Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Princetonian Visitation

Tscheko, Nate and Clint come home for Thanksgiving and plan a hunting trip (with a pellet gun).

The result of the hunt? A pigeon. In delicate terms we would say squab.

Squab kind of looks like beef.

Squab tastes like a cross between beef and chicken (or so I hear).

Nate brought back two of his friends from the James Madison Young Fellows program for Thanksgiving. Clint, hailing from Alaska, and Tscheko, from Zambia, joined Nate for the train ride Wednesday afternoon. Our family was in stiches (laughing) as soon as the crew arrived. Clint and Tscheko both have stunning adventure stories. Tscheko had been chased by a herd of hippopotami into a river. I am still not exactly sure why jumping in a river helps a man escape a hippopotamus. Normally Zambians don't jump into rivers from fear of the snap of an alligator jaw. However, apparently hippopotami and alligators don't keep the same company, so it was safe to jump into the river in this instance. Clint had startling stories of bear hunts and rafting trips and cold nights spent in logging cabins.

The stories were somewhat incredulous, but the reality of these alternative lifestyles became very evident on Friday with a pellet gun hunting trip. As a Quaker family, we have never been too enamored with guns. A couple of years ago, however, we did purchase a small pellet gone to ward away squirrels from the garden.

Clint deemed that it was altogether necessary that he eat game caught with this pellet gun. Clint, Tscheko and Nate started the Thanksgiving hunting trip in search of squirrrels with no success. Nate and Tscheko retired from the hunt, but Clint was joined by Jacob and Rebecca. Out of desperation or fervor or both, Clint ended up shooting a pigeon in the barn.

Our family was relatively enamored by this new game, and apparently it is a delicacy at some restaurants known as squab. Clint proceeded to skin the pigeon, clean the pigeon and subsequently eat the pigeon for lunch. He generously offered portions of his meat to others to try. All taste reports came back positive.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving Snow and Hikes

Kaaterskill Falls. A beautiful Thanksgiving hike.

Nathaniel and Clint hike in the snow at Kaaterskill Falls.

Caleb and his friend Daniel hang like little monkeys from the rail gaurd at Kaaterskill Falls.

Hannah, Clint, Tscheko, Jesse and Rebecca are on top of the fire tower at Stissing Mountain.

Thanksgiving dawned with a nice snow cover on the ground. It lasted through Thanksgiving weekend. We went hiking with our Thanksgiving guests on Friday to Kaaterskill Falls. Kaaterskill Falls is apparently the largest waterfall in New York State (even including Niagra Falls) but we weren't exactly certain how you would measure the height of the waterfall since there were so many little ledges. Nathaniel's friend, Clint, had no grip on his cowboy boots and scared us all by slipping and sliding so close to the cliffs. Saturday we ventured up Stissing Mountain in the snow. Nathaniel's friend, Tscheko, who is from Zambia, did not like the cold. Can you tell from the picture?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

An Angell Family Reunion

The Thanksgiving spread! (Twenty-four people in all.)

Sandra, Marjorie, Jim, Steve and Grandad wait for the food to be served.

Uncle Sam and Cousin Christopher wait their turn in the Thanksgiving Dinner line.

We were twenty-four this holiday and feasted at the Bulls Head Quaker Gathering Room down the road. This Thanksgiving was made very special by the visit of Dad's father and all of his siblings and their spouses. We were also graced with the additional presence of a local cousin, Mom's mother from Minnesota and two of Nathaniel's friends from Princeton. Dad said that whenever his family isn't present for Thanksgiving, he feels like something is missing. Everything was as it should be this Thanksgiving because Dad's family came back to the farm. The last time that all of Dad's siblings had been together was about six years ago for Grandad's 80th Birthday Celebration.

After the traditional Thanksgiving farm walk, Grandad led the family in some parlor activites. One game was a complicated version of a Koosh ball concentration exercise. Approximately ten Koosh balls were in play at one time

Monday, November 21, 2005

Thanksgiving Preparations Begin

Our Thanksgiving prepartations have begun. We are expecting a fairly large crowd as all of Dad's siblings are coming to the farm. We are also expecting three of Nathaniel's friends from Princeton, a local relative, my dad's father and Grandma Farmer. Grandma Farmer arrived early and is preparing our 'spirit of thanksgiving' as she plays the piano during evening vespers.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sixteen Years and a Miter Saw Later

Luke turned sixteen today! He can be pictured above lugging his own birthday present into the kitchen with family and Perukel neighbors present. He opens it (all smiles) and it is a miter saw!

For those of us who don't know what a miter saw is, Wikipedia provides the following information: A primary distinguishing feature of the miter saw is the miter index. The miter index allows the angle of the blade to be changed relative to the fence. While most miter saws enable precise one-degree incremental changes to the miter index, many also provide "stops" that allow the miter index to be quickly set to common angles (such as 15°, 30°, or 45°).

Well, that's my brother Luke. He always likes it when his gifts give him more work to do. That's pretty untraditional.

In line, however, with American teenage tradition, Luke is planning on going to the DMV tomorrow to take his permit test.

Ye Ask Not

Lately I have been aware of how much havoc we reap upon ourselves for lack of patience. We have a desire and then quickly conceive our own means and methods to fulfill that desire. These quick fixes are, frankly, destructive.

For instance, yesterday's New York Times carried an article about children who were conceived from sperm bank donations. The article highlighted the childrens' desires to know their fathers, to find family, connections and roots. It even made reference to different families. that had used the same sperm donor. who vacationed together in search of familial bond. Obviously the desire for children is a God-blessed desire, but we so quickly forget that God's ways and timing are not our own.

The pain faced by the offspring of sperm donor banks is in marked comparison to some other stories of parents who awaited the arrival of children. The Scriptures record that Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth all waited, often in the agony of suffering, to see their desire for children fulfilled. I find it no small coincidence that the children borne of their waiting were tremendously blessed by God. The patriarch, Isaac; the prophet, Samuel and John the Baptist were the fruit of years of waiting.

It doesn't even take historical examples to see the power of patient waiting. Friends, Reg and Annie Varghese, went through seven years of pain and anguish in waiting the birth of a child. The recent miracle of their son Timothy's conception and birth was a very powerful testament to the power of a living God. Many who had prayed with this couple and perceived their faithful obedience were touched by the fruit of their patient faith.

The births of Isaac, Samuel, John the Baptist and Timothy point us to the Kingdom of God. They point us to a kingdom that isn't established by the work of our own best contriving, but through the power and might of a God and the perseverance of the saints in obedience. And while we celebrate the miracle of all life, the children of Donor 150 experience not the fruit of patient obedience, but the confusion and loneliness that is the sure result of our feeble attempts to play God.

The Scriptures express these thoughts more eloquently:

After desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Ye lust and have not: Ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and later rain. Behold we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord, that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy. (Selections from James 1 and 4)

Yea in the way of thy judgments we have waited for thee; The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. (Isaiah 26:8)

When situations arise in which we become aware of our distinct desire, two simple queries often allow us to discern whether we desire mammon before God:

1. Am I following the path of obedience, as entrusted to me in the Scriptures, and willing to wait in patience for the fulfillment of desire?

2. Am I contriving, manipulating and scheming as best as I know how, so that my desire is fulfilled in the shortest possible length of time?

But lest we believe that our desires will be fulfilled, as we have them planned, so long as we just wait long enough, may we not forget that in the letter to the Hebrews we are told that many saints died without recognizing the fulfillment of desire. "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth." (Hebrews 11:13)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Farm House is Resided

The farmhouse continues to undergo renovation. Gray wood siding is replacing the gray shingled siding. This returns the farmhouse to its more original condition. The side of the farmhouse shown in the picture is going to get extended to make way for a greenhouse that will enclose an indoor pool (that was not a part of the original construction!).

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Visit From Old Family Friends

Our friends, Herb and Renne Lape came to the farm today with their daughter, Jenny, her husband, Ken and their two grandchildren, Luke and Adam. After an amazing lunch (Dad made Lentil soup, Mom made homemade Italian bread and I made apple pies), we took a walk through the Bentley Farm woods and fields. Adam (above) led the way.

In the Fullness of Time

Family friends, Nicholas and Natalie Pascale, wed this weekend. Theirs is a beautiful story of waiting for the fullness of time.

"This is the Lord; we have wiated for him..." (Isaiah 25:9)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Luke's Project

Luke loves working with construction vehicles and has been diligently excavating a ditch so that a waterline can run from the farm house to the carriage house over to the barns. When Luke went down inside his ditch, just his head stuck out.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lord, I thank you for a brand new dawning

We broke out into dance this evening (Friday) to the Times Square Church Live Worship. As Mom, Dad and I danced, Rebecca and her two little girlfriends peered from behind the living room wall into the kitchen with wide eyes.

Lord, I thank you for the morning
Lord, I thank you for a brand new dawning
Lord, I thank you for another day to sing your praise!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Before the cold blast of winter...

Make sure that the fuel source is ready and waiting! (Nate is home from Princeton this week.)

Don't forget to blow the leaves away! (Jacob is happy to be working.)

Make time to climb in the tree house with a friend!