Monday, July 14, 2014

Mango Memorial

The week of the fourth of July the Mango family gathered together to have wonderful time and to remember our Dad/grandfather/husband/brother/friend who graduated to glory in March.  Steve had organized all this and brought along a big tent and a grill and many other things.  He organized the schedule and was the Master of Ceremonies.  He handles his role of 'firstborn' well.  He borrowed a truck and trailer to bring all these things. 

T-Bob and JoAn carrying a table

Everybody pitched in and helped set up.  The weather was gorgeous for the whole time.  

Steve leads the meeting as we plan the schedule and events.  The JoAns listen.

There was a family meeting after lunch.  There was to be two a day, but there was only two over the whole time.  No one seemed to mind.  We all managed to follow along and find the right activities even without a lot of meetings.

T-Bob spent the first bit of the gathering finishing up the lawn mowing.  He does a nice job and even seems to enjoy it.  That young man loves to drive!!!

Everybody enjoyed visiting and spending time together as a family.

The cabinet that was used for Michelle's graduation was the perfect thing for the party.  We stored all the glasses and plates, flatware, etc in there in the tent.  It was so convenient.

Mary caught the smallest fish

The fishing was done frequently, and enjoyed by all.  The little ones were introduced to fishing and the older ones were reminded why they liked to fish.  It was a fun activity enjoyed by all ages all together.

Many of the young folk stayed in tents all along the pond.  It was a nice dry spot.  

The weather was cool and jackets were used  the first couple evenings.  Little Josef enjoyed snuggling with his mama.  He is getting so big. He is four now.  He is the youngest grandchild.

The big tent was the center of activities.  We ate all our meals there. 

My Mom in law really enjoyed getting to visit with eight of nine of her children and many of her grandchildren.  It was nice to see her relaxed and enjoying all the visits.  She really seemed to get stronger while she visited with us.  She enjoyed her time on the farm.

Charlotte loved all the farm critters and liked to hunt frogs.

The children enjoyed playing with the chicks.

The sunsets were beautiful.

All the cousins joined together and played capture the flag.  They used glow sticks to denote teams and as the lines.  It was so neat to see all the cousins (other than Josef, he was too little and in bed.) playing together.  Even some of the uncles joined in.  They played for a couple hours.  The rest of us sat and enjoyed a campfire.  It was a pleasant ending to a long day.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The June Birthday Party

It is time for the annual June birthday party.  It is something we look forward to all year!

We have the tradition of lining up all the grandkids, by age, along the back of the house.  It is interesting to see the children change in height through the years. In the beginning they were all stair steps, but that has changed through the years.

The girl cousins posed together.

Then the boys.  They were silly!

Michelle and Thomas wanted a picture of themselves when they were about the same height.  It won't last for long.  Thomas is currently growing at a prodigious rate!!!

Michelle was also full of silliness that evening!

This evening was extra special as my mom-in-law was there.  She also has a June birthday!  There were 6 June birthdays!  It was beautiful weather and wonderful fellowship!

The kids had fun playing together.


Thomas is 17 now.  Who would have thought that it happened already?  He is growing up!!!

This year we skyped the Filipino cousins and had a nice visit with Mir and Kitty.

It was nice to be able to talk to someone so far away in real time.  They were looking good!

Miss Sadie was happy to turn five.  She starts kindergarten in the fall.

Then it was time for the presents!  Sadie went second.  Isaac was wanting to help her open her gifts.

To include the Eichs, the person opening the gifts had to sit in a seat that was visible to the laptop, so they could be seen in the Philippines.

Even Mom got some gifts!  She really seemed to enjoy being including in the celebration!  We thank God for a godly heritage!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Life on the Farm

Things have been super busy here at the farm.  We have had lots of birthdays (four) in the last ten
days of June, as well as LOTS of company.  It has been one of those times where I have been too busy living to do any writing about it.  Also, since the company has left, I have been getting caught up on my rest.  

 One of the projects we have done recently  to build a hoop coop.  We found the plans on the Backyard Chicken Website.  It is really simple and uses three steer fencing panels and some chicken wire.  It has a basic wood frame.  We did buy treated lumber for the base to increase the structural longevity.  

It has a simple wood frame and we put in two roosting poles.  Recently, My DH was given a bunch of white tarps.  We have used a couple of the tarps to provide weather protection.  

We cut off part of an old screen door to give access.  We wanted it to be tall enough that someone about 6 ft can stand in the center.

We put the little chicks in there and it has worked well.  We were able to move them out of the garage and get them on grass.  After three days we opened the door and let the chicks free range inside the electric fence with the old hens.  I was pleased to see there were no issues between the hens and the chicks and everyone seems to get along.  The hens even come in and visit the chicks and get a snack or a drink.

Here is the almost finished structure.  We still want to put a tarp on the back end of the coop for more weather protection.  We are still trying to figure out a way to make this coop more mobile.  We need to figure out a wheel system.  Right now, we slide it along on a couple dollies.  

One other potential use for this structure would be to use it for a simple green house in the spring.  The white tarps let a significant amount of light through and tables on the edges would give a good planting surface.  

Here is a recent picture of the fields.  A close examination shows that there are lots of beans, sunflowers, radishes, corn, sorghum and several other plants coming up nicely.  We planted a grazier nurse crop on the field which contains a mix of about ten different seed types.  The purpose of it is to build organic mass in the soil, also known as topsoil, and to encourage the restoration of nutrients to the soil.  It is nice to see them turning green!  We are hoping to get some cattle to feed/graze on there late this summer.  

The herb bed is looking good.  The plants all seem to be thriving.  No casualties yet.

One of the plants in the herb spiral is bee balm.  It is flowering and does give it a nice dash of color.

I love the purple flowers on the clematis.  We have several in the front and a pink one on the side of the shop.

Elizabeth found a very cool snake skin in the front garden.  We welcome anything that keeps the bugs down.  We tried to encourage the hens to snack on the Japanese beetles in some of the gardens, but they were a little rough on the plants and they were more interested in digging up the dirt and looking for worms than eating beetles.

For all those people that were wondering, yes, the pond can and is swam in.  It is a spring filled pond and also gets filled with rain water.  When the weather is warm, we do get some pond scum, but Thomas has been faithfully raking it out and putting it on our compost pile.  

We also have these super sized bug catchers, also known as bull frogs.  We had some young men here who caught three that were HUGE!  They wanted to use them for frog legs, but we requested that they return them to the pond so they can get more bugs.

This is some of the recent happenings on the farm.  Stay tuned and I will try and get some more posts up soon!

Monday, June 23, 2014

The Birthday Grad Party!

Michelle had a combination Graduation party and 19th birthday celebration all rolled up into one big event!  We had a wonderful time!  The weather was perfect.  It was about 73 and sunny by the time the party started.  We had worked hard the last week or so to get everything ready.  There was still lots to get done at the last minute though.

My DH's Mom is staying with us and she got all the candy and treats in the bowls to go on the ice cream bar.  Elizabeth worked with her.  There were a number of kinds of candies and nuts and other treats and sauces to go on top of the ice cream.  We had fresh strawberries too.

My children had decided that they would redo the back hall bathroom for me for Mother's Day.  Somewhere along the line the project got stalled.  It was the day of the big party and here is what it looked like.  Paul had repaired the walls so that there were no big holes or anything, but it wasn't painted, and the bathroom itself still needs a lot of work.  We decided that the way it looked really fit the party motif of 'shabby chic'.  It even had a lot of the matching shades of blue.  No sweat!!!

Michelle was blessed to have her good friend Josie be able to fly up from Virginia for the long weekend.  They worked together really well on the food and decorating.  They really enjoyed their time together.  

The Boss strode around fixing things and getting things ready to show for the guests.  He really enjoyed giving tours of the farm and the house.  He even gave tours of the garden.  

Michelle worked hard on getting all her accents ready.  This was an old metal table she found in the barn.  She painted it and then overpainted it with lace curtains to give it the appearance of lace.  I thought it looked very cool!

We were ready for the party about the time the guests showed up.

Here is what the guests saw as they pulled in.  The yard was freshly mowed and everything was green from all the recent rain.  It was dry enough to be able to park on the grass though.  That was a blessing!

T-Bob is back and rested from his trip to the Philippines.  He was given the job of limeade maker.  He  and Thomas kept the beverages flowing.

Someone asked me how we got everything ready on time.  Here is part of our secret answer.  Have a large family with lots of hard working children come about an hour early to help.  The Stauffers helped get the food ready to be put out, set up the chairs, pick flowers for the arrangements, put on the table covers, and help set up the swingset and volleyball net.  There were other jobs that they helped with that I am probably forgetting right now.  They were such a blessing to us!!!

Chalkboard paint has become a staple here.  We even used it on the back of our 'shabby chic' bathroom door. It is a lot of fun!  Very useful stuff.

Josie and Michelle dressed up for the party and were soon ready to greet the guests.  

One of the projects we accomplished on Saturday morning was to get the swing set from the other house set up.  It was used by the kids almost the whole day!  So glad it was accomplished! 

We set up the tables under the trees for those who wanted to stay cool and also had some set up in the sun, for those who wanted to be warm.  There was plenty of room for all!

For the food we had Burrito Bowls, or as the Amish call them 'haystack'.  There was white and brown rice, with ground beef or pulled pork to go on top.  There was all kinds of toppings.  We had fresh tomatoes, lettuce, two types of salsa, sour cream, pinto beans and chips.  We also had watermelon out.

There was also an ice cream bar with brownies and all different kinds of toppings.  It was super yummy!  Michelle had done a lot of work making fabric streamers to decorate with.  I think she may try and sell them now that the party is over.

There was a nice group of relatives from my Dad's side.  It was really good to see them.  One was my Dad's cousin from Oregon.  My Dad's Sister and  a niece were also there. It is always a blessing to have family around!

Michelle used pallets to set up her board.  She had lots of pictures from her bow business as well as pictures of many of her amazing baking projects.  There were the usual pictures of her growing up.

During the day there were several soccer games that were played, some volleyball, and come croquet.  There was even some frog hunting in the evening.  One was cooked over the camp fire.  They decided that they didn't taste like chicken, but rather more like scallops.  Hmmmmm! Go figure.

My DH's sister Debbie came for the weekend and had a lovely time visiting with Mom.  She was spying out the land to see what there would be for her kids to do when they come for the Memorial weekend for Dad.

My DH had the wonderful idea of pulling the cool toys out of my office waiting room and letting the children play with them on the little piece of driveway.  They had a wonderful time and it seemed to keep them occupied for quite awhile without any squabbles.

Miss Pres was wanting her picture taken.  She was making lots of silly faces.  My brother requested that I take and save a number of such pictures for her graduation and wedding.  Not just the cute photogenic ones.  Here ya go bro!  She is still terribly cute.  I love her freckles!

Whatever Miss Pres does, Sally does also.  Here is Sally's attempt at a silly face.  I have such fun nieces.

The girl's were babysitting for one of the little ones.  They decided she was a 'good baby' since she didn't cry when they dropped her.  Of course, they are small so it wasn't much of a drop.

Everyone left by 10:15.  We had quite a bit of clean up to do.  DH's sister was a real help with that.  Once the majority was at a stopping point, Michelle opened up her gifts.  She was really blessed by people's thoughtfulness!  Thank-you all!!!  

It was a wonderful day and a wonderful party!  It was something we will remember for a long time.  Thank-you for helping us make such fantastic memories!