Thursday, October 13, 2011

Breathe Deeply

Time stands still for me, for just a brief moment....

Outside the window of my tiny grandson's home, the cars continue to whiz by. I hear the sounds of children hurrying to get home after a day at school. There is a sound of an emergency vehicle in the distance and all the world seems to going by at a very fast pace.

But at this precious moment of quiet, and an acute awareness of perhaps grasping at the hem of my Savior's robe,  I breathe deeply, allowing my senses of touch and smell to fill my heart with joy!

He smells so good in my arms, this precious baby sleeping against my face. He lies quietly, belly full of his Mama's milk, clean diaper and heavy eyelids, this grandson of mine. At times like this I simply enjoy smelling the sweet baby-smell of this child who came from his mother's womb, who came from mine. Seems like it was yesterday that cradled HER in my arms. Where has the time gone?

It's in the quietness that I am learning to experience "the holy". This moment was truly a holy one and I fully worshiped as I held him in my arms. I worshiped The One who created him in his mother's womb, this little one, fearfully and wonderfully made.

I also pondered in my heart how trusting he was to rest so peacefully in my arms. He wasn't concerned about where his next meal would come from, or if someone would remember to meet the needs of a dry diaper and a clean sleeper. He was filled and he was satisfied. 

My Heavenly Father desires the same kind of relationship with me - trusting, resting, and filled with His grace. 

For a sweet moment in time, as I breathed deeply, I experienced "the holy". I have been blessed.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Farmers' Market and Garden Finale!

The Farmers' Market, where we sell produce is still in full swing! Our market doesn't end until November 19th, and we will still have plenty of certified organic produce to sell there - from sweet potatoes all the way to delicious salad greens! 

Here you can see a little variety of what we have to offer there. I took time to decorate our stand with autumn leaves and fall flowers.

Grandson, Braeden (who sells his own radishes) helps his Papa (Husband) sell the produce. He is quite knowledgeable in answering questions about produce and how to prepare the different things. 

 We have five different types of gourmet heritage garlic to sell now: four hard neck and one soft neck varieties. There is nothing quite like fresh garlic in one's food.

The market takes a lot of time away from my home chores. Besides helping harvest, clean, sort and pack the produce during the week, I try to fit in as much canning as I can. Of course the laundry and housework keep coming too and demand my attention.

I help homeschool three of my grandchildren one day a week - to teach art every other week, and babysit for two more, one day, every other week. I also lead women's Bible studies in my home and volunteer for Hospice. No one can say that I sit idle very long at my house!


We harvested the last of our produce today. The four wheeler is loaded with peppers in all colors. I picked the last of the sweet and hot peppers so that I can dehydrate some and freeze some. I picked the last of the celery for dehydrating for my soups this winter, and enough broccoli for one more little serving. The white tubs contain the last of the white potatoes that still needed dug and one final watermelon to sneak in for one last taste of summer. 

Here is a cute picture of some of my grandsons from yesterday's events. The oldest one had his face painted at the Farmers' Market so of course, the littler ones needed theirs painted too, so this Grammy got out her paints and quickly satisfied their desire to look like tigers. We took our "tigers" to a potluck dinner with some friends and they looked pretty cute with their painted faces.

The leaves are falling like snow now. Won't be long before the winter winds start blowing and the temperatures will really drop. I am thankful for a wood pile, a pantry stuffed with ample produce to get us through until the next garden season and memories of warmer days to get us through the long, cold winter.

Until next time..... Blessings to you and yours.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Just An Ordinary Day

Another homeschool lesson, this time from Papa, on all kinds of fasteners and what they are used for. He had the boys try out all kinds of different ones and then walked around the shop looking for fasteners in the shop and how they were used like, how the shelf brackets were held on, or the door hinges, etc.

The boys love this part of the homeschooling because we do hands-on projects while their poor Mama gets stuck with math and science and reading!

Even little Jackson gets involved when he is not too tired! What a cutie pie! At this time, he just preferred to sit on Papa's lap.

It's not all fun and games though. Mama makes them crack down on the book work! They are smart! Ethan works on his math...

 While Braeden works on his subtraction. When they put their minds to it, can get their work done quickly. They love reading the most. In addition to things like math, science, history, reading and handwriting, their Mama takes them to a homeschool gym class in a nearby community with other homeschool kids on Tuesdays. Then once a week, I teach them all forms of art and/or Papa teaches life skills.

The sunset was pretty tonight. Much prettier than the picture shows. If you look closely you can see the sun beam shadows poking through the clouds going upwards.

There was rain coming on the horizon and sky was a beautiful sort of golden amber color above the clouds (which doesn't show up very well). It was breathtaking and I am glad I have this picture to remind me of the beauty.

I snapped it just as Sara and I were heading out to the canning kitchen to start canning the last of tomatoes. They weren't very nice ones, and we had to cut out a lot to make enough good parts for one last batch of tomato sauce.

We kept Lydia entertained by feeding her an occasional chocolate chip. She is certainly her mother's (and Grammie's) little girl, when it comes to chocolate! She just turned one about a week ago and just cut her first tooth!

The chocolate brought a smile to her face and she kept signing "more" so I kept popping them in her mouth. She probably had 8 or so chocolate chips before she was done and now there is chocolate all over the Pack and Play!

She is such a little angel and is a real trooper. I told her that she was going to be helping when she gets a little bigger! She just grinned. I don't think she took me seriously. She was saying "Papa" tonight as we worked. I am sure that will get her lots of wonderful things in the future, by melting her Papa's heart! I call her Lydie Lou. Sweet girl!

Sara ran the kids home to put them to bed and Husband and I started in on the sauerkraut making. We got almost done before Sara got back but she did return to help make two batches, one of green cabbage and one of purple cabbage.

Here are my workers mashing the cabbage into wonderful juicy sauerkraut. It makes my mouth water just looking at this wonderful stuff!

Oh how we love homemade sauerkraut! Our work day ended about 10:15 PM. Sara went back home to her family and we went back into the house to ready ourselves for bed. Tomorrow we start the roof on the lean-to. Husband's friend, Tim, will be here at 8 AM, so my day will start early again! Better get some sleep!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Summer Wrap Up

The summer is fast fleeting. I can feel a chill in the air and have noticed that the leaves are either starting to change to the colors of autumn or they are laying brown and dry on the ground.

 It's been a good summer though and a lot has been accomplished. I thought I would spend a little time recapping what just some of the activities have been here.Of course this is just a small sampling of the activities here but with just these few, you can see how blessed we feel.

 The garden has been wonderfully fulfilling. We have struggled with either too little moisture or way too much but none the less we have were blessed with produce to eat now and in the winter.

Broccoli that makes my mouth water. 

We have had a good amount of tomatoes and peppers for making salsa, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and more. I dehydrated a lot of the peppers for use this winter in stews and casseroles.
Daisy has been providing us with plenty of milk for not only drinking but making cheese, butter, yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk and of course homemade ice cream. Yum! These are two of my grandchildren that wanted to help me milk her that morning. They live in the city but have the desire to live on a farm someday. I wish they lived closer and could visit me more often.
The chickens have been doing their part in keeping us well fed. Not only are the hens laying about two dozen eggs a day, we butchered 100 meat chickens to put into canning jars for my house and the homes of my children and their families. Chicken is good when it's canned and makes cooking so much quicker and healthier!
Don't you just love "Old Blue"? This old truck is literally falling apart so it never leaves the farm but it hauls our firewood from woods to woodpile every year. We only use in the summer to haul our wood but it starts every time! I just love this old truck. We have had it for a long, long time.
Here we are butchering some of those meat chickens. Most of the family gathered together to complete the task of providing meat for our families. Even the grandchildren helped and loved being a part of seeing where their food really comes from. It was a family affair, for sure! We enjoy working together and playing together too!
We kept the canners going all summer with various meats, fruits and vegetables. I love canning with my daughters. It makes the time go so fast and we have so much fun chatting about things from joking around to having serious conversations. Old fashioned skills help bring families closer! People need each other more this way.   

We were blessed with a new grandson this summer (we now have 8 grandchildren!) and our gardens and animals helped feed our family and friends that gathered here to fellowship with us.

It's time to dig out the fall decorations and wool sweaters! Only 9 more days of summer remain. As much as I hate to see the hot days disappear, I look forward to hearty soups, homemade breads and pumpkin pies to frequent our table.

I look forward to the canning season being done so that I can slow down a bit. I have looked well to the ways of my household this summer and I am not afraid for the snow to arrive, just as I read in Proverbs 31: 10-31. God has blessed us and we are grateful. Very grateful indeed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another Busy Day

The weather is really starting to feel more autumn like now. The days are only in the mid 70s and the nights get down into the 50s. I sure hate to see summer go. I haven't had nearly enough hot weather yet to suit me. I am not ready for mums, pumpkins and fall leaves. It is still August and I am hanging on for all it's worth! I am not ready for the garden to stop producing yet.

I have had so much trouble the past few months with tendinitis in both of my wrists. I have to wear hand braces most of the time during the day and night. It is very painful and most difficult to get anything done. I have been canning up a storm and there is much yet to do. At the end of the day I am very sore. The sharp pain wakes me in the middle of night when I do something as simple and easy as pulling the sheets up closer to my chin. I don't see having time to rest my hands until the food is put up for the winter and the Farmers' Market season is done - right before Thanksgiving.

Husband has been helping me milk lately, to try to spare me the agony of struggling with the milker. I so appreciate it. I miss the time with Daisy though. I really do. Milking her is a simple pleasure for me. I can't wait to get back to doing it myself again.

Daisy is now about half way through her pregnancy. Her belly gets a bit rounder every week. I lay my hand on it to see if I can feel her calf move but I haven't had that pleasure yet. I can't wait to feel it kick! She is due in early January. Oh don't worry - I will post pictures!!

Daughter Sara and I worked on more tomatoes today. We managed to get a roaster full for her today so that she can start cooking it down for a nice thick paste. I am not sure what she is planning to make from the sauce but I am sure it will be heavenly.

I have already done pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce. I would like to do another batch of spaghetti sauce and some medium hot salsa before the tomatoes stop producing. I have put quite a bit of produce from our garden already but there is more than I hope to do.

We still need to get the sauerkraut made. I am still hoping to do that this week but it might be early next week before the time will allow. The cabbages are ready - I just need to find the time to harvest them and get them shredded, ready for the crock.

Here is what I canned today. There are 15 quart jars of crunchy dill pickles and seven little pint jars of tomato juice. I hadn't planned to do any tomato stuff today but there was a little sauce left that Sara didn't need so I canned it quickly so as to not lose that red tasty juice!

Husband shot this picture of me holding my sweetest hen, Peaches. She is so tame. She always hops up on the nesting boxes so that I can pet her. She loves to be carried around like a baby on my hip. She is so kind and gentle. She is by far not the prettiest chicken I have but she is special to me. She is very shy with the other chickens and always waits until they are done eating before she will go to the feeder or waterer. They are not mean to her but she is a loner. That's OK. I AM HER FRIEND!

One last picture. The grandsons were here today playing in the sawdust. It made me smile so I wanted to save a picture of it....

That's another day on my little homestead. Good night friends.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today At My House

Every day is a busy day at my house. There is so much to do and we are so far behind. We had a very wet Spring and so we have been trying to play catchup all summer. Here are just a few of the things that took place here today.

After devotions and milking the cow, I started on some laundry. For the life of me, I don't know how two people can make so much! I think the clothes multiply in the hamper at night when I sleep.

I fixed us some lunch from things in the garden. I started with a huge yellow heritage tomato and dumped some tuna on top of that, once I sliced it into big, delicious, juicy chunks. I diced and added some onion and celery and then a spoonful of my homemade mayonnaise. Gosh it was good! So colorful to the eye and so tasty to the taste buds!

I walked outside, heading to the canning kitchen, when I stopped to check out the pear trees. It won't be long now and we will have to get them picked so that I can get them into canning jars too. The trees are loaded! They will sure taste good this winter. I would love find some organic cherries to can. Our little cherry trees are too young to produce anything yet.

I turned a bushel of Roma tomatoes into tomato juice today with my Victorio Strainer. The tomatoes don't have to be cooked. All that is needed is to wash them, remove the stems and any blemishes, before I quarter them. I just drop the pieces into the funnel on the top and crank away. The seeds and skin come off and fall into the little stainless dish underneath and the juicy pulp goes into the glass cake pan. I put the juice into my roaster and will let it cook down to a nice thick sauce. I think this batch will be come spaghetti sauce or maybe pizza sauce. I haven't decided yet for sure. I can make that decision tomorrow.

Today was a good day. I got a lot accomplished but my list is already growing long for tomorrow. Better get a good night's sleep!