Summer Break

This week we had a break from volunteer groups.  While we did not go on vacation, we did have a lovely week which included catching up on some tasks that get neglected during the busy weeks, visiting with friends, and enjoying family time.

Sunday evening, we lit a fire, roasted marshmallows, and made s’mores.  The children challenged themselves by seeing how many seconds it took to scale the steep hill beside the driveway and by running from the back of the camp to the bottom of our driveway.  They said they are preparing  for a 5k!

Monday, friends took us out on Lake Norris.  The boat was beautiful, the day lovely, and the company enjoyable.  The wind in my face was invigorating, and the water was relaxing.  We settled in a cove to eat fried chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and blueberries.  While the children swam with life jackets, the adults visited about life experiences.  Our host told of his school days at a settlement school in the mountains, of his time in France after World War II, and of living in Alaska and Texas.

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Tuesday, for the first time this year, the children and I pulled weeds from the vegetable garden.  There were only a few, mostly grass, poking up through the wood chips.  The mulch has been such a blessing, as I do not know when I would have had time to put into weeding this summer.

Wednesday, a friend from my teaching days came to visit.  As we sat on the front porch enjoying the quiet and the morning breeze, we watched hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees dart about the Rose of Sharon bush and the potted wild flowers.  We talked of seasons of life and how the Lord leads in various ways.

That evening for supper, we hosted new friends, a family from Manitoba with whom we are serving this summer.  The company was delightful, and the children enjoyed playing dolls and Legos.  They brought a gorgeous bouquet arranged from garden and wild flowers that were blooming on the property.

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Thursday, before we headed down the mountain to run errands, the children and I picked beans and planted some seeds for a fall crop.  Pushing aside the wood chips just enough to be able to put the seeds in the dirt, I planted lettuce, spinach, kale, greens, and radishes.  It has been a hot week with no rain; so imagine my surprise when this morning, I peeked at the garden and saw radishes already sprouting!  Another plus for the woodchips: they hold moisture even when the weather is dry.

Friday afternoon, our family headed out to Martin’s Fork Lake.  The water was a great way to relax and cool off after the heat of the day.  The children are improving their swimming skills, and two of them built castles in the sand.  After a picnic supper, we stopped at Dairy Queen for ice cream cones.

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Several times this week, I thought, “Ah, this is summer!”

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Strange Sightings

At times, creation reveals some strange sights.  Here are a few from the plant and insect worlds.

I am not sure what these plants are, but they are surely unusual looking.

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A stick with lichens and fungi fell into our garden.

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Our middle son came running with a stick bug on his arm.

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Our daughter spied a giant moth.

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This final picture is for my father-in-law.  Not strange, but a welcome sight is Dutch beans growing in the garden.

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Blackberry Picking and Wild Horses

This week my parents came to visit, and we had a new summer staff family arrive.  On Saturday, we headed out for an adventure.  Blackberries are ripening, so we decided to visit the area that has wild horses and lots of wild blackberry brambles.  After arriving, we began picking and filling our buckets.  There were fourteen of us; and we gathered five ice cream buckets, I believe.  Of course, quite a few berries never made it into the buckets!

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As we were winding down with the picking, someone spotted some horses; so we quickly abandoned the berries to go see them.  The children enjoyed petting the friendly ones and climbing around on the rocky slopes.  One of the horses had a foal and made sure no one got too close.  It was a gorgeous cool morning with a gentle breeze stirring the air.

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After a while, we split up; and some of us drove to a different section where we found approximately fifty wild horses.  What a beautiful sight!

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The time was truly lovely and relaxing, just what was needed after a busy week.

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Spots of Beauty

Bear on the trail.

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A gigantic beetle.

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An exquisite wild flower.

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A spot of beauty on our porch.

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Sunset over the mountains.

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I do not have any pictures, but another spot of beauty in our week was the hospitality of some new friends.  The children frolicked in the pool, and the parents enjoyed conversation.  A lovely beginning to the week.