October 2013

October 1, Tuesday.  School went well today, and it was a beautiful, sunny warm day!  I enjoyed working in the garden for over an hour this afternoon.  I finally finished planting the new strawberry bed.  Now we need to get it mulched.  There is quite a bit of weeding that needs done, now, and more garden work–spring is here!  I went out to the garden this afternoon to check the rows I planted a few weeks ago, and things are coming up–peas, radishes, carrots, beets, parsnips.  I love this time of year!

   Gayle didn’t get home from work till 7:15 tonight.  He says it will continue being like this, or worse, for the next few weeks, as people are taking a lot of time off.  Not fun.  Jeff and Josiah, and Pete and Dianne came tonight for Bible Study, but they left in good time.

October 2, Wednesday.  Gayle did have to work late again today–it was 6:30 when he got home, after working over 12 hours.  Besides people taking time off, the spring rush is starting.  Doesn’t leave much time for family.  We had worship together while Gayle ate supper, and then he and two boys rushed off to the Bible Study after he slept for 15 minutes.  

   The weather was gorgeous today again.  So warm!  I did have to laugh a little; we’ve really acclimated to the temperatures here.  We were all sweating a little, and feeling quite warm, so I had Esther check the temperature outside.  It was about 70°F!  I got to work in the garden again, and got a lot of onion plants set out.  We should have oodles of onions this year.  I planted two packets of seeds, and have gotten most of one planted out so far.  It filled up one and a half big beds!

October 3, Thursday.  Another warm day!  It’s lovely to be able to go barefoot again (the boys have been all winter, but I’m chicken!).  School went very well this morning; we were done in good time.  This afternoon I got to work in the garden again.  All the onions are now planted, and then I weeded for awhile.  

   Gayle was very late again tonight.  Several of the boys walked to the ford, hoping to meet him, and they played there for awhile, waiting for him.  They love riding home with Daddy!  Since they had no carseat, Nathan got to ride on Daddy’s lap for a mile or so.  He did not want to come to me when they got home!  He wanted to stay on Daddy’s lap.  He sure is a Daddy’s boy.

October 4, Friday.  Big day today!  We had ordered chicks from a hatchery in Fairlie, a couple of hours south of Christchurch on the way to Mount Cook.  They made a delivery to Christchurch today, so we made plans to meet them there.  It was Elijah’s birthday today, so we decided to make a family day of it DSCF0646and go to Orana Wildlife Park, a zoo just behind the airport.  Gayle had asked last week for half of the day off today, and even though he’s been working so many hours Brian still let him off!  We picked him up just before 11:00.  We made a quick stop in Amberley on the way; we needed to drop sausages off for Deb Wilson and she had a toaster oven to give us.  While I was doing that, Gayle bought a couple of chick waterers.  Then, we went on to town and got our chicks.  After a quick stop for fruit at a shop, we went to the zoo.  It’s not a big zoo; DSCF0658not really  heaps of animals, but the exhibits are quite well done.  The best part is their well-laid-out feeding schedule.  They feed various animals through the day, and tell you where the next feeding will be so you can get there in time.  We got to watch them feed the spider monkeys, and then the lions.  That was a production!  For $35, you can buy a ticket for the Lion Encounter and ride in an open truck with a strong cage all around it, right in the lion’s enclosure!  The keepers ride in the cage, too, and feed the lions from it.  The lions jump on top of the DSCF0675truck, and climb the sides, and as they get more and more excited about being fed they roar and growl.  That was fascinating to watch!  After that, the giraffes were fed, and anyone who wanted to could help with that.  The keepers handed out small branches, and you were to hold them up for the giraffes to bite the leaves off.  That was fun!  Normally, you are also able to get up close to the rhinos when they are fed, too, but not today–the male was charging anyone who came anywhere near.  We had to stand back this time.  After that,

What is the next stop, Nathan?

What is the next stop, Nathan?

the trout were fed, and once again anyone who wanted to could help.  Then, we saw the cheetahs fed–a couple of horse ribs each, since this was one of their “starve” days.  That was followed by the African wild dogs.  There were three in the pen, and they were given half a sheep.  Last of all, the meerkats, otters, and African porcupines were fed–chicken livers and dead day-old chicks (roosters) for the meerkats and otters and vegetables and fruit for the porcupines.  What an interesting day!

    After we left the zoo, we did a little shopping.  My food processor quit working, so I bought a new one (they were on sale!), and we did just a bit of shopping at the mall.  I needed things from three stores, and challenged the children to help me get in and out very fast.  We got done in half an hour.  After that, our last stop was to drop some things off at a friend’s house, and pick up a rabbit they were giving Dianne.  We got home about 8:00.  

October 5, Saturday.  Gayle had to work this morning, so I let the children sleep in.  I think they were all up by the time he got home, but some still needed to eat breakfast.  They got a bit distracted with the 100 chicks!  We managed to get the cleaning done by the time I finally got lunch on the table at 2:00.  Rather slow getting around today!

   We had plans to get a lot done this afternoon–but apparently God had other plans.  Right after lunch, a family showed up.  The husband is Stephen, a man who has been working at Harris Meats since about December; they moved here from Invercargill.  They have six children–if I have it right, the younger four are theirs; the older two are hers and she has one more older one somewhere.  She talked nearly nonstop the entire 5 hours they stayed here!  We all felt a bit sorry for him by the time they left.  She put him down almost constantly.  It was a bit difficult to maintain a right attitude and stay friendly and cheerful while listening to her.  The children enjoyed playing with their children, though, I think.

October 6, Sunday.  We had a very good service today.  Gayle shared after Barry and Peter; he talked about “believeth”–whoso believeth, present tense, shall be saved. This afternoon, we listened to a message about anger.  That was very good. We left Kaikoura earlier than usual, and on the way home stopped in Spotswood to pick up eggs from an older lady who has extra.  It’s so nice to be able to get free-range eggs from her!  We tried to pay her, but she would only take half the money we gave her.  Most are pullet eggs, but with six dozen altogether I can just use two in place of one.

  We were home by 4:00, so had a leisurely evening, for once. Gayle did a Bible Study with several of the children; Seth went to water Checkers, the steer, and I wrote a couple of blog posts.  So nice to have that time!

October 7, Monday.  School went very well this morning.  The boys were motivated and worked with a will; we were finished by 12:30 with all the morning work!  A neighbor man stopped in halfway through the morning to ask for a couple of boys to help him with some work at his place.  He figured that since it was school holidays they would be bouncing around needing something to do!  It always seems to take people by surprise when they find out that we do school right through the holidays (two weeks right now).  It just works better for us that way; when we do take time off, it takes a month to get back in the groove, so we like to just work through and then get done earlier for the year.

   I was glad this afternoon, when it started raining, that I started the day’s laundry last evening–it all got dry!  I got to spend an hour or so weeding before the rain, too.  Esther and I worked in the kitchen for awhile this afternoon, too.  Esther made some coconut candy, and some carob candy, and I made a batch of sunflower seed butter, just for fun.  I gave Gayle a sample when he came home and he thought it was peanut butter!  He didn’t get home till after 6:00 again.  It looks like this is the new normal–not nice.

October 8, Tuesday.  Rain, rain, all day!  It’s good duck weather.  We were happy this morning to be able to put a chick back outside.  It got caught under the pen it lives in with a hen and 11 other chicks, yesterday, when the boys were moving them.  At first, it seemed like it was dying, but we wrapped it up in a cloth and kept it warm and quiet.  By bedtime last night it was standing and eating, and this morning looked really good.  James was very glad to see that!  He has taken over responsibility for that group of chicks. (They are covered so not getting wet!)

   We didn’t end up having Bible Study tonight.  With all the rain, the creek that flows across Pete and Dianne’s driveway when it’s wet was rising steadily and they didn’t think they’d be able to get out.  Gayle didn’t get home till 7:00, so it was just as well.  We had supper as soon as he got home, then worship, and then he went to bed.  The older two boys and I went out to move the cow to the barnyard for the night, so she can shelter in the haybarn.  Her first year or two here, she refused to go in a building, but now she wants to when it’s cold and wet.  She was standing as far under the hedge as she could when I went out to get her!

   Nathan got some toothpicks out of the toothpick holder tonight, and then carefully put them back in through the holes.  That kept him busy a long time!

October 9, Wednesday.  We had another rainy day today!  The older boys spent a lot of time in their bedroom, up in the top part of the closet, listening to Elijah reading aloud.  That kept them quiet and good.  Poor Nathan wasn’t real happy, though; he wanted pretty badly to go outside and I wouldn’t let him.  

   Pete and Dianne, and Josiah and Jeff  came this evening.  We studied II Corinthians 1, and had a really good discussion–till the subject of speaking in tongues came up!  There were two very strong opinions in the living room at that point, and one party ended up walking out.

October 10, Thursday.  We had enough sunshine and warmth today to dry the laundry, and then it started raining again.  I’m so thankful for children who are happy to run out and bring the laundry in when I’m holding a sleeping toddler.  I held him for two hours this afternoon while he napped.  I don’t often do that, but he fell asleep while I was reading to the older ones this afternoon, and by the time I finished I knew if I laid him down he would wake up and be grouchy.  So, I indulged in an hour or so of holding him and reading to myself!  After that, we went to Cheviot to get chicken and chick feed.

   Gayle brought our beef home this evening.  There were nine boxes, mostly banana-box size.  All the freezers are level full again!  I had one nearly empty.  Lots of food here!

October 11, Friday.  We had a good day today!  It was my birthday.  We didn’t do anything special, but the children remembered to say happy birthday this morning and Gayle remembered when he got home!  That felt good.  Lennie, Jasmin and James, and Tiffany, came this afternoon for a visit.  Lennie worked on unraveling a knitted blanket and rolling up the yarn into balls at one table, while I worked at the other kitchen table, picking meat off beef bones and chopping leeks for the freezer while we chatted. That was lovely; my favorite way to visit.  The boys enjoyed playing with James, while the girls played a game.

   Gayle got home a little earlier today–six minutes before 6:00, the earliest in two weeks!  I sure hope this comes to an end.

October 12, Saturday.  This morning was sunny and warm–what a treat!  This afternoon, clouds came over, and this evening it poured for awhile (during milking time, of course!).  The laundry dried today, though.  

   Gayle gave me a birthday present today–he took me out to eat!  We hadn’t eaten out for nearly two years.  We went to Domett, to the Mainline Cafe.  It’s a little bitty restaurant in a relocated railway station. When we got there, and saw about 8 vehicles, I figured it might be pretty crowded, but then we got in and saw that they also have tables in the garden outside.  We sat outside, where we had a quiet spot to ourselves.  The garden was gorgeous.  They had a small lawn, with perennial flowers all around.  In the middle of the lawn is a small tree, covered with beautiful pink flowers, and pink coneflowers all around the base.  Along the edges of the eating area, they have roses, trellised up over arches.  The trunks of the rosebushes are about 4 inches in diameter–those are old bushes.  The food was very good, too.  I’m usually not too impressed with restaurant food, but this was good.  I had crepes with a savory meat filling, and Gayle had beef ragout with rice.  Yum!  After a leisurely lunch, ending with tea, we stopped in Cheviot to buy a few plants, then came home to the children. Nathan hadn’t seemed to notice that we were gone, but he laughed and laughed when he saw us!

October 13, Sunday.  We had a beautiful day for going to Kaikoura today!  The sun shone on a newly-washed world (it rained overnight).  Barry shared thoughts today about Cain and Abel and how we cannot please God by our good works, and salvation is only through Him.  Ken followed that with thoughts from Job, and other places in the Old Testament showing Jesus.  Very good!  We had a lively discussion, also, about tongues.  On our way home from church, late this afternoon, we stopped along the sea to investigate some rock pools.  We had never stopped at this particular place, but recently I noticed a fairly high rock, with a large pool in the top, and thought it would be interesting to check out.  The waves were very highDSCF0764 today.  We were standing 6-10 feet above the level of tide at that point, and the waves were still splashing up into the pool! We stood on the side farthest from the sea and enjoyed the spectacle.  Then, suddenly, an extra-big wave caught us off guard and most of us got quite wet!  I was leaning over Nathan, rolling up his pants, so he didn’t get too wet.  He got splashed just enough to be quite offended, though!

   Often, when I order things, I have them sent to Kathleen because it costs several dollars less than having them shipped here (we are rural, she is in town).  Today, we picked up several orders, and the children enjoyed putting things into use when we got home.  The tailgate handle on Gayle’s truck was broken, so that is now fixed, and we have a new screen for this computer.  Two weeks ago, the screen started looking funny, and when the computer shut off it flashed one color after another.  The problem just kept getting worse, so we decided we’d better replace it.  Sure looks good now!

October 14, Monday.  When I woke up this morning, there was a howling nor-wester blowing, so I decided to hang out the two loads of laundry that were ready (I started one at bedtime last night, and Gayle put another in when he got up–that’s how we keep up with it!).  I was glad later that I did; enough was dry when the next load was ready to get it hung, and then most of that was dry when it started sprinkling late in the morning.  It cleared again by the time the last load of the day was ready to hang out, and then that was pretty well dry by the time it started pouring mid-afternoon!  What a blessing.  We had hung a few things on the lines on the front porch, and at 5:00 I went out to bring them in–and saw Gayle walking to the house!  He hasn’t been home that early for a few weeks!  What a treat.  

   School went well today.  The older three boys all had tests for math; their 2nd-to-last for the year!  So nice to be getting within sight of the end.

October 15, Tuesday.  Seth and Simon worked for Ben today, tailing lambs.  His brother Tom picked them up at 7:30, and brought them home around 4:30-5:00.  They enjoyed the day, as they always do a day of farming.  Because I didn’t have to do school with them, I was able to get things done in the kitchen this morning–making a big batch of tortillas, boning a couple of cooked chickens, and working with beef tallow and broth.  Then, when I was done helping Elijah and James with school, I made a trip to the dump and to Cheviot to run a few errands. This afternoon, I worked in a raised bed garden for awhile, weeding, then started supper. 

  About the time I started supper, Jo walked in to tell me that Checkers, our yearling steer that has been at their place for nearly a month, was missing!  He had figured out that there was no electric on the fence, and went wandering.  I quickly got Elijah and James into the van, and we went to look for him.  It took over an hour of driving around and talking to people, but Jo finally found someone who knew where he was–in a paddock along the road between us and them.  He was apparently on his way home.  We got him out of there and brought him here; we have enough grass now, and better fences.  They have fences being built, but not finished yet.  Elijah and James ran about a mile, chasing him home!  Just after we got here, and I finished starting supper, Gayle finally arrived home–he had another long day.  I must admit, I wasn’t sorry when Pete called to say they couldn’t come tonight!  

October 16, Wednesday.  Seth and Simon had work again today.  This time, I needed to take them, and we left here a few minutes after 7:00.  We got to Cheviot and Simon remembered that he had forgotten two of his coats!  They are working high on the hills over Cheviot, and the wind blows fiercely there, so I turned around, came home, and let him get his coats.  Ben was waiting when we got there, but didn’t seem to be unhappy.  He had said, last night, that 7:30 would be all right. It was 5:15 this evening when he texted me to come get them–they had a long day and were exhausted!  They were ready to go to bed as soon as possible!  Neither Simon nor Elijah went with Gayle to the Bible Study tonight.

   On the home front, we did school, I made a batch of cheese, and worked in the garden a little. Gayle got home at 5:30.  A new man has been hired in the abattoir, so Gayle didn’t have to go in there today. Hope that continues!

October 17, Thursday.  The boys worked again today. I took them, but someone else brought them home; they surprised us when they walked in at 3:30!  Simon went and took a nap, but Seth went out to mow lawn.  He was quite excited when the reverse started working on their riding mower!

   I got a lot of dry beans canned today.  Yesterday, I started about 3 pounds each of four kinds of beans soaking, then realized there were going to be way more than I really wanted to put in the freezer, so decided to can them instead.  We ended up with 19 jars (quart and 3/4 quart), so I thawed some chuck steak, cut it into chunks, and filled the canner with two jars of that.  Two jars of beans didn’t seal, and Nathan knocked one more on the floor and shattered it, but we have 16 jars of beans and two of beef to put away for quick meals!

October 18, Friday.  Our 16th anniversary today!  It sure doesn’t seem possible that we’ve been married that long, at least till I think about having a 15-year-old!

   Seth and Simon worked again today.  They had a hard time getting around this morning!  They went to bed early tonight, though; they are supposed to work again tomorrow.  Simon is excited, because he asked Ben for a ewe lamb and Ben said he can have one when they are weaned in December.  He picked out the one he wants, today.  She has a large black spot on her back. Ben sends all the ones with spots on them off for meat, because colored wool is not worth much of anything.  Therefore, Simon will be saving a life and getting a distinctive sheep.  He has been wanting a ewe lamb for a long time.  He’s also excited because his duck is laying eggs in a nest!

   Vince came by this evening.  They went to Europe for a month, and just got home yesterday or the day before.  Sounds like they had an interesting trip.

   Nathan’s talking is really starting to take off.  He came to me this afternoon, saying, “O-en, bee!”  I understood the last word, please, but couldn’t get the first one, so I said to show me.  He went to the door–he wanted it opened!  Later, he saw a picture of the sea on the computer, and, very excitedly, said, “Wa-wa!”  When I was working in the garden, he came to me and started repeatedly putting a finger in his mouth and sucking air in–his signal that he wants to eat.  After supper, he started rinsing dishes.  Someone must have said “Good boy!” because he started saying, “Good boy!  Bad boy! Good Boy!  Bad boy!”  He said it so enthusiastically that we knew he meant that he was being a good boy, no matter what the words were!”  Now, he just asked to have an apple cut up, by pretending to eat it.  He also carried on a conversation with the lamb (Ken and Margaret gave us one Sunday) this afternoon.  The lamb would baa, and Nathan would say Ma-at; the lamb would baa and Nathan would say Ma-at.  He did it over and over–so cute!

October 19, Saturday.  The boys worked this morning again.  They are done now, though, for a week or 10 days.  Gayle took them this morning, and stayed to watch them tail a small mob of merinos.  He had never been up the Camel’s Hump before, and had never seen tailing done, so it was quite a new experience for him. The rest of us saw it last year.  I was glad he could connect with his boys that way.  It was kind of funny, though.  I wanted to go to a garage sale in Cheviot, and before he left, when I pulled the van out for him, I thought, “I must remember to pull my keys out of the ignition and keep them.”  I had just searched my purse for a couple of minutes to find them, then discovered them still in the ignition from yesterday.  As I turned off the van, I thought, “I must take my keys.”  A couple of hours later, when I wanted to go to the sale, I looked in my purse, which I had remembered to take to the house–no keys.  I left them in the van!  So, I sent Gayle a text to ask when he would be home.  When I didn’t get an answer within half an hour, I texted Dianne to ask if she was going to the sale.  She soon called back to say that she was not, but they were going to drop their truck off here for me to take.  They dropped it off, and I started out the driveway–to see Gayle arriving home!  So, I took our van after all.  He had never gotten the text; we experimented later, and his phone is not receiving texts, although it can send them and receive calls.  Time for a new phone!  Anyway, several of the children went with me to the sale.  We got some real bargains; the lady is moving to Australia and has to get rid of everything.  There was a big barrel of electric fence equipment, and an office chair, which was an answer to prayer for Esther.  We also got a couple of small bookcases, two coolers, and a lot of jars.  When I was cleaning the laundry room later, I found a place I could put another small bookcase which I had seen, so when I went to get the boys I got that, too.

   This afternoon, Gayle and the boys went to help Jenni mow and till her garden.  Joe and Nate had to stay home, which was not their idea of fun.  Joe asked for lemon ice cream, so I made some in the blender with cream, ricotta cheese, and ice, including frozen lemon juice.  Yum!  A little later, I was working in the kitchen when someone knocked on the door.  It was a man from around the corner, whom we had never met, and he said that someone told him that my husband would take care of his extra roosters.  I said sure, we could take them, but Gayle wouldn’t be able to go get them till tomorrow evening.  I got his name and phone number, and realized that he is the man someone told me about last week who has extra land that we could maybe graze our steers on!  He decided that it might be best if he caught the two roosters and brought them over today yet, so that’s what he did.  We may be able to graze the steers there if we end up needing a place for them.

   When Gayle and the boys came home, they had several shopping bags full of celery plants that self-seeded in Jenni’s garden!  What a God-send.  I had tried starting celery, but something ate all of it.  Now we have plenty!  The boys love eating it for snacks as ants-on-a-log–stuffed with peanut butter, with raisins on top.  That’s a good, healthy snack they can make themselves, and if we can grow the celery, and make the peanut butter, it’s pretty cheap.  I’ll be happy to grow lots of celery for that.  The plants live in the garden all year here, and I can just keep harvesting the outer stalks.

October 20, Sunday.  What a beautiful, sunny Sunday!  It was warm, too, so warm that we didn’t have to take coats.  We had a very good service.  Gayle talked on John 10, about the Good Shepherd and the sheep, and then Pete talked for awhile on speaking in tongues and what the Bible really has to say about it. On our way home, we stopped in Spotswood and got 7 dozen eggs from Tui, the older lady we’ve gotten a lot of chickens from before.  She has way more eggs than she can use, so we’ve been stopping on our way home from church lately and getting her extras.  She takes a little money for them, but won’t take much.  That is a good deal for us!  We can use a lot of eggs.

October 21, Monday.  School was rough this morning.  Elijah and James did fine, but with Seth and Simon having had five days off, working for Ben last week, it was tough getting back into the groove.  I thought Seth would work diligently, because Vince told him he could drive tractor this afternoon as soon as he was done with school, but the work was hard.  We made it, though, and Seth got to work the paddock next to the house this afternoon!  After making a quick trip to town for chick feed, I got to work in the garden for awhile.  I’m trying to get the quack grass out of a large raised bed so I can plant tomatoes there in a week or two.  

October 22, Tuesday.  We went to Dead Boring today.  The weather was threatening all day, but it didn’t really rain while we were there.  That’s always a blessing!

   Dianne came by this evening to drop off Esther’s old computer, which they picked up for her in Rangiora this afternoon.  She stayed a long time to chat.  That was good.  I’m tired and not feeling the best, though, so this isn’t very inspired, I’m afraid.

October 23, Wednesday.  Seth got his math done fast this morning!  He was anticipating getting to drive tractor for Vince, and he was not disappointed.  He finished his school for the day about noon, so he grabbed a couple of pieces of cold pizza and raced out to the  tractor, then spent about three hours driving till the entire paddock was tilled.  The other boys took turns riding with him.  After I got Nathan down for his nap, I headed out to the garden, which Simon had tilled for me until the tiller’s belt broke, and did some planting.  I got the cabbages set out (all 80 of them!), and transplanted the leeks, as well as planting peas, carrots, and beets.  All told, I spent about 2 1/2 hours out there–what fun!  Simon set up an electric wire around the part we don’t want the cow in, so she can eat around the edges; there is enough grass there for a couple of days.

   Pete and Di were planning to come tonight, so we got around in good time.  Gayle got home at 6:30, so we ate supper right away and sent him off to bed, then I milked and the children did dishes.  Then, Pete called to say they can’t come after all, so we finished up, read a couple of chapters of stories, and then woke Gayle up for worship.  After that, we still had a little time, so we watched a video about India and did a lot of activities that go along with it.  I like this schedule!  I think I should figure out how to get supper ready by the time Gayle gets home, so we can do this more.

October 24, Thursday.  Well, I tried the new routine again, but it didn’t work quite so well tonight.  Gayle didn’t get home till 7:00, and then we had more work after supper than last night.  It’s past 9:30 now.  Oh, well.

   The weather was really changeable today.  This morning was still and on the cool side, though not cold.  Then, about 11:00 it started raining, so I brought the laundry in real quickly, and then the wind started blowing fiercely.  The next thing we knew, it was sunny, and then got very warm!  Esther was glad for a nice afternoon, as she had work at the vineyard with Pete and Di.  She’s glad of a little income.  

   I got some cheese made this afternoon, but was rather dismayed when I drained it to put it in the press and found a spoon in it that had been used to stir sourdough starter.  Yeast ruins cheese.  It was still good today, and likely will be tomorrow, so I let the boys eat all the curds they want and put the rest in the press; we’ll eat it tomorrow.

   Esther mixed some sourdough Artisan bread dough yesterday and put it in the fridge.  It had outgrown its container this morning, so she shaped a small loaf and baked it in the toaster oven for lunch.  Yum!  We made another for supper.  That toaster oven is great for small batches like that!  That size loaf is just right for a meal.  We’re excited about this recipe.

October 25, Friday.  More unsettled weather!  I hung out the same load of laundry three times today–finally, the third day, it got dry on the front porch.  The wind has been howling most of the day.  Thankfully, the power stayed on!  We don’t normally have a problem, but yesterday Harris Meats lost power for half an hour.  They are at the end of the line.

    We had the vet out today.  We got good news–the cow is pregnant!  I felt like she was, but every so often she bawls for a few hours.  We decided it would be best to know for sure, so if she wasn’t we could get her bred soon, rather than waiting till June and losing an entire year more.  That cow is extremely valuable to our family.

   The boys moved every single chicken on the place to a new home today!  We moved two roosters to the fridge (Monday or Tuesday’s supper menu), put the 28 chicks we hatched here in the pen they were in, and put two hens who need to be separate from the rest of the hens in a small pen that a dozen chicks were in.  The rest of the hens went in the pen Simon made for his ducks, which he’s not using right now, and the 100 chicks we bought are all in the big pen outside.  Simon and James and I put a tarp over it tonight to give them some protection from the howling wind.  We used step-in posts to hold it down around the edges.

October 26, Saturday.  We had a howling wind again most of the day today.  I tried to plant garden this afternoon, but only got a row of cucumbers seeded.  The wind was actually making me lose my balance, so I gave up and came in the house where it was more peaceful.  I got the boys going on an online reading course that we got a free trial of. They’re having fun with that.  I also got the butter made for the week, but it was hard to shift gears and do inside work after I had my plans all made for doing outside work!

   We did haircuts tonight.  There have been people making noises for a long time about Nathan’s hair and how long and messy it was getting, so I gave him a haircut finally (James measured with a ruler, and Nathan’s hair was actually four inches long on top!).  I have rarely seen such a look of abject terror.  Poor baby.  He survived, though, but sure looks different.  The biggest head I had for the clipper was 1/2 inch, so he nearly looks shaved.  I don’t like it, but we’ll get used to it.

   All the chicks survived last night.  We were a bit concerned about suffocation, since they were crowding into the nest boxes in the pen we put them in, but they were fine when I checked them early this morning.  Praise God!

October 27, Sunday.  I spoke too soon about the chicks.  Gayle went out at bedtime and found 42 of the 100 dead, smothered.  Expensive lesson.  We’re not happy about it, but nothing to do for it now.  At least we can’t blame it all on the boys.

    It was so windy this morning that I was concerned about driving our van to church.  Gayle took it slow, though–we left home early–and we made it there safely.  I was especially glad we went when Kevin and Helen showed up!  What a treat to see them again.  One of Ken and Margaret’s boys was there, too; we had a fairly full house, which is nice for a change.DSCF0936

   After leaving church we went to South Bay, and climbed the track to the top of the Peninsula.  We ended up walking all the way across.  Gayle and Nathan went back soon, and drove around to the other end to pick us up.  The views are so gorgeous from up there!  It’s an amazing walk.

    We stopped to pick up eggs from Tui again.  Half of her dozen dogs were out for their evening run when we arrived, and it was interesting to see her call them, by name, and they came and jumped obediently into their kennels.  These are working dogs, used to herd sheep.

October 28, Monday.  Gayle got to stay home today, since it is Labour Day.  What a treat!  It was kind of funny, though, that two of his co-workers stopped in to say hello–Doug and Frans. 

   I was very thankful that the wind died down today.  I got a lot of garden planted.  We put in 14 long rows of corn, and Joe planted pumpkin seeds in several of them. I also got melons and beans planted, and worked up a bed to put tomatoes in when it warms up enough. Gayle tried to fix the tiller, and did a bit of tilling, but then the belt broke again.  I forgot to get one last Friday–oops!

   Nathan got a finger smashed today when Joe was playing with DSCF0964a hammer.  He’s been favoring it all afternoon, and fussing when anything touches it.  It’s very swollen and bruised, but he has moved it some, and we don’t think it’s broken.  

    When I was working in the garden this afternoon, I heard something funny.  There was a long series of baas–a deep baa from a ewe, then a frantic, high-pitched lamb’s baa–over and over!  I was able to see the lamb through the hawthorn hedge across the road.  It had slipped through a temporary fence across DSCF0988the paddock, and was frantic to get back to mama.  It ran to the corner by the road, then was able to get through.  What a blissful reunion!

   We saw a lot of dust devils today.  Vince planted the paddock by our house yesterday and this morning.  When the boys and I were in the garden late this morning, Simon saw a large dust devil whirling across the paddock.  It was a perfect cone shape, a few feet in diameter at the ground and quickly widening as it went up. It was gathering strength and picking up more and more dust as it went.  James asked if it could pick him up!  I figured it wouldn’t, so I told him to go catch up with it and see.  He ran almost all the way across the paddock, then caught up with it just as it dissolved!  We saw smaller ones all day, and finally in the afternoon he caught one and got in it just before it fell apart.  He said there was a lot of dust swirling around him!

October 29, Tuesday.  School went well, for the first day back after a weekend.  It helped that the two oldest boys had quizzes for Math.  It was such a lovely morning that most of the boys went out to the trampoline to work.  I told them they could work there as long as they were quiet.DSCF1019

    Gayle didn’t get home till 7:15 tonight.  I had supper ready, so he ate and then went to take a nap till Pete and Di arrived about 40 minutes later.  We skipped the Bible Study tonight, and just sang and prayed.

October 30, Wednesday.  Esther had work at the vineyard this afternoon, so we got around in good time with school and lunch.  She’s glad to have the chance to earn a little something extra.  I was a bit challenged to keep Seth busy this afternoon.  I finally got him to go out to work on the tiller, but it wasn’t working right, so he gave up.  I spent some time working up that bed for tomatoes that I’ve been working on.  Nathan came along and joined me.  He liked to sit with his feet in the hole I had dug out at the edge where I was working, and laugh and “talk”.  He’s good company!  He can really communicate when he wants to.  This afternoon I was doing a job at the computer when he came to me, obviously needing something.  I asked if he wanted to nurse–no.  He kept repeating a word, which I wasn’t understanding.  I asked him to show me what he was talking about, so he led me to the bathroom–the hot water was running in the sink!  He had been saying “hot”, but it sounded like “ot-u”.  He got the point across, though; he needed the hot water turned off.

   Gayle got home at 5:45 this evening!  We had worship right away, while he ate supper, so he could get a nap before going to the Bible Study.  That was an answer to prayer, for him to get home early enough for a rest.

October 31, Thursday. What a beautiful day!  The sun shone all day, and it was quite warm.  The wind did come up this evening, but otherwise it was a perfect day.  I harvested the last of the Swiss Chard from the planting I made about a year ago, and finished working up that raised bed garden.  Then, James and Joe helped me transplant tomatoes into it.  We also put some in the big garden.  It was a bit warmer and windier than I like for a job like that, but the plants were getting desperate to get out of the greenhouse.  We watered them well and prayed for them.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so hopefully they’ll be all right.  

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September 2013

September 1, Sunday.  Well, we had a rough night.  Nate was awake or at least restless and fussing from midnight till 3:00.  He settled down then, but woke up again at 5:00.  Gayle was awake then, so he took over and held him so I could sleep till 6:30.  I was so thankful for that!  Nathan was still running a fever at breakfast, so we reluctantly decided that I would stay home with him.  He fell asleep at 9:00, and when everyone else left at 10:00, I took a nap, too.  We both slept till after 11:00!  By tonight, Nate seems a little better.  He’s not coughing as much as last night, although he keeps running a fever at times.  It’s really going up and down.  Hope he gets over this quickly.

    After the crew got home this afternoon, Gayle and I, and the boys, went to Cheviot to see the place we’re planning to use Thursday evening for a Creation meeting and BBQ potluck.  Looks like it will work!  We’re having the meeting in the community hall on the school grounds, and the meal in the Home Ec building across the parking lot.  For those of you who have been here, these buildings are on either side of the parking lot you walk across to get to the library.

   I found out today how much Nate depends on his brothers and sister to keep himself occupied!  He was bored the whole time they were gone.  I read the same book to him seven times in a row (and he asked for it several more times tonight!).  It is a book about sounds (How does the kitty go? Meow. How does the dog go? Bow-wow.) and he loves it!

September 2, Monday.  School went well today, with good attitudes, even if we got a late start.  I’ve had some boys overexcited all day, though, and THEY ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY!  A local farmer, Tom, called this morning to ask Seth and Simon to help tail lambs tomorrow, and they can’t wait.  They wanted to pack tomorrow’s lunches first thing this morning; I told them they couldn’t till school was done.  So, as soon as I was done reading aloud this afternoon, Seth was packing a lunch!  Hopefully, four big sandwiches will keep him going for 8 hours.  I’m glad they are so excited about working.  They really want to do this rather than go to Dead Boring tomorrow, even!  I’ve been going back and forth a bit about going to DB, but since I had already made arrangements to pick up a Trade Me purchase, and we need some things from Christchurch for the meeting Thursday (DB is in Kaiapoi), I guess the rest of us will go anyway.  

  Nathan is much better. He’s been happy all day today.  He found the little toy animals and spent a lot of time with them today.  Some of the rest have colds, but no one is very bad.   

September 3, Tuesday.  Today went very well.  I woke the boys up at 6:30, and by 7:30 they had chores done and they ate their breakfast on the 10-minute drive over to Tom’s place, in the hills west of us.  They worked hard all day, apparently enjoying every minute of it, and Gayle went to get them at 5:00 tonight.  Tomorrow, the weather report says it’s supposed to rain, but Seth and Simon don’t believe it–they want to tail lambs again! They did about 500 today.  The lambs have a fair amount of trauma all at once.  Not only are their tails docked with a hot iron, but their ears are notched, they get some vitamins orally, and are vaccinated for scabby mouth.  We’ve been hearing about nothing but sheep tonight!

   The rest of us took off soon after 8:30.  We made a few stops on the way to the home where Dead Boring was, in Kaiapoi, then enjoyed a few hours with our friends.  It was a lovely sunny day, so the children could play outside.  We stayed there till about 2:30, then went to Papanui to do the grocery shopping.  We were finished faster than about any other time, and Esther said she thinks we should leave Seth and Simon behind all the time–they must be why it always takes so long to do the shopping!  I told her I think there are probably more factors than that.  After finishing the shopping, we stopped in Sefton to pick up the pair of Indian Runner ducks that Simon bought on Trade Me.  Then, we were home about 6:00!  A long day, but a good one.

   One thing we enjoyed on our way home was seeing the high mountain just north of Kaikoura, just behind Mount Fyffe.  We could see it from Woodend–I calculated that it was around 100 miles away.  As we came over the last hill before Cheviot, the sun was still shining on it, even though we had been in shadow for awhile. As we turned onto our road, though, the sun had set far enough that even that mountain was dark.

September 4, Wednesday.  Seth and Simon were hoping they could work today again, but about 5:30 the wind started blowing, and by 7:00 it was cloudy so I wasn’t surprised when Tom called about that time to say they wouldn’t be working with the sheep today.  He told me the other day that they can’t work with them when it’s wet, because when you handle wet sheep you can get boils on your arms.  The boys were very disappointed, and they took about twice as long as usual to get their math lesson done.  

   It rained off and on all day, and tonight it’s pouring.  That means we’ll have grazing for the cow for longer–Vince can’t spray if it’s too wet.  Helps us out!  The rain did make for people bouncing off the walls in the house this afternoon.  I was glad to be able to come up with a couple of jobs for the boys to do outside.  Nathan was very fussy all afternoon. He’s cheered up this evening, though.  When Esther was calling Joe to come rinse dishes after supper, Nate came running, grabbed the stool, and pulled it up to the sink:  He was going to rinse those dishes!  

September 6, Friday.  It was late last night so I decided to leave this go.  We’ve had a couple of

The barbeque before the Creation meeting.

The barbeque before the Creation meeting.

wonderful days!  We’ve been working and praying towards a Creation meeting here in Cheviot for the past 6-8 weeks, and the day finally came.  Yesterday morning, we got a call from the driver who has been traveling with the speaker, Tas Walker from Brisbane, Australia.  They were in Greymouth, on the West Coast, and on their way here.  We hadn’t expected them till evening, but they wanted to arrive early in the afternoon.  We got into high gear:  They were planning to stay here, so I wanted the bedrooms ready for them!  We did just math and handwriting for school, then cleaned the house, DSCF0324and I made beds.  We gave them our bedroom and Seth’s room; Gayle and I had decided we’d sleep in the living room for a night, and Seth moved into the boys’ room.  We had everything clean and ready by the time Tas and David arrived, around 2:30.  

   The boys greatly enjoyed their time with Tas.  He sat in my chair in the corner of the kitchen and visited with all of us while Esther and I kept working on the food for the evening.  He and the children

Cathedrals, at Gore Bay.

Cathedrals, at Gore Bay.

told jokes and riddles, and we just generally enjoyed being with him.  He has three children and 17 grandchildren, and at least some of his grandchildren are being homeschooled.  He seems to really enjoy people, and especially children.  

   Gayle got home a few minutes before 4:30, and he and the boys got the BBQ loaded up and taken into Cheviot.  Pete was there with his grill, also, and they got started with the sausages.  By the time they had plenty grilled, around 6:00, we



had close to 50 people there.  We supplied sausages, bread, and condiments, and potatoes, and other people brought salads.  We had a delicious meal and good fellowship!  A couple of families of our friends through Dead Boring came, and some from Kaikoura.  There were also several people from Cheviot, which we were glad for–that was, of course, our main reason for wanting to have this meeting!  

   After the meal, David and Tas got their book tables set up and everyone migrated from the



Home Ec room, where we ate, to the Community Hall, where the meeting was.  During that time, a couple of our boys and I ran home to milk and feed our bottle babies (sure was nice to be so close!).  Then, at 7:30 the meeting began.  Tas didn’t go into much depth about Creation, but touched on a lot of points to consider about why Creation fits the evidence (although, if you disregard the eyewitness account in Genesis, it can’t be proven–but there are NO eyewitness accounts of evolution!).  He opened it up for questions afterwards, and one woman, who appeared to be a teacher, was quite challenging.



 She went on and on about human evolution until Tas suggested they exchange emails about the subject.

   This morning, we got to feed breakfast to Tas and David, and Beverley from our church in Kaikoura, who spent the night here in her van.  She has often stayed here like that, but always before, she left at the crack of dawn.  We made waffles; she had never eaten a waffle before!  She told quite an interesting story.  Yesterday on the way here, she passed a hitchhiker as she left

Our picnic at Gore Bay

Our picnic at Gore Bay

Kaikoura.  Usually she only picks up hitchhikers if they have a large pack; this man didn’t have anything with him.  She decided, though, to go back and pick him up anyway.  He said he had been riding with a woman in a little red car, but he was a large man and was too heavy for the little car–it had trouble going up hills with him in it!  The woman was afraid they wouldn’t make it through the Hundalees with him, so she left him off.  They saw the little red car occasionally as they drove, and then when they reached the Waiau River they found it broken down beside the road!  Beverley stopped to help, and when the woman saw the Bible verse on Beverley’s van she lit up.  As the two each realized that the other was a Christian, they hugged each other.  Beverley towed the woman into Cheviot.  She told her about the meeting tonight, and the woman got quite interested.  When they arrived at the campground, the woman in charge there said she was coming, so they went together to the meeting.  And–there was hardly anything wrong with the car; there was no charge for the repair! A series of coincidences?  Beverley thought not.

    Seth and Simon had work tailing lambs today, so Gayle took them over before breakfast (they ate on the way).  By the way, Gayle took a day off today–what a treat!  After breakfast, I packed a picnic lunch, and then we took Tas, David, and Beverley to the coast.  We went up the hill past Gore Bay to the lookout over Cathedral Gully and enjoyed the spectacular erosion there, and then went to Gore Bay and walked to the rocks at the south end.  We spent a good hour on the beach, then went back up for our picnic.  We had to get back here, then, so David and Tas could head to Christchurch for their next engagement.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time with them.

  Beverley stuck around most of the afternoon, and Esther helped her sort through the pictures on her memory card and send them off to get printed.  Beverley is almost totally computer-illiterate, so it’s good that Esther can help her out that day.  Gayle went over tonight to pick the boys up.  They did over 500 lambs again today.  They brought some tails home, and Gayle singed the wool off them and baked them tonight.  He says they taste good; I was too full of supper to want any more!  The smell of burning wool was enough for me.

September 7, Saturday.  Seth and Simon had work again today, so it was quieter than usual around here.  They are finished for now, though; they’ll probably help again in October when another lot of lambs are ready for tailing.  When Gayle went to pick them up tonight, he took all the other boys and they spent some time exploring the hills and an old shearer’s hut that the boys found yesterday.  Simon brought home a couple of fossils that he found.  Sounds like they had a great time!

   Gayle helped James finish a project today.  James had gotten a good start on putting together a small chicken pen, the right size for a hen and her chicks, so Gayle helped him finish it.  It looks good!  Then, Gayle and the boys installed a public address system we bought for our van.  Everyone likes me to read aloud while we drive, but the van is so noisy it is very difficult.  We found a small PA unit on Trade Me for not too much (less than a new set of walkie-talkies, which is what we’ve been using!), and he wired it to the battery.  The boys had a lot of fun with it; it has five different sirens and five different animal sounds, as well as a microphone!  Hopefully, this will make it a lot easier to read our letters and stories so everyone can hear.

September 8, Sunday.  For once, we had a calm morning, and got out to church in good time.  How nice, for a change!  It was a gorgeous, sunny morning here, but there were clouds hanging over the Hundalees, and it was cooler and cloudy in Kaikoura.  Their climate is quite different from ours.  Gayle shared in church about God’s unending mercy and love–how thankful we are for it!  Barry shared some more from Hebrews and John 10 about how God holds His own.  Then, this afternoon, we watched the first half of a video of a man investigating whether or not the New Testament is true and Jesus a real man.  Very good!  We took Barry and Peter up the lane after that, and spent some time there visiting. 

September 9, Monday.  Today was warmish and sunny–such a nice day to be outside!  I made it out a few minutes after 3:00, when we finished with school.  The boys all got caught up on their math corrections (I hadn’t gotten the last few lessons checked till today), and their handwriting, so that was good.  Then, Simon tilled a large portion of the garden, and even fixed the tiller when a pin sheared off so he could keep going.  I’m so glad the boys are learning to fix things themselves so they don’t have to wait for Gayle.  I dug some carrots for the cow, and then worked up part of a garden by hand.  Nate found the carrots and tried to feed one to the cat!  The cat laid there in the sun, twitching his tail and trying his hardest to ignore Nate.

   We have four hens setting on eggs right now.  They often come off the nest for food and water while I’m milking in the morning.  It was really funny to watch one of them this morning.  She seemed to be feeling really pressed to get back to her nest quickly.  She raced around the barnyard, looking frantically for food here, there and everywhere.  She’d scratch a bit in one place, eat a couple of kernels of wheat or whatever she found, race into the shop and eat a bit, then she came over to the cow to try to get some of her feed.  She was a bit scared of that big cow, but really wanted something to eat, so she ran back and forth anxiously, clucking and carrying on, trying to get the cow to move.  I was sitting almost against the wall to milk, and the hen squeezed past me, grabbed a couple of kernels of barley from beside the cow’s trough, then nervously ran under the cow to safety, clucking the whole time.  It was so funny to see that I almost laughed out loud–but I didn’t want to scare her more!  

   Yesterday morning, one of the other setting hens was racing at top speed from the shop towards her nest when she suddenly saw the cat a few feet in front of her.  She put on her brakes so fast that she skidded to a stop with one foot going out in front.  She nearly landed on her side, she stopped so fast!  That time, I did laugh out loud.  She took off in the other direction, then, and the cat never did pay her any attention.  He knows the chickens are too big for him to tackle.  The circuses we have around here!

September 10, Tuesday.  Today has sure been windy!  A southerly was blowing this morning, but after it rained hard for a few minutes–just long enough that I brought the laundry in–it shifted to the north-west and was warmer!  I was happy to get to spend some time in the garden today.  Yesterday, Simon tilled a large area of the big garden for me, and I got some carrots, beets, and peas planted out there.  Elijah and I then dug the last of the year’s parsnips–we got two 5-gallon buckets full!  That was hard work; parsnips can be very hard to pull.  They have very long taproots.  Some went all the way down into the subsoil!  One we ended up cutting off underground because we simply couldn’t get it out.  After that, I went to the big raised bed outside the kitchen window.  Seth had tilled it for me this afternoon, so I planted lettuce and spring onions there.  It’s early for planting, but has been so warm that I decided to give it a try.

   Pete came tonight; we discussed the first half of I Corinthians 15.

Elijah and Joe

Elijah and Joe


September 12, Thursday.  These last two days have been quite different.  Tuesday night when Nathan woke me up I realized the power was out.  In the morning, Esther said she had still been awake when it went out, about 11:00.  It stayed off for 42 hours!  The wind blew violently all that night, and towards morning we started having lightning and thunder as well.  Gayle called in to work about 6:00, but no one answered.  He drove down there about 8:00, and found that they had no power, either, and no one was working, so he came home.  He and the boys spent the day cutting up branches and trees that had come down around here (only one on a fence!).  There were about 20,000 people without power, due to the storm bringing trees down on the power lines.  We were thankful for the gas grill that a neighbor gave us a  year and a half ago–otherwise we would have had no way to cook anything.  Our hot water lasted through most of yesterday; our water is gravity-fed so we had plenty of that.  The worst thing to deal with was the dark; it was stormy and very dark all day yesterday.  It’s amazing what you can’t do without power!  The only thing I could think of to work on was the mending, so I worked my way through the whole stack, pinning on patches for when I can use the sewing machine again.  Esther caught up on some reading for school and did some writing (by hand!).

   Last evening we had another very interesting experience.  A car pulled up, with three young men and a young woman in it.  They were French tourists, in the country for nine months, three of which remain.  They are trying to see the country in the least expensive way, and asked if they could pitch their tents in our yard.  We said sure, and also invited them in for supper.  I put together a big pot of soup, using some meat, potatoes, and peas from the fridge, which needed used before they went bad with no refrigeration, and a couple of jars of tomatoes and one of carrots.  I also sliced in a leek that Simon pulled me, then put the whole thing on the grill.  It started heating up–but seemed to take forever, and then I realized that the flames were getting lower.  It finally got hot enough that we decided to eat it even though the leek was not cooked.  Everything else was, so it was all right.  I also served a cabbage salad, bread and butter, and sliced homemade cheese.  The French people ate a couple of helpings each, and said over and over how good it was and thanked us profusely several times.  Then, Gayle asked what they’ve been eating–they had said, when he invited them, that they had food.  They’ve been living on Ramen noodles!  No wonder they enjoyed the meal!  It was quite a different visit, with the only light coming from a few candles we had and several headlamps strategically placed around the room.  We had quite a merry party, though–and the candles added a festive touch.

    The wind came up again during the night, and was blowing at gale force this morning.  I was glad when the French  people packed up their tent and left fairly early, because of the way the gum tree was swaying towards them.  It held fast, though, and by mid morning the wind lessened some.  I had to go to Cheviot at 8:00 to buy some more propane for the grill, so I could cook breakfast. Thankfully, the wind was blocked by part of the house, so I was able to cook fairly easily.  We had sandwiches for lunch, so we didn’t have to cook or wash dishes.  We did school, and then I worked on copying a pattern and cutting some things out to sew later.  The sun was going down and I was thinking about how we would have another dark evening when, suddenly, the light and the fridge turned on!  That was a thrilling sight!  We got the freezers turned on again, one by one so as not to blow any breakers, and we didn’t lose any food except a helping of carrot salad that Gayle was supposed to eat at work yesterday.  By the way, he had work today; their power didn’t come on till ours did tonight, but they got in a huge generator that could have powered three factories that size.

September 13, Friday.  School went fairly well today, although we had a couple of interruptions.  Dianne stopped by to give us some milk for the calves; their cow is producing more than they can use and they don’t have a pig yet.  Then, the repair man came to fix our oven.  Two weeks ago, Fan Bake went out.  He found that the element with the fan was burned through–there was a gap 1/4 inch wide that was gone!  No wonder it didn’t work.  It does now!

September 14, Saturday.  Poor Gayle had to work for a few hours this morning.  After that, I noticed he was very tired; he slept for a couple of hours.  This evening, he said his stomach hurt, and went to bed before supper.  Hope he recovers quickly!  He did get some new fences put up around the porches for the roses to climb on.  There were plastic mesh fences there when we moved here, but they were pretty worn out, so we bought some chain link fencing to replace them with.  He also tried to help Elijah fix a bicycle, but it’s beyond repair, apparently.  

   I spent a lot of the day working on parsnips!  We dug a bushel of them Tuesday, and this afternoon I took them to the front porch, where I sat in the sunshine to scrub, then peel, them.  I guess I’ll freeze them–we won’t eat that many fresh!

September 15, Sunday.  Church today!  James complained of a tummy ache when he got up this morning, and I was afraid I might have to stay home with him, but he perked up before we left, so we all went.  Barry talked for awhile about his little sister, who died of some strange medical condition when she was 11 but who led several neighbors to Jesus before she died.  This afternoon, we watched the last half of the film we started last week, about an atheist who investigated the Bible’s claims about Jesus and ended up a born-again Christian as a result of his findings. On our way home, we stopped at Pete and Dianne’s to pick up their trailer so we can use it Tuesday to go on the Bike Hike.  They had an extra bicycle, which they gave Elijah–good timing!  Then, this evening, Gayle and Seth went looking for grazing for our steers, since Vince sprayed the paddocks they’ve been living in, today.  We’ll be taking them over to Nigel’s again.  Tonight after supper, we watched a documentary about dyslexia (free online–very informative).  Now, it’s high time to go to bed!  It’s been a good day.

Simon and Elijah making shadow pictures with the projector at church.

Simon and Elijah making shadow pictures with the projector at church.


September 16, Monday.  Today was a fairly normal Monday, as far as school went.  I had a lot of work to do before I sat down to help the boys with their math, but they had most of it done that they could do on their own by then.  There were several loads of wash to hang, besides getting the parsnips in the freezer that I cooked Saturday.  Esther spent a long time cleaning up a jar full of cream that she dropped–big oops.  Cream is so hard to clean up, especially when the jar it’s in shatters!

   This afternoon, the boys and I loaded up the two steers, 2-year-old Charlie and 1-year-old Checkers, a Jersey and a Jersey-Belted Galloway cross, into Nigel’s trailer and took them over there.  That was a 2-hour process.  First, the boys had to hook the trailer to the van and get it out of the garden where it was parked a week ago when the last person to use it brought it by here.  Simon did a superb job of backing it out of the gate and getting the rig turned around.  I know I couldn’t have done it!  We caught Checkers easily, and got the weaner out of his nose, and then loaded him into the trailer and secured him.  Then, we had to catch Charlie.  Getting the rope on him wasn’t too bad; he’s quite a friendly animal and we got him on the third try–when I patted him and worked up to his head rather than just trying to get the rope on! The real challenge was getting him over to the trailer, then onto it.  We worked and worked to get him loaded; at one point he fell over and acted like he was dying.  We decided he was throwing a fit!  He was upset about being separated from his mother again, and Chessie was upset, too.  He finally just jumped up into the trailer and we got the door shut and took him to new grazing.  Mission accomplished!  He’s there for only a little more than a week, till he goes off to the butcher.

September 17, Tuesday.  I woke up this morning at 6:00 to the sound of rain pouring down.  I wondered if we would be calling off the Bike Hike, but by 8:00 the sun was shining so we got around and got out only 15 minutes late!  We had to get diesel and blow up some bike tires in Cheviot on the way, but still made it to Waikari, where the hike starts, before the group was ready to go.  We weren’t even the last ones!  Esther borrowed a bike from someone, and each of the oldest four boys had their own bike.  They all did the 22-km ride to Jum and Lennie’s house in Scargill, where we ate lunch and visited/played till about 3:00.  What a good day!

    Gayle, on the other hand, had a very long day at work.  They didn’t have power this morning till 10:30, so couldn’t get started on the day’s work till then.  He didn’t get home till 6:45!  I sure hope that doesn’t happen very many more times.

September 18, Wednesday.  Today’s excitement was chicks hatching!  They actually started yesterday; I just forgot to mention it.  We have four hens setting, and the first one was “due” yesterday.  We don’t know yet how many chicks, but Simon has spent hours sitting and watching the hen, and he has seen three heads peeping out.  He also saw something I didn’t know about.  When a chick hatched, he says the hen reached underneath and pulled out the broken shell, putting it to one side!  He can hardly wait for her to leave the nest so he can see how many chicks there are. We lost a chick from another nest today.  There were two hens sitting side by side, each starting out with a dozen eggs–one had brown eggs, the other green.  One hen stole eggs whenever the other was off the nest, so since they will be hatching two days apart I told the boys they had better get the eggs separated and a divider put up between the hens.  While James was working on that, Nathan grabbed and squashed an egg, with a chick in it.  Oops.  At least, we know the egg was fertile–there is hope for some chicks from that nest!

    For the third time, we tried to get pipe fittings in Cheviot to pipe water to our steers over at Black’s.  It turns out that their pipe is an odd size, and you cannot get the T we need, in Cheviot.  The feed store is going to try ordering the right one in.  I took the boys over to carry water with buckets today.  We also got a gallon of lemons from their tree.  We picked up the ones on the ground that are dead ripe but won’t keep much longer–delicious!  Seth used our new juicer to juice some, and that has got to be the best lemon juice I’ve ever tasted!  Elijah peeled some of the rind off most of them, but some they put in whole, with just the bad spots taken off.  Yum!  I’m really impressed with this juicer, too.  It works so much better than any we’ve had before.  (Op Shop find–a Korean model!)

   Gayle got home at 4:30 this afternoon!  That was an answered prayer.  I was hoping he would be able to get a nap before Bible Study tonight, and he did.

September 19, Thursday.  We had a real disappointment with the chicks today.  Five hatched under that first hen, but four died.  Simon took the survivor away this morning, and fixed up a box with a lightbulb in it, in the living room.  He figures she was upset because he paid her so much attention, so he’s going to stay away from the others and let them do their own thing.  Hope that works!

   The older boys had tests for math today, so that went fast and we were done in time to go to the dump before it closed.  I’m always glad to empty the barrels again!  This afternoon, about 3:00, while we were finishing memory verses, we heard the fire alarm in Cheviot. A minute or so later, Seth looked out the window and saw a giant cloud of smoke to the northeast!  He needed to go to Black’s to water the steers, and wanted to go look for the fire.  I told him he could, but by the time he was done watering the steers the cloud had virtually disappeared and he never went that way.  The other children walked to the end of the road to see if they could see anything, but it was farther away than that.

September 20, Friday.  School went very well again today.  We finished at 3:00, just minutes before Gayle got home.  How great to see him so early today!  He even had time, before getting home, to pick up barley for the animals.  

   Simon had something exciting this evening:  The first egg from his ducks! He was so excited.  He cooked it right away, and presented it to Gayle for supper.

September 21, Saturday.  Gayle had to work again this morning.  Soon after he left, I was laying in bed, thinking I needed to get up–it was soon after 6:00.  I heard the mailman stop at our box (most days, the mail goes at 12:30; on Saturday it’s before 7:00), and then their horn beeped!  I thought they must have a parcel that needed a signature, so I leaped out of bed and tried to figure out what to do next.  Get dressed?  No, that would take too long.  I ran to the kitchen to find my coat, but it wasn’t there–I had Esther take all the coats to the laundry room yesterday so that only the ones that are being used would be in the kitchen.  I went to the laundry room and rummaged through the pile, finally finding it.  As I pulled it on I stepped out the door–and saw the mailman down the road a ways!  He probably accidentally bumped the horn.  At least, it got me out of bed!

    A neighbor who gets milk from us gave us half a dozen old hens to butcher today, so we also did seven roosters that were given to us a few months ago.  We have plenty of chicken on hand!  I also got the mending all caught up today, and Gayle did some welding.

September 22, Sunday.  We took a young man to church with us this morning, Josiah.  He was born and raised in California, near LA, but his father is from New Zealand.  I believe he’s lived here himself for three years now.  He’s in Cheviot temporarily, working with a shearing crew.  Gayle and the boys met him at the men’s Bible study a couple of weeks ago.DSCF0603

   Pete shared a message today about holy living–very good!  This afternoon, our boys found some tracts and started passing them out on the street.  They really got into it and didn’t want to come home!  While they did that, Esther and I took Barry home, stopping at New World to pick up some needed groceries on the way.  Then, we met Gayle and the boys, we picked up Josiah, and came on home.  It’s been a good day!DSCF0623

September 23, Monday.  We got 11 live healthy chicks from one nest and the one beside it this morning!  We put them all with the one hen in a little pen, and locked the other hen in the coop with all the rest of the chickens.  She still had 8 that hadn’t hatched, but she left the nest.  We decided they probably weren’t fertile.  Then, a little later, Joe came to me saying he looked at the eggs and one DSCF0624was peeping!  We rushed out to see, and sure enough, three had cracked their shells!  We quickly found the hen and put her back with her nest.  She settled right down and at least one has safely hatched.  We aren’t bothering her, though, to see if more have.  What a ruckus!  There is also a hen in the potato bin in the barn.  She’s very secluded and doesn’t get bothered; also, she won’t be distracted by a neighbor leaving the nest with chicks, as the one did this morning!  We’re all learning about the business of hatching chicks.  Simon now wants to get an incubator and do it himself.  Nathan is really loving the chicks.  The pen they’re in is where he can go to it and watch them, but he can’t get into it.

    Our septic tank backed up over the past several days, and there is a swamp around it.  It’s right outside the back door (I’m really glad for a sidewalk so we can get to the driveway without getting wet feet!).  Vince, our landlord, left for Europe for a month on Friday–and that was the day we first realized we might have a problem!  It’s gotten worse each day, so this morning I called Vince’s cousin (they work together pretty closely) and asked him what to do.  He came over to look at the problem, and then called a man to clean out the septic tank.  It was clear full of sludge–YUCK!  Now we can hear water running into the tank.  I hope the yard dries up soon.

    It was warm and sunny this morning while I hung out three loads of laundry, but this afternoon clouds and mist rolled in and it got cold and drizzly.  Brr!  Gayle got home earlier again today, about 4:00.  He brought a load of compost–he also brought one Saturday. I’m hoping we can cover most of the garden with a thin layer.

September 24, Tuesday.  School took a long time this morning.  I spent extra time with Simon, helping him get caught up with his math–he accomplished that goal this afternoon!  We also had a hen and chicks to take care of.  The white hen that left her nest yesterday and then went back to it hatched six more chicks, and she needed put in a pen with them this morning.  One more is still hatching eggs, so the three that didn’t hatch got put under her.  

   Gayle got home at 4:00 again!  What a wonderful trend.  I hope this continues.  

   Pete and Di came tonight for Bible Study, and so did Josiah and Jeff.  Josiah is the young man who went with us to church Sunday, and Jeff is his friend who is also living here in Cheviot for a little while.  Having them here made quite a lively evening!  In fact, the two of them are still here, talking.

September 25, Wednesday.  It rained all day.  I’m thankful for a tight roof!  The fire felt good.  

   We have a total of 27 chicks from our four hens.  Fifteen of them are in the living room, since we lost one overnight in a pen out in the field (probably because it’s so cold and wet).  They seem happy in here under a light.

   This afternoon I took Seth and Simon and we went to Black’s to load our steer on the trailer, and at 5:00 we took him to Harris Meats.  He loaded very easily; I think he remembered it from last week.  It’s a little hard to take such a sweet-tempered, gentle animal to his doom like that; I’d rather do it the way we did our heifer last year.  She didn’t know anything was different. We liked the way Harris Meats processed and packaged the meat better, though.  

September 26, Thursday.  What a beautiful, warm, sunny day!  The boys spent the afternoon mowing lawn.  It looks a lot better now.  When I milked this evening, over half the sky was clear and there was no wind.  The sun had set, and I enjoyed seeing Venus and a few stars.  Within 10 minutes after I got in, it was pouring rain and hailing!  The few clouds there had been apparently dumped on us.

   When I was eating a snack this afternoon, Nathan came along and, after refusing a bite of the coconut/flax seed “porridge” I had, leftover from yesterday breakfast, he climbed onto my lap and took over my spoon.  I had to nearly fight him to get a few more bites–he loved that stuff!  

September 27, Friday.  Joe’s birthday today!  He is now four.  He has been anticipating this milestone for a long time, telling us what gifts he expected to receive.  He was quite thrilled tonight when he was given a couple of sets of farm animals/equipment.

Joe's birthday

Joe’s birthday


   We had a surprise bonus this morning.  After milking, I was filling a calf bottle with milk for Seth out by the road when we heard some cheeping.  I said something about it being a chick but Seth said no, it was just a bird.  When I went in, though, he investigated and found a lonesome chick in a duck’s nest!  The duck had gone to find some food, and the chick was left alone with the eggs.  Obviously, a hen laid an egg in that nest when the duck was off!  Seth brought it in and put it with the 15 chicks already in a box in the living room and it was quite happy.  There is another chicken egg in that nest, so we may end up with one more chick.

   It was sunny and warm all day–very lovely!  I got to spend a little time out in the garden this afternoon, and then Gayle got home in good time.  Tonight, we invited Pete and Di over to celebrate Joe’s birthday with us.  They just left; we had a lovely visit with them.

September 28, Saturday.  Gayle and the  boys had a very busy day today.  They started out this morning, after breakfast and worship, building a brooder box for the 100 chicks we plan to pick up next Friday.  After that was finished, they were planning to work on a water pipe to water our steer over at Nigel’s, then go to Jenni’s house to do some mowing and tilling for her.  Well, the Lord had other plans.  First, the German couple from Gore Bay, Heb and Maria, came by with a bag of clothes and a guitar they wanted to give us, so Gayle spent some time visiting with them.  Then, after lunch, when Gayle was working hard trying to finish up here, we got other visitors–Carolien and her daughter Kim and family, from Hokitika!  We met them at the family conference we went to in Christchurch in June, and really enjoyed them.  It was pretty special that they stopped in this afternoon for a visit.  They were here an hour or more, and we had a good visit with them.  After they left, at 3:30, Gayle and the boys were finally able to get over to Jenni’s place–just in time for it to start raining!  Then, the tiller didn’t work; a belt broke.  They did get some chickens caught for her and Seth mowed all her lawns.  Gayle and the other boys came back here, leaving Seth to finish mowing, and then we all went over for supper.  What a treat to have someone else do the cooking for once!  It’s been over a year since we’ve been invited somewhere for a meal other than a potluck.  Nathan didn’t know quite what to think, and then around 9:00 he decided he was ready to go to bed.  He’s rarely been away from home in the evening.  We decided he was right, and came home.  It was a very good day.

Memory verses

Memory verses


September 29, Sunday.  The morning started out with pouring rain, but by the time we left for church it was clear.  Everyone was a bit draggy this morning, because time change was last night.  We remembered at 10:30 last night!  Good thing I thought of it then and we got our clock changed!  We got to Kaikoura to find it crawling with people.  There was a combined church service (Anglican, New Life, Presbyterian, Vineyard, maybe even Catholic) just down the street from our church, and a farmer’s market across the street.  We had a bit of a hard time finding a parking space!  By the time we left in the afternoon it was all cleared out, though.  Barry talked this morning on faith, and Gayle followed up with thoughts about relationship with God being more important that anything else.  This afternoon, the boys spent more time passing out tracts, although we dragged them away from that for awhile to take a family photo.  That’s quite an ordeal!

   After leaving church, we went to Barry and Kathleen’s for awhile.  While we visited with them and Pete and Di, and then Kathryn, in the kitchen, Seth and Simon mowed lawns for them.  That has been quite neglected since Kevin isn’t there to keep up with it anymore.  The boys were very happy to help out!

   Jeff and Josiah walked over this evening.  They were with us for supper and are now visiting with Gayle while the children do dishes.  It’s another happy, somewhat chaotic evening here!

September 30, Monday.  We got a slow start to the day, because we are not adjusted to Daylight Savings yet.  It was also rainy, and therefore dark, this morning.  We still got done with school in good time!

   About lunch time, it seemed as though the bickering was worse than usual.  I challenged the children to see how many times they could catch someone doing something nice for the rest of the day, and report that to me, and whoever had the most “points” would get a prize at the end of the day! It was amazing how they tried to be nice to each other all afternoon!  It did get a little carried away, but was hilarious rather than annoying, like the bickering is.  I don’t know if we’ll ever do it again, but it helped out today. 

Posted in Letters | Leave a comment

August 2013

August 1, Thursday.  I am really pleased with James’s progress in reading!  He started working on 2-syllable words a few weeks ago, and that has opened up so much more for him.  He delights in reading his verses at worship very fast, trying to get the hard ones!  He also loves to jump in ahead of his brothers on their verses when they forget to start reading.

After school this afternoon, all five of the older boys went outside, and Nate was fussing around in here, bored and very unhappy.  I said something about going outside, and he immediately let me know he wanted to go, too!  I put a coat and gumboots on him and he was happy outside for about an hour and a half while I worked up garden spots.

We covered the lettuce and spinach with bird netting when we let the chickens out to free-range, but they ate the plants through the netting.  Simon fixed that today!  He created hoops to hold the netting up, using bamboo and other sticks, and baling twine.  He is creative!

August 2, Friday.  We had a bit more relaxed morning than usual.  Instead of doing Barton today, I decided to get stories written for Dead Boring.  That doesn’t take quite as long, so we didn’t have to push like we usually do.  How nice, for a change!  James had his written last week already, so he asked if he could read to me from an easy reader instead.  He had asked me if he could have the book (The Josefina Story Quilt) for his own if he reads the whole thing.  I told him he could, because I want him reading and if that gets him to, he can have the book for his own!  He’s doing quite well.

Joe asked me yesterday or the day before for the small duffel bag he used when he stayed at Barkley’s while I went to America.  He asked for it again this morning and was disappointed when I told him I wasn’t going to get it down for him.  “But I need to pack to go to the States!”  I told him he wouldn’t be going to the States for a long time, and he nearly cried.  He badly wants to go for a visit, as long a visit as we had!  I wonder if he doesn’t feel quite left out, since all the rest of us have been there, and he can’t remember America at all.

It rained a bit most of the day.  The living room was cozy, however.  How thankful we are for a woodstove!  I finally got outside a couple of minutes before 4:00 to work on a flower bed, and almost right away Gayle pulled in!  What a nice surprise, to have him home so much earlier than usual.

August 3, Saturday.  It was raining this morning again, but this afternoon cleared up and was nice.  We did some more clean-up around the house today.  I finished the beds on the east side of the house, and Esther hauled away all the debris–two barrels full!  It looks better there.  Simon did the south side and that looks very good, too.  Now, all the flower beds around the house are in good shape, for the first time since we came here.

This morning, Simon was teasing Joe.  He opened a window in the kitchen and held Joe next to it, saying, “I’m going to chuck you out the window!”  Nate was standing at the red table at the other end of the kitchen, watching, and he got really worried.  Suddenly, he burst out with, “No! No!”  That took us all by surprise, since he rarely talks such that we can understand him (he has about half a dozen words so far).  He seemed relieved when Simon put Joe down.

We had a surprise a little later, too–Heb and Maria came by!  Maria is a teacher at the Cheviot Area School, and we met them when we lived at the school house (she came by, during the summer break, to tend the worm farm that was in our backyard).  She was wanting to find a source of goat’s milk, which, sadly, we don’t have any more.  We invited them in, though, and they stayed to visit for an hour and a half or so.  She gave me some pointers on making sourdough bread, which I keep trying to master.  Today’s batch turned out fairly light, for sourdough, for once (and very tasty!)

Gayle and the boys went over to Nigel’s to worm our steer who has been over there since December.  They discovered that he had practically nothing to eat, so they ended up bringing him back home and put him in the paddock that Chessie is in, where the dairy cattle were.  The oats are growing back there, so we’ve been putting her in there for awhile.  Vince will be replanting next month.

August 4, Sunday.  We had a tiny group for church–our family, Kathleen, Beverley, and Pete and Dianne. Pete led the service and spoke about the Bread of Life, and after communion Gayle shared some thoughts to follow up.  He mentioned the Ebenezer Rock



and also talked the healing of the crippled man at the temple, especially focusing on Acts 4:12, no salvation other than through Jesus.  We all sat around a long time after lunch, just chatting–so nice to have a church family, even if it is small!  After leaving there, we went to get a birthday present for Simon (he wanted a slingshot from a shop in Kaikoura), and then spent a little time at the beach at Goose Bay.  It was spitting rain and Nate was asleep, so I stayed in the van and read, and the rest all went to play in the river the boys discovered last week.  They went prepared this time, with shovels, to dig a channel for it to the sea–but there was one already this time!  So, they played in the frigid water and came back to the van with red feet.  I enjoyed the peace and quiet,



with huge waves crashing on the shore less than a hundred feet from me whenever I looked up.
August 5, Monday.  It was warm today!  That was especially good, since some of the children had outdoor cleaning to do.  Esther got the front porch thoroughly cleaned up, and washed the mud off the walk to the east of the house while Simon did the south side.  It sure looks better!  

  After school, I did some experimenting in the kitchen.



 I thought I could make tortillas with some extra sourdough starter, and mixed in enough sprouted wheat flour (another experiment) to make a fairly stiff dough.  It didn’t work–the dough just fell apart.  So, I added salt, baking powder, and shredded cheese and made breadsticks for snack.  Yum!  Then, I followed a recipe I found a few days ago and made crepes with some more extra starter.  That worked!  I’m planning to make them into quesadillas.  

August 6, Tuesday.  Dead Boring was here today.  Only three moms and the children of four families were able to come (one mom brought her own and another family’s children).  It’s nice, sometimes, to have a small group!  I like it when we can all be together.  I really enjoyed Esther’s story–here it is, in case you would like to read it, too. 

What is the purpose of Dead Boring?

Is it to better your writing skills? Or so that you can play games with your friends (and beat them)? Or maybe it’s so you can escape the house and forget your book work for a few hours? Nope. In my experience, it’s none of these. Whenever we go to Dead Boring, we step inside the house and immediately see how clean everything is. Mentally, we compare it with our home, and praise the homeschool mum—whoever it is at that time—for running such an efficient, clean household. Then, when our turn for Dead Boring comes…oh, what horrors! We have to clean the place, from top to bottom! Because that’s the entire purpose of Dead Boring—to have a clean house to meet in.

I suppose there are some redeeming virtues of having a clean house. We to get enjoy it between the five minutes from when everything was clean to when people start getting here. That is, if the baby hasn’t knocked over a flower pot, or spilled a box full of blocks, or knocked books on the floor. We realise that the house actually can be clean. Oh, yes—and we also have the privilege of cleaning up afterward.

I guess that even though the main goal of hosting Dead Boring is to get the house clean—or so the mothers think—we can still enjoy seeing each other. I suppose it’s okay that we have to spend all Monday cleaning up. After all, it’s not every day that you can host the largest dead boring homeschool get-together on this side of the Southern Alps!

Simon’s was really good, too; he told how he makes bamboo whistles.  He good-naturedly complained this afternoon that he had to make 9 more whistles this afternoon for his friends who were here–each child, of course, had to have one!

August 7, Wednesday.  Today was just a normal day–school, laundry (the usual two loads), three meals.  This afternoon I spent some time working on the computer after school, and all the boys went outside except Nathan.  He was fussing around, not knowing what to do with himself, so I told him to get his coat.  He went and found it, and brought it to me.  I put it on him and he grabbed my hand and PULLED me to the door!  I let him out and he was happy–and good–for over an hour!

Joe's first bike ride.

Joe’s first bike ride.


   Gayle, Simon, and Elijah are at the Bible Study tonight, so it’s quieter than usual.  I put Joe to bed early, and soon I’ll send the other boys off.  Then, maybe I can go to bed with a book!  That would be a treat.

August 8, Thursday.  I did make it to bed with a book last night–for five minutes!  When I finally made it to that end of the house, I realized that I had forgotten to make the bed in the morning (Nate was asleep in it, and I never went back in the bedroom all day), and the sheet had pulled out.  So, by the time I got the bed made neatly, Gayle was home.  Seth read last night, though!  I told him that he could stay up a little while if he read, and he really got into a poetry book.  It’s an easy reader.  About two years ago, I had him read it to me, and he painfully struggled through it. Now, it’s easy for him and he thought it was hilarious!  His favorite went something like, “I like bugs/ I kiss them/ And give them hugs.”  I was excited that he was reading and enjoying it!

   Simon’s birthday was today; he is now 12.  He got up earlier than usual this morning and went out with Seth to bring the cow in for milking.  Pete and Dianne came over for supper tonight to celebrate with us.  Jeni came for milk while they were here, and Michael was with her.  He and our boys spent awhile wrestling in the living room.  It was pretty wild for awhile!  All the boys were red and sweaty when they finished up.  Nathan stood back and watched, rather frightened that someone would get hurt. 

August 9, Friday.  What a lovely, warm, sunny day today!  I’m fearing, though, that we won’t have fruit this year.  The plums are blooming already, a full month early; we’re likely to have hard frosts yet.  We’re getting a lot of eggs, which is a real treat.  This morning, James and Joe found a nest of 20 chicken eggs!  We’ve also been getting duck eggs.  Simon has found two nests, and we’ve also found eggs scattered around, apparently by either wild ducks or the young duck who hadn’t yet figured out that she needed a nest!

Joe and Nate

Joe and Nate


   Gayle got home about 3:30 today–what a treat!  It’s been a long time since that has happened.  

   We got some special news today, about a new niece–born on Simon’s birthday!  That’s just a little advantage of the Date Line; our birthdays last nearly two days. 

August 10, Saturday.  I felt like I wasted the day today.  I’m wanting to make a photo book for a gift for someone, and got one put together, only to find out that the shipping cost was incredibly high–too high.  So, that project got scrapped.  I started another, with another company, got a lot done–and someone bumped the button to turn the computer off and all my work was lost!  So, I started all over again.  That’s not the way I like to spend a day, going in circles.  It may be awhile till I try again.  Gayle got something done–he and Seth fixed the old chicken pen!  We need a place to put some roosters someone is giving us tomorrow.

    Nathan didn’t dump anything on himself today, but the past few days he’s had a few accidents.  One day, he opened the fridge door and pulled a cup out, thinking, probably, that it had milk in it.  Instead, he ended up with egg yolk all over his face and dripping down inside his shirt!  He was quite distressed when he came to me and gave me the cup.  Later that day or the next, he pulled a cup of kombucha down from the table–all over his face!  Yesterday morning, I put cream in a small pitcher and had it on the work table, ready to take to the breakfast table.  He got it, pulled it down–and it spilled all over his face and pajamas!  What a mess.  He was distraught that time, too.  His arms are long enough now, and he is tall enough, to reach a lot on the table; he just needs to learn some sense now!IMG_3137

August 11, Sunday.  We had quite an eventful day.  I was up early this morning; I woke up at 5:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep so got up soon and had a leisurely quiet time, then started working on food for lunch.  We got around in good time, but when Gayle went to get the van out of the shed to go to church, the battery was flat.  He and Seth pulled it out of the shed backward, with the truck, located the battery (it’s under the floor behind the driver’s seat!), and jump-started it.  We were puzzled as to why it was dead, but figured it would charge during our 1-hour drive to Kaikoura.

   In Kaikoura, it was raining and cold outside, but warm and cheerful inside!  Ken, Gayle, and Barry all had things to share, about “My sheep know My voice” and how God keeps us.  This afternoon we listened to a message about end-time prophecy.  Then, we went to the van to leave.  It wouldn’t start–the battery was flat again!  Uh-oh, now we have a bigger problem!  Gayle called Dianne’s cell phone, and Pete came to jump us.  We decided to go straight home so we wouldn’t have to turn it off again!  Gayle noticed that everything electrical was moving very slowly.  We didn’t know what to do, other than to go as far as possible.  The van kept going–till we got about halfway up the first hill of the Hundalees, the big hill just after the highway leaves the coast.  The van stalled and everything shut down.  Praise God, there was a wide pull-off right there!  A lot of places along that route, there is no where to pull off.  This place, however, has room for two vehicles side-by-side, which we needed to jump it again.  Gayle again called Dianne, and they started on their way to our rescue.  I was thankful I had my Kindle along, and a book on it I wanted to read to the family!  We were there for probably half an hour till Pannell’s arrived.  It took awhile of charging, but the van did start and we took off again.  That time, we made it all the way home.  We didn’t turn it off, just unloaded children and everything else quickly and I drove it into Cheviot to the garage.  We left it there and I’ll call the mechanic in the morning to tell him about it.  We were sure thankful to get home!

    Gayle and the boys went to a lady’s house tonight to pick up 9 roosters she had that she didn’t need.  She also gave us two flats (2 1/2 dozen each) of eggs!  What a treat to have a cupboard full of eggs!  They took her some potatoes, which she needed, in exchange.

Talking on 2 walkie-talkies at once!

Talking on 2 walkie-talkies at once!


August 12, Monday.  For once, school went well and attitudes were good–on a Monday!  How nice.  We got done with school about the same time as usual.  We were nearly done with memory verses this afternoon, when Simon looked out and saw a cockfight going on!  Gayle and the boys brought home 9 roosters last night from a lady who didn’t want them, and they were supposed to be in a cage, waiting for butchering this afternoon.  I had forgotten about them, so it was very good that Simon saw that!  Three had gotten out, and one was fighting with our rooster.  Our chickens (12 hens and a rooster) are free-ranging right now, and the rooster was vigorously defending his harem!  I don’t think I had ever seen a cock fight before.  They really went at it!  The intruder was bleeding, the boys said.  They quickly caught the escapees, and I got water heated.  It didn’t take long to get them all killed, scalded, and dressed.  The children are really getting good at that!

   Jo and the children stopped by this afternoon for a little while.  She seems to like visiting.  It made her happy to feel the heat coming from the woodstove they gave us!  We are sure glad for it.

    Esther started a sourdough starter, from scratch, a week ago, using rye flour and water.  It has really gotten active, so today she mixed up two loaves of bread using it.  It was baked in time for supper, and turned out really fluffy, soft, and delicious!  I think she really has a knack with bread.  She made zucchini bread last night and it was the best batch I’ve seen in a long time–better than mine!  One of the eggs she used was a duck egg; otherwise the ingredients were identical to what I do.  Would one duck egg make that much difference?

August 13, Tuesday.  The sun shone today!  It was an absolutely lovely day outside.  The boys all played out there for a long time this afternoon; Seth and Simon spent some time biking around the area.  Joe and Nate got wet and muddy, so they ended up getting showered off when they got cold and wanted in.  Joe liked that; Nate was scared.  He seems to be scared of a lot of things.

    Pete and Di came tonight for Bible Study.  We went through I Corinthians 13 and talked a lot about love.  It was good!

August 14, Wednesday.  School went well again today.  I wonder what makes the difference.  I don’t think the work is that much different.  Well, I enjoy it when things go smoothly!  A nor-wester blew today, albeit a cold one.  It was still pleasant outside!  The laundry dried, too.  The children folded mountains of laundry this afternoon–everything I washed Monday, Tuesday, and today, a total of 7 loads.  It was James’s turn to sort it.  He did the first two baskets full, and thought he was done–and I pointed out a big basketful on top of the piano.  Then, he thought he was done, and I pulled some pants off the line in the living room.  Then, I went outside and took two loads off the line there!  The drawers are full of clean clothes again.

   We have the van back.  It was indeed the alternator that was the problem. Hopefully it will work right again now!

August 15, Thursday.  We were blessed with another beautiful, sunny warm day.  It was so nice that I decided this morning, after a suggestion from Seth, that this afternoon would be a good time to go to Gore Bay and pick up rubbish along the beach.  Our oldest five children have been offered another free trip on WhaleWatch, and the “payment” is to do a beach clean.  We left here about 2:30, as soon as we had school done.  Three of the boys went north along the beach from where we parked, and Esther, Seth, Joe and I went south.  Nate rode along on Seth’s back in the backpack.  We filled 2 1/2 trash bags (small ones) in half an hour, plus found a tire and several pieces of lumber.  When we met the other boys, they had one bag full and an enormous, tangled wad of rope!  I let them play on their log raft again (the forked tree they found a couple of months ago) on the lagoon.  Everyone got a ride this time, except Nate and I.  They took so long pulling it back to land and getting it out of the water, though, that we didn’t have time to stop and pick up the guitars we were offered.  That will have to wait for another time.  

Beach clean-up at Gore Bay

Beach clean-up at Gore Bay


August 16, Friday.  This morning soon after 7:30, as I was in the kitchen getting ready to go out to milk, Vince came and knocked on the door.  He had found a calf when he was moving the break (temporary fence) this morning for his steers, and wondered if we would like to rear it.  It is a bull calf, and his mother went back to the dairy farm Monday already–apparently, he stayed in hiding all that time!  The farmer said to just knock it in the head, but Vince didn’t want to do that, and didn’t have time to raise it himself.  I said we would keep the calf for now, and we’ll

James and Nate building a bridge

James and Nate building a bridge

see what happens later.  We don’t have grass here, but there are options, possibly, for that.  The calf is a Jersey cross, dark brown, so we named him Chocolate.  Now, we have Curry and Chocolate, and Chops the lamb, as bottle babies.

    School went well; we were finishing up memory work this afternoon at 2:30 when the house started rolling, shaking and rattling!  It got violent enough that I said we’d better go outside.  Even out there, we could feel the quake; it seemed to go on and on!  I think it lasted over a

The boys found this giant wad of rope at Gore Bay!

The boys found this giant wad of rope at Gore Bay!

minute altogether. It was another one between Wellington and Blenheim, 6.6 on the Richter scale.  More and more quakes hit this afternoon; we felt a total of six more.  Gayle didn’t feel the big one at work; the only one he felt was at about 5:30, a 6.2 or so.  There where he works at Domett, quakes aren’t felt as easily as here at Cheviot–we are on a major fault line.  One interesting fact:  it seemed to take about 3 minutes for the shaking to travel here!

August 17, Saturday.  We only felt one quake today.  This afternoon, James said, “I’m dizzy–there must be an earthquake!”  I couldn’t feel anything, but then saw something that was hanging swinging.  Sure enough, there was a 5.0 at that time.  Seth was outside digging potatoes out of the bin, and didn’t feel anything, but was dizzy and noticed a chicken making a fuss.

   It rained all day, so we stayed in the house for the most part.  Gayle did a Bible Study with the children this afternoon, while I made butter and scrubbed five gallons of potatoes.  After the study, Gayle and Seth worked on a “greenhouse” for me.  They took a big picture window that had the center section of glass broken out, and built a frame to staple plastic on, for a door for that section.  The whole thing will lean against the house over a raised bed, for growing plants under.

  Esther’s camera got ruined when we were at Gore Bay the other day–it got dipped in the water by a careless brother.  We tried drying it out and it works, but the picture quality is horrible.  The brother is helping to buy a new one for her.

    Nathan is learning fast how to communicate better.  I taught him the hand sign for please this week.  A couple of times, I’ve asked him to say “Please” when he wanted to nurse.  Tonight after supper, he came to me, making the sign “please” with both hands, then grabbed me and pulled me toward my rocking chair.  When I sat down in it, he went looking for the magazine I read the last time he nursed, gave it to me–and then ran away grinning! He did come back for a snack, though.  His favorite foods right now are peas and cheese.  I came in from milking to find a bag on the table with a hunk of cheese in it.  There had been two hunks the last I knew, one with the rind trimmed off and one with the rind still on.  The one with no rind was missing.  I looked in the living room, and there was Nathan on the couch, busily chewing on half a pound of cheese!  He had several large bites out of it.  We had peas for supper.  Nate ate some from his plate, then asked to get down.  I let him down, and he was soon on Daddy’s lap, trying to eat his peas.  We passed Nate’s plate down there.  He shook his head no, he didn’t want his peas.  Gayle scooped up a bite and ate it–and Nate was shocked!  He wanted the next bite Gayle scooped up!

   My chair suddenly started jolting and rolling back and forth, a minute ago–another earthquake.  Esther says it’s a 5.2.  Ah, now we can see on Geonet what it is–5.4.  She was pretty close.

   Here’s another funny, which Esther wrote down.

 James: “Has anyone ever been to the north pole?”

Me: “Yes….”

Joe: “Has anyone ever been to the east pole?”

Me: “No, there isn’t an east pole.”

James: “There’s just a north pole, a south pole, and a west pole. Right?”

 Geonet is now saying 5.8–I don’t think it felt that big.  No, they’ve gone down to 5.6.  It takes a few minutes to get it pinned down.  Several minutes later–looks like they’ve settled on 5.5.  Yes, this is the kind of thing we amuse ourselves with some days–refreshing the Geonet screen and watching earthquakes!

August 18, Sunday.  We did something different today–went to Glentunnel for church.  We hadn’t seen Neil and Junko and their family since February, so we figured it was about time.  That means getting around early–we have to leave here about 8:00–but it’s worth doing occasionally.  Their church is actually a Brethren church that is growing, which is refreshing.  We heard a message from Haggai about putting God first in everything.

   After church and nearly an hour of fellowshipping, we went to the Smith home for lunch.  I brought a large pot of split pea soup, and Junko made a crock pot of vegetable soup, and we each supplied bread, so there was plenty for both of our families and another young family they invited from church.  I really enjoyed getting to know Sarah, the other mother, too.  They have four young children, 5 and down.  I couldn’t believe it when Gayle came out and looked at me–and I looked at the clock.  It was 5:00 already, and we have two hours home!

    We stopped in Amberley to change drivers, since Gayle was getting tired.  We stopped at the public toilet, since there is plenty of room to park and it’s well lighted.  Joe asked to use the toilet, and I was a little reluctant to let him.  He has a love affair with public toilets at this age–why, I can’t fathom!  We let him go, though, with Elijah.  Just as Joe came out, an ambulance came out of the alley near us, lights and sirens going, and headed down the highway in the direction we were about to go.  It was soon followed by a fire truck.  We started driving, and hadn’t gone 2 miles before we had to stop–there was an accident!  We waited a few minutes, then were directed to go through.  A van was on its side.  We can’t figure out what happened, unless the driver was drunk, since there was no curve or hill there to speak of.  It appeared to be a work van, so hopefully only one person was involved.  As we went on, it occured to me that if we hadn’t stopped to change drivers, or if the boys hadn’t gone to use the toilet, we would either have been involved in the accident, or have come upon the scene in the dark and not seen it till too late.  It likely happened about the time we stopped.  How merciful God is to us!

    Joe fell down in one of the sheds a couple of days ago, on his back.  Ever since, he’s been complaining that his ribs, in front, are hurting.  This afternoon it was really bad, and he was crying quite loudly when we left Smith’s.  He napped on the way home, and then when he came in the house at home, started screaming again.  I checked him out, and the place he said hurt was quite a different place from where he said hurt two days ago, when this started.  Because the location is different, I’m not feeling like it’s too serious, so I gave him some Tylenol and soon he was bouncing around again.

August 19, Monday.  We weren’t getting around real well this morning, so I ended up cancelling Barton classes today in favor of getting stories written for Dead Boring.  That has to do with language, anyway!  We needed to get it done today and that made it possible.

   Nathan’s communication skills are increasing by leaps and bounds!  He now knows the handsign for please, and is figuring out how to nod and shake his head yes and no.  It is so fun to watch him learn.  A few minutes ago, as the older children were all gathered around me looking at something on the computer, he climbed up on the kitchen sink counter, sat back against the wall very carefully, and started soaping up his hands!  When Esther asked him if he was washing his hands, he nodded yes.

   Esther made a batch of sourdough bread today, and it came out almost fluffy!  It was delicious, too.

August 20, Tuesday.  James woke up this morning with a headache and feeling dizzy, so I ended up leaving him home with Esther today.  She had wanted to stay home anyway, to get caught up on school.  I was planning on her going, but with James sick decided to leave the two of them here.  It’s awfully nice to have a daughter old enough to legally stay home! (and responsible enough)

   We had a good day at Dead Boring.  The boys enjoyed playing with their friends.  Joe and Nate spent some time playing with a dollhouse–they had never seen one before.  We stopped at Recycling on the way home.  Besides several pair of pants for the boys, we found a good pepper grinder.  Ours broke, so that was good to find.  We got to help out a couple of families on the way home, too, by taking their children home, as the mothers weren’t at DB today.

August 21, Wednesday.  Nathan was under the weather today; he was crabby a lot of the day, and took three naps (normally one 1-hour nap is all he takes).  When I dressed him this morning, I noticed some pink spots on his tummy; tonight when I got him ready for bed they had spread all around his trunk and up the back of his neck.  I’m not sure what he has.  He ran a fever for a short time during the night last night, and was a bit warm a few times through the day today.  He’s acting pretty good right now, though, so I’m not too worried about him.  He’s playing with a broom in the living room!  James is well, though.  Hopefully, we just have a 24-hour bug going around.

August 22, Thursday.  Nathan was fine this morning!  We got up early to get to Kaikoura in time for our WhaleWatch tour–we had to leave here at 7:00, before the children even get up normally!  We got to Kathryn’s house and after chatting a few minutes left Joe and Nate there, and went over to the Whaleway Station.  We walked in–and found out they weren’t sailing today, due to the weather conditions.  What a disappointment.  There was nothing for it but to go home.  We did stop at the Recycling store there, and came away with a pile of stuff for only $35–lots of preserving jars, shoes for boys, and a juicer.  After we got home, we did a day’s worth of school and chased a steer around the neighborhood.  Our steer figured out a way to escape from the paddock where he has more feed than he can possibly get through, plenty of water, and his mother for company, and got out four times before we saw where he was doing it.  Gayle got home early, and he and the boys rigged up a way to stop him.

August 23, Friday.  We got up early again today, and went to Kaikoura again.  This time, we got to go on the water!  It was an absolutely gorgeous day.  The sun was shining in a cloudless sky, and the water was turquoise.  Soon after we started out from South Bay in a WhaleWatch boat, they said that a whale had been located already.  It had just sounded (dived), so we would go to the spot in 40 minutes, as that is how long they normally spend on a dive before coming up for air.  In the meantime, we were going to go



to Goose Bay where a pod of dolphins was.  The dolphins are not normally in the Kaikoura waters this time of year, as they winter in the Marlborough Sounds, but we had a special treat!  There were probably around 200 Dusky Dolphins swimming, leaping, and slapping the water with their tails, around us!  After watching them for 15-20 minutes, we headed out to sea to the whale that had been sighted earlier.  On the way, I happened to notice a spout out the window.  After the second one, I started telling people around me, and after the third spout we



caught the attention of the Whalewatch people–they hadn’t seen it!  We immediately altered course and went toward that whale, but it sounded just as we got there.  We started back toward the first whale, but it, too, sounded just as we arrived!  What a disappointment.  They stopped the engines then, and listened with a hydrophone to try to find another whale.  After several minutes, and traveling around awhile, they were able to find one.  I think it was the one I saw, back up!  They called him Tuti, and said they’ve been seeing him for 15 years.  We got to watch him breathing for about 5 minutes, and then he flipped his tail in the air and went down–what a thrilling sight.  Then, it was time to go back to South Bay.  The waves were high enough that a lot of children got seasick–I felt sorry for the teachers who had to spend their time helping children who got sick.  My class did great!

Mom and Nate

Mom and Nate


    Poor Nathan was not happy about being left with Kathryn.  He cried a lot while we were gone, and was still sobbing some after I got back.  After nursing for a bit, though, his world turned right side up again and he was happy the rest of the day.  We visited for awhile, then headed south.  We stopped along the shore near Goose Bay and ate a picnic lunch, then I let the boys play for awhile.  Seth solved a mystery we’ve been wondering about for several years.  There is a boat ramp that always has a spray of water shooting up from it.  He went over to investigate,

Nate investigating sea anemones

Nate investigating sea anemones

and said there was a water pipe with a hole in it!  Why the water pipe is there, we still don’t know.

   Vince called last evening to say that he had another calf for us to rear.  We went over this afternoon to pick it up–a great big Holstein bull calf.  At only about a week old, it is bigger than our month-old calf!  We put the calf in the back of the van, then closed the door immediately.  The calf pooped right away–but thankfully it didn’t make much of a mess (reminded me of a time we brought a calf home in the front of the car when I was young–I’m sure you remember, Mom!).  This evening, Vince dropped by and told me that he decided to take the calf back, and the one he brought over last week, and rear them himself.  Fine–we don’t have space for so many calves.

August 24, Saturday.  And the calf saga continues!  Gayle had the idea this morning that we should offer to rear the calves for Vince, no strings attached, just as a thank you to him for all he’s done for us.  He called and offered, and Vince accepted the offer.  So, Seth gets to feed milk to two calves for Vince and one for us for the next few months.  Vince will be supplying the milk powder for his calves.  Seth loves caring for cattle!  He’s happy about it.

Two happy calves

Two happy calves


    Today was beautiful and warm.  I enjoyed working in the garden for a little while, till Nate wanted me.  Gayle and the boys finished a “greenhouse” for me, a large window leaned up against the house.  They built a framework and stapled plastic over it, to take the place of the large center pane that broke out, and put chicken wire over the ends to keep the chickens out.  I’ll enjoy using it to start tomatoes, etc this spring.

August 25, Sunday.  We had our normal group at church today.  Beverley was able to be with us again.  She hurt her knee a month or so ago when she was walking across a muddy paddock and slipped into a hole.  She had crutches today, but was able to get around.  Barry wasn’t there; he had surgery two weeks ago for skin cancer and is still hurting pretty badly.


    Ken talked for awhile about the joy of the Lord, and then Gayle spoke for awhile about fasting.  This afternoon, Margaret played hymns on the piano for anyone who wished to follow along.  When everyone left church, we went across the street and walked along the beach a little way.  Instead of turning around and backtracking when we got to Lyell Creek where it goes into the sea, Gayle took off his shoes and socks and ferried several of us across!  It was about a foot deep and flowing fast.  That was kind of fun–but I looked around to make sure no one was watching, first!  We also spent a little time visiting Alistair and Katherine.

August 26, Monday.  This morning was rather tough, trying to get through school with a cranky baby.  He was apparently tired; he finally fell asleep when I sat down with him on the couch shortly after noon, and slept for maybe an hour.  Then, when he woke up, I had Esther feed him some stew.  When he was done, he came to me to nurse again, and fell asleep for another hour or more.  He was much happier after that!  He spent a lot of the afternoon outside.  

   It was a gorgeous day outside!  I got to work on the strawberry bed I’m digging up, some more.  That is taking a long time–the grass really took over.  I can handle doing a square yard a day.  Two more days should see it about done, though, and then I need to finish working up the bed I’m transplanting the strawberries into.  I might put some in the big garden yet; there are a LOT!  I had Seth till a part of the big garden today.  I want to put some early carrots and beets in it.  They are turning out to be really good cow feed, so I want to plant lots again.  

    Nathan adores his daddy!  He loves to wake Daddy up from his nap for supper.  Tonight, when Gayle came to this end of the house, Nathan very purposefully went to Daddy’s chair and stood there waiting.  Normally, he sits in his high chair beside me, at the other end of the table.  When I told him to come to me, he did–then went to the living room to Daddy!  He made sure to stick very close to Daddy till we sat down, and in the end he got his way.  He got to sit on Daddy’s lap to eat!

August 27, Tuesday.  School took a long time again today–it was nearly 2:00 till we had lunch!  At least, we made it through and got everything done.  We had a bit of a distraction with a road grader going back and forth and back and forth, pushing back the edges of the road!  With a big window facing the road by the table I use to work with the boys, it was a little hard to focus.

   Pete came tonight, and we discussed I Corinthians 14.  I was in and out a lot, putting little boys to bed and finishing up a batch of cheese I made this afternoon. 

August 28, Wednesday.  We had a very good day today–even got school done early!  I was able to spend nearly an hour with Joe after the older ones were done this afternoon, doing his reading and math lessons.  I have programs on the computer that I’m doing with him.  He loves them!  I think he also loves the chance to sit on my lap for a good while.  Nathan gets jealous, though.

   Simon bought some Indian Runner ducks on Trade Me this evening.  He’s pretty excited about that!  He is nearly finished building a chicken pen from scavenged lumber.  We’re working on making decisions about buying chicks, both for meat and egg production.  We also put a dozen eggs under one of our hens yesterday.  She had been sitting tight on a nest with no eggs in it for a week, so I picked out a dozen of our bigger eggs to put under her.  She’s sitting even tighter now–happy as can be!  

August 29, Thursday.  School went well today; we even got to eat lunch in good time!  We were finished with everything by 2:30, and Nathan was asleep, so I got to go out to work in the garden for a bit.  Soon, however, Esther brought Nate out.  He had woken up alone in the living room and was “roaring”.  Then, he was scared of Seth and the weed whip (across the yard), so I ended up having to bring him in and feed him.  He is a very fearful little boy.  Anything loud scares him–last night when he went out with me to milk, he was scared of the lamb, and also of Seth and the weed whip.  This afternoon, he did go out with me again to dig some carrots and leeks in the garden.  The carrots are starting to rot underground, so I’m trying to get them all dug up and fed to the cow.  The leeks are starting to bolt, so I’m working on getting them chopped and frozen.  I also spent a few minutes starting seeds again this afternoon.  I got the leeks and onions in dirt, and helped Joe plant some Marigold seeds.  He was given petunias for his birthday last year, and Simon helped him plant them in a tire.  Of course, they died with the cold weather, and he was bemoaning that fact a few days ago.  I told him we could plant some more flowers, so this afternoon I showed him a picture of the Marigolds we have seed for.  He decided which of the two varieties he wanted.

   Gayle got home just before 4:00 this afternoon!  That’s a rare treat.

August 30, Friday.  And today, Gayle was home about 3:20!  I could hardly believe my eyes when I looked up and saw him in the kitchen–I said, “What are you doing here?!”  He responded with his usual, “You want me to leave again?”  Of course not; I was just startled to see him.  

   School went very well.  The three older boys had a quiz for their math, so that went fast.  We wrote stories for Dead Boring rather than do Barton, so that was quicker.  We had three different stories this afternoon, in our read-aloud time, about mountain climbing!  Esther’s read-aloud right now is about climbing the Matterhorn, in Switzerland, and I’ve been reading a book to the boys lately about some young men who enjoy climbing and exploring in the Southern Alps here on this island.  We also read a story from a book, Great Adventures in New Zealand, which has all types of stories in it.  Today’s happened to be about a man who got caught in a blizzard in the mountains near Arthur’s Pass while out shooting deer!  Now, I hope the boys don’t decide they need to go start climbing mountains!

August 31, Saturday.  Another busy day together here at home!  Seth needed to ride over to Pete and Dianne’s this morning to do their chores while they are in Nelson for the weekend.  While he was gone, we got a start on the day’s work.  For me, that included laundry (of course, that’s a daily thing), thoroughly cleaning the wheat grinder (with the help of some intrigued boys), and organizing/inventorying freezers (Seth really got interested in that this afternoon).  I also scrubbed a 5-gallon bucketful of potatoes and helped Joe with a reading lesson.  I had Esther make a batch of bread and wash the kitchen floor today.  She’s really getting good at making sourdough bread; hers turns out light and fluffy!  She has a knack for making good bread.  Gayle worked on fixing the living room carpet where it had pulled apart.  He pulled it back together as far as possible, then tacked it down.  It’s much better!  After that, he cleaned up outside around the house, and then replaced a broken window.  Lots accomplished today!

   Nathan isn’t feeling good, again.  It seems like he’s been sick a lot–certainly more than Joe was.  He has a bad cough and has thrown up a few times this evening because of it.  He’s cheerful, though; it doesn’t seem to be getting him down too much.  I wonder how the night will go, though.

Posted in Letters | Leave a comment

July 2013

July 1, Monday.  It was warm today!  A nor-wester started blowing yesterday, blew all night, and is still blowing tonight.  The laundry dried, all in one day, for the first time in a couple of weeks!  That makes a good day.  It’s even almost all put away by now.   A good thing, too–I looked for some clothes for Joe a few minutes ago, before his clean clothes were put away, and his drawer was nearly empty.

Attitudes were good today, so school went well, and then I sent the boys outside to play in the lovely weather.  I got to go out, too, for a few minutes, and do a bit more weeding and working up soil.

Gayle didn’t get home till 6:00 tonight, but he had a story to tell when he got here.  Sometime late this afternoon, Bryan called him outside, and he went, thinking, “Oh, no, what now.”  When he got out, Larry, the man in charge of the animals on the farm, called him over and showed him a 3-day-old lamb.  He said it’s ours!  The mother is very old and has lost her teeth, so is not physically able to raise a lamb.  What a nice surprise!  I still haven’t decided if we’ll feed him on fresh cow’s milk or buy powder; the cow is still giving enough for us and a lamb but we also have two people buying milk each week and I’m just not sure if there will be enough to go around.  The milk powder will be less than I sell milk for, so we may use half one and half the other.  This lamb is a little different than the others we’ve had.  The others have all had normal kinky wool, but this one’s is straight, almost like a goat’s.  It’s tail is half the length of a normal lamb’s, too.  We’re wondering if it is a hair sheep, the kind that aren’t shorn but lose their wool by themselves.  Whatever it is, we’re glad to have another lamb to raise!  We like to eat sheep.

July 2, Tuesday.  School was done fast today!  Gayle had a dentist appointment in Kaiapoi, and we said that whoever finished school before I left a little after 1:00 could go along, if they wanted to.  Esther and Elijah wanted to stay home, and everyone else wanted to go. They all got done, so they got to go!  At the last minute, Joe decided he wanted to stay home, so he went out and got his pants muddy so he wouldn’t have to go.  It didn’t work.  We cleaned off his pants and he went anyway!   While Gayle was in the dentist’s we did a bit of shopping in Kaiapoi, and dropped off my computer to be worked on.  It’s been crashing fairly frequently lately, and we also wanted more memory in it.  They called me later with word about what was wrong–the harddrive is failing.  At least we caught it before we lost what is in the computer!  We have lost a few programs that quit working; I think it’s been on the way out for two years already–that’s how long it’s been slowing down.  After Gayle was done at the dentist, we went to Papanui to do a bit of shopping.  We picked up a food processor I bought on Trade Me, and went to the mall.  On our way home from there, we picked up the truck we bought on Trade Me a few days ago; the seller delivered it to Waipara for us.

Esther and Elijah got the milking and chores done, and supper made and the house straightened up!  How nice to have a daughter old enough to stay home and take care of things!  Nathan has been happy as can be since we got home.  He is so funny when he’s happy.  At supper, he put his spoon under his bowl, then waved his hands back and forth and talked–apparently telling me that his spoon was gone.   He just went over to Esther, said, “Ut!” and waved his hand toward the kitchen.  He wanted her to get him a cracker!  She gives him several a day, because he asks so sweetly for them.

July 3, Wednesday.  We had another warm sunny day!  The laundry dried fast–but the clothesline broke because the wind was blowing so hard.  I spent more time outside than usual, working in the garden.  It was so nice to be out in the lovely weather.

Nate  checking out the new lamb.

Nate checking out the new lamb.

Nathan still has a cough.  He’s been waking me up about 12:30 every morning, coughing.  I have to bring him to this end of the house to put Vicks on him, then rock him for awhile till he can lay down again.  Hope this comes to an end soon!

July 4, Thursday.  Esther had a piano lesson today, for the first time in quite awhile.  Her teacher and her husband went to Samoa in June!  Sounds like an interesting place to visit.  School went real well today, and by 3:00 everything was done.  It was another beautiful day, so I went out to work up garden some more.  Simon fixed the clothesline that broke yesterday, and then he, Elijah, and James went to a neighbor’s to cut willow branches to make into arrows.  Seth spent a little time tilling the garden, and then he made ice cream sandwiches.  First he made peanut butter cookies, then put orange chocolate chip ice cream (the only kind we have on hand right now) between two, and then he and Esther made a batch of chocolate and dipped them in it.  Yum!

July 5, Friday.  It was so warm today that after lunch I took the boys to Gore Bay for awhile. Esther opted to stay home to get some writing done that she needed to do for school.  Simon found a large forked log floating in a lagoon, and used it as a raft.  He poled it all around the lagoon with a long stick, and gave his brothers rides on it.  They sure enjoyed that!  We also spent some time playing in the playground.  Nathan loved the swings!  We figured out that Seth weighs almost as much as I do; he can nearly balance me on the seesaw.IMG_2738

I tried a new recipe tonight.  Harris Meats put a recipe in their ad in the local paper a few weeks ago, for goat curry.  It sounded good, so I saved it.  That’s a keeper!  Most of us enjoyed it–it was too spicy for a few.

July 6, Saturday.  This was an exciting day for the children!  Gayle called a local mechanic who has a trailer to transport IMG_2571vehicles with, this morning, and arranged for him to help pull our truck out of the river this afternoon.  Gayle and all the children except Nate went over there about 2:00.  Murray wasn’t able to pull it out with his winch, so he went to get one of our neighbors to come with his loader tractor.  Gayle virtually had to go underwater to hook a chain to the tow bar (hitch) on the truck, and then they started pulling.  The report was that water was pouring out of it as they

Riding across the ford.

Riding across the ford.

pulled!  After they got it up on land, an eel slithered out of the engine area!  Seth tried to catch it but couldn’t.  When the truck was safely up on the bank, the boys opened the doors and looked through the muck inside for a few things that were still in it.  They recovered Gayle’s watch, and it still works!  Timex is a good watch.  They also found the last remains of the lunch I had packed for him the day the truck went swimming.  Nothing was apparently washed out the window!

The wind blew hard all day today, so I didIMG_2593 a lot of laundry.  Besides the usual two loads, I did a couple of loads of sheets, and then after Gayle came home from getting the truck out of the river I washed another load, of his clothes (he took a hot shower as soon as he got home!).  Everything is dry except that last load–what a treat!

Another thing that was a treat was being home alone for an hour and a half.  Nathan slept the first hour, so it was quiet in here!  I got butter made, and actually got to read for a few minutes.  Later, I did some mending.  I did the easy things in the mending pile–12 pair of pants and a couple of shirts.  There are still several more things that need a little more work.  Next week?

July 7, Sunday.  The wind was still howling this morning!  It rained a bit; as I woke up this morning I remembered the laundry I left on the line last night, trusting the weather report Esther looked at yesterday that said no rain till Tuesday!  Oops.  Gayle went out and brought it in as soon as he was dressed, and it was nearly dry. Whew!  I hate having laundry re-wetted!  The sun came out by the time we left for church, and it was a gorgeous warm day.  This is very unusual, to have an entire week of north-west, warm winds this time of year.  It’s been a nice week, though.

A Japanese man came up to me as I approached the ramp up to the door of our church this morning, asking if this was a church.  When I answered yes, he asked if it was a Christian church, and the next question was when did the service start?  He came in with us and joined in the service, although he knew very little English. He is studying in Christchurch.

We came home early enough to have a few hours to relax this evening.  What a treat!  I went out to the barn to get some things from the freezer.  When I came in, Gayle said, “Looks like you’ve been shopping!”  I said yes, then did a rough calculation of the value of the things I brought in–about $30, and we didn’t spend any money on any of them, just time.  What a blessing!  I brought in peas, cherries, a chicken, and a leg of goat.

He's in love with Esther's singing doll.

He’s in love with Esther’s singing doll.

July 8, Monday.  Today started out rough–no one was in the mood to dig in and get their work done.  As a result, lunch was a little late, but we still got everything done by the usual time.  The mob of dairy cows left today; apparently Vince and Faye moved them down the road to their place by themselves.  It’s been interesting having them here.

The weather changed tonight; soon after Gayle got home, it started to rain, and it’s cold out there!

This afternoon, Nate took a cup  of kombucha down the hall to the boys’ room, and spilled some.  He and Joe came to the kitchen, and Joe told me about it.  I told him to get a towel and mop it up.  Next thing I knew, Nate was at the door holding a rag, begging someone to open it so he could go mop up the spill!  For 15 months, he’s right on top of things.

July 11, Thursday.  It’s been a couple of days since I wrote, because Tuesday evening we sent Esther’s computer with Pete and Dianne.  We had planned to go to Dead Boring Tuesday and pick up my computer, but DB was canceled.  Pete and Di had plans to go to Christchurch Wednesday, so they picked up my computer and an order of bulk foods, and took Esther’s computer down to be fixed–the hard drive seems to be going out on it, too!  I really don’t remember what happened Tuesday, except that we had Bible Study in the evening with Pete and Di and read I Corinthians 11; it was  a springboard for other topics.IMG_2706

Yesterday was a rough day as far as school; we’re having a little trouble with attitudes.  We made it through, though.  In the evening, after Gayle and a couple of boys left for the Men’s Bible Study, I went over to Pete and Dianne’s to pick up the things they brought north for us.  Esther got this computer hooked up again, and is it ever faster than it was!  Apparently, the hard drive had been slowly failing for a long time.  Instead of taking 2-3 minutes for our email account to open up, tonight it took 15 seconds!  It also only takes a minute or so to start up, instead of 5!  What a  difference.

Last night, when Gayle came home, I said it was time to head for bed.  Nathan immediately started waving and saying, “Ni-ni!”  He has so many things figured out.

Today was another cold winter day.  The sun did shine a lot of the day, and inside this end of the house was warm, so no one was uncomfortable.  Seth and Simon have been tilling the garden, the parts we’re done with.  We still have beets, carrots and leeks out there, so they can’t do everything yet.  Our leeks are incredible–they are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and the white part is well over  a foot long!  We have lots of them, too; probably more than we’ll use over the winter.  I’m using them generously in soups!

James's giant harvest!

James’s giant harvest!

July 12, Friday.  I had a disappointment this morning when I went out–but the cow and calf were blissfully happy!  The calf discovered a low spot in the fence and jumped over.  I got a pint of milk.  The boys put a gate across that spot today–hopefully this will not be repeated!

Last evening I came across a recipe for homemade peanut butter.  About six months ago, I ordered peanuts for Gayle (one of his favorite snacks), and got raw ones instead of the roasted salted ones I wanted.  I kept intending to figure out how to roast them, but never got around to it.  This recipe started with raw peanuts, and looked easy, so we tried it this morning!  You put a layer of peanuts on a cookie sheet and roast at 400°F for 7 minutes, stir, roast again for 7 minutes, then cool a bit and process for 7 minutes in the food processor with some salt.  It worked!  The peanuts got a bit over roasted (must be I need to turn it down a bit with fan bake), but still taste good.  It was amazing to watch them turn into butter.  At first, it was just like flour, but at 5 minutes we started seeing oily patches, and by 7 minutes the whole lot was peanut butter!  The children really enjoyed watching the process and sampling the result.  I checked the price of peanuts with our bulk source and it comes out significantly cheaper than the peanut butter we buy, too–with no mono- and di-glycerides in it!  I can’t get natural peanut butter here.  One side effect of sampling it?  Nathan showed up later with a chunk of mud that must have come in on someone’s boot–the same color and consistency of the peanut butter.  Uggh.  At least he didn’t eat it!

School can be very interesting at times, with two preschoolers competing for attention with each other and with the older ones.  Both Joe and Nate are somewhat jealous of Mom’s lap.  Nate is sure that Mom belongs only to him, while Joe would like it to still be that way although he knows it’s not.  Sometimes I feel like I have a circus happening on my lap while I’m sitting on the couch trying to help two boys with Math, one on each side of me, with two little boys on my lap at the same time!

Clothespins sure make a good toy.  Nate just dumped the bucket and is playing with them.  Ours are very colorful, with a lot of pink ones but also several other colors mixed in.  Lots of different shapes, too, and they are just the right size for little hands.

After making peanut butter this morning, Esther was inspired to look for a recipe for Nutella.  We have no hazelnuts, but she found a recipe for a “fake” Nutella using walnuts.  She set to work and put it together, and it is delicious!  She used stevia rather than sugar, so I feel good about eating it.  You can taste the walnuts, but it’s very good anyway!

I’m really enjoying a fast computer–especially at a time like this.  Nathan just unplugged it–instant turn-off.  In just a few minutes, however, I was able to be writing here again, rather than the 5-10 minutes it would have taken before.  And now, he’s hungry and tired.  He found his blanket and climbed onto my lap for a snack.  Busy little boy!

The first letter Nate ever received.

The first letter Nate ever received.

July 13, Saturday.  Another busy, good day!  Gayle went over to Vince’s this morning and borrowed their electric hedge trimmer, to finish the job that was never completed.  The commercial hedge trimmer, the huge machine, was here the beginning of May or end of April, but he couldn’t get the rig in the yard far enough to do half of our side of the hedge.  Gayle and the boys got that done this afternoon, and also trimmed a bush overhanging one of the raised-bed gardens, a big bush in front of the front porch, and a short hedge between another raised bed and the row of black currants.  Sure looks different out there!  Those bushes were getting quite overgrown.

I got another 5-gallon bucketful of carrots washed and a batch canned today, and worked up the rest of one-third of a raised-bed garden.  It’s so wet I can’t do much out there; I’m just turning the grass upside down right now.

It always amazes me how much a baby understands, how early. Nathan is 15 months right now, and understanding a lot even though he looks like he doesn’t, and can’t say more than 5 words or so.  This morning when Gayle was getting ready to go to Vince’s, Joe asked Esther for help to get his coat on to go along. Nate showed up with his coat.  Esther told him no, she didn’t have time to help him.  He came to me and held the coat up pleadingly.  Of course, I put it on him and asked Daddy if he would take Nate, too!  This evening, Nate was playing with a coin.  I asked him to give it to me.  Instead, he pointed to where we keep a cup of coins on a shelf and indicated that he wanted to put it up there.  I held him up, and he happily dropped it in!

July 14, Sunday.  It was pouring this morning–what a blessing that  yesterday was sunny for Gayle and the boys to work outside!  For the first time in memory, the cow was standing in the barn when I went out to milk; always before, she has preferred to stand out under the pine trees even when she had access to the barn.  I think she felt the cold!

Church today was good.  Gayle talked about Jesus’ second coming, and Pete talked about Babylon.  This afternoon we listened to an interview of some men talking about evolution being a religion.

Gayle and the children started a game of Monopoly this evening.  That game has been played a lot, all week.  They’ve kind of had a tournament going.  Esther has played each of her brothers in turn, and she has won when playing against each of them except Simon.  He must be pretty good!

It’s been four weeks now since Joe had his accident, when he slammed into the doorpost when racing down the hallway.  He still has a bruise there, and I think he’ll always have a lump on his forehead.  It’s healed, though, and is solid bone again.  It took a week to start feeling somewhat normal–I’m pretty sure he did crush the bone in that spot.  It’s an oval, about 3/4 inch long and 1/2 inch wide.  He never had any ill effects from it, though–praise God for protection!

July 15, Monday.
 It is noisy in here tonight!  It’s happy noise at the moment, though.  All six oldest children are working in the kitchen, doing dishes and sweeping the floor, and the boys who did not go to America are describing the calf sale they went to while we were gone.  Of course, voices have to be raised to be heard above the din of dishes clattering, and then the next person has to talk louder to be heard above the first speaker….

It rained off and on all day.  We are surrounded by a sea of mud again.  I went out to the garden this afternoon to pull a few leeks, and when I tried to cross the area the boys tilled last week, I nearly got stuck in the mud!  I had Seth take up the temporary fence he had in there to keep the cow out of the areas that I still have produce in.  Next time, I can go around where it isn’t tilled!  We closed the gate so she can’t get in the garden anymore.

I made the goat curry again tonight.  This time, instead of stir-frying the meat I just stewed a set of ribs and picked the meat off.  That worked just as well!  Everyone liked it, although Elijah thought it was just a bit too spicy for him.  I think I’ll make my own curry powder after I use up the 100 grams I just bought.  Last time, I ran out and had Esther google a recipe for curry powder, and I think that batch was a bit better.

We found some recipes lately for muffins-in-a-mug, which you cook in the microwave.  We have no microwave, so a few times I’ve done them in the oven.  That uses too much energy, though, if you aren’t using the oven anyway, so when I wanted one for a snack today I tried steaming it with my vegetable steamer pan.  It worked!  After 10 minutes I had a perfect muffin-in-a-bowl!  I had to share with two little boys who love whatever Mommy eats.  Joe was unhappy that I didn’t make one just for him!

Simon is working up a bit of land beside the garden, to plant Atlantic Giant pumpkins in.  He wants to grow a huge one!  He and James went out in one of the paddocks this afternoon, and found half a large bale of hay that the cows didn’t eat.  They are bringing it up to mulch their pumpkin plants.  Hope he succeeds in growing a big one!

July 16, Tuesday.  We had Dead Boring today.  It was the last one for Term 2, so it was the combined meeting, with both groups.  We did not take stories today, and met at noon for lunch and the afternoon together.  It’s so nice to have a time like this occasionally!  When we left, we couldn’t find Joe’s gum boots.  Someone remembered seeing one of the moms pick them up, saying they were hers.  Hers were still sitting there–they were the same style, but bigger!  She lived only a couple of miles away, so after calling her to make sure she had them, we went over to get them.  We got there, and gave her her own boots–but her son had taken Joe’s back over!  Crossed wires here.  Oh, well; at least it wasn’t very far.  She remembered that she had offered, a year or two ago, to give me a seedling Black Boy peach tree, so we dug that up and brought it home, and she also gave me a few lemons from their heavily-laden tree–yum!  We went back to the original location, and got Joe’s boots!

On our way home, we stopped at Recycling.  The prize find today was a 6-quart cast iron Dutch oven!  It’s quite rusty, but I know I can clean it up easily and season it.  What a find!  New, on Trade Me, they run up to $500.  There was no lid, but I found a glass lid that fits for a dollar.  Esther was asking why I wanted a rusty pan, until I told her I’ll use it to make curry!

I told Joe tonight that I was going out to milk the cow, and he said, “No!”  I asked him if he meant that I shouldn’t milk the cow–he said, “Yes!”  I asked him why.  He pondered the question–“Hmm,” and then fell off his stool!  He wasn’t hurt, and I asked, “Is that why?”  He answered, “Yes–you might fall off the stool!”

July 17, Wednesday.  School went well this morning.  I’m so thankful that the boys have gotten into a good routine and work pretty diligently.  It makes life a lot easier!  It warmed up today, and was very nice most of the day.  The boys spent time working outside this afternoon.  At lunch, something was said about roses needing pruned, and Simon offered to do the job for $15.  I said others could bid, too, and I would give the job to the lowest bidder.  Seth got it for $3.50!  I ended up auctioning several jobs to the lowest bidder, and said they must be done before the end of the month or they’ll lose the option to do the job for pay.  Hopefully, it will soon look a lot better around the house!  I’m hoping to plant herbs in the spaces between rose bushes in the beds on either side of the house.  I found a lot of herb seeds when I inventoried last week, that I would like to try–Ros gave us a lot of seeds last year when she moved into town.

I worked on cleaning up the cast iron pan today.  It’s looking much better!  I’ve greased it and heated it in the oven twice, and plan to do at least two more coats tomorrow.  I read online that several thin coats of grease, well cooked in, do better than one thick coat.  I hope it works–I spent a lot of time and energy scrubbing with a metal scratcher!

July 18, Thursday.  School went well today.  I’m so happy with the way the boys are reading so much better!  You can’t convince them that they are (at least, they won’t admit it), but they sure are.  Seth can now figure out 4- and 5-syllable words without too much trouble.  When we were reading in Family Worship this evening, he read the word “musick” and all three older boys easily figured out what was wrong with the spelling (/ic/ at the end of multi-syllable words is always spelled “ic” rather than “ick”; in all other cases, the /k/ sound after a short vowel is spelled “ck” at the end of a word.)

I went out to the garden to dig a couple of giant leeks for supper, and found cow tracks through one of the carrot patches, and then found some broken-off carrots!  The garden gate was left open last night.  She didn’t pull up very many, though, and those she did broke off underground.  I dug up the broken parts, plus more carrots, washed them all up, and gave the cow part of the scraps and ones we didn’t want to eat, tonight.  We have so many that I’m feeding some to her.  Keeps her willing to come for milking!

July 19, Friday.  It was raining this morning when I got up, but turned out to be mostly sunny and fairly warm all day.  The boys finished school early (three of them had quizzes for Math, which went fast), and went out to play. Even Nate was out with them when I called them in for lunch.  He loves to be out with his brothers!

Gayle didn’t get home from work till 7:00 tonight!  He put in 13 3/4 hours today.  Bryan gave him a pork roast as a thank-you for sticking with the job till it was finished.

July 20, Saturday.  We had a beautiful day!  It was so lovely that at noon  Gayle asked ifIMG_2732 we could take lunch to Gore Bay. I had a pork roast and scalloped potatoes in the oven, and decided that we could make it work.  So that’s what we did!  The tide was high when we got there, and there were big waves today.  We ate quickly in the playground, at a picnic table, and then the boys took off to find the log they used for a raft last time we were there.  It was still floating, so they started working on moving it from one lagoon to another, where they could go farther.  It got stuck, so we just left it and went on to where we had agreed to walk today.

We had heard that there was an old Maori cemetery in a grove of pine trees just north along the beach, so we went that direction. First we had to cross a small stream–which we figured out later was the Jed River! It was only an inch or so deep, but waves were washing over it regularly, and we got slightly wet!  Seth, carrying Nathan, was bringing up the rear, when he realized that we had left Joe behind; he apparently didn’t want to cross the water.  Seth carried both little fellows across!IMG_2742

Just before we got to the pine trees, we saw a sign pointing inland, saying “Jed Cemetery”.  We followed the trail along the edge of the Jed estuary.  Part of it was really fun to go through–bushes on one side and shoulder-high grass on the other, with the trail just wide enough for one person.  A little farther along, the trail went between a pine woods and the estuary.  As we were going through there, Joe asked me if we would see a pile of heads.  He had never been in a cemetery!  I assured him that we wouldn’t see any dead people.  We found another sign, which showed us where the cemetery was; it turned out to be for the white settlers in the early days.  Some of the people buried there were drowned while loading/unloading wool or other goods there at Gore Bay or Port Robinson.  We had to climb a steep hill to reach the cemetery–what a view from the top!  There were about nine marked graves, and a diagram showing several more unmarked ones and some suspected graves.  Joe was quite impressed with one grave, that of a 3-year-old girl, but got confused with another that was of a man drowned in the Jed River.  He thought the girl drowned in the river.  After exploring the cemetery, we went back down, trying to determine how bodies were carried up there.  There are traces of an old road going up, but in places it is totally obliterated and we couldn’t see how a vehicle could even get through to the top!

As we walked back towards the van, along the beach, we got back to the Jed River and saw two couples with a few children putting rocks across for stepping stones.  One couple went across with nearly dry feet–and then a huge wave came in and doused them halfway up to their knees!  They laughed, and then went back, through the water.  The boys went  back to their log, and this time, with Gayle’s help, succeeded in getting it to the lagoon they wanted it in.  They poled it around for awhile, and then dragged it out when we were ready to leave.  What a good family time!

July 21, Sunday.  This was a shaky day.  I got up this morning as usual, and was working on food in the kitchen when I heard a couple of jars rattle together. I looked up and didn’t see the bags drying on the line on the other side of the kitchen swaying, so didn’t think much about it.  A few seconds later, they rattled again.  Still no movement.  Then, a few seconds after that, the whole house started gently rolling.  That went on for about half a minute–the first earthquake I’ve felt in about a year!  I looked it up, and it was near Cook Strait, where there have been several quakes over the past few days, and was 5.9.IMG_2843

We got around and went to church, with an absolutely gorgeous morning.  We have such a beautiful drive to church! The sun was shining brightly today.  After the service, during which Barry read from John 13 and talked about the meaning of Jesus’ washing feet (continual cleansing, the “washing of water by the Word”), Esther and I went to a book sale down the street for a little while and then we went to Ohau Falls up the coast IMG_2848to see the baby seals.  There weren’t nearly as many there as sometimes we’ve been there, but the ones that were playing in the water were quite entertaining!  After we left the falls, we stopped at an overlook along the coast and got to see baby seals nursing!  I had never seen that before.  Some babies were playing in a rock pool that was raised up out of the water.  They are so cute!  We also stopped at a place where there were no seals and let the boys play for a little while,



and then went to Ken and Margaret’s for awhile.  We were sitting in their living room, visiting, when suddenly the house started shaking.  It shook and rattle for a little, then slowed down, then got a lot more violent!  There was another quake in the Cook Strait area, near Wellington.  The first report was 6.2; then 6.9.  A news report I just saw said 6.5, so I’m not sure what it was, but big!  No fatalities, it doesn’t sound like, maybe one injury.  Not much damage to buildings.  As I said, it was a shaky day!

July 22, Monday.
 School was rough today–we got a late start, and didn’t finish the “morning” work till 1:30!  That made lunch be at around 2:00, but we still finished for the day by 3:30.  The boys didn’t IMG_2879know what to do with themselves then, but I chased them outside because it was such a lovely day.  We had nor-wester weather, without the wind!  It was still so warm tonight when I went out to milk that I was sweating with my coat on.  Quite a different feeling for this time of year!

The cow has plenty to eat right now.  The paddocks that Vince had oats in for winter grazing are growing back, so we turned her in there for the day, about a week ago.  She loves having that much space to roam in!  She’s always ready to come in for milking, carrots or pumpkin, and hay in the evening–tonight I saw her racing in the driveway!

Elijah and Nate

Elijah and Nate

July 23, Tuesday.  School went much better today–we were finished by 12:30.  How nice.  It was cool and drippy today, but the boys spent the afternoon outside anyway.  Vince and Faye came by this afternoon and dug up the rosebushes along the driveway.  They hadn’t been doing very well, so Faye decided she would move them over to their place and see if they would do better.  I’m glad to have fewer roses to worry about!  The ones along the house are enough.  Vince had a calf for us today; it got left behind when the cows were sent to the farm.  I had told him I wanted a bull calf to raise as a steer for meat, so he let us know about it.  We need to pay for this one, but hopefully he’ll grow fast and be worth it.

We finally got the results of the testing on Esther’s computer today–it’s basically junk.  The DVD drive failed, and the hard drive is in the process of failing.  To fix it costs more than a new one we found online that looks good (and I talked to our friend who runs a computer shop about it), so we’re buying her a new one.  She’s excited about that prospect!IMG_2953

July 24, Wednesday.  It was warm again today, and the boys spent more time chopping down some trees that Vince wants to get rid of.  Just before we finished school this afternoon, Ros and a friend of hers popped in to say hello; they have been bicycling around lately.  We chatted for a few minutes before they went on their way.  I went in to the village after that to buy some milk powder for the calf, and chicken feed.  It’s great to grow our own food–but we still have to buy feed for the animals sometimes!

Gayle and two of the boys are at the Anglican Bible Study tonight.  Elijah almost didn’t get to go, but at the last minute he got his job done so he could!

Joe has been added to the kitchen clean-up crew.  We decided, last week, that he is big enough to rinse dishes now, so that is his job every meal.  We do have someone assigned each day to help him out with big things and when he gets behind.  He loved the job at first, but by now?  It’s becoming work.

July 25, Thursday. Hi all, Esther here. Mum’s in bed with a headache tonight so she isn’t able to write. Hopefully she’ll be better in the morning!

July 26, Friday.  Thanks, Esther!  I’m much better tonight, praise God!  We had a stiff nor-wester blowing yesterday, which is probably why I had a headache.  The laundry dried, anyway!

The boys are listening to an audio version of My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George.  I bought the book at the book sale Sunday, and Elijah started reading it to Simon.  Simon fell in love with it and immediately wanted the audiobook. I told him if he would read two chapters, I’d buy him the book!  He got through those two chapters in a few days.  This gives me an idea…maybe I can get him to read more, if I can find the right books!  There are three more sequels to this, and Hatchet.  This has possibilities!

Gayle worked 12 1/2 hours today again.  This has been a very long week for him.  Hope next week is a little easier.

Nathan isn’t feeling good again.  It seems like every time he has teeth coming in he gets a fever and is congested.  He’s a miserable little fellow.

July 27, Saturday.  Poor Nate was pretty miserable all day today.  He ran a fever a lot of the day and just generally grumped.  I sure hope he gets better quickly!

This hungry calf followed Seth up onto the porch.

This hungry calf followed Seth up onto the porch.

Gayle and the boys had a productive day.  They got some logs cut up into firewood, worked on the lawn mower, and burned a huge pile of brush.  It looks better around here!  I got another bucket of carrots scrubbed and two batches canned.  We’ve gotten less than half the carrots dug, and already have plenty canned for nearly a year!  I think the cow will be eating a lot.

Yesterday, Gayle brought home some Saveloys, a special kind of sausage, kind of like hot dogs but much better.  He had made a mistake with this batch and made them an inch too short, so decided to buy some of them.  He heard this week that a restaurant in Kaikoura uses them to make corn dogs, so wanted me to try it.  I had found a recipe recently (it happens to be gluten-free, for what that’s worth), so Esther and I did that for supper.  Yum!  It wasn’t too hard, either.  Everybody enjoyed them–Nathan has discovered that everyone else eats sausages with ketchup and so he has to have it, too!

July 28, Sunday.  Nathan is feeling better, finally.  He’s still congested, but he’s eating again, at least.  Nursing is hard, since he’s having trouble breathing, but he ate at the table tonight.

We went to church today.  I wasn’t in on the service much; I was trying to get Nathan to nurse, both for his sake and mine, and it took awhile till he would settle down to business.  Kathryn was there, and I had a good chat with her.  She’ll be gone the next two Sundays, so it was good to see her this time!

The library building, next to our church, was torn down a couple of weeks ago.  The site was leveled and enlarged (a bit more of the cliff was torn away), and the city is planning a 3-story building, which is to house the museum, the library, and the Council rooms.  It’s interesting to see the changes each week, but we’ve lost our parking place.  Now we have to park on the road.  This afternoon, while most people were listening to a message, I stayed in the entry with Kathryn’s girls

and Nathan (Kathryn asked me to watch the girls while she ran an errand), and we watched a man pull an excavator bucket out of the construction site and load it on a semi truck, using the excavator to pick it up.  That was interesting–and all four little ones were fascinated!

We stopped at the beach at Goose Bay on our way home (the continental shelf drops off only about 100 meters offshore there), and the boys had fun with a river that runs underground through the gravel bar that makes up the beach.  The gravel is pretty uniform, pieces 1/8-1/4 inch in diameter, and obviously the water easily gets through it.  The river went into the gravel just after the bridge, and emerged about 50 feet away and ran into the sea.

Simon decided to dig a channel so the water could flow on the surface, and used a paua (abalone) shell I found as a shovel, but gave up after awhile. We brought the shell, and another one Elijah found, home to use as soap dishes at the sinks.  You don’t often find such big, perfect ones!

July 29, Monday.
 Esther’s birthday today!  She is now 15.  Amazing how fast 15 years can go by!  I took the boys to town this afternoon and several of them got gifts for her–a hot water bottle, bag of potato chips, and can of fruit salad!  We gave her some socks yesterday, which she had requested.

Esther wanted to invite Pete and Di over for tonight, so we did.  Dianne had plans, but Pete came.  I was working on supper when he got here, so he offered to help cook, and made the meat/bean mixture for strawhats!  What a help.  I really appreciated it.  Esther made a pavlova for herself–one of the best she’s ever made!  Now, everyone except me is playing SPOONS.  They’re having fun!

July 30, Tuesday.  Nathan is feeling better enough that he only woke up once during the night last night.  He was grouchy most all day, though.  It’s tough when you can’t figure out anything to make baby happy.

This morning was very cold, with a hard frost, but it got so warm this afternoon that a light jacket was too much to wear when I went out to work in the garden!  Winters here are so different from Michigan.

Pete and Dianne came tonight for Bible Study.  We read and discussed I Corinthians 12.

July 31, Wednesday.  School went well again today.  Nathan was happier, finally.  I discovered tonight that his bottom molars have come through; hopefully he stays happier for awhile!  That’s probably why he was sick over the weekend.  Seth put him in the backpack and took him for a walk to the ford this afternoon; Simon, James and Joe rode their bikes along, too.  The house was quiet for over an hour! That gave Esther time to write and I got to start supper and work in the garden.   Simon came home with a slide whistle made out of bamboo!

Esther cut out a nightgown for herself Monday, and this evening she started sewing it.  She’s nearly half finished already, and doing a very good job.

Posted in Letters | Leave a comment

June 2013

June 2, Sunday.  We went to Christchurch yesterday and again today, to attend a conference on the home.  There were two speakers from America there, Kevin Swanson and Scott Brown.  Both had a lot of very encouraging, convicting, and helpful insights to share about home life and raising a family.  The conference started a little before 1:00 yesterday afternoon.  It was three hours till the first break, so I took all the boys and went to do the grocery shopping that needed done, while Gayle and Esther attended the meeting.  We decided to do it that way so the boys wouldn’t go quite so stir-crazy.  They did very well at helping me get the shopping done efficiently, and we also picked up a computer desk we bought for Esther off Trade Me.  We got back to the Baptist church where the conference was held just a few minutes after the break.  There were four more messages throughout the afternoon and evening, with a break halfway through for supper (each family on their own).  There was a nice-sized crowd, maybe 50-75 people.  We had met a few people before, and know the parents of one mother.  A large percentage of the crowd came from a church in Hokitika, on the West Coast.  We really enjoyed talking to them!  That’s a group we’d like to visit sometime.  The service let out shortly before 9:00 and we got home by 10:30.  After unloading the vanful of purchases, we got to bed as quickly as possible.  Pete had milked for us–so glad he’s willing to do that!

    This morning we went to Christchurch again for the rest of the conference.  Today it was held at a different church, not too far from the first one.  Scott preached this morning about the home again, a lot more points on what it takes to have a Godly home, and after a half hour break for morning (noon) tea, Kevin preached about Developing a Family Economy.  After that we enjoyed a shared lunch and more fellowship.  We finally got away about 4:00 and came home, where the boys have been very active–reacting to a weekend of going!  We made new friends this weekend; met people from Hokitika, Auckland, Oamaru, and Christchurch.  Esther got to meet face-to-face a girl she met online; a friend of Neil’s girls.  There were a few other teenage girls there, too, and Esther really enjoyed being with godly young women.  What a refreshing time!

June 3, Monday.  Today was Queen’s Birthday, a national holiday, so Gayle got to stay home!  We had rather a busy day.  For starters, Gayle and the boys went to Spotswood to pick up about 9 chickens that a woman wanted to get rid of.  We’ll probably butcher them; most, if not all are roosters.  While they were there, they helped her chop up part of a beef carcass that she had for dog tucker, with an axe!  She gave the boys a ride-on little car and a small stroller that folds up for easy transport.  The boys had fun pushing Nathan around in it tonight, and he loved it, too! 

Totally exhausted.

Totally exhausted.


   Soon after they got back home, David and Kathy arrived.  They live in Greta Valley, and are part of the Open Brethren church in Waikari that we visited the day the children and I left for America, on our way to the airport.  They are an older couple.  We had a nice visit with them, and they took home a ride-on lawn mower that the neighbor Seth and Simon have been working for gave them as payment.  It’s not running, so he is going to work on it; that is his business.  He says it’s a very good mower and hardly used, so they will have a valuable piece of equipment if he can fix it.













   This afternoon it started raining so we didn’t do much.  I spent several hours watching DVDs to prepare for starting the next level of Barton next week.  

June 4, Tuesday.  Back to school!  It rained all day, so it was an inside day.  I told the boys they didn’t have to dig their potatoes today, since it was so cold and wet–if they didn’t get too wild!  Well, two of them had a noisy tussle, so out they went and got their potatoes dug for the day.  The other two were smarter.  

   Gayle is in a lot of pain.  He has a tooth that has been bothering him some for months, but last night a filling broke out of it.  I was able to get an appointment for him with a dentist–for next Monday.  This may be a long week for him.

June 5, Wednesday.  We were thankful for sunshine today!  Our steer that is in a friend’s paddock a couple of miles away got out a few weeks ago, and was with someone else’s cattle.  Those steers went away a few days ago, and ours was left in the yards, so he needed moved back to where he was supposed to be.  After school was done this afternoon, Seth, Simon and James went over to put him away.  Thankfully, he cooperated well. 

He likes to lay down on his back to play with things!

He likes to lay down on his back to play with things!


   It’s been pretty crazy in here tonight.  I think it’s wintertime!  It’s cold outside, so everyone is in the living room and kitchen when it’s dark.  Somehow we need to learn how to get along better in close proximity!  It helps when I can come up with jobs for boys.

June 6, Thursday.  School went well today.  Joe is still requesting his reading and math lessons.  I’ve learned something about him, though:  He is a lot like Simon, in that he has to be first in a race.  If the computer “gets” the answer before him, he crumples!  He does recover fairly quickly and go on, but he sure doesn’t like to be beaten.  

Today's harvest from the garden

Today’s harvest from the garden


Middle of the winter, and look at the garden!

Middle of the winter, and look at the garden!


   I spent a little time outside again, weeding and harvesting in a raised bed.  It’s fun to still be bringing in vegetables!  Back in December, I bought six celery plants for a dollar, figuring I wouldn’t lose much if they didn’t produce.  I had never grown celery before, and thought of it as being something tricky.  Well, that has been a very good investment.  I had been buying a head or two of celery when I went to Christchurch.  We’d use it till it was gone or had gone bad, then not have any for a long time.  Now, I have it growing out there and whenever I want some I just pull off a stem or two or however many.  It doesn’t go bad; it keeps multiplying!  I’ve used several dollars worth of it already, and have the equivalent of at least six heads of celery out there now!  That is something I will be growing again. 

   Gayle worked till 6:30 tonight.  One of their cookers is broken down, so instead of cooking a double batch of dog rolls all at once, they have to do it in two batches.  Each batch takes 3-4 hours, so he had to stay late.  Sure hope they get that thing going again soon!

   Joe told me this afternoon, “I am getting worn out of taking naps.  I want to skip sleeping for a few days.”  He figures he should only have to take a nap occasionally, rather than every day!  (And he didn’t sleep this afternoon.)

June 7, Friday.  The cow was in heat today, so we took her, this afternoon, to Ben’s place.  He has Angus bulls, and said we could use one to (hopefully) produce next year’s calf.  Seth helped me get hooked up to Nigel’s deer float, which is what we’ve used several times to move our cattle around.  We got her loaded with no trouble, by offering her apples!  She’ll do anything to get another apple.  When we got her over there, she was quite happy to see a bull, but when he mounted her the first time she fell down in the mud.  After that, she wouldn’t stand still very well, so I finally decided to leave her overnight and see if that will do the trick.  We’ll go get her as soon as it’s light in the morning.

   Nathan went with Gayle into the laundry room this evening when Gayle got home.  He opened the diaper bucket, pulled out a diaper, put it in the washer, then closed the washer door!  I think he’s been watching what I do. One of his favorite things to do is to turn the water on in the kitchen sink and play with it.  

June 8, Saturday.  Gayle, Seth, Simon and I went over to Ben’s this morning soon after 7:00, to pick up our cow.  Thankfully, she was fine, and we got her loaded and home with no problems.  We lost a few quarts of milk by not milking last night, and her having little feed for a day, but nothing major.  Sure hope we get a calf from this!

Like father, like son.

Like father, like son.


   We had visitors coming for lunch today, so that was the focus this morning.  Peter and Carolien, and Sam, came.  They live near Greta Valley, and Carolien and Sam used to come to Dead Boring.  Since he is in high school (at home), they have quit coming.  We had a very good visit with them; we are on the same page, spiritually, in most areas.  That’s good to find!  They brought Seth and Simon’s riding mower home, which David took home with him to work on, Monday.  They live next door to each other, so that worked well.  The mower is now running, although it does not have a reverse gear any more.  The boys mowed lawn with it this afternoon.  They are thrilled to have their own mower–and a riding one, to boot!

June 9, Sunday.  We had an exciting trip to church this morning!  As we were driving along the coast, suddenly I saw a spout offshore–a whale!  It was only a few hundred feet from the shore, at the edge of a huge crowd of seagulls.  There was probably a shoal of fish, which is why the whale would have been there in that spot.  We pulled off immediately and watched for several minutes.  The whale spouted a couple of times a minute.  After several minutes, we decided we had better get moving again, but when we rounded the next curve we saw Pete and Dianne pulled off–they saw us and were concerned that something was wrong, and then they, too saw the whale.  We stopped again and watched with them for several minutes.  What a special experience!  

   Kathryn was at church this morning with her new baby, little Noah.  What a sweetie!  Our children really enjoyed holding him.  He slept nearly the whole time.

   Esther came up with something interesting tonight.  She told us, at the supper table, that it is impossible to move your right foot in clockwise circles, then, while doing that, to make a “6” in the air with your right hand. We all tried it, to prove her wrong–and found out that she was right!  It is apparently impossible.  The left side of your brain cannot tell two limbs to perform opposite tasks at the same time.  We had a lot of fun experimenting with that, and discovered that if you have your left foot making clockwise circles you can make a “6” with your right hand–the two halves of your brain can give that kind of commands.  Interesting!  I love homeschooling–we are always learning! (For example, when we were in Kaikoura we passed an Intercity bus.  The boys just learned the meaning of the prefix Inter, so I asked them what that name means and they were able to figure it out.)

June 10, Monday.  We went to Christchurch today.  Gayle had a dentist appointment in Kaiapoi for his wisdom tooth that broke last week, and we all went.  That meant working as fast as possible all morning to get school done, which we actually accomplished–although I did leave some of the reading-aloud for another day.  I was pleased with how well the children worked.  Simon finished level 5 of Barton today!  Seth did Thursday, and Elijah will, probably, this Thursday.  That is exciting!  It’s also exciting to see them being able to read so much better.

   I packed sandwiches for our lunch, and we ate in the Harris Meats parking lot while we waited for Gayle; he was finishing up a job and didn’t come out till we’d been there about 15 minutes.  He ate, then, on the way south, and we also had family worship before we got to Kaiapoi.  After we dropped him off, we ran to Rangiora to run a few errands.  Esther’s glasses have been coming apart, so I dropped her off at the eye doctor’s to get them fixed, and went to the bulk foods store to get some yeast.  Then, Gayle still hadn’t called me to say he was done, so we stopped at a large secondhand shop.  We found a lot of glass cups, which we were looking for, and several other things we can sure use.  I even found a book I was wanting to read to the children this year!  Jenny has it, but someone else borrowed it and hasn’t returned it yet. We got back to Kaiapoi, and read a chapter of it while we waited for Gayle.  When he came, we rejoiced that his tooth hadn’t been infected, and the dentist was able to get it pulled today!  He will be going back in three weeks to get some cavities filled, but this troublesome tooth is gone.

    After the main business of the day was done, we went to Christchurch.  After picking up a computer keyboard and mouse that Esther bought off Trade Me, we went to the mall and did a bit of shopping, then headed back north.  It’s always good to get out of the traffic of the city and get back home!  After we got home we found out that we missed an earthquake centered just north of Cheviot!  It happened about 5:30, when we were still in town.

   When I went out to milk, I discovered that we were robbed tonight.  I called the cow, as usual–but two sets of eyes came to me in the dark!  The calf had jumped a fence and helped himself to a gallon of milk.  The boys electrified the fence for us after that.  Hope he doesn’t do it again.

June 11, Tuesday.  Today was Dead Boring, in Waipara.  After lunch, we showed the group the video Esther made of our farm in Michigan just before we left.  Seemed like everyone enjoyed seeing it!  We also watched one that a DB family made this year for a competition, titled Peach vs. Wild, about how the one boy got lost on his way to a music lesson and survived on the “drought-stricken Canterbury plains” for a week!  It was very well done, and very funny.  It’s on YouTube, if anyone is interested.  It won a prize in the competition!

   Pete came this evening; Dianne hardly slept last night and stayed home to rest.  We talked about the conference we went to a week ago, and studied I Corinthians 9.

June 12, Wednesday.  I was pleasantly surprised by how well school went today, after a couple of big days.  I never know what to expect!  Poor Joe waited all day for his reading lesson, though, and I kept putting him off until 9:00 tonight.  I just was not mentally able to fit that in earlier.  He told me, when I first told him it would have to be after supper, “I think they (the voices who teach the lesson–he believes it is real people that he is interacting with) are gone.  They will come home later.  They will eat supper when we do and get the lesson ready.”  He was thrilled to get to do the math lesson, finally. IMG_1971

Our Jersey/Belted Galloway steer.

Our Jersey/Belted Galloway steer.


   The boys have gone over the whole potato patch now, so they started tilling it today, and picking up the potatoes that get churned up to the surface.  They brought in four gallons from the three rounds they made of the patch, so I’m cooking them up tonight.  I brought in another bushel of beets, too, to can.  Lots of good food!

June 13, Thursday.  School went well today again.  James slept till 10:00, but still had his math done by 11:00!  He is really fast.  Elijah was done in good time, too.  It helped that they could not do the work they normally do on the computer (20 minutes each)–the modem is acting up and internet is on again-off again.  

   Winter is definitely here; it is COLD!  Nights are well below freezing, which means that the house is quite cold by morning.  We’re sure thankful for a good woodstove!  We’ve been running the heat pump most mornings, too, to warm the kitchen up.  It’st the time of year that you do your business down the hall as fast as possible and hustle back into the kitchen/living room again!  I even sometimes put a jacket on to run to the bathroom.  At least it warms up some in the afternoon and the boys can be outside.  Nathan begs to go out; he’ll sometimes find his jacket and ask for someone to put it on.

   Gayle got home early today–4:30!  He averaged 11 1/2 hours a day last week, but today was only about 10 1/2; much better.

June 15, Saturday.  I wrote last night–but we are having severe internet issues and it got lost.  We’re not sure yet if the modems are giving out (we’ve been alternating between two that we have, both the same age), or if it’s the phone jack we have to use, or the phone lines!  We’ve ordered a new modem, so when we get it we’ll find out if that is the issue.  Internet is working for 5-10 minutes, then shutting off for anywhere from a minute to a few hours before it comes back on.  Tonight, I’ll copy and paste what I write into something else before I shut down!  

   Yesterday was just a normal day anyway.  We did school, and the boys went out in the afternoon and dragged an old bale feeder out of the rubbish pile that was here when we moved here.  They are working on fixing it.  Last night, they did some cutting, and tonight they were working on welding it.  They are having great fun, and hopefully learning something.IMG_2018

   Today was cold and rainy.  The living room is warm, though–what a blessing!  We butchered 10 chickens this morning that were given to us a couple of weeks ago.  It only took about an hour!  Then, while we were eating lunch, Dianne called to ask if we wanted more.  They brought them over a little later; seven more to butcher!  We’ll do them another time.  Gayle thought about butchering a sheep, but it started raining so he found inside things to do.

   I got another bushel of beets canned today.  I think I’ll stop with them and get tiny potatoes and carrots done.  We have so much food around here!

Little thief--ran off with a loaf of bread!

Little thief–ran off with a loaf of bread!


June 16, Sunday.  It has rained all day.  The ground is saturated, and the boys report that by tomorrow there will be a river through our paddocks again.  Fun! (Not really.)

   We had a full house for church this morning.  What a pleasant surprise to find Helen and her girls there when we walked in!  Pete and Dianne’s friend Sally and her son, and two of her friends, also came.  Gayle preached on Satan, who he is, where he came from, and the influence he has on the world.  It was very good.  After lunch, we listened to a message on heaven, then had a prayer meeting together with those who had stuck around.  It was good to see Margaret feeling better!  She had an attack of Bell’s Palsy a couple of weeks ago, and on Monday this past week, early in the morning, she fainted.  Praise God, she recovered quickly!  After we left church, we went up the hill and visited Alistair and Catherine for awhile.  Gayle told me after we left, “I went to encourage Alastair, but he’s encouraging me!”

    We had quite the time last night.  Soon after I finished writing last night’s entry, as I was wrapping things up in the kitchen, I heard running steps in the hallway, then a crash, and a scream.  I went quickly to see what happened, and there was Joe.  He had tripped and fallen, hitting his forehead hard against the doorpost.  I took him to my rocking chair and held him, holding the spot he hit tightly to keep it from swelling so much.  After a few minutes I looked at the spot and felt it with my fingertips–and was horrified that it felt squishy.  I told Gayle, “I think Joe fractured his skull!”  We had an immediate family prayer meeting, then tried to decide what to do next.  I had the thought to call Jeni, since she is a naturopath.  I called and briefly described the situation, and she said, “I’ll pop right around.”  She was here in a few minutes, and checked his pupils for proper dilation, which I had already done.  They were dilating normally, and he was able to close his eyes and touch his nose, so we felt like there was no swelling on his brain.  Within an hour after he got hurt, he was running around, looking at books, talking and laughing like nothing had happened, so we decided he must not be hurt too seriously.  We did wake him up at 2:00 this morning to check him, and he was fine then, so we let him sleep till 9:00 this morning.  He seems perfectly fine, just a large bruise.  I think probably what I felt was swelling from the hard bump.  What a scare!

June 17, Monday.  What a day!  I woke up at 5:22 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, so afterIMG_2026

A creek running into the river by the ford.

A creek running into the river by the ford.

about 10 minutes I got up.  After dressing, I headed down the hallway to the laundry room to start another load washing.  I noticed that the kitchen light was on–very odd, as Gayle had left for work about 5:15 and he always turns the light off.  I went through into the kitchen, and there he was, trying to make a phone call, dripping wet!  I asked why he was here, and he said he had gotten the truck stuck in the ford at the end of our road where it intersects with the highway.  It’s been raining for several days, and rained all night, and the river was high.  He didn’t realize how high till he was in the middle and the truck flooded and stalled.  He climbed out the window of the truck (praise God it didn’t have electric windows!), walked along the bed of the truck, and jumped down into a foot of water to wade to solid ground.  Then, he tried calling both my cell phone and the landline, but I never heard them, because there were two shut doors between them and me.  

   We got the van and a rope and went to try to pull the truck out, but when we got there, it was gone.  Gayle walked a little ways along the banks of the river, but couldn’t see the truck anywhere.  We came back home, he changed clothes, and went to work with the van after I packed him another lunch.  After breakfast, when Vince came to feed the cows, I asked him if he would pull the truck out of the river.  He said sure–after the water goes down!  He went over later, and saw that the river was deeper than the tractor, and couldn’t see the truck anywhere.  He showed Seth and Simon, when they were helping him move some cattle, where to go to look for it, after the water went down a bit, so the older children all went after school this afternoon.  They found it, 50-100 meters from the road, still under water (it was flowing a few inches above the top of the cab).  We knew the truck’s days were numbered; the mechanic said he would not be able to pass it at the next WOF in six months because the rust was getting bad.  It would have cost more to fix than the truck was worth.  This forces the issue–we will be junking that truck as soon as we can get it out of the river.  We are so thankful that it’s only a truck that got hurt!  That can be replaced; Gayle can’t.  I’ve been rejoicing all day at God’s mercy!

   The sun came out most of the day–what a beautiful sight!  

June 19, Wednesday.  I had a bad headache all day yesterday, so went to bed immediately after supper.  It’s a bit better today, but still bothersome; hopefully it will disappear tomorrow.

   We had Dead Boring yesterday. It was not the normal week, but Ali and the children were in the area and very much wanted to see everyone–and we all wanted to see them!  Twizel is far enough away that we don’t see them often.  A couple of families from the Waimak group came, too, who have been part of DB for years and years–Ruth and Joli and their children.  It was good to see them, too.  Ruth gave me some milk kefir grains and water kefir grains, so we’re trying two new cultures.  (At the moment, we have those two going, plus 14 jars of kombucha, plus two sourdough cultures, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, and cheese in the fridge and sourkraut and pickles on the porch–I told Esther we are really becoming a cultured family!)  

   On our way home, we stopped at the ford to check on the truck.  The river had gone down enough that we could see the cab, and Simon was able to jump over onto it and fish some things out.  He salvaged Gayle’s lunchbox and water jug!  I was thankful for that; it’s a good lunchbox and I didn’t know where to look for another.  The carrot salad I had packed for him was unhurt; the container was sealed so tightly that no water got in, so he ate that today for lunch!  He had ridden to work with Doug, and they showed up while we were there, so he saw his truck, also.IMG_2063

   This morning, Vince asked for Seth’s help moving some calves, and they also went to look at the truck.  The water was down below the hood today.  A man with a digger is planning to come tomorrow to try to pull it out of the river, if the water doesn’t rise again.  It’s been raining lightly all day, and supposed to snow a lot the next two days.

   A telephone company repairman came this morning to work on the phone lines.  We were not able to receive calls Monday, besides the problem with internet.  He found the problem–the wire going from the jack in the kitchen to the jack in the bedroom had gone bad!  He disconnected that, and we have had no more problems.  Meanwhile, we bought a new modem, and had already installed it this morning.  It shut off, just as the others had, before the problem was fixed, but now it’s working perfectly.  So, now we have three working modems!  Oh, well.  We shouldn’t have ordered it, but we didn’t know.

   Gayle got home at 4:30 this afternoon!  Yesterday, too.  I’m glad for that time, rather than 5:30 or 6:00!  

June 20, Thursday.  It rained all night and poured most of the day.  IMG_2073 IMG_2091 IMG_2098We’ve gotten 3 1/2 inches in the past 24 hours.  No chance of getting the truck out of the river today!  Gayle rode to work with Doug today, so I was able to take rubbish to the dump.  The flooding was incredible–paddocks are now lakes.  One place on our road and one on Mina Road as we went into Cheviot had water flowing across the road.  Ditches are raging torrents.  I saw snow on the hill just north of the Camel’s Hump, so I won’t be at all surprised if it makes it down to our level by morning.  The power kept flickering all day; it was often off for a minute and soon after Gayle got home it went off for 5-10 minutes.  We were pleasantly surprised when it came back on then.  It’s been on for about four hours now, though.  

   The children moved the animals around so they all have shelter.  The calf and sheep are in the pig sty, the cow has the hay barn if she wants it, and the chickens got put in the chicken house.  I’m thankful we have all those places  available!

June 21, Friday.  The shortest day of the year!  Dead Boring was planning a midwinter dinner and lantern walk through Amberley singing about the Light of the World tonight, but the weather was so nasty this morning that we canceled it.  Except for a howling south wind, it wasn’t so bad this evening; we probably could have made it safely.  Sure couldn’t tell this morning!  

   Gayle got a call late last night that the power was

The mob was miserable.

The mob was miserable.


The Jed River in flood.

The Jed River in flood.

still out at Harris Meats and he shouldn’t go in early, so he slept till 6:00 this morning, then texted Jeni (she lives a mile from there, on the same road) to ask her to let him know when she gets power back.  She had it already by 7:30, so he called Doug to say he would be going in, and they arranged to go in an hour.  They got there and there was no power yet at the factory!  Gayle did jobs that could be done without power, until it came on again after noon.  He was home again by 4:00–the shortest day yet!  Only a few people showed up today.

   The storm has really let up; we didn’t get much rain today.  We got a total of about 4 3/4 inches, I believe.  Lots of water around!  The sun did shine some today–what a beautiful sight!

   The current rage is mazes.  Simon printed himself 20 mazes, and Seth decided he wanted the same ones and they would race!  Simon got ahead, though, so Seth says now that he’s not racing.

June 22, Saturday.  I love Saturdays with the wholeIMG_2123 family at home!  Gayle did have to go in to work for a few minutes this morning, so he took Joe along and they had some special time together while the other children cleaned house.  We thought about butchering some chickens today, but it was cold and rainy again so we stayed in the house.  I made bread and washed a 5-gallon bucket full of potatoes, and got three big pumpkins ready for roasting/steaming for the midwinter dinner tomorrow.  Actually, Gayle and Esther finished cutting and peeling the last two while I milked.  It’s been a cozy day in the house, and not even too many crazy stunts by the boys–although they’re getting a bit crazier tonight.

June 23, Sunday.  We did something different today.  Gayle has been wanting to go to the Baron’s for Sunday morning ever since they were here for lunch a few weeks ago.  Since we wanted to go to Amberley this afternoon, we decided it wouldn’t work to go to Kaikoura today, so we went to Baron’s instead.  They meet Sunday mornings with one other couple, and have been watching videos of a man teaching about the book of Revelation. It was quite interesting, but not what we think of as church.  We probably won’t do that again, but it was good to connect with them once.

   We spent a few hours at home then, ate lunch and relaxed, then took off for Amberley.  We had quite a large group together for the midwinter dinner, which was lovely.  Several people brought meat–ham, roast, meatballs–and a couple of people brought potatoes.  There were also peas and our pumpkin.  For dessert, there was ice cream, apple pie and apple crumble, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, and vanilla custard.  After dessert, the mothers and a few fathers shared poems they wrote for/about their children, and each child got a goodie bag of dried fruit, nuts, and a piece of candy that Lennie put together.  After that, most of the group went out singing by lantern light, but it was late enough that we had to get home.  We have an hour’s drive there, and had to milk still!

   The mountains were gorgeous today.  The sun shone, and the mountains were white. On the way home tonight, the moon was nearly full, so bright that we could see the distant mountains shining in moonlight.  So lovely!

June 24, Monday.  No catastrophes today!  Just a normal chaotic Monday.  We got a late start this morning; no one wanted to get up this morning.  After a late night last night, and with the house down near freezing temperature this morning, warm beds just felt awfully good!  We got school done by mid afternoon, though, and then I chased the boys all outside with assignments to carry out.  I got to go out, too!  I got the year’s crop of garlic planted, and helped Elijah and James spread bird netting over the winter garden so we can release the chickens to free-range for awhile.  After that, I actually got to weed for a few minutes–what fun!  We got to eat a fresh salad of lettuce and spinach from the garden.

The supermoon setting.

The supermoon setting.


    The boys worked on their paper mache for awhile again this evening after dark.  Their balloons are growing.  What a mess–but they’re old enough to clean it up now!

June 25, Tuesday.  Sunshine again today!  Lovely.  The laundry even nearly got dry outside.  It was very cold outside this morning, but warmed up nicely this afternoon.  School went well today, and I even got to go outside for awhile this afternoon.  I weeded a bit more of the spinach bed, then started ripping out the dead tomato plants.  Simon pointed out that a couple of our hot pepper plants are still alive, up against the house!  If they’re still alive Saturday, I told Gayle we ought to put a big window over them to make a greenhouse and see if they’ll make it till summer!

The newest way to play piano--escape from the process of getting dressed, lay down on sister's lap, and play with your feet!

The newest way to play piano–escape from the process of getting dressed, lay down on sister’s lap, and play with your feet!


   Gayle had a good day at work, and got quite a surprise.  Bryan told him to stick his head in the office; when he did, he was told that he gets a pay raise!  That’s a first.  We’re rather excited about that.  Not that it will add very much income, but the fact that Bryan thinks enough of his work to give him that means a lot.  For the next two weeks, Gayle is in charge of Small Goods.  A man who works in the orders department is on holiday, so Doug has taken over there, and Gayle has someone else to work with him.  This man is gay–Gayle says he’s never had this kind of challenge before!  Not that the man is trying to do anything to him, but talks about his lifestyle.  Gayle would appreciate prayer to know how to minister to him!

June 26, Wednesday.  Gayle worked alone a lot of today.  That made for a long day; it was 6:00 by the time he made it home.

   James made it through level three of Barton today!  He’s been in that level for nearly a year.  He is reading very well, though, all the words he has learned how to read.  When we have our family worship, he reads a couple of verses in his turn, and I read the words he hasn’t yet learned how to sound out.  He’s fast with all the ones he can sound out!  It’s exciting to see a child learning to read.    Gayle, Simon and Elijah went to the Bible Study tonight. James and Joe are making birthday cards for Daddy!

June 27, Thursday.  Today was cloudy and cold, rather than sunny like the past four days have been.  The hills inland from us are still snow-covered, a week after they got dumped on!  I’ve never seen those hills with snow sticking for more than about three days. In a paper we got today, there were a few pictures from the storm; the Mount Lyford Lodge, at the intersection of the Inland Road from Waiau to Kaikoura and the road that goes up to Mount Lyford, was covered with snow up to the second-floor windows!  The inland road is closed, due to avalanche danger.  I’m glad we haven’t had snow here.  

   Nathan is learning more and more how to communicate.  He wanted some kombucha tonight, and asked, over and over, “Bu-ba!  Bu-ba!”  When I didn’t come for a little while, he changed it to, “Mama! Mama! Bu-ba!” and kept pointing to a cup he had put on the table beside the pitcher of kombucha!  He was singing with us at worship tonight, very loudly!  He is so much fun.

June 28, Friday.  School got done fast today.  Since we had five days this week, we didn’t have quite so much to do today, which was a treat!  It was also good to have less to do when there was a distraction right after lunch.  One of the cows in the mob slipped her calf, and Vince wanted Seth’s help getting her into one of our small paddocks so the vet could work with her.  Of course, all the boys had to be out there to watch!  They are also keeping a fire going out there, and burning a lot of brush.  They did a large brush pile yesterday, and today have been keeping it going.  They like to cook potatoes in the coals and have themselves a snack out there.

   Seth went to Nigel’s this evening for tea, since their younger boy wanted him.  Elijah had made a pinata, and wanted to break it last night, but Gayle was too tired so we decided to do it tonight.  Even though Seth was gone, we went ahead and did it.  That was a lot of fun!

June 29, Saturday.  This morning started out frosty and COLD–one of the coldest mornings we’ve had here.  It’s winter, after all.  The boys had to take that sick cow out to the paddock with the 18 skinnier cows that Seth takes care of.  They took her with Chessie right after I milked this morning.  Chessie seemed really excited when she first saw that cow, and let out a couple of roars as she raced over to see her.  She sniffed her, then stepped back and was quiet.  I had to wonder if she thought she saw her daughter come back, the one we butchered last year.

    Gayle and Seth got both of our sheep butchered this afternoon.  I’m glad to have that job done–we need the grass they’ve been eating for the cow and calf.  We have so much meat on hand–I feel rich.  I got a 5-gallon bucketful of carrots canned today, as well as making cheese and cooking up some quinces that were given to us a few weeks ago.  We had some with cream this evening.  So yummy!

June 30, Sunday.  Our two littlest boys have colds right now, and their coughs were so bad yesterday morning and this morning that we decided not to go to Kaikoura this morning.  Instead, we went to the Anglican church here in Cheviot.  We had been thinking about going there anyway, because a couple who are missionaries in Guatemala were to be there.  They were at our church a couple of months ago, and we wanted to hear him speak again.  Because of the colds, we sat in the back and I took the two youngest out just before the service ended.  It was an interesting service.  It started with a baby dedication–thankfully, the parents chose not to have him baptized!  That would have created rather a quandry for us, since we do not support such things at all.  After that, Graham showed us pictures of Guatemala, then gave a message about Justification.  It was very good! 

   After church, we came home and had lunch, and then spent the afternoon relaxing.  I was able to get several blog posts up that have been on the back burner for months, and wrote a long letter to a friend, besides.  Some of the boys rode to the ford to check on the truck (it’s still in the water) and Gayle played Monopoly with some of the others. 

   Yesterday we spent some time looking on Trade Me for a “new” truck, and found one that looked like what we want.  After praying about it, we put a bid on it yesterday, and tonight the auction closed.  It was close at the end, but we got it!  Now, we need to figure out picking it up.  It’s between here and Christchurch, but inland a little ways at Hawarden.  As you can imagine, the boys were pretty excited as the bidding went higher and higher.


Posted in Letters | Leave a comment

May 2013

May 2, Thursday.  Aubrey left yesterday morning. Pete and Dianne were going to Christchurch, so he rode with them.  We had a normal morning of school, and in the afternoon Esther biked into Cheviot for her piano lesson.  I was thankful it was sunny!  The van did not get fixed yesterday; the new water pump had to be sent from Auckland and the Christchurch airport was fogged in all day Tuesday so it couldn’t be sent till yesterday!  That required some thinking about how to get around not having our van last night.  I was grateful to the mechanic for letting us know the problem Tuesday afternoon already.

Nate loves computers!

Nate loves computers!


    Last night, one of the Dead Boring moms, in Woodend, invited all the moms from the group for a Ladies Dessert evening.  I really wanted to go to it, but Gayle had Men’s Bible Study here in Cheviot.  With one vehicle, we were having a challenge figuring out how to work it out.  It worked well in the end, though.  Tim normally calls all the men who sometimes attend, Sunday night before the Bible Study.  This week, though, he didn’t call till Tuesday evening, so I asked if they would be interested in meeting here this time instead of at the Anglican church hall.  That was fine with him, so I was able to take the truck.  I drove only as far as Greta Valley, and then rode with Lennie the rest of the way–so thankful that I didn’t have to drive that truck all the way!  I just wouldn’t have done it.  The truck is not nice.  I’m thankful to have it, but that doesn’t mean I like it!  

   The evening was very lovely!  Nathan was the only child there; he still nurses frequently so I felt like I couldn’t leave him, as far away as I was going (1 1/4 hours).  There were about a dozen ladies, and it was great to have that time to fellowship and relax.  Joli had cleaned their living room and kitchen thoroughly, and had candles burning and soft music playing.  What a lovely atmosphere!  She had made four different desserts:  A yellow layer cake with meringue topping, a chocolate cheesecake, a chocolate torte with yogurt and raspberry sauce, and a chocolate layer cake, and then she offered tea and coffee.  What a treat!  Nobody was watching the time, and I was rather surprised when we got back into Lennie’s car and I realized it was well past 10:00!  It was 11:30 when I got home, and I was tired, but it was well worth it.  Nathan didn’t know what to think, though.  When we started off, in the truck, he just stared around at the truck and at me, trying to figure out what was going on.  When we arrived, he sat on my lap for a long time, not sure what to do.  I believe it was the first time he ever went somewhere with just Mommy and no siblings.  He did wander around looking at things after awhile, and found a few toys, but by 9:30 he fell asleep on my lap.

    Today was another normal day at home.  The van was done by the time Gayle got home from work, so we went and got it.  There was another vehicle behind it in the shop, so Gayle and the two mechanics pushed it outside.  After our van was out, they pushed the other vehicle back in.

   One of Gayle’s co-workers, Doug, came for supper tonight.  We’ve invited him a number of times, but this is the first he took us up on it.  He came early, about an hour before supper, and the boys entertained him till we woke Gayle up to eat.  Gayle and Doug first worked together during the six months Gayle was in the orders department, and then didn’t see so much of each other for the year Gayle was working in the abattoir cleaning intestines and re-hanging beef.  Now, though, Doug has been put in charge of Small Goods (sausages, ham and bacon), and Gayle is his assistant, so they are working together closer than ever.  It’s going well; Gayle gets along with Doug better than anyone else in the factory, it seems.  

May 3, Friday.  Another good day!  We’ve been finishing school every day around 3-3:30, much better than the last couple of years.  Part of the difference is that I do about half of the reading aloud in the morning while the children clean up the kitchen after breakfast, and the other half in the afternoon while they clean up the kitchen again.  That makes them a lot happier to work, and my voice doesn’t give out so badly.  Then, after we finish the reading in the morning, I get on with helping them with their math lessons and then start Barton about 10:00.  That takes a little over two hours, so we get done just about lunch time.  Things go so much more smoothly when we have a schedule!

    Nathan is getting so big!  He was saying “up” this morning, asking to be picked up.  He likes to get a book and sit on a chair or couch, just like a big person, and read–he has his own string of sounds for reading! He was bored this afternoon, and trying to keep Joe awake (he was supposed to be napping on the couch), so I put a jacket on him and found some boots that fit.  He had fun outside for awhile; I don’t think he had ever worn boots before, but he did fine walking with them.  Joe was able to fall asleep then, and slept a few hours even though Nathan sat on his face once!

May 4, Saturday.  It was warm and sunny today!  What a treat.  The laundry didn’t dry, though–it was drying nicely, but no one was home to bring it in late this afternoon and the dew got it wet again.  So, it’s hanging around the living room again.

    Kim invited Esther and I to an afternoon tea for Tiffany this afternoon. The purpose was to give Tiffany encouragement in her walk with God as she becomes a young lady.  They had quite a few people there who have been special to Tiffany.  After eating snacks (several kinds of cake and some melon), we played a couple of games, then sang some songs and those who wanted to prayed for Tiffany and gave her encouraging things they had written for her.  We picked up Lennie, Jasmin and James at Greta Valley and took them, so we had some time to visit on the way there and back.  That was good!  I took Joe and Nathan, because Joe likes to play with the little boy of the family who hosted the gathering.  He played shy, though, and wouldn’t talk to the ladies who tried to chat with him.  He’s just lately started doing that–up till just recently he had never met a stranger!

   Gayle and the boys went visiting late this afternoon, too.  We had never gotten around to giving meat to the two people who let us graze our steers on their places, so they went to do that, and spent an hour visiting at each place.  The boys enjoyed that!

May 5, Sunday.  We had visitors at church today, a couple who are missionaries in Guatemala.  They’ve been there for 45 years!  Their daughter and her husband live here at Cheviot; we met them last  year.  This couple was with their daughter for the weekend, but joined us for church.  He gave us a message this afternoon, talking about Guatemala and sharing the Gospel message with us.  What a treat!

   On the way to church this morning, Joe told me that the “covered trees” had been cut down!  I didn’t know what he meant, so told him he would have to show me on the way home.  He remembered it, and was watching for them.  When we got there, he said, “Oh, the covered trees weren’t cut down!”  Apparently he was talking about some large pine trees by the road. He thought for a bit, then came up with an explanation.  “I think they cut the trees down this morning, then picked up the tops of the trees and glued them to the stumps!”  He was serious about that.  After we laughed a little, though he started getting silly and suggested that they were taped together!

May 6, Monday.  When I woke up this morning, the wind was howling, and at times there would be rain lashing at the house.  That continued most of the morning, but it did calm down some this afternoon.  It was a good day to be in the house!  We got the fire going this morning, so it’s been quite cozy in the living room.  IMG_1545

  Joe took a nap on the couch this afternoon.  Nathan found a glass of water on the kitchen table, and took it into the living room.  When Esther saw him, he was starting to pour it on Joe’s hand!  Esther brought him to me, and was telling me about it.  Very solemnly, Nate nodded his head in agreement!

May 7, Tuesday.  School went very fast today!  Three of the boys had quizzes for Math, so that went very fast.  We finally got the rubbish to the dump today. I’ve been wanting to get that done for two weeks, but it wasn’t possible.  It feels good to have that cleared out!

   I had Seth bring four beets in from the garden yesterday.  The biggest weighed 10 pounds!  The second biggest was 5 pounds.  The four of them, when chunked up, completely filled my 20-quart stockpot.  I cooked them overnight last night, and this afternoon peeled and diced them, and got them canned tonight.  We also ate boiled buttered beets for lunch and supper.  Nathan ate very little else from the table today–he just kept asking for more and more beets!

   Pete and Dianne came tonight; we studied I Cor. 5.

May 8, Wednesday.  I love normal days at home!  This was another–nothing spectacular, just school, laundry, and meals.  I took a nap this afternoon, because I’ve had a headache since yesterday morning.  Hopefully it will go away tomorrow.

   Sunday when we got home from church there was a Canada goose laying beside the back porch.  The cat had gotten into it a little, but the breast meat was untouched so I skinned that out and kept it.  Vince’s son Matt had shot it and brought it to us–must have been just before we got home, since the goose was still hot inside.  Tonight I diced the meat and made a casserole with mashed potatoes on top–yum!  We also had fresh mushrooms tonight; the boys found some more horse mushrooms, which are about six inches in diameter and an inch thick.  Simon also brought in some dandelions, and made a batter for them.  I fried the dandelions, then battered some of the mushrooms and fried them, too.  I fried the rest of the mushroom plain.  What a yummy supper!

May 9, Thursday.  Yesterday may have been a normal day–but today!  It started out the same, for the first little while; a cold, very frosty morning.  I headed out to milk a little before 8:00, just about the time Vince arrived with a portable loading ramp on the back of his tractor.  He parked it near the gate into the paddock next to our house, which is planted in kale 4-5 feet high, then called Faye to come and get him.  He came over and chatted while I milked.  A little later, he came back with another tractor and spread a bale or two of straw for the cattle who were expected this morning, and drove the tractor through the kale to make lanes for the hot wire to go in.  Our boys were working very fast on their school work, trying to get done before the cattle arrived–they were to come around 10:00.  At 11:20, the trucks finally arrived from Culverden, and the boys stood in strategic places to direct the cattle into the paddock.  All went well with the unloading; only once a few went the wrong direction around the truck when they came down the ramp.  They were quickly redirected and went the right way.  We got back to school, and soon had the morning work done.IMG_1553

    This afternoon around 2:00, the final truck of the day came.  The boys went out to help unload, and I was working on a small project at the computer when I heard a crashing sound.  I looked out, and there was a cow in my raised bed in front of the house!  She had gone through the tall hedge between our yard and the road–there is a small hole between the hedge and a small metal building!  She really dented in that building.  I went out, and a couple of the boys also came racing around.  We stopped, and let her think about where to go–she almost tried jumping over the high board fence to get back with her friends, but ended up going through the hole in the hedge instead, and breaking down another fence, which was in bad shape anyway.  At the same time, several cattle ran the wrong way around the truck.  I ran around to head them off, just in time to see three jumping a fence and getting into the paddock across the road!  The rest went the right way, and the truck was soon unloaded.  We turned our attention to the three runaways, but they had gone through two more fences into another neighbor’s paddock, where she keeps her stallion!  One actually got badly tangled in a fence and was getting shocked badly.   She got out, limping, but seems to be all right.  That neighbor wasn’t home, so Vince decided to just leave the cows there for now and deal with them in the morning, after they’ve calmed down.  That was enough excitement for one day!

   Doug came again tonight, for supper.  He seems to really enjoy the children, and likes the food, too.  He had asked Gayle for a Bible Study, so Gayle took him through the Romans Road while I kept the children occupied in the kitchen, reading while they did dishes.  We then played a game, although I had misread the clock.  I thought it was nearly 9:00–but it was actually getting close to 10:00!  Oops.  They are headed for bed now.

May 10, Friday. It was raining this morning!  We were thankful for a tight house and a good woodstove.  It was cozy in here!  Vince came around at 10:00, and several of us went to help him with those three cows.  They are quite wild–used to being handled only as part of a large mob.  We did get them put away without too much fanfare, though.  It was only  drizzling when we went out, but the skies opened while we were out there–I was doubly thankful for a good warm fire when we got in, to dry the coats.

    Gayle got home at 2:15 this afternoon!  I could hardly  believe my ears when someone announced that; it was the earliest he’s been home in ages.  What a treat!  He took care of the boys’ memory work, and I was able to get outside and do some harvesting:  a leek, some carrots, Chinese cabbage and eggplants for supper, and a couple large bowlsful of tomatoes that have ripened lately.  I made an eggplant lasagna for supper, with a salad of Chinese cabbage, shredded carrot and tomato.  I also cooked part of a large Banana winter squash that Simon found, which we overlooked when we harvested pumpkins a few weeks ago.  It had grown on the other side of the fence from the garden (the vine went through the fence) and we couldn’t see it till now, when the cattle cleared away the grass.  He had to break a bit of it to get it away from the wire.

   Joe asked me this evening when our baby had come.  I asked if he meant Nate, and he said yes; I replied, “Thirteen months ago.”  His next question was, “When will we get another baby?”  I asked if he wanted one.  Yes, he wants one he can hold.  I told him, “You can pray about it.”  “Ok!”  So, I asked him when he would pray about it.  “When I go to bed.”  I told him he can pray now, and he said he would pray for three babies!  He got on his knees right then at a chair, closed his eyes and folded his hands, and held still for about 10 seconds.  When he got up, he told me, “There will be just two babies–God said.”  Interesting! I thought it was quite sweet, especially from someone who still struggles with sharing his Mommy’s lap with Nathan!  We’ll see what happens–and by the way, to my knowledge there is no baby on the way.

May 11, Saturday.  This was a productive day.  Besides the cleaning, I got a lot of laundry done.  Simon, Elijah, and James got the notion to do a good cleaning of their room, which, of course, generated a hamper full of laundry. I was thankful that most of the laundry dried today, although there is still a fair amount on the lines to dry tomorrow.  The boys also dug their quota of potatoes.  Instead of digging all the potatoes in a few days, like Gayle has done the past couple of years, we decided to have the boys each dig a certain number a day till the job is done.  That is working well.  

   This afternoon, I got to weed in one of the raised bed gardens for awhile.  Simon helped for a little while, and then James and Joe were very diligent about taking the weeds to the chickens as fast as I got them pulled.  They had fun at that!  Gayle and the boys butchered a goat this afternoon.  They are getting a lot faster at that!  This was a goat that the children have been looking forward to butchering for a long time.  He was constantly getting his head stuck in the fence (he had horns), and then would spend hours crying for help to get out.  After the goat was done, Gayle and the boys went to Tim’s farm to pick up walnuts.  We need to spend some time cracking nuts again.

May 12, Sunday.  What a lovely day!  I called my mom this morning while I worked on food for dinner, since it’s Mother’s Day.  It’s good to have an excuse to make a call like that, since I never think to on a normal day.  The drive to church was beautiful as usual; there is fresh snow on all the higher mountains, and the sea was quite rough, which is beautiful.  I love to see a big wave hit the rocks and send a shower of spray high into the air!  

    Gayle spoke this morning on resurrection, especially of the just.  Pete followed with a study of the Antichrist. 

   After church, we spent some time with Alistair.  We haven’t been there for a long time.  The boys had a lot of fun putting together a wooden train set while Gayle and Alistair chatted.

   Gayle and Esther worked for awhile tonight, trying to figure out which fuse controls the electrical outlet in our bedroom.  It had blown this morning.  An extension cord is plugged into it that goes outside to run our two freezers, the fence charger for the whole farm, and the well pump that waters Vince’s mob of cattle.  Gayle plugged the cord into a different outlet this morning just before we left, since we weren’t sure which fuse was the right one.  This house has old-fashioned fuses with wires that melt when the circuit overloads, and you have to replace the wire.  None of them were labeled when we got here.  When one blows, we start trying to figure out which one by trial and error; this was the third time we’ve had to.  We label them when we figure them out, but less than half were labeled as of this morning! It took awhile, but they finally worked out which one it was–the only one with a switch rather than a wire!

May 13, Monday.  When I was out milking this morning, I noticed that one of the goats was laying still under the trees.  He actually looked dead from where I was, but before I went in he lifted his head.  I sent Seth out to check on him, and he found that the goat was not doing well–we figured he probably wouldn’t live through the day.  He likely had a bad case of worms; we have quite an infestation, since we don’t have enough land to rotate.  (Another good reason to get rid of all goats; sheep don’t have trouble with worms like goats do.)  We were planning to butcher this goat the end of the week, but obviously he had to be done today or we would lose him.  Esther and Seth volunteered to do the job this morning!  I was very impressed with them.  They got him killed, skinned, and gutted.  

    Even with that late start, we got school done today.  Esther got done earlier than any other day this year!  She wanted to send a text to Dianne to ask if she wanted help with her computer, but couldn’t find my phone.  I was horrified to realize that I hadn’t seen it since we got home yesterday!  The last time I could remember seeing it was when I put it in my pocket when I got in the van to go from church to visit a friend in Kaikoura.  I washed the dress I was wearing this morning, so I checked the washer–not there.  We even took the drain hose off the bottom to check in there!  I didn’t have the phone number for the people we visited, so I emailed Kathryn to ask, and then called later after she sent me the number.  Praise God–she had found the phone, and even gave it to Dianne when she happened to find out that Dianne was in Kaikoura!  So, I have my phone back already.  Thank you, God!

May 14, Tuesday.  It was great to go to Dead Boring again–the first time, for most of us, since February!  It was a bit hard getting out of the house; some people weren’t working very fast this morning.  We got there on time, though, even with a stop at the supermarket in Cheviot for chicken feed.  I was amused, there, to see two ladies shopping in their pajamas and bath robes!  Dead Boring was at Kim Henry’s today.  There were only seven families present this time, so we all stayed together to read the stories.  After we left, we ran into Amberley and got diesel, and went to Recycling to drop off a box of stuff.  I also got some clothing that Gayle needed.

   Pete came this evening, to study I Corinthians 7 with us.  

May 15, Wednesday.  The sun shone today!  That automatically makes a day better.  All the boys spent a lot of time outside today, including Nathan.  I even got to go out for awhile this afternoon!  I harvested a few veggies for supper, and did a bit more weeding.  It was a lovely day!

   Gayle didn’t get home from work until 6:00 tonight.  They butchered 200 pigs today!  I had supper nearly ready when he got home, so we had worship, then quickly ate so he could have a few minutes’ nap before going to the Bible Study this evening.  This week, he has Bible Studies three nights in a row–last night with Pete, tonight with the men’s group, and tomorrow night Doug wants to have a study again!  Seems like a bad time for him to be working so late.

May 16, Thursday.  Seth got up quickly this morning–I had told him if he wanted to help Vince move the cows’ fence he had to get up the first time I called him.  It was good that he got up so fast, since Vince came a few minutes later, much earlier than usual.  Vince gave Seth a ride down the road to bring our cow home, then.  IMG_1622

   The hedge trimmer showed up this afternoon, and did the hedge between the house and the road, and also the one on the south side of the driveway. The boys spent an hour watching while he worked.  Now, they’ll get to clean up the branches that were trimmed off!IMG_1625

   Doug came this evening for supper.  After supper, he and Gayle spent an hour or more in Bible Study.  Keep praying for him!

May 17, Friday.  Vince put some more cows in the paddock here this morning; now there are 200.  He asked the boys for help.  They were more than happy to help!  They love working for people like that.  Faye came over to drive Vince’s truck home while he drove the tractor, and stopped in here to talk about her plans for painting parts of the house sometime.  We had a nice little chat.  

May 18, Saturday.  Elijah cooked breakfast this morning–sourdough waffles!  We also had bacon.  Gayle brought it home from work yesterday.  He got two kinds, the common shoulder bacon and some dry-cured loin bacon.  We each got a piece of each to do a comparison.  That dry-cured bacon is really good!  I have a feeling the price is really good, too.  

   Gayle and the boys worked on cleaning up after the hedge trimmer today.  They got quite a pile of brush!  We’ll have a bonfire one day.  While they were working on it, Nathan showed up where they were, covered with mud!  It was mostly on his head and face.  It took awhile to figure out where he found it, but they discovered that he had found a bucket of mud in the corner of the yard and made the most of his opportunity to paint himself!  I gave him a quick bath outside.  IMG_1644

   Gayle and Seth butchered the last two goats (wethers) this afternoon.  They are getting much faster–it took less than an hour for each one!  We now, for the first time since arriving in New Zealand, have no goats.  We still have a cow, a calf, a steer, two lambs, and a bunch of mostly useless chickens, though.  (The chickens go next.)

   Tonight was time for haircuts.  The clippers we bought here three years ago have been driving me crazy.  They hardly have enough power to do the job–and they are the top-of-the-line clippers here!  When we were in America, I bought a cheap set of a good brand, and we used them tonight for the first time.  They are extremely loud, but do they ever work fast!  I think they are extra-loud and extra-fast because of our more powerful electricity here (we have 220 volt, rather than 110), even though I had them plugged into a transformer.  We whipped through haircuts in no time!  The boys like getting done so fast, even if it is very loud.  It takes only a minute or two per head this way!

May 19, Sunday.  The theme at church today seemed to be Assurance of Salvation.  Gayle spoke just a few words, and Barry talked for awhile.  Pete wrapped up the service with a continuation of his study about the Antichrist.

    Nathan was a mess today.  He didn’t sleep well last night; I think his teeth are bothering him.  He has a molar pretty swollen.  A lot of times, he refused to eat, just cried and cried.  I found an old tube of teething gel in the cupboard (expired six years ago!), and that helped.  He’s been a lot fussier even during the day than usual, though.  We went to the supermarket in Amberley before we started for home, and I got a new tube of teething gel (the old one was practically empty).  Tonight, right after supper, Nate fell down in the living room.  Gayle and Simon were with him, and didn’t think he’d been hurt, but he screamed and screamed, thrashing as if in pain.  I changed his diaper and tried to feed him, but nothing helped.  Finally I looked at his hands, and one was blistered–apparently that hand hit the stove as he fell.  Poor baby.  He screamed for half an hour or more till he was finally able to nurse and fall asleep.  I put some of the teething gel on his hand, hoping that might help with the pain.  We put a sock over it to keep it on, but that bothered him, too!  At the moment, he’s asleep in his bed; hopefully that lasts awhile!

May 20, Monday.  It was sunny today!  Sunny days are pretty special this time of year.  Seth and Simon got to help Vince feed the cows and move the break fence this morning.  That’s a good way to get them going in the morning–they are not allowed to go out if they don’t get out of bed at the first call!

   Nathan’s hand was extremely blistered this morning.  I put a plantain poultice on it for several hours, and then put some salve on.  We’ve been keeping a sock on it all day.  He doesn’t normally allow a sock to stay on, but he knows there is something wrong with that hand and leaves it on most of the time.  The first time he saw his blister this morning, he looked away!  

May 21, Tuesday.  School went very well today!  Vince asked this morning for Seth and Simon to help him move some calves this afternoon, so they worked fast in order to get done one time.  When he came for them, they had about five minutes’ worth of work to do yet so I let them go.  They helped him move two truckloads of calves from a farm between us and Cheviot, over to his place.

   Pete came over tonight, and we talked about I Corinthians 7.  Quite a controversial chapter, that!

May 22, Wednesday.  Elijah surprised me today when he was the first one done with school!  Normally, he is the last, which is a bit frustrating because he is very capable.  Today, though, he dug in and worked fast.  He loved that!  

James loves to color!

James loves to color!


  Nathan is rather bothered about his burned hand this evening. He took the sock off a couple of hours ago, and the biggest blister popped sometime early today or maybe even yesterday.  The skin is loose and he just keeps looking at it.  I need to get it bandaged again for the night.  He has developed a way to ask for what he wants.  He points and says, “Baa! Baa!”  At the table tonight, he was asking for liver; after supper he wanted crackers, which are kept on a very high shelf behind a door–but he knows very well where they are and what they are!  He doesn’t have words yet, but he’s quite a smart little fellow.

   Seth did some welding tonight.  He is building a go-cart; trying to come up with one that he can pedal.  He’s starting with the steering wheel, and did a bit of welding for it.  He’s using all materials that he has scavenged around the place.

May 23, Thursday.  Today was a bit different.  Esther had her piano lesson this morning, so she IMG_1705had to get around.  We hurried everything along, in order to have school done before lunch time.  Just after lunch, while we were getting started on the dishes (thankfully, we got the living room tidied first!), Jenny pulled in, and then Lennie, Jasmin and James, and Tiffany  showed up right behind her!  We were expecting all of them; they had called Monday evening to say they wanted to come.  Jenny had business in Cheviot today, and Lennie was taking James to the dentist.  It just happened to be on the same day!  Lennie left the girls here while she took James, and then came back.  We had a great afternoon of visiting together!  It’s lovely when someone can stop in for awhile.  We are so far from our friends that it doesn’t happen often.  Jenny wanted to see the pictures of our trip, and showed us the pictures of hers to Australia.  She also gave me the pictures she took of James and Joe when they stayed there for the first four days I was away.

May 24, Friday.  This is one of those days that we were busy all day but I can’t think of what we did!  Mostly it was school.  All the boys finished their goals for the week.  They’ve been acting out the Three Little Pigs in a lot of their spare time today, and also studying the Usborne puzzle books–The Great Animal Search, The Great City Search, and The Great History Search.  Even Joe is really into them!  Nathan’s hand is getting better.  He doesn’t have to have it covered anymore, and he’s using it more.  I went out to do a bit of weeding in a raised bed this afternoon, and Nathan kept climbing into the bed and trying to help me.  Not very appreciated!  After a few times, I gave up and brought him in the house.  He needed a nap, anyway.  IMG_1704

   Esther made supper tonight.  She slow-cooked the last roast from our heifer, using a recipe I copied when we were in Michigan from one of Mom’s cookbooks.  Delicious!  It was called Sour Beef, and is a keeper.  She also made a corn casserole, heated a jar of green beans, and made a Chinese cabbage salad and Apple Brown Betty.  The boys were groaning that she stuffed them too full!  We just laughed at them and told them they were doing it to themselves!

May 25, Saturday.  We had a lovely day for doing laundry today–what a treat!  I did five loads and everything got dry except half a dozen pair of pants from the last load.  Since the wind was blowing and it was warm, I even got to wash some sheets from beds that had been waiting far too long.  It’s so hard to keep up with laundry most of the time that sheets don’t get washed very often.IMG_1716

   We decided to butcher chickens this afternoon.  We’ve only been getting 3-5 eggs a day, and going through quantities of feed, so it was time to cut down on chicken numbers.  We did the seven extra roosters (six were young ones), and the boys and I sorted through all the chickens in the coop to try to decide who was laying and who wasn’t.  We saved eight of them for now, and butchered 14.  With 2/3 of the chickens gone, we should go through a lot less feed!  Only one of the ones we butchered was laying at all, and the way she looked inside, she wasn’t laying very often.  The boys did very well at helping butcher.  It took less than two hours to kill, scald, pluck, and gut all 21 of them!  Esther is getting very good at scalding; she had them so perfectly scalded that I was able to pluck one before she got the next pair scalded!  Not all were quite that easy, but it did go very well.  After all that was done, of course, I had to wash and package them, and I cut up the six young roosters.  So nice to have a fridge full of meat rather than a bunch of useless birds eating feed!

May 26, Sunday.  We had a beautiful drive to church this morning.  There was a nor-wester blowing, making it clear and warm.  There was a fresh snowfall on the tops of the mountains to our north and west, and the strong wind was blowing the snow off the tops!  Even from 50 miles away, we could clearly see the clouds of snow blowing.  Beautiful!

    Since Kathryn and her family went to Nelson this week to wait there for their baby to be born, there were only the seven older people in the church, besides our family.  Seems like a pretty tiny group!  We realized that we will be losing our parking space in a week or two, most likely.  There is a small carpark next to the church building, with room for five cars.  On the other side of that is the library, but that is being demolished, and a new building is to be built where the library and carpark are.  It will be three stories, with the Kaikoura museum on the ground floor, the library on the second, and the Council rooms on the top floor.  Most people of Kaikoura are not happy about it, but it’s being done anyway.

   We stopped on our way home from church at the sea for a little while.  Seth and Simon keep their fishing poles in the van, so they tried for a little while but didn’t catch anything.IMG_1736

   Joe demanded a few days ago, “Learn me to read, Mom!”  I downloaded a reading program for free a  year or two ago, so I’m trying that out with him.  I don’t know if it will work for him or not, but he is extremely excited about it so we’ll give it a try.  He was talking about it off and on all day, after having done the first lesson last night, so we did lesson two after we got home this evening.  He’s just 3 1/2 so we’ll see….  He’s having fun,  though!  It is time with Mommy, besides learning; it requires a parent to be very involved. A funny thing is how the other boys watch, fascinated!  They have a hard time not answering the questions, though.

May 27, Monday. School was rough this morning.  One of the boys who is usually very good atMath ran into something hard–dividing with two digits in the divisor.  He did fine with it when he first had it Friday, but today it was too much for him.  The lesson never got finished; I told him he will not play with his friends tomorrow at Dead Boring till that lesson is done.IMG_1768

   The rest of the day  went well.  It rained this afternoon, and apparently the weather was perfect for raising bread.  My usual whole wheat sourdough/yeast bread rose beautifully, so Esther decided to make challah bread and that turned out gorgeous and fluffy, too!  

May 28, Tuesday.  Dead Boring was today, so we went to Amberley.  I threatened this morning to stay home, because there was so much bickering going on.  That threat solved that problem!  The children did much better after that at working together to get ready  to go, and we got out in good time.  

   When I went out to milk, it was frosty here, but on the hills toward the sea, there was snow!  The nearest inland hills were bare, but the higher hills just behind them were white, also.  As we drove south, we saw more and more snow; after we crossed the Hurunui River, the land steadily rises to the Omihi Saddle just south of Greta Valley.  Before we got to Greta Valley, there was snow all the way down to the road, and in places it was more than just a skiff! The Waipara Valley was white, too, which was surprising, since it is nearly down to sea level.  By the time we reached Amberley, though, there was no more snow on the ground.

    This afternoon, the boys played outside even though it was so cold, with a strong southerly blowing.  I guess they were running fast enough to keep warm!  Joe came in several times, telling me how cold he was.  Silly boy didn’t take his warm coat along, and then he wouldn’t stay inside!  On the way home, it snowed some, and tonight was snowing here.  Brr!

   Before we butchered 14 hens Saturday, we were getting 3-5 eggs a day.  Sunday we got 7.  Monday we got 6.  Tonight we got 4.  We are believing we must have killed an egg-eater!  Last night, we had the boys put all 12 hens together in one pen, so that is probably why they were down to 4 eggs today.  It is winter, and we can’t expect them to all be laying every day right now.  Hope they at least give us enough to pay for feed through the winter.

May 29, Wednesday.  We got 8 eggs today!  I’m so thankful we were able to get the extra hens butchered Saturday.  A couple of the new ones got out today, but they went to the coop and the boys were able to catch them easily.

   Vince asked Esther and the boys for some help this morning.  The owners of the dairy cows want to know exactly how much feed the cattle are getting, so Vince showed Esther how to use a GPS device he has.  You can walk around an area, and it tells you how large an area it is.  He wanted them to measure the space they had just given the cows to eat for the day. That was a good incentive for finishing Math fast!  Esther also checked our altitude with the device; we’ve been curious how high we are.  We are only 65 meters above sea level! After Vince came back and got the figure, he asked the children to measure the part of the paddock that hasn’t been grazed yet, to estimate how many more days they’ll have in it.  Esther and Elijah did that this afternoon, with Nathan in the backpack.

    A neighbor woman called this afternoon, asking for Seth and Simon’s help to clean up a paddock.  They excitedly went and spent a few hours helping her.  They brought home a branch of a bay tree!  I’m glad to replenish my supply of bay leaves.

    Gayle and Simon went to the Bible Study tonight.  I need to figure out what to do with the rest of the children.  

May 30, Thursday.  Seth and Simon got their school work done quickly this morning–they were excited about going to help Debbie again!  They spent a few hours this afternoon helping her with some trees she wanted taken down.  It was nice, this afternoon, to have some time to devote to Joe.  He is very excited about his reading and math lessons.  I can tell he’s learning some already!  Then, we read a couple of stories and he went down for a nap while I weeded a lettuce bed and worked on supper.  Elijah and James stayed busy all afternoon outside, enjoying the sunshine although it was cold.

May 31, Friday.  Another good day!  I really like it when the boys have an incentive to get through their school quickly.  Attitudes are so much better; they work quickly and are willing.  Joe and I worked on his lessons again this afternoon.  He just asked if he can do another one!  Sorry–it’s too late!  Glad he enjoys them.  

   Nathan is understanding a lot of what he hears now.  He only has a couple of recognizable words–hot and Mom, although I think he has his own words for some other things–but he responds appropriately to a lot of what we tell him.  He has learned to turn the water on at the kitchen sink.  Tonight, he had it running full-blast, and was filling cups that were waiting to be washed.  He had about four of them lined up in front of him!  He’s figured out which way the water is hot, and turns the tap the other way.

   We’re getting ready to go to Christchurch tomorrow, so I had the children do the weekly cleaning tonight.  Someone gave us some fudge a few weeks ago, and we never got around to eating it, so I told them that everyone who got their share of the cleaning done by suppertime could have some.  They all did! (Incentives again.)

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April 2013

April 15, Monday.  Esther, Simon, Elijah, Nathan and I arrived home yesterday from our trip to America.  We were gone for three weeks, and had a wonderful time.  For the first time in over five years, all eight of my mom’s children were together!  The wedding was lovely, and it was great to see so many friends and relatives.  Our flights there went very smoothly; one great blessing was when Nathan slept for 11 1/2 hours of the 12-hour flight across the Pacific!  We had a very tight connection in Chicago; only 35 minutes to catch the plane to Grand Rapids.  Thank God, we made it in time–then had to wait for it to be de-iced!  Our trip home was a little more stressful, since Nathan got sick halfway through.  He threw up on me several times, and we had to change his clothes and mine a few times.  We were very glad to land in Christchurch!  The family left here was happy to see us, too!  They had a busy three weeks keeping things going here; Gayle canned around 95 quarts of tomato juice!  

James and Joe with a gift one of their aunts sent them.

James and Joe with a gift one of their aunts sent them.


    We did Math and Sonlight today, and caught up on a few little things.  The boys harvested all the pumpkins; there is quite an impressive pile of them!  They wanted to inflate the paddling pool Simon bought the day before we left on our trip, so I told them they could–if they would first scrub the dirt off all the pumpkins and lay them out in the yard to dry in the sun.  That job got done fast!  I got butter made from all the cream Gayle skimmed while we were gone.  He was having trouble getting it to make, but I’ve learned a few tricks over the years about working with my blender that made it possible.  We have lots of butter on hand right now!

Seth, Simon, Elijah, James and Joe with the pile of pumpkins!

Seth, Simon, Elijah, James and Joe with the pile of pumpkins!


    Nathan is still sick.  Since 7:00 this morning, he has thrown up six times.  I’ve been letting him nurse pretty much as often as he wants to, since I sure don’t want him to get dehydrated, and also it’s the only way to soothe him.  At the moment, he’s been asleep for three hours.  Hopefully he’ll be on the mend when he wakes up!  Elijah got sick during supper, though.  I think we picked up a bug in Ohio just before we left.  Not fun.  We rarely get sick around here, so this is something unusual for us.

April 19, Friday.  What a week!  Monday night,

A horse mushroom (edible) that the boys found.

A horse mushroom (edible) that the boys found.

Elijah and Joe each threw up somewhere between 6 and 10 times, and James did several times, too. First thing after getting up Tuesday morning, Esther and Seth got sick, too, and Simon and I were not feeling good, either, although we never threw up.  Thankfully, Nathan was over it by then, but we spent the entire day just laying around.  I finished reading aloud a book to the children, and let them watch a couple of movies that we watched a long time ago.  Joe seemed to recover fast, and he and Gayle were the only ones who ate supper!

   Wednesday everyone except James seemed all better, so we did school again.  James got sick in the afternoon, though.  Our church came together here in Cheviot that evening for a service, so we had James stay in the van–poor boy.  A traveling evangelist came through to preach; he’s been here twice before.  This time, several people who attend the Men’s Bible Study were interested in coming, so we used the Anglican church hall.

   Thursday, yesterday, Joe was sick again; he spent the day on the couch and then threw up twice.  Everyone else, except me, felt good, though.  It got too late last night to write in here.

   Today was a much better day!  James was on the couch for awhile, but was fine this afternoon.  Hopefully we’re getting to the other end of this soon.  We did make it through a week’s worth of school this week.

   It’s raining this evening; fall is here.  The boys are happy that the burn ban was lifted last weekend.  They started a fire yesterday, and keep renewing it.  They love doing that!  They want to bake potatoes in the coals tomorrow, and cook sausage over it.IMG_1314

   I ended up taking a nap on the recliner this afternoon.  I was reading to the children, and by the end couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I was holding Nathan, so just stayed there, and slept an hour.  I couldn’t believe that!  I never do such things.  Must be either the effects of being sick, or jet lag catching up with me.  Speaking of jet lag, it hasn’t been bad at all–so thankful for that!

April 20, Saturday.  It is so good to have a day a week with the whole family  home together!  I’m glad Gayle gets his weekends off.  He spent the day building an axle for the chicken pen we’ve been using for three years, to make it easier to move. This involved a lot of trial and error, welding and cutting and welding pipes again, but I believe he got it done.  Seth was with him the whole day, excited to be learning how to weld and how to use the circular saw.  I am thankful he got that opportunity.

Seth and Simon wrestling.

Seth and Simon wrestling.


   I had Esther and Elijah help with apples this afternoon.  We are nearly out of quart jars again, but I decided to fill all the small jars I can find with applesauce, for Gayle’s lunches.  We got half of them filled, with almost half the apples we have at the moment.  Esther also made a couple pans of apple crisp and a batch of pudding for tomorrow.  Tonight I finally got the tomatoes washed and cut up that Esther picked Monday, and will cook them overnight, then use the juice for soup.

April 21, Sunday.  It was good to go to church in Kaikoura again–it had been five weeks since some of

Nathan pleased with himself because he found a roll of fruit leather!

Nathan pleased with himself because he found a roll of fruit leather!

us were there!  Gayle spent sometime talking about the Romans Road to salvation, after Pete and Barry both shared a little.  

    We had Pete and Dianne here for supper tonight.  I invited them on the spur of the moment this afternoon.  I was planning hamburgers for supper, and decided to make fresh buns, since there wasn’t enough bread in the pantry.  I also thawed some sausages quickly, since the hamburger that was thawing wasn’t quite enough for them and us. Everything came together well, and the food was ready when they arrived.  We had a lovely evening visiting and looking at the pictures of our trip.  I was surprised to see that we hardly had any pictures of our time in Ohio!  Guess we were getting tired of the trip and not thinking about taking pictures anymore, by then.  

April 22, Monday.  Esther, Seth and Simon went to the vineyard today, to help with harvest.  Seth has had trouble in the past, being diligent on the job, but he did very well today!  We had talked and prayed about it quite a lot.  I dropped them off there at 8:30, and then the younger boys and I went apple picking.  We picked from a couple of trees along Sinclair Road, then took Downs Road over to the highway and picked a few more apples from a tree along there.  We got some lovely big apples that taste good!

   The children were home about noon, so I had them do a math lesson each.  We also got Sonlight done, which I was glad for.  We had all that done by 3:30!  What a treat.  I was so surprised by how well it went.  After that, I got started making applesauce with the last banana-boxful we had from apples Gayle picked in March.  That’s all made now, and the last load is in the canner.  Elijah helped really well with it.  

   It’s the time of year that laundry is really frustrating.  We had a good drying day last Monday, but since then it’s been hard.  Today, I checked it early in the afternoon, and it needed a few more hours.  When Gayle got home he asked if I wanted the laundry brought in–it had just started raining!  Apparently, the air was quite damp also, because the laundry hanging on the porch, which did not get rained on, was wet, too.  It’s too warm to have a fire, so no way to get it dry.  This is when it would be rather nice to have a dryer!  Maybe some year.

April 23, Tuesday.  The older children picked again today.  This time, they worked till 4:30–long day!  After we dropped them off, we went around to check on our Jersey steer that is at the Black’s.  It was so foggy that we couldn’t see him, so Elijah and James ran through the paddock till they found him.  Then, we picked a couple more boxes of apples from a tree in front of the airstrip along Munro Road.  Such an abundance of apples!  I filled the dehydrator with them this morning while the boys did their Math.  

   I had the boys haul all the pumpkins to the laundry room and the front porch this afternoon.  We have a huge pile in each place!  The ones on the front porch are not very ripe; I may end up feeding them to the cow.  We certainly don’t need them!  I spent a lot of time working on laundry, taking down what was dry and rehanging what wasn’t dry.  Most of it is dry now, finally.  It was sunny all day!

April 24, Wednesday.  Grape picking is done for another year.  They finished about 1:30 this afternoon.  Instead of the children packing lunches today, I took a hot meal over for them.  That was fun!  They all enjoyed it, both the ones who were working and the ones who were at home with me.  I just reheated leftovers and grabbed a couple of containers of leftover salads.  The older children are glad to be done picking.  We managed to get some school work done this afternoon after they came home, and then this evening the boys got some fences moved for the cow.  

   Nathan is very fussy this week.  I’m wondering if he isn’t trying to cut a molar, as well as having a slight cold.  Poor baby–he seems absolutely miserable and just wants Mommy to hold him most of the time.  He can’t understand that at times I have to do something that requires two hands!

April 25, Thursday.  Anzac Day today, so Gayle got to stay home!  He got some straw from Vince’s place, a bale that the cows had torn apart, and brought it home to pack potatoes in, and then got a good start at digging potatoes.  Our potato crop is less than impressive so far.  Lots of little ones, and not a lot of big ones.  Wonder why?  Hopefully the rest of the patch will be better; we’re only about 1/4 of the way done.

    Esther cooked supper for us tonight, and let us go out to Gore Bay while the children took care of themselves for an hour and a half.  What a treat!  We hadn’t had a date in about a year and a half.

   Nathan was happier today; I found a new tooth in front in his mouth.  He was still pretty demanding, just not quite as bad as this week so far.

April 26, Friday.  It was warm again today.  I thought about going to Kaikoura today to see Helen before she went back to Nelson, but when I called she said they were going back today instead of tomorrow.  So, we had a day at home to do school!  We got everything done that I wanted to do.  The boys are working very diligently, except for one who has always had a hard time keeping on task.  Each of the boys also dug his quota of potatoes. 

Look at that hair!

Look at that hair!


    This afternoon I went out to cut some Chinese cabbage for a salad for supper, and noticed that there was a hole dug in the lettuce bed.  There was a chicken feather in it, so I knew where it came from–there has been a chicken wandering around for awhile.  I decided it was time to do her in, so I heated some water and told Seth to kill her and the others in the pen she had been in, our oldest and least-productive chickens.  We ended up doing five hens and a rooster, and it went quite well.  The boys are getting good at plucking chickens!  They were happy to do a job we’ve been threatening to do for a long time.

April 27, Saturday.  What a beautiful day!  There was a warm nor-wester blowing a lot of the day, which certainly dried the laundry fast.  That is always welcome!  I ran in to the library this morning, and also went to the Post Shop to renew the registration for the truck.  Gayle and the boys spent some more time digging potatoes today.  They sure are stabbing a lot–I need to get creative in using potatoes for awhile.

The thing to do at this stage was to climb on the stool and sit down to read a book.

The thing to do at this stage was to climb on the stool and sit down to read a book.


   This afternoon we went on our annual apple-picking trip around through the hills west of us.  It is so beautiful back in there!  We don’t really need the apples, although the cow will gladly eat all we give her, but I told Gayle it’s not about the apples.  They make a good excuse, but the real reason to go is to have family time, enjoying driving around a beautiful road we don’t otherwise go on and enjoying a lovely fall day together!  We found a lot of good apples, too, and filled everything we had to put them in.  It’s amazing to find wild apples that taste so good.  Every tree is different, in flavor, texture and color, and we like some better than others, but they are all good.  A lot were still on the tree this time, so we were able to save a couple boxes full for eating later, and we filled several large boxes for the cow, with drops.

   Tonight after we got home, Nate wanted to nurse, so I spent a little time looking for apple dessert recipes on the IMG_1374 IMG_1398 IMG_1439 IMG_1419 IMG_1438Taste of Home website.  I found several that looked good, and ended up trying two tonight because they were so easy.  I made Apple Brown Betty and the filling for Apple Cream Pie.  Delicious!  The whole family agreed that these are keepers.

   Seth burned a brush pile tonight, and the boys made a small fire and buried some potatoes in it. Elijah and James went out after supper and found the potatoes.  The boys, of course, thought they were the best potatoes ever!

April 28, Sunday.  We actually got around for church on time this morning!  I had started the potatoes for dinner in the crock pot last night, so it was easy to finish assembling the casserole after I got up soon after 6:00.  Things went quite smoothly; I really should get up that early every Sunday morning.  The sea was nearly mirror-smooth as we drove past, and we got to see some dolphins jumping–that’s always a treat!

    Gayle spoke for quite awhile at church about holy living.  Nathan actually did very well at sitting.  I only had to take him out twice, fairly briefly each time.  We had a surprise during dinner–Aubrey, the young Mormon man who stayed a couple of nights with us in January, walked in again!  He decided to come home with us for the night, as he’s on his way south to look for a job.  The boys tried fishing for awhile in the river across the street from church while Esther and I ran to the supermarket for a few things.  While they were there, Rob and Cushla Fitzgibbon and their children showed up!  They used to live in Cheviot, but moved to Rangiora in December.  It was nice to see them briefly again.

April 29, Monday.  I was thankful today for a good warm wind to dry laundry!  Besides my three loads, Aubrey wanted to wash, and it all got dry!  Aubrey decided to spend today here, at least; he’s spending the night.  

   Yesterday on the way home from church the van started making a funny noise, so I called the mechanic in Cheviot who works on our vehicles, this morning first thing.  He said to bring it in, so I called Dianne to ask for a ride home.  Late in the morning the mechanic called and said it was the water pump–good thing we had it looked into before I tried to go anywhere!  Hopefully it will be fixed by Wednesday evening.

    School went very smoothly.  I’m always thankful for that!  Seth and Simon mowed lawn for a neighbor woman this afternoon.  They were thrilled to earn a little bit.  I’m glad for work for them!   It keeps them out of trouble.

April 30, Tuesday.  It rained today.  I’m so glad it doesn’t rain all the time!  The boys were getting pretty crazy by this evening.  School was a challenge today; the boys got their math done with no problem but it was hard to keep them focused for Barton.  Part of it was probably that Aubrey is still here; they get pretty distracted by anyone else being around.

   I’m making some sauce from what was left in the garden this week.  I made tomato juice last week, and thawed it today, then started cooking it down again.  I cooked and pureed the last of the tomatillos and hot peppers (not real hot because it’s so late in the season) with some parsley and a leek and I’m cooking all that down till it’s thicker.  It tastes really good!

   Pete came over this evening for Bible Study.  We talked about salvation and read verses about Jesus’ blood being our only hope.

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