Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Don't Lose Your Head!

It has been a beautiful fall day, the kind that I so love to spend out walking in the orchard, exploring the farm market, or traipsing through the park but we stayed home today. It was time to be here at home getting something done, although I don't feel like much happened. Maybe it was a catch-up kind of day. If I look behind me, I'll see myself actually getting closer... but closer to what I'm not sure. (Now you see that I am really tired and should have spent an hour this afternoon catching up on some sleep!) I'm in one of those places where I can almost hear my mother telling me, "You'd lose your head if it wasn't attached!" Good thing it is, cause I think she's probably right!

Bethany went home from the hospital early this afternoon. I'm sure both her and Adam are exausted as he spent the last two nights at the hospital with her and the baby. Those hospital chairs aren't very comfy to sleep in, but who wants to go home to a dark and empty house? Now begins the real adventure!

I have to admit that I am feeling rather overwhelmed this morning. On the outside I appear quiet and together, but on the inside I am not quite sure what to do next. I am still taking in the wonder of the past few days and the awesomeness of my brand new grandson. Tonight is not only Halloween but church too. Our church does its best to avoid this particular celebration, so I guess we have a class to teach this evening. That means I have to look at the lesson sometime today... There is no school tomorrow or Friday due to Superintendant's conferences which means I will have extra children those two days, and... I'm tired. I have been finding myself awake in the night this week and I didn't sleep well last night because I was laying in bed realizing that for the second week a row the garbage was not by the street...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Does Baby Need?

I have had several people ask me what Beth and Adam need for the new baby and while they seem to have most everything in the way of clothes and supplies, they do not have a good camera. (Right now they are borrowing mine.) Therefore, if anyone out there is interested in contributing to the "Camera Fund" please send me an email at poet_tree (at) and I will send you my mailing address. Any contributions will be put toward a camera and all cards will be forwarded along with it to Beth and Adam.


Monday, October 29, 2007


Waiting for Baby

I think it may be harder waiting to hear news of my daughter having had her first baby than it was to actually go through it myself... (the phone is ringing!!!)


Adam just called. We have a "little" boy, 8 pounds 9 ounces, 21 inches long, at about 1 o'clock. His name is Joshua. (Adam is wondering why we aren't there, but I have Troy today and had to pick him up from preschool at noon... Nobody told me I was suppose to BE there!)

To My Fellow Floorpacers...

Sometime today I will sprout my first gray hair and become a full-fledged grandmother. Adam called and talked to James this morning, they are at the hospital and have been since about 3 am. All who would like to are welcome to pray and/or pace along with me.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Time Out

Yesterday we decided to go out to the big farm market in Pittsford. It has been an almost annual adventure for me and my kids. (This is Hannah when she was about three.) Not only is it the location of "The World's Biggest Teepee" but there are plenty of farm animals to pet and feed, lots and lots of pumpkins, a hay ride we never go on, and a store that smells like the ovens never stop baking. It smells wonderful. Powers Farm Market is a wonderful place to take kids in late October. Shelly and Jessi went along with us this time and Beth hoped to meet us (after her lunch with Andy) but she wasn't sure how to get there. I don't have a cell phone and Shelly had accidentally left hers home. I think Beth was severely disappointed.

Today I took a "mental health day" and left the house ALONE! My plan was to stop at Mom's and get some canning jars and then go to the grocery store. Instead I wandered around looking at crafts and antiques and got a Frosty before heading toward home. I did eventually stop at the grocery store, we needed milk and bread, and got home about 5:30 hoping that my dear daughter hadn't gone into labor and left for the hospital with my knowledge. I was praying for her, just in case, but I think Baby is not quite ready to meet us just yet.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Not Yet...

... but she's had plenty of practice in her life.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


It's a good day for leaf hopping! First you rake the leaves into a big pile next to the picnic table. Then you climb on the table and jump off. If the pile is deep enough, Dad might even toss you into the air so you land in the pile. Fun, fun!
When the day is done and we all go into the house for the night, the leaf pile will make a great nest for the dog. (See tail at right.)

Apple Butter

Will I ever get rid of those baskets of apples?
Yesterday I finished the apple butter I had started to make on Tuesday. It turned out very nice and I think I may even make another batch or two. I have 8 jars all sterilized and sealed, ready to be stored away for winter breakfasts. Warm toast with apple butter and a hot cup of coffee... mmm... sounds like something good to eat while curled up next to the wood stove.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Man

My husband is self employed. For many years he has built cabinets and done remodeling but during the past year has ventured into a new area, milling and stocking his own lumber. Last year he bought a small band mill, cut up several logs, and stacked them away to dry. This year he is beginning to utilize the lumber. I wish I could tell you exactly what he has built with his own stock but I have a difficult time keeping track of what material goes into which job.
We have had a fairly constant supply of logs laying in the back yard and most can not be picked up without the aid of some kind of machinery, hence the New Holland Skid Steer which is occupying a space in the old migrant shck out back. It does a great job of picking up and moving logs and I am told it has a plow to clear the driveway this winter (if it ever gets cold enough to snow).
The idea behind cutting our own wood is take urban and other "throw away" material and make something beautiful or useful of it. It's a picture of redemption. Just as God has redeemed us and saved us from the fire and destruction, we will be taking trees that would otherwise be cut up into firewood and "redeeming" them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Waiting Game

So today was Bethany's birthday. Since it was Tuesday, Adam had to go to his class and Beth came for supper and pumpkin pie. (Never forget the salt in your pumpkin pie...) She was feeling tired but looking beautiful. I guess the baby will not arrive on her birthday after all. Maybe Baby wanted a birthday to his/herself.

Tonight I sent my camera home with Beth so she can take pictures when the big moment arrives. Maybe she will take a picture of the beautiful cradle her daddy made for the baby...
It's a wet and rainy Tuesday.

It's Bethany's birthday.

I'm making more applesauce and a pumpkin pie too.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Twenty-two years ago today I was in very much the same place as my dear daughter finds herself now. In fact James and I spent part of the day walking the halls of Genesee Hospital wondering if our new baby would soon arrive. (Bethany is NOT in the hospital now, but did make a trip there on Saturday evening.) The doctor then decided that my labor was not progressing fast enough to keep me at the hospital. Knowing that the contractions I was experiencing were eventually going to deliver the baby I was carrying, I asked her "How will I know when to come back?" Her answer was not very encouraging. She didn't know either. I went home determined not to return unless the birth was immanent. The day passed and the evening dragged by too. The contractions continued to intensify. I lay in bed timing contractions which didn't want to be spaced evenly. No surprise to me, this was my third baby and the last one had done the same thing. Finally, some time in the middle of the night I lost my mucus plug and we called the hospital. Our two little boys were shuffled sleepily into Grandma's house and put to bed on the couch. When the doctor on call at the hospital first saw me he said "You don't look like you're in hard labor." But when he found I was 5 centimeters dilated he decided maybe I was. We were at the hospital little more than an hour when our beautiful little girl was born. Soon she will deliver her first baby. It seems just "yesterday" that she came into our lives but already she is a tiny bit older than I was when she was born. I am very much looking forward to meeting my first grandchild, kissing that soft baby head, and breathing in that sweet baby smell. It won't be long now... Get doing those jumping jacks, Beth!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Sassafrass Colors

The colors here are just not typical of late October. The sassafrass trees are bright orange and some of the maples are sporting orange and yellow leaves, but many remain green. I sat on the front step at my parent's house late this morning and by looking at the trees you would think it was still August. Everything was green. The temperatures today and tomorrow are expected to be summer-like. The meteorologists have referred to it as "Augtober".

Bethany is still hanging on, no baby yet, but it won't be long now. Maybe on Tuesday, that's her birthday.

PS- Sassafrass tea recipes welcome.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


It was a good morning for sleeping in. The sky was dark and overcast, and a cool breeze was blowing through the trees outside my bedroom window. It blew hard enough to rustle the leaves and carry the voices of the pickers in the orchard across the street to my ears. My allergies had stuck my eyes shut and my bed was warm and cozy. I wanted to stay there but decided I couldn't be in bed all day and finally hauled myself out and into the bathroom.

I wasn't up long when the phone rang. It was Bethany looking for some company on a forbdden trip to the grocery store. (Doctor's orders- "Take it easy." She has been retaining quite a bit of water and they are watching her blood pressure.) So off we went to the store because, after all, we all need to eat and husbands who are working won't be going grocery shopping. I hope she didn't wear herself out too much. She was headed home to take a nap after dropping me off but somehow I don't think she is sleeping...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Corn Stalks and Pumpkins

The sky promised rain but that didn't stop us from venturing out to one of the local farm markets this morning. We had just enough time to check out the corn stalk tepee and run through the hay maze before it started to sprinkle. Before long the rain was really falling and we made a mad dash for the van. We decided to stop at Walmart and pick up some laundry detergent before heading home again.
I had a more productive cleaning day today than yesterday but I'm still not ready to tackle those baskets of apples. I'm afraid I might get a headache just thinking about it... I will get to them eventually... or maybe I'll just put them in Halloween bags if anyone comes knocking on my door.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

13 Things I Didn't Do Today

1. I didn't get up early enough to take a shower.
2. I didn't drink my morning cup of coffee. (But I am drinking my afternoon one now.)
3. I didn't make applesauce. (But I did dump the burnt stuff out on the compost pile.)
4. I didn't go grocery shopping, although I did stop for bread and still need to buy milk.
5. I didn't mop the kitchen floor, but I did sweep it.
6. I didn't clean the bathroom... maybe tomorrow... maybe.
7. I didn't make supper... yet. But I will.
8. I didn't wash laundry but I did fold some.
9. I didn't talk to Shelly or Priscilla but I did call them. (Nobody answered.)
10. I didn't go for a walk, I took a nap instead.
11. I didn't run the vacuum cleaner but I probably will soon.
12. I didn't mend Hannah's overalls.
13. I didn't bake a pie.

Baking a pie sounds like a good idea. It doesn't take too long and is usually much appreciated. Besides, it makes my house smell yummy.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wild Grapes

He dug it up and cleared out its stones, And planted it with the choicest vine. He built a tower in its midst, And also made a wine press in it; So He expected it to bring forth good grapes, But it brought forth wild grapes. Isaiah 5:2

(The picture made me think of this verse.)
While picking apples the other day, we ran into a couple of wild vines climbing through the branches. One was a grape vine with several clusters of small grapes. The grapes are dark and sweet (I tasted one) but nothing I want to try to make into jam. They're just wild. The other vine was a wild rose. I could almost overlook it if it weren't for the stabbing pain it inflicted each time I touched it. I was really just after the apples which are typically very small and misshapen due to bugs. With the very dry summer there were far fewer little pests wreaking havoc in the fruit trees. The apples are still small but they are a far better quality than other years, not near so many dark pits and lines running through the fruit. The trees though are still wild as we have no idea how to tame them.

I put up another 4 quarts of applesauce. Now I have a headache and desperately need a nap but I don't see that happening, at least not the type of nap I need, and we have our kids class at church tonight. At least the story is familiar (Jonah) so maybe we'll be okay.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oh, Applesauce!

My poor little apple trees have been looking mighty tired, so yesterday I decided to fold the laundry and pick the apples. I needed something to put the apples in and the laundry baskets seemed just right. Now I have a whole harvest of apples. Last week Bethany asked me if I could help her make applesauce and I figured we had better get at it before her little one makes its appearance. Today we canned 10 quarts of applesauce and I haven't even started on what is in the three laundry baskets. (How will I ever wash my clothes?) It has been suggested that I make oatmeal cookies and put apple in them... I suppose there are several other things we could make and freeze, maybe even apple cider. Just have to pull that apple cider making contraption out of the barn and get it clean... I wonder how much cider I could make? Mmm, sounds good!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Little Punkin' Pie

Leta (my favorite daughter in law) invited us over to her house for a birthday gathering yesterday. Today is Dave's birthday and next week is Bethany's. It has been a tradtion in our family to serve pie on the fall birthdays rather than cake. This started with Jim who much preferred pie even when he was a little guy. So anyhow, late Satrurday afternoon I stopped at the farm market, bought a pie pumpkin, took it home, cooked it up, and made two pies. We arrived at Dave and Leta's house just before the other guests and noticed that the front steps were missing every other board. Now most people might take that as a warning sign and look for an alternative entry to the house, but we didn't know any better and no one told us any different. Hannah hopped up the steps. Nathan was behind her carrying the two pies when the step underneath him slipped. Luckily the pies ended up on the porch, unfortunately one of them was upside-down. I know that the Lord is working on me because I took the destruction of my hard work with relative ease. What could we do but take a ride to Wegman's and pick up another pie. We decided to look on the bright side; it wasn't Bethany on the steps and it wasn't my parents or Aunt Margie. Nathan isn't hurt and a pie is a small price to pay.

The picture... Every October, after begging for what seemed like weeks, Dad would take us out to the farms market for some pumpkins. We would look them over and carefully choose the "perfect" one. Then we hauled them off home to carve. Carving pumpkins with Mom and Dad is a wonderful childhood memory. We would gather around the newspaper covered dining room table and Dad would help us cut open the top of our pumpkins. Once they were opened up we would sink our hands into the cold, stringly inside and start to pull out the seeds. The seeds slipped out of our hands when we squeezed them and the pumpkin juice and strings made my arms itch. It was a messy job. We scraped and scooped until the insides were clean. Then we carved the faces. We tried to be creative like Dad, cutting unusual shapes for eyes, noses and mouths. Once we were finished Mom or Dad would make a "smoke holes" in the lids and put candles inside. We would light the candles, turn off the lights and admire our work. Night after night three pumpkin faces would smile out the front window at passersby. When Halloween was over they sat outside where their happy grins slowly drooped and their faces became contorted . We might wake up to find them smashed in the street or they might eventually end up as compost for the garden and we would look forward to the next fall when new pumpkin people would sit on the stereo cabinet and stare out our front window.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Surviving the Fall

A few days ago our temperatures were in the 80's and now they have dropped into the 40's or 50's. It's cold out there. I had really been hoping for several sunny 60 degree days, days when I can wear long sleeves and enjoy the cool breezes, go for long orchard walks, and visit the local farm markets. I have hope that this will still happen but for today I enjoyed the fire in the wood stove. I'm not quite ready for ice and snow and I'm really looking forward to some bright fall colors and maybe another drive through the Finger Lakes. Maybe I'll go antiquing with my sisters...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Out For A RIde

When we were little girls Mom and Dad enjoyed taking a ride down to the Finger Lakes in the fall when the leaves were changing colors. We drove up and down through the hills taking in the sights around us. Sometimes we stopped in Vine Valley so we could play on the shore of Canandaigua Lake. Eventually we would drive around the southern shore of the lake and end up in Naples where we would get out and walk around. There were vendors selling crafts, little stands with fresh grape pies. It was good to get out and streatch our legs. We might even stop at Bob and Ruth's restaurant for an ice cream cone. On the way home we drove up the west side of the lake and back through Canandaigua toward Webster. It was a long ride for three little girls and we often bickered back and forth on the way. One year Mom and Dad solved the problem of dealing with us. They hired a babysitter, left us home and enjoyed the day out by themselves. In fact, I don't recall ever going with them again after that. For a long time I was severely disappointed at being left home, but now I don't blame them in the least.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Is It Fall Now?

The weather has cooled down a bit more and a little faster than I expected. Never satisfied, always looking for something other than what we have, isn't that just the way we are? Yesterday we took a short walk in the orchard. I've not done the walking this year that I did last and am quite disappointed with myself as it will soon be hunting season and then I won't want to be wandering around out in the trees. I'm still feeling somewhat lost and looking for a way to alleviate that awful feeling.

Bethany, Hannah and I went out Sunday afternoon to the LW Emporium in Ontario and walked around looking at antiques and crafty things. It was a nice outing and I enjoyed spending the time with my daughters. I don't usually buy anything when I go, I'm one of those people who looks, likes and leaves and then frets over the fact that I didn't make a purchase. However, this time I did buy something, a little gray enamel tea kettle. I filled it with water and set it on my woodstove to help put some moisture back into the air. It looks nice there I think.

Now I am off to pick Troy up from preschool and head out to the grocery store. Shopping for food doesn't hold the same allure as looking at antiques and other treasures but it must be done...

PS- Bethany says the baby has dropped...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ellie's New Haircut

Ellie's hair was getting quite long. She was looking more and more like a dustmop every day. One evening Bethany came over for supper and said, "I think we need to give Eillie a haircut!" Ben gave Ellie a bath. Mom found the scissors. Mom held on to Ellie while Bethany began to cut. Ellie wiggled a little. She blinked her eyes. She tried to get away but not too hard. Mom turned Ellie around. Mom turned Ellie over. Bethany cut and cut. Soon there was a big pile of hair on the floor. Mom looked at Ellie. Bethany looked at Ellie. "She looks pretty good!" said Mom. "Thanks Bethany!" Ellie ran and jumped. It was good to get a haircut.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Country Folk

One of my favorite old photographs. This is my dad's Uncle Al Shafer and a friend. Most of Dad's uncles had farms of one kind or another. Uncle Irving raised pigs, Uncle Joe, Uncle Al, and Uncle Wilson had dairy farms. Uncle Leo had a farm too before he sold it and moved into town. Now I have a farm... kind of... Well okay, I have what used to be a farm, an apple farm. All that's left now are a few old Greening apple trees, the house and the barns. What we need to do now is put up some fencing and get some goats and chickens.

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Lingering Summer

It feels almost like summer today except for the fact that it isn't really. It's one of those days where I would like to escape to "who knows where", relax, and just enjoy the gorgeous weather. Although an escape sounds wonderful, I have no idea where I would go or who would be able and willing to go with me. I really enjoy getting away with a friend rather than alone. In years past I would pack my little kids into the car and take off for an afternoon at the farm markets. There are hay mazes, pumpkin patches, cider and fried cakes, and farm animals to enjoy. Now my kids have nearly outgrown that tradition. Maybe I'll have to take Troy out one day next week.

I'm really feeling lost and unsure what to do at this point in my life. It feels as though everything is rushing past and I am not quite quick enough to catch the moments before they are gone. I catch some but so many others just slip by... Maybe I am just passing from one phase of life into the next and feeling somewhat alone in it. Of course, I'm not really alone, just not sure which way to turn. I suppose this is the time of life when women look back and say, "Hmmm... what have I done with my life and what can I get accomplished before I'm too old to do anything?" A midlife crisis of sorts... Kind of like trying to reach the water's surface before taking that deep breath you so desparately need... Oh well, tomorrow is another day and right now it's time to bake some apple crisp. And maybe when the girls get off the bus we'll take an orchard walk. That could be worth doing, don'tcha think?

Window Shopping

This little store in Angelica wasn't open the day we were there. I'm not sure if it ever is, but I like what I saw through the window.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Apple of My Eye

This afternoon after lunch Hannah and I took Troy and went to the farm market for a bushel of apples. I like this partcular stand because they sell a bushel of apples for $10. I can buy a whole bushel of one kind or mix the varieties. I usually mix them and then can't tell which is which when I get home. Today I bought 20 Ounce, Jonagolds, and Empire apples. The 20 Ounce are great for baking, the Empires for eating, and the Jonagold for either. We also have some little apples on our own trees. I have no idea what kind they are but they are shaped a little like a Red Delicious. This year they're perfect size for kids to eat.

Since today is Thursday and I haven't yet compiled my list of things I've learned, I'll give you a list of apples instead...

1. 20 Ounce- Great big red/green colored apples great for baking pies.
2. McIntosh- soft little apple that's great to put in lunchboxes.
3. Red Delicious- dark red with a dry flesh, not my favorite
4. Golden Delicious- a yellow apple that tastes much better than Red Delicious
5. Honey Crisp- a very expensive variety
6. Cortland- red and tart
7. Granny Smith- another green apple that is good in pies
8. Rhode Island Greenings- a very green apple that is used for sauce and baking
9. Crispin- Big yellow apples that I like to feed small children during the winter
10. Macoun- nice sweet apple... should've got someof those...
11. Idared- one Dad used to buy
12. Ginger Gold- hard to tell from Golden Delicious
13. Gala- an apple with a happy name, kids like them!

Pass the pies, please!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I have been fighting a headache for the past four or five days. It is making me feel very sleepy and unproductive. The weather outside is gorgeous and we are stuck here doing school work. Yuck! We should have gone on our field trip today instead...

I am ready for fall where the skies are a little more overcast, the temperatures are a little cooler and staying in the house all day doesn't feel so much like a waste of time.

Crabby. I don't like feeling tired and crabby. Feeling crabby makes me hungry.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

They're Eating Out of My Hand

Shelly and I headed for Mendon Ponds Park again today. There was a chance of showers but seeing as it hasn't rained much at all this year, we took our chances and hoped the rain would "keep up". It didn't. Our hike was cut short and we were heading out of the park shortly before noon. We were disappointed but there is a bright side to every story. The rain today means we will want to make another trip before too long.
We did get a chance to see our little friends and the woods were fairly quiet once the group of senior citizens passed by. They were as niosy as a crowd of school children and we decided we didn't want to race them through the woods or compete with them for the attention of the wildlife.
Good thing we came home early, I had a chance to take a nap.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Mitty Ann

Our trip to Angelica took us to the Until the Day Dawn Cemetery where we found the grave of Mitty Ann Shafer. She was just 22 years old when she died on Christmas of 1862. She left behind a two-year old daughter, Hattie, and a four month old son, my great grandfather, Joseph Edson Shafer. She died so young. It made me wonder who she was and what she was like. Was she anything like her son who played the harmonica and loved to work in his garden? Did she like to smile? What color was her hair? Did she know Jesus? Her parents, David and Amy Jennings, eventually petitioned the court for custody of their daughter's two young children. I wonder what they were like?