Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: Ted Dekker's Lost Books Series

As you can see from What I'm Reading in 2011 (see sidebar), I have been reading a whole lot of Dekker lately.  This post pertains to The Lost Books series.

If you like Dekker's Circle Series (and I loved them), then you will most likely be drawn to the Lost Books series.

The Lost Books series is geared towards a younger audience, but that doesn't make the nature of the story any less riveting than the Circle Series.  The characters are younger, and they intermingle with characters from the Circle Series(heavily) and other books by Dekker. So far, I have read Showdown from  the Paradise Series and some of the characters in that book pop in as well.  This gives the stories more depth as we learn about how the characters interact and what they are up to.

As with all of the Dekker books I have read, the Lost Books series explores the meaning of good and evil, what it is to struggle with one's own desires, and how we can triumph over these things with the help of God(Elyon).

I enjoyed the whole series overall, but I do have to say that the last two of the series, Lunatic and Elyon, are written in a slightly different style and with a character I really did not like (maybe that was the point).  I would venture to guess that this is because these are co-written with Kaci Hill, not written strictly by Dekker himself.  That said, I was still eager to read the characters through to the end of the books to see what was going to happen and how it was all going to end!

I would recommend these books to anyone who likes a good, clean, well-written story that will keep you thinking long after you have finished.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cheap Entertainment - Wood Engraving with a Magnifying Glass

Some days it's hard to get the kids to go outside. Today I found something that they were all (eventually) interested in trying, and they learned a little bit too!

I remember doing wood engraving with a magnifying glass when I was a kid. It took a little longer to do here than I remember, but then we are 6,683 feet further away from the sun.

All you need to engrave wood with a magnifying glass is a sunny day, a piece of wood, and, well, a magnifying glass.  A steady hand is a plus, too. Just focus the light "just so" and hold it until you see the thin trail of smoke. Then, slowly burn your design onto the wood. It's a little light-intense, so take little breaks to rest your eyes. Sunglasses might be a good idea.

We discussed a little bit about if you were stuck in the wilderness (or otherwise needed a fire and didn't have a lighter or matches), you could use a magnifying glass....or your glasses (though we didn't test that one out) to get a fire started.

This should be a supervised project with young kids - keep safe out there! And of course stress the importance of being careful and responsible with fire. 

It works to light smoke bombs, too. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Garden's Not Doin' So Good

We used new seed this year, so I know that is not the reason our rows of veggies aren't popping up and filling out and flourishing...

We did plant a month late, so the warmth of the days *might* be effecting germination.  I made sure to water, and it's rained off and on this past week...

But I have another theory as well.  My bean rows are rather sparse, and picked-upon.
Hubby was mowing and called me over to check something out in the grass.....I do believe that we may have found a Guilty Party:

Ok, maybe not these guys (aren't they cute?)(grumble-grumble), but definitely the parents.

And we also suspect the descendants of this guy (hubby has taken care of 5 in the last 2 weeks!):
Mr. Groundhog

*sigh* This may just be The Year of Slim-Pickin's....I'm going to go try to fill the gaps with more seed....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Main Garden is Planted (Finally)

With the wet spring, the broken tiller, and the unplanned trip to Colorado, our gardening plans have been delayed over a month. We usually aim to have everything in the week of Mother's Day.

Thankfully, the season here is long, and it's not too late!

We spent much of last Saturday prepping the garden and getting the rows/hills made.

Sunday, after Ivy's birthday party

we finished most of the planting in the main garden.

Rows left to right are:
1)Royal Burgundy Bush Beans and Beets, Cucumbers in the hills and Peppers/Basil and a volunteer Tomato(cherry?) and sunflowers
2) Royal Burgundy Bush beans/Bull's Blood Beets and Jacob's Cattle Bush Beans and Beets
3) Peppers/Basil and Forellenschluss Lettuce, Spinach and more lettuce
4) Hills of yellow squash and zucchini, Hills of Butternut Squash,
5-8) Randy's Corn
Box: Cosmos/Borage, far side of box is Dill, near side is Kale
9)Chard-the beautiful multi-colored variety
10) Okra and on the end is hills of Buttercup Squash

Here's the Okra pods saved from last year that I broke open and got the seeds out of to plant this year.

Rescued volunteer marigolds are scattered throughout the garden, and I do want to poke some nasturtium seeds around, and maybe some giant Sunflowers on the back side.

On Monday, I had the kids come out and help me water.

The groundhogs/deer/bunnies have already nipped off some of my peppers and basil. :(
But that "experimental plot" I just HAD to plant a few weeks ago is doing fine (though a bit weedy)! 

Hubby also managed to put a volunteer tomato and a volunteer butternut squash in experimental hanging "pots":

That's all for now!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Thoughts on Coming Home

My grandfather passed away on Sunday night, and as soon as I got the call, I packed like a mad woman and we left for the cross-country trip to Colorado the next morning. The house was left a mess, without my usual before-trip cleaning, with yard sale stuff still strewn about, the contents of the walk-in-size closet stacked on one side of the living room, and just general disarray that I normally try to clean up before leaving so I don't have to come home to it.

So, we came home to a messy house a week later. We were glad to be home after the 24 hour straight-thru drive. I am glad to be able to just BE, and be able to think and reminisce and privately mourn for my grandpa. For the loss of a whole generation on that side of the family. For the unwanted change that is destined to happen at Grandma and Grandpa's House. To only have the memory of that place and those people, and not being able to go back to the place like I have done my entire life.

I am not sure why, or how to explain it, but every time we come home from a Colorado road trip, home just does not feel the same. I feel stuck in some sort of "No Man's Land", neither here nor there, in disequilibrium. Slightly disoriented, and not wanting to have contact with the locals and life here for at least a few days.  Like an egg in a hen's nest, not quite ready to hatch, though it's in the nest alongside the other chicks who are already out there chirping and carrying on.

Part of me wants to hold onto that feeling, strange as it is. That feeling of not wanting to have left what is behind , not wanting to settle into home(quite yet), because that would mean letting go of the other place. Settle. Hmm.

Benjamin Button had this to say of coming home:  “It’s a funny thing about comin’ home. Looks the same, smells the same, feels the same. You’ll realize what’s changed is you.”

So maybe I have changed a bit.

In talking to relatives this last week, I caught myself, for the first time ever, calling Ohio "home". I surprised myself when I did that, because I'd always considered Colorado to be home.  I suppose I have settled (in more ways than one, for now) for Ohio...until or unless the perfect opportunity comes about.

Here's a couple Colorado pics in case you're interested:

Black Canyon

Who wants to leave this?