What Day Will it Happen? Contest!

We are eagerly anticipating fresh milk again soon. We’ve been drinking frozen milk since I dried off the cow about the first of June, but it isn’t the same. The cow has started to bag up now, though, so we’re getting excited about having a new calf on the place again–and did I mention, fresh milk? And cream? And butter? We ran out of the frozen butter today and have to use butter from the shop now.

Anyway, I’m having a contest! I have a free copy of each of Chautona Havig’s two most recent books, Sweet on You and Ante Up!, so they will be the prizes for this contest. To enter, please comment on this post or on my Facebook page (with the link for this post) with the day you think the calf will arrive and whether it will be a heifer calf or a bull calf. The cow is due on July 23, and these pictures show how she looks today. (No, it’s not twins; we saw the calf when we had the vet do a scan to confirm the pregnancy in November, and it was definitely just one calf–this cow simply gets huge!) I’ll give one of the books to the person who guesses closest to the right date (or draw from all the right guesses), and the other book to someone who guesses the right gender. The contest closes when the calf is born–sometime in the next two weeks! The book you get will be a Kindle book, but you do not have to have a Kindle to read it. If you have a tablet or a smart phone you can easily get a free app to read  Kindle books, or you can read them on your computer. So, make a guess and you may get to read a book by my favorite author!05-IMG_0292 06-IMG_0294

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Acrobatic Baby

I spent some time sewing today. The sewing machine is on a table in the little boys’ room. I was sitting at it this afternoon, sewing, when Little Miss came in. She started climbing up to the top bunk, saying something like, “Daddy, daddy, dee dee dee, crash!” over and over. The “crash” was the clearest word, and the one she emphasized. Then, she swung herself down by one hand to reach the bottom bunk. I was able to get a video clip of the last time she did it. Enjoy!

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Book Review: Ante Up!

If I’m totally honest, the primary reason I signed up to be on Chautona Havig’s launch team last year was so that I could read about Aggie. Of course, I love her other books, too, but Aggie is my favorite character. My introduction to Mrs. Havig’s books was the first Aggie’s Inheritance book, Ready or Not, in which Aggie, freshly graduated from college at age 22, suddenly inherits her sister’s 8 children. I loved the book so much that my daughter gave me an Amazon gift card to get me to buy the other two books in that trilogy! That was over a year ago, and I’ve been waiting impatiently since then for more about Aggie. It’s finally here! Ante Up! publishes this week, on the 26th of June, but it is available for preorder already. If you do purchase the book, any time between now and July 7, you can ask for the bonus that Chautona wrote. It is a devotional with a chapter for each chapter of the book, exploring the song that was used for the title of that chapter. I’ve read the devotional, Tune My Heart, already and it is very good. One thing that especially spoke to me was a sentence in Chapter 15: “Mrs. Keary said that she believed those things that interrupt our great plans were sent by God to keep us from becoming selfish.”

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In some ways, Ante Up! is my favorite of the series. Aggie has now been married for nearly four years, and she has been mothering her sister’s eight orphaned children for nearly five years. Her second pregnancy is nearing its end, and she has the perfect birth plan mapped out. However, God throws a few monkey wrenches into her plans, as He does to all of us at times. How will Aggie respond? Will she continue to lean on the Lord and trust Him for grace? Or will she snap and show her all-too-human side? As one thing after another goes wrong for her, the challenges to her faith grow harder and harder to handle. Christmas is coming and she doesn’t have anything ready.

Meanwhile, the children have their own challenges to face, besides helping Luke to take care of the house and the little children. Vannie and Laird are faced with young people of the opposite sex being attracted to them (I loved the advice Laird got from older men—it was right on). Tavish is suffering physically from a somewhat foolish action, and Ellie desperately wants to try science experiments. Ian and Ronnie egg each other on as they act like typical little boys, and neither Luke nor Aggie has time or energy to deal with them properly. As the home spirals into chaos, what will bring back the order that Aggie thrives on?

I loved the humor that was woven into the story. My favorite scene involved stitch witchery and a worried little girl (Mommy wouldn’t have used that!). I also loved the roll-baking scene. Poor Ellie wanted to crawl into a hole at the end (“My career as a scientist is over before it even began.”) If you enjoy reading about large families or mothers, you will enjoy this book. If you enjoy watching God work to refine His people, you will enjoy this story. You will be challenged to check out your relationships with others, especially your husband, and your faith in God. Once again, Chautona Havig has crafted a great story that makes you think.

To get your own copy of this wonderful, encouraging book, the Kindle version is available here, and the print version here. If you are one of my friends who doesn’t have a Kindle, you can download an app to read books on your phone. I found a page here that has what you need (and if you’re local to us, Esther can help you install it–you know who you are!).

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.  If you read this, Chautona Havig, thank you very much for allowing me to be on your launch team!

Edited to add: Chautona is having a giveaway of a Kindle Fire. To enter, go here: https://promosimple.com/ps/9ddb

WARNING: Not a story for children or men; there are a lot of details about pregnancy and labor.

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June 2016 Pictures

I happened to have my camera in my pocket the other day when I was in the garden and discovered this beauty!IMG_0013

Preparing lunch the night before for our trip to town. It takes a lot of sandwiches to feed this crew! Making them assembly-line fashion helps.


What do you do with a big pile of coasters from the dump? Build castles!


Sunday afternoon fun. The little boys were trying to play the organ.


Mr. Diligence was playing with a bean bag.


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We were driving to Kaikoura for church Sunday morning when suddenly one of the boys exclaimed, “There’s a whale!” Sure enough, just a few hundred meters offshore was a whale, apparently feeding on the surface in the middle of a small pod of dolphins! There was a fishing boat close by; apparently there was a large school of fish there. Of course, we stopped to watch–you don’t see a whale very often. What a special experience!

I think this is a dolphin.

I think this is a dolphin.

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Weka Pass Railway

Once a month, we go to church in Waikari instead of Kaikoura. Normally, we go back home the same way we go there, via the Scargill Valley. In April, however, we went through Waipara to visit a friend on our way home. As we left Waikari, we noticed that the Weka Pass Railway had a sign out by the road, and then we saw the steam engine coming! This old railway line is only used now for an excursion train, and only runs a couple of days a month. We turned around and drove back to Waikari to see the train come into the station, and then Gayle got the idea of taking the children on a ride! Someone had to drive the van to the other end. He would have done it, but I offered to let him ride with the children, and I would drive the van and pick something up from a friend in Waipara on the way to the station at that end. The children loved that ride! They still talk about it. Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again sometime—I would love to go, too!

Coming into the Waikari station:01-20160424_14500202-20160424_145227

Coming up to Frog Rock:



The station in Waipara. This used to be the Cheviot railway station!


In places, the train goes through a pretty deep gorge.


There is a turntable at each end, on which the engine is turned around before being hooked up to the other end of the line of cars.


I happened upon this video of the railway. I haven’t watched it all—it’s 57 minutes!—but I watched snatches here and there through it. Beautiful scenery!

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Beaches: Timaru and Kaikoura

It’s fun to look through Esther’s memory card every so often. She gets some good pictures, and happily lets me use them. I often either forget I have a camera, or actually don’t have it along, so I’m glad when she takes pictures to fill in the gaps. Here are a few more pictures from the day we walked to the lighthouse near Timaru.

Little Miss was watching someone climbing the outside of the lighthouse. She held on to that apple all the way out there and most of the way back!07-DSCF1862

Gayle helping Mr. Imagination down the steep cliff below the lighthouse. They walked back along the shoreline.


Enjoying the view from a bench in front of the lighthouse.


Mr. Inventor, Mr. Imagination, and Mr. Intellectual trying out a hut someone else built out of driftwood.10-DSCF1911

Mr. Diligence, Mr. Inventor, and Mr. Intellectual on a rock north of Kaikoura.


Mr. Imagination pondering something!13-DSCF1948

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Sunday School Picnic and Gore Bay

I looked at the pictures on Esther’s memory card yesterday, and found some from the Sunday School picnic in March that I’d like to share! This picnic is an annual event at the home of a family way up in the hills, nearly to the mountains. After lunch, we walked out in a paddock behind the house. A couple of our boys had spent two nights there in December, and wanted to show us where they had played. It was quite interesting! They discovered that this tree was hollow, and opened up a hole just a bit more so they could fit inside. Here is Mr. Inventor peering out.01-DSCF177702-DSCF1780

This is how you get it—turn sideways and wriggle through! No thanks.


The valley the tree was in.04-DSCF179005-DSCF1793

They also wanted to show us the big willow trees they played in.


This was the original house on the farm, built about a hundred years ago. Unfortunately, it is in very poor shape now. It was quite interesting to look at, though.


The day after the picnic, we took a picnic to another place: Gore Bay. The boys wanted to try out an inflatable dinghy they were given. It didn’t work very well in the waves here, but when they tried it on a quiet lagoon, it worked well.


Little Miss is terrified of the sea—she wanted to stay safe with Daddy.


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A New Forge

Mr. Inventor built himself another forge this week. He cut apart a propane cylinder and used the top for the place for a fire. He welded it to a pipe and used the bottom of the cylinder for a stand. The pipe coming out the side is to attach a blower to (he uses an old vacuum cleaner) for air for the fire. He welded a metal grate inside to hold the coal fire up off the air hole.IMG_0030

Here is the forge in action. It worked great—it was so hot they could hardly get close enough to work with the fire! However, it melted the grate. I’m not sure what he’s doing next!


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Fun at the Park

We had to go to Christchurch last week for Mr. Inventor’s orthodontist appointment. While he and I were in there, the rest of the family walked to a playground down the street. That was quite a treat for these country children! Here are Mr. Handyman and Little Miss.DSCF1030

Mr. Intellectual


Mr. Inventor watching Mr. Intellectual, Mr. Imagination, Mr. Diligence, and Mr. Sweetie.


Esther gave Little Miss a swing ride. Apparently, Little Miss loved it so much she was quite upset when they quit swinging.


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