Monday, February 23, 2009

Baking, Shopping and a Birthday

Well, today was quite a full day. We started out by going into Teguc to do the grocery shopping for the team coming from our church. Nine people will arrive around noon on Wednesday. Pray for their safety and a problem free trip! The eight other gringos here will be joining in their meals, plus they are hosting a meal for all the live-in workers here at the Finca, so that translated into a truck load of food! :) We left around 8am as usual and I thought we might be back around 11am. Well, we finally got back around 1:30-ish.

Zack and I were planning on going to a birthday party for one of his friends which was supposed to start at 2. Thank goodness we are in Honduras and that actually means 2:30-ish! :) We quickly unloaded all the groceries, helped Andrea organize some of it (the team will be staying with her in the "missionary house"), and got ready to go to the party. I really thank God for the convenience of cell phones. From Teguc I was able to call and ask Karla Patricia to help my kids get lunch, then call Lilian to take care of them (and wrap the birthday gift:) after she was done working and Patricia had to go to school.

Zack and I caught a ride with Angel who was taking some of the Finca kids to the party. I put Angelica, Ali, Lilian, and Jaquelin in charge of making dinner. The recipe was in English and between my girls' limited Spanish and Lilian's limited English and cell phone calls to me at the party, they made a great Beef Nacho Casserole for dinner!
Unfortunately, I didn't remember to take the camera to the birthday party so no pictures.

Yesterday, Sunday, we had some friends over for lunch. Guillermo and Luz Cerrito and two of their children joined us for lasagna along with Concho, Danilo and Andrea. We met the Cerritos at the Finca's sixth grade graduation this past year and went to their house for Sunday lunch a couple of months ago.
Guillermo works for a forage grass seed
distribution company and knows quite a
bit about agriculture so Harlan, Dwain,
Concho, Danilo, and Guillermo had a lot
to talk about! :)

All three of the Cerrito children attend a bilingual school and can understand/speak English. Daniel is 14 and got to spend the afternoon with Zack listening to the many and varied stories and thoughts that fill a 5 year old's head! :)

It was a beautiful day to look around the Finca and sit in the sun!

Ali spent part of the afternoon looking for bugs with Alicia, one of the Finca girls. It seems one of the colegio (highschool) girls needed to find and identify 17 insects!

This past week was fairly busy, as well. We, Audrey, Angelica,
Ali and I, thought it would be nice to have some good
homemade baked items on hand for the team when they come. So on Friday they baked brownies and chocolate chip cookies and on Saturday we baked banana breads and miniature pumpkin and chocolate whoopie pies with cream cheese icing. We also baked enough whoopie pies for the Finca kids and workers. It was two long days of baking, but we know it was worth it! :)

Harlan and Dwain are keeping very busy with the agriculture project. This week they installed the water tank and are working on the irrigation lines that will be used for watering the crops during the dry season that will soon arrive.

Harlan even got to play with fire in order to heat the tubing so it would slide over the fittings on the tank! :)

I'm sure that everybody's weeks are full and sometimes it may feel like we do not have the time to do the things we want to do or the things that we know are important. I believe that if we seek God first and ask him what he wants us to do and then make sure we are doing his will and not others' (even though what they may ask us to do are good things), then we will find that we have done what we wanted and the things that we know are important! Now I just need to live it! :) May God bless you as you follow his will wherever you are.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Time Marches On (towards March)

Yes I know that title is lame but it's all I could think of.

Hey everybody. Another week of life at La Finca. A rainy day, some cloudy days, some sunny days. Today happens to be a very beautiful day. I should be out working but it's kind of nice to stay in the shade for a bit after lunch. The rainy day was an unpleasant reminder that there are roofs waiting to be fixed around here.

What have we been up to too? Hmmmm.....Maybe I'll work backwards from yesterday. Probably the highlight of my week. I took another fairly long hike up into the mountains surrounding Valle de Angeles. I forgot to take the camera along so there are no pictures. Ali and a group of 12 kids went with me. This time up a different side of Valle. We headed up towards La Tigra National Park into an area where mines and mining related activities once took place. Interesting scenery on the way up. We passed a barren waste land where according to a local landowner the mining companies used chemicals to extract precious metals from the ore mined out of the mountain. Farther up we hiked along a stream up through a small gorge. Very pretty except the water is contaminated with some cloudy grayish white substance. Farther up the mountain the stream clears up. The scenery got better too as we continued on. Our hike finally ended at an impressive waterfall. Nature there seems a little larger than life with huge boulders, over sized plants and massive trees, some of which have fallen across the gorge. The hiking was a bit tricky. It involved crawling up and over some things and a lot of jumping from rock to rock. The kids did well. Some were a little leary of certain parts but all in all it was good for them. I do enjoy my trips into the mountans although my knees complain a lot!

Among other things last week I worked at getting a dedicated water supply set up to irrigate our gardening projects. I hope to more or less finish that this week. I also spent some time helping Dwain advance said gardening projects. Large ants know here as "sompopos" have been carrying off sizable portions of our young plants. We are searching and researching ways to control them but in the meantime it is a bit frustrating. Enough so that we've temporarily resorted to pouring gas down their holes.

Saturday we celebrated Valentine's Day at our
house with the Kennel family and Dwain and Audrey. We had a nice little fondue dinner together. All kinds of good things to dip into chocolate, cheese, or barbeque fondue. A nice time of "gringo" fellowship.

Angel, Concho, Danilo and a group of other older boys are working on the future computer lab. Everything seems to be moving along quite well with that. Basically it just involves re-doing the roof structure with steel using a design that allows for more natural light. Very similar to what they did with the library.

Last week was the first week of school here at La Finca. Although we've lost some good work help we're glad to see the youngest kids all occupied with classes in the morning. This gives us a time of relative peace and quiet. We pray they will all do their best and learn as much as they can this year. Middle school and high school classes will start this week at the public school. Danilo, Concho, and Miriam will be taking classes at the public university in Teguz.

Photos of the week past:

Some future bull riders! From left to right: Javier, Cristofer, Brayan and Zack

Zack trying out his alternative to sledding down the hill behind our house.

Trust God gives all of you the grace to keep "marching on"!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Farm stuff and fish?!

Hey y'all, it's me again. I know, I know, it should be Harlan, but he's busy :) and you'll just have to put up with me! This week's been pretty good, not too busy, but it's been c-o-l-d!! I know you think that it's much colder where you Northamericans are, but it's been getting down to 46 degrees or so at night and very windy. This translates to waking up to about 56 degrees inside my house and wind coming in through all windows and cracks and no heat to turn on. The upside is that it also means no mosquitos right now!! :)

This past Thursday we decided to go visit Agafam. Agafam is an agricultural fair type event held in Tegucigalpa. We, our family, Dwain, Audrey, and Andrea, left right after Audrey and the kids finished school. The animals there were mainly horses and cows from different farms and ranches around Honduras. They also had some chickens, rabbits (who were digging under the fence and getting in the chicken pen) and some ponies for rides.
The fair also had the usual rides, games, food stands, and other stands selling sweets, jewelry, clothing, cowboy apparal, etc. Zack is at least one more step closer to being a cowboy, although it's Ali who has been wearing the hat lately. :)

We had decided to eat lunch there and my lunch was, well... interesting. I decided that I wanted fish and asked it I could have it grilled instead of the usual fried. The guy said he could steam it for me, but it would take about 15 minutes. Well, 30-40 minutes later :) I received my whole
steamed fish. By this time I wasn't hungry (since I had been picking off of everyone else's plates:) and it didn't help that Zack kept playing with the fish and opening and closing it's mouth! It didn't stop me from eating it, but I did give most of it to a couple of boys who came asking for money or food. If you're really interested, Dwain took a picture of the fish before I ate it!

We did our weekly grocery shopping before heading back to Valle. Harlan dropped the women off at the grocery store before heading to a hardware store, Do It Center. Just a note... I called to let them know we were finishing grocery shopping and they were still shopping at the hardware store. That should put a stop to complaints of how long it takes to do the grocery shopping. :)

We've been having a lot of fun learning new things we can make from scratch. Audrey introduced us to homemade pizza crust, soft pretzels, granola cereal and granola bars. We also make our own peanut butter and hummus. Some of the things we hope to try are bagels, bread, yogurt cheese, etc. Angelica has also baked us some yummy whole wheat brownies and has plans to try some other desserts.

This afternoon, Saturday, we all kind of went our different ways. Angelica went with Andrea and a bunch of the Finca girls to go play volleyball and soccer with youth from a couple other local churches. Ali, Harlan, Dwain and Audrey took a group of the Finca boys to the top of the mountain on the east side of Valle.

The picture above/right is looking down at the Finca. Our house is to the far right.

Flowers make anyone feel pretty :)

Zack and I stayed at the Finca while Zack and his sidekick, Brayan, went exploring, climbing trees, hunting rats under our house and throwing pinecones at them. :) I hung out for a little with Lilian, Jaquelin and the "babies" behind our house and then actually started some scrapbooking, which I've been wanting to start since we got here. It was great to have a little down time and relax.

Tomorrow, may you find a day of rest as you seek God and worship him with others!!!