God Between the Clouds

There was a time when I was afraid of storms. As a little girl, I remember hiding my head under the covers whenever lighting and thunder would strike. I remember telling my kids when they were little that, during storms, God was bowling, just so they wouldn’t be afraid.

Last night, after a whole day in the Pittsburgh suburbs of sun and clouds and clouds and sun, the clouds finally won out. Around 6:30pm, it started to storm. I was meeting some friends at 7:15 and took Route 30 just when the sun was going down and the clouds were letting up.

The sky was so stunning I couldn’t help but stop at a small church and take pictures from the parking lot. Hope you enjoy the shots as much as I did.

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Make Way for the Spring Chickens!

In honor of Spring, I want to invite you over and tell you about our chickens. My husband Jim got bit by the chicken bug a few years ago. A friend of the family happened to give us a baby rooster. That baby rooster somehow fostered a fowl love story for my husband and daughter.

The rooster has long passed on but my husband’s love for chickens has only grown. I have to say, I was not thrilled when I found baby chickens in an incubator in my garage a few years ago. I swore that I would not help with them- ever- because I was so bent on not adding one more responsibility to my full plate. Obviously the chickens have persisted and thrived, due largely in part to my husband’s and daughter’s care. They provide us with ample, or more like an abundance, of eggs.

Initially, I was so skeptical of the eggs that I only used them in cake mixes or as ingredients in recipes. I was a bit nervous about eating them hard boiled, fried sunny side up or scrambled. After a few dozen eggs wasted on cake mixes, I realized my ridiculousness and fried up a few. I was forever changed.

There is something special about the eggs. They are fresh of course but without all the modern things done to the poor commercial chickens, there is a distinctive difference in the taste of them. They are the true definition of Organic. Even their appearance is different. The shells are much thicker and the yolk yellower. Scrambled eggs come out the color of sunshine.

My mother called me recently and warned me about a salmonella scare regarding eggs. She didn’t realize our eggs are salmonella- proof.  There is no way our eggs could have ANYTHING other than goodness.

During warm evenings, Jim lets the chickens out of their coop to run around the yard, scratch and eat bugs. Our trusty yellow lab Ms. Jordan guards them with a sharp eye, her motivation being her daily treat of a delicious egg. Letting the chickens run around the yard like this used to be another source of  annoyance, but “the girls” (nickname for the chickens) have won me over.

As you can see by the pictures, we don’t have the run of the mill white chickens. We have Araucanas and Buff Orpingtons. Their eggs are a beautiful soft green and light brown color. It’s convenient for Easter as we will probably just hard boil them!

If you have a bit of space in your back yard, the motivation and a good chicken book or mentor, there’s no reason you can’t have your own chickens. Just remember to make the coop very secure or intruders like raccoons, possums or foxes will make a delicacy of your chickens.

I have to admit, there is something about being able to live off your own land that makes life a bit more meaningful. When we plant our garden in the summer and have abundant vegetables, I remind myself how lucky we are to be able to grow and provide food for ourselves.  Jim’s newest hobby is bees and he’s put in a couple of hives. I can taste the honey already. I’ll bring you around again when I’m ready for that story.

A big thank you to my daughter Michelene Cain, for these beautiful pictures!

Join me on my graceful journey.
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