A Christmas Carol

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

-Mark 8:36

A Christmas Carol cover

For many years, I was actually averse to A Christmas Carol for a reason that I’m rather embarrassed to admit now. You see, when I was younger I never read the book, only watched the movie, and the only movie version we had was A Muppet’s Christmas Carol. Let’s just say I found the Muppet’s, well, disturbing.

Thankfully Mom took me to see Charles Dickens Presents: A Christmas Carol, a live performance by Mike Randall. He was phenomenal, dramatically reciting the entire book solo! Seriously, he slipped so easily from Fred to Fezziwig, from Christmas Past to Ebenezer, you would have thought that 40 actors were performing. 

After being cured of my Christmas Carol fear, I eagerly listened to Focus on the Family’s excellent Christmas Carol radio drama, and went to the live performance twice more, but never got around to reading the actual book. This year unforeseen circumstances prevented me from attending, so I decided to read the story for myself.

Written in 1843 by Charles Dickens, the book was designed to serve several purposes:

1. To boost his waning popularity: Dickens’ most recent novel, Martin Chuzzlewit, wasn’t selling well and Dickens was afraid his popularity was on a decline.

2. To support his wife, 4 children, and rather lax budget: Dickens didn’t succeed with this goal as well as the first. Although the book sales were extremely high (it sold 6,000 copies within the first few days), Dickens had financed the book’s publishing himself and ordered costly gilt edging, hand-colored illustrations, and fancy binding. He then set the price at only 5 shillings so everyone could afford it.

3. Speak out about Dickens’ concern for England’s poor, especially children

The plot was already familiar to me. Set amidst the squalor and filth of 19th century England, a misery character named Ebenezer Scrooge edges “his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance“. Blinded by his own greed and selfishness Scrooge ignores the suffering and poverty of his fellow men. One Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley. Marley comes to warn Scrooge of the conseques of his apathy and that he will be haunted by three spirits. These three spirits, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, come to open Ebenezer’s eyes to the people around him, and teach him how to “keep Christmas well“.

I still loved reading the book, even though I knew what was going to happen. Dickens tells a tale smothered with suffering, hardship, misery and darkness, but doesn’t forget to sprinkle it with biting humor and the bright light of hope and redemption.

I enjoyed discovering small parts of the book that I had forgotten. For example, I never realized that when young Ebenezer is reading his story books at school the characters actually come to life for old Ebenezer and the Ghost of Christmas Past.

“The Spirit touched him on the arm, and pointed to his younger self, intent upon his reading. Suddenly a man, in foreign garments: wonderfully real and distinct to look at: stood outside the window, with an axe stuck in his belt, and leading by the bridle an ass laden with wood.
“Why, it’s Ali Baba!” Scrooge exclaimed in ecstasy. “It’s dear old honest Ali Baba!”

My two favorite scenes are probably Fezziwig’s Ball and Joe’s Pawn Shop, although I love the Cratchit’s dinner also.

I like the first because it’s a beautiful picture of gaiety, joy, and how someone can create such happiness just by doing a small thing. I also love it since I’ve attended 19th century dances before and can perfectly imagine myself in the scene. I practically squealed when reading about dancing the Sir Roger de Coverley  (also known as the Virginia Reel) because I’ve danced it myself!

Fezziwig's Ball (original illustration)
Fezziwig’s Ball
(original illustration)

Joe’s Pawn Shop is full of caustic humor and feels perfectly filthy and base. My sister and I can practically quote all of it, complete with weasel-y voices and shrieking laughs.

Old Joe's Pawn Shop by Fred Barnard (from victorianweb.org)
Old Joe’s Pawn Shop by Fred Barnard
(from victorianweb.org)

I’m very glad I didn’t pass over this book simply because the story was well known to me. It was the perfect Christmas read!

Tiny Tim

Book: A Christmas Carol, A Ghost Story of Christmas

Author: Charles Dickens

Publish date: 1843

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Finish date: December 15, 2013

Book number: 7 of 205

Favorite Quotes:

“His body was transparent: so that Scrooge, observing him, and looking through his waistcoat, could see the two buttons on his coat behind.

Scrooge had often heard it said that Marley had no bowels, but he had never believed it until now.”

” ‘Your lip is trembling,’ said the Ghost. ‘And what is that upon your cheek?’ Scrooge muttered, with an unusual catching in his voice, that it was a pimple.”

“When this result was brought about, old Fezziwig, clapping his hands to stop the dance, cried out, ‘Well done!’ and the fiddler plunged his hot face into a pot of porter, especially provided for that purpose. But, scorning rest upon his reappearance, he instantly began again, though there were no dancers yet, as if the other fiddler had been carried home, exhausted, on a shutter, and he were a bran-new man resolved to beat him out of sight, or perish.”

“the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody, not forgetting themselves, and, mounting guard upon their posts, crammed spoons into their mouths, lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped”

“Hallo! A great deal of steam! The pudding was out of the copper. A smell like a washing-day! That was the cloth. A smell like an eating-house and a pastry-cook’s next door to each other, with a laundress’s next door to that! That was the pudding!”

” ‘If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future none other of my race,’ returned the Ghost, ‘will find him here. What then? If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.’

Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.

‘Man,’ said the Ghost, ‘if man you be in heart, not adamant, forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered what the surplus is, and where it is. Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be that, in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. O God! to hear the insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!’ “

“for it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child himself”

-The Farming Daughter

Civil War Photo Shoot

Well, winter has come with a vengeance here on the farm! We’ve had several feet of snow dumped on us and the National Weather Service has been issuing snow warnings. Today the power kept winking out so frequently that Marcus and I took to wearing our headlamps around the house! The good news is we’re used to this type of weather in New York and know how to prepare for it. The cows are all snug in the barn, the young calves all have their calf coats on (you can see one of our babies with a coat on here), and we have a generator in case the power stays off for more than a minute. Of course it’s still a frigid job working outside, but our cows come first!

Three weeks ago, before we got all the snow, I was able to go see Emily and visit with Uncle Pooge who was here from California! While I was there we braved the cold and rainy weather (albeit it wasn’t a snowstorm) and did a Civil War photo shoot in her backyard. Her awesome little sister Haley joined us and we had a great time. Em even trusted me with the camera for some of them!

Here are a couple of my favorite pics from the shoot; you can see the rest (including bloopers) on Emily’s blog.

(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
isn't Haley adorable?!  (photo by me)
isn’t Haley adorable?!
(photo by me)
(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
Emily in her lovely new dress (photo by me)
Emily in her lovely new dress
(photo by me)
I told Haley to pretend she was "Laura Ingalls carrying her books and running because she was late for school" (photo by me)
I told Haley to pretend she was “Laura Ingalls carrying her books and running because she was late for school”
(photo by me)
(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
(photo by me)
(photo by me)
Haley (photo by me)
Haley
(photo by me)
Inspired by my Art Alive Tableau  (photo by Emily)
Inspired by my Art Alive Tableau
(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
(photo by Emily)
I think Em looks like she's from a Fairy Tale, perhaps Snow White? (photo by me)
I think Em looks like she’s from a Fairy Tale, perhaps Snow White?
(photo by me)
three silly girls (photo by Mrs. Putzke)
three silly girls
(photo by Mrs. Putzke)        
I told Haley to pretend she was a "poor, cold, starving orphan" and this is what she came up with  (photo by me)
I told Haley to pretend she was a “poor, cold, starving orphan” and this is what she came up with
(photo by me)

 

Which ones are your favorites? I hope you are all staying warm and enjoying this advent season!

Love,

The Farming Daughter

 

8 Months!

Evie 10-2013 b

Today is exactly 8 months since my miracle little sister came into the world. Ever since then has been a blessing from God as I’ve watched her grow healthier and stronger day by day. We never expected all the scary conditions Evie would have when she was born, but neither did we realize the deep impact she would have on others as an incredible witness of God’s love and faithfulness.

My aunt put together a beautiful little video I thought you might all like to see. Click here to watch it.

Today I pray that no matter the circumstances or trials you’re in that you’ll remember He is always with you.

If you don’t know Evie’s story yet you can read it here

 

-The Farming Daughter

World Dairy Expo

World Dairy Expo Logo

October 3-5th Dad, Addison and I took a road trip to World Dairy Expo in Madison, WI. Now, for those of you who aren’t farm people, World Dairy Expo is pretty much the cow equivalent to the Super Bowl. One has only to say “Expo” and everyone knows what you’re talking about. The “colored shavings” are as familiar to cattle show-men as the Indianapolis Speedway is to race car drivers. This year, “1,616 owners exhibited 2,225 head of cattle from 36 states and 6 provinces”.

There are 7 shows, one for each breed of dairy cattle. When a cow is exhibited in a show she is groomed to look her very best and then competes against all the other animals in her age class. The judge ranks the cows based on their physical appearance, called their “conformation”.

It was so exciting just watching the shows at Expo, but we actually went for more than just sight seeing. Our calf, Price-View Reginald Prize (“Regi” for short), was entered in the Fall Calf class and we were there to watch her show.

Price-View Reginald Prize, "Regi"
Regi

It’s kind of confusing to explain how the show works, but let’s use Regi as an example. She is from the Holstein breed and was born on September 2, 2012, which puts her in the Holstein Fall Calf class (all the animals born between 9/1/2012-11/30/2012). In order to advance beyond that class she would have to get either 1st or 2nd in her class of 48 other calves. Then she would compete against the 1st and 2nd place winners from the 6 other Holstein calf classes. From these 14 animals the judge picks the one he believes to be the best (Junior Champion), 2nd best (Reserve Junior Champion), and 3rd best (Junior Honorable Mention).

The Holstein Junior Champion and Reserve Junior Champion show against the Intermediate Champion (best milking cow not older than 3 years old), Reserve Intermediate Champion (2nd best milking cow not older than 3 years), Senior Champion (best milking cow over 3 years), and Reserve Senior Champion (2nd best milking cow over 3 years). From these animals the judge selects the overall Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion and Honorable Mention, which would equate to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best cows of the entire Holstein breed at the show.

At the end of Expo the Grand and Reserve Champions of each breed face off for the ultimate title in the dairy world: Supreme Champion of World Dairy ExpoThis year’s Supreme Champion winner was the Grand Champion Holstein cow, Bonaccuiel Maya Goldwyn.

the judge slaps Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn on the rump to choose her as the 2013 Grand Champion Holstein (photo Hoard's Dairyman)
The judge slaps Bonaccueil Maya Goldwyn on the rump to choose her as the 2013 Grand Champion Holstein (photo Hoard’s Dairyman)

My dad’s all-time favorite Expo winner is Brookview Tony Charity, who earned the title of Supreme Champion 4 times! (1982, 1984, 1985 & 1987)

Brookview Tony Charity, 4 time Supreme Champion winner at World Dairy Expo
Brookview Tony Charity, 4 time Supreme Champion winner at World Dairy Expo

Although Regi didn’t advance beyond her age class, it was still a great experience, and being the 28th best fall calf in the world isn’t that bad either!

Regi's class of 48 heifers
Regi’s class of 48 heifers

We were also able to watch the selection of the Red & White Holstein Grand Champion which was really neat! The judge walked up to the line of cows. Pointing at the first 3 he said, “Bing, bang, boom!” and chose 3 cows that were all related! KHW Regiment Apple-Red was Reserve Grand Champion and her own clone, KHW Regiment Apple-3, ended up beating her for Grand Champion! For Honorable Mention the original Apple’s daughter was selected, Ms Candy Apple-Red.

The "Apple Trifecta" as it's being called
The “Apple Trifecta” as it’s being called (Photo from Dairy Agenda Today)
Our view of grand champion selection
Our view of Red & White grand champion selection

Not only did we see some exciting shows at Expo, but we also walked around the massive trade show. They had booths selling anything from tractors, to milking parlors, to paintings of cows. I ended up making a purchase that hopefully I’ll be able to use on my calves this winter…

A pink Udder Tech calf blanket!
A pink Udder Tech calf blanket!

Friday evening they set up a big auction ring right in the center of the show ring for the World Classic Sale, to sell offspring from the elite of the Holstein breed. The beginning of the sale was like the start of a concert! When the first cow walked in the ring the lights were dimmed and a spot-light shone on her as Katy Perry’s song, Roar, played. It was really great to be there as these awesome cows sold. One we were able to see was the best genetic Red and White Holstein in the world!

Oconnors Aikman Scarlet, the best genetic Red & White Holstein in the world
Oconnors Aikman Scarlet, the best genetic Red & White Holstein in the world

It was a great trip to Expo, and I hope to be able to go again in the future!

-The Farming Daughter

Snow!

I went out to do chores this morning and this is what I found:

Snow

Snow!

Just another sign that we live in New York! Although what little bit of snow we got today will melt, more won’t be long in coming and it will stick around until April. Where we live I’m not joking when I say that we’re not safe from snow until the beginning of June!

 

-The Farming Daughter

 

Grape Jelly

     our fresh picked grapes

      Felicity stirred with a long wooden spoon. Round and round, again and again, she stirred the grape mush till her arms ached.

cooked grapes

      It was tiresome work, and dull. Her hair stuck to her sweaty neck. Her hands were sore, and her back was stiff. As soon as one batch of grapes was cooked soft, Rose took it away and put another pot on the fire. Felicity tried to hide her impatience. But after a while, she couldn’t help asking, “Haven’t we made hundreds of pounds of grape jelly by now?”

“Goodness, no,” said her mother. “A whole batch of grapes makes only three pints of grape jelly.”

3 pints of grape jelly

      Pints were very small. Felicity sighed. “It seems to be a great deal of work for a little bit of jelly.

grape jelly toast

      I don’t think it’s worthwhile,” she said. “And once the grape jelly’s eaten, there’s nothing to show for all the hard work. You are left with nothing at all.”

empty plate

     Mrs. Merriman laughed. “I remember thinking just that same thing when I was your age,” she said. “And ’tis true, there’s nothing left that anyone can see. But I know that I’ve provided for my family, and that pleases me.” 

grape jelly

When I was younger I used to love the American Girl Doll book series. OK, I admit it, I still do. One of my favorites is the story of Felicity Merriman, a girl growing up in colonial America. Yesterday, when I was making grape jelly, I was reminded of a part from the second book in the series when Felicity and her mother are making apple butter. The passage otherwise fit so well to the situation I just adapted it by substituting grape jelly for apple butter. 

Although when I was younger I probably sympathized more with Felicity, I’ve now come to appreciate having our own home-made jelly. Since we use the low sugar pectin it is healthier for you than store-bought and doesn’t have any extra coloring or preservatives. Home made jelly is also more cost effective and tastes fabulous!

Most years Mom is in charge of the jelly making process and I’m simply the assistant. This year however, with Mom laid up with her foot, I had my first time flying (err, preserving) solo. It went really well, and we were able to make six batches (then I ran out of pectin). Elijah (the two year old) had a great time going for a ride back to our grape field to pick, then Addie helped as my assistant. She and I had an assembly line of sorts and it worked great!

We ladle our hot jelly into piping hot jars, and use hot seals. If you do it this way it’s not necessary to can the jars in hot water. Also, what we make is more like grape “preserves”. It’s not jam because there’s no seeds or chunks of skin, but it’s not jelly because we use the juice and the pulp.

This is how we did it:

1. Wash canning jars in dishwasher. If they finish washing before you are ready with the cooked jelly, run them through the hot rinse and heated dry cycle. Later, when the jelly is ready, pull the piping hot jars from the dishwasher (doesn’t matter if the cycle is done or not, you’re just insuring that the jars are hot). Put your rings and seals in a small saucepan with water and boil them on the stove (this sanitizes them, softens the seal, and insures that they are hot).

2. Pick grapes off of stems and rinse.

3. Fill large pot 3/4 full of grapes and add a little water (like maybe 1-1/2 cups).

4. Cook grapes over medium-high heat until they start to break down into a mush. Make sure to stir occasionally so they don’t burn.

5. Run the grapes through a hand food mill and measure out 5-1/2 cups of juice.

6. Stir together 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 box of low sugar Sur-Gel pectin. Put in a pot with grape juice and cook until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Stir constantly.

7. Quickly add 3-1/4 cups of sugar and bring to a boil once again, stirring constantly.

8. Boil exactly one minute, then remove from heat.

9. Quickly ladle hot grape liquid into hot canning jars. Top with a hot seal and ring. Set jar on counter for 5 minutes upside down, then turn right side up.

If you have any juice left over from step 5 add some water to thin and some sugar to taste and you have home made grape juice! You can even can the juice (before you add water or sugar) so you can enjoy it all year. Simply ladle the juice into quart jars and can in a water bath.

Oh, and if you’ve never started jumping for joy in the middle of the kitchen at the popping sound of a jar sealing, you haven’t known true happiness 🙂

The only bad part of jelly making?

the clean up!

The clean up!

-The Farming Daughter

What I Learned This Summer

Well, the official first day of fall is only 5 days away… I hope you all have had a great summer so far! I’ve been a pretty negligent blogger (nothing since Mother’s Day, yikes!). Instead of just giving you a list of what I’ve done in my absence, I decided to tell you about what I’ve learned through the experiences. So without further ado:

WHAT I LEARNED THIS SUMMER

Airports aren’t as scary as I first imagined.

View out the window

Aside from a flight when I was only 3 months old and a ride in our neighbor’s small 2 seater, I’ve never been on an airplane. Since plane tickets for our family would cost a small mint, the chances of me flying were almost nil. It was actually such a remote idea that I had “fly on a commercial airplane” on my bucket list! 🙂 Well, in May I finally got the chance. Emily invited me to accompany her on a visit to her great aunt and uncle who live in California!

To tell you the truth, I was a little apprehensive of navigating an airport “alone” as it was. Thankfully it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. I didn’t get detained at security for accidentally bringing nail clippers, my bags weren’t overweight, and we even managed to make our connecting flight. A bird’s eye view of the wind-turbines near Chicago was awesome, the Sierra Nevada Mountains were breathtaking and the center pivot irrigation systems were really neat!

While in California I learned:

To try new things.

Aunt Carole, Uncle Pooge, Emily, Me in San Francisco Bay
Aunt Carole, Uncle Pooge, Emily, Me in San Francisco Bay

Emily’s Aunt Carole and Uncle Pooge were two of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. They took us everywhere from Muir Woods Giant Redwoods Forest to downtown San Francisco to ride a cable car!  Aunt Carole, especially, encouraged me to be adventurous and try new things, which I did attempt to do. I even ate rattlesnake! (Not that bad actually, kind of tastes like fish) You can see more about our trip on our blog From New York to Cali.

We spent a wonderful 2 weeks in California before coming home again. I had a few weeks respite, during which time we had two wonderful visits from relatives. At the end of June Addison and I had the opportunity to attend the 150th Anniversary Gettysburg Reenactment. During which I learned:

Don’t allow the weather or circumstances out of your control to prevent you from having a good time. 

Of course it was very hot and muggy, but we still had a wonderful time. And although we weren’t able to connect with Emily we did meet up with several other friends that we only get to see at reenactments. I also discovered that the inside of your tent stays drier if you tie the flaps closed, don’t ask me how I know!

One of the only pictures I have from Gettysburg. Our camp was right in the middle of the woods! (And yes, there's a plastic water bottle in the pic, it was before the event  officially started.)
One of the only pictures I have from Gettysburg. Our camp was right in the middle of the woods! (And yes, there’s a plastic water bottle in the pic, it was before the event officially started 🙂 )

In July Addie and I went on another trip together called Love Buffalo. Several hundred teens and adults from different denominational churches across the country teamed up for a week of service in inner-city Buffalo. It was such a great opportunity to

Put my faith in action

James 2:15-17 says that “If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily food and one of you says to him, ‘Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,’ but you don’t give them what the body needs , what good is it? In the same way faith, if it doesn’t have works, is dead by itself.”

Climbing ladders, scraping siding, and brushing on paint may seem like small enough tasks, but I believe that when done in the name of Jesus Christ He multiplies our poor offerings a hundred times over and uses them to bless people and show them His love.

I also learned about overcoming/not being held back by my fear of heights as I climbed ladders 2 1/2 stories up!

Scraping paint
Scraping paint (I’m wearing the brown shirt on the ladder)

Each night we ate a different authentic ethnic meal. Aunt Carole would be proud to know that I boldly tried all of it and enjoyed it! 😉

Ethiopian dinner
Ethiopian dinner
Burmese dinner
Burmese dinner
Peruvian dinner
Peruvian dinner
Thai dinner
Thai dinner

As soon as we came home from Love Buffalo it was off to my favorite reenactment of the year, Genesee Country Village’s Civil War weekend. This time I had the chance to

Share my passion with others.

Along with Addie, my little brother Mason came with us! His 10th birthday was only 2 weeks before the event so for his present we got him a set of authentic clothes! It was so much fun having my own little family there with me. We were able to camp with some friends we met there last year and it was such a blessing! Mason hit it off with their boys and was soon playing mock battles with them. Our tent was even converted into a hospital where Addie and Kezia performed “amputations” on their brothers!

Little soldier boys: Josiah, Mason, Asa and Gage
Little soldier boys: Josiah, Mason, Asa and Gage
Nurse Kezia and Surgeon Josiah prepare to operate on Mason!
Nurse Kezia and Surgeon Josiah prepare to operate on Mason!

I hope you all had a wonderful summer as well! Did you go on any exciting adventures or learn something new? Enjoy the last five days until Autumn!

This last one just because I can, she's adorable, and God is good!
This last one just because I can, she’s adorable, and God is good!

 

-The Farming Daughter

 

 

My Mother Will Never

Mom & Evie photo by Emily Ann
photo by Emily Ann

My mother will never fully know the importance of her words,

How each and every kindly phrase like armor ’round me girds.

No criticism can hurt me, no rumor stab my back,

With my mother’s uplifting praises no confidence I’ll lack.

 

My mother will never understand her gift of patient love,

How her sacrificial actions point to our God above.

She thinks no one sees her as she does her menial part,

But she doesn’t know she’s teaching me about a servant’s heart.

 

My mother will never be able to grasp the necessity of her prayers,

That all her heartfelt cries to God protect me from life’s snares,

That every single word and cry she utters for my sake

Will help keep me on the narrow path and from the fiery lake.

 

My mother will never clearly see the power of her teaching.

Because of her imparted knowledge for the stars I’ll keep on reaching.

Her wisdom is like rubies that I’ll treasure as a gift,

On the Rock of Truth she’s taught me my life won’t slip or shift.

 

My mother will never realize the aid of her correction,

When her firm but gentle reprimands showed me the right direction.

It may have felt like a battle to teach me right from wrong,

But now I follow Jesus’ truth instead of evil’s throng.

 

My mother will never appreciate the value of her life,

Or the comfort of her warm embrace amidst our fears and strife.

She always underestimates the great power that she wields,

That her smiles are like sweetest balm and her courage like a shield.

 

My mother will never receive the praise that is her rightful due.

For some reason we tend to overlook what is ever in our view.

But I’d like to say on behalf of myself, my sisters, and my brothers,

We would would never be who we are today if it wasn’t for our mother!

 

– Michaela A. Richmond

May 11, 2013

 

To the best mom in the world, Happy Mother’s Day! I ❤ u!

150th Chancellorsville

Camp

The A-frame tent drying on the lawn. The fluffy white piles of petticoats and chemises waiting to be washed. The soft scent of wood smoke that still faintly lingers in my room. All are reminders of another great reenactment that has come and gone. I had such an awesome time that in a way it’s almost sad to come back, but it is also wonderful to be home again.

This event was for the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chancellorsville held in Spotsylvania, Virginia. I had a great time visiting the original battlefields, hanging out at camp, and meeting new people. The awesome part was, I was able to do it all with my little sister Addison and my Civil War sister, Emily!

the trio (right before the ball)
the trio right before the ball (Addison, Emily, Me)

Contrary to popular belief it is possible to fit three girls and all their accouterments in one tent 🙂 .

2 cots, 3 girls. Guess who got the ground? :)
2 cots, 3 girls. Guess who got the ground? 🙂 I actually didn’t mind.

One of my favorite parts of the trip was definitely visiting the original battlegrounds with our personal tour guide, Mr. John (one of our guys). I learned so much about the Battle of Chancellorsville (which has been called Lee’s most brilliant victory) and was able to see the actual places where it happened at the same time!  If you want to learn more about the battle yourself I highly recommend this website here.  Since we were so close we were also fortunate enough to visit Spotsylvania Court House and the Wilderness as well.

Civil War Sisters at Chancellorsville (Me, Addie)
Civil War Sisters at Chancellorsville (Me, Addie)

Another highlight was hanging out with our group, known as “the Bucktails”, at camp and just listening to the guys’ stories.

cooking breakfast
cooking breakfast

And of course the ball was lovely! I’ve never been to one with such a large band, you could almost call it an orchestra! It was held outdoors, which was also unique. I danced until me feet ached with a very nice partner that I met there, so I was very happy!

the ball
the ball

Now, none of the pictures in this post are mine. Like the goose I am, I plugged our camera in to charge so it would be ready for the trip and promptly forgot about it. Thankfully Emily never forgets her camera and graciously allowed me to use some of her great shots. The condition was, that you all promise to go see the rest of the awesome pictures she took at Chancellorsville on her blog 🙂 .

Ok, so I did take at least one picture that has to do with this post… After the event I had to set the tent up on the lawn to dry at home, so we decided to have a picnic!

these Rebel soldiers dine in a captured tent on provisions they foraged from a near by farm house...
these Rebel soldiers dine in a captured tent on provisions they foraged from a near by farm house…

 

Finally Home!

 

“But Jesus said, ‘No, go home to your friends, and tell them what wonderful things the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.’ “

-Mark 5:19

During the beginning it sometimes felt like this day would never come, but during the past 6 weeks God’s faithfulness has never failed. Today I am happy to announce that Evie is finally home!

Evie in her carseat, ready for the ride home
Evie in her carseat, ready for the ride home
Obviously the carseat doesn't faze her very much...
Obviously the carseat doesn’t faze her very much…

the wonderful people who cared for Evie in the hospital
the wonderful people who cared for Evie in the hospital
Nurse Judy wheeling Evie down to the car
Judy wheeling Evie down to the car
She's home!
She’s home!