Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 127:3-5

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow

Bright and early Thanksgiving morning, the tables are prepared for the guests.

A work in progress nearly done!

Our dear girl preparing food in the kitchen.

One of the finished place settings.

The delicious brownie bites Aubrey made, dipped in chocolate and garnished with candy corn!

 Some of the cooks and dish-washers...there were more, but they escaped the camera.  :)

The menu was alarming to look at if you were attempting it alone, but together, the army of Lenz's and guests produced a prodigious feast.

Lively conversation flowed freely and I think that by the end of the day nearly everyone's face was ready to crack.

The small but formidable young man on the right was largely to blame for this.  Ryan, the youngest and most animated personage present, kept us all in stitches the greater part of the day. At one point, he tramped into the kitchen armed with gloves held on high and instructions from Aunt Debi to announce solemnly to his Mama, “I’m wedy to ‘ash dises.”

The men adjourned to the basement for the greater part of the prep time so as not to hinder in the delicate task of arranging the food so that it was both hot and on the table in good time.

The climax of Thanksgiving is that moment when the noise is hushed as the last dish safely lands in its place on the laden table.  The cooks sigh in relief as the last task is accomplished, and everyone sighs in expectation.  In this moment we freely come in humble gratitude before our Father in heaven to thank Him for inumerable blessings.

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder talks about Christmas, but the way she writes is applicable and unforgettable.  I always think of this whenever we come to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner: “Almonzo bowed his head and shut his eyes tight while Father said the blessing. It was a long blessing because this was Christmas Day. But at last, Almonzo could open his eyes. He sat and silently looked at that table…He looked at the fat roast goose, the drumsticks sticking up, and the edges of dressing curling out…He looked at the big bowl of cranberry jelly, and at the fluffy mountain of mashed potatoes with melting butter trickling down it. He looked … at the golden baked squash, and the pale fried parsnips…He swallowed hard and tried not to look any more. He couldn’t help seeing the fried apples-‘n’onions, and the candied carrots. He couldn’t help gazing at the triangles of pie, waiting by his plate; the spicy pumpkin pie, the melting cream pie, the rich dark mince oozing from between the mince pie’s flaky crusts. He squeezed his hands together between his knees. He had to sit silent and wait, but he felt aching and hollow inside. All the grown-ups at the head of the table must be served first. … At last Almonzo’s plate was filled. The first taste made a pleasant feeling inside him, and it grew and grew, while he ate and ate…”

Of course Thanksgiving would be incomplete without target practice.  The men had our valley ringing with shots for about half an hour.
Thank you to everyone for a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I believe we can truly sing:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Gost

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Preparations for Thanksgiving at Six Arrows Farm

Frosting fruit for the centerpeices.

Aubrey boiling cranberries for a special sorbet.

Moving tracktors around and cleaning up outside!

Setting the table, making decorations, and folding napkins.

Creating place settings.  We dried gourds and personalized them with fun art this year!

These are a few among the myriad tasks that were joyfully completed in preparation for our Thanksgiving meal.  There will be 22 people coming to give thanks to God for His bounty at this feast and we are honored and excited to have them!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Garrison - Fortified Stronghold

Garrison turned 17 last week!  His perception, motivation, organizational skills, careful and practical foresight and love for vaccuming and dusting are gifts from God the Lenz family simply couldn't do without.  Happy birthday Gar!
By the way...that is a real rich and delectable German Chocolate Cake with Coconut Pecan Icing that was hardly ready in time for the is obvious by the way the warm icing is sliding down the sides of the cake.  Happily, it was delicious in spite of visual deficiencies.  :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Musical Evening

All four boys are in our local youth orchestra this year.  Last night they performed  at a gala celebrating SEMYO's 30th anniversary.  Sam played Viola in the Chamber Strings group, Ben and Garrison played violin and cello respectively in the Philharmonic Orchestra, and Charlie played oboe in the Concert Orchestra.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rendering Lard

Here is the post promised on the Six Arrrows Farm Update!  With all the pork that we had processed this fall, of course quite a bit of lard came in as well.  We decided to render it ourselves, since it is good for you and great for cooking!  Aubrey and I (Emily) each rendered a batch on different days.  I have asked Aubrey to write up exactly how we did it, so she will add that to this post soon!

Raw Frozen Lard...basically big chunks of fat!

Boiling down the fat

First stage cracklings

First stage lard...we will use this first kind for pie crust and other delicate tasks.  As the cracklings continue to cook down, the lard will take on a stronger flavor and color.  We will use that for cooking and frying.

Straining the "pie crust stage" of the lard

Coolin down!

I used lard to make the crust for "The First Pumkin Pie of '09" pictured in the column to the right of the posts!  It was delicious!

The Mysterious Islands

Monday, November 16, 2009

Autumn Prose

The mesmerizing log-splitter convert thick chunks of trees into aromatic wedges for the stove, Sam rushing across the living room floor to catch sight of the grain carts or combines rumbling down the gravel road, the sharp bright autumn sky, tall boots, hearing the boys wake early in the morning to tramp over frosty turf and leaves with their guns on their shoulders, cutting up venison in the kitchen and wrapping it for the freezer, the tip of my nose bright and chilled with the snap of early morning air, the sweet and bitter rush of cold air invading my lungs, two pairs of socks, the way warm food sizzling in the kitchen gets more savory and inviting the colder it is outside, standing in the freshly shorn fields and listening to the fall wind worry the lifeless leaves and trumpet the coming of snow with every breath, planning resplendent and engorging menus with which we will laden the Thanksgiving table, cold fingers and toes to tickle each other’s necks, plants and greenery buttoning up against the cold and retreating into the heart of the earth, the myriad shades of brown, stocking caps, trees, rigid and shadowy pillars, casting severe elaborate shapes on the leaf-mottled floor, the smoky, earthy tang that accompanies the boys every time they come in for dinner, long sleeves, birds singing the autumn symphony, and frost scattering its wonderful lace-work abundantly. Summer is glorious melody, winter is lilting song, spring is ecstatic whistling, but autumn is magnificent harmony.

Lucy the Valiant

Our precious chocolate Labrador, Lucy the Valiant, passed away last week. We were very sad to lose our faithful canine friend with her unique personality and lasting loyalty.

As the farm mascot, Lucy earned one of her many titles… “greeter dog.” We miss her every time we pull up the driveway, her perky ears, her energetic race up the garden path, her clever ploys for treats, her solemn hazel eyes that would plead tears out of a rock, the way she watched movies with us, rode faithfully in the ranger with whoever was driving, endured “love” from the cats and ate everything from chicken feed to green beans…we are so thankful that we had eleven and a half years with the best dog any family could have.

We were talking about all of those things and observed that God had truly blessed us with a good dog.  Even a dog in its own way, can us teach lessons of loyalty, faithfulness, endurance and patience.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autumn Poetry

“Fresh October brings the pheasant,

Then to gather nuts is pleasant.
Dull November brings the blast,
Then the leaves are whirling fast.”

“Then came October full of merry glee.”
~Edmund Spenser

“Now Autumn’s fire burns slowly along the woods,
And day by day the dead leaves fall and melt,
And night by night the monitory blast
Wails in the keyhole, telling how it pass’d,
O’er empty fields, or upland solitudes,
Or grim, wide wave, and now the power is felt
Of melancholy, tenderer in it’s moods,
Than any joy indulgent summer dealt.”
~William Allingham

To Autumn
“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all frit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel, to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the Bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cells.”
~J. Keats