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a new song.

I was meditating in the Word today and listening to this song by David and Rie of the blog, Home + Harmony.  The song is called A New Song, and it’s based on Psalms 40:1-4, word for word.

Inspired after they had their first child, they decided to put scripture to song so they could sing scripture to their children — what a lovely idea.  Even though this compilation is intended for little ones, I even love the simplicity of their folksy acoustic style, as well as the power of simple scripture set to song.  I played it for Dhara, and she loved it.  We both love it.  Plus, it’s great for slow dancing with your little baby.  Try it sometime.  Dhara was all smiles.

1I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

2He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

3And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

4Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Psalms 40:1-4 (KJV)

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texas hill country.

beautiful texas hill country

It was such a blessing to have Greg’s parents take us down to Wimberly, Texas for a week of family and relaxation.  Wimberly is in Texas Hill Country — hill country is a region in central Texas that features tall rugged hills that consist of limestone or granite and is marked by wooded canyons cut by spring-fed rivers.  Wimberly is a beautiful little town full of trees, gravel roads, great local artists + shops and lovely views.

We stayed in the River House, one of Uncle Phil’s beautiful vacation rentals.  The River House had a little house next to it called a casita, which Greg, myself and the baby stayed in for a week, fully equipped with a washer and dryer in our bedroom — soooo helpful!  The week was spent hanging out there, as well as at Uncle Phil’s other two houses, the Sunset House and the Rim Rock House.  We spent most of those days on porches, rocking in rocking chairs and talking of days of old.  We also went tubing down the river, celebrated Uncle’s Phil’s 50th birthday, visited San Antonio, and squeezed in a lovely date or two with just the two of us.  (Mom, thanks sooo very much for watching the baby!  I know it was a great time for you both as well!).

Aunt Teri was so awesome to bring kolaches (a Czech delight) with her when she arrived in Wimberly.  My favorites were the blueberry + cheese kolaches, as well as the spicy sausage, jalapeno + cheese kolaches.  So yum.  When Greg and I lived in Baltimore we would make these all the time.  One of our favorites to make were kolaches filled with poppy seed jam, along with a steaming pot of tea — really made our Settlers of Catan evenings!

Here are some highlights from our trip.

meeting great granny lanny for the very first time

It was also Dhara’s first time meeting Granny Lanny.  The first meeting was sweet.  They just looked into each other’s eyes — Granny Lanny’s smiley ones and Dhara’s big bright ones.  Dhara is such a people person that she didn’t mind that she didn’t know this woman — this woman being her Czechoslovakian (or Bohemian, as Granny Lanny calls herself) great grandmother.

I actually spent alot of my time this trip hearing more stories of her childhood and married years.  She spoke quite fondly of her parents Sigmund and Eunice who came from Central Europe by ship and landed in Galveston, Texas.  She loved her dad — a very kind + good man.  She was one of five girls, and when the weather was chilly, her father would scoop each one of his daughters up in a homemade quilt, and place her on a stool in front of a wood stove to stay warm in the evenings.  As a child, she spoke Bohemian until she went to school and learned English.  Cultural dancing was a big part of her community growing up — babies were put on a quilt and placed under a table to nap while everyone danced.  She shared so many more neat stories.

dhara with great granny lanny, grandma smith + great aunt teri

eating aunt teri’s bracelet

sunset house pool overlooking the hills

hallway with a view, made with reclaimed wood

the uncle phil/dhara stare-down. uncle phil won.

aunt peggy and dhara

me knitting a cozy sweater for dhara

dhara with her uncle austin (greg’s cousin) and his sweet girlfriend, bonnie

granny lanny absolutely loved her new great granddaughter

uncle phil + his cardboard cutout at his 50th birthday bash, rim rock house

loved how aunt peggy decorated!

my little sweet sweet clapping her hands

dhara dancing and clapping her hands to the band playing “brown eyed girl”

granny lanny quietly enjoying the dancing from above

the end of a great 50th birthday bash

little toes in blanco river

she loved it

“remember the alamo!” san antonio, texas

on the riverwalk, san antonio, texas

with grandpa smith

with grandma smith


a family photo at the river house

lastly, this swing was a gift from greg’s parents to uncle phil for his 50th birthday — it swings from a great big tree at the river house and it’s officially been named, “the dhara swing”

first plane ride.

She experienced her first plane ride en route to Texas.  We gave her a bottle going up so that her ears wouldn’t pop.  She slept a good 1.5 hours during the 3 hour flight, she laughed and played with strangers, read her favorite book, and ate some baby food during the flight.  She didn’t take a bottle going down, so she had some ear poppage which made her a little fussy.

Overall, she was a happy and pleasant baby during the whole experience and loved the grown-up feel of being at the airport in the early morning (6 AM), and being on a plane surrounded by so many new faces and new things to look at.

wearing her “going to market blouse.”  also, take notice of her new teeth.

brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?” by bill martin jr. + eric carle and a bottle of baby food (organic apples) from roots market.  she loves the book, and hates the baby food in a jar.  the look on her face after her first bite, “what is this stuff, old people food or something?”

yarn harvest + featured III.

I personally thought it very neat to see a photo from Dhara’s party featured on the Juniper Moon Farm blog (their July 19th post)!  Love this farm for it’s Yarn CSA.  I haven’t signed up yet, but can’t wait to begin investing in their yarn harvest sometime in the future!

Such a great idea for people interested in owning their own sheep, but can’t, and also awesome for people who want a Spinner’s Share in the form of roving — for folks who want to spin their own yarn.  Owning a share of wool crop also allows you to get to know the animals being sheared, which from the looks of it, seems like a great experience.

photos from Juniper Moon Farm

texans love texas.

We are heading down to Texas for a whole week.  I’m leaving in a few hours, but before I go, I thought I would post a journal entry detailing my first trip there in 2007 to visit Greg’s family.  The following entry is from my old blog.  It’s a lovely reminder of the things to come this next week.  I hope to post more while I’m there.  See ya’ll in Texas!

December 12th, 2007

I like Maryland, but for some reason, I can’t say I LOVE Maryland.  That’s why I think it’s kinda cool to hear when people say that Texans love Texas — it gives me a homey pride inside…even though I’m not from around there.

This past weekend Greg and I, along with his parents and sister, spent 5 lovely days in Wimberly, Texas visiting family.  We stayed at his uncle’s riverside bed and breakfast with many people from Greg’s maternal side of the family — the Collins’.  This family really blew me away with their hospitality and all their wonderful story telling of years gone by.

This is the kind of family you write books about.  Books detailing their arrival to America by ship and living under a great big tree until they could build a house for themselves.  Books about cotton picking and becoming something great.  Books about making something out of nothing.  These are the types of books I love reading on a rainy day like today in my white cotton nightgown and snuggled deep down under the covers.  Maybe even an entire book on kolaches or kolacky!  These are usually sweet buns made from yeasted dough and usually have fruit or poppy seed filling — bohemian goodness at its best.  I had one with sausage, spicy jalapenos and cheese, and BOY was it tasty!!!

I didn’t realize that Czechs are also called Bohemians until I spoke to Greg’s grandmother who spoke bohemian when when she was a young Czech girl growing up in Texas.  Quite interesting.  I always knew there was something nomadic, gypsy-like and free spirited about my husband — but I could not pinpoint it until now.  : )  I can most definitely see where Greg gets some of his interesting quirks from after meeting these neat people.

granny lanny and greg


blanco river on a downcast day


the grandboys

imagine childhood.

Amanda Blake Soule, or Soule Mama, is doing a little giveaway for Imagine Childhood.  Which reminds me that I have some weaving to catch up on!  Back in December when I was thoroughly and completely pregnant, my family decided we wouldn’t do a grand Christmas (lots of presents and all), because the little one would be our grand Christmas.  We basically made known the 1-2 things we wanted for Christmas, put each of our names in a knitted hat, and picked a name at random.  My mom picked me.  And what were the two things I wanted?

The Beka Weaving Frame AND The Potholder Loom from Imagine Childhood.

the beka weaving frame

Since I was a child, something I’ve always wanted to do was shear sheep, card the wool, and finally handspin my own yarn.  Back in college I almost purchased an antique spinning wheel!  Crazy, but true.

I live vicariously through Farm Mama — she continually inspires me to try my hand in the whole making-my-own-yarn process.  One of these days I’m going to march myself over to Sharp’s Farm and just ask them if I can help shear sheep.  Kathy, the owner, is a real nice lady, so I think she just might let me.  [She might look at me funny first, but then I think she’ll let me.]  : )  Twas a complete bummer I missed the Sheep + Wool Festival that my county hosts every year, but there’s always next year.

I’m using the Beka Weaving Frame to build my way up to the Beginner’s Weaving Loom for dish towels, rags, and things of that nature.  When we lived in Southern Illinois, Greg and I would frequent the home of an older couple, who were previously hippies, who lived out in the country in a sustainable home made of cedar built by the wife’s parents.  It had a very natural, earthy, crunchy, lived-in feel to it.  I love that feel.  We always loved going there for their peaceful company and simple suppers.  The wife, such an interesting lady, had a great, large, stand alone wooden loom in her airy bedroom that took up a large portion of her room.  I just loved looking at her projects and crafted items.  Inspiring.  Inspiring.  Inspiring, to say the very least.

Greg says if ever a sheep shearing conference occurs in Ireland, he’d let me go — what are the chances of a sheep shearing conference in Ireland?  Lord, please bring it to pass.

the potholder loom

If I win the giveaway, I want to get the following for Dhara.

hardwood construction blocks

the meager beginnings of a vegetable garden, pt 4.

[For the sake of documenting this, I woke up early this morning to our house in the midst of a great shake!  Literally.  My first thought — the Second Coming of Christ.  Made a mental note to make sure our visitor, Zac Poonen, was still here later in the morning.  Check — he was.  As many of you tri-staters know by now, we had an earthquake early this morning at 5 AM.  The center of the earthquake was specified to be in Rockville, MD.  This is the first earthquake I’ve ever experienced.  Maryland hasn’t had one in a long, long while.  So surreal when I think about it now.  I really thought I was dreaming…]

What Have We Been Growing?

cherries, from my dad’s cherry tree

lots of leafy, crisp romaine lettuce

black raspberries

lots of summer squash

pears, from my dad’s pear tree

cucumbers

broccoli

cilantro

rosemary

I don’t have photos to show for them yet, but we’ve also got lots of dill, a strawberry plant that will produce berries next season, bittergourd (pavaka), newly germinated tomato plants, mixed peppers, basil, beets, carrots, and poppies (my only flower!)

As for the raised bed, we filled it with a mixture of 40% soil, 40% composted pine bark, 20% manure/fertilizer.

As a newbie gardener, some things we would do differently next time:  1) contain excitement and wait to purchase plants — some of my strawberry plants died because I didn’t plant them in time, 2) make more raised beds — we later realized that we could probably have fit 3 more beds in our enclosed garden — three more! — we need to be better utilizers of space next time we build a garden, 3) find a better way to grow broccoli — we enjoyed the broccoli in our salads, but our broccoli heads didn’t grow nice and full, 4) purchase local soil, 5) add a drip irrigation system to the garden.

Next up, my review of avid gardener and enthusiast, Gayla Trail’s books, You Grow Girl and Grow Great Grub.  Love her folk styled gardening way of life.

the meager beginnings of a vegetable garden, pt 3.

Keeping Weeds Out

You probably noticed in my last garden post that there were a ton of weeds surrounding our raised bed garden.

I hate weeds.  I’m getting to the point where I can tell the difference between a newly germinated plant and a weed.  Almost.  Our garden is adjacent to the woods in our backyard, so there are plenty of weeds just itching to invade the small sanctuary we made for our garden.  And because many of them succeeded, Greg went out there on a cool Saturday morning and took a weed wacker/trimmer to all of them — clearing out the space until you could finally see beautiful brown dirt again.  Once he was done weed wacking, the enclosed garden looked quite nice against the thick verdure of the forest behind it.  [Side Note:  We want to keep our garden completely organic, so we haven’t used any sort of weed killer.  This keeps our garden free from those oh’ so bad chemicals.]

Next, we covered the ground with more of the corn based groundcloth in order to keep the weeds from regrowing.  I enjoy using this stuff because of it’s fabric nature.  Once the cloth was laid out, Greg had to secure the groundcloth by nailing it into the ground.

little watcher


Greg used twigs (as nails) to nail the groundcloth into the ground — I really enjoy the way this man’s mind works


And lastly, we covered the groundcloth with a nice layer of mulch and added stones around the outside of the fence (Greg dug up the stones from a creek that runs through the woods in our backyard.)  That should put a stop to most of those nasty weeds!  (It’s been a few months since we added the groundcloth and mulch, and it’s still pretty much weed free, except for the occasional outlier.)

And what a difference this has made!  I love our little garden!  I haven’t taken many photos of the container garden on our deck, but that’s exactly what it is, a garden in containers.  Hopefully photos of that in the near future.  Next up is probably the most important question, what have we been growing???

the meager beginnings of a vegetable garden, pt 2.

Feels like ages since I last wrote about our vegetable garden — April to be exact.  So much has happened since then.  What have I learned thus far about gardening?  I’ve learned that I love our little vegetable bed and container garden.  I love weeding so that our precious veggies can grow free and strong.  I LOVE when it rains, because that means our plants grow even faster.  I’ve learned that I like using a spade.  Now I just need a nice pair of gardening gloves, because I’ve been using my bare hands to dig holes, pull weeds, and plant!  Lastly, I’ve learned the beauty of organic eating (on a meager vegetable garden scale) — the earth and its produce never felt as sacred as it does now.  Oh to hold a summer squash, germinated from seed, in my hand is one of the best feelings in the world!

So back when I last wrote about our garden, I left off at fencing a garden.  And so I continue…

Fencing a Garden

Once Greg crafted the raised bed, it was time to fence it off from the myriad of deer, rabbits, and whatever else would be after our humble crop.  [Keep in mind that prior to even making the raised bed, he prepared the ground by doing a lot of leveling to make sure the bed would be on flat and even ground once it was finally placed.]

So once it came time for fencing, he measured a large enough space for the raised bed with ample room to walk around the bed.  He then laid out an eco-friendly corn based groundcloth to keep the weeds out of the raised bed garden.  He used a few rolls of fencing wire to enclose the garden, along with wood stakes placed every few feet as reinforcements for the wire.  Greg’s makeshift fence also came fully equipped with a door he crafted.  Call me silly, but I was so excited when I saw the door hinges!

See the wood block hanging from the twine?  Greg made it so that if you pull the wood block, the locking mechanism inside the door unlocks the door to our secret garden, ok, well not so secret garden.  I love my husband.  If you don’t already know this about him, he is uber cool. : )

There’s so much more I could say, but I’ll post more tomorrow.  Next up, keeping weeds out.

baby smith handmade #4.

Project #4:  Bunting.

I love bunting.  I love sewing bunting.  This 30 foot stretch of bunting was used for Dhara’s party, but will eventually grace her bedroom, that is whenever we move out of my parent’s home.  Right now it’s hanging in our bedroom near Dhara’s crib.

Most bunting you find is triangular shaped, but I wanted something a little different, so I went with a semi-circle design (I just cut my own semi-circle on pattern drafting paper).  And I’m so glad I did!  The bunting is double sided, so I used a different fabric for the front of each semi-circle and a different fabric for the back.  I used double folded bias tape for the red strip that holds the bunting together.  It probably took me around 5 – 7 hours to complete the entire project — from cutting to sewing everything together.  Of course with a baby, that time is split with some sewing here and some there.  Gone are the days when I can complete a project in one sitting.

from Dhara’s Summer Garden Party

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Other Baby Smith Handmade Projects:

Project #3:  Waterproof Bibs.

Project #2:  Shawl Collar Sweater.

Project #1:  Scalloped Blanket.

What is Baby Smith Handmade?