Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Hodge Podge

I've been too busy to blog . . . so here are the highlights:

Allen is home from a six week visit to the US. He visited friends, spoke at churches, and loaded the annual shipping container in Maryland. We're glad to have him back!

Another bridge project is underway, so most of this past week Allen and some collection of the children have been out working on that. It's a fairly large bridge, so they'll be working on this one for a while.

We've been baking and decorating mountains of cookies to give away as personal gifts (not as gifts for all the pastors - that would take forever). We're almost done putting together the platters of cookies; I'm hopeful that the last ones will be delivered tomorrow.

Once the cookie baking and gift delivering is finished, we'll start in on the cooking and baking for the big Christmas Eve dinner being held at our house. We'll only have our family, Iris' family, and Rachel's boyfriend, but that's still a pretty big gang of folks to feed. We splurged on a big turkey - an expensive, imported item for us. We're all looking forward to the feast!

My garden is going like gangbusters. It's just a little, semi-experimental garden, since I'm such a novice gardener, but I now have lettuce, beets, carrots, cabbage, bush beans, peas, and garlic growing. The weather this December is much hotter and sunnier than last year, so I'm having to watch all these tender plants pretty closely. It's also the dry season, so I'm doing frequent waterings. So far, it's still fun.

This past week, Allen bought another cow. This one was pregnant. It's a kind of funny story. Allen went to see the cow late this past week. The owner of the cow and Allen dickered on the price, but were unable to come to an agreement. That night, someone set off fireworks right where the cow was and got her all upset, so that she was running all over her little yard in panic. The owner was terrified that something might happen to the cow, or the unborn calf, if he didn't sell her and get her out of the city right away. (At Christmas, firecrackers are pretty much a constant all over the cities of Honduras.) So, the owner called us and agreed to the highest price Allen had previously offered, and then we suddenly owned a very pregnant cow who had to be moved ASAP!

Yesterday morning Allen, Bethany and David drove to town and started walking the cow, very slowly, toward our property. They didn't make it. The cow was done, and wasn't willing to walk another step, when they happened to be at the property of a friend of ours. So the friend agreed to let us keep the cow there, and to keep the cow and calf (once it arrived) until we were ready to move them the rest of the way to our place.

This morning we got word that the cow's water had broken, and later that a local animal midwife had been called in, because the cow was having difficulty delivering her very large calf. But all came out well in the end - we have a new female calf, large and healthy! Pretty neat, huh? The next thing on my agenda is learning how to milk a cow, and starting to make cheese. I'm excited about the possibilities!

The container Allen loaded in Maryland is now in the port here in Honduras. It will be going through customs this week, and soon we should have it here. Please pray with us that we won't have problems as we get the container through customs and unloaded up here in Gracias. Once the contents are unloaded, we'll be busy busy busy putting together the gifts for the pastors and the orphanages.

That about covers the excitement at our house. Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Did you pray for us today?

I was just wondering, since it seems like someone might have been praying when Russell fell off the roof today, and only sustained a badly sprained ankle.

He was cementing down some clay roof tiles on our team house, when he slipped on some wet metal roofing (that's what's under the clay tiles) and discovered that there was nothing to grab onto, to keep himself from falling. At an estimate, he fell maybe 18 feet.

He drove himself back into Gracias, and then went to the hospital, where they did an X-ray and put on a cast. Apparently the damage is a very bad sprain, not a break, but it did involve some bone damage, and they want him in the cast for the next month.

So, if you pray for us (even if it wasn't today) . . . thanks!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sorry for the silence

I've had lots on my plate recently - fortunately nothing bad, just stuff that needed to get done, and I've not had much of interest to say here, or time to say it.

I do have an update on the IRS situation: we still haven't received the official notice that we won't be required to pay additional money. So, while this isn't exactly bad news, I don't yet have the "closure" I've been waiting for. You can keep right on praying about this - I certainly am!

I've started gardening, which has taken up some of my time, as well as that of the kids. I'll share some pictures soon . . . right now they'd mostly just be pictures of dirt, so not all that interesting. It's weird to be planting in November and December, but I've noticed that the neighbors have new gardens sprouting now too, so I'm certain that I'm on the right schedule!

So far I've planted lettuce (three varieties), spinach, carrots, beets, and garlic. The kids are preparing the new garden beds ahead of my planting, so I'm putting things into the soil gradually, as each bed is set to go. Soon I expect to put in beans and peas, tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers. Everything is an experiment for me, so I don't have a big overall plan, unless you consider "learn from my mistakes" to be a plan. ;-D

I've also been working on a newsletter, and trying to get lots of housework and schoolwork done before the big container shipment arrives. It's all keeping me busy.

Now, just to add a couple of pictures to this post, I thought I'd show you a couple of interesting bugs we've recently found:

The caterpillar above is about 3 inches long. The pictures don't do it justice - in real life those "branches" growing out of the caterpillar look exactly like a real plant. That's some impressive camouflage. It's pretty hardy, too - Boo keeps bringing it leaves and it's living in a container on the kitchen counter. I'm pretty sure a caterpillar this hardy must be something that will decimate the garden!

The cats were playing with this moth, before Rachel grabbed it for a picture. The red you see on one side is a small wing peaking out from under the larger wing. There's a matching red wing on the other side, but it's tucked up so you can't see much of it. The moth is on a 3 x 5 card, so you can judge the size.