Fireflies and Frogs

It isn’t the last day of school or the intense heat wave that sets summer in. It isn’t the beach vacation or first days at the pool.

It’s the fireflies.

Even Billy Currington knows it. 😉“Summer comin’ through, a rolled down window, tearin’ down an almost two lane back road. Freedom and fireflies in the air.”

Last year we spent many evenings on the porch waiting for the sun to set and the fireflies to rise up from the lush green grass. I’m certain this year will be no different. We ran around last night grabbing the glow bugs and sticking them in a giant pickle jar. Caleb squealed with delight over the “butterflies”. He later discovered an old pink bb gun and proceeded to go around “shooting” them. Ryann and Micaila are expert catchers, far better than I, no doubt. They’d catch 5 to my 1.

In addition to catching fireflies my girls enjoy trapping all the night time frogs. A past time they had with their cousins. Micaila attempts to do so with as little contact as possible. Ryann on the other hand….. She.just.don’t.care. She had 7 in a bowl in a matter of minutes. With apprehension I picked up my first frog in about 20 years. It took me all of 5 seconds to run to the sink and sanitize my hands. I’m so glad that my kids find it entertaining to play with both frogs and fireflies. I’m also glad I have been influenced by women who showed me that it’s not only okay for my kids to get dirty, touch bugs and frogs (and whatever else their exploring outdoors finds them) but it is good for them. 🙂

I sometimes feel insecure about not having “some THING” to do at our house. We have no pool, trampoline, or playground. We have 2 broken 4 wheelers and a few bikes. I don’t know why I think coming over to simply play isn’t enough. It always was when I was a kid. But imagine me…. “Hi Miss Smith, would Jill like to come over and play with frogs and fireflies today?” No seriously, fake names but that really happened. The minute I begin feeling insecure though, I am reminded that my children lack no good things. Not only do they have an abundance of material possessions but they have each other. They play for hours on end with all sorts of natural stuff, using those wonderful imaginations God gave them, and building their relational bonds. Just like I did as a child. I definitely would enjoy having a pool, or a playground, or atvs that were running. Those things are good. They provide unique avenues for our children (and us!) to grow in courage, maturity, confidence, strength, endurance, etc., but I don’t believe that we are deprived in any way because we don’t possess such entertainments. And I don’t want my children to believe that either. I hope we can continue to cultivate contentment and thankfulness for all God has given us; from our toys to the fireflies. I am certain these simple traditions will be some of our fondest memories. And at any rate we are fortunate to know people that do have other sources of fun. Both the kids and I are practicing gratitude for the friends and family that are so generous with us. 🙂

Win, win. 😉 Happy Summer!

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Summer Family Fun 2014

This past weekend has been one I will definitely cherish. To better recall it in the future I am blogging about it here. Because as I’ve stated before, this blog is a means to track this crazy-messy-wonderFULL of God given grace- Georgia Graham life. 🙂

I have had the privilege of sharing our new home with my parents, my oldest brother and his wife and children. It has been such a treat! We currently have not made many (and by that I mean zero) friends here. We are still looking for a church home and that is more than likely where we will form a lot of new friendships. So we haven’t gotten to have people over much yet. (Feel free to visit us friends!) I really enjoyed hosting and doing my best to serve my family in whatever capacity I could. Cooking is always more fun for me when I’m cooking for family and friends. 😉 I am so grateful that God not only created us but he gave us family. And whether our “family” is blood or some very amazing friendships with a depth and love that resembles family, it’s all from God. God created man and our chief purpose is to love and honor God which is primarily conducted through relationship. Family and friends are such a gift. I am so thankful for all the people in my life.

My parents are staying through the week but my brother, his wife and their 3 youngest children came for the weekend. They have a son who had made a prior commitment and we missed having him but look forward to when he is able to have a visit with us in the future. So we had 6 children, 6 adults, and never a dull moment. Two 2 year olds, a 4 year old, two almost 6 year olds, and a 7 year old. I love having a big family. It is so much fun to see all the personalities and interaction between the kids and the adults. My sister in law, Jamie, is so crafty and thoughtful and came with beautiful gifts bags full of bows (that she made) and polish and gorgeous hand made picture frames for my girls. She spent several hours painting nails, faces, and even giving me a little mini makeover. 🙂 I am so thankful God gave me sister in laws that didn’t just marry into our family but have truly become like sisters. My niece and nephews bring a special “White family” 😉 kind of life and excitement. We had so much fun introducing them to our animals and letting them have a little part in feeding, gardening, 4 wheeling, berry picking, firefly catching and front porch rocking. It was wonderful to spend so much time with my brother, CJ. He normally spends long hours at work or studying for his seminary classes. So it was nice getting 3 full days with all of them. I just love waking up and having people to drink coffee with. And I particularly enjoyed the couples time that Jason and I had with CJ and Jamie. It’s rare the 4 of us get a moment alone but we had some good late night chats and laughs that mean a whole lot to me. I’m so glad they made it up for a visit this summer.

We celebrated Independence Day. Which next year I want to be more intentional with my family about why we celebrate. The girls are getting old enough to understand the sacrifices people made for our freedom and I want to be continually instilling in all of us appreciation and thanks for the freedom we have in our country and also the freedom we have in Christ. I am guilty of reminding myself what individuals gave up for us and I do want to take the time to reflect AND celebrate. So THANK YOU to all who serve, have served, or have family who served. I don’t know that I’ll ever fully understand the magnitude of your sacrifices, I have not experienced the weight of the loss involved but I know that we are incredibly blessed by all who have played a role in serving and protecting our country. Thank you!

We also celebrated Caleb’s birthday. My baby boy is 2 now! So hard to believe. Caleb, you my boy are your daddy’s son. You love all things loud, dirty, athletic, adventurous, and most of all for now, all things tractor. I am thrilled to be your mommy and to be partnered with God and your daddy in raising you to be exactly who God intends for you to be. We pray you become a man that loves Jesus with everything you have and that you find your own unique way of living out how much you love God and his people.

Here are some fun pictures from our special weekend. 🙂

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Gardening, foraging, and all the critters in between

I wouldn’t have been able to define “foraging” last week if you asked me to. It’s tricky naming my recent post. I like to be all corny and fun with my titles but I’m running out of ideas so I settled for literal this time. 🙂

We are in the dead of summer. And when I say dead I am specifically talking about the dead brutal Georgia heat. Man it can get so hot here! Don’t get me wrong, I love the sun shine and all it’s radiant glory but it can make outside play a bear. Still we do what we can. Five o’clock is now my favorite time of day. It does get super hot but at 5 pm the temp seems to drop dramatically and you can sit in your rocking chair and enjoy the evening waiting for fireflies. Simply wonderful.

Hopefully someone is taking care of dinner :-/

The last few days we have spent a lot of time working in our garden. Jason is all “go big or go home” and big he went. Since we are total amateurs here the garden is kind of a mess. I’m sure it will take a couple seasons to really get organized but we are enjoying the learning experience.

Of course we would lose our “map” that we made to track what’s in which row. I have looked up every vegetables type of leaf to figure out “what on earth did we plant?!” So far we have a TON of cucumbers. We’ve began pickling some and have had a lot of cucumber salad. Any other good cucumber recipes out there? We also have carrots, tomatoes, corn, and collards. I picked some of the collards yesterday. I am gaining such an appreciation for the farmer. Seriously, gardening is a time consuming process. I spent several hours picking, soaking, cleaning, trimming and cooking. It was very gratifying and eye opening. Obviously some veges are more work than others. Some you can pull, rinse, and eat. Either way, I find myself amazed over how our ancestors did this as a way of life and it was there only option! So incredible! I feel like a wuss lol!! But I am eager to learn some new skills in the areas of growing and cooking. We planted a bunch of other stuff and are already planning our fall/winter crops. So exciting! Maybe one day I will be able to go out and pick my own sweet potatos, snag a few black berries, then swing by the coop to grab my eggs. Perfect breakfast right dad? 😉

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So yes, I had mentioned that we have quite a few black berry trees on our property. And by few I mean like 100! It is incredible. We finally picked a few handfuls with our girls and Caleb and their cousins last week. Kids really love this kind of stuff, venturing out into the exciting world of picking wild fruit! I mean who doesn’t?! And bonus, they are so ready to eat it!

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20140701-233039-84639993.jpg We went out picking over the weekend and were really hard at it. And we got a BUNCH! But let me just share with you, berry picking is not for the weak or faint of heart.

20140701-230526-83126280.jpgDo not even pretend you don’t love my boots and running shorts combo. Nailed it.

This stuff is really rough and toughing me up. I HAVE to pick the best berries, which always seem just beyond my reach. Of course the horseflies love them and so it was a full on war between them and me. Not to mention the briars. Oh the thorns,….. My husband….. He was really determined to get to this row of berries on the other side of our fence. So he gets his mower and chain saw out to cut a path, rather successfully. Of course when I get out there to start picking and can’t quite reach a few, all of a sudden I get mauled by these giant thorny branches! Jason had brought his trusty mower back in play and mowed the briars right on to me. Accident? Maybe. It was stuck in my hair, scraping my back, I had quite a time pulling it all out, meanwhile my love is laughing hysterically. I realize I probably did look like a real “hot southern mess”. I was able to let out a few laughs over his tenacity, it was kind of funny. However my right shoulder looks like I was attacked by a panther…. or something. :-/ but we did get some amazing black berries. I’d say it was worth the battle wounds. And hey, I can always use the funny material my family provides for the blog right? 😏

20140701-230906-83346731.jpgseriously, natures Edward Scissorhands

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So here is one more laugh for ya. Micaila and I are enjoying our fruit….

20140701-231407-83647708.jpg…..at this point I’d say we’ve eaten 85 percent of our bowl and Micaila says “eww!!! There is like, a worm! Or something.” I examine the berry and sure enough a teeny tiny worm is crawling out of it. Have I mentioned that we don’t know what we’re doing around here half the time? Seriously, we sort of just jump in and figure stuff out. At this point I still could not have told you what “foraging” was so I certainly did not expect this. I was so preoccupied making sure the berries were safe to eat I didn’t even consider the need to soak them properly. We did wash them of course but after discovering this little critter we read of a way to soak them, Ice water, salt, 10 minutes, boom. Your berries should be dewormed. No idea if we ingested any, wouldn’t surprise me at all if we did, but for the most part they should be harmless….. :-/ extra protein maybe? 😉

That’s What Country Is

I have been wanting to write little posts here and there about the differences of our country life. Some of my favorite (and sometimes not so favorite) aspects of living in such a rural area is natures little surprises……

Like fireflies at dusk. I have yet to get a picture that adequately reveals the magnificence of these glowing bugs. It’s something we have started to look forward to every summer evening. We had fireflies at our old house but the massive amount of flickering bulbs here is just incredible. All spread out glittering across the open pasture. And the kids, as you can imagine, get so excited to catch them. Ok maybe not just the kids. It had Jason and I discussing “I wonder what a fireflies purpose is?” To which I resolved “I think they are just one of Gods gifts. Like, here you go, a really cool bug that lights up and doesn’t bite. Enjoy children!” They are seriously the most awesome source of entertainment.

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20140623-125616-46576946.jpgAnd how bout at least 50 or more berry trees! We just discovered this a few days ago. Black berries!! Everywhere! Pretty much my favorite! Jason was skeptical but I’m happy to say that I survived eating one. Golden. 😉 They aren’t quite ready to pick but come harvest time I’ll be taking orders.😃

20140623-125714-46634192.jpgSome of natures surprises I’m not so crazy about…. House mice. I think we have finally squared that issue up. But for the first few months we had some knock-down drag-out matches, barricaded in the laundry room or a closet or wherever. Mice 7 J and K 0. We wised up real quick with some traps. However we realized old school was the way to go. We had bought these spiffy traps that you don’t have to see the mouse dead and Jason watched one walk in, grab some dinner, and waltz right out. Unscathed, uncaught. Blast!! Now we suck it up with the viewing and toss the little dead boogers in the trash. Sorry Stewart.

The other friends I refuse to make nice with are the snakes. It’s a love hate relationship, since I know they help with the previous annoyance I discussed. The first time I spotted one after Caleb and I had fed the chickens. Caleb was headed for the house like a big cowboy does, by his lonesome, and as I was coming behind I see this giant snake off to my left. For all I knew it was most definitely some sort of poisonous anaconda out to eat my baby boy. I high tailed it to the house and swooped up Caleb in a jiffy. Of course I inform Jason “bring your ax! Or something! :-/ ” it ended up being a rat snake and he had just feasted on a big one. His belly was stuffed! Eww. I just don’t do snakes. But we did all congregate around him so everyone knew what to look out for. Just Sunday afternoon Jason went out the front door and with a big “whoa!” And “do not go out there!” He went around back. Not cool. Fortunately another rat snake, fine dining on our porch.

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20140623-125837-46717951.jpgWe did make it out to our very first cattle auction but sadly came home empty handed. We plan on getting two baby calves for our pasture. We desperately need help keeping the grass down and our fine neighbor suggested raising a couple calves and later selling them to recuperate the cost and also get a freezer full of meat! I can’t imagine what it will be like sending ol’ bessy off to the slaughter house, probably best not to name them. 😁

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20140623-125953-46793772.jpgOur chickens are doing fantastic. They are so spoiled. We feed them leftovers all the time. They happen to love chicken…. Kinda weird. No eggs yet but it shouldn’t be long.

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20140623-130057-46857207.jpgLast but not least, Sunday Jason went out and came home with this sweet little guy. He’s a pigmy goat. We named him Ramsey. 🙂 He really only serves as a pet. Jason hasn’t come around to letting me get something I could milk lol! But the way I see it, pigmy goat now…. Dairy cow later? Hehehe He is great fun for the kids. Anything that keeps us outside I say “bring it on!”😃

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20140623-130342-47022446.jpgThat’s all for now from the Graham Farm!