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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Wheat Harvest 2018

I was busy babysitting my two-year-old grandson during harvest this year while his mommy, our younger daughter, drove truck. 

But she had an afternoon off, and the boss (the love of my life) summoned me to make him an iced mocha and bring it out to the Upshaw ranch, where they were cutting. The ranch is only four or so miles from home, so I did my Kerig magic, grabbed his Blistex, and drove on out. 


Mike standing in front of an almost-empty truck and holding his  trophy, his quart-sized iced mocha. At some of the ranches we cut, our truck drivers haul the grain to a commercial elevator. At several other ranches, we have home storage. This ranch has home storage, so the grain is being dumped out of the truck and augered up into a grain bin. The auger is powered by a small tractor to the left of the truck.

Mike suggested that since I was here, maybe I should spend some time with two of our grandkids, who are new to the crew this year. That was enough to talk me into it, though it was miserably hot. Was it 102? Or 104? 

And it was dusty. My nose began to run immediately and my throat got a little choked up. The thought of our grandkids being on the crew might've had something to do with that. 

 Mike and I have left the grain bins and are back in the Freightliner, waiting for Miya, our sixteen-year-old granddaughter, to come off the hill with her loaded truck. The hills are far steeper than the camera makes out, and with a full load, trucks are tippy. She's slow, but that's perfectly okay. She'll speed up as she gets more experience. It's best to be safe.

Mike is so proud of the kids. There are any number of dangers in being part of a harvest crew. Miya and Trent both have cool heads and trust their instincts, which is extremely important.


Mike and Miya are trading trucks. He will take hers, which is fully loaded, back to the auger and load the wheat into the grain bin. Miya will hop into the Freightliner with me and we'll go back for more wheat. 

 Miya is very talented. She's in National Honor Society, is a junior class officer. She's been a varsity cheerleader since 9th grade, and for two sports, which is highly unusual. She's also into track. Go, Miya!
Here, I see one of our combines in the distance, kicking up dust. We are on a grass ridge top. There's a pretty steep drop off between us and the combine, although you can't tell from the picture.  
Here, I see both of our combines. My camera phone's been facing the sun, and has gotten so hot that the pictures are blacking out. I need to wait for it to cool down before I can take more.  
While waiting for my camera phone to become usable again, I got into one of the combines with Trentin, our fifteen-year-old grandson. It takes skill and endless physical and mental energy to stay on top of driving a combine from early in the morning until 8:00-9:00 pm. His dad, our son, worked with him a lot, and Trentin did a fantastic job. At school, he's into Football, Wrestling and Track. As a freshman, he is already a formidable wrestler.  
A deer in the field. Not an unusual sight. He will be fine. He'll just bound away in a minute.  
I like to watch the grain being pulled into header, where the stalks get cut off and, somewhere in the process, the grain kernels get separated out. It's the separating of the wheat from the chaff. 

The view ahead. Where is our other combine? Must be on the other side of the dip. 

 Oh, here it is. Trentin's dad, Jeremy, is leading the way. 
 The bulk tank is full of wheat and we need to dump it. Two trucks are in the field. We will fill the partially loaded one with this dump.

 One more picture of Trentin as I get out of the combine and join the trucks. He's such a great kid, like his sister is!
 Here's how big a combine is: You need to climb a ladder to get into it. The wheel wells are taller than I am. 
 My chariot awaits me, and the love of my life. He will help me into the truck if need be. Naw. I can grab some handles and hoist myself up into it. I'll let Mike close the door behind me, since he wants to be helpful.
 Trentin's manouvering the arm over the truck bed. Wheat will soon be pouring into the truck. 
 Got a picture of the header. What a set of scissoring teeth.
 Wheat dumping into the truck.
 At the grain auger again. 
Some of tens of thousands of bushels of wheat that were taken off our ranches this harvest. We are a small, family operation. 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

I Open my Heart (Celtic Prayer)




I open my heart 
to Christ in the stranger,
to Christ in the guise
of a colleague in anger
I open my heart
to the one who is wounded, 
to Christ in the hungry,
the lonely, the homeless.

Poem taken from 40 Prayers of Celtic Christianity

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Lead Me From That Which Binds (Celtic prayer)



Lead me from that which binds
to that which frees.
Lead me from that which cramps
to that which creates.
Lead me from that which lies
to that which speaks truth.
Lead me from that which blights
to that which ennobles.
Lead me from that which hides
to that which celebrates.
Lead me from that which fades
to that which endures.

by Ray Simpson 
40 Prayers from Celtic Christianity

 

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Books with my favorite color on the cover



Hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish


I have a fondness for book covers that use a lot of turquoise to dulled-turquoise. My living room carpet leans toward the dulled turquoise. I have some Fiesta china that tends toward the brighter end, however of my eight Fiesta colors, it's the one I don't like eating on. Oddly, I just don't think food looks good on a turquoise plate. But I love it on book covers!  

Sunday, May 06, 2018

A spring blessing





Bless to me, O God, 
Each thing my eye sees; 
Bless to me, O God, 
Each sound my ear hears; 
Bless to me, O God,
Each odor that goes to my nostrils; 
Bless to me, O God, 
Each taste that goes to my lips; 
Each note that goes to my song,
Each ray that guides my way.
--Carmina Gadelica, III, 33

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

IWSG: Does spring inspire writing?

It's that time of the month again, so, "Welcome!"

I've been M.I.A. on my blog and all social media for the past month. I decided that if I am ever going to finish my revision, I needed to give up a few things. I can't give up helping my husband and son to move farm machinery. I can't give up my babysitting duties of my two-year-old grandson. Something had to give, so it was blogging, and reading and reviewing books for my blog. 

But I didn't want to miss IWSG, so I am back, if only for today. This month's question: It's spring. Does this season inspire me to write more than during other seasons, or not?

I am a gardener. I do end up (joyfully) spending time outdoors on my garden. I also take my grandson outdoors for an hour several days each week, weather permitting. 

Spring inspires me to do this, but not to do more, or less, writing than during any other season. The season where my writing takes the biggest hit is during is the holiday season.




The garden doesn't look like much right now; it's too early in the season. But within a month, it should look fuller, and bloomier.  And I hope to be finished with my revision, and preparing to send it to an editor. 

What about you? Does spring affect your writing output?




The awesome co-hosts for the May 2 posting are:

Hosted by: Insecure Writer's Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Early in the Morning (Celtic Prayer)



Early in the morning
I wait on you, O Lord; 
Day by day I toil for you, O Lord; 
At the bright noon-day
I recollect you, O Lord; 
In talk and recreation
I enjoy you, O Lord;
In study and in prayer
I learn of you, O Lord; 
At nightfall and in sleep
I rest in you, O Lord.

Poem taken from 40 Prayers from Celtic Christianity

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

IWSG: When my writing life is dismal, what do I do to keep on writing?



The optional question this month: When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

For me, the only way to get OUT of a writing funk is to figure out a way to get back IN to my writing, and to write. 

Generally, the clouds and the rain rain are about those endless distractions, enormous and tiny, that keep me from writing. However, it's not always the tangible, external goings-on that cause the funk. 

Sometimes it's my inner judgments about the market, my age, my chances of ever having a book published, that stop me cold. It's my cynicism that needs to be dealt with. 

And there is the WIP itself. Sometimes the WIP isn't working and I feel too stupid to be a writer. 

Ultimately, however, it's sitting at my computer and writing that blows the storm clouds away. Writing can always be fixed. It may not feel good to sit down and work it out. It may feel hopeless, and make me sick to my stomach. It may feel like pins and needles are stabbing me, and I can't sit and work at it for long. 

Eventually, as I sink into the words and I examine the scenes, I discover that yes, everything really can be fixed. Unlike the real, external storms of life that can often only be managed or coped with, we are the Gods of our word creations. We are in control of what ends up on the page and the stories we tell.  

Writing is my escape, my refuge, from the thunderstorms of the external world ... those things that I want to be different, but have no power to change. 

If I can but get away from the storms long enough, I am often healed, at least for a while, by the sweet balm of writing


The awesome co-hosts for the April 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!



Hosted by: Insecure Writer's Support Group

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! If it links to Google+, be sure your blog is listed there. Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Sunday Inspiration: Happy Easter!




Easter
Bless this day
When light returns, 
Love astounds, Life prevails.

Bless the grieving, 
The lonely, 
The hungry. 
Hope is reborn.

Bless the young ones
And the old.
Bless the enemies
And those despised.

Bless this wrold,

Gripped by violence. 
Peace returns. 


God makes a way
Where there was no way. 
Christ has risen. 
Allelulia
--Beth Richardson, Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me

Friday, March 30, 2018

A Trip and a Story

It's been a month of travel. Firstly, we drove to Sacramento and were gone for six days. Then we flew to Chicago and were gone three days. Most recently, we flew to New Orleans and were gone another six days. Hubby was invited to speak at a religious convention each time. The third convention was actually in Gulfport, Mississippi, so we rented a car and drove the 80 miles to Gulfport after spending some time in New Orleans.

We hadn't been to New Orleans since the mid-90's. The French Quarter and the French Market hadn't changed much at all--maybe a little older and in need of some tidying up--fresh paint, cleaning.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, 24-miles long. The lake is only 10' deep.

We didn't want to spend too much time retracing our steps, so we decided to drive over the 24-mile bridge over Lake Pontchartrain and then tour around the Louisiana bayou.

Mike and Cathy in Gulfport, Mississippi

Water! How I love to see water ...



When in Gulfport, we spent some time with a friend who lost everything during Katrina. He was telling us that the water near his home, which was only a couple blocks from the Gulf, was 25' deep after the storm.

After the floodwaters receded, they discovered their neighborhood was still intact ... except for their house, which was nowhere to be found.

Apparently, besides the hurricane, a tornado had swept through and demolished their house. Our friend found only a few of his belongings, including the tie he'd worn at his wedding.

The natural response: "God, why me?"
The Christian's response (and our friend's): "God, why not me?"

It was a horribly traumatic event, and our friend and his family suffered enormously. But God is good. Our friend's family all survived. Since Katrina, God has amply recompensed them for all that they lost.

So I'm celebrating our opportunity to see New Orleans again and to visit Gulfport for the first time, and especially to hear about this story of faith.


What are you celebrating today?


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