Apple Cider

The Truth About Homemade Apple Cider

The apples were hanging so ripe on the trees,
We went out to pick them, and what did we see?
Hundreds of cowflaps around on the ground,
When the apples fell in them, they made quite a sound!

The poor tree was shaken 'til the last apples dropped,
And into a grainbag they quickly were popped.
The good and the bad, the wormy and bruised,
We weren't very fussy 'bout the apples we used.

We hauled all the apples to Grandpa's front lawn,
He said, "You'll be working from now until dawn!"
From the barn, we dug out the old cider press,
It was covered with cobwebs and was really a mess.

The apples were ground, they were squeezed, they were pressed.
A worm here and there, but you wouldn't have guessed.
After we finished, we all took a rest
And declared that our cider was surely the best!

                             -- Lisa G. Harriman

Daily Abiding with Granny - Coals of Kindness

Daily Abiding with Granny
"Coals of Kindness"

"If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink;
for in so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
(Romans 12:20,21 KJV)

This lesson from Granny comes to us in the second book, Going Home with Phoebe. Phoebe is having trouble making friends with a new girl named Delly. In fact, Phoebe even suspects that Delly has stolen a special book that had been borrowed from the parson's wife. Phoebe tries her best to be forgiving, but it's not easy. Zeke gives her encouragement and a lesson he learned from Granny - to be so loving and kind to those hateful people in your life that they can't resist the power of love and forgiveness. It's not easy, but Phoebe tries again.


Phoebe tried to return to the history of Magellan, but she kept looking at Delly and Stafford and Ross huddled around the stove. What kind of father would make his children walk to school on a day like this? She caught the eye of Delly, who quickly looked away. Phoebe noticed that her sweater looked square, like there was something underneath it.

After the spelling lesson, Miss Edgecomb looked at her watch that hung on a chain around her neck. “Phoebe, would you please help the younger girls to the outhouse and then fetch their lunch pails so they can eat in here? We’ll have to have our recess inside today.”

Stella and Jemmy put on their coats and bonnets to face the blowing storm for the few feet to the outhouse. They each grabbed one of Phoebe’s hands and squealed with mock fright as she raced with them across the soggy yard. The wind whistled through the cracks and even up the hole. No one ever dilly-dallied in the outhouse, but especially not on a day like today.

Even though the storm meant being trapped indoors all day, there was an air of excitement and adventure. Children scurried up and down between the desks. Some of the boys began leap-frogging over them until Miss Edgecomb promised a sing time. She also decided to allow them to sit with their friends instead of in their normal assigned spots. Stella and Jemmy pulled Phoebe to sit with them, so Phoebe squeezed into the seat next to the little girls. She looked around the room and noticed Delly sitting alone.

“I’ll sit with you another time,” she told the little girls. “I promise.”

She stood near Delly’s desk. “Would you like me to sit with you?”

Delly looked up with squinted eyes, “Why would I want that? Maybe I like being alone.”

Phoebe stared at her. Her eyes stung and her throat tightened. Her breath came fast and hard. She turned on her heel and plopped in the bench at her desk. Grrrr . .  . That Delly can be so . . .  so . . .  difficult! Doesn’t she recognize when someone is trying to be nice?

Phoebe ate the bread and cheese and apple pie that Maseppa had packed for her, but it tasted bland and dry. She loved to sing, but today she just didn’t feel like it. She’d be glad when their lessons were done and Zeke came to pick them up. She lifted the lid of her desk and froze.

There was the book! The red coloring from the binding was spreading to her papers. One edge looked smeared, like mud had been wiped off. She glanced over at Delly, but she was bent over her desk with intense concentration. She glanced up at Phoebe and then looked back at her work.

Miss Edgecomb was collecting papers from the third class on the other side of the room. Phoebe took the book and walked quickly to the coat room. She wrapped it in her shawl and put it under her lunch pail. Just as she was slipping back into her desk, she heard Miss Edgecomb. “Phoebe Johanson, please sit down and resume your studies.”

“Yes, Miss Edgecomb.”

The schoolroom returned to the normal sound of rustling papers and books. Phoebe glanced at Delly, who was staring at her. Phoebe and Delly held each other’s gaze for a few seconds. Phoebe smiled and there was a little twitch at the corner of Delly’s lips.

Phoebe was glad that Zeke was there when school let out at three o’clock. She told Matthew to get ready while she went to ask Zeke something. She explained about the Kittles, and just like she knew would happen, he offered to take them home. She ran back through the stinging raindrops.

“Delly, Stafford, and Ross, you don’t have to walk home. Zeke said he’d take you home. We’ll have to squeeze together, but that’s alright. We’ll stay warmer that way.”

Matthew, Stafford, and Ross sat on the floor of the buggy, while Delly and Phoebe squeezed in the seat next to Zeke. There wasn’t much room for their feet.

Delly whispered, “How come you didn’t tell on me about the book?”

“I don’t know. I guess I felt sorry for you, being all wet and all. I want to be your friend.”

Delly’s face clouded. “I don’t need no charity friends,” she hissed and turned her face toward the passing, wet landscape.

Phoebe glanced to her left to see if Zeke was listening. He was whistling and didn’t seem to be paying attention to them. The boys were on their knees and talking about Ol’ Sam.

Zeke dropped off the Kittles, and Delly stomped through the puddles without so much as a glance backwards. Phoebe felt frustrated and ashamed, but mostly confused.

After Matthew got out, she and Zeke headed home. The rain pattered on the buggy roof, and Ol’ Sam slopped steadily through the mud.



“Sometimes it’s hard being nice, isn’t it?”

Zeke lifted his hat and scratched his head. “I heard you and Delly talking. Let me tell you something. She’s hurting and embarrassed about her life. She’s pushing folks away ‘cause then they’ll see how things really are.”

“I know it’s not her fault that her pa is like that. I just want to be her friend.”

He smiled at her. “I know, Li’l  Angel. You’ve got a big heart.” He thought for a minute. “There’s a place in the Good Book that talks about ‘heaping coals o’ fire’ on folks’ heads to show you care.”

“Coals of fire?”

“Granny called it ‘coals of kindness.’ It’s showing so much love to them that their shame makes them uncomfortable and they can’t help but be sorry.”

Phoebe thought on that for a while. It isn’t easy to be kind to the Kittles. It’s like trying to hug a porcupine!  Phoebe cocked her head and faced Zeke. “Do you think you could take me over to the parsonage ‘fore we go home? I’ve got something that I need to tell Missus Thomas.”

Daily Abiding with Granny -Trusting God

Daily Abiding with Granny
"Trusting God"
"For I have learned, in whatever state I am,
therewith to be content."
(Philippians 4:11)

Granny hasn't had an easy life. She lost her son to illness when he was young. Her daughter moved out West to the Territories. Her husband died, leaving her with the farm. On top of all this, she has lost her sight in her old age.
But we find that Granny has accepted her life as it is. Granny has learned that God has a reason for everything in her life. She may not understand it, and it may be hard, but she trusts in God and looks for His blessings in whatever He brings her way. 

 Granny's Home
           Phoebe scurried upstairs and then stopped. In her hurry this morning, she hadn’t really looked around. At the top landing, the door stood slightly open. Phoebe gently pushed it and saw a large soft bed with its bedding pulled down over the footboard. The white lacy curtains swayed at the open window. There was also a chest of drawers with a round looking glass. Phoebe wrinkled up her nose and stuck out her tongue at her reflection. A painting of a man and woman with a little girl and boy hung on the wall.
            Granny hobbled and huffed up the last step. “Land sakes! Those stairs get harder to climb everyday. I can’t wait ‘til the Lord comes and gives me a new glorified body! Let’s plump up the feather mattresses and pillows now that the breeze has freshened the sheets.”
            “Who are those people in that picture?”
“Oh, I almost forgot it was there. It’s my husband, Henry; myself, when I was younger and a bit more slender; and our daughter, Emma, when she was about your age.” Granny sighed and brushed her fingers across it. “And my little boy, Charlie. I wish I could see it again. I miss them so.”
“Granny, why can’t you see?”
“Heavens t’Betsy! I guess the Good Lord took away my sight because He wanted me to understand things in a different way. Sometimes I see better by listening with my ears and feeling with my hands.”
            Granny shook and slapped the pillows and mattress until they were round and puffy. Then she pulled the sheets and blankets up, and topped it with a colorful quilt.
           “I made this quilt while I waited Henry Mackmin to finally get the courage to come courting. We were married forty-two years afore he died. I surely miss him.”
            She lowered the window sash, and they proceeded to where Phoebe and Maseppa had slept. Phoebe ran to open the window and pulled back the blankets, just as she had seen Granny’s bed.
         “Oh dear! You do learn quickly, Child, but next time, do it as soon as you awaken, so it will air out while you eat your breakfast." After they made up the bed, Granny closed the window against the cool autumn air.  “This was my Emma’s room.”
In the hallway, Phoebe pointed to the closed door. “What’s in there?”
            “I’ll show you." Granny led the way along the stair railing. She had to push the door with her shoulder.
          The air smelled musty, and a fly buzzed at the window. There was a low, small bed and big chest at its foot. The walls were bare except for a painting above the bed of a little boy and his black puppy.
            Granny was unusually quiet, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in here.”
 “Who slept here?”
            Granny sighed. “Little Charlie was always sickly. He suffered so with coughs and fevers. One time, it grew into pneumonia, and … and now he’s in heaven with the Lord.”
            Phoebe wrapped her little arms as far as they could reach around Granny’s middle. She tipped her head up to look at Granny's face. “Maybe the Good Shepherd is taking care of your little boy.”

Join me here as we study Granny's ability to live her life, 
daily abiding in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Love and Prayers,

If you haven't read A Home for Phoebe yet, 
you can order it on Amazon
or you can contact me for a signed copy.

Also, the sequel Going Home with Phoebe is now available.
You can order it on (Amazon)    
or you can contact me for a signed copy.

Dressed in White


A tumult of majestic anthems
Swells and fills the air, 
Their sweet harmonic chorus rising
To the endless sky.

Trilling harps, angelic singing
Praises, adoration,
Glory, laud, and acclamations
To the King on high! 

A moment… a pause of expectation
A lonely trumpet sounds,
All faces turn with anticipation,
Ivory gates swing wide.

Whispered voices and breathless gasps
Of joy and delight
Greet the elegantly splendered bride
Adorned in white.

She lifts her modest, mist-veiled face
In wonder and in awe
To vaulted alabaster rafters,
Iridescent light.

Crowds of eager, reverent faces
Multitudes surround her,
Ten hundred thousand on each side,
Welcoming his bride.

She fingers her snowy garment,
Pure and spotless wool,
Its endless train like a crystal river,
Flowing deep and wide.

The cloud of exultant witnesses
Creates a path before her,
Revealing the gentle, tender compassion 
In her beloved’s eyes.

In humble shame she bows her head.
Unworthy and unwanted,
Yet he sought her and found her.
Her lowly heart cries.

She didn’t deserve such love and mercy.
How could he love her so?
Her wretched filth and sinfulness,
Blasphemy and lies.

He chose her, forgave her, and forgot her past.
Seeing only her soul,
He washed her and cleansed her,
And clothed her in white.

She humbly lifts her thankful face
To him who gave his all,
Past the hundred million guests, she glides
To his glorious light.

With compassion and with endless grace,
He stretches out his arm,
And offers her his nail-scarred hand,
And welcomes home his bride.

A Dancing Scarecrow for a Day

Yesterday, we joined our daughter's family for a visit to one of our favorite summer places - Storyland. It's so much fun to see the wonder and excitement in the grandkids' faces. (To our disappointment, he dancing scarecrow wasn't there this year, but we had filled our day with lots of other fun.) Here's a story I wrote for Faithwriters (topic - travelogue)  - 

A Dancing Scarecrow for a Day

Once upon a summer morning, I wound my way between the rugged White Mountains of New Hampshire. Their towering peaks had a rejuvenating effect on me. As I followed the rushing Ellis River, each turn in the road left more of the world of business, politics, and adult problems farther and farther behind. I was taking my grandson, Buddy, to Storyland, a place where imagination comes alive. 

Even as we approached the crooked house entrance, laughing flowers and music-box tunes teased us over the top of the long blue fence. Buddy galloped in anticipation, and my old bones felt a strange urge to skip with him. The first time I entered this magical world was decades ago, but it felt like yesterday.

Within the gate, I see Humpty Dumpty still sitting precariously upon his brick wall. The train whistle blew as it pulled into the station. We chugged past Cinderella’s castle and three bears fishing in a pond. I remembered the animated gorilla and elephants in the jungle and the antique cars, but there were many more interesting additions. Buddy waved at a friendly worker with a broom over his shoulder. Everything sparkled with glossy, vibrant colors, and everyone seemed happy. 

Ignoring the map, we set out on our adventure. Buddy got a sticker from the Lady Who Lived in a Shoe and rang the bell in the Little Red Schoolhouse. We visited the Three Bears’ house, but of course, they weren’t home. I told him the story of the Billy Goats Gruff as we watched the antics of some prancing kids. Buddy, with his mini-attention span tugged on my hand to keep moving.

Royal puppet trumpeters greeted us as we entered a castle gate. A pumpkin, driven by mechanical horses, pulled up, but we opted to ride the German carousel instead. Next we joined a pirate crew and rowed past Black Beard’s treasure. A giant swan boat glided nearby, and a dozen electric goslings zig-zagged in a quiet cove. 

By then, my stomach began growling, maybe from the spicy aroma of tacos and chili coming from the Mexican village. After a quick lunch, we dared to explore Los Bravos Mining Co. and tried our luck at panning for gold. Over the hill, we found a whimsical restroom, and Buddy quenched his thirst from a lion’s mouth. 

Wherever we turned, we found rides from around the world: a Swiss cuckoo clock, Egyptian boats with water guns, an African safari ride, and even an icy Polar Coaster. I preferred a quieter ride in a Ferris wheel that looked like hot-air balloons. It felt like we had been Around the World in 80 Days. 

The path led up the hill to an underwater land, complete with a submarine and spurting coral reef. We never got too hot, for it seemed there was plenty of spraying water to refresh us throughout the park. Flying fish, leaping orcas, and twirling turtles sent my head to spinning. I continued up the hill as Buddy pranced beside me. 

Huge dinosaurs lounged beneath a roaring wooden roller coaster. Buddy thought it too scary, and I agreed. We found a nice farm with smiling tractors chugging through patches of tomatoes and corn. Buddy was thrilled to drive it himself. Nearby, we entered a darkened room to watch the Farm Follies show of singing vegetable puppets and a dancing scarecrow. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one needing a nap. A few sleeping toddlers were carried back into the sunshine. 

A double-scoop ice cream and a rest near the duck pond perked up my wobbly legs. The afternoon was ticking past, and we weren’t done yet. Buddy milked a cow near the Dutch windmill, and we floated in a Chinese bamboo chute that ended with a big splash. Since we were already wet, we bobbed and bumped on a raft ride where unpredictable geysers sprayed us at each turn. 

At last, the day ended with a gentle drive in one of the antique cars. I let Buddy chauffer me through the covered bridge and past a charging moose. We waved “goodbye” to the train engineer and headed home. With his souvenir plush dinosaur snuggled close, Buddy was asleep within minutes. As we emerged from the woodland mountain pass, the bouncy melodies still echoed in my head. Being a dancing scarecrow might be delightful for a while, but I am satisfied with my mature life – until the enchanting world of Storyland calls to me again.


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