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Productive: July 1997

Dear Family and Friends,

In contemplating the best word to describe this past stage in our homestead, I thought that it could be summarized as ‘productive.”

After returning from Indy at Thanksgiving, we found that we had seven puppies. Surprise!!! Our Akita escaped the fence once while a stray was in our yard. Neighbors and work associates helped find homes for all of them, but not without some tears from the boys.

Our two pigs arrived the day before Christmas. Joey John would lasso one of them to take them for a walk (run). Josiah made it his project to try to pet them on the head. Jonathan followed them inside their pen to touch their tail, watch it uncurl then curl again, laugh, only to touch it again. Although we kept these pigs a month longer then last years’, we managed to lower the price per pound by buying food in bulk.

Two weeks after our pigs left our homestead to return in a different form, our eight-month-old red cow was ready to make its home here. Joey had to put gates on both the pasture and the orchard and finish fencing the orchard to avoid our mistake from last year, thinking the cow would only eat the lower leaves on the fruit trees. He would yank the entire branch down to consume all its leaves in short order. He pruned our trees for many years to come.

In spite of our last cow, we still managed to pick enough cherries for a couple of fresh pies and ‘tasting’ for the boys.

Our garden has increased in size to 960 sq ft. plus I’ve tried to utilize the pig pen for some sunflowers, corn and buckwheat, as well as the herb garden in the front yard. I was excited about the healthy onion tops that we had until I tried to expose some of the bulbs to begin drying them. There was nothing, I mean nothing, under the top. As I dug, I found a mole hole that lead to the railroad tie which had a tunnel made in it. (Moles, from what I’ve read, aren’t suppose to like creosine found in RR ties, so much for the normal mole.) 

The boys have enjoyed ‘hunting for Easter eggs’, the red and purple potatoes that we tried growing in a wire compost bin with straw.

Joey has even worked on his gardening skills by starting a strawberry patch to add to his orchard tree challenges.

Our homestead news would be amiss without mention of the great productivity of our many biting things. We’ve been battling the usual, mosquitoes, fire ants, horse flies, yellow jackets, and rattlesnakes (four so far this season) in addition to the new bites from moles (only in our produce), and fleas (the boys bring them inside on their hairline.) I’ve never had so many bites at one time before.

Not only has God blessed our land and animals with productivity, He is also producing growth in our children. Joey John has taken on the responsibility of week whacking with Joey’s industrial weed whacker. He has learned to ride his two-wheeler, in spite of the hills, ruts and obstacles. His desire for a football team of brothers reveals a glimpse of his name’s meaning, “the Lord added (children).” He had his doubts about the baby when he asked two weeks before the due date, “How do you know that you have a baby and aren’t just gaining weight?”

Josiah does well for his four years at making Jonathan laugh when he is crying, helping him off his high chair, and reminding everyone to be quiet as Mommy rests. He is quick to notice the flowers, to see the wildlife, and to complement a good job. We are seeing even now his fulfillment of his name’s meaning, “the Lord heals,” as he is my little encourager.

Jonathan may only be turning two at the end of July, but his age doesn’t hinder him from keeping up with his brothers. He has been as his name implies, “God’s gift” to us. Many times I wonder how many times his guardian angels have asked for a vacation! We are reminded almost daily how fragile and temporary that gift can be, as he finds new ways to put himself in danger or live life on the edge.

Our Jonas Luke arrived July 9th. After going to Monterey over the 4th, my water bag broke on Sunday morn. We came home early. Contractions were sporadic until hard labor began Wed even at 5 PM. He arrive sunny side up with a burst of excitement that he was “a boy.” Joey’s mom was able to cut the cord. Her presence was indispensible in the week that followed.

Our productivity at the homestead is contingent upon Joey’s productivity at work. This year has brought many changes with Joey’s employment. The place is the same, but the employers have changed. Joey comes home with a story of new developments almost every day. Joey applied to the surgical residency program in CT. After that door closed, our next avenue of investigation has been medical school. Joey has been studying for the MCAT—a major accomplishment with everything else that he is doing. He has started the application process for some of the schools. This will be one-step toward fulfilling his dream. 

Productivity—a word implying  fertility and growth, has been given to us and to our homestead by God, the Master Giver of Life and Growth, for Whom we acknowledge and we thank. 

May this time of your life find His blessing upon you too!



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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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