A Table to Share

TableThe last dining room table we had was 100 years old. Over the years the extra leaves were lost and to top finally glued together. All but 4 of the chairs had disappeared along the way as well. So many meals were share at that table over the last century, countless stories told, some filled with roaring laughter and others tears. That is the beauty of a table and a meal. Our table sat 4 comfortably, there were times that we had at least double that squished around there. A rouge elbow may have ended up in someone’s mashed potatoes every now and then, but we were together.

It never mattered who showed up at the door, hungry or not a place was set and they ate.

Two years ago I received a chop saw for my birthday, with it I proceeded to build a book shelf in the living room. I admit it wasn’t the smartest place for a construction project but it turned out nice. Kind of a crate/pallet style shelf you could say. After that I was on a roll.

It was time for a new dining room table. I had always envisioned a long farmhouse style table with benches (it’s easier to squeeze more people at the table on a bench than with chairs). I searched online for plans that were simple enough for my amazing carpentry skills. I found the perfect ones and it was complete an extension on each end in case extra space is needed. I measured the floor and “Yep, it will fit perfect”.

I showed the plans to my husband and he reluctantly said “ok”. As he looked over the plans and questioned whether or not it would fit, I brought him the tape measure and told him he could check but I’m pretty sure it will fit.

“I think we should shorten these plans, by about 2 feet and we can think about the extensions when the time comes. I will give you a hand with this.”

Knowing how my impressive carpentry skills are I decided to follow his advice. The next day he left me the truck and to the lumber yard I went. Picked up all the wood for the project.

When Mike got home he checked over my purchase and gave it a rather… um… disapproving and funny look.

“What?”

“You bought stud grade lumber. Some of this has holes and deep knots. This one even has a slight twist.”

“And?”

“Nothing.” as he shook his head and sighed.

We started cutting pieces and screwing them together. Each piece he let me inspect to see which had “prettier” knots and which end they should go on. Slowly we got the table and benches assembled.

table

I sanded off the “stud grade” stamps and smoothed out the rough spots. On two sides I burned “Give us this day our daily bread”. A simple reminder that today we only need enough for today. Tomorrow we can again ask for enough to get us through the day. I should have put a “fishes and loaves” inscription on there. The amount of times I have prayed for one of those miracles is… well… plenty.

Let me explain. There is a story in the bible where Jesus feeds a thousand people with a few fish and a couple loaves of bread. I would think they had to be small whales and huge loaves of bread but the little sketches only show tiny little fish. So now when we keep adding a place at the table and I’m not sure if we will have enough to fill everyone I ask for a “fishes and loaves” miracle. Every time, everyone goes away full.

The table was stained, sealed and moved into the dining room. Good thing we went with Mike’s measurements rather than mine. It fit perfect, any bigger and we would have been sitting in the living room too.

Bench

When we bought the farm, we were worried that the table wouldn’t fit in the dining room again. There was talk of taking it apart and shortening it. Considering I had planned to make it two feet longer and with extensions I wasn’t too fond of the shortening idea. But I would rather that, than the scrap the table all together. It was only a few months old. Again, it fit. It’s a little tighter fit than the last house; any longer and one end would be eating in the bathroom and the other in the living room.

“Can I get the mashed potatoes down here?”

“What do you need toilet paper for?”

“Mashed Potatoes not chicken!”

“Will tissue work?”

So the room isn’t that big but you can see the problems that could occur.

It doesn’t seem to matter what size table we have, it always gets filled. There is somehow always enough food to go around and enough people to squish onto the benches and leave me searching for more chairs. I find great joy in setting a meal of any sort on the table surrounded by friends and family. Some nights the stories start flowing and laughter rolling. Other nights it’s a smaller crowd with a quiet meal after an exhausting day of setting fence posts or baling hay. We have already had so many great memories sitting at the table and I know there are many more to come. It really is a wonderful blessing to have and share a spot at the table.

Table

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Counting Blessings

The gate we are able to use that was from Grandma's farm.
The gate we are able to use that was from Grandma’s farm.

I have mentioned before that I believe everything happens for a reason and it happens when God decides it’s going to. With this thought we have been blessed by so many. Though we recognize it and thank God for them daily, during the Christmas season I like to look back at the past year and give another thoughtful thanks for all we’ve been graced with.

During our “homeless” time, which was a few months, we were able to live with my parents. The farm came for sale when we needed a home. It was the perfect size and in the perfect location. From the time we packed up in North Dakota with the help of some friends that are more like family, to unpacking here we have has so much help.

The “new” house needed paint. My uncle had painting equipment for us to borrow.  We had friends and family come to help paint and clean before we unpacked.

The time came where we needed a second paycheck, meaning I could no longer be a full time stay at home mom. With the tip from a friend and a miracle I got a job at the local telephone company. The hours allow me to spend the majority of the day with the little boy.

The freezer was a couple days from being unplugged last fall when dad let me shoot the little deer that came to our stand. That put enough in the freezer until another uncle stopped by and dropped of extra beef he had out of the blue. This was just in time as the freezer was again almost empty and the in-laws were coming to stay and they don’t care for wild game. The beef was gone and we were able to purchase 1/2 a pig at a benefit dinner/auction for a friend who help me years ago at the bakery. The freezer continues to empty and fill one way or another. Always just in time and always a blessing.

Winter came and it was one of the worst we’ve had in a long while. We (Mike, I don’t plow snow yet) had help plowing our driveway when he was working through the night plowing for work, from my dad and the neighbor at times. Just to give you an idea of just how bad it was at times, I buried my Escape, hood deep, from the head lights to the back of the drivers door by the barn. I figured I gunned it to make it through the other drifts I could get through that one too. I was wrong. It came to a dead stop and I had a lot of shoveling to do to get out of that one.

http://WildFlowerFarm.org

The fence went up with the help of my dad finding posts at grandmas and borrowing a friends ASV to dig holes. It was some long days and long weekends spent in the cool spring with him, my brother and husband getting that done. A little more scavenging by dad and we had a fair amount of used barbed wire at a decent price.

My best friend spent a beautiful spring day carrying field rocks from piles, across the yard, to fix up some flower beds. That was a huge job. We emptied a few piles into the flower beds.

http://wildflowerfarm.org

Then was the chicken coop. Again the help of family to get that together. Mom and my sister baby sitting last minute so the guys could work uninterrupted while I was at work.

The first haying season was upon us, our neighbor came over with his tractors and equipment, between him, my dad and husband again, hay was put up. We sold some to have something to pay the neighbor for his help. It wasn’t much but we will continue to try to repay him in one way or another.

Lucy- http://Wildflowerfarm.org

The hay was up and we were given, yes given, Lucy! I couldn’t believe it. I had wanted a Dexter and had hoped in a few years we would have one on the farm so I could milk her. Never would I have guessed we would have one so soon and gifted to us. I will be in debt to them for a long time! I am ever so thankful and do my best to “pay it forward” until I can pay it back some how.

http://Wildflowerfarm.org

This fall we butchered chickens again with the help of Grandma, an uncle, cousins, parents, siblings, and friends. With the help of so many, such a not so great job, went really well.

Instulated Stock tank wildflolwerfarm.org

Winter is here again and the cows need water, not an ice block. Dad made an insulated stock tank (using one from Grandma’s farm) and we were again given, a tank heater. Mike and my dad built the cow pen and hay feeder for in the barn just before the snow was here to stay.

The few times that we have left town as a family, my sister has been able to stay at the farm and take care of the (multiplying) animals. Summer chores are relatively easy, winter chores take much more time and effort and she took on the challenge each time.

We have also been blessed with Nana and Grandpa day care. I know baby sitting for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon can interrupt many plans especially when it is days in a row and not just “here and there”.

These are just a few of the many blessings that have came our way in the past year. We are ever so thankful and wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a year full of blessings!

Nativity http://wildflowerfarm.org

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