Spring Is On the Way

Here we are in the middle of Winter, and I am thinking of Spring.  I do not think that I am alone.

It has not been a hard Winter or anything like that, but I am still longing for Spring.  Spring is a time of renewal, hope, life.

Yesterday I went out to burn trash, and noticed the singing of the birds in the trees in our backyard.  My what lovely music they were making.  I then noticed hundreds of birds fly from the tree tops, and they were Robbins.  There were many of them on the ground.  I guess they were looking for food, or something.  I do not think I have seen a larger flock of Robbins together at one time as then.

There were many of them on the ground in the backyard today.  Not near as many, but several, scattered over the whole yard.

I always see the Robbin as the hope that Spring is just around the corner.  I know what Phil said the other day.  I however do not need Phil to tell me there are six more weeks of Winter.  If you look at the calendar for the year; Spring begins on March 20, and it is about six weeks from February 02 through March 20 with only a four day difference.  So what?  Spring is on the way.

I am very glad.

From the banks of Flat Creek.

Gooseberries

There was a time when I was a child my Dad worked with my Uncle Duane, Dad’s brother, putting up hay for the Winter, and feeding cattle.  My uncle and his sons, Dad, and myself would put up a lot of hay each Summer.  Part of the treat of working at my Uncle’s farm was getting to eat dinner, our midday meal.  Let me explain where I grew up we had breakfast, dinner, and supper; there was no lunch.  Sometimes for dinner one dessert my Aunt Ollie prepared and served was Gooseberry cobbler.  Most of the time these were served at family get togethers.

Aunt Ollie’s gooseberry cobbler was the best I have ever eaten.  If you have never eaten a gooseberry cobbler or pie you have missed a treat.  If you have eaten a Rhubarb pie; that comes pretty close, but it is not gooseberry.  Uncle Duane and Aunt Ollie have gone home to be with the Lord.  We no longer have family get togethers with their children, nor do we do the hay thing.  I miss them, and I miss the Gooseberry cobbler.

I mention this because I am going to experiment with raising some gooseberries.  I thought about a few months ago, but never got around to do it.  This morning I needed to go to town [Cassville], and take care of some business, and pick up some meds at the pharmacy; but I had to stop on the way out our road to trim a tree limb out of the road.  When I started rolling the limb, and its brush over the hill I noticed a clump of Gooseberry bushes.  I decided then and there that when I came back by I would stop, and pull a couple of them, plant them at our house in the fence row, and see what happens.

I did just that.  They are planted, and hopefully will begin producing berries in a year or two.

If they do I will need to make me some fresh Gooseberry pie, or cobbler.

-tim

Thirty Two Degrees

No!  I am not writing of the degrees or percentage of a slope.  I am however writing of this mornings temperature at 5:00 a.m.  That is right it was 32 degrees fahrenheit down here in our little valley on Flat Creek.

I am somewhat thankful that we did not have frost or any killing affect on plants; tomato plants and bell peppers that are still growing and  producing. That was due to the cloud cover we are having.  The clouds acted as a blanket of sorts keeping the frost from coming.  We also have gotten a little bit of rain.  Thank you LORD.

More is on the way; of that I am pretty sure.  It is that time of year.  Winter is on the way.  Only God knows what will come our way.  Thirty two degrees?  That is really not that bad.

-tim

Feeling the Heat?

There have been record setting temps, or near record breaking temps for the past 15 days or so; and it does not look like it is going to cool down for at least another week at least.  I told my wife, Madge, yesterday, “I thought we left the desert in California when we moved back here twelve years ago.”

The way our grass looks is dead, not dormant like it gets in the Winter months, but dead.  I am working on getting us an irrigation system of sorts, so we can use the Creek, and get some things growing and green again.  I found a shallow well pump on Craig’s List last week, drove to Springfield, and bought it fairly reasonable; at least I think so.  Now I need the pipe for the syphon end of the pump, then electric wire to reach, and water line to get to the sprinklers.

Anyway to the topic I started.  For the past two days it has been 114 degrees at our house.  That is right: 114 degrees.  That is pretty near desert temps.  Last year we had one day that reached that temp, but this is twice that.  Though I like the heat of Summer much better than the cold of Winter; I think I could stand a bit of a cool down; and much rain.

It will rain one of these days, and we will get so much many will be asking, “When is it going to stop?”  Looking forward to the rain coming.

Hope everyone stays cool, safe and healthy.

-tim

One Bad Thing…

…About having an inside thermometer for the outside is that you notice how hot it is outside.  I guess in the Winter you notice how cold it is; but to some “Cold” sounds pretty good right now.  I looked a moment ago, and the temp here at our house on Flat Creek, South of Jenkins, MO is 108 degrees.

I told Madge [my wife] just a while ago that I think this has got to be the hottest spot in the State of Missouri.  I do not know of anyone around who is ever as hot as we get.  Hey though.  I really do not mind the heat, as long as I can get cool.

I water the trees and flowers early of the morning just before, or as the sun is rising over the hill in the East.  It is warm at that time, and I usually come in the house rolling with sweat.  It tickles me blue to be able to do those things.  For a few mornings I have taken my new truck, gone to the gravel, shoveled what I would approximate to be about 1000 pounds of gravel into my truck and hauled it to the house; or as I did yesterday; up the road and filled some holes in the road; hopefully for a better ride down the road.  I did that before the heat got too much for me to bear.

It is great to be able to go outdoors, enjoy the weather.  One bad thing about this  time of year is for those fellows and gals who must work out in it.  My heart and prayers go out to you.  I say to you drink plenty of water and juices; without alcohol or caffeine; or it could dehydrate you.

One bad thing is that Winter is on the way.  On second thought; would that be so bad; at least right now?

-tim

 

It is Officially Summer

Is it officially Summer on June 20, 2012?  It begins at 7:09 p.m.; according to the Old Farmers Almanac.  I am writing this at 5:50 a.m. so Summer does not begin until 6:09 this evening.  For many it has already started.

It started for many children when school let out for Summer break.  It started for many adults on Memorial day.  Summer actually begins when the sun reaches its furthest Northern trek.  That is for us who live in the Northern hemisphere.  For those down under Summer is during our Winter.

Let me leave you with this little bit of info from THE OLD FARMER’S ALMANAC;

“Did you know that the solstices and the equinoxes this year occur earlier than in any year since 1896? This is because the year 2000, which was an “extra” leap year (the first time in four centuries that such a change was made), combined with 2012, a routine leap year, to create a tweak of time that jump-starts the seasons this year.”

This comes from their email update at http://www.almanac.com.

Enjoy the Summer.  You have three more months of it.

-Tim

 

Our Driveway

For some who know where my wife and I live you know the drive to our house from the main road is a beautiful drive, and even that, this time of year you just might see an eagle, or two or more.  As you drive along the drive on the bluff overlooking Flat Creek the eagles often roost of the evening in the tops of the sycamore trees which reach out over the flowing water of the Creek.

When you get down to our home in the valley, our driveway is not so good when it is raining or shortly after a rain.  That is because it used to be pasture land, and we have worn a path through the grass, and it is without any gravel.  I have checked on having some limestone gravel hauled in and it is not cheap.  Now the thing about the limestone is that it would look nicer than the old brown creek gravel which we have plenty of.

We need gravel on our driveway, so today, I am going to go, the old fashioned way, borrow a pickup, and get my shovel and do some gravel hauling myself.  I will probably wear myself out again this Saturday, but that is good for me I suppose.

Get that gravel down, and then, we will have much better traction rolling out the drive to the road.  Last winter I could cut through the yard by the old house and get on the road.  This year we have an electric fence around the yard so it would take a little more effort to cut through.

I think sometimes it would be nice to have a tractor with a front loader and a small dump truck.  With those two items I could keep the potholes filled on the road to the driveway too.  But, that is going to have to wait.

Right now a pickup truck, a shovel and manpower is all I can do.  So that is what is going to happen today – God willing, of course.

When I got up this morning at 4 a.m. it was 18 degrees outside.  That is considerably colder than it has been all week long.  The ground will be frozen, but that will not stop the work.

Flat Creek is up and rolling right along in full view out our back patio door.

-Tim

November Twenty Eleven

That is right.  It is now November and several days into it as a matter of fact.  The month of Thanksgiving, though, my prayer is that we are thankful every day; not just one day a year.  To whom should we be thankful?  The Pilgrims who came to this country?  The Indians/Native Americans who aided the Pilgrims? or should we be thankful to the Creator who has given us all things to enjoy and blessed us immensely?

That last one, of course.

It is a great thing to get up every morning and know that the Lord GOD who has made all things, has also given me strength to arise from bed with a beating heart, air to breathe, and feet and legs on which to stand.  Thank YOU Lord for all these things and so much more.

November is also the month weather is iffy.  In the Ozarks of Southwest Missouri it is kind of like Forrest Gump’s phrase, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get”.  The weather around here is like that box of chocolates.  Of course it is like that year round; but especially this time of year.  It can be cold one day, warm up that evening, and be cold again the next day with spitting snow, or ice; or maybe just the reverse.

I am thankful for the seasons around here; though, I do especially like Spring and Summer.  The best part about Winter is that from the first day of the Winter solstice the daylight hours begin to lengthen.  That means to me, that Spring is on the way.

Do not forget to set your clocks back one hour before you go to bed; unless you want to stay up until 2 a.m. and do it.  If you forget it will not be a big loss; you will be early the next morning for wherever you are going; and that hopefully will be to worship the Lord with other brothers and sisters in Christ.

By the way;  the puppies are growing, and they will be two weeks old tomorrow (November 06). From the banks of Flat Creek.

-Tim

The Heat of the Week

Yesterday August 02, 2011 is about as hot as it has been.  Really there is no doubt about it.  It was the hottest it has been all Summer anyway.

Records were set in 1954 and in 1980 for heat, but it appears that those records are being tied or bettered by the current heat wave.  I still don’t believe in “global warming”, because, right now in the Southern himisphere it is Winter, and I would almost guarantee that there is snow, ice and cold down there; and they are wondering where the heat is.

We just as well set back, and enjoy what the LORD of the Universe and all that is has given us.  We are warm, not freezing.  Many of us live in air conditioned homes.  Still for those who don’t go get wet somewhere, get in the shade.

By the way; the temp here yesterday reached a high of 111 degrees.  Things burn up when the temps get that high, including weeds.

Things are hot, dry and brown on the banks of Flat Creek.

-Tim

Maybe It was Mowing the Dirt

I wrote a post the other day that I title “After Mowing”.  I spoke of mowing dirt and the heat.  It has been hot; there is certainly no denying that, but I choose to be thankful for it, rather than complain about it.  I mean think of the alternative – it could be below zero, and without the heat of the sun to warm us there would be no life at all.

The other night while I was sleeping I had a dream of snow and slick roads.  I guess that was a way of reminding me of last February.  I must admit I don’t do much outdoor work when it is hot like this.  It probably wouldn’t be too wise for someone who has had stents placed in their heart to do so; at least too aggressively.

I did go out yesterday afternoon to move a mound of dirt which was out in the yard from the septic lateral, which I had to mow around.  It was just a small mound.  I took my pick and shovel to it and had it moved in short order, but in that 100 degree sun it made short work of me too.  I thank God for those guy and gals who are out in it doing road work, building houses, farm work, and all other legitimate work.  No matter what your age may be; working out in that sun’s heat will zap your body of needed nutrients and strength.  Take care of yourselves.  Drink lots of water; no caffeine or alcohol; these will harm you rather than help you.

Maybe it was mowing that dirt that caused me to dream of cool weather and snow.  I know it is a coming.

Watching the sunrise along the banks of Flat Creek.

-Tim

Never Mind Summer…

…What about Winter.  I haven’t even written anything concerning Fall of the year, and now Winter is only 12 days away.  It has been one amazing Autumn.  Not just the beauty of changing colors of leaves and such but changes in the lives of my wife and I.  We have been blessed.

I would love to have everyone be just as blessed as we are.  All that we have been blessed with has been a gift from God.  First of all on the Eve of Fall we went and signed papers (what a long ordeal that isl; but such a joy) for our new home, and my wife signed in the hospital for surgery.  On the 21 day of September my wife had heart surgery, and after a scare in ICU, she recovered nicely and is doing quite well now.

On the 29th day of October we moved into our new home.  Sitting down on Flat Creek just about 3 miles South of Jenkins we  hear the water trickle over the rocks on the rapids below the Mill Pond, we can watch eagles soar effortlessly in cloudy, or blue skies, and hear one make its chilling call (it is a chilling call to the rabbits, mice, or fish I’m sure).

To the Almighty Creator of all that is,  Thank you Jesus for all YOU have done.

T.A.

Talk About Seasons

Seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter are inevitable for us, and we appreciate them; most of the time. The things which we may call “Seasons” of our lives also come with mixed appreciation.

It seems sometimes that the seasons of my life have been stricken with only the “Winter” mode, and that of my wife as well. This is not meant to capture anyone’s sympathy, empathy or what ever, but I pray it will encourage you. I know, and am trusting completely in our Lord’s goodness, grace and love. He holds my life, my wife’s life, all our family’s lives in His powerful hands.

You see I cannot see the finished picture which He is painting for my life. I have only what is today; however, He sees the complete picture. When He is finished with this painting it will be a glorious picture which will glorify His Son Jesus. No work He has began in me or any of His children will fail.

Before I go on with this let me tell you what my wife and I have found out from our doctor, and blood tests. According to my last blood test I have a high glucose level, and a failing liver. She has also told me that my kidneys are only functioning at 60% (just the other day a woman gave one of her kidneys to her husband whose kidneys had failed completely, so she is on fifty percent kidney function) WOW!!! Thank the Lord.

My wife has an aortic anyrism (an enlarged aorta of the heart). When it was first discovered she was told it was at a 4, and when it reached a 5, they would need to do surgery. We were told Monday that it is now at 4.5. The surgery we have been told would be open heart surgery. I am so thankful that our God who has created all things, and holds all things together has it all in His mighty, everlasting hands.

We have also determined to fight these things through prayer, praise, and eating right, or at least closer to right, and getting some much needed exercise, starting with walking as often as we possibly can.

He can heal us if He chooses to do so, and we would be thankful, and we are thankful to Him for the privilege and “Right” through His Son Jesus for having a personal relationship with Him.

Jesus our Savior and God is the Creator of all, is worthy of our praise. We will love Him, serve Him, and will not bow to the words of men or the devil; but we will praise and serve the LORD of hosts. There is no rest without this God and Savior who died on the cross for our sins.

Look to Him today. Have peace through faith in Him. Live His faith.

Give thanks for every day you can arise from your bed, take a breath, take a step, look into the early morning skies and see the stars, the moon, the planets, and have a knowledge that there is the Creator. There are those who cannot do those things and are thankful still.

When we are oppressed by the rough seasons of our lives; let’s be sure we make it a season of praise to our Creator.

-Tim A. Blankenship