Dona Nobis Pacem

I'll come on sometime for words, but here are silly snapshots, at least. I spent a while loading them when I should have been doing lots of other things.

It feels wrong somehow to post frippery when a few friends who read this blog are in the midst of heartache.

Quickly, a simple request to continue in prayer for those affected by the flooding. I'm praying for you and your family, Elizabeth, during this uncertain time, and I trust God will sustain you as He brings you to what waits unseen.

Also, if you would, please pray for the grieving people of Unguja and Pemba. The horrific tragedy that occurred last Saturday lies heavy on many. S., I continue to pray for you and all those you love there.


I took these pictures on September 1st, which was the last time I picked up my camera, so this is as recent as I can give you. I have nothing for the last 2 and a half weeks-- not one drop.

My brother Pete, friend-in-law Sarah, and their boys were in town for Labor Day weekend, and we had them over for supper. As soon as I pulled out the camera, Simeon's eyes lit up and he began making silly faces. That boy is the cutest little ham I've ever met.

The reason I pulled out the camera is because the children were putting on a musical show that was just too good to miss.

Simeon forewent the instruments, instead using his considerable clowning powers to amuse the audience.

The aforementioned audience...

Pete and Sarah's youngest is a beauty. Little Henry Joy-joy.

The show lasted quite some time and underwent various permutations. Here, Haven recites a Robert Louis Stevenson poem while playing the violin (but Henry's expression is what distracted me). CHARGE!

He has a few drops of elfin blood, that one.

My girls aren't so elfish, but I like them heaps.


Debbie, that child-charmer, read poetry with Mildred, and everyone gathered round like flies.

Oops. Sorry. He kept distracting me.

I like this picture because of Haven's flip on the left.

Millie reading a R.L.S. poem. Aunt April, if you're reading this, that's the book you gave her as a baby and inscribed, "To Millie: future poetess." She treasures that book, so thank you!

I Guess We'll Keep Her

Luci proves herself handy during pickle-making season. After I set aside the cucumbers that are too long or too plump for pickles, I slice a few into spears, and she begins the arduous task of consuming.

Even though the labor is taxing, and the pay is slim, she perseveres.

She puts on a cheerful spirit and eats.

I recommend getting a Lucinda of your own. If my model is any indication of the line as a whole, you'll be mighty glad you did.

Destination: Here

A few weeks ago, we were honored by a visit from some college chums and their lovely daughter Lucy. I didn't take many pictures, but I couldn't resist some of Lucy. Fred and Elizabeth are good-looking, big-hearted, talented, artistic people, but they didn't tug the camera-strings as much as Lucy did. She is, without bias, one of the cutest children I've ever seen, with a personality to match.

Creamy skin, blue eyes, vibrant hair, and a sober stare that makes you wonder what thoughts she has locked inside.

I would steal her if I could, but Fred and Elizabeth would have none of it.

Elizabeth, as stylish and pretty as always, gives Lucy a swing on the "higher-higher." (That's what Lucy calls swings. See? Cute!)

Look at Lucy's hair! I just can't get over how beautiful it is.

Lastly, and not totally related to abnormally cute children, since Elizabeth lives with Celiac disease and can't have gluten, I made these gf cookies during her stay.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I'll post the recipe on buildabelly, because they're not something that any chocolate lover should live without.

Come again, chums! We love your good company (and the excuse to make these cookies!).


The bigger girls help me a lot. Sometimes, they even help with canning. Other times, however, while I'm elbow deep in canning jars and rings and lids and all manner of frustration, they save the day in a different way.

With roller skates made of legos.

And with giant googly eyes.

Wild Elderberry Use: A Pictorial Guide

First, track down some elderberry bushes (the ones growing wild in your yard should suffice).

Next, even though the berries can sometimes cause nausea if eaten raw, allow your "help" to eat as many as they'd like.

Place a guard on the accidental window to keep an eye out for berry pirates,

even if they spend most of that time admiring their lavender nail polish instead of pirate-watching.


Take pictures instead of picking berries.

After you finally put your nose to the grindstone and actually harvest the berries, pile them on your kitchen table. Admire them.

Here's the clincher. Now, remove every last berry off its tiny stem and place them in a large bowl, taking care not to include pieces of stem as they are slightly toxic.

Admire your fingers.

Admire the bowl of tiny jewels.

Thanks in large part to your "help," admire what is now the cleanest area of your kitchen floor. (It stayed that way for several more days, unfortunately. Why bother cleaning it when it's canning season?)

We harvested over ten quarts of berries and canned elderberry jelly, elderberry syrup, elderberry liqueur, and still had a gallon of elderberry pulp leftover. I froze it in smaller portions for winter muffins because it lends blackberry flavor and packs an antioxidant punch.

Hail, the Mighty Elderberry!

Death Comes

Even to cute kittens. Smoky had her babies prematurely a few weeks back. Five were born on a Saturday evening-- one stillborn-- and another was born the following day. Weird, I know. Over the course of the next week and a half, they died one by one, due both to their prematurity and due to Smoky's frustrating lack of maternal attention. She would wander off for an hour, a kitten would grow too cold and weak to nurse, and so on. (As sad as this was, I must admit relief for not having to find homes for them all. Hardhearted!)

I walked into the sunroom one morning to see Millie, our cat-lover, cupping the last two in her hands.

She wanted me to take this picture because they formed a heart.