Friday, March 31, 2006

A Mystery

Ah, Spring......renewal of life. The birds have put on their new frocks and we are treated to goldfinches flitting to and fro like airborne daffodils when they were a shabby brown only last week. Birdsong fills the house when we wake each morning.

As we rake out several years' worth of leaves from beneath the lilacs and other bushes around the house, each new finding brings exclamations of surprise and delight. I'm no expert but I believe we have uncovered tulips, daffodils, and irises peeping through the soil.

Our most recent discovery, however, has left me somewhat puzzled. Two days ago, on a trek through the wooded area that borders the back of our property, Dwayne and Anna-Rose unearthed this grisly relic.

We believe it to be bovine in nature. It has become the Terrorist Baby's new best friend. She calls it a dinosaur. I have explicit instructions to keep her out of the woods lest she excavate the entire skeleton.

So, a mystery. A corpse without a clue. Whose remains?

***Mystery solved!***

I've added more photos to show the top and bottom of our mystery skull. After much research online and closer examination of the skull we now are convinced that it is that of a domestic pig. Although the molars have level chewing surfaces, you can see the holes in the front where the other pointy teeth would have been. It is the only skull that has the type of steep angular slope to the forehead rather than a gradual flat slope.

While the identity of our "corpse" has been revealed, it makes us even more curious. We knew that there had been sheep on this property in the past, but hadn't heard about pigs. Perhaps even further back in history a farmer was sustaining his family with the food he grew and raised here. After all this house has been around for almost 200 years so it wouldn't be unlikely. More research to do!

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Woe is me! I had an un-lovely day yesterday wallowing in the mire of my own despair. My back was sore and I was feeling sorry for myself as I watched Dwayne and Anna-Rose having a good old time outdoors in the fresh air, working in the yard, making a compost bin, raking leaves. I have waiting so long for spring and now it's coming and I'm feeling old and achey and if I move just the wrong way I'll be laid up again. Oh woe is me........

Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

The Lord never promised to shelter me from pain. He never promised that the road would be free of obstacles, or that I would effortlessly scale the mountain top to which I aspire. The road is long, dusty, and filled with pitfalls; the mountain is high, the peak is foggy at times, and my feet stumble on the stones that tumble relentlessly into my path. But He has promised to pull me out of the miry clay and set my feet on high places. Yes I hurt....both physically and emotionally....but what victory have I but in Him? The strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Friday, March 17, 2006

St. Patrick's Lorica

Though I am not Irish by any means, genetically or maritally, nor do I make it a point to wear any particular shade of green on March 17, wear a green carnation, drink green beer, or cook corned beef and cabbage, I find this hymn quite beautiful and worthy as a prayer on this day or any other.

St. Patrick’s Lorica
(translated from the Gaelic prose by Cecil F. Alexander)

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Back in Business

After several days scuttling about in the involuntary impersonation of a question mark, it feels good to sit down in an upright position and write again. I want to thank all the dear people who posted comments, prayed for me, helped out by preparing meals, and just in general let me know that I am loved and needed. The Lord is good, and my cup runneth over!

There is a great deal of catching up to do around the house but it could be much, much worse. Anna-Rose makes a good nurse and is generous with compassionate prayers and gentle hugs and kisses, but this guy is "the man" when it comes to the nitty-gritty down and dirty business of running a household.

Isaac Daniel (aka Son#2)

He even managed to complete the majority of the priming and painting in the bathroom while doing laundry and washing dishes. He'll make a great wife - er, husband - someday! Seriously, in the midst of my physical trial, I was prompted to come to the Lord's feet with a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for children who are able and equipped to help when necessary. Son#1 made an effort to call several times a day to check on me, and took time after a busy day at work to bring over a day's worth of some much needed medication so I could have a peaceful sleep. Although I don't usually go the prescription med route it did enable me to rest my body more comfortably and it was a small enough dosage that I did not suffer any residual effects.

So I'm back to normal, traveling at light speed, full throttle, pedal to the metal, and doing *too much* as is customary. Dwayne pointed out that when I have an idea, I want it to be done.......right away. The Bradshaws have set up a to-do list right on their blog. My format is similar but generously fills the entire length, breadth and depth of an office memo pad. My ambition too often exceeds my physical capabilities but that's where husbands and teenaged sons come in. I do find that they prefer to accomplish a task without help (or hindrance as the case may be if I am involved in the project) rather than take the time to teach me. So my carpentry and painting skills are almost non-existent and since I am a visual/kinesthetic learner, following directions in a book is a blueprint for failure. Contrary to modern methods of teaching, when I was still in high school, shop class was for the boys and sewing and cooking for the girls, and my daddy was not a handy fellow around the house. Dwayne says that carpentry would be easier for me with power tools but the idea of me with such a device in my hand when I can't even chop an onion or grate a block of cheese without involving my fingers in the process creates such a spasm of fear in my mind that I literally black out for a minute or two. Guess I'll continue to stick to safe tasks like folding towels and feeding the cat.

The weather is beginning to settle down and become more temperate. As the ground thaws, our driveway has warmed up enough to be the color and consistency of a thick chocolate pudding. The Terrorist Baby has experienced her every heart's desire in that delicious swamp of goo - stomping, splattering, sitting, digging, crawling, sliding, falling (accidentally and deliberately) - everything except tasting it. Not trusting her common sense, and taking her blondness into account, I carefully examine the corners of her mouth each day for traces of mud. With all that muck combined with her passion for role-playing I never know when she might be inspired to play This Little Piggie.

#235 - Invest in pair of sturdy rubber boots

#568 - Lay gravel in driveway

It's just about time to start our seeds indoors. I see that even though he is further north, Steven has gotten a head start on me. He does have the advantage of a greenhouse and hoophouse which is also somewhere on my list, page 35 I believe. I need to sit down with my packets of seeds and planting guide and set up a schedule. Today I realized that we may have to take down some other trees beside the killer maple that is threatening to crush our house. Three or four older pines at the back of the yard are blocking the sun because of their height, and will probably need to have their tops lopped off before they are felled.

Rain is predicted on and off for this week and the temperature will be in the high 40's on average so I anticipate being able to get outside and and take care of some work around the property like measuring off the planting beds. We need to find a source for free lumber to put around the raised beds. Pallets, maybe? I also thought of getting a soil test kit. If that would be waste of money, someone let me know before I spend it! I know that when we bought this place the grass was growing very lushly all around it so the soil must be in good shape.......?????

More news to come as it happens!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Down But Not Out

A storm blew in last Saturday night and covered us once more with several inches of snow so outdoor work was put on hold again. We've had gusty winds and frigid temperatures during the beginning of the week but it looks like it may get above freezing today. At least the skies have been sunny and blue!

I'm going to be taking a little break.....hopefully not more than a week. I shoveled the back of our house and driveway a bit too enthusiastically Sunday afternoon and threw my back out. The kids have been wonderful keeping the household going while I take it easy and we've been getting lots of read-aloud time together. There are always blessings amidst the trials.......