Monday, August 31, 2009

Dutchess County Fair: Final Hurrah!

Bentley finished strong at the 2009 Dutchess County Fair with Rebecca winning showmanship within her age division and with Isaac and Jacob being awarded small-town farming scholarships. Andy Blue participated in his first (stellar) cow show and many others were along to enjoy the ride and help along the way.

Get the flash player here:

At Home in Ithaca & A Trip to the New York State Fair

Get the flash player here:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fenway Park & Yankee Rivals

It's so exciting to be in Boston for the weekend visiting Ron & Trina in their new home, even if the outskirts of Danny produce a lot of rain! Oh, and I kind of betrayed my home state and watched the Red Sox (3) play the Toronto Blue Jays (2) at Fenway Park!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dutchess County Fair: Ayrshire Open Class, High Dives & Country Music

Get the flash player here:

Well, again, with light competition, our heifers pulled through quite well today in the Ayrshire Open Class. This time Callie won Reserve Junior Grand Champion and Apple won Junior Grand Champion.

The picture set above also features some high dives, Sean Rubin's artistic Bentley Farm display board, and the Josh Turner (Soulmate, Me & God, Long Black Train, Everything is Fine, The Way He was Raised, Your Man, Would You Go With Me) music concert from this evening.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Peace of Wild Things

This was fun...Mom just found this Wendell Berry poem today. I think it may be expressing, more eloquently and with added prose, a similar thought to yesterday's post, Reflections from a Journey into the Wilderness.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

- Wendell Berry, The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry

Dutchess County Fair: 4H Showmanship & Ayrshire Class

Get the flash player here:

Rebecca, Jacob and Caleb all participated in the 4H dairy shows today at the Dutchess County Fair. Rebecca received the best showmanship score, placing 2 out of 8. Rebecca and Caleb both had winning heifers in the 4H Ayrshire Class. With very light competition Allie's heifer, Callie (shown by Caleb) won Ayrshire Junior Grand Champion and Rebecca's Speedumpling won Ayrshire Reserve Junior Grand Champion.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Reflections from a Journey into the Wilderness

It has been two weeks since my sisters and I journeyed into the heart of our nations' parks containing (combined) well over 3 million acres of undeveloped land. But my journey into the wilderness continues to teach me and its lesson follows me as I retreat from rest and solitude into the busyness of human community life.

The wilderness is a powerful teacher of simple trust in the truth that the provision of God is abundant even in the absence of strife. The land that we walked was almost untouched by human hands, and yet is was so beautiful, so perfect, so peaceful.

I remember thinking at one very distinct point along a particularly lengthy hike, "Why do I worry?" In the middle of grassy fields and flowers and eagles and wolves, the anxieties of troublesome headline news and the stresses of work and the frustration of endless political squabbles all seemed so entirely distant, and in their distance, somehow insignificant when compared to the majesty and ordering of the wilderness.

So, why do I worry, O me of little faith? Is not the provision of God abundant, even in the wilderness? (See Matthew 6:28-31)

2009 Dutchess County Fair: Preparations

Get the flash player here:

Redefining Sin

"Here, then, is Jesus's radical redefinition of what is wrong with us. Nearly everyone defines sin as breaking a list of rules. Jesus, though, shows us that a man who has violated virtually nothing on the list of moral misbehaviors can be every bit as spiritually lost as the most profligate, immoral person. Why? Because sin is not just breaking rules, it is putting yourself in the place of God as Savior, Lord and Judge."

- Timothy Keller in his book, The Prodigal God, reflecting on the nature of sin in Jesus's parable of the prodigal sons.


Most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself.

- D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Friday, August 21, 2009

Moving, Settling & Celebrating!

Get the flash player here:

Rebecca and I spent the past couple of days moving and settling Luke and Hannah into their respective Ithaca apartments as they prepare for their studies at Cornell (Hannah - Applied Economics & Management; Luke - Animal Science). Hannah's apartment was especially intense in its need for decorating and cleaning, but we got the job done!

Wow, we are sure going to miss Luke and Hannah's daily presence around Bentley - they both keep us energized and laughing. We know we will see them soon, and we know they will both love their lives in college, but it was still a smidgen sad to say good-bye (although we made it a happy time).

Rebecca and I returned home to a great 26th birthday dinner cooked by mom that culminated with a summer homemade peach birthday pie! I even got to watch an entertaining John Wayne movie with my family, Angel and the Badman, compliments of one of Adam's many personalized and great birthday gifts!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Evolution of Wood

My brother Luke is quite the master craftsman. He was running three projects in his shop today. He built a beautiful custom frame for me using red oak.

Staining the frame.
Luke also worked with Benjamin. Together they made another custom frame - his will be a blue Hawaiin.
Luke and Sean also juggled another project - cutouts for fair display board (wooden cows and tractors are in the works). Sean is in charge of the stenciling and painting, Luke is in charge of the jigsawing.
The finished product with a beautiful baby elephant photo, a special surprise gift from Adam. I love it! (The reflection of the light makes it look a bit wrinkled, but in fact it is not at all!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lapes Visit, More Pictures

Get the flash player here:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Visit from the Lapes!

Get the flash player here:

I've been behind in reporting news from Bentley Farm, but here's a glimpse of the weekend here: Sean Rubin has graced us with his presence again! Additionally we were joined for the day by eleven members of the Lape family, as they traveled south from their family reunion.

Friday, August 14, 2009

And Back to Hiking the Mountains in NY...

This morning Hannah and I joined Mary Clarie and Laurel for a hike in our own home territory! It was so sticky and humid and we were dripping with sweat! Here we are at the top of Stissing Mountain.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 9 - Gem of the Rockies Trail (Yellowstone National Park) & Drive to Boise, Idaho

Get the flash player here:


- Bison on the road to our hiking destination!

- Another astounding hike (Gem of the Rockies, named for the garnets that are found in some of the rocks around the trail. 7.5 miles.) that was filled with abundant wildlife: a black bear, a pack of wolves, a herd of pronghorn, a bald eagle and a marmot!

- Singing along with the radio driving through Idaho farm country all the way to Boise, Idaho.

- Singing "Chicken Fried" in the car while laughing because it sounded hilarious and awkward and almost missing the exit.

- Piling all our camping gear into our hotel room for the night to pack and sort. Crazy!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 8 - Shoshone Lake & Hot Springs (Yellowstone National Park)

Get the flash player here:


- Waking up in our sleeping bags to 36 degree Fahrenheit weather.

- Hike to Shoshone Lake (6 miles round trip). Shoshone Lake is the largest backcountry lake in the continental US.

- Hot springs and sulfur smells!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 7 - Taggart Lake & Laurance Rockefeller Preserve (Grand Teton National Park)

Get the flash player here:


- Hike to Taggart Lake (4 miles).

- Hike to Phelps Lake at the Laurance Rockefeller Center (3 miles).

- Reading Wendell Berry!

- Animals: Prong Horn, Bison, Moose (cow and bull at two separate locations.)

- Being with my sisters!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 6 - Jackson Lake, Swan Lake, Heron Pond & Jenny Lake (Grand Teton National Park)

Get the flash player here:


- Hiking to Swan Lake and Heron Pond and looking for moose (3 miles)!

- The mountains of northwestern Wyoming (highest peak, Mount Teton, is fingered in picture) are almost 14k and breathtaking!

- Canoeing in STRONG winds and eating peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches on the beach.

- Watching a huge thunderstorm come over the mountains complete with hail and rain!

- Eating hot chicken and cilantro soup!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 5 - Montana to Wyoming & Old Faithful (Yellowstone National Park)

Get the flash player here:


- Big sky in southern Montana!

- Elk!

- Of course watching the world's most famous geyser erupt for the first time is pretty inspiring!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 4 - Highline Trail (Glacier National Park)

Get the flash player here:


- Activity of the day: We went on the hands-down-most-gorgeous hike that I have ever been on in my entire life. We hiked the Highline Trail from Logan Pass to The Loop. The 11.6 mile trail followed the edge of a series of mountains. We hiked at 7000 feet for most of the hike, cresting at the Granite Park Chalet. After arriving at the top, we plummeted 2,200 feet in 4 miles to arrive at The Loop. This trail is utterly amazing - flowered meadows and plentiful wildlife are found around each bend.

- Animals of the day: Mountain Goats, Bighorn Sheep, Marmots, Pika, White-Tailed Bucks and...a GRIZZLY (from our car with no time for pictures)!

- Question of the day (asked multiple times): "Where are your parents?"

Monday, August 03, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 3 - Featured Highlight

I caught this picture of a sow Black Bear and her cub along the Avalanche Trail today. We were returning from Avalanche Lake when we spotted two bear cubs and their mother coming down the hill toward our path (only caught one of the cubs, I got out of the way before the other one entered the range of the camera). Other people were hiking when we saw the bears, so I took the time to pull out my camera before making a retreat down the trail to let the bears cross the path. We're not hoping to run into one of Glacier's 350 Grizzlies!

Sisters' Trip: Day 3 - Lake McDonald & Avalanche Lake (Glacier National Park)

Get the flash player here:


- Horseback riding for two hours through the eastern-most Pacific Rainforest with a wannabe cowboy.

- Hiking to Avalanche Lake.

- Swimming in the clear waters of Lake McDonald.

- Appreciating the non-litigious Montana society.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 2 - Lower Two Medicine Lake & Hike to Twin Falls (Glacier National Park)

Get the flash player here:


- Waking up at 10am.

- Boat ride on Lower Two Medicine Lake.

- Hike with Ranger Pat(!) to Twin Falls.

- Soaking in Lower Two Medicine Lake.

- The best fish and chips ever!

- Cattle guards, dirt roads and Montana ranches.

- Spotting a cow moose and her calf alongside Route 2E at dusk. (Our attempt at a picture was somewhat futile.)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sisters' Trip: Day 1 - Washington, Idaho, Montana!

Get the flash player here:


-Meeting my sisters at the Seattle airport and eating Tillamook yogurt while waiting at baggage claim!

- Driving a bright blue Dodge Charger that made me feel like I was a nineteen-year-old guy.

- The intense heat of the eastern Washington desert.

- Cleaning up Rebecca's signature move - spilling soda!

- The majestic Idaho Panhandle National Forest.

- Sunsets and railcars in Montana.

- Finding our cozy cabin right outside of Glacier National Park and sleeping like rocks.