Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ma and Pa Homesteaders

Things have been really busy around Lanky Ridge Farm over the last few months. That's no excuse for how long it has been since I published an article, but I'll just acknowledge the fact and move on. You should too.

Last night as The Hubs and I settled down to rest our tired bones, I realized how far we've come. We have become quite the homesteaders. It's been a long time since we lived in the city and The Hubs was serving our country with honor and distinction.


I grew up on a farm where my parents and grandparents did most things the old fashioned way. We grew our own vegetables in a large garden. Mom and Nanny canned, pickled and jammed more than their fair share of produce. They also used what they had, and used it up. Most of our food could have been called "home-cooking" and it was from scratch. Daddy always made sure we had beef in the freezer, and hams and bacon in the smoke house. We also had fish from the river and deer from the woods. We never really needed anything.

Somehow, living in a city, we lost sight of that lifestyle. We would visit the farm and enjoy the bounty. But in our own life, that's not how we lived. So when The Hubs retired from the Navy and we built our little house on Lanky Ridge, we were determined to get back to "the way things USED to be."

So last night, the reality of our lifestyle just hit me: we've done it. Oh, we still have a long way to go to really consider ourselves completely self-sufficient. But for now, I'm going to sit back and marvel at how far we've come.

Here are the things that we have done in the last couple weeks:

  1. We've enjoyed all homemade, from scratch meals. Some examples include: baked chicken and stuffing; ham and cheese panini; stuffed peppers; spaghetti; beans & rice with cornbread; pizza; omeletes. We're using a lot of garden produce right now.
  2. We entertained some friends from out of state. This included a huge July 4th celebration with our neighbors and church family (also fireworks!). My friend and I made this awesome flag-themed taco salad.
  3. We've been taking care of our garden. This includes weeding, picking, watering, etc. We also picked, snapped and canned two canner loads of green beans; cut up and froze or dehydrated peppers (various kinds); we've frozen some tomatoes until we have enough to make a large pot of spaghetti sauce; kept the deer and rabbits away from our garden and apple trees (it's an on-going battle).

  4. We butchered some of our chickens. This is a first for us! We're so excited to have home-grown chicken in which we know what they ate (or didn't eat). And we can't wait for our other chickens to begin laying eggs!
  5. I helped my sister take some awesome pictures of our new grandson. He's only two weeks old and some pictures also included his two-year-old brother.
  6. I taught my regular Wednesday night, women's Bible study at church.
  7. We've both been working on furniture refinishing projects. The Hubs has been refinishing kitchen chairs for my mom (one at a time) and I've been chalk-painting some fun items. 

  8. We take care of all our animals: three dogs, one cat, and our chickens. With the hot weather we've been having here in Central Virginia, that has included constantly monitoring their behavior and giving LOTS of fresh cool water.
  9. We do laundry using homemade detergent and we hang it to dry.
  10. We use homemade cleaners to clean and disinfect our home.
  11. I also work a 40+ hour a week job.
  12. Since our daughter just had her second baby, we've been helping her out some. We enjoyed having our two-year-old grandson with us while the baby was born. We're always glad to keep him for a few hours if she needs help. She lives close by so it's easy to run over and offer help--babysitting, shopping, cooking. Moms are good at that!

I just think that is an impressive list! It was really hot yesterday, and while I was fixing myself a refreshing mint julep (with mint from my own herb garden), I was just so amazed at these accomplishments! I hope this encourages you to become more self-sufficient. It's really in the details. Do one small thing consistently, until it becomes a habit. Then do something more. Keep going until you're saying to yourself "I've come a long way, baby."

I know for us, we feel good about what we've done. Our only regret is that we didn't do it sooner. But we're here now and homesteading feels good.  I think it looks good on us!



Please leave a comment about what you're doing (or what you want to do) to become more like a homesteader.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ladies' Bible Study Week 18

**This is commentary from a ladies' Bible study in my church. The purpose is for us all to keep in touch and have accountability, even when we can't attend. If you would like to join us or if you have questions about anything you see here, please leave your email in the comments section and I'll get in touch with you. All scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.

Luke 15 (really from week 17)
  • Verses 1-7  parable of the lost sheep
  • Verses 8-10 parable of the lost coin
  • Verses 11-32 parable of the Prodigal Son.
    • The father did more than just provide his son's needs. The gifts symbolized how he accepted his son back into the family. The robe signified honor, the ring symbolized power, sandals set the son apart from the bare-footed servants, a fatted calf was only for special occasions.
    • God rejoices when sinners repent and come to know Him. He accepts them into the family and treats the sinner like the prodigal son.
Luke 16 (week 18)
The parable of the shrewd manager  and the parable of the rich man and the beggar teach about being faithful and being good stewards of what God gives us. We should be good stewards of our money, our time and our talents.

Here's a test of faithful stewardship:
  1. Are you faithful in the little things? Little promises? Small amounts of time, talent and responsibility? See verse 10.
  2. Are you faithful with money? God's word has much to say about money matters. It's important, a tool to use to serve God. See verse 11.
  3. Are you faithful with others? Do you treat their possessions and reputations as you treat your own? See verse 12.
Have you noticed the messages of the parables are getting more detailed, more pointed and more obvious? Jesus knows His time is short and He wants to reach as many people and teach His disciples as much as possible.

Next week we'll be in John 8

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ladies' Bible Study Week 16

**This is commentary from a ladies' Bible study in my church. The purpose is for us all to keep in touch and have accountability, even when we can't attend. If you would like to join us or if you have questions about anything you see here, please leave your email in the comments section and I'll get in touch with you. All scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.



Sorry that I've been absent for the last couple of weeks. Things have been pretty busy around here. Hopefully I can stay on track now. We're just going to pick up from here and keep going, and yes I know I've missed a couple week. The real ladies of this Bible study have all kept up and we're all on the same page. Anyone else, feel free to join us online or in person. Let me know if you need additional information!
 
Luke 14:1-35

·         Verses 1-6. Jesus heals on the Sabbath.
o   Jesus ALWAYS values people over rules or laws
·         Verses 7-14. Jesus teaches about being humble
o   Who is humble?
o   Who is prideful?
·         Verses 15-24. Parable of the Great Feast
o   The Jews were told that Jesus was coming and to prepare
o   When Jesus arrived and told the Jews “I’m here!”, they were too busy and too pre-occupied to notice
o   What do we fill our days with?
§  Work, children, hobbies, internet, laundry, cleaning, driving, shopping, waiting (dr. visits, children’s activities—sports), watching t.v. etc.
§  These things take time away from worship, Bible study and prayer
§  All these may be good things, but cannot take the place of a relationship with Jesus—that should be first in our lives
·         Verses 24-35.  Jesus teaches about the cost of being a follower
o   Jesus requires a lot from His followers. We have to “take up our cross”
o   Discuss Christians being persecuted around the world
o   Are we being persecuted in America?
o   We are the “salt” and must be apart from the world

Next week we’ll be in Luke 15

 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ladies Bible Study: Week 12


**This is commentary from a ladies' Bible study in my church. The purpose is for us all to keep in touch and have accountability, even when we can't attend. If you would like to join us or if you have questions about anything you see here, please leave your email in the comments section and I'll get in touch with you. All scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.

Luke 10:1-42

This week, we're going to have a little fun. Let's play the Mary or Martha game. You all know the stories about the sisters Mary and Martha from the Bible. This chapter in Luke tells of Jesus going to visit in their home. While Martha is busy preparing the house and a meal for their guests, Mary spends all of her time just sitting at Jesus' feet. Martha gets mad and goes to Jesus fussing. Jesus rebukes Martha and tells her that Mary is learning from Him.

We all have a little of each sister in us. Sometimes I have more of Martha and I wish I had more of Mary. But that's just the way women are!

So tonight we played the Mary or Martha game. We were each given an slip of paper with a situation, and we had to tell what Martha would do and what Mary would do. Try it for yourself and leave your answers in the comments!

  1. You just finished cleaning your whole house from top to bottom when your two-year-old makes a fort on the kitchen floor with an entire box of Cheerios and he wants you to play.
  2. You have an unexpected visit from a distant relative. He is telling stories about "the good old days" with your grandfather that you've never heard before. It's getting late and you don't have anything for dinner. You could heat up a frozen pizza or fix sandwiches but you want to offer him a hot meal.
  3. You have a sink full of dishes to wash. Your teenagers are just finishing up a rowdy board game and they want you to play the next game with them.
  4. Your mother-in-law is coming to visit tomorrow. You plan to clean your house and do laundry while the kids are at school. But your child is not feeling well and wants to stay home and snuggle.
  5. Your Bible study group wants to start a homeless ministry that would help in a soup kitchen every Thursday evening. Thursday is when you do your laundry each week.
  6. You planned to get some laundry done after supper, but your husband is going to deliver something to an elderly neighbor and he asks if you want to go along.
  7. For once, you have supper ready at 6:30, the time your husband usually gets home. You're fuming when he arrives at 7:30. His coworker's car wouldn't start so he helped get it started, including a trip to the auto parts store.
No, we all know the message here: we don't need to worry about the little things. And they're all little things. Jesus has provided everything we need and worrying can't make anything better. It only makes us tired, grumpy and wrinkly. So don't worry. Trust God for everything we need.

Next week we won't meet but we'll go ahead and study Matthew 5:1-48 on our own.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ladies Bible Study Week 11

**This is commentary from a ladies' Bible study in my church. The purpose is for us all to keep in touch and have accountability, even when we can't attend. If you would like to join us or if you have questions about anything you see here, please leave your email in the comments section and I'll get in touch with you. All scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.



Mark 8:1-38

Ask a truck driver, a senior citizen and a teenager how to get from point A to point B and you’ll probably get three different answers:
Truck driver “Take the highway.”
Senior citizen  “Stick to the back roads.”
Teenager “Go through town.”
Same goal, different ways to achieve it. God teaches us lessons in different ways. Some people may learn about God’s love through simply reading and studying His Word. Others must go through tough financial hardships or illness before really understanding God’s love. One person learns patience by dealing with small children, another through infertility. The Gospels all tell a different perspective of Jesus’ life on earth. Same goal: sharing the Good News, different perspective.

·         Verses 1-10: this is different from the feeding of the 5,000. 
o   Jesus shows His compassion: He truly cared for these people. He didn’t want them to go away hungry.
·         Verses 11-21: The Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign from heaven.
o   Jesus knew even if they saw a sign, they wouldn’t believe.
o   Jesus warns His disciples about false teachers. He uses the example of yeast: it distributes all throughout the bread and you can’t take it out once it’s in there.
·         Verses 22-26: Jesus healed the blind man in increments (He was able to see a little bit at first, then Jesus touch him again and completed restored his sight).
o   Jesus may have been showing the disciples that some healing is gradual not instantly done.
o   He told the man not to tell people. Why?
·         Verses 27-37: Jesus talks to the disciples about who they think He is—Jesus calls Himself “Son of Man”
o   Read Daniel 7:13
o   Jesus begins to tell the disciples about His death and resurrection, He was clear and open about it, but Peter was concerned
o   Jesus knew why He had come and didn’t want to hide anything from them
·         Verse 38 (vocal point)
o   Jesus gives us a choice—we can accept Him and be accepted by Him OR we can reject Him and be rejected by Him.
o   Everyone faces this choice at some point in his/her life

Next week we’ll be in Luke 10
 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Ladies Bible Study Weeks 9 and 10

**This is commentary from a ladies' Bible study in my church. The purpose is for us all to keep in touch and have accountability, even when we can't attend. If you would like to join us or if you have questions about anything you see here, please leave your email in the comments section and I'll get in touch with you. All scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.

Week 9
Luke 7:1-50

  • Verses 1-10 Jesus healed the centurion's servant from afar
  • Verses 11-17 Jesus raised the widow's son from the dead. This illustrates salvation: The world was dead in sin; there's nothing the dead man can do to save himself. The dead man didn't earn a second chance at life and we cannot "earn" our salvation. We must simply accept the gift of salvation from Jesus and praise God and live our lives to bring glory to Him.
  • Verses 18-35 Jesus clarifies the role that John the Baptist played in preparing the way for Jesus.
  • Verses 36-50 The sinful woman anoints Jesus' feet. Jesus teaches that he came to save sinners.

Week 10
Luke 8:1-56

  • Verses 1-3 Jesus was traveling. It is interesting to me that there are women traveling with him and they supported Jesus with their own money. Jesus treated with women with concern (for their salvation) and with respect.
  • Verses 4-18 The parable of the soils. Jesus teaches about the word and how different people (soils) react to it. We need to make sure we listen, consider, study and memorize His Word.
  • Verses 19-21 Jesus' family comes to see him. This has always concerned me..as a mother, I would expect my son to always have time for me. But Jesus makes a point here: WE are his family.
  • Verses 22-25 Jesus calms the storm. God has power over all things, including weather.
  • Verses 26-39 Jesus send demons into a herd of pigs. Jesus has power over all things, even demons. The towns people didn't like this and they were afraid of him. His power scared them.
  • Verses 40-48 Jesus heals the woman who touched his cloak. Jesus wanted to make sure the woman understood that her faith healed her. It wasn't "magic" that Jesus had. It was POWER.
  • Verses 49-56  Jesus healed Jairus' daughter. He wasn't ready for the full story of his power to be revealed yet, so He asked the family not to tell anyone.  
Next week we'll be studying Mark 8:1-38

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ladies' Bible Study Week 8

**This is commentary from a ladies' Bible study in my church. The purpose is for us all to keep in touch and have accountability, even when we can't attend. If you would like to join us or if you have questions about anything you see here, please leave your email in the comments section and I'll get in touch with you. All scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.



Luke 6: 1-49

·         1-11 Jesus was healing on the Sabbath and the Pharisees didn’t like that
o   Jesus is choosing what’s best for people over rules
o   He allowed the disciples to eat when they were hungry
o   He healed the man’s hand because it was the right thing to do
·         12-16 Jesus picks the twelve disciples
o   Here are the names:  Simon (Cephas or as Jesus called him, Peter), Andrew (Peter’s brother), James, John, Philip, Bartholomew (possibly Nathanael), Matthew (Levi), Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), Judas (son of James, also called Thaddaeus) and Judas Iscariot
o   Jesus prayed all night before he choose the twelve
o   What do we do when we have to make an important decision?

The Sermon on the Mount
·         17-26 Jesus gives the Beatitudes
o   This is probably a familiar passage
·         27-49 Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount.
o   Key verse 45: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
o   Lots of wisdom in the passage
o   More familiar sayings and wisdom
o   Building a foundation of faith on Jesus is the best way to live

 “Sayings” in this chapter: Love your enemies.  Turn the other cheek. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The blind leading the blind. Get the plank out of your eye before trying to get the speck out of your brother’s eye. Build your house upon the rock.

Next week we won't meet together (so everyone can spend time with family and be thankful, not stressed!), but you can go ahead and read Luke 7.