Friday, December 18, 2009


One of my daughters, Sara, has been babysitting & homeschooling three children this year. It's been rather fun having little ones underfoot again. Misha (on left) is a very precocious five year-old. Judah is seven, and Omi (on right) is a hoot of a three year-old. They are the last 3 of 11 children of a dear friend of mine who is living about three lives packed into one right now. Sara is helping to pick up the slack. She's learning a lot & enjoying it.

Thanksgiving 2009

Over Thanks-giving we went to Texas to visit with family. Aron, who had just gotten back from Iraq, flew in as well.

Unfortunately, Alyssa had to stay home to take care of the animals.
Aron agreed to let me photograph him if he could pick the pose. That's always been an adventure with him, ever since he was a young child. But I usually came up with good photos (think skinny shirtless kid sucking his gut in & holding a large very green toad out toward the camera), as I did this time as well!

Here's the grandfather, the grandson, & the son (Aron's uncle). There's a little family resemblance, don't you think?

...Must be the dark glasses....

Here's a photo of Salvador (Aron's grandfather) when he was about Aron's age - also in the army in Korea. Now can you see the family resemblance?

The girls had fun with Aunt Melissa, who always teases and spoils, and with all the other aunts, uncles, and various cousins that showed up. We also celebrated Aron's 20th birthday. Only two teenagers in the family now!

This little one is my newest niece. She's Sonny & Jennifer's second baby.

Eveyln Elizabeth!

I think she has an opinion, although I can't quite figure it out....

Thank you, YHVH, Father of all, for the abundance of our lives: for family, for plentious food, and over-flowing love!

Progress on the Pole Barn

It may not look like much progress, but many hours have been put into the pole barn since the rafters & purlins were placed. With the direction of a friend, extra bracing and cross-bracing was added. Plus we put the framing up for an overhang over the open end of the barn (shown in the vertical photo). I already received the ordered metal for the roof. We are just waiting for an appropriate non-windy day to put it up. Hopefully this weekend we will see progress. Meanwhile, the ewes are getting bigger & bigger with their lambs! Better hurry!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I TRIED to Hunt!

Well, convinced that I needed to take advantage of every way possible to provide for my family in case times got really hard, I decided to begin learning this year to hunt. What I discovered is that there is way more to hunting than being able to hit a target.

I have to say this was one of the most exhilarating things I have ever done. As soon as I stepped into the edge of my woods and the trees closed behind me, I felt like I had entered another world. My senses magnified; I crept along slowly, stopping every step or two to listen. My eyes soon learned to pick up animal trails and I could actually follow them. I found a place that looked perfect.

It even had a tree that had a horizontal limb about 5 feet off the ground.
I felt like a different person; my senses were so alert and I was living so much in the moment. It was amazing. I stood on the horizontal limb and leaned against the vertical limb with my back. I slowly scanned from side-to-side. I had been there less than an hour when I saw the outline of a deer, no, two deer! But wouldn't you know it, they were coming up behind my right shoulder. How in the world was I going to keep my balance on this limb and turn around to shoot in that direction? Well, I didn't know, but I had to try, so I slowly began to move around. They were aware of me and were watching carefully. But they didn't seem afraid, just watching. I did something that startled them and they jumped 2 or 3 times. That's when I saw 3 white tail flags - three deer! All does, which was what I wanted because I wanted the mildest meat I could get in order to get my pickier children to eat venison. When they quit jumping and looked back at me and didn't see anything alarming, they began to move across behind me, about 40-50 feet away. I almost cried out, "Yes!", because now, I could swivel around to the left, which was more natural for me, a right-handed shooter. Besides, the tree I was leaning against could hide my movements. I could see them moving through thick trees, but it was about sundown, and light was dim. Also dumb-bunny that I was, I had my scope on full power (at that time, I didn't know I could adjust it). So when I looked through the scope, I couldn't tell what I was looking at until I caught movement. I was basically seeing hair! Then I found the head, followed the neck down, wondered if I should shoot lower since the deer was so close and I had sighted in for 100 yards not 50 feet! Bang! I looked up, smoke obscured my view, the deer hesitated for a brief second, and then they all took off in three different directions! I did not know which deer I had aimed at, not being able to translate what I saw in my scope to real life. Every nerve fiber I have was zinging! It was glorious!

Somehow, I managed to get down out of the tree. I kind of felt like this one deer was the one I had aimed for, so after checking for blood and not seeing any (but it was getting dark and it had been drizzling so all the leaves on the ground were wet), I took off in the direction of that one deer. I tried to follow it, but I was too 'hyped up' to follow a trail and after about ten minutes I gave up. I then went back to the place when I had shot, got out my flashlight and checked again for blood, did a few bigger & bigger circles around that spot and saw nothing. I finally decided that I must have shot over the deer's back since I was so close, and also because the deer seemed to hesitate before running. But I didn't came down from my 'high' after thinking that I must have missed. I think I was just so excited that I could see trails, find a good spot to wait, and then actually see deer and get a shot my first season to try hunting. Maybe it was beginner's luck, but hey, I was excited!

I didn't get a chance to go back out for several days. When I did, I just went to look. I found the spot again, could see actually deer 'prints' (a leaf turned over here, a smushed leaf there), and followed them. And there she was.

So sad.

Already smelling bad.

I could have puked.

And so that's why I say I learned that there was more to hunting than hitting a target!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

60th Wedding Anniversary!

This summer my parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. I am so blessed to still have both parents. I am also blessed that they live close and we get to see them regularly. When they moved here, I felt like they gave us the gift of their last years of life on earth. I cherish each day!
My sister came for a visit and we surprised our parents with a 60th Wedding Anniversary Party with a bunch of their friends. My daughter, Sara, made the wedding cake. We collaborated on the "aging" of the decoration on top. I think we (and all their great friends!) really surprised them!

Barn Raisin'!

We realized this summer that we were going to "out grow" our barn this year. YHVH willing, we will have 16 little lambs this coming spring, which will have to be housed in a barn in a separate pen with their mama for several weeks. Well-l-l-llll, we have a horse stall and a stall for the adult sheep, but the rest of the barn is packed with hay & lawn equipment & tools. We were going to have a little problem next spring if we didn't do something now.

I put pen to paper, did some research online, made some phone calls, and came to the conclusion that our best bet would be to put up a three-sided metal pole barn for hay and tools, leaving the old barn (which has electricity) for animals only. And I also figured out that we could build it cheaper ourselves rather than have it built. No problem. I looked over my old barn. Piece of cake.

On my last backpacking trip, some friends (who know me really well) made me buy a t-shirt that says, "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation", with a picture of a guy flying through the sky from one cliff to another.

Well, the leap was made last summer and we bought some posts, laid out the barn, and began building. And now I'm about halfway done and I'm beginning to fully grasp the situation. And all I can say is, "Praise YHVH for great friends!"

On November 1st, friends and family arrived early in the morning to help me put the rafters up and place the purlins across the tops of the rafters. In the first photo, you see a couple in the foreground who I've been helping as they build their home close by. The gentleman highest up is also helping them. Michael, on the ladder, is an old, ever helpful, friend. My neighbor (in camo) and his brother-in-law are also helping place rafter #1. My daughter, Alyssa, is in plaid in the background.
Four rafters are up in the second photo!

Amos, a good man who we fellowship with, had the only "power drill" that didn't run out of juice (see it hanging on his belt above & being used below).
Michael is telling Nitsan, "Hey! It's good enough for a barn!"
Alyssa said after it was all over, "It sure is fun to work with people you love!"

Well, I have to say, we had entirely too much fun! And still managed to eat two snacks and lunch that Sara, my daughter, made for all of us... PLUS, big bonus, we actually got all the rafters & purlins on!

As the sun sets, the last purlins are placed. A great day! Thanks to all!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Introducing my family!

I'm blessed to have six "children". They are mostly grown-up now, but I thought I would introduce them all anyway. The two boys are gone and making their own way now. I'm happy to still have my four girls at home with me. This photograph is the most recent "family" photograph; it was taken shortly after my husband died and I wanted a family photograph of just the children that year. It's dated about five years ago.
This photo happened in a funny way.... The kids were all home for once, so I said, "Well, we should take a family photograph!" Moans and groans issued from the couch in the living room where everyone was laying around. You have to understand what it is like to be raised by a mother who is a photographer.... Someone said, "Aw, Mom! Why don't you just take it here on the couch!" So I said, "Okay boys - pick the couch up and take it in the front yard!" Everybody got into it then and we had a blast. If you'll notice, Tomas' t-shirt says, "You say redneck like it is a bad thing!"
This was the last image I took with my professional old-timey film camera (a Mamiya 67). It had developed a light leak, which I didn't know until these images were processed. Alyssa is a whiz at photoshop and she managed to save the portrait, but it really took some doing. So you could say this portrait propelled me into the digital world of photography because for what it would have cost to fix my old camera, I bought a digital Nikon.