Wednesday, October 26, 2016

where I'm planted

      “The soul was made to rest in God
                                      the way a tree rests in soil."                                                                   - John Ortberg

        I love to be outside. I think I could live outside if the weather never got cold here in Kansas. Every morning my yellow lab waits for me to get my coffee and we head outside for quiet moments in the back yard. It is the time I try to get my head on straight before my day gets too busy.

        One morning I had the thought – A tree never gets to move.   They are continually in the same place and they have no say about where they are planted. Obviously, you say. But when I think about it in terms of where I am planted in this big world, it takes on a new meaning for me.

        A tree seed or plant is put into the ground by the wind or by the hand of man. It may blow into rocky soil, clay soil, shade or sun. It may be protected from the wind by other trees around it or be out in a field all by itself. It cannot move from the heat of day or the cold wind of winter. It can't give itself water when it is thirsty, or fertilizer when it needs nurishment. It can't stop the rain from beating it down or ice building up and breaking it's branches. It accepts what nature or God throws at it and just rests. It just grows wherever it is planted. It moves only when the wind blows it's branches.

            Do the squirrels tickle it as they romp around it's branches? Does the tree enjoy the song of birds who rest there? Do the bugs irritate and itch it as they crawl inside it's bark. Does it have laughter and music and irritations just as we do?

         I was transplanted from Ohio to Washington state and then again to Kansas.  It was hard to leave my family in Ohio and hard to leave the beautiful mountains, water, and friends in the Pacific Northwest. One day when I was driving around Wichita, Kansas, I saw a sign that said, “Port of Wichita”.   I started to cry.  I got mad.  I yelled to no one, “There isn't a port here! There isn't even water here!” I didn't realize until that moment how much I was missing another place.
Port Townsend, WA



        I have since learned to accept where God has transplanted me and my family. I have opened my eyes to see the beauty here where I am planted.   I live in the Great Plains where buffalo used to roam free.  The fields of wheat and rolling hills that go on for miles and miles are breathtaking.   I can almost picture an Indian on a horse at the top of the hill looking down on my car as I drive by.  Cowboys and horses and farms are all around me.  The people who put food on my table.

The Flint Hills, Kansas

       As I was trying to research who built our 1897 farm house at the historical society, I came across a great story told by a 90 plus year old lady who described a home and location that sounded just like our land and house. She said her family was  just getting ready to sit down for a big Sunday dinner, when a small tribe of Indians wearing red blankets around their shoulders came up to the house. They saw her, a little girl with blonde hair and fair skin, and told her parents they wanted to take her with them. She hid behind her mother's skirt, old enough to understand what was being said. Her father quickly offered them all the food on their table and the Indians left without taking the little girl. I can just picture this happening at our place many years ago. Indians may have walked my land or buffalo grazed over it. I love it!

        The farm house may look different than when it was originally built, but the footprint is the same. The trees are much taller and the barn falling apart, but I love the history and beauty that is around me there. 

       I was a seed that was transplanted and maybe you have been too.  It isn't always our choice and it takes time to let our roots go down deep and get adjusted to our new location.   You may not have chosen or like the place you have been planted, but I encourage you to look at the beauty around you, or if you like history, read about what happened years before you arrived. Explore the places around your new home:  parks, museums, coffee shops, etc.   Start a new hobby or join a book club.   You may not have a field of trees around you for support.  You may feel like a tree sticking out in a field all alone, but you are not.  There is life all around you.   Look for it! 

        I am a tree planted in the soil of Kansas and I am learning to let my soul rest here.     

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

blue skies!

       We finally had some blue skies in Kansas which meant it was time to pour cement for our three season room and garage.  But you're probably wondering if we got the roof on the house yet, so I'll not keep you in suspense. 

       The walls were starting to come up in my last post and next came the trusses.

       This is the view we will have through our french doors from our dining room.  Where the black chair is on the right we plan to put a wood burning stove. 

      The  picture above was taken from inside what will be our garage.  It is all prepped and ready  for the cement, so here it comes . . .

            In this picture they are pouring our three season room and the below picture shows them working on our garage.

        Below is the final product with some silly dog testing out the cement.

      Our new addition with a roof and a few windows installed.

         And last but not least, we had some extra help the first week of October.   My husband's folks drove to see my son perform in his high school musical and also to help us work on clearing some of our farm land.  They picked a perfect time to come because there was a lot of change on the farm house that week.

      Here they are working hard . . .

Sorry.  Here's a better picture of them working.

    I couldn't keep them from posing for me.  Such a great group of guys.  Here is what it looked like when they were done.  Sorry I don't have a before picture, but trust me, it is so much better.  The corn field wasn't even visible before.   
         They also planted six trees, two rose bushes, and four other bushes while I worked on a shade garden.   We found great deals at our local hardware store of plants they were almost giving away.  A great tip to remember for next fall. 

   Thanks Grandma & Grandpa!  Every little bit helps.    

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

dreams do come true!

       "Water is up to the second floor stairs.  I couldn't get to the ledge because I was neck deep in rainwater and tools and cats are floating every where."  This is what my son texted me when I asked him if water was getting into the farm house last Saturday.  At first I wanted to smack him, then I laughed and realized everything was fine.  I found out later, our contractor and his wife worked all day Saturday in the off and on again rain showers trying to get our new addition closed up. 
         Here is my goofball son, Alex, relaxing in his new hammock at the farm.  

        When I left Friday, the house was still very much open.  The floor was being worked on and I couldn't see how they could possibly get it all closed up before the rain hit on Saturday.

          But Steve and his wife Michelle were our heroes on Saturday as they worked together until it looked like this.

         This is a view from inside the house and you can see the mud puddle out in what will become our back porch.

        Thankfully this week has also been dry, sunny, and cooler so lots of progress has been made.   First, the main floor and stairs to the basement went in.

And then the walls . . .

         This is a view of my mudroom, half bath and small pantry.  Can't you see it?  Sure you can.   Where the broom is laying will be the pantry and the half bath is behind that.  The mudroom is on the right side of the picture where you see the diagonal board.  I know it is hard to make out anything at this point, but it is exciting to finally have some framing up to get the actual feel of the sizes of these rooms.  They all seem so small to me right now, but having built before, I am not in a panic to make everything bigger. 

      It's always fun to look at pictures, draw room designs and dream about our "somedays", but seeing them develop before your eyes is amazing.  My husband is a big dreamer and I am so thankful for his vision and support in this endeavor.  

       A big thanks also to Bill, Steve and Michelle for all their hard work in the sun, heat, and rain to make our dreams come true.