Saturday, July 31, 2010

Blueberry girls

Some of the blueberry girls resting in the shade after dinner at the blueberry farm.

We are the "blueberry girls." While Brian and Logan help with the blueberries too, most of the work is done by the ladies in our family. This year we make quite the team.

The other day I returned from the blueberry farm with the pick-up truck loaded with blueberries to be stored in our root cellar until market day. We transfer the berries in wooden carries that hold eight quarts of berries.

"Betsy, don't you do too much!" I called from the back of the truck where I was moving carriers to the tailgate. Then I noticed Lauren ready to lug a carrier down the root cellar steps. We sent her with the ice cream pail full of bad berries to dump in the chicken pen, since we didn't want her to hurt her back carrying blueberries.

About that time Julie commented that we blueberry girls made quite the team. Libby has bad knees; Julie has a healing pelvis; Betsy has healing kidney, liver and ribs; and Naomi has a pebble in her elbow that sometime causes her arm to swell and hurt.

We make quite the team of blueberry girls. We all have to work together because none of us could do the job alone.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thrift store

Lauren is a thrift store shopper. While my aunt was in town last week, we girls descended upon the local Salvation Army Thrift Store and asked our sister-in-law-to-be to join us. Lauren is a serious shopper. She hauls piles of clothes from the racks to the dressing room and sorts through the pile, discarding most of the items. The outing was a success and we left the store with bags of skirts, jumpers and shirts.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sneak peek

I am still sorting and editing photos, but this is one of my favorites so far from the engagement pictures that I shot for Aaron and Lauren Sunday evening.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Bishop John Zuck officiating in the installation of Jimmy Lang as pastor of the Bethel Brethren in Christ Church.

Our Promise
Bishop: Will you encourage your pastor and wife always by displaying loving support, understanding forgiveness, and by following their leadership as they follow Christ?

Congregation: We will.

Pastor's Promise
Bishop: Jimmy, as you are installed as pastor of the Bethel Congregation, do you promise that if you are wronged, you will forgive as you expect to be forgiven, to seek always to keep yourself spiritually sensitive, mentally alert, emotionally strong, and physically fit? Do you promise, as much as lies within you, to be at peace with all, and to lead this congregation in the way of Christ as the Holy Spirit grants to you wisdom and power?

Jimmy: I do, with God's help.

Bishop Zuck, Deacon Forsee and Sister Byler pray over our new pastor and wife.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever.
Isaiah 40:8 NIV

Saturday, July 24, 2010


(a few more photos from July 4th weekend)

Friday, July 23, 2010


After helping a group of you-pick customers find buckets and belts, I explained where to pick and added, "Feel free to pick while you eat...I mean eat while you pick."

Eating blueberries is the best part of picking them. While blueberries are best when they are fresh out of the field, they are also delectable featured in muffins, cobblers, pies and other dishes. During blueberry season we experiment with new recipes. Each week at market we pass out our "Recipe of the week." This week's recipe was a little unusual--blueberry salsa. It is tangy, sweet and absolutely delicious.

Blueberry Salsa
1 quart blueberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 large, sweet onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
juice of one lemon
handful of parsley, chopped
handful of cilantro, chopped
dash of garlic salt

Combine all ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips. Refrigerate leftovers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Color of the day

...of the week, of the month, of the season.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Berry sorting

Sorting berries is no one's favorite tasks, but it is necessary before the berries are ready for market. Somehow sticks, stems, leaves, and unripe or squishy berries make it into the pails and have to be removed when the berries are transferred to quart containers.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Aaron and Lauren

My brother and my soon-to-be-sister-in-law hold hands Sunday afternoon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Market baking

A week ago Governor Granholm signed a law that allowed Julie to sell blueberry muffins at the farmers' market. Previously, baked goods sold at markets had to have been prepared in a certified and inspected commercial kitchen. On July 12 the Cottage Food law made it legal to sell homemade baked goods directly to consumers. So last week for the first time, Julie mixed a batch of muffins and Mom rolled out pies in preparation for the small town farmers' market near us.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


God is the perfect poet.
Robert Browning

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blueberry beginning

Monday we opened the Berry Barn for you-pick customers and attended our first farmers' market of the season. Since then hundreds of pounds of blueberries have been harvested from the bushes. For this early in the season the berries are the largest, sweetest and most plentiful I remember in the five years that we have run the farm.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moving day

Bethany unpacks a box of dishes while my mom and sisters help Carmen organize the kitchen.

One moving truck, two cars, three adults, three children, a cat and a St. Bernard dog journeyed from southern Michigan to our church parsonage on Tuesday. After serving for seven years at Raisin Center Friends Church, my cousin's husband, Jim Lang, agreed to pastor our church. My cousin's three girls were thrilled about the move, though two youngest thought they were moving to our house. Sadly, Twila, the cat failed to share their enthusiasm, and promptly ran away.

After a day of moving, Abigail fell asleep on our livingroom floor.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cabin building

The pioneers felled trees and constructed log cabins using only an axes and their muscles.

My brothers use tractors and chains saws.

One of my brothers' "just for fun" projects is a log cabin. They started it several years ago. Since Aaron works for a tree service he has access to logs. As the sun was setting one evening during our "vacation" last week, Aaron, equipped with chain saw and tractor, added another layer to the wall.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Two years

The scene of the accident and the stop sign that Renee Bartlett ran in January. After the sentencing our family stopped at the scene and examined the site. Our new van is parked in the gravel lot where our previous van landed.

Monday, June 28 Renee Bartlett was sentenced to spend two years in prison.

Our family was given the opportunity to attend the sentencing of the woman who caused the accident last January that seriously injured three of my siblings. Several of us drove to the Isabella County Courthouse for the event.

The case was handled by the Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney on behalf of the People of the State of Michigan. Renee Bartlett was convicted, as a habitual offender, of reckless driving, and driving with a suspended, revoked, denied license causing serious injury.

After Renee Bartlett and her attorney spoke, the judge offered our family, as the victims, the opportunity to speak. Dad spoke. He acknowledged that God allows people and events in our lives for His purpose. He added that we hope Renee receives the help that she needs, and that our family has prayed for her and will continue to pray for her.

Then the Prosecuting Attorney shared his thoughts, and the judge pronounced the sentenced. A minimum of two years in prison. With that the woman, who walked (actually limped, because she too was seriously injured) into the courtroom a free woman accompanied by her husband, was escorted from the room by the bailiff as a prisoner.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Teach me

that if I do not live a life that satisfies thee,
I shall not live a life that will satisfy myself.
from "Happiness" The Valley of Vision

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Love is...

...sharing the ice cream paddle.
Bruce and Rhoda, my sister-in-law Judith's parents, lick the ice cream paddle after we cranked ice cream in celebration of Kaelyn's second birthday.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Uncle Logan

Kaelyn has lots of names to learn. She has eight aunts and five uncles. While she was visiting over the fourth of July weekend, she had opportunity to practice those aunt and uncle names. One name she had no problem remembering was Uncle Logan. Her fourteen-year-old uncle was ever ready to show her animals, chase her across the lawn, push her on the swings or otherwise entertain her.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Aaron and Lauren

Aaron is going crazy. Since he began courting, he walks around the farm talking to himself. So it appears until we notice his earbud blinking and realize he's talking on the cell phone to his girlfriend.

Aaron and Julie are setting records for cell phone usage. They talk for hours to their respective friends. Hours and hours on the phone. Recently I overhead half of a conversation about color coding towels. Another day it was mosquito bites.

That inspired me to compile a list of possible topics to ensure my siblings will have hours of stimulating conversation.

  • preferred toilet paper ply
  • favorite tic tac color
  • inny/outie belly button
  • smell of McDonald's bathroom soap
  • electric verse gas string trimmers
  • how to fold fitted sheets
  • prevention of gingivitis in third world countries
  • versions of the food pyramid
  • the difference between pink and salmon
  • fiber in cereal marketed for children

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


We picked a few handfuls of berries yesterday. By next week there should be enough blueberries on the bushes to open the farm for you-pick customers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


...known as "my Brother Brian" by my cousin's three-year-old daughter.

Monday, July 5, 2010


Three-month-old Janessa sleeping on Aunt Amy's lap.
Photo credit: Naomi Cook

Kaelyn and Aunt Amy roasting a "doggie." Photo credit: Judith Cook

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Whether you turn to the right or to the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you,
saying, "This it the way; walk in it."
Isaiah 30:21 NIV

Saturday, July 3, 2010