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How Great Thou ART - Letters From The Farm

"The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart."

R.G. Ingersoll

January, 2011

Man with Hoe If there was ever a couple of city folk that looked as out of their element on a farm than a pair of goats on a city sidewalk, it was Saundra and me. When we first purchased the farm, we didn't even know how big an acre was. Local farmers had a tempered knowledge learned from generations of agrarian lifestyle, while we stumbled and bumbled along the way. With the weights and measures that God had meted out to us in our different male/female personalities, it was soon obvious that my beloved wife was more reserved and hesitant over the countless decisions that had to be made on a farm; whereas, I was more assertive, daring, and impetuous. Quite a combination for two green farmhands.

Our first few gardens were disheartening. Likewise, several feeble attempts to feed the Canada geese at our pond proved futile. There were disappointments in raising bees, tending to chickens, and the many demands of maintaining the land. Saundra would often sigh and say, "It's too much work." Needless, I would continue to dig and plant and build saying, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

Many suburbanites look over the fence and dream about the beaucolic life on a farm. They envision the flower boxes filled with colorful pansies underneath the window sills, the lush vegetable gardens, and a merriment of humming birds dashing about. Yet, for the green homesteader, it is more like being a settler in the old West. In the blink of an eye, weeds grow as tall as beanstalks; the beetles and worms, with their voracious appetites, compete for the produce in the garden; the snapping turtles, more like pre-historic sea monsters, rapaciously go after the ducks and geese on the pond; and the bugs and gnats, along with the summer sun, can be merciless. And so, our naive labors would produce many failures. This painting by the French artist, Millet, seems to sum up our frustrations as we looked to the heavens and moaned, "Why did Adam and Eve have to sin?" Through it all, we kept digging, cutting, building, sweating and believing.

The years have pleasantly passed. We have become all the wiser through experience and the guidance of God. Our gardens are lush, our livestock plenteous and productive, the hearth glows with seasoned wood and all is more than well on the farm. Though some of our neighbors still look at us with a chagrin smile, most of the locals hold us in high regard, as the only thing green about us now is our thumb.

Be Blessed,
Mr. Stebbing

Art History Tid-bit
Frederic Remington (1861 - 1909) and Charles Russell (1864-1926) are known as two of the greatest Western artists in American history. They both lived at the same time, near the end of the 19th century, and both led exciting lives in the old West. For those students who truly love drawing horse we recommend that you study Remington and Russell.

January Art Lesson
Drawing a Bird (taken from Feed My Sheep - Lesson 143)
Click Here to download

January Special
Free set of 4 Acrylic 2 oz. Paints (Primary Colors plus White) and Brushes with the purchase of Book of Many Colors (ages 12 & up). A $11.95 value. (Upgrade to Deluxe Brushes add $2.00.)
Click here to view/order

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