I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here

Rainy Day Cider Making -while we wait…

We were able to pick about 3/4 of a bushel of apples from our trees today.  A very small harvest this year, but we mixed it with a couple of varieties we picked from a local orchard last week and were able to press almost a gallon of cider tonight.  Apple leather (like a fruit roll up) is drying in the dehydrator, Kevin and ~C made apple cake this afternoon, and now we have fresh pressed cider.  I think we made the most of this rainy day while waiting for our 7th baby boy to arrive.  Here are some photos and a short video of the cider making.  We decided to bring the cider press into the kitchen as it was dark outside by the time we were ready to get going.

Home Made Cider Press

The boys watch while Kevin presses the apple mush (ground up apples) in our home made cider press.

Cider Being Pressed

~O watching the fresh cider come out.

Fress Apple Cider


We ended up using 5 different varieties to make our cider. It was tart and tasty.

Apple Mush

~O and ~C feeling the dry “cake” left over from pressing the apple mush or ground up apples. This will be good to feed to the chickens.

Today is this little baby’s due date, glad to have some fun distractions as we await his arrival.  The boys are getting excited for winter, using the wood stove again, snow, etc.  While their excitement can be overwhelming at times, it can also happily, to this very pregnant mama, be contagious…



When life threatens your Peace and voles steal your Joy.

I planned my flower garden a few months ago.  I was so excited for the flowers I chose from the little garden shop up the road, different colors and varieties from what I had ever had before.  Kevin graciously planted them for me as my pregnant old self was not feeling up to it.  It was beautiful and I could just imagine how it would look in August when all the plants truly came into themselves.  Every time I left or came home or even just rested on our front porch I would be able to look over and enjoy all the loveliness and all would be right with the world.

I went to bed that night content.

The next day I noticed a few of the flowers looked a little less full and saw a couple of blossoms had actually broken off.  I investigated a little and after calling together the boys and asking them if any of them did it (they were convincing in their denials) I noticed some snap dragon flowers tucked into the crevices of the stone garden wall.  Hmmm.  I had seen that we had a vole living under the porch as it would duck in and out occassionaly, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it would like flowers.

Well little by little 3 varieties of flowers in the same way lost their blooms.  I had chosen three types that the thief did not apparently like, two purple ground covers which thrived and a type of white zinnia that managed to eek along either not enjoying our soil, it’s daily amount of light, or something else.  So the garden wasn’t quite what I expected, but I lived with it and enjoyed the flowers that managed to succeed.

I had mentioned to Kevin later in the summer possibly getting more flowers to renew the space, perhaps some cold hardy varieties that would last through the end of summer and fall, but I hadn’t done it.

About a week and a half ago, when I was feeling a bit down Kevin came back from the store with 6 pots of flowers.  There were marigolds, yellow mums, and purple mums.  They were the perfect colors to revive my garden and I felt loved and appreciated and thought of by the gift of them.  Kevin immediately got to work and planted each in the spots I directed.  The garden again looked beautiful and I could imagine fall with color and beauty.

It started the next day with a couple of the yellow mums stems broken…  That same day I noticed the broken stems, I spied a brazen vole skitter up to one of the mums, sniff it and run away.  After I had regained my composure I decided to take the “clippings” and use the closely cropped blooms to place at the foot of the statue of St. Mary in our kitchen.

It was a tangible way to show love for this woman living eternally who listened and responded so openly to God during the time she called earth her home.  Putting flowers at her feet is a way to honor her like I would my own mother, an acknowledgement and appreciation for someone who inspires me, knows me well, and wants the best for me.  It made me feel a little better.

About a week later we were heading out the door to church.  The whole crew was in the car, everyone but me.  As I headed out of the house and walked past the garden I peeked in.  The destruction was complete,  the vole had taken all but a couple of blooms from the new flowers and every last one of the purple mums which had been my favorite of the recent bunch.

My face contorted and I stifled a cry.  It all felt so cruel.

I had been struggling the last few weeks with feeling hopeless, overwhelmed, and exhausted.  Each day a chore to get through, my spirit was fragile.  The garden stood as a reminder of the peace and joy that was eluding me.

However as I finished walking down our path to the car and my family it was like a light had slowly turned on.

I couldn’t give Mary any more of those flowers as the vole had taken them, but I still had something to give, my persistence.  I can live without the flowers (yes, I thought earlier about an untimely end for the voles, but somehow it didn’t feel right).  The destruction in my garden had managed to renew me and remind me to persistently turn to God, even when it didn’t feel good.

What does that mean?  For me it means taking time each day when my littlest ones are napping and the big kids are outside for the afternoon, to read what He/God has to say, and listen in my heart to what that means in my life. To take time for silence because it is only in silence that I can hear His whispers.  It means to let Him take my worries, my anxiety, my exhaustion, and stop giving the world a lift on my shoulders.  It means making the effort to eat better and get more sunshine.  It also means to take pockets of empty time to pray for other people, family, friends, and those I don’t know and to reach out in concrete ways to lots of different people.  Looking outside yourself when you are feeling low can be so healing.

I’ve been feeling better and am now kind of proud of my garden with its’ lack of blossoms and rickety zinnias, and persistent purple ground covers.  It is not for its’ outward beauty, but because my garden is now a living reminder that the voles can certainly lay claim to my flowers, but with Him by my side they cannot take my joy.

Love to y’all.



An Ant in the Garden.

I’ve been a bit grumpy, tired, blob like, and out of necessity pared down and focused. You are likely to find me laying on the floor while our youngest Mr. ~G (17 months) does his little pivot butt motion that he has discovered gets him quickly wherever he wants or he may be using hisContinue Reading

Bosom Buddies…

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Snips and Snails and Puppy Dogs Tails…

The ultrasound today confirmed it, another Laverty BOY will be coming our way this fall. In honor of all the boy boy boy oh boy boy boy boy of our household, this is what went on when we got home from picking up my oldest from track practice this afternoon: and this is what 12Continue Reading

Fresh eggs and wild violets

The babies are asleep and I have a few precious moments of peace.  I wanted to share with you a simple moment I just had.  These little bits of time nourish me for when all the busy busy inevitably starts back up. I was sitting on the back deck reading and remembered the eggs hadn’tContinue Reading

Easter Reflection – A Borrowed Heart

As I said in my previous post, it has been a challenging Lent on many fronts (in the grand scheme of things all little stuff, but challenging none the less).  Last night I attended Easter Vigil for the first time with my 10 yr. old son ~K.  He really wanted to go, it was aContinue Reading

Forecast – Sunny Weather.

I have struggled this Lent.  Not the least being an extra heaping of exhaustion plus all the taxing accompaniments being pregnant with our 7th child brings. Like for most of us this has been quite a winter weather wise, so the mild days this past weekend and near 80 degrees on Monday with the grassContinue Reading

Waiting on Spring.

  As beautiful as today is I am just aching for spring to make it to Vermont.  Clouds thick as the snow on the ground and bright blue skies. ——————————————- Our sap buckets and other riff raff are just hanging out with trees untapped.  Hopefully sometime this week we’ll put them to their use asContinue Reading

Well Loved…

Today is World Down Syndrome Day.  This post is for my 13 month old son Gus who was born with an extra copy of his 21st chromosome and has Down syndrome. Gus you are so loved by your brothers, your Dad, and me.   You have special moments with each one of us, like when yourContinue Reading

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