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Digging Clams

Four o’ clock in the morning comes awfully early.  Particularly after a late night, and a wakeful baby.  But it was worth it.

Clam digging

Our finest look for clam digging

A casual conversation started our adventure last week, when our friend Ruth mentioned her grandpa and her taking frequent trips to Long Beach to go razor clam digging.  Well, one thing led to another, and yesterday we loaded up the Suburban with boots, gear, snacks, and several friends.  The beginning of a great adventure.

We arrived at Grandpa’s Secret Spot just before low tide, the prime time for finding the biggest and the best, and started looking for tell-tale clam dimples in the sand.  The weather was excellent: overcast and barely sprinkling at all for the duration of our hunt.  There were other clammers along the beach, all seemingly successful with their full nets and happy smiles.

We found a great shop along the way, Jack’s Country Store, where we got poncho’s and chocolate milk (and could have scored just about anything else on the planet that we could dream up).  We also stopped in Astoria on the return home to fix our wipers that had stopped, succeeding for a whopping 15 minutes or so of driving afterward.

When we got home, several had early afternoon commitments, so the boys came over and went to cleaning clams.  Later in the eve, everyone re-grouped and arrived at our place for a good ol’ fashioned Clam Bake!  It was delicious!

cleaning clams

cleaning clams

We can’t stop talking about when we’ll go back for more!  This time with hip waders.  Or flippers.

More on pride.  I used to think I had it all together.  Things had to fall apart pretty big for me to realize that I don’t.  At all.  I’m thankful for a generous and forgiving God, who heaps blessings in the midst of us fumbling around in this life.

“I mourn to see people stumbling around trying to fix their lives, to find some kind of solution, some kind of book or therapy that will solve their problems, but who find no deliverance.  Instead of experiencing the grace of God, they experience the opposing hand of God because they are proud.”

“The first step to enjoying the blessings of humility is to stoop to serve even the unworthy “

Both John MacArthur quotes.  The second one makes sense, but seriously, who am I to decide who is “worthy” of my service?!  As if I’m somehow in a position of “better”.  Psht!  Kind of ridiculous.  The point, of course, is valid, tho’.  We don’t serve because we think we’re higher (in any way).  We serve because we love Jesus.  And because WE are (all) unworthy.

“The arrogance of your heart has deceived you. For if you think you are something when you are nothing, you have deceived yourself” (Jer 49:16, Gal 6:3)

Girlie Swap

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This is what happens when you leave housewives at home with their children: Shopping!

We had some girlfriends (and all of their sweet littles) over to our new house this afternoon to play, and to bring their unwanted clothes and accessories to swap out for new ones.  Typically known as a Naked Lady Party, we threw everything into the living room and started sifting through, trying on things, and sprucing up our wardrobes.  Best of all – it was all FREE!

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It’s always a surprise to me how many clothes I’ve accumulated.  I’m not even that into shopping & fashion…  or even a single style, for that matter!  Clothes to me are like moods; I don’t just stick to one.  And since I’m a such a tightwad I get most of mine second hand so it doesn’t hurt the pocketbook - but I can still have fun and be colorful and (too) abundant.  I got rid of so much today, too, which was awesome.  This kind of swapping beats all shopping ‘norms’ any day!  For one, this way gives everyone a chance to try on things they otherwise may never have.  I mean, why not?  One girl even went home with several items she (over and over) said she’d never otherwise have considered, but really liked a lot on.

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You can’t party without chocolate!

We snacked on all sorts of goodness: pineapple & strawberries, chocolate, short bread cookies with some of Blackbird Farm’s Cardamom Pear Butter, smoked salmon (thanks Swanson’s in Alaska!) cream cheese and rice crackers, fresh tomatoes…  Oo, and habanero stuffed green olives.  Mmm, mm!  I brought out some bottles of Ginger Lemonad Red Lavender Rooibos iced tea.  Lovely spread.

It turned out to be a really nice day outside, so the children ran about playing and adventuring.  It was lovely to have a full and open house!  I was meant to live like this (surrounded by community, not as a hermit).  I think we all were, really…

a treasure hunt

a treasure hunt

Our last Wednesday evening Bible Study (yeah, here I go again – I swear my blog has gone all religious, when I said it wouldn’t…  But hey, God is all up in my face these days, and I’m digging it) we studied a passage that revolved around PRIDE.*  Specifically, about a king who had everything, yet still assumed more in areas he had no right to, eventually leading to his demise and poor legacy at the end.  Lots of great discussion ensued, but I left pondering several things.  I can’t get it out of my head.

Does pride sneak up on us, or is it established over time? 

Am I surrounded by people who will keep me in check if I start to sway? 

Can one be blessed immeasurably with worldly things, and still be humble?  

Does having “it all” make one prideful?

Shouldn’t we always be reaching, working, pushing?  Does that contradict with contentedness (I don’t think so)?

I am in love with where we are right now.  In my old age (ha!), I am becoming more of a softie.  I tear up all the time.  Out of sheer and utter humility and thankfulness.  A hard (but fulfilling!) season has ended, a new begun.  One better than I could have ever planned.

Dreaming of autumn walnuts

Dreaming of autumn walnuts

I feel a little (a lot) guilty for having so many worldly comforts in this season.  Even more than comforts, so many extra things – like this beautiful place we live that met our silly wish list.  Like the Rubbermaids full of stuff in the basement.  The freezer full of food.  The ping pong table in the carport…  Animals to care for and love.  Flowers and pastures.

How could I ever be prideful or assume it was ME who put me right here?  

…Or should I be so sure that pride would pass me by?  

In our greatest blindness comes a fall.

And so I ask you all, as friends and readers, I beg you to, in the spirit of love, keep me in check if my posts or life reveal anything but humility.  I in no way take credit for who I am, or where I am today.  I do not believe I deserve my life – flaws and all.  Despite many challenges, I feel blessed beyond measure.  I don’t ever want to take it all for granted.

*we were in II Chronicles, and have been on a series of kings who “started strong” vs. who “finished strong”.  So often these kings’ lives ended in pride and ruin.  It seems the more people have, the more apt they are to fall.  The more people settle into easy, the less they have to conscientiously work and think about each step, giving time to become lazy and ungrateful.  What did Pastor Scott say?  “A humble man who has it all is more impressive than a lowly man who is content with nothing.”

Today is National Sibling Day.  True, every day is National Something-or-another Day, but this one was a great one, because I got to celebrate it with two of my siblings!

I so incredibly miss the ones I wasn’t with.  It’s been far too long since I got to hang out with them, and they’re gems to be treasured.  So this is for you, Charity, Robert, JR, Nicole, Marissa, Taylor, Emilee, Rachael, Bethanie, Tyler, Trevor, Toby, Tarence:

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I can’t wait to see you again!  I love you so much, no matter the distance.

Gender Confusion

Once again, we’ve been duped by our critters.  We have a long history of mistaking the gender of our animals.  Cats, mainly.  As if it isn’t obvious.  Sheesh.

Last fall we bought 3 heritage Pilgrim geese from our neighbor who went to great lengths to have a high quality, good bloodline brood.  They were all beautifully white with blue eyes; all boys.  Or so we thought.

Let me back up.

A couple of weeks ago we moved the few remaining chickens into the front hoop house in an effort to prepare for the move.  We took down the surrounding electro-netting and cleaned up all of the random stuff that had accumulated.  We unearthed wheel barrow loads of barn twine from it’s dairy days, 9 t-posts, a fence gate, and a whole slew of other things.  But our favorite treasure?  A nest of 3 goose eggs.

We were boggled at first.  I mean, we have 3 male geese.  And they’re a year old now.  Surely if they were our geese, we would have found eggs sooner.

I went in the house and researched.  Sure as day, only male Pilgrim geese are pure white, just like all of ours are.  The females are silver.

So we moved the geese in with the chickens into the cleaned-out hoop house, hoping the smaller space would give us more answers.  Sure enough, the next morning there was a fresh egg.  And the next morning.  And the next.  Now we’re getting them regularly.  It turns out, we have a rare albino heritage goose!

This afternoon we added 2 more silver females to our Pilgrim flock.  Tomorrow we’re picking up some boys for our new pond.

We had some friends over this afternoon over who ogled over the size of some of our goose eggs.  We sent them home with 2 “regular” ones, 1 ginormous one.  The latter turned out to be a double yolker!

The white egg on the counter is a "regular" sized goose egg!

The white egg on the counter is a “regular” sized goose egg!

Now listen, goose eggs are already huge.  They’re equivilant to 3 chicken eggs.  But man, two in this past week have easily been 4 – even 5 – chicken eggs.  We feel like we’re getting golden eggs!

Sojourners

I’m here overlooking Lake Chelan at the WSFB Joint Leaderships Conference with my awesome travelling nanny Clairissa and my sweet babe Flynn.  Papa Miller has spent the last two days at home with the 3 older kiddo’s working on projects around the house.  Scott’s hoping to really hammer out some work with him over the weekend.

We drove over to Chelan yesterday mid-day.  It was a fun-filled, girly-giggly drive with one of my best friends and favorite Clark County farmers, Anne Lawrence of Storytree Farm.  We have all been so busy, it was great to spend 6 hours catching up!

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When we got to Chelan, it was somewhat of a ghost town.  With it being “off season”, shops close early (if they’re open at all).  We were looking for some evening vittles, but just missed the close of the local pizza shop.  With a Safeway next door, we contemplated doing something in our (quite huge and kitchen-filled) resort room.  Just as we were about to walk away, the owner of Sojourners came out and talked to us.  With just a little bit of arm-bending, he invited us inside for a private dinner just for us four.  They spoiled us rotten after finding out we were farmers.  They are mom and pop restaurant committed to the highest quality, local food.  It was perfect.  And deeeelicious.  I’d recommend it.  In fact, I want to go back for a cuppa Stumptown before we jet!

Today we toured an apple packing cooperative, then went to the Ruby Theater and watched The Perpetual Farm, a 30 minute documentary on “sustainability” (the word), put together by a group of students from the Ag Forestry Program.  We then went on to Tunnel Hill Winery, where we got to enjoy some yummy cheeses!  Then back for a delicious dinner and entertainment.  I’ve taken fun pictures, but can’t post them from afar, so will later.

Tomorrow I get the opportunity to speak to the group about direct marketing, and the impact I personally see in our food shed.  I’m excited – it’s a topic I am very passionate about!  Looking forward to it!  Loving hanging out with all of these farmer folks!

Flynn is now sound asleep, and so should we be.  We have an early morning, so I’m off!

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