Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Scrap Lumber

"Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood..." Genesis 6:14a
1. No, we're not building an ark.
2. I'm pretty sure it's not gopher wood.

We are, in fact, building shelters for the soon-to-be newest members of our family: goats! Eric has been researching different breeds and has decided on Kinders. They are good for meat and milk. For starters, we'll have one buck and two does. The kids will follow!

This photo shows a pallet from the flagstone and the pieces of an old play fort our neighbor disassembled. Stay tuned for photos of the finished product.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Count Your Blessings Monday

It's Monday and time to post another blessing. Marci started this weekly tradition and I'm loving it!

Check out her website to see who else is counting their blessings.

My blessing today is my incredible, very capable husband Eric. He's level-headed, street-smart, not afraid of hard work or learning new skills, self-disciplined, self-reliant, can read between the lines, knows how to work with people, puts butterflies in my stomach, and is my absolute best friend. My husband is perfect for me!!

When I started praying for a husband, my prayer was bold and quite descriptive as far as character was concerned. However, if God did bring me this kind of husband, was I the kind of wife to compliment such a man? How arrogant of me to pray for my dreams to come true if I wasn't willing to change. Well, God heard that side of my prayer and did some mighty work on me, as well. When God brought Eric into my life, there was no question that this was the man God had planned for me. And there was no question that I was the woman God had planned for Eric. We knew within the first three hours. Neither one was playing games. He had his list (actually written). I had mine (mental). As we talked that first time, we were checking off pertinent items.

In the end, he proposed on the second date and I accepted. We were married five months later and continually see the fingerprints of God on every part of our lives. We will always be newlyweds!!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A major milestone

"So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of the month Elul, in fifty-two days." Nehemiah 6:15
Wall? No - patio. Elul 25th? Close - July 21st. Fifty-two days? HA! Not quite - I'll let you calculate!

But...the largest part is done!! It's finished!! Woo hoo!! This day was a long time coming. I know the entire patio is not finished, but the most difficult and labor-intensive section is complete!!!!! And all joints and muscles are still functioning quite nicely. :)
Here's the view from our front door. Quite a lovely sight!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Giants of Flagstonia

Another Friday and that means Show & Tell. When you were in school, don't you remember how excited you got when that day rolled around? Kelli has restored this timeless pleasure - check out everyone else's Show & Tell.

"(For only Og King of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine cubits [13 1/2'] and its width four cubits [6'] by ordinary cubit.)" Deuteronomy 3:11
Look at the size of these stones! Not quite as large as Og's bed; but giant, nonetheless!! No wonder it we only got half way the other day.

I'm 5'6" and both of these guys are taller than me and 90% of the rocks are taller than them!! If it wasn't for that tractor, who knows how we'd get those rocks moved into place. You should hear the grunts and groans when the rocks need to be lifted for leveling! Each lift takes a moment of mental preparation - for the guys. Of course, I can't help. Who would take the pictures?

(Just kidding - I think Eric would wring my neck if I didn't help.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hitting the half-way point!

"So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work." Nehemiah 4:6
Paula's paraphrase:
So we built the patio and the largest patio area was joined together to half its design, for the people had a mind to work.

Here's a shot of a hard day's work. If you look closely, you can see the drains which I've already posted. Now turn around and look the other way.
Yes! More gravel and more sand!! Apparently we did not order enough. Actually, we did order enough for the initial lay-out. But you know how it goes. You get started and realize, "Hey, if we did it this way, it would look so much better." Ideas are spilling out left and right and before you know it, you've run out of supplies. But one thing I know - when it's all said and done, you'll know it's a patio! That's for sure!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Listening to the rain

"Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God...onyx stones and inlaid stones, stones of antimony, and stones of various colors, and all kinds of precious stones, and alabaster in abundance." I Chronicles 29:2
It's raining here in the NW. Imagine that! But what a great opportunity to show you the beautiful rocks we find in the dirt. When everything is wet, the true colors really come through. This is one of the drains we put in the patio. If you look closely, you can see water dripping off the end of the rain chain.

It took me nine months to realize this, but God still shows Himself in the rain. Sound funny? Let me explain. When we lived in KS, we got rain once in awhile. The thunder storms were incredible, to say the least. In fact, thunder storms are my all-time favorite weather phenomenon. To see the awesome, controlled, deliberate power of our Lord would certainly make me appreciate His grace and mercy.

Thunder storms have a beginning, a middle, and an end - just like watching a play performance. The rain in the NW has a hard time figuring out which act we're in. It seems to be perpetually caught in the first act. There is never any climax. Occasionally, I will hear bits of thunder and get all excited that we're moving on to the second act. Then I realize it was just an airplane! So, I settle back into my seat prepared for a long performance.

Since being in the NW, I have come to realize a longer play is OK. An anti-climactic play is OK, too. Not preferred, but OK. God still shows Himself from the treasures found in the dirt to the numerous bird calls to the long-lasting blooms that seem to be frozen in time.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Count Your Blessings Monday

Another day to point out my blessings.

Marci started this and I think it's a great idea!

My blessing today is my son. This photo was taken in November 2003. At that time Adam was 16 yrs and just a few inches taller than my 5'6". Now he's 6'5" - maybe even a little taller! When we moved last year, he stayed in KS. And he's still there! I miss him, but I know he is in God's care.

He has seen hard times, experienced heartache, made poor decisions, and turned in the wrong direction for comfort. Haven't we all?

I believe God has designed a ministry for each of us according to our talents and life experiences. Who can effectively minister to those in trial? Only those who have lived through that trial. God continues to preserve & protect my son. Through his experiences, Adam is being prepped to minister to "the lowest of these". I'm OK with that. I've always been OK with that.

My prayer is that God would continue to send ministers to Adam that can walk with him step-by-step, that Adam would recognize the hand of God preparing him for future ministry, and that Adam would empty his soul of himself and allow to God to fill him beyond measure - conquering all doubt. My tears are of joy in hopes of the fruit yet to come. One day Adam will allow God to do mighty things through him.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Show & Tell Friday

Each Friday, Kelli hosts a Show & Tell.

Hmmm...what could I show you?

Of course - the most recent addition to my chicken collection. When I came home from work the other day, there was a small box in the mail. A package for me? I love surprises!! Inside was the cutest little chicken timer from Eric's parents.

According to some, it appears I'm almost out of room for more chickens. However, there are times when a cock or hen beckons to become part of the family. How can I resist? As you can see, it looks quite content next to the large plate. The colors blend perfectly!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back to Work

"And the rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights." Genesis 7:12

We're not anticipating that kind of rain. However, we are getting the drains ready on the patio.

Breaking the stones allowed us to have smaller pieces which worked perfectly for the small areas around the drainage grates.

I wanted something to hide the grates without obstructing the flow of water coming off the rain chains. Since we have a never-ending supply, small rocks found in the dirt became the obvious choice. Works pretty good! I really enjoying seeing the contrast between the large flat stones and the small round rocks.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Count Your Blessings Monday

Marci has started Count Your Blessings Monday. So, today I'm sharing my blessing!

This is what I see virtually everyday as I'm running around town: Mount Ranier! Sometimes the clouds decide to visit the mountain making it impossible to see. We only live about two hours north which makes for a wonderful day trip. The trails are really fun and the views from up there are spectacular!! To the left, you'll see a much smaller mount - that's Crystal Mountain which has great ski slopes I'm told. (I'm not a snow skier so I just take their word for it.) This photo is actually what I see as I pull into our housing development. One of these days, I'll get a photo from another spot in town so you can see it without the tree smack dab in the middle!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Evening beauties

"One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple." Psalm 27:4

Please walk with me around our plot of land. The beauty in the evening is quite amazing.

Thanks for walking with me tonight!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pressing on

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

True - we do press on toward this goal. However, today we're also pressing on toward the goal of finishing the patio.
In comes the dirt. For some reason, we thought we had to remove 9" all the way around. In reality, we only had to remove 9" where the drain pipes were. So, we had to bring all that dirt back in.
Thank goodness for the tractor!!

Looking good!
The laser level works great for leveling the dirt all the way across.

Gravel is next. Now I'm really thankful for the tractor!
Can you imagine how heavy that would be?
Or how long it would take with a shovel?

Are we finished? So soon?
Actually, we're finished several hours later. But doesn't it look good?
If you look back near the foundation of the house,
you'll see three little black boxes on the ground.
Those are the grates for the drainage system.
Wait till you see what we did with these!!

You know, it seems to me that something was missing today.
Oh yeah - Michael (our hired summer help)!
I'm sure he's glad to know we still work when he's not around!!
Tomorrow: sand and flagstones.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Decorating the front step

"Adorn yourself with eminence and dignity; and clothe yourself with honor and majesty." Job 40:10

We haven't had closure on a project since finishing the raised bed. It was time for closure again.

Hence, decorating the newly finished front steps.

Rather than sand, we chose ground cover to fill the gaps. Sand was too messy.

We decided to fill the space on the front porch with a large pot.

My neighbor suggested using a ground cover called wooley thyme (aka: elfin thyme). In her yard it grows in the sun, in the shade, in the dirt, and in their gravel driveway. It seems to be virtually indestructible! Eventually, it will grow together and fill all the gaps. At one inch high, it lets off an oregano aroma when crushed. The little purple flowers are so cute!

[Correction 1/12/08: Wooley thyme & elfin thyme are not the same, but we did plant both between the rocks.]

This planter was fun to fill. Draping down the front is Myrtle - Bowles variety. On either side of it is Coral Bells - Caramel on the right and Color Dream on the left. Way in the back is Liriope - Marc Anthony. But the crowning jewel is the Cypress - Cyano-viridis. I loved this tree from the get-go. It's one of those plants you just have to touch. It's so soft and just beckons to be scrunched!

OK. Now on to the other and definitely larger part of the patio. But that can wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Up from the ruins

"They in turn gave it [money] to the carpenters and to the builders to buy quarried stone and timber for couplings and to make beams for the houses which the kings of Judah had let go to ruin."
2 Chronicles 34:11

We're not exactly repairing ruins, but we are converting an over-grown yard to a front patio.
With the front step finished, it's time to work on the middle step. See this post to figure out what I'm talking about.

With the help of our trusty orange steed, we had no trouble moving the rocks from the pallets to the patio.

Making the stones fit was another matter. As you can see, Eric had to try several different maneuvers before getting it just right. Those stones can be quite stubborn when it comes to cutting them.

Since the span was only 6', a 2x4 worked great for leveling the stones.

I'd say this day is done!

And a good day's work it was, too!!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Our summer help

"What a help you are to the weak! How you have saved the arm without strength!" Job 26:2

OK. So we're not quite so weak and without strength. However, we are so appreciative of the summer help. Michael is home from college until the end of July. Then he's off to officer training camp with the Air Force! What a worker he is, too. Here's an example of how he's helped, thus far.

Cutting and driving pieces of rebar.

Filling areas with dirt, gravel, and sand.

Helping Eric add cement to the new front step.

Michael, we are too thankful you needed summer work!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Kioti has found favor

"And of Naphtali he said, 'O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full of the blessing of the LORD, take possession of the sea and the south.'" Deuteronomy 33:23
Paula's Paraphrase:
And of Kioti the mechanic said, "O Kioti, satisfied with favor, and full of the blessing of Eric, take possession of Paula's side of the garage and the driveway."

The new tractor (Kioti) was not registering the hours. The mechanic tried to fix it at the house, but ended up taking it back to the shop. This was the scene when I came home from work the other day.

It struck me odd that the tractor would have such a place of honor - until I learned Eric asked the mechanic to park it there so he could do routine maintenance: check all the fluids, grease all the zerts, etc. It was time.

Where did I park?

Under the tree.

In the shade, of course!!

And I was happy to park there knowing Eric was taking good care of our not-so-little investment!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Birthday America!!

"Now listen to me: I shall give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people's representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statues and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk, and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain;...If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace."
Exodus 18:19-21c, 23
What a great place to start. I believe our forefathers felt the same way. Not everyone knows (or wants to know) that the United States of America was founded on Godly principles. I do. And I am so grateful.

Here's a photo of several founding fathers of the US Constitution. We all know Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. Sorry to say, I am not familiar with the other men. My research came up empty. Maybe you could help out.

My research did lead to a few interesting websites, though.
For an accurate history of our forefathers, try WallBuilders.
To read a copy of the entire US Constitution, try this link.
To purchase a copy of the entire US Constitution, try this link.
Here's an interesting speech.

Have a safe holiday!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A measuring line

"Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a man with a measuring line in his hand." Zechariah 2:1

Before we started laying tile, we determined where the center would be. You can see the lines at the top of the photo and then again on the timber. These reference lines are essential to making sure the tiles are straight.

In this case, a woman had the measuring line in her hand.

Putting tiles on the diagonal meant we had to cut. So much for uncut stones!

Measure the space. Transfer to the tile. Measure again. And again. And again. You get the idea!

Once I'm absolutely sure that I've measured and transferred correctly, Eric cuts the tile.

Eric and I work so well together. He trusts me completely. Not one time did he remeasure or check my work before cutting. That says a lot since I've never done anything like this before! He even tolerates my bent toward perfection by shaving off "just a bit more". He certainly is my perfect mate!

The result was fabulous!! At this point, everything is dry fit.

Once all the tiles were cut and placed, we removed them in preparation for the adhesive. Be sure to keep them in the same order!!

Tomorrow I'll share photos of the finished patio!