Baby Lion

Our youngest, as I’ve mentioned before, has a very vivid imagination. One of his big things lately has been that there are lions in the house. He seems very fascinated, and a little scared, of his imaginary lions. The “baby lions” (pronounced yi-yuns), however, are a different story. Usually, they are invisible, cupped in his hand, and he’ll show them to you or let you cuddle them. Sometimes, depending on his mood, he’ll smash (hmash) them, then throw them away and get another. Where did such bloodthirstiness come from? I don’t know!

One day last week, he had a visible “baby lion”—this toy plastic goat! DSCF3098In the morning, he wrapped it up in a bunch of small cotton clothes we use for wet wipes, and played with it for quite awhile. After his afternoon nap, though, he couldn’t find it.  That was sad! He told me, very sorrowfully, “Yi-yun ate it.” (The big lion ate it.) DSCF3100

I remembered having seen it on a couch, however, so I told one of the older boys to go look for it. What a relief when it was found! He then located his pile of wipes again, wrapped up his “baby lion”, and all was right in his world again.DSCF3102

The baby lion, aka a goat, is wrapped up in that bundle of cloths.

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June Pictures

We haven’t taken very many pictures this month. Mainly, we’ve been doing school and trying to recover from the shock of being told we have to move again, and of course, I’m dealing with morning sickness (although that is getting better, thankfully!). We have not found a house yet; there isn’t anything available to rent, and especially not anything that will suit us. We’re still praying about what to do, and pursuing any option that we are told about. We’re wondering if it is time to buy a house, although we really wanted a couple more years to save first. We’ll see what God opens up for us! Anyway, here are a few pictures from the month.

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I dug one parsnip—but what a parsnip!

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We went to Christchurch one day, and on our way home got to watch the moon rise. What a sight! Esther asked me to pull over so she could get a photo. Later that evening, I saw on Facebook something about the “honey moon” that was happening that night!

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A hollow log across the creek, just before the digger pulled it out when our landlord cleaned out the creek.

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One Sunday afternoon, Gayle took the children walking along the shore for a little while after church, while I rested in the van. They rolled down the steep bank in the gravel!

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While the digger was here, we asked the man to move our container out of the paddock to the road, where it can be picked up by a truck to move it, when we move. We have no idea yet where we’re going, but we plan to pack as much as possible into the container, then get a truck with a crane to move it all to the new house. The paddock will still be too wet, so this will make it possible.

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I had a lot of lemons to juice one day, and these two helped—until the juicer burned out.

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The two little boys get pretty bored during school, so one day they invaded Esther’s room. They rearranged the jars on the shelves, then made themselves “beds”!

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My little helper. I was making peanut butter, and he ate handfuls of peanuts!

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Hot Wire!

Our 2-year-old has an incredible imagination. He really has a thing about lions right now, and frequently shows us a “baby lion” in his hands (invisible to us). He also loves playing with “hot wires”, which are to keep his animals in. Don’t touch the hot wire–you’ll get shocked!

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Taco Salad

Maybe being pregnant makes you remember food from childhood. I don’t know for  sure, but I do know that when I bought some Chinese cabbage today at the supermarket I remembered a favorite meal very vividly! Back when I was in my early teens, I would say, we would occasionally have taco salad for lunch. I will guarantee, however, that it was not the same as most people’s taco salad! To start with, we did not mix it ahead of time, but rather each person built their own on their plate—a lot like the “straw hats” or “hay stack” that are popular in some circles. Then, instead of buying corn chips, my frugal mother made corn bread. And by the way, I’m very thankful to my mom for instilling frugal values in me, although I’ve never pinched pennies quite the way she did. We would crumble corn bread onto our plate, then add a layer of pinto or kidney beans (we cooked enough to make about two quarts of beans, then added a pound of fried hamburger and seasoned it with salt and pepper). Next would be a thin layer of grated cheese, and then chopped dill pickles and onions. In season, we would use chopped tomatoes; the rest of the year we opened a couple of jars of canned tomatoes. I always liked to add some extra tomato juice to soak up the cornbread! The top layer was either lettuce or Chinese cabbage, depending on season; Mom always grew Chinese cabbage in the fall and stored it till about December. From then till summer, we had no salads except the occasional coleslaw and Iceberg lettuce once or twice when it went on sale. We got so hungry for salad by spring! But I digress. On top of the stack, we poured Basic French Dressing, a recipe from the old Oster blender cookbook, or Hidden Valley Dressing. Yum! That was before we started making salsa; when I was in my late teens we started making taco sauce and then salsa.DSCF3074

All the ingredients, ready to assemble!

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My plateful, ready to eat. It was as good as I remembered! Everyone else liked this, too, and there were hardly any leftovers—a spoonful of beans, a few chopped pickles, and some tomatoes.

The recipes we used:

Cornbread (from Joy of Cooking)   
Mix: 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
          1/2 cup flour
          2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
         1-2 Tablespoons sugar
         3/4 teaspoons salt
Add: 1 egg
          2-3 Tablespoons melted butter or bacon fat
          3/4 cup milk
Mix lightly, bake in two loaf pans or a 9”x9” pan 20 minutes at 350­°F

Basic French Dressing (from old Oster Blender cookbook)
1 1/2 c salad oil
3/4 c vinegar
1/2 t sugar
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t paprika
2 t dry mustard
Put all ingredients into blender. Cover. Process until well blended. Shake before using.

Hidden Valley Dressing (my mom’s creation)
Put in blender:
1 egg
1 3/4 t salt
1/2 t dry mustard
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
2 t dry parsley
good shake black pepper
1 T vinegar
1 T lemon juice (or another Tablespoon vinegar)
1/4 c oil
Start blending. Immediately remove feeder cap and slowly pour in another 3/4 c oil. Then blend in 1 1/4-1 1/2 c buttermilk.

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Cutting Wood

Gayle and the boys have spent quite a few Saturdays and a holiday, now, cutting up trees that were pulled out from around this house before we moved in. They cut the tops and roots off, and then pulled the trees out of the paddock with the van. They only got stuck once! A neighbor came to the rescue with his tractor. These pictures are from the first day they worked on it—a beautiful, sunny day!

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Little overseer. He hates getting muddy, and he is scared of the sheep, so he stayed up out of harm’s way!DSCF2962

It had been a very cold night—see that sheet of ice!DSCF2968

Esther was cleaning out a shed, in preparation for getting goats, which, after all, is not going to happen.DSCF2961

Opening up an old gate to pull the trees in close to the woolshed, where the wood was to be stacked.DSCF2973

And this is what happens when boys are trying to do a job too big for them! I superglued it together, and it has healed very nicely. To get it stitched, we would have had to drive an hour and a half, since it was a holiday, so I tried something I had heard of, figuring if it didn’t work, I could take him in to the local medical center the next day. Praise God, it healed without infection! I gave him massive doses of vitamin C for several days.DSCF2988

I took the picture because he wanted to know, while he was laying there, what it looked like!

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Things We’ll Miss When We Move

I finally got around to taking pictures here to show you this house and the features we especially love. Before I got them posted, we were told, this past week, that we have three months to move out. The landlord decided he wants to sell the house and thinks it will sell better empty. Now, we have the challenge of finding a house again—no easy proposition for our size family. It will be interesting to see what God does this time—but it’s sure not fun to be in this position! We love living here, all except the flooding, and there are certainly things we’ll miss.

The kitchen, with its wonderful coal range (wood cook stove):

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The living room/our bedroom:DSCF2984DSCF2985

The boys’ bedroom:DSCF2986

Esther’s bedroom:DSCF2987

And outside, I love the freezer room (old woodshed several steps from the back door):DSCF2980

the jar room:DSCF2978

the big clothesline:DSCF2977

and the dry, convenient place to  milk my cow.DSCF2969

I sure don’t know what God has in this, but I’m trying to hang on to the fact that He does have a plan for us. Your prayers would be appreciated! We thought we had located a place already, but then they changed their minds.

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Late May Pictures

One evening, boy # 5 was trying to make himself a costume with a blanket and clothespins. His little brother tried to help!

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We had another heavy rain, and were afraid that we would have another flood, but thankfully the rain slackened just before the creek overflowed. We did have water running along the footpaths in front of the house again, though.DSCF2903

A mob of a couple hundred—maybe several hundred—sheep went past several days ago. The leaders were approaching our place, and the tail end of the flock had still not turned onto our road! Those vehicles in the distance are on the other road, behind the mob. The sheep were spread out over about half a kilometer (over a quarter mile).DSCF2918

This is probably the winner of the giant pumpkin contest for this year, although there is still one more to be weighed. This one weighed 30 kg (66 pounds). Unfortunately, we proved to ourselves that Atlantic Giant pumpkins don’t taste good. Actually, that is a mis-statement. They have no flavor at all! The cow got it, but didn’t get through the whole thing before it rotted.DSCF2922

I came in from milking one evening and found the little boys washing the window! They had great fun.DSCF2923

One Saturday, Gayle took all the older children to clean a house that his co-worker is moving into. I stayed home with the little boys. They get along so well together—it is great fun to watch them play! They got this barrel and set it up under the tree, then climbed the tree to get on top of the barrel. Big brother helped little brother get settled, and they pretended there was a flood. The barrel rocked back and forth rather violently, then toppled over!DSCF2930DSCF2933

Little fellow got hold of a small ball of yarn, and “tied” it onto various things, stringing it from the hallway into the kitchen. Then, someone helped him make it into a “hut”, which he is standing in in this photo.DSCF2936

This is boy # 3 doing his math—his favorite place is on top the piano!DSCF2942

One very frosty morning, the “lake” in front of the house was frozen over, except for this open spot in the middle where the ducks were.DSCF2944

Another morning, we were eating breakfast when we looked out the window and saw these two herons in the trees across the road.DSCF2948DSCF2951DSCF2954

I was out with the camera one afternoon and enjoyed seeing the ducks relaxing.DSCF2970

On my way back to the house, I opened the door so the chickens could free-range for awhile.DSCF2976

Our landlord worked for awhile on repainting the house and got this side done!DSCF2979

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