Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Signs of Spring keep popping out. On Sunday we saw our first
turtle of the season crossing the road.

Our first Clematis bloomed.

Hattie took some pictures at G'ma Opal's house yesterday. Here
are my two favorite.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mayberry (sometimes known as Doniphan) is the best known
little town in the USA. Everywhere you go, if you mention
the name Doniphan, people will say something like, "Oh, I
know where that is." or "My grand-uncle's second cousin's
brother-in-law is from you know so-and-so?"

Just last week another such story happened.

Taleana and Dan, a couple from our church, escorted one of
the high school bands to Six Flags up near The Big City. They
were both wearing their Doni-fan shirts (you have to live
here to have one!) As they were wandering around the park a
security guard came up to them and asked, "Are you from Doniphan?

"Why, yes we are."

Guard said, "I know some people in Doniphan. My son's in-laws
live there. Do you know the Fleetwoods?"

"Why, yes we do. We go to the same church as their daughter
and son-in-law (that's US)."

It was my sister's father-in-law and one of my parent's best!

Small world.
From Contentment: A Godly Woman's Adornment

We will never know contentment in Christ if we seek him as
a divine referee, however unfairly we may have been treated.
His work in our lives is not about making sure we get the
maximum benefits in the here and now, even when we are
entitled to those benefits. In fact, real contentment often
comes when we willingly embrace the loss of them.

The second thing Jesus does is reveal the spirit of
covetousness that underlies most of our prayers about
obtaining our share. […] We will never find contentment—
freedom from that angry feeling of unfairness—by getting
the things that are rightfully ours. We will find it by
letting go of our entitlement to them.

Tip of the Bonnet to Amy

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Did I mention clematis and hoot owls?

Turkey Season started this week. The practical implications
of this at our house are one boy (man) who gets up at 4:00 am
every morning to sneak out of the house and go hunting. He
was going to get up at 3:00 am to cook sausage and biscuits
for breakfast, but I talked him into cooking it the night
before and reheating it in the microwave. Since I am a rather
light sleeper, I thought that might gain a tich more sleep
for myself. The pictures are of Tyler preparing for T.S. by
checking out his gun.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I forgot to mention the peonies that are ready to pop,
the redbuds, the dogwood, the 20 shades of green in the
forest, the mayapples, the butterflies, and the April full
moon. It has all been rather distracting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Whew! Go Lars.
Lilacs in full bloom (and I didn't even know they were ready to
bloom yet), and whippoorwills, and thunderstorms, and green-green
grass, and the hummingbirds that arrived this morning, and the
baby leaves and oh my, more than I can keep up with. Spring
just plum makes me dizzy.
A Series of Unfortunate Events:

Yesterday morning was smashing. Probably it was the loveliest
morning we've had yet this year. I know because I spent most
of the morning outside. It was all a result of a series of
unfortunate events.

Tyler came in from the Turkey woods at about 7:30 and told
me that Katie, the horse down the road was in our garden
area and couldn't get out. She had jumped the fence to get
in, but now was running in circles looking for a way out.
Kent told him to catch her (she's quite tame) and take her
into the big field, through a gate and then out onto the
road through another, so that she could be walked home.

I went out to help, but I misunderstood which gate he was
bringing her through. I went to the yard gate. Since I
wasn't there Tyler had to let go of her to open the road
gate. She wandered away and found the cows and then she
went loco and started chasing them. She was having a great
time, but they were frightened.

I ran to the house to get some apples to help in catching
her again and while I was inside the phone rang. It was
cousin Mary. She lives behind us. She said, "Blue says
he saw a cow go racing by the house a full speed a minute

Oh boy. Now a cow was loose. By this time Tyler had caught
Katie and was walking her down the road. Kent, Hattie and
I went cow looking. Not just one, but all the cows except
for the calf were gone. We found two behind the small field
and they were easy to get back in, but the the calf's mamma
was missing.

We tracked her for quite a ways, she was headed towards the
Greenwood's place, traveling back behind the Crow's fence.
Our neighbors came out to help and between everyone we were
finally able to round her up and get her home. Meanwhile
her calf had gone into a depression. The mamma cow was cut
in several places. She was the one who had burst, in her fear,
through the barbed wire fence, but her calf was cut and
bleeding on the nose. I guess between fear of being chased,
and the pain from the cut, and missing her mother, she had lain
down and wouldn't get up. But once she was reunited with
mom she perked up and was fine.

So it was an exciting morning for us and for several of the
neighbors. Just another in a string of adventures here on
Fernnook Farm.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Joel brought his week-old geese visiting Sunday morning
before church. They have been named Amelia and Abigail.
Of course it is Hattie and Tyler that have named them.
They don't really know that they are both female geese,
but I think the names will stick even if they aren't.

Joel said yesterday that he'd like to get a monkey and
name her Abigail. When I asked why, he said, "If it is an
orangutan it should just be named Abigail, because Abigail
is a name for a redhead."

I wasn't really asking why he would name her Abigail, I wanted
to know why he wanted a monkey. "For tax reasons," he said.
"I could claim it as a child on my taxes." Purely Joel reasoning.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

John Piper says in the Appendix of A God Entranced Vision
of All Things: The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards

As a hell-deserving sinner I never could have dreamed of
spending eternity with God in ever-increasing joy in the
ever-increasing revelation of God himself. All I could
expect was destruction and misery. But wonder of wonders,
"Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the
unrighteous, that he might bring (me) to God" (I Pet. 3:18).

Saturday, April 19, 2008

An interesting thing happened yesterday as I was on the phone
with my sister who lives in The Big City. Of course earlier
in the morning we had experienced The Earthquake. We were
chatting away and then Becky said, "We are having another
earthquake." She paused, then added, "It's still going on."

I hadn't yet felt anything, but then after another second
or two I was able to tell her, "I feel it now." Just then
Kent came running out of the office and Hattie came scrambling
down the hallway. It was very noticeable to us.

And so, there is my scientific proof that the quake was located
nearer to The Big City (St. Louis) than it was to SE Missouri.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Two new and interesting blogs have caught my attention. For
my men readers I recommend The Art of Manliness. In it you
will find information on Manly Skills, Dress and Grooming and
Relationships and Family.

For the the Theology Buffs in my life I recommend the blog
Theological Word of the Day. Now you too can know what the big words mean.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Having a headache takes the thrill out of life. There are so
many things that usually give me a thrill, yet when I have a
headache I notice them but really could care less. Even
on dark days, sad days, and difficult days the thrills
break through...but NOT on headache days.

Going over the two spots on the major highway to Mayberry
where the redbuds crowd up to the bridge and seem to hug
the road is worth a thrill.

Seeing herons and hawks and having Hattie point out "The most
beautiful bird ever" through the window ought to give me a
delicious shiver.

Lying on the couch at 5:30 in the morning whilst the coffee is
brewing and listening to the cacophony of songbirds is most
often a wonderful comfort...but not this morning and not yesterday
morning either.

Waking in the middle of the night to hear the soft breathing of
Hattie on the floor next to our bed, and the peepers in the pond,
and the dogs running the woods next to our bed is supposed to be
a joy, but it wasn't last night.

Watching the Mayberry Dons play an exciting game where the other
coach got thrown out and Tyler placed a sweet bunt for one of the
few hits the Mayberry Dons made was more of a chore than a thrill.

Having the first hummingbird of the year looking in at Hattie through
her bedroom window yesterday should have sent me scooting for the
feeders, but it didn't.

These things pass however, and then life will become full and rosy
again. Meanwhile, God is in His Heaven, so all must be right with
the world; the thrills are there, my feelings actually have nothing
to do with it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way home from The Big City
yesterday. Dad and I took Mom up to Barnes to have a
catheter put in for draining fluids out of her tummy. While
she was there they drained off 2 liters of fluid. That
is not the funny part, but it helps lead up to it.

Partly because of all the fluid she has been carrying around,
Mom has not been able to eat more than a tablespoon or so at
a time. But after the surgery she was hungry, so we stopped
at Cracker Barrel to eat.

She and I decided to split a meal. It had grilled chicken
strips covered in cheese and peppers, corn, potatoes, greens,
and biscuits. Mom ate a small helping of everything, and
then she had a taste for a bite of biscuit with some honey
on it. The waitress had set a little container with honey
on the table. Mom carefully cut open her biscuit and poured
the honey on top. She looked up. "This is sure thin honey,"
she said.

Brilliant daughter replied, "Maybe it is syrup and not honey."

Mom took a bite and got a very funny look on her face. "That
is NOT honey;" she exclaimed, "THAT is vinegar!"

Monday, April 14, 2008

They never told me that daily conversations such as the one
I just had with Hattie would be part of my job description
as a mother.

Hattie: "Mommy, guess what page I'm on." (She is currently
reading Jo's Boys by Louisa Mae Alcott.)

Mommy: "200."

Hattie: "More."

Mommy: "210." (Stupid guess. Not at all scientific; I know
better than that.)

Hattie: "More."

Mommy: "250."

Hattie: "Less."

Mommy: "230."

Hattie: "Less."

Mommy: "220."

Hattie: "Less."

Mommy: "215."

Hattie: "More."

Mommy: "217."

Hattie: "Less."

Mommy: "216."

Hattie: "Yes!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I've got to love a site that has the following quote at
the top.

Good things, when short, are twice as good.
Tom Stoppard

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Farm Update:

We can't find Samantha (Sam). She is the littlest of the
three triplets. Hattie and I divided up the field and
tramped all over it. Later Hattie took Max, Joel's German
Shepherd, to look again. Probably a coyote or bobcat got
A Thunderstorm
by Emily Dickinson

The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low, -
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father's house,
Just quartering a tree.

A Thunderstorm

By Archibald Lampman

A moment the wild swallows like a flight
Of withered gust-caught leaves, serenely high,
Toss in the windrack up the muttering sky.
The leaves hang still. Above the weird twilight,
The hurrying centres of the storm unite
And spreading with huge trunk and rolling fringe,
Each wheeled upon its own tremendous hinge,
Tower darkening on. And now from heaven's height,
With the long roar of elm-trees swept and swayed,
And pelted waters, on the vanished plain
Plunges the blast. Behind the wild white flash
That splits abroad the pealing thunder-crash,
Over bleared fields and gardens disarrayed,
Column on column comes the drenching rain.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Up and Down the Gravel

1. Hattie's goat had triplets. This is the first time she
has had a critter that gave birth. It has been pretty exciting.
Since the mama is a first-timer it is a little unusual for
her to have triplets. And it is more unusual for them all
to survive. So far, though, so good. Hattie (or Kent) is/are
going out twice a day with a bottle to supplement a little
milk for now. Chances are the mama just doesn't have quite
enough this first time around.

2. Joel's goose eggs are due to hatch in a few days. That
should be interesting. I've never been around baby geese.

3. Dad and Mom returned yesterday from another trip to the
Big City for chemo. They are always relieved to be back in
Fern Nook again.

4. G'ma Opal and I had some lovely talk over the weekend. We
talked cookie recipes, cousins, and family history. I was
asking her once again about her Uncle Warren's family. He was
her Dad's brother and lived a ways north through the woods of
where she lived.

It is such a fascinating family to me. They had 10 children...
nine girls and a boy, and out of all those they only got one
grandchild. I've always thought that sad and have wondered
whether it was a genetic issue or if there was some other
emotional thing going on.

We also talked of Ivy Crow, G'ma's neighbor for an eon of years and
how she, when a young woman, would walk to Mayberry, a trek of 11
or so miles, work all day and then walk back home. Of course,
sometimes someone would pick her up on the highway and take her
part of the way, but she couldn't count on that happening.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I think it goes without saying that there's no actor out
there today the least bit like Charlton Heston. If they had
the audacity to remake "Commandments" or "Ben Hur" today,
they'd inevitably have to cast someone with a shorter shadow.
But then the moviemakers would make the part smaller too. In
the 21st Century, we look for heroes who make us feel better
by comparison, not heroes who make us want to be greater than
we are.

From Brandywine Books: You can find the rest of the tribute
to Charlton Heston here.

I did not know that my favorite harbinger of spring, the
peeper, only lived in fishless ponds.

They are a small treefrog and are pinkish, gray or tan with
a dark X on the back.

I just thought you'd like to know.

They are also some of God's great symphony players on spring

Monday, April 07, 2008

From Prudence is Not a Frequent Google by John Mark Reynolds

This is why there has never been a greater need for the
old virtues, recognized by pagan philosophers and Christian
saints, of moderation, chastity, and charity. Moderation
will not speak when others will speak and so leave a mystery.
Chastity allows for the mystery of what could be and charity
is always a mystery.

Tip of the Bonnet to Challies
From Uncle Weatherman Jim:

My rain total for April to date: 4.7 inches.

April 1st 0.1

April 2nd 0.5

April 3rd 3.8

April 4th 0.3

Year to date 30.15

Jan/08 2.25

Feb/08 5.1

Mar/08 18.1

Apr/08 4.7

That’s a whole bunch of H2O, over 2 ½ feet, the ponds are full. Ducks are looking for cover. I still haven’t found any gopher wood.


Saturday, April 05, 2008

There are a lot of images of God floating around in the minds
of people.

Some are looking for a lover. Some are looking for a lap
to crawl up in. Some for a Santa Claus figure who will fulfill
their Christmas list of wants. So, as I was driving to Mayberry
to do the weekly errands yesterday, I thought about just exactly
what is my image of God. More specifically I thought about what
I want from God personally.

There really is only one thing I want. I want Him to BE God.
I am looking for the sovereign, the almighty, the omnipotent,
the ruler, the One Who is in control.

As I meander through the days of my life I want to know that
when I see a beautiful sunrise, He is sovereign. When I stub
my toe on a chair leg, He is almighty. When I am eating a
piece of delicious cake, He is omnipotent. When I have a cold,
He is in control.

LIfe can be big and frightening one moment and lovely and filled
with warm fuzzies the next. Through the rain, the sunshine, the
lazy days on the river, the tense days in the hospital, the
playing of cards around the table, the disappointments in
relationships or circumstances, the sweet fellowship of
friends and family, the flat tires, and the sharing of delicious
meals, thank God that He is there and He is not silent.

He has communicated to us, in His Word, a small part of who He

Psalm 103:19
The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
And His kingdom rules over all.

And so, today, as I go about the dailyness of life, with all its
ups and down, I will remember that God is in His heaven, and all
is right with the world.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The rains continue, but the fields are devastatingly green.
They are a deep, emerald green. As Kent and I were driving
down (never up) a gravel road yesterday the fields beside
us and off into the distance reminded me of the Old Country.

Not that I have ever lived in (or even visited) the Old Country,
but our friend Letty did. She is in her late seventies and came
to America from Scotland back when she was in her late teens or
early twenties.

Several years ago she was visiting with us here in Fern Nook
and as we were eating she told us that recently she had
attended a Celtic Festival in Arkansas. It was deep into the
fall months and the weather was damp and cold. As she was
browsing about she fell into conversation with a man. He
commented on the nasty weather and Letty said, "Yes, it is
unpleasant. What are we doing here? Isn't this why we left
the Old Country to begin with?"

But certainly the beautiful emerald green fields must make up
for a lot of damp, cold weather.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Up and Down the Gravel:

This comes from the email of the weatherman who lives 1/10th
of a mile to the north of me...and who is my very own uncle.

This is for those that may be wondering just how much
rain I have recorded for the month of March.

TaaaDaaaa! The total is 18.1 inches. The year to date total
is 24.45 inches.

What a difference a year makes! Let’s compare.

March 2007

Ave High 70.7

Ave Low 47.6

Precip. 1.45

March 2008

Ave High 60.2

Ave Low 40.5

Precip 18.1

Last March we had 8 days of 80 and above. This March we had zero 80 degree days.

You think we got our April showers early this year?


Rain and headache. Headache and rain. Rain and headache.
Ad Nauseam.

But that was through the yesterdays. Then came a trip to the
doctor and a shot that broke the headache cycle.

The sun burst out gloriously yesterday. The fields are green,
green, green from all the rain.

This morning at 5:30 there was a newly risen golden sliver of
moon floating above the tree line to the East. This was followed
by a lovely gentle sunrise.

And to top it all off, the Proverbs are such fun to read.

Today as I was reading through the 15th chapter I circled every
verse that had to do with the words we speak. Ouch.

Here is just one:

vs. 4
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life,
But perverseness in it breaks the spirit.