family currents: last call to summer

August began with a hot sun, though it didn’t hang on to the summer song long. We all seemed keenly aware this year that the changing days would soon give way to the start of school, and we savored the last of summertime’s fun.

Eva and William got to take tennis lessons through our township’s Rec and Ed. Thursday evenings were spent at the park riding bikes, playing in the play structures, or walking the trails while we waited for them.

Since our anniversary and my birthday were in August, we went on a couple outings without the children. We took lots of pictures and told them all about it, though : ). We are so blessed to celebrate 17 years of wedded bliss!

Samuel had a birthday. He’s 3!!! It’s truly the magical birthday age. He was very aware his special day was coming and couldn’t contain his long trains of questions, “And get presents? And blow candles? And my birthday? And get presents?”

We also went to the lake because if you live in Michigan, it is the proper way to enjoy summer. Of course, thunderstorms rolled in, and we packed up our encampment pretty quickly to enjoy a bowl of lentil stew at home.

This was the year of the frog. The children found so. many. frogs and toads! Cicadas, katydids (green leaf bug), praying mantis, and garden spiders also went into Samuel’s new bug box. And sometimes all at once. Not a good outcome for some. Nope.

This was also the summer we ran an animal rescue. Eva started the summer with a baby raccoon she named Boone.

And the three little girls found three baby bunnies!

We enjoyed pizzas on the grill most Sunday afternoons, and sometimes shared it with friends. Alexander would get pretty creative with the toppings, and Nathan grilled them to a crispy perfection. Our long picnic table makes for easy after supper clean-up, so we ate most suppers al fresco.

Nathan had bought a few large sky lanterns, and on the last weekend of August (while lovely friends were visiting), all the boys released the lanterns as a Farewell to Summer.

 with love, Damaris

Family Currents: August Abundance

August has been lambing season! We had marked the week on the calendar as to when the two ewes were due, but the exact day would be a surprise. On the last evening of our trip to Washington DC, we got a little text from a friend who was coming to count the barnyard animals once a day. We were in the outdoor hotel pool, and everybody was out of the water so fast to see pictures of the new addition. By the next week, the second ewe had her lamb, and now one cannot tell the lambs apart. We were surprised at how fast they are and how soft they are. Pure white little beauties!

Our mature pig Holly is due to have her litter in early September! Did you know a female pig’s gestation is 3 months + 3 weeks + 3 days?

Nathan found a swarm of bees in the work shop this week and rehomed them into a hive box. We’ll give it a couple more days to call it a success! Hopefully they like their new home. Then we’ll move the box to join the other hive. This will make a third hive. All of the mid-summer honey has been bottled! Feel free to email us, contact us through this post, Facebook, or Instagram if you’d like to enjoy some raw, unfiltered honey.

We love to go blueberry picking! This U-pick farm has a high bush variety which makes it very easy to reach and fill your bucket without bending low to search for the little fruit. It was a later in August than peak season, so we were left with smaller berries and fewer clusters. We ate our fill while picking and still gathered 8 pounds of blueberries! We enjoyed them all weekend and froze 6 quart bags with the rest.

Samuel’s birthday was mid-August, and it was so much fun to celebrate this sweet baby boy! We cannot handle all his sillies! You can read about his special day here. Since chocolate is his favorite food in the entire world, Eva baked this delicious cake. He was so tickled to open presents with trains, tools, and tractors!

A couple of weeks ago, our family went on a road trip to Washington DC where we attended the Bible Family Conference, visited nearby Arlington Cemetery and Mount Vernon, and of course enjoyed the national monuments, the Smithsonian, and the Museum of the Bible. Wrote about all the trip adventures here. We can’t wait to go back and learn some more! It was a great place for families – and large families too : )

The first Saturday in August always gets marked on the calendar early in the year. Our family doesn’t want to miss the Highland Games! It is such a summer highlight for us! The St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit puts on a full day of Celtic dance competitions, scone and shortbread shops, kilts, swords and traditional jewelry booths, Border Collie dog races, Shetland Sheepdogs and long-haired cattle for petting, caber toss, tug-o’war, hammer throwing, and other traditional Scottish games. We came home with a dozen lavender-lemon shortbreads that were Mmmmmm.

Farm fresh produce are available every day at the farm stand. We pick heirloom tomatoes by the bushel. The dark purple eggplants, sweet corn, okra, bell peppers and jalapenos are glossy and gorgeous. The spaghetti, buttercup, and butternut squashes are perfect, huge, and at the stand. All restocked daily. We also have real maple syrup and raw, unfiltered honey for sale at the farm stand. Come stop by the farm!

with love. Damaris

A Sweet Second Birthday

In the last several weeks before Samuel’s birthday, we’ve had little presents for him on the top shelf of our bedroom closet. And when he’s in our room, he points and “sings”. It was fun to see that he might be understanding his special day was coming up, and we’d celebrate!

Now it has arrived, and I can’t say enough how much I love this age! Two years old means lots of learning, lots of loving, and lots of laughing! He’s still sweet and needing to cuddle, hilariously repeating everything we say, and all with a side of sass. Hmmmmm.

He’s fallen hard for bugs. All kinds of bugs! We (I) are trying to teach him that not all insects are ok to hold. So, yesterday I found him in the basement, long wooden sword gripped with both hands saying “spider, spider” as he neared the corner. Surely this is a more masculine manner of bug-fighting than bringing them to mom in the kitchen.

Trucks, and tractors, and all things loud fascinate him. Especially trains. And he loves chocolate!

He’s so cute! If I haven’t told him 2,455 times in a day, I haven’t said it enough.

So tonight we celebrated his birthday. The children helped with the streamers, and banners, and lanterns. Eva baked this chocolate cake,and the little girls helped her wrap presents. When Samuel woke up from his nap, we all stood around and watched his face light up and glow with pleasure.

My sweet, sweet boy, you’ll never know how much you are loved.

Happy Second Birthday, Samuel!

with all of my heart. Mama

Family Currents: What we've been up to

Happy August, dear friends! The sun is hot and the tall straight grasses have been cut down. Haying time came in July, and now the hay bales are stacked and stored in the big red barn.

We’re certainly enjoying going through the summer bucket list! We recently went to the Henry Ford Museum and to the lake. Packing a lunch and calling it an adventure day is by far our favorite summertime activity.

Isabel had a birthday in July. She’s now 8 years old, and she’s so happy about it! Isabel has always been the most easy-going, low-maintenance, even-keeled child. She only requested cupcakes, and we made these filled with vanilla pudding. Filled with jam or any pudding is always absolutely delicious.

The two younger ewes are a mixed breed and shed most of their winter coat, but not all of it. After some time of high temperature, we realized we’d need to shear them. Nathan bought a pair of shears online and had his first successful sheep shearing experience. One of these ewes follows him like a dog when he’s in the pasture. Really, all the sheep (even the ram) are gentle and skittish.

By the way, the two older ewes are due to lamb in just a couple of weeks, and I’m giddy with excitement!

We’ve been at the pool everyday (all morning) for swim lessons. I couldn’t get all the children to swim in the same timeslot, so we bring books, a basketball, snacks, and I plop myself by the poolside until lunchtime. A couple of times we’ve taken a walk though the neighborhood, but it’s easier to just play and read while we wait.

Nathan and the boys did a mid-summer honey harvest this past week. We have about 7-8 gallons of raw, unfiltered honey. Couldn’t be more fresh! It tastes so different than the late summer/early fall honey! The color is very golden and the flavor is light and mild. Our honey bees can be spotted at anytime of the day feasting in the herb garden (hyssop, thyme, oregano flowers), the white clover in the pasture, and the vining plants in the garden (cucumber and squash flowers).

We opened the farm stand again this year! Farm fresh produce are available everyday. Eggplants, cabbages, red cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, and jalapenos are looking good! The tomatoes are not quite there yet. We also have real maple syrup and raw, unfiltered honey. Come stop by the farm!

with love. Damaris

Family Currents: Niagra Falls, Birthdays, Doll Making

My cousin’s visit from Spain was undoubtedly the highlight of the month of June. Before he came, we had given some thought to what fun things he may have never tried or seen before, so we ate hard shell tacos, s’mores, had a bbq night, and roasted hot dogs over the fire. We took a short trip to Niagra Falls which will be memorable for everyone.


Both Nathan and William had birthdays in June. We usually celebrate at home and let the birthday boy or girl pick a favorite meal and dessert.

William picked this cake from a Pinterest picture, and it was delicious! Here’s the recipe if you want to make it for your crew.


Nathan’s mom came over a couple of days and taught the girls some basics of the sewing machine and a few stitches. Their diligent labors produced these beautiful dolls! Thank you, Grandma for teaching, helping, and guiding the girls!


In the last few weeks, I also found a little bit of time to work on a couple projects. These outdoor ticking pillows and the linen throw brought be so much joy to make!


Watching all the plants come into their full glory with big bright blooms and tiny vegetables brings us whoops of joy. We’re enjoying delicious kale salads, but nothing else yet ready for harvest.


There are 20 new young pine tress on the farm! Ten are Norway spruce and ten are white pine. They’ll be replacing dead ones and being added to the perimeter of the pasture.

with love. Damaris

My Sweet Girl

My Sweet Eva,

God made you wonderfully, and we marvel at the gift of having you in our lives! Your cheerfulness is a delight in our family! My heart bursts to see how you watch for the needs of others and serve them with joy.

When you’re helping the little ones on the swing set or doing farm chores, I watch you from the kitchen windows and pray for you. I pray for your understanding of His love and mercy. I pray that you breathe in His goodness daily. I plead with the Lord that He protects you from all harm and evil, and that He continues forming you to have a gentle and quiet spirit, full of good works.

I pray that my own mothering mistakes won’t prevent you from seeing what a desirable and noble calling being a mother truly is. Being your mom is the greatest gift of my life.

Happy 12th Birthday, My Precious Girl!

with love. Mommy

Family Currents: Seder + Birthdays + Easter

We had the opportunity to attend a Seder (Jewish Passover) presentation and found the symbolism in the tradition so insightful. The children were able to ask questions and eat the different components of the meal. Because the gentleman presenting was a Messianic Jew, his excitement for the elements in the Seder meal that point to Christ was inspiring and a blessing. He walked us through the Scripture passages that reference the Passover beginning with Exodus 12, then read Matthew 26. We enjoyed such an encouraging time and were grateful for the educational and edifying opportunity!

Two pretty girlies celebrated birthdays too! Their anticipation building for weeks, it finally was their special day. Nora and Providence glowed with elation. How fun to be 6 and 4, and eat strawberry cake, and open little gifts, and wear fairy wings!

Easter is truly becoming more deeply meaningful in our family. In years past, it came and went with hardly more than a hurried weekend’s nod. This year, as a family, we purposed to have special readings and hymn singing each night leading up to Easter. We also were able to host dinner after Easter services! The meal was plentiful and the cousin time exuberant!

with love. Damaris

Family Currents: New + New + New + New = : )

Breaking into the new honey harvest!

We have bucket-fulls of raw honey from our hives. Nathan, his dad, William, and Alexander spun it out of the honey frames and screened out the wax. It’s so fun to see the difference in the honey the bees produce from year to year – this year’s bee sweetness is more gold than amber, and the raw texture is beautiful! Nathan bottles it fresh for each customer, so contact us through this post, facebook, instagram, or email. You’ll want to get a taste of this year’s honey harvest.

Fresh and green makes the kitchen feel new!

My little potted rosemary is surviving the winter in our kitchen. It’s perched on the window sill, and I water it everyday. Rosemary is my favorite herb in cooking and baking, but I’ve been hesitant to cut sprigs in case it saddens. It’s alive greenness makes me happy.

Fresh textiles bring a new mood!

Two warm days in a row and I already changed up the pillows in my bedroom – hah! Something so simple made the room reflect the sunshine and brightened up the room. It’s amazing how quickly our mood perks up with the sun warmth and glow through the windows. Now I’m off to pick up some Trader Joe’s eucalyptus and spruce up the bathrooms.

Bring on a new year!

This good-lookin’ lad had a birthday this week! He’s the firstborn, and we all enjoyed the excuse to love on him. Last year, his sisters practiced a little dance to perform in celebration of his special day, but this year,I dropped the ball. Nathan ordered a cookie dough ice cream cake for him, which was really fun. Not only did the cake make birthday dinner preparations much simpler, but it was a huge hit. First time, but may not be the last : )

with love. Damaris

Happy Birthday, Alexander!

I didn’t know motherhood until I met him.

So many nights, I laid my hand on his tummy, and prayed that he would be healthy, that he would be safe, that he would be intelligent, that he would live a long life, but more than anything, I pleaded that he would love God all of his days.

This handsome has been my honey boy for 13 years! I had loved him since May of 2004, but on Sunday morning, January 23, 2005, our joy was full when a bundle of softness and red fuzz was graced to us. God’s blessing of good health and a curious mind has always characterized this lad, and we couldn’t be more grateful for the gift of his life. Alexander didn’t mind if I shared a letter I wrote to him at the start of a new school year. He was 7.

Dear Alexander,

You are a gift from God! We were so excited when we learned that you would be a boy because we wanted your name to be Alexander! It is Yayo’s name, and it is a strong, manly name. Alexander means “defender of the people.” We pray for you daily that you will always love God and defend His Word above all else. Remember to let your light shine, so others may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven and that even as a child, you are known by your deeds. Defending those that are younger and weaker brings joy to our hearts and glory to God. We love you so much, Alexander Scott Kirkpatrick! We are so happy that God gave you to us as a blessing to our family!

With lots of love,

Dad and Mom

Photo credits: Maria Wild

with love, Damaris

Sweet Samuel is One!

I was in bed and almost sleeping last night, when I remembered I hadn’t checked on Samuel. That same instant he started whimpering, so I got up and brought him back into bed with us so I could nurse him. He fell asleep curled up in the hollow of my arm, and I remembered.

I remembered it was over a year and a half ago, Pearl Harbor Day, in the morning. We were so overjoyed with the news, Nathan had to break it to the kids at the breakfast table. Over homemade pancakes and raw milk, we giggled and grinned and asked all the fun questions of “when” and “what ifs.”

The baby would be Samuel, because God Heard.

Sweetest Boy,

For you we prayed, and for you we are grateful!

It has been the Happiest First Year!

cherished forever, Damaris