We've had a bunch of things going on since the conference. I guess the first thing has been that our ds#2 is now 6 years old! On his birthday, we surprised him with a present that he's been wanting for a very long time... a puppy! Yes, I said a puppy. Not any ordinary puppy either, she's a Jack Russell Terrier (Or Jack Russell TERROR!). We went to meet the couple we were getting the pup from on the morning of his birthday. They had two pups left, so when we got there, I called him by name and said, "Get out of the car, honey, and go pick out your puppy!" His whole face lit up like a firecracker! His little eyes sparkled, and he said, "I get a puppy? Really?" and then he went straight to the one he wanted. She went straight to him also. It was love at first sight. Very sweet.
So, he started to hug on his puppy and looked so happy I thought he might start crying. Then the time came to say goodbye and I found myself unable to leave without his puppy's sister. She was next to the runt in size, with precious little crinkles above her eyebrows, making her look very maternal and concerned. And pitiful. I was completely taken in and looked up at Jim Bob and said, "Can we take her too? They'll do better together. Please?" He was taken in a bit much his own self, and we left there the proud owners of two very cute puppies.
On the way to the pet store afterwards, we let ds#2 pick a name for his new puppy. He chose "Chocolate." No surprise... the boy has a sweet tooth that you just wouldn't believe! So, I named the other one Caramel. It suits them too. Chocolate has brown spots with some dark brown to black outlining, and Caramel has light brown spots. They are very sweet indeed. Here is a picture of us with our new pups:
So, we've been getting used to being a family of 8 all of a sudden! What fun! Now, if I can just stop ds#2 from being a little too rough on his puppy. I think he forgets that she's not a toy. But she's pretty resilient and I think they will be the best of friends for years to come... at least I hope! We've had him memorizing Proverbs where it says that "A righteous man regards the life of his animal," in hopes that he will understand that he is a steward of this puppy's life and she depends upon him for everything, and he must be kind to her.
It's amazing how many of the things we have been teaching our children about puppies come back to teach us, as their parents, how to train our children. We must regard the life of our children, treating them as co-heirs in Christ, with the law of kindness constantly on our tongues. We must be consistent in providing for their needs as well as for their discipline and instruction. As usual, God is after us as the parents whenever we try to teach something to our children. It's always, always, always about sanctificationmaking us more like Jesus.
We also have been finishing up with the planting of our garden. I really do intend to post some more pictures soon of our progress, as long as the pups don't completely trample the garden to bits!
We have not had as much success this year with our salad garden as we would have liked, but the season is still rather early and we are going to sow some more seeds for a new patch of lettuces this week, so hopefully we will have a better harvest in the next batch. Carrots are supposed to be ripe now, but we haven't had much success there either. The good news is that the problem is probably not us as I have heard 'round about that not many have had success with growing carrots here. "Too many rocks in the soil." Maybe next year we will try planting them in a raised bed cold frame with mostly sandy loam and see how they do.
One of the things I love so much about heading in a more agrarian direction is that we learn SO much! If at first you don't succeed, ask questions, read more, find some experts, do the research, and try, try again!
The good news is that our potatoes are starting to come up, as are our corn plants and our peas are almost ripe! We are looking forward to the harvests from these crops!
We have also been in the process of planning to get involved in the local farmer's market and 4-H club. Both of these we can do as a family and we can encourage our boys' entrepeneurial skills by pursuing these. Most of all, however, we are looking forward to more family closeness as a result of working together as a family to learn, grow, and pour a little back into our family economy. The boys' eyes twinkled with excitement when we discussed doing these things at the dinner table. They are learning so much and they have good attitudes about it all so far. Most of all, it warms my heart to know they want to work with us and be a family. So many children their ages don't want anything to do with their parents. I pray God grants us the grace to train them in this way so that they may be blessed!
So, what will we sell at market? Baked goods: breads, cinnamon rolls, cookies, bread slicing boards that Jim Bob and the boys have built, and pinafores, pantaloons, dresses, and skirts that I have made (and will be teaching the girls to make as soon as they are old enough to sew). That's what we'll start with. After that, once we get our farming techniques better nailed down, we hope to sell some of our produce at market also. That's the plan. We'll see how it goes.
I think I've typed all I can for this evening. Hope you all have enjoyed the update!
P.S. As soon as I can, I will also be selling dresses, skirts, pinafores, and pantaloons from a link to this site. We could also sell bread slicing boards if there is enough interest. I will make an update as soon as I am ready to begin taking orders!