Saturday, January 31, 2009

Canning Jar Washin' Day -

Hello, All!
I have a fun, hard-workin' event to share with ya'll! Well, I'll share the pictures and memories, not the fun work of the event, since 'tis past. This past Monday, I was invited over to the Stones house, to help them wash a whole trailer load of canning jars! I eagerly accepted, because it promised to be hard work with friends, a whole long day of being in the sun, and going back some odd 80 to 100 years in our way of a'cleanin' up the glass jars. That I surely love, and so I went on over a little before 9am, and we spent 9 to 9:30 holding an adorable little baby boy goat who was all of two days old then. Little Don Juan, no pictures of him on here...but I am bound to tell ya'll that as a precursor - the Stones will be doing a post on the little dude over at their blog soon! So, be looking for that at The Redeemer Liveth! :D

From 9:30 to 10, Anna and I built ourselves a fire pit out of the ashes, and circled it with some cement bricks, and laid a square of cattle wire fence atop that, and then a galvanized cattle tub, which we filled with water from the hose. Then we assembled everything, and from 10:30am to 2:30pm (with only one break), we washed about ___(to be disclosed amount later in the post) dozen glass canning jars that were very dusty, dirty, and filled with various dead things: lizard, salamander, silverfish, roaches, disintegrating critters. Yay. Haha.

We worked out a dis-assembly line of sorts of Olivia, Anna and myself. :) Poor Emmy was not feeling well, the invalid joined us later to watch us from her sunny mound of blankets and pillows. :D Olivia carted the boxes of jars from the trailer, and took the lids off the jars, throwing them in another cart, and would put them in the utility sink that we had hot water and soap in, and Anna would wash the jars till they were sparkly clean, and set them on a table, where I would take four in one hand, and rinse them off with the hose, then carry them over to our clean sheets laid upon the grass, and set them down to dry off. I also kept the fire at a steady, even, ember hot pace to heat up the water, which was steamy, so, just close to simmering. Anna would also take water in a pitcher from the tub, and heat her sink water up, then fill the tub up more with the hose. The water got quite hot, so it only took a pitcher or two to heat up the sink. :D At any rate....we got the jars clean and in orderly rows, and only ended up with some sunburn, aching backs, water-withered hands, a few cuts(me, from breaking sticks up for the fire), one splinter(more on that later) and hot backs from them facing the fire. On the other side of it....I thoroughly enjoyed being so old-fashionedly productive. We laughed, sang, listened to Brian Regan, the whole book of Ester, and good-naturedly complained our woes that we inflicted upon ourselves by doing the job. :D Hahahaha.

'Twas a great time, and we wish ya' could've joined us. And just to wow you all with our amazing work, and hard work ethic - I give you the sum of the jars that we washed! Some pint jars, some quart, some in between, we washed 360 jars which equals 30 dozen canning jars!!! Wow. And now some pictures to visualize it for you all. The thing is...we have no pictures of ourselves hard at work, because we were....hard at work. :D Olivia has some, I believe, but my hands were either sooty, soapy, or both, so holding my camera was out of the question. These are all after we were done. So! The Canning Jar Washin' pics -

Olivia generally giving the whole company's expression of disbelief that we actually made it through all that work. I still am quite amazed myself. On the left, Anna scrubbin' the tub, and on the right, the trailer full of the empty boxes.

Our fire pit....well, our pit was in the center of those blocks in the middle, we had just banked it, so you canna' see what we did...but you get the gist of it. Twas lovely.

Our dirty water...we did dump it in the middle of the washing sessions once. :D The sink where we washed all those jars...for those of you who are wondering - they purchased new lids for canning, so that they didn't have to use the rusted ones.

Olivia throwing the empty boxes back into the trailer.

Anna washin' and scrubbin' up the tub, it was covered in soot and smoke. I love this picture of her, so not posed, and you can see the water spray coming off the side to the left! Ha! Neat!
And now! Drumroll please - The Jars!!! Ta - Daa!!! I know. Lots. We were proud.
Lined up to dry...we even had them sorted by size!

And whilst Anna finished up the tub, Olivia and I took pictures of the lovely jars, nearly dried after being in the hot 80 degree sun for a couple hours.
The very dry and dead grass of winter. Another very good reason to have the hose out by our fire pit. :D We had a hot fire going, and were surrounded only by dead grass. Didna' want to have too much fire. :) HAhaha. Fi-YAH! Oh, sorry.....
My favorite picture of the whole, blessed, entire day. And maybe even the month. Yes, those are Golden Harvest Mason Jars.
Ball Mason Jars -
And yet, more jars....these are quarts, I couldn't carry four of these in one hand, I know you needed to know that. I could only carry three.
It's amazing how a different angle, different color sheet, and sunlight will change a picture.
Oh, and yes, for most of these, I was laying down in the grass. Hey, what's dead, sharp, prickly grass on ya' after you are sooty, smoky, dirty, and wet?'s not anything then.
Boy, did they shine and shimmer in the hot sun!
A focus on the jars with Anna in the background....(I love the sheet turned up on the bottom)

And then a focus on Anna with the jars in blur. I love that smile.

Olivia spending her time taking pictures, as well. And playing with her little kitty.
Lid and ring evidence of how many jars we washed.
Some crisp, dry grass in the cart.
A rusty lid separated from it's rusty companions.
Olivia's lens...I really like this shot. Anyone want to guess what she is shooting in the lens?
Some dead grass clinging to a screw on the underside of the cart.
Where Olivia's little kitty - Dandelion was watching me with supreme attack interests in mind. Soon after I took this picture, she scooted underneath a bench to get away from me. This is my second favorite shot of the day. :D (btw, she is looking at me through the cart wheel spokes)
I followed her over to the bench, and became chew toy material. Quite willingly, actually, because it didn't hurt, but then was instructed to not let her do that. My talking went something like this - "HahaHA! She's biting my finger, awww,look!...ahhaha...owie, hahaha, OWIE! Careful, Dandelion!...What? Oh. Really. Sorry....ok....bad, Dandelion, bad....NO! BAD! STOP!" I decided to let Olivia correct her instead. :D
I went to visit the goats -
In which they thought that my camera was some sort of food, and wanted to get as close as possible to taste it.
And cut off their oxygen supply just to get closer to the little zoomy thing connected to my face.
But to no avail, they were not able to touch it. Due to my protectiveness....when I left, their sad and not-bemused baas followed me all the way back to the fire pit. :D Heeehee.
Some oranges clinging to dying leaves...this is what the goaties really wanted. :)
Sweet Anna's head. She had straw in her hair, which I thought was so I took a picture, of course!
And we decided that if they make all those expensive volcanic ash soaps and scrubs, then we should get some benefit by walking around in it for hours, and running it through our hands. :D I got some neat shots of it...'twas Anna's idea. These are her hands.
Oooooh....ack! Thhwbbtt! Dusty!!!
We had lots of ash. :)
Anna tending the fire with the pitchfork. My head shadow is on her head....haha. Strange.
The propane torch = our fire lighter.
In which Anna turned into a pyromaniac and decided to wreak revenge upon the boxes that gave us all those jars. Burn, baby, burn....BURN! Heh, heh, heh.
A very contented Mr. Bingley on the boardwalk.

Stretching out appealingly for some scratchy tummy time. Gotta' love those eyes.
And - we come back to our only major injury of the day. Olivia's scream sent us all flying for the back porch, where we were relieved that the splinter did not go up and IN, but in and OVER. Olivia skimmed her food into a sharp splinter that she so bravely dug out with a hook and tweezers. I'm so proud of you for doing it, Livvy! It was long, but she got it out! It had her on crutches for the rest of the day, though. :(
And a shot when I got home - here is a very tired, cold, sooty, soapy, dirty, and happy little girl that had a great day with some of her best friends. :D The reason I was cold is that we um....went swimming. I know. In January. It had froze two nights the week before, rained a couple days before, and was in the 50's at night. We were so hot at 12, that we wanted to swim...but at 4pm, it was basically a 50 degree mountain stream kind of cold. So shockingly cold that you would get out and jump in, and your eyes would go huge, you would start to shiver, and the only way to get warm would be to move around. Really cold. No joke. wouldn't really know unless you put your hand in a cup of ice water, and thought of yourself in a bathing suit, then - you get the picture. Olivia got in up to her waist, and Anna and I all the way because I pulled Anna in, and then...this was SO funny... Anna was walking the rim of the above ground pool, with a bucket, trying to soak me for splashing her, and she lost her balance and fell in! Her expression was way beyond hysterical...she was stunned with the cold, and clambered out as quickly as possible! It was great...I think laughing warmed me up for like 25 seconds. Then we got out.

All in all - I am so grateful that the Stones allowed me a day over at their place! Thanks for the food, laughter, Reeses pieces, swimming, goat following, wellie-wearing, SBFSB watching, popcorn-eating, singing, trampoline jumping, fire stoking, jar-washin', friend huggin', basically having fun-all-around-day! Oh, and dish-washing with a best friend who was concerned about my headache...which actually, was the only down part of the day, other than Olivia's injury. And that was over by the next morning. :D

Stone family, I love you all so, SO much, and thanks for the invite to be old-fashioned! YAY for us! God bless.

Hey, all blog readers - ya'll take care, and be family - come 'round to the blog often!

Grateful for a glorious Savior,
~ Jean Marie

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Last night my mom and I were driving home from running errands around town, and um....I did not tell her that the faster she drives, the more light I could have for pictures of the sunset, because I am not the kind of person that likes to speed or be illegal. I totally did not say that. So, anyway, since I did not say that, it is irrelevant, and here are pictures of the sunset last night. It was so beautiful, I don't think my pictures do it justice, but I tried.

May you all have a blessed Lord's Day tomorrow!
Under God's loving care,
Jean Marie

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Roe vs. Wade 36 years later today.

Life - There is only one thing that I can think of that is possibly more beautiful in the word -"life" than the birth of a baby, and that is new life in Christ. Life is a gift from God Almighty. It is not something we make, it is made, every person is made, every baby is made - by God. Life is not something we can make, thus life cannot and should not ever be, something that we think we have earned the right to take. To end.

Psalm 139 13-16
"For you formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother's womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
when I was made in secret,
and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance,
being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them. "

I am amazed by God's marvelous works in every tiny life of every baby. And I will always choose life, for any little baby. That cannot change, if I still yet believe in God's Holy Word. Nor should it ever.

Thankful for every baby,
~ Jean Marie

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sweet friend, sweet day, sweet 350 pictures.

Well, dear people who I love that read my blog....
Today is a fun and special post on...ahem, well, I was going to say 2 days of Anna and I, but it rather turned out to be one big long photoshoot, so I hope you like it. We did. :)

***Note: The pictures are clickable, if you dare, they will be quite large, but you can see detail better. :D

On January 2nd, the Fambrough ladies and Anna met some good friends of ours at the ice rink for skating, and then Anna came back to spend the night at my house, due to most of her family being out of town. I was excited, as an understatement, at the thought of having a photoshoot finally, after quite a lot of planning of one after months. Of course, we had the normal, talking, games, food, talking, (cough) dessert, movie, talking...and of course talking until 2:30, was it? Something like that. Anyway....Saturday started out kind of slow, and in between helping our Christmas tree to lose its ornaments, we had the day of three photoshoots to ourselves. It was sweetness, especially with a best friend/sister like Anna. We took 350 pictures, but I am only posting 63...I think. Oh, and did I mention she did my hair? Aah! I wish you all could have watched her do it, 'cause then you could have told me! Haha, it was SO pretty that when she was done, I just gasped in front of the mirror. Thank you, Anna! For those of you scheduling a photoshoot with Anna, you might want her to do your hair, as well! :D It's worth it. So, of course, I had to take pictures of us getting ready.

Anna and I having fun getting ready before the first photoshoot.

Some props....that we only used two of....yay for my great mind (not), and with Anna's sensibility of a chair and a book, we managed quite well.

Anna took this of herself....I wasn't around, and so it was a surprise to see, going back through all the pictures. :D So lovely of her.

Our first location was in my backyard, against the fence, being Austenian/Little Women. Oh, and we put to really good use my new tripod and remote, those were key here. Getting ready.

This is a Little Women shot to me...I am Amy, and Anna can be - Jo? Meg? Beth? :) She is "sewing", and I am "reading"....haha. 'Twas an old book of the 30's, of fairy tales, which I suddenly decided I did not like.

Haha. I am still reading, trying to get into posing, but Anna has no lack of poses, amazingly enough.

You will see this quite a bit, me with my head down because I am cracking up...and Anna smiling because I am cracking up. It was impossible, I tell you! It was so crazy, and I was supposed to be pushing the remote, and I finally just gave it to Anna.

Trying harder...and still giggling at Anna. I was reading something like "and the frog looked at the fox and said...". You can understand why I was laughing now. :)
My favorite. A true Little Women pose. By the way, my lovely sister made that quilt for me, and it is SO pretty. I love it.
Then we got creative with the chair and book....and ourselves. We didn't see until later that the camera was focusing on the chair and fence (too bright to notice in the shots), but you still can see the fun we had here. :D

Insert "GRrrr!" or "RAWR" here....whichever you prefer. They both apply. Haha.

Awww...I love my friend so much.

Care for a dead leaf? Good shot, Anna!

I really like this one...Anna took it.

And then we laid down in the grass, in some weedy grass, fyi, and stared at the sun until we couldn't see. Not really, but it was about noon, and the sun was incredible to look at.

I love this one, just because you can see Anna....the cut-offness of it, I like. I am not putting all of this very well, am I? Sorry.

We were sleeping. Okay. We were "sleeping". Better?
Later, I wondered if I was supposed to be doing what Anna was doing. Ah, well! No matter.

Haha...I love Anna in this one. She looks SO pretty all splayed out like that, and - big surprise, I am laughing.

Another huge favorite.

We really did not notice the Nikon strap until later, so, please pardon us. This is another favorite. What else can I say? We got some good shots that day. I am thankful.

Then we scrunched up against the fence, and took close-ups for "contrast of our features" Anna said. So, I will explain. Straight hair/Curly hair. Green-gray eyes/blue eyes. Dark blond hair/red hair. Absolutely sweet and Godly spirit/one who knows just how much she is in need of her Savior & trying to be sweet and Godly. (hint: it is a process) Untheologically, I like this one.

And this one!!! Really like it. A lot.

Haha....why am I laughing again? It's impossible!

See? She's just so fun! Told you...I'll bet you are even smiling while you look at these. :D
Anna was fiddling with the camera, and I was fiddling with the flowers/weeds. "Yes, ma'am, Ah, DO live close to Mims...just ov'r yonder that way, we's all so grateful for the camera box."
Putting our eyes to good use.

We took, like, 15 of these, so close it is hard to tell the difference. Ha. But, it was for a good cause...trying to see just how different we look. Not too different, after all.
Can you say "Neat?". By the way, Anna orchestrated this part, because I was just supposed to look at the camera and smile. I had no idea what she was doing, until, like, the last 5 shots.

I took this one. Yay for a beautiful subject!

We tromped over to the east side of my house, to take pictures behind the bushes. We had nerve, let me tell you, because the neighbor was mowing his lawn, and we were posing for pictures behind the bushes. A lovely, bright flower.

Anna setting up the tripod, and getting the tripod set up. Haha. I was sneaky and took this.
My abandoned scarf atop the bushes.
Anna changing something, but I had the remote! HAHA! We actually both love this one.
Hello! And wot is going on 'ere?
And....absolute randomness and hilarity won over. You can see me holding the giggles in.
Don't ask me what we were doing...I don't know. But I did have the remote!
Some fun with our lace.
Lady in the bushes. I made her look down, because it was such a "Stone Shot", I said.
And this...I think her eyes turned from green to blue! At any rate, I love this shot.So, then, we were done with that photoshoot, and de-decorated the tree, I believe, and then headed out again in different clothes. Funny story - Anna and I were both in long skirts, hair done, looking dressed up, on bycicles. I truly felt like Anne on her bike riding along PEI's coast, and oh, off track. So, we are riding along a main road to a more "countrified" spot, and Kimberly and a good friend, Amanda, were driving home from Orlando, and they passed us. I wish you could have seen Kimberly's shocked face looking at us through the window, Anna and I busted out in surprised laughter, and wondered just what they were thinking! Later, Kimberly told me that she and Amanda had seen us and were staring at our "strange sight", and said something like - "Girls riding bikes, in long skirts!...We've gotta' know them! Oh, it's Jean and Anna!" :D They weren't the only ones who gave us looks. We got quite a few turned heads and double-takes. :D

Well, we found our "country spot", that would, um....later be a bad idea, and a bad decision. My fault, just in case you were wondering, yes, it was my fault. See, it was this abandoned lot of gravel, weeds, and a fenced in one, at that, the light was perfect, and it was all perfect...set close by was the back of an RV village lot, and a couple houses. Anyway. Here is Anna getting things ready. How can I say this differently? I enjoy the loveliness of this picture. :D

The lovely sun shining all around the thistles and weeds. Our picture lot.
Some thistles giving out plenty of tickly little puffy things.
The setting sun setting off the field and my up-swept hair.

Best, best, bestest of friends. Jean Marie and Anna. Sitting on hard, pointy gravel. Yeah....

Hahhaha....this was planned. A- Look over your shoulder, okay? J- What? Why? (click) Oh.

I thought of this one. :-) This point-giving is crazy. Anna couldn't see what I was doing, so I was describing, then took it, because right after this, I just about fell over from a rock poking me.
A very thistly and sticker-filled patch of weeds that Anna wanted me right up against...yet, it did give us some excellent shots, so it was worth it.

I love how Anna looks like she sees Prince Charming approaching, and I am giggling and swishing my skirts everywhere, and doing a little jig.

Dance, twirl, swirl, dance!!!! Hahahaha ha ha hah heh....but, then -

CRASH! Oh. My. Gosh. What was that loud noise? The moment after this, I said "Down", and we crushed ourselves into little balls in the weeds. Yes. Really. Due to some, ahem, unexpected company of the opposite sex (about 5, older and bigger, plus, we were uhh...girls and alone) in the fields nearby, which freaked us out, we left sooner than we expected, talking loudly- "Quite enough lovely pictures....hey, you got the tripod? Yeah, Mom wants us home by 5...." and such, as to not appear scared, even though we were internally panicking, and wondering why on earth we have not bought guns yet if we are old enough? So. Those were our expressions. :D I look worried and trying to identify the noise, and Anna is just shocked. :)
So...we moved on home, thanking the Lord many times for His protection, and talking about buying Pepper Guns. Seriously, 15 feet of pepper spray? Nice! Anyways, we headed over to the golf course, where the day earlier, we saw some very verdant leafy weeds. Hooray for the weeds again.

No, Anna did not carry the tripod like this the whole time, we set up, Anna got fire ants all over her poor little self, so we moved to a more hospitable area. (grin)

This lovely field next to the green. We weren't really supposed to be there, but hey, at least 1 out of 3 places was legal! We tried, really, we did....and we were quiet. Setting the frames again, while I pretended to model.

HUGS! Dear, sweet Anna and I.

Joy and glee over being protected from harm, and the sheer joy of having nothing to do but take pictures got into us, and we started dancing. More like spinning, because we didn't have anyone else to trade off to. :D Haha. It was such fun.

La, la, la, la, laaa!!!

And we laid down in the weeds. Again. It was Anna's idea. She made me do it. The girlie herself.

And yet another one of weeds. What a trait weeds have...attracting photographers...I am thankful that we were not allergic. Believe me, I threatened to sue. :D

Our sunlight was quickly fading, but we got a few more good ones.

And then the golfers rather got too close, so we headed over in the dusk light to a good old tree. Believe it or not, it really was hard to get upon the branch, in a skirt, and trying to be dignified all at the same time.

Hello, everyone! Yes, this is Anna and I...posing...on a the dark and a killer flash. :)

And after we got home, shared our exploits and adventures, and had dinner, and cleaned up, it was time for dear Anna to go home. We had such lovely times together, it was like having another sister around the house. Anna, I totally loved having you over, it was our last vacation before school started back up, we made lots of memories together, I enjoyed every minute, even the scary ones, and the uneventful ones. I loved being with you, and loved you being with me. :)
Thank you so much for the fun. I cherish you as a dear, dear friend, and always will. The man who wins your heart will be a blessed and fortunate man indeed. I am praying for him, and for you. :)

And...after Dad and I took Anna home, I took some pictures of my hair before I took it down, because it was just so fun, pretty and elegant. Hopefully, you can see some of it.

Ooooh. Sigh. Anna, you can do my hair again soon, if you like! :) Thank you again!
And one last shot as we got home after our adventures, of the wintery trees, and not too wintery weather. It was, all in all, a most lovely two days. So very lovely. I cherish them now.I so hope you, Anna, and everyone who reads this, enjoyed reading through those two days. If you could only have seen our many, many bouts of joyous laughter, giggling over nothings, serious talks, spontaneous hugs, and talking about everything and nothing...I think you would cherish those days too. It's my joy to share it with you all. Anna- I lovest thou, and I love you oceans. :D God bless ya'll; be family, and come 'round!
Amazed by God's mercies,
Jean Marie

1 Corinthians 13

Anna posted pictures as well, on her photography blog. You can see them here.