Penny the Traveling Clothespin Doll shares her adventures at home and abroad.

All posts in Our Farm



Wow, the weather has been so very cold lately, but on this sunny afternoon Penny decided to brave the elements and sit in a chilly snowbank enjoying the view.




The winds blowing snow off the barn were blasts of frigidness!




Here’s dreaming of summer days all hidden away for now…



Gratefully contemplating the rest and confidence we have available from above:



Dear restless heart, be still; don’t fret and worry so;
God has a thousand ways His love and help to show;
Just trust, and trust, and trust, until His will you know.

Dear restless heart, be still, for peace is God’s own smile,
His love can every wrong and sorrow reconcile;
Just love, and love, and love, and calmly wait awhile.

Dear restless heart, be brave; don’t moan and sorrow so,
He hath a meaning kind in chilly winds that blow;
Just hope, and hope, and hope, until you braver grow.

Dear restless heart, repose upon His breast this hour,
His grace is strength and life, His love is bloom and flower;
Just rest, and rest, and rest, within His tender power.

Dear restless heart, be still! Don’t struggle to be free;
God’s life is in your life, from Him you may not flee;
Just pray, and pray, and pray, till you have faith to see.

–Edith Willis Linn



“Cold nose warm heart,”  an embroidered book bag gift from a friend with a sweet message.




One of the special thrills of summer at our home is the activity of the hummingbirds.  We have a total of 6 active feeders, all set in crucial places where we can view them from the comfort of our living room, or other frequently used windows.  This way we see them up close and can get a good look at them without scaring them away.  But even in the kitchen dooryard we joke that you must duck when they swoop by as they think they own the place.




 At the end of July we noticed an added flurry of activity, it seemed that their favorite feeders needed refilling everyday as mobs of hummingbirds were draining them as fast as they could.




Oh dear, that is a sign that they are fueling up to head south.  It seems way too soon, already!




But what a delight it was to see them so active and so thickly congregating on the feeders!   In this next picture can’t you almost hear the zipping and swooshing as they all hurry hurry to get a turn at the feeder?




 In the picture below is the greatest number I caught in one photo at the busiest feeder.

How many do you count?   – And there were more hummingbirds around!




Now here is an video so you can see and hear them in action!  Wow!

Watch for the flick of their tongues…



 There is a star magnolia tree here beside this feeder and its knobby branches are full of places for the hummers to perch.  Its a treat to see them up close and sitting still.




Or going about their business of preening and grooming and looking about at the world.




I caught this male on video at a favorite perch outside our pantry window where no feeder is, just a bare branch he thought was about right for someone his size.  I was amazed at how busy he was – scratching, cleaning, combing and preening himself, this is fascinating to watch!  (I took this video from inside a closed window so the noises you hear are chicks scratching about in a cardboard box.  Penny has photos of those to post soon.)



 “Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.”  Psalm 40:5



June gives us such a flush of the most beautiful flowers, Penny and I thought we’d go into the yard and capture some in photos for your viewing pleasure.




The mock orange bush fills our yard with the most heavenly aroma.

I think of these flowers as bridal flowers because we picked huge bunches of them for my brother’s wedding.  Congratulations on 7 years of marriage, Tim and Jessica!




And now for a cheery chat with a smiling pansy.




Bleeding heart, it sounds so sad, but is such an elegant flower.




Peek-a-boo, I see you!!




A bouquet of my favorite poppies.




Our garden would not be complete without the whizzing little hummingbirds that zoom in and out and chatter and squeak.  They don’t seem to mind who is nearby.  I am glad that Mom has so many feeders, and places them right outside our windows so we can see the activity so close up.




Chives and pink columbine.  I didn’t realize that so many of my pictures were pink.  I wish I had captured some more of the blues and purples for this “visual bouquet.”




Peonies are so gorgeous!




An explosion of soft pedals.




You may not recognize this unusual flower.




That is the blossom of a tulip poplar tree.  Quite a work of art, isn’t it?

Next is the beauty of the draping wisteria on our arbor.  Another very fragrant place!




So much life and beauty.





All creation has a language,

Words to say what must be said.

All day long the heavens whisper,

Signing word in scarlet red,

Amber rays and crimson rainbows,

Twinkling stars and flashing light,

Punctuate the heavens’ statement:

“God is glorious, perfect, right,

God is glorious, perfect, right”


All day long the sun proclaims it,

Like a Bridegroom dressed in white,

Coming from His tent to greet them,

All His guest feel His delight.

Words of love and warmth He whispers,

Warning all who hear His voice,

“Oh, be glad and share My table

Dance and celebrate . . . rejoice!

Dance and celebrate . . . rejoice!”


All creation sings His praises,

Earth and heaven praise His name,

All who live come join the chorus,

Find the words His love proclaim.

the song “Anthem” by Steve Green.     Words and music by Gloria Gaither and Michael W. Smith.







Earlier this spring, when I was out in the alpaca shed doing my chores, a mound of straw I had just stepped on began squeaking and squealing at me.  Greatly mystified, I dug into the loose straw and found a snug little nest buried deep down in a warm place.  A nest of little wild bunnies!




They were so snug and warm all cozied together with their mother’s soft fur lining the nest.   And quite perturbed that I was interrupting their snooze.




What an amazing little being;  so soft and warm, so alive and perfectly formed.




He looks quite tame and drowsy in this picture, but I had to be careful as they would be quick to spring away from me.  I had to scurry after them and return them to the safety of their nest.




Awe, Penny makes a good gentle little mother.


In other newborn news, I found a robin’s nest on the antique threshing machine.




With a perfect little ledge where Penny could perch and gaze into the smooth round interior and count the pretty blue eggs.  The robins here have fledged by now.  I enjoy finding the egg shells around the farm where the mother birds carry them off and drop them elsewhere so no one can trace where they came from.  Robins are such a friendly bird to have around the home.  I like to hear their conversational “chuck, chuck, chuck” and other songs.





All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing,
Alleluia!   Alleluia!
Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!
O praise Him, O praise Him,
Alleluia!  Alleluia!  Alleluia!
…Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness.
O praise Him,  Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One! 
O praise Him,  O praise Him,
Alleluia,  Alleluia,  Alleluia!
—  St. Francis of Assisi  1182-1226



I have recently read Helen Keller’s book, “The Story of My Life”, written by her in 1967.  The challenge of being without both gifts of seeing and hearing just boggles my mind.  I read once that it is a good exercise to limit ourselves sometimes just to learn to appreciate those things we have more.  Penny wanted to try it herself, so you will see her blindfolded in some of the following pictures as she tries to experience things from Helen Keller’s view.

Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia, in northern Alabama.  She lost her sight and hearing after an illness when she was 19 months old.  Her parents were so thankful that she recovered from the dangerous fever, but what a shock to slowly discover that she could no longer see or hear.

In her book Helen describes her home then as being a little rose-bower.  I love this:  “It was completely covered with vines, climbing roses, and honeysuckles.  From the garden it looked like an arbor.  The little porch was hidden from view by a screen of yellow roses and southern smilax.  It was the favorite haunt of  hummingbirds and bees… Its old-fashioned garden was the paradise of my childhood…guided by the sense of smell, I would find the first violets and lilies.”  Imagine sniffing out those violets in the picture above without the help of your eyes.




As Helen grew, so did her frustration at not being able to express herself.  Then in March of 1887, Anne Sullivan came to help 6 year old Helen.  Imagine not even knowing that things had names.  Anne taught Helen the manual alphabet, and her understanding began to form when she learned that a certain series of hand signals meant “water”, that cool something pouring over her hand at the pump.  This excited  Helen and she began to ask the signs for everything she could reach.

Miss Sullivan was a life saver for Helen’s family that simply did not know what to do with their child.  Helen was very spoiled and ill-mannered.  She was allowed to do as she pleased and displayed a nasty temper.  But with the help of her teacher, Helen learned how to control herself and to communicate through signs.




“I recall many incidents of the summer of 1887 that followed my soul’s sudden awakening.  I did nothing but explore with my hands and learn the name of every object that I touched; and the more I handled things and learned their names and uses, the more joyous and confident grew my sense of kinship with the rest of the world.”

Her lessons were out of doors, learning all about the delights of the world she lived in and the marvels of nature.  “Miss Sullivan taught me to find beauty in the fragrant woods, in every blade of grass, and in the curves and dimples of my baby sister’s hand.”

“Indeed, everything that could hum, or buzz, or sing, or bloom had a part in my education.”

“At the beginning, I was only a little mass of possibilities.  It was my teacher who unfolded and developed them…  she has not ceased trying  in thought and action and example to make my life sweet and useful.”





One Christmas, Miss Sullivan presented Helen with a canary.   “Little Tim was so tame that he would hop on my finger and eat candied cherries out of my hand.  Miss Sullivan taught me to take all the care of my new pet.   … One morning I left the cage on the window seat while I went to fetch water for his bath.  When I returned I felt a big cat brush past me as I opened the door.  At first I did not realize what had happened; but when I put my hand in the cage and Tim’s pretty wings did not meet my touch… I knew that I should never see my sweet little singer again.”






As Helen’s knowledge and understanding grew, she began to ask questions.  Lots of questions.  Miss Sullivan was then working to explain to her abstract ideas like love, and how to join in a conversation with others.  In 1890 Helen began to learn to speak!




Helen was so thirsty for knowledge, she learned to read the raised print of braille, and devoured many books.  She set out to teach herself to read in French.  Later in Latin, and also in German.  I was so amazed at how she grew and expanded her skills!  She attended a school for the deaf.  Then she set her sights on regular school and college too!   Anne Sullivan helped her every step of the way, reading many textbooks into her hand manually.

One challenge was exams, which Helen would type out on a typewriter, but there was usually no time to go back and have someone reread it so she could correct what she had written.  Just one of the many challenges of not being able to see.

She reveled in all the learning, but regretted one thing: “The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time.  I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I … in college there is no time to commune with one’s thoughts… one leaves the dearest pleasures – solitude, books, and imagination outside with the whispering pines.”





I was interested to read of her visiting Niagara Falls, not far from where I live.  She said, “It is difficult to describe my emotions when I stood on the point which overhangs the American Falls and felt the air vibrate and the earth tremble.”  People were amazed that she should be impressed by such wonders that she could not even see  “They forget that my whole body is alive to the conditions about me, the rumble and roar…”



The book, “The Story of My Life” was written in Helen’s college days.  So I have not read further about her life yet.  But I have found another book, and there I hope to meet Polly and find out more of the amazing life of this gifted woman.  She learned to make the best of what she had been given, though it was not the same lot as the rest of us.

Meanwhile, I am giving thanks that I have been granted the gift of sight!  What a treat to get this great picture of a bluebird in my own backyard.




I haven’t been keeping up with this site much lately as my Dad has been pretty sick all winter, advancing from one problem to another.  We have all been pretty stressed, but praise the Lord, he is doing better and able to be up and about more than he has in months.  We are so thankful.  As the spring comes on we are glad to be drawing a deep breath and getting ready to tackle some outdoor jobs in the warm sunshine.

First, to play catch-up a bit, here are some shots of Penny all bundled up out in the barn helping to do chores this winter.  I didn’t realize that my camera battery was weak, so I apologize that the focus is a little fuzzy as the camera is dying.  But Penny sure did enjoy herself, and the animals were all pretty pleased to see her.  They do love attention!




Here is the milking cow, drinking out of her water cup, all snug in the warm hay.  She provides us with all the rich milk we can drink, as well as the butter and cheese Mom makes.  Dad calls her Matilda.

Penny is checking the connections to be sure the water runs freely into the drinking cup when Matilda pushes the lever.  Yep, all is well here.



“Weren’t you going to milk the cow?”  asks a thirsty kitten who is always on hand for milking.



The young cow nearby says, “Don’t you have a pat for me?”




After a petting, he gives Penny a big slobbery kiss, “Thank you my friend!”




Down at the other end of the barn the two affectionate donkeys, Claryce and Dinklepuss, await their turn to be scratched and petted.




“Hello? hello!” says little Goatly, “don’t forget about me!  Were you handing out treats, by any chance?”  Her favorite treat is a soft apple from our basement apple bin.




No treats for you this morning, but here is grain for the alpacas.



Fritz likes a soft bed in the hay and sunshine.  Penny rests with him a moment.




“What a big, wet nose you have, little calf!!  Be careful, I’m not wearing a raincoat!!”




Little wet kisses.




A furry soft Silkie hen sits comfortably on her perch.



Here’s a little snack for the others.




A beautiful sunset picture over the farm. So peaceful.

Thank you, Lord, for critters, we sure do enjoy their personalities and friendliness.

I love life in the country!