The Cairn Challenge

Last week when it was a little more sunny, but still not very warm, we looked at the forecast and hurried to get seeds in the ground.

In the middle of the planting fun, there went out a decree that all the rocks should be picked. This is not an uncommon springtime activity, but our one rental field runs beside a little river and has thousands of river rocks which is a fairly daunting task when one is picking rocks alone.

So the troops were rallied. Mr Good, Em, a trusty John Deere tractor and I set out to take the rocks by storm.

In the middle of our rock picking marathon, Mr Good and the tractor got summoned to load a seed truck, so Em and I were left to entertain ourselves until they returned.

We systematically moved across the field creating piles of rocks to be thrown into the bucket and hauled to the edge of the field once we were full staffed again.

I went one way and Em went another. And suddenly appeared a tower on the horizon.

Em was at work. (Photo credit to her for a number of these pics)

I didn’t feel threatened by her Leaning Tower of Pisa, but soon I found a legit beam in my rock gathering and immediately the perfect photo opportunity idea starting growing in my mind.

But since everything turns into a competition…

Em came over to look at my work and as luck would have it, my artwork collapsed as she arrived and she has multiple videos of a somewhat harried KH frantically attempting to prop up her rock tower.

Em said mine ended up more of a rock pile instead of a rock stack. But I didn’t agree to any rules at the beginning of this contest, so I wasn’t actually disqualified. And I got my pic:

Within minutes, the tractor was back from its seed run and Em ceremoniously drove over my little construction site. And we both laughed at how much fun grown women can having stacking rocks. I guess it’s up to you to judge who won, because I can’t give an unbiased opinion here.

Our rock stacks brought back to mind the rocks I’ve seen along trails, and roads, and just all over the place whenever I travel. So I looked it up and this is what google informed me:

Stacked rocks, more commonly known as Cairns, placed along the trail signify that you are on the right track. It is a marker guiding you to the correct path or trail in cases where navigation becomes difficult and the trail may be easily lost.

There are people in my life who are legit “cairns” who carefully, boldly place the stones from their story to erect a skyscraper to remind me that I’m on the right trail.

“I was there, but for grace, I’m here… carry on” they call out encouragingly.

I hope I’m faithful to use the rocks in my life to testify. If the lessons that life is teaching me can encourage others to stay focused on the right trail, there’s so much to be gained by being willing to share.

Thank you, Jesus, for grace.


Bonus Pics:

Me: it’s almost like there’s the outline of fingers in the clouds this morn
My dad: maybe Gods reminding us He has us in the palm of His Hand

First official grill out was a success and Deb even grabbed a pic to prove it.

And us, every time our fam gets together… thanks Ben for the photo 😂

A Woman of Noble Character, 2020 Edition; Proverbs 31

10Who can find a virtuous and capable woman in a pandemic? She is more precious than gold.

11Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.

12She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life.

13She finds her children’s school assignments and carefully reviews it with them.

14She is like a merchant’s ship, ordering her supplies from afar. (Thanks Amazon Prime) she fears no food shortage, her pantry is full.

15She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household and plan the day’s activities for her family.

16She’s does careful research before investing in the stock market, with her earnings she plants a garden.

17She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.

18She’s not afraid to purchase large quantities of chicken offered by local poultry growers; her lamp burns late into the night. No one goes hungry on her watch

19Her hands are busy with quarantine projects, her fingers aren’t afraid to try something new. (Like learning a new crochet pattern)

20She extends a helping hand to the poor at the food pantry; notices and befriends the one who needs encouragement; and opens her arms to make masks for the needy.

21She has no fear of the May winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes;the most vulnerable plants in her garden are covered; and she trusts in God to protect the rest.

22She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns although all social events are canceled.

23Her husband is well known in the town, even when social distancing keeps him away.

24 She keeps an eye on Facebook Marketplace when the options for thrifting and yardsaling for her children’s clothes aren’t possible this year. She makes belted linen garments and sashes for her family, they dress well.

25She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she shrugs at the conspiracy theories around her; laughs without fear of the future.

26When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. Her life is full of peace.

27She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.

28Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:

29“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

30Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the LORD will be greatly praised.

31Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to the numerous ladies who’ve blessed my life, but especially my darling Mother- I’m so thankful for you ❤️

Student Ray and Career Day

Years ago, Mother gifted one of my sisters with a Fisher-Price barn set. Lancaster Co didn’t have anything on us after that- as we created the most pristine farm scenes on the kitchen floor. Our animals were well fed with Cheerios or whatever cereal mother had on hand.. We were the best farmers around.

The farm set doesn’t get quite as much use these days- our little visitors don’t hesitate to get the animals out and set up shop whenever they get a chance, and I’ve been know to get it out occasionally

That accident-prone Farmer Stan was one good reason. (More about that book here) My sisters were pretty sure that the tractor rollover and ambulance scene in this one would traumatize children. But I don’t think we realized how tough children are. I’ve even enjoyed watching my cousin and his adorable daughter in his living room acting out Farm Stan’s ambulance ride to the hospital 😂 I sure hated to tell my fam about that video 😉😂

Round 2 happened when Farmer Stan waded into an equipment war via poetry and tried to decide which brand of equipment was best. That post is here.

And so Farmer Stan is well established. But it so happens that I have an adorable nephew named Isaiah Stan AND an adorable nephew named Uriah Ray. See my predicament?

Enter my bargain shark sister Julia who discovered an entire Fisher-Price gold mine in the Bargain Buys in the newspaper and proceeded to buy herself multiple sets as well as a different one for each of her sisters. And my need to “even the score on the book” detail.

The stage is set to introduce to you: Student Ray.

Student Ray is a schoolboy with an assignment to select a profession for Dress Up/ Career Day. He interviews everybody and their brother to get a variety of ideas for job opportunities.

Aunt Em has advice…

And Grandfather has advice…

Aunt Deb even speaks in Spanish… (and yes I did actually drag these toys the entire way to Nicaragua for this pic 🙈)

He gets the plus side on custom harvesting, roofing, becoming a pilot, and a number of other jobs.

But in the end Mama sings him a little song ( found here ) which may or may not have been the foundation for this entire book 😉

I won’t ruin the punch line by telling you who Reader Ray decides to be. But Em declares the ending “cheesy” 😂 and it is.

But the truth is- no matter what life brings to my little men- I pray that they chose to be what this world needs most- another godly man ❤️

Luv you buddies,

Aunt Ken

Bonus Pics:

I had so much help with this project. Occasionally more help than I wished for:

And Jul insisted that I include her sneaky photography too… so this is her addition to my project 😝

And on a completely unrelated note- we enjoyed our first radishes from the garden. I get all starry-eyed over that initial toast, butter, radishes, salt and pepper sandwiches 😍

My mom: I never could grow decent radishes until I learned about German Radishes. These came from Berlin.

My dad crunching away in his sandwich: East Berlin or West Berlin?

My mom looking confused: Ohio! Berlin Seeds 🤷🏻‍♀️

Us: Ooooooh

So much for German Cuisine 😂

And finally I made the picture perfect s’more the other eve… Expectation:

vs Reality 😩 Dumb dog rocketed in out of nowhere🤷🏻‍♀️