Monday, April 16, 2018

Homestead Happenings - June 2017


 June started out fairly quiet as we tried to keep things as normal as possible for the kids. Rina always loves to feed the chickens their cracked corn when I do chores in the morning. Thankful we have only nice chickens, even our rooster is a sweetheart.
 On the first weekend of June we traveled to my sister's house to watch my oldest nephew graduate from High School. We were all so proud of him! He even gave me a rose, which I wasn't expecting at all. Very sweet. I remember changing his diapers and rocking him to sleep. Time marches by so quickly! Now his is out on his own and doing a great job supporting himself, and learning many lessons along the way.
My second oldest nephew, Marcus, adored playing with Rina while we were visiting.

 We brought my other nephew, Andrew, home with us to camp on the homestead for a few weeks. He loves to camp and fits right into our family. It was hot dogs grilled over an open fire for dinner that night!
 My stepmom is friends with Tedd Arnold who is the author of the famous "Fly Guy" children book series. When he heard about how all of our Fly Guy books were destroyed in the fire, he sent us 14 signed books to replace those we lost. Wow! We were so surprised and grateful!
 My friend, Cora, stopped by for a chat on my bench swing while passing through. Dixie managed to squeeze her way in for little love and attention from Cora. She was resting her head on Cora's shoulder in this picture. She's a sheep "dog", I'm tellin' ya! I'm going to do an "Adventures of Dixie" post one of these days.
 Got a late start on my garden because I wasn't sure that I wanted to plant one with how crazy I knew life was going to get, but I decided to plant a small one, again, just to bring some normalcy to our situation. The girls were a great help. Rina is picking my flowers (awww!) and Hailey is planting pumpkin seeds.
 I didn't know what to do about my damaged sword collection that we were able to recover from the fire that I couldn't bear to throw away. I decided to re-purpose them and use them as plant markers. Coolest plant markers ever, in my opinion!


 Dixie wants to swing, too!

 My mom brought over a gold mining kit and the kids went hog-wild. Next thing I know, Josiah has a sluice box built. It kept them entertained for hours.
 OCEANetwork, Oregon's Christian Home School support group, called up and offered me a free scholarship to go to Oregon's homeschool conference. It was the first time I've ever been able to attend, and I was able to go with my super awesome friends, Dorene and Cora. We stayed at my adopted in-laws and went to the conference during the day. I love Lamplighter books and when one of my friends mentioned to the folks at the Lamplighter table that I had lost all mine due to the house fire, they insisted I pick out any book on table. I picked the "Secret Bridge". It ended up being a really good book. That was so sweet of them. Made me cry, of course!
 We met up with some of my homeschool friends from La Grande, whom I had started my homeschooling journey with. We had SO MUCH FUN! I learned a lot and came home inspired and confident in my decision to keep homeschooling my children despite our difficult circumstances.

On the way home, we stopped by Eagle Creek and took a selfie. Little did we know that this area would be the site of a huge fire that would burn a big portion of the Columbia River Gorge later that summer. Oh my goodness, but I do love these girls!

 The next day, our contractor, Daniel, was able to come over the mountain and start prepping the ground where our new house was to be built. It was so excited to watch, after months of just feeling like we were waiting and unable to do a lot. What a privilege for our children to watch every step of their house being built. The sheep were kicked out of the upper pasture and it was transformed into a construction zone. It was a hot, dirty mess, but oh so worth it!
Here is a video of Hailey putting a Gideon New Testament bible in the corner of the foundation because as she says, "Without God, we labor in vain." God had his hand in every bit of our situation.

 Daniel, getting ready for the foundation to be poured. The kids had SO much fun on those dirt piles, which made my shop a constant mess, LOL.
This is what our house looked like a week after he started working on it. The foundation was completely finished. Daniel is unbelievably fast at what he does!
 My mom and step-dad celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with us kids and as many grandkids as we could wrangle up, along with some of their friends. We went to Rooster's Restaurant to eat and celebrate.
 We were so happy for them! We are ever so grateful to the Lord for bringing Larry into our lives. He has loved our mom well and will continue to until death do they part.
Crazy cousins who have motorcycle fever, just like their grandparents! I think Lily and Rina look so much like each other.

What a wonderful way to end the month of June and leap right into summer where adventure and a lot of hard work awaited us. His plans are not our plans, but I can tell you one thing, they are ALWAYS good plans, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.

God Bless,
Jackie

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Homestead Happenings - May 2017

May brought warm weather which made it much easier to camp on our property. Living in the sheep pasture provided a constant source of entertainment. We were pushing to get the burnout trailer demolished and removed from our property as soon as possible. The smell was horrible and every time we'd have a wind storm, it would blow stuff into our neighbor's yard. We couldn't get it removed until it had an asbestos test, which thankfully came back negative and we were able to move forward. 

In the meantime, the people who let us borrow their trailer needed it back, so we were scrambling to see if insurance would pay for us to buy our own. After a very stressful month of not having a clue if we would be living and sleeping in the shop all summer, some friends of ours from Thunder RV in La Grande, found the perfect set up for us! Finding a bunk bed situation is hard, but they gave us a screamin' good deal on this 32' toy-hauler. The outdoor shower is where I did the dishes all summer and fall. It had a lot of features that worked for us. Josiah still preferred sleeping on the couch in the shop, but the rest of us slept in the trailer. We did all our cooking and hanging out in the shop during the day.


 We will be able to use it for a long time to come. What a blessing!

It's so nice in side and very child-friendly. You can see how excited the kids were when we got it.

 Trying to keep things as normal as possible, the kids did a shortened version of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" for our local homeschool group's presentation night. They did a great job and had everyone laughing. It was something they had done for our Narnia unit study.
My pretty girls, playing in the front yard (our pasture).
It was getting warm, so time to shear the sheep. We did it on the front step of the shop. They were shearing sheep just as my MIL came to visit and help watch the kids while I went to Greece for a week. I had already had the trip paid for before the fire and my sister insisted I go so she didn't have to fly back alone. I'm really glad I went. It was a good break from the chaos of our situation. I'm forever grateful to my MIL for making it possible for me to go, and my adopted in-laws for inviting me in the first place!

 I'll eventually blog my trip to Greece, but I had to throw one of my favorite pictures of me and my sis and her in-laws, Vern and Ethel, standing in front of the Temple of Poseidon, which was the first of many temple sites we were able to visit in our 5 days in Greece. It was an amazing adventure!
While I was in Greece, our little darlin, Rina, turned 2 years old. The grandparents threw a little party for her back home in the shop. It was really hard for me to not be there. I'm glad she was too young to be bothered by it.
 When I got home from Greece, I came home to this delightful sight! The burned out trailer had been removed while I was gone. I bawled all the way up the driveway when I saw it. So wonderful to have it gone and not be constantly reminded of all our losses. I'm sure the neighbors appreciated it, too
!
 Despite some jet lag, I was working at the Underground the next day as a tour guide for their "Comes to Life" event. I had a wonderful time giving tours. I always love an excuse to dress up.

 This is what we would wake up to every morning when we would go into the shop to make coffee and breakfast. This kid was a trooper! I really appreciated his willingness to sleep on the couch in the shop for the 8 months it took for us to get into our new home. We lived out of tubs, doing the best we could with what we had. Mom and Larry gave us their old couch and love seat which was a real blessing.
 Rina helped me with my outdoor laundry system all summer long. 

 In May, we participated for the first time in our local homeschool group's egg drop challenge.
 Hailey put hers in a laundry detergent container full of some sort of fluff and then duct taped it shut.
 It worked!
 Josiah's not so much.
 Hailey won for her age bracket. She was very excited!

 Josiah and his Boy Scout troop were able to go on a zip-line adventure at a place on the other side of Oregon, called, "Tree to Tree".
 Michael went with them and said it was really neat to see how all the boys overcame their fears and rose to the challenge of conquering these zip-lines courses.
 Josiah was the only one to finish the entire course. They couldn't believe how fast he moved.
 Josiah with some of his Boy Scout friends at the Black Diamond zip-line run. They had a fantastic weekend!

To top the month off, we were surprised when we looked into our chicken coop and found some baby chicks from a mama hen who had gone broody and was hiding. We didn't notice her missing. She had three baby chicks. It was a wonderful thing for my kids to see, especially since all of their other baby chicks had been destroyed in our house fire. Another God smile. He knows what we need, when we need it... ALWAYS.

So the end of the month left us camping on our property and waiting for the building permits so we could begin the monumental task of building our new home. We were really thankful to be able to stay on our property so we could take care of our animals easily. We were able to kind of catch our breath in the month of May. Good thing, because we were about get really, really busy!

God Bless,
Jackie

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Homestead Happenings - April 2017

 April of 2017 was a month of trying to find a new normal as we camped on our property during the months immediately following our house fire. We learned to make do with the things we had. The kids look back on this time fondly. We chose to look at our temporary situation as an adventure. Life was very INCONVENIENT at this time, but we learned to be grateful for the things we did have.
The weather was starting to get nice so we heated up water on the propane burner and the kids got to bathe in the canner kettle.

Even Josiah (13 at the time) managed to just barely fit in it. When his friends came over, they all had to have a try, too, LOL. Everyday was always an adventure at our place.

We moved the play set into the upper sheep pasture which became our yard. It was fun having the sheep to play with everyday. The little black lambs were so cute!
The kids had lots and lots of hammock time. They invented hammock games like "Spider in the Web".

Before the flies got too bad, we were able to open the shop door to let in light and fresh air We quickly came up with ways to keep the sheep out of the shop where we were living. Dixie would stare longingly at us, just waiting for us to pet her.

I can't tell you how many times the sheep got into the shop. I had lots of messes to clean up when someone would forget to close the shop door. Never thought I'd say, "Someone please get the sheep out of the dining room!".
There were a lot of firsts. Like doing laundry outside. Often times I would have to step over Dixie to get to the washing machine. We hung everything to dry on the clothesline - spring, summer and fall
\
Rina, not at all a flexible child, had a hard time adjusting to new sleeping quarters. Camping long term with a toddler was challenging to say the least. 
This was what I called my "fire art". These were items I pulled out of the the burned out trailer house and used as yard art. I put my bird feeder in the middle of my antique ice cream parlor chair, added my jewelry tree with my burned earrings and topped it off with the "God Made Me Special" plate.

I brought all my herb buckets I had on the front porch near the burned-out trailer and put them around the borrowed travel trailer. Making lemonade out of lemons. My spinning wheel was half burned and unusable, but I thought it looked OK as yard art.

 As we settled into our new digs and were waiting to move forward with the removal of the burned-out trailer, we were able to sneak a little fun into our lives. Michael was finally able to enter his '26 T-Bucket into his very first car show at the Doolittle Raiders 75th Anniversary event. He had a great time and the girls enjoyed showing it off, too.
 Mom and Larry bought us tickets to the Doolittle Raiders Gala that happened that evening. I had to scramble to come up with an outfit as all my vintage clothes had sadly burned. I ended up wearing my Grandma Evelyn's beautiful fur cape and hat. It was such a blessing to get to wear it!
Unfortunately the picture is terribly pixelated, but it was the best we had. This was a badly needed date for Michael and I. He would have loved to be in his Army dress blues for the night, but we couldn't get them set up in time. So in a borrowed suit, we swing-danced the night away. What a great evening and much needed break from the constant stress that came with each new day!

Michael and the kids participated in their first "Passion Play" at our church during Easter weekend. It helped everyone focus on the Lord instead of our circumstances. We have so much to be grateful for. The best gift ever is Jesus!
Hailey was a townsperson. 
Michael was a disciple. He looked so weird with long hair! 

Josiah helped behind the scenes with the lights. He did a great job!
Hailey reenacting Palm Sunday.
Our pastor did a great job playing Jesus.
I always try to get the kids books for their Easter presents instead of a lot of junk food.
Having Easter morning in the trailer where it was warm!
Early Easter morning, we rushed over to Dufur to worship with family and friends at Dufur Christian Church and then have an egg hunt and dinner afterwards.
I managed to get the girls matching Easter dresses. They both looked so beautiful in blue!


Grandma Kricket, teaching Rina to pray in church.

Rina sure enjoyed her egg hunt with her cousin Marcus. He adored helping her. It's so fun to have a little one again to enjoy the traditions of Easter.

We are so thankful for the resurrection of our Lord and that we have to privilege to celebrate it.

HOPE SPRINGS NEW!

God Bless,
Jackie

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