Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stewart Falls

From Brenda's blog:
Saturday everyone packed their own dinner and we were off to hike Stewart Falls. The kids set the pace and we followed, taking our time and visiting... sometimes waiting for me to catch up (as I vow once again to start taking time for myself to exercise). We went at the perfect time and were surprisingly by ourselves pretty much.  I think of Katie sitting on one side of the river and Ransom going back to get her and she quickly sprinted across... unhappily getting her shoes wet. She was cold the rest of the time. The girls pretended to be trail runners when passing other hikers and spent their time giggling. It really was one of those perfect days of just being outside together. 
-Brenda













Friday, June 29, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

From Brenda's blog:
Sometimes it is the easiest of dinners that are the best. I love dinners when everyone comes over and helps make it all together... so breakfast for dinner tonight. Kelsie made lemon blueberry pancakes, Lindsey made homemade hashbrowns and Ashlee made sausage and fresh basil scrambled eggs. Yum! Then we just hung out... some play cards, some snuggle together, others just visit while the kids chase around... made even better with Becky and Scott here. Conrad saved  up his chore money and excitedly came home from Target with his Thor hammer... a different super hero every day :)
-Brenda






Thursday, June 28, 2012

Becky and Scott Utah

From Brenda's blog of our trip to Utah:
We have been counting down for months now and it's hard to believe that Becky and Scott are here from Tennessee. I look at both of them and have to pinch myself. She is here. Today we came home to lunch and the girls... it has been way too long since Scott has been here. The guy's trickled in as they finished work. Conrad & Carter loved their coon hats from Tennessee and Phoebe, her animals. Conrad would not stop working on his dinosaur egg until he broke it open. Paul's Mom surprised us and picked a lot of cherries that are so yummy. Is there anything better than a cold bing cherry? Eventually they had a nap because they are still on Tennessee time. Then we grilled hamburgers and the visiting continued. When Becky comes life stops and everyone gathers. Life feels good and complete.
-Brenda




Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More Blueberries

I finally planted our blueberries. Scott has been so busy and today was a perfect day with the temperature around 80 degrees, clear blue sky with no humidity...the kind of day that reminds me of Utah back home. We had purchased 6 blueberries in the spring at our local produce market and then mom Little recently sent us two in the mail. Mom sent us a new variety called "Pink Lemonade" with pink berries in July/August. That will be interesting to watch and taste:)  Thank you mom and dad ♥ The other two varieties I planted  are "Premier" and "Tifblue."  It feels good to complete a project and one can never have enough blueberries...though that does make 32 plants for us so I guess that is enough!


Here are my holes...all eight of them! It hasn't rained good for almost 3 weeks now so things are getting dry. After I dug my holes I watered them real good. I used plenty of Miracle Grow potting soil when planting the blueberries.


After I planted the blueberries, I layed a thick layer of newspaper down for natural weed control and eventually good compost...a tidbit from Dad Little.


All done and mulched with pine needles.  The Pink Lemonade blueberries are the first two. Won't Scott be happy when he comes home!


A couple days ago they rolled the hay across the street from us. I was painting our front porch, watching the whole time. I love our view.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Visiting Randy in Pigeon Forge

It is parent weekend for Campus Outreach . We had the opportunity to visit Randy up in Pigeon Forge where he's participating an a 10 week summer project through this Christian college ministry. He's having an awesome time, learning and growing in God's word.There are approximately 80 young men and women that have committed their summer to the Lord. They work full time at Dollywood and spend their spare time together in bible study, teaching, fellowship, worshiping and sharing the Lord with others, all growing into strong Christian leaders.  We started our Sunday off at First Baptist Church of Pigeon Forge where this wonderful church hosts these young men and women each summer. Many parents were visiting like us...they knew we were Randy's parents when we walked in, probably because of our height and how much Ethan resembles Randy. It's a tight group of men and women who are passionate about our Lord and being Christians. He's making friends for a lifetime. Today was also Ethan's birthday (happy 19). Most of the young men we met will be returning to TTU in the fall so Ethan has many contacts now. After church we went to lunch, adopting Tyler (one of Randy's roommates) as his parents were unable to be there.  We enjoyed getting to know him. It was then onto go-kart racing and Dollywood and dinner afterwards with Taylor, another roommate of Randy's, and his dad. We so enjoyed our day with Randy and will keep  these young women and men in our prayers this summer. 


Here we are in front of the hotel where Randy is staying at in Pigeon Forge.


Standing in line at the go-karts: Scott, Randy, Michael, Elisha and Ethan. They enjoyed the races, wiping out a couple times, wishing the go-karts were faster I'm sure!


Ethan and Elisha


Scott and Randy


Randy coming near for a picture.


Riding the Thunderhead at Dollywood. Ethan and Scott are in the second seat from the front and Randy is behind them :)


On to the Tennessee Tornado: Ethan and Randy are in the second seat and Scott is waiving at me. I rode the Mystery Mine earlier and that about did my stomach in!


Here we are resting at Craftsman Valley, my favorite place to go.  It seems like the park slows down here, giving time to visit with the many wonderful people that work at Dollywood. They spoke so highly of the Campus Outreach men and woman that worked there and the sense of family at Dollywood.  


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sauerkraut

Today my neighbor, Mrs Carpenter, who lives up the creek, stopped by with a head of cabbage from her garden.  It was huge and the most beautiful head of cabbage I'd ever seen.  I weighed it...it weighed 8 lbs! She also gave me her recipe for sauerkraut...an old recipe that was passed down in her family.   We talked kraut for a while and she mentioned it was the perfect time to make it. "You always make it in the light of the new moon so it will stay light in color. If not, the kraut will be dark."  That evening I shredded the cabbage, made the brine and packed the jars just like she told me.  Would you believe that head of cabbage made 10 quart jars.  Afterwards, I put the jars downstairs in our basement in a dark, cool spot where they'll age for several months. I can't wait to see how they turn out.  I'll let you know!





Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Guests From Poland

We have the opportunity to meet many people from other countries through Scott's work at TRW.  We enjoy inviting them over to give them a taste of an American family. This week we had several gentlemen from Bielska, Poland over....several days actually.  By coincidence, both are named Tomas. One evening, Scott and Ethan took them out tubing on our boat. Afterwards we ate pizza around the table while they laughed and talked about their new experience. They had a ball and couldn't wait to tell their families. We got on the internet and they showed us where they lived; Poland is beautiful with lots of mountains and snow. On Sunday, Tomas (tall, blond hair) came to church with us.  Thomas attends church at a Catholic cathedral that is thousands of years old, so I'm sure our modern church was a different experience for him. I had them both over again on Tuesday for a home cooked meal with potatoes. They had mentioned how potatoes were served at every meal back home and how they'd missed them. They both loved the meal!  What a blessing to meet these men and  learn about each other's cultures. 


Tomas K, Tomas B. and Scott.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our New Baby Elk

Our new baby elk is here! Scott feeds the elk every evening up in the barn. The other night he noticed Sarah didn't come up for feeding... so we knew her time had most likely come. Sure enough the next evening we noticed mom and baby in the far corner of our field by the trees. We were so excited.  Tonight we had friends over, showing them the elk when their daughter noticed the baby in the corner of the stall. Scott quickly got the camera and we took several pictures.  Here she is about 3 days old.  We were so surprised to find the baby in the barn as usually mom keeps her hidden for several weeks. As it was, mom stayed close by, protecting her baby as we took these pictures.  We don't know the sex yet; that may take some time.  Isn't she (or he) beautiful!




Friday, June 8, 2012

Rogersville Cruise-in

Tonight was our Cruise-in, held in our historic down town area of Rogersville.  Our Heritage Association sponsors several of them each summer.  We drove our 1973 Buick Electra, parking it along the curb for others to see.  We spent the night looking at the old cars, visiting with many people we new...it's quite the social event.  They also had a band playing throughout the night and I  got tickled when they sang  "Mustang Sally." We ran into our NY friends, Mike and Pam, and spent most of the evening with them. Afterwards, Scott and I went to Sonic for a drink and again ran into Pam and Mike.  We all laughed and said great minds think alike!  It was nice spending the evening with them before they headed back to NY.  Scott loves these cruise-ins and looking at all the old cars..I just love being with my babe :)   


Scott next to our 1973 Buick Electra


Scott and Becky


Downtown Rogersville Cruise-in.


Pam and Mike who will be Tennesseans in the near future!



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Turkey Vulture

We woke up this morning to a turkey vulture sunning himself on our fence post.  He stayed like this for 30 minutes soaking up the sun's rays. I took this picture from our bathroom window...wishing I had a better camera. I think the chicken guts from recently butchering our chickens were attracting the vultures! 


Monday, June 4, 2012

Chicken Butchering 101


From Brenda's point of view...my sister the country girl!
I found chicken butchering fascinating and wanted to share the steps of how to do it. Those of you who are vegetarian are likely to stay vegetarian. Becky said they don't eat chicken for a week after butchering. Also, I am aware that many of these pictures are unattractive of me and would like to blame that on Becky's photography skills, but I can't. I jumped off the cliff as far as taking care of myself and eating healthy these past few months and vow to do better upon my arrival home :)
-Brenda


I walked into the chicken pen and all I was thinking was Becky's words when Ethan was little "Go in there and grab a chicken and don’t come out until you do”.  I did not want to disappoint. It is kind of nerve wracking to grab a chicken by its legs with wings flapping. I looked them in the eyes and wondered how do I pick who dies first? 











 Then it was on to the metal cones where we placed the chicken in upside down. Ethan showed me how to cut the artery in the back of the mouth. Then he did the other ones too. This time I just couldn’t do it, next time I will be able to. The bottom side of the barn looked like a bloody homicide as blood ran from their mouth and eyeballs.










 After we were pretty sure they were drained of their blood,, we grabbed their lifeless bodies by their legs and swished them around in scalding water until their feathers would come off easily.











  Then it was on to the plucker and I hang on tightly to my chicken. I thought for sure the chicken was going to go flying off in the field. Easier said then done to get the feathers out of every little area… hold the feet, hold the right wing and right leg, grab the neck… For me grabbing the rubbery neck was the ickiest part of the whole process.





 Ethan taught me how to cut off their feet and they went into the pile. I thought of Josh in South Africa eating them. Very gross.






Then the chickens are placed in icy cold water for a few hours in an old chest freezer filled with plenty of ice and taken over to the butchering table which Scott created using his engineering mind… very cool. A perfect setting as we butchered them, in the shade of their trees.










Scott and Ethan patiently taught me how to gut the chicken and clean it out. I even found and saved the gizzard for the guys. All in all, it went pretty well, something I could do again and probably do it better. It felt good to be self sufficient. Thank you Scott and Ethan for being so patient with me.




It's off to the freezer for meals during the next year... You have never tasted such good chicken and by helping to butcher them, I felt a deep feeling of thankfulness. Those of us who buy our chicken on styrofoam trays may not fully appreciate the sacredness of their lives as they provide food for us.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Visser Time

From Brenda's point of view...
Through the years, I look forward to spending time with the Visser Family whenever I go to Tennessee. Love them all. Very much. Having five children, they also were able to adopt 4 more daughters and have been such a blessing in their lives since they were young girls. Now they are blossoming into young women and it was so nice to spend time with them and catch up on their lives. They made us a special lunch tucked up away upstairs so we could have girl time, topped off with the yummiest apple pie in a cast iron skillet. I could talk with Karen for days and never run out of things to talk about. Martina was also baptized in the creek. At Community Church on Sunday, a praise band played old time gospel music... many from Johnny Cash. It was heaven on earth for me and the spirit just poured down on us.  I wish to sing to that music all the days of my life...

-Brenda


Shay, Brooklyn, Karen, Laura and Martina


Brenda, Becky and Kris