Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Rain Chain!

Contrary to this summer's weather, it is usually quite rainy here in Washington...

We put a lot of importance on rain management...
AKA: gutters.
They're a necessary ugly.
So this summer, as I spruced up the back porch,
I decided to replace one of our more dispensable gutters with a rain chain.
I've seen many rain chains online and in stores for upwards of $100...
$100 to manage dripping rain? 
Seemed a bit steep to me!
So, as usual, I decided to make my own.
Here's what my gutter looked like before...
Isn't it lovely?  No?  
I agree.  Ugly...Dirty...Blech!
Here's what it looks like now...  
If you'd like to make your own, it's very, very easy.  
Here are the cliff notes...
What you'll need:
Vintage little tin jello molds (hole drilled into the bottom of each)
Strong, yet pliable wire (I had some electric fence wire, I have no idea why we possess electric fence clue whatsoever)
Chain  (I bought 5 1-foot lengths of chain - you may need more if your chain needs to be longer -from Home depot...the home depot guy was very kind to cut the lengths for me.  There is no way on earth I could have done that at home.)
Binder rings (yes, binder rings)
To attach the tart tins to the chain, I made connectors out of wire like this:
I put one binder ring through one loop and stuck the other side through the tart tin and attached another binder ring...attaching chain to the binder rings as well and closing them.  Voila.  Repeat the same thing using all of your chain and tins.  All of the tins should face the same way.  Here's a detail of how I did it...
Now to attach it to the gutter...
I took off the ugly gutter and used one of these, set into the gutter opening, to attach the chain so that it comes out of the top of the now open gutter.  Your gutter may be different than mine and you may need to buy a different piece to make it work...this cost about a buck at Home depot.  There are very elaborate and fancy "rain chain adaptors" that you could buy for MUCH more...but why would you do that?
I added some colorful glass crystals because I thought it needed a certain je ne sais quoi...and the crystals were exactly what it needed!
I made this chain yesterday and after weeks and weeks of sunshine (no complaints here!), it's raining today.  I'm happy to report:  The rain chain is doing it's job!  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Beautiful Dewdrops...

Lately I've been a little obsessed with water droplets.
It's been hot around here so water evaporates have to be up early to catch the dew!
That drop of water appears to encapsulate another world entirely!

The kale holds lots of little droplets...
It's amazing that they stay separate and don't run together...

My camera never quite knows where to many droplets!

They even cling to the edges of the leaves...

Blueberries with a mist of dew are gorgeous...and tasty!

The beauty of God's creation always amazes me...and then add a little!

Proverbs 3:19-20
By wisdom the Lord laid the earth's foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Aftermath...

We went to a wedding many years ago...the reception was at a place called "The Aftermath"...I loved that name...what a perfect description of what takes place after a holy ceremony where two lives are joined.
Aftermath: The result of an event or occurrence considered collectively.

The aftermath of my daughter's wedding this weekend was utter joy.
The ceremony honored God...the One who orchestrated their meeting and then their love.
There was so much fun and food and laughter and smiling...
The kind of smiling that makes your face ache...the kind of laughter that requires drink awareness to avoid spit takes...the kind of food that on a normal day you'd feel guilty about but the occasion absolutely requires its consumption, the kind of fun that is Youtube worthy!
But the joy...the joy was felt deep inside.
The kind of joy that comes from utter assurance.
I asked Jake how his feet felt the night before the big day...
"They're pretty, actually, they're very hot" was his response.
Christina's nervousness stemmed from the number of eyes that would be watching as they said their vows.  So many happy, tear-brimmed eyes...trained on her, in her sparkling gown...the center of attention...a place she typically avoids...
The promises they'd make were for our benefit...for God's eyes...there wasn't a doubt they'd made the promises to each other long before this day...

Stephen (our pastor) prayed with us before we all walked down the aisle...

And then she walked down the the hymn "Be Thou My Vision" on the arm of her misty dad... 
Let's just stop right here...
To hear that hymn while watching my daughter walk down the aisle was so bridal...the wedding march seems silly now... 
Then the question...Who gives this woman in marriage?
"Her mother and I do" was uttered and then her hand slipped away from her father's arm and into the hand of the one she loves deeply...
We give her away, to receive another son?
The whole giving to receive thing...
A God thing...
Let go to gain more...

It was easy to give her to him.
He's a good man.
Her grandpa said so when he read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
He told them both how much they were loved - by God and all of us - and then read this:
"Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor;
If either of them falls down
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."
Grandpas have a way of drawing tears out...
But they always seem to have hankies handy.

Their vows were said...
Their rings exchanged...

Then Stephen paused for a moment...
To put on a go pro camera...
Because everyone knows the pastor has the best view of the kiss!
And they must have practiced because it was a very good kiss!

And so their vows were sealed,
She was his.
He was hers.
Before God.
And a lot of precious witnesses.

And it was time to party.
We all danced our way back down the aisle...
And celebrated into the night.

Until it was time to say goodbye...

They drove off in a balloon-filled, streamer-covered car..."Just Married"...

I thought I'd feel a let-down after they left...when all of the fun was over.
But I didn't.
The aftermath of joy remained.
The kind of joy that comes from utter assurance...
That God has blessed this marriage...

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gladys is a rooster...?

Five of my old hens just left my coop for a "retirement home"...
It has a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
I appreciate that.
I picture them free-ranging in a meadow filled with leafy weeds, bugs and worms...
I have a good imagination...don't ruin it for me...
So that leaves me with three confused hens...
Two black australorpes named Aretha and named because they are very, very vocal...
And a barred rock named Flo.
The pecking order has been turned on its head.
Who's in charge here?
The first morning after the others' departure, there was some loud discussion in the coop.
A few odd low squawks caused me to run outside to see if a critter had managed to invade the coop.
No, just Gladys...being a louder version of herself.
The others answered with higher pitched cackles.
This went on for about an hour.
I wonder what they were saying...
Chickens are notoriously stupid...dumb...embarrassingly dense...
I know they weren't having an intelligent discussion.
On day two, I heard something very curious.
A very odd crowing.
It sounded like an orangoutang with emphysema coughing up a hairball....yes, exactly like that.
I looked outside.
There was Gladys...neck extended...
Pretending to be a rooster.
"Cough-a-crap-a-dohhhhhhhh" (very gravelly)
Does she really THINK she's a rooster or is she trying to fool the others?
Is THIS how she's going to gain her status at the top of the pecking order?
What must the others think?
Knowing hens, like I do, here's what they're thinking...
"Oh, Gladys is a rooster now, ok, we'll follow you."
Stupid hens.
She continued to crow for quite some time.
I was beginning to worry that the neighbors would think I added a rooster with a large frog in it's throat to the flock.
I had promised NOT to have a rooster...NOW WHAT?
What does one do when a hen decides to pretend to be a rooster?
Who will believe me if I tell them it's a hen?
Here's the worst part.
She's not laying.
In my coop you pull your weight or you're sent to "shady acres".
They all seemed to have forgotten that little detail.
It's quieter out there today...
One egg so far...
They must be adjusting to their new, smaller group.
I'll bet Gladys is in charge.
(I have to hand it to her...genius move...)
They all seem to be happy...henny (as opposed to roostery)...dumber than ever.
And all is right in the coop...