead onto fresh grass in the morning and in the evening.  They also were fed chicken feed.  

These kind of birds are "genetically modified" to grow quickly.  So fast that they eventually out grow their legs and can barely walk.  Their pastime is sitting around panting and it is common for them to have heart attacks. However, we never push our birds and since they are outside and feed on grass, they never get gross.  If you have the opportunity to peek inside a conventional meat chicken house, you will understand what I mean by gross!!  Even at 8 weeks, grass fed birds can jump and fly. 

Normally these chickens are ready to be processed at around 6 weeks old, but ours are usually ready more like 8 - 9 weeks, for the feed we use is not medicated nor hormone ridden.

 Last Friday, it was processing time.  The night before, the broilers were loaded into the cattle trailer so the process could begin early in the morning.

 My, what big chickens Uriah raised!  Uniquely colored, too!   :)  These kind of roosters  eventually have back problems.

They are taken out of trailer and put head first in cones for execution, which was George's job, with some help from Uriah.  It is not a coveted job!

They are then put into the scalder, which rotates them around 3 - 4 times in 155 degree water.

from there to the plucker

Onto the work table where they are gutted.  Everyone filled in wherever help was needed.  Ben was the runner man.  He went for more ice, equipment parts, etc..

 Carried into the milk house for further cleaning

From there they came to me for final inspection and tucking of wings and legs.

plopped into barrels of ice water to cool and then hung up to dry

Once dried, they went into bags, got weighed and distributed into freezers, or to customers.  

Busy and tiring day, but so worth it!  
And it certainly is nice to not have to move those chickens around anymore, though!

Are you hungry?  :)

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A Teenager is Uriah!

Today marks the beginning of Uriah's teen years!  Already!

We celebrated Sunday evening.
He wanted his cousins to come over to play and it ended up being a family reunion.

Burgers & hotdogs over the fire
and lots of other good food 

Good conversation with Dave's parents

mom, Karen, Brent & Denise

quoit game.....

and now the birthday boy!  Him & I love to watch the Cake Boss on Netflix, so he requested to make his own cake.  He mixed, baked, made the butter cream icing and decorated.....
and we ate!  Very good!

It is so hard to capture the coziness of an evening fire, but I tried.  What I did unintentionally capture for sure was the two men in our family that appear to have too much knowledge in their heads for hair to stay put.... :)

Happy Birthday dear Uriah!  We love you bunches!

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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Better Homes & Gardens

Better Homes & Gardens is a beautiful magazine that was first published in 1922 by Edwin Meredith, who served as United States Secretary of Agriculture under Woodrow Wilson.  It is the 4th best selling magazine in the U.S. and it is dedicated to helping women create better, more inviting homes.

As the pages are turned in this lovely publication, photos of pretty, remodeled kitchens complete with breezy curtains and expensive tableware, cozy porches with pillow laden furniture and colorful vases of flowers look back at you.  On another page you may find a weedless garden with a cobbled stone path winding through lush vegetables or variegated  flowers.  Everything is perfect!  Literally!   And as I page through magazines like this one, more than likely in a waiting room setting, I experience longing - longing to have what is on those pages, and discontentment and ungratefulness grows towards what God has provided for me.

You see, I am not gifted in this area, nor do I have the funds or time to mimic the photos on those smooth pages.  I have deep admiration (and a little bit of envy) for my friends who are talented in the area of interior and exterior decorating and it would be wonderful to have them visit me for a few days (or weeks) with the intention of putting those talents to work on our farm.  Our place has potential!  A lot of it and I can imagine how beautiful it would look in the end and how anyone who would drive by would oh & ah at my much better home. 

But, that is not my reality and for some sad reason, what is my reality is never published in a magazine.  I have been contemplating publishing one!  It would be titled, "Reality Homes & Gardens" and it would feature homesteads like mine - homesteads of busy, sometimes overwhelmed, mamas.  I have come to terms with my reality and realize that this is exactly where God wants me to be.  I have learned much in this imperfect setting and there is much more that I can still learn.

Consider yourselves privileged to have a sneak peek at the first photos for the new publication of my imaginary magazine.

Our reality kitchen .......
Seriously, why are there always dishes to do?

It is complete with the latest style of a potato, and obviously apple, bin.....

 the easy to use laundry chute.....

and the state of the art dining room decor.....

A paragraph will be added on how Uriah, Oliver & I learned how to remove a toilet so a leak could be fixed.  What do you think?  Should this article go at the beginning or towards the end of the magazine in a section called, "The Gross Part of Homesteading?"

And then the gardens......

We have scattered gardens and they are void of cobbled stoned paths.  Weeds and hose nozzles are more commonly seen as we stroll around among our plants.  :)

I first planted carrots in this trough and then waited and waited for them to grow.  When the delay went longer than I thought it should, I figured the seeds were bad or my thumb turned brown.  So, I planted sweet potato plants along side the tomato plant.  I had purchased the sweet potato plants thinking they would go in one of the bigger gardens but the master gardener informed me there was no room.  I would either have to throw them out or find a place to stick em.  Well, as you see the carrots did not like the competition and decided to grow.  I still have somewhat of a green thumb, after all.  The external of this trough looks so pretty, but is there really room for carrots and potatoes to grow in there?  We'll see.....

One of the tubs with sweet potatoes...
and the bucket?  Just one of the lawn ornaments.  Pretty, isn't it?  Wonder why we don't see more of them in Better Homes & Gardens?  :)

Another trough with lettuce, tomato plant and sweet potatoes...
had pretty flowers at both ends, but they died.  Not sure why......rethinking my green thumb idea.  We had this trough sitting in a different location, but the menfolk moved it to work at another project, which I will share at a later date.

As you can see, I did stick potato plants wherever I could.  What the potatoes will look like, who knows, but I have been enjoying the greenery.

This was once my beautiful bleeding heart bush that my mom gave to me years ago for my birthday.  For some reason the dog thought it was a nice place to lay down!  What would Better Homes do about this problem?  I guess they don't have dogs for their children.  Maybe they don't have children.

 The green bean patch.  Instead of being bordered by pretty flowers, we have Bacon & Sausage at one corner and calves at the other end.  New trend!  Makes for interesting odors while picking beans! 

Thinking I should add a new section to the magazine featuring laundry, for that is a daily reality around here...
Let's see, what could I call it?   Any ideas?

 That concludes this addition of "Reality Homes & Gardens."  If you would like to make a submission for future publications, send your name, address, pictures, and story of what "reality" is to you.  :)

Really, though, this was all meant in fun and to encourage everyone else in their less than magazine setting. Don't take me as complaining.  I am not!  God has been good to us and has provided everything we need.   My reality is one of blessings, as I am sure yours is as well.

As far as the magazines featuring beautiful, elaborate, yummy dishes of food?  Yeah, not my reality either.  :)  Would one of you be willing to tackle that edition?

Until next time.......   

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

16 Years Ago Today. . .

. . .my dad died.

His name was George Thomas Longenecker and he was the second oldest of 10 children.  
He worked for his dad, George Henry, in the carpentry business and got married at the age of 17 to my mother, Darlene Klepinger from Dayton, Ohio.  
He and mom lived in Philadelphia while dad served time as a conscientious objector.
Eventually, dad and his three brothers took over the business of Geo. H. Longenecker & Sons - carpentry, electrical, excavating, plumbing.  
He was a deacon in the Dunkard Brethren Church and years later was ordained as minister in the Conservative Baptist Brethren Church in 1997.  
Being the social person that he was, having people in our home for meals or visiting, was a common occurrence .
It was also not unusual for him to join the young folks for a game of baseball.
Jack Snyder was dad's best friend ever since they were very young up until death tore them apart when Jack passed away also at a young age.  I have yet to see another example of best buddies as those two were. 

I know that he prayed hard for me and my siblings and would often tell us that the only thing he can take to Heaven is his children.
Cancer cut his life short at the age of 56.  He fought it, but also made preparations for his death.  When thinking of that time - it was very difficult, but one thing that I am thankful for is that we had time to say goodbye to each other.  Special times together!

Dad had a lot of peace about the thought of his death and after he passed away, his lips turned up into a little smile!  It was incredible! 

  Dad touched many, many lives and every now and then someone will still say how they miss my dad and go on to say what he did for them.

This picture was taken in 1989.  It is four generations.....
Grandpa George, Grandma Fern, dad, myself and our Ben.
Grandpa George was killed in 1989 - would've been a few months after this picture was taken.  A drunk driver hit him head on and at the accident scene he asked that the emergency personnel take care of the other person first, which would've been the drunk fellow (who actually was not hurt).  Grandpa was flown to hosp., but passed away before the Dr.'s could help him.

This pic was taken in 1993......

 I have more pictures, but due to disorganization, it would take me awhile to get them all together.  These two pictures are special ones to me, so I will leave it at that.

Our three youngest children never knew dad, but I was expecting our fourth child while he was sick.  I had the privilege of being anointed with oil by him due to my high risk pregnancy.  We told him that if we had a son we were going to name him "George" and he got tears in his eyes.
 Our George was born 2 1/2 months after daddy died. 

His memories live on and I am thankful for each one!

One day we will be able to be together once again....

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