Monday, December 13, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I have also been blessed to be the mother of 9 gifts given to me directly by God in order to see Him more clearly. Nine little souls entrusted to me. I am very unworthy, I shouldn't even be trusted to do the laundry let alone be steward to human souls, and yet God has and does. Sometimes I see through the glass darkly and the way seems pretty unglamorous. I feel tonight that I want to encourage everyone to look around them at their families and press it upon your hearts that God placed these people in your life intentionally. It wasn't a fluke or happenstance. And we should be overflowing with thankfulness to God for loving us enough to give us all that we need to grow in godliness. Amen and amen!
Monday, November 1, 2010
It barely skims my shoulders and I feel somewhat like a shorn sheep. Mr. G loves it and said all kinds of nice things about it but I feel so.....so.......modern. So like this isn't me. I needed the catharsis of a blog post, the need to throw it out into cyberspace to see what the consensus is.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
*Bring to a boil 2 quarts of water, 1.5 cups white sugar, 1.5 cups brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon and a pinch of cloves (optional)
*Fill quart canning jars with apples (I like Empires) cut in eighths or twelths (apple rings waste space and so require more cider to fill the jars)
*Add cider to apples, leaving 1/2" head space
*Can for 30 minutes in a boiling water bath canner
These are a tasty compliment to ham or sausage and are delectable atop pancakes or waffles with whipped cream!
We are making pulled pork sandwiches for supper tonight and the whole house smells good. It's chilly today so the fire is going in the living room, adding the wood smoke smell to the sweet scent of the spiced apples and spicy smell of the pork. Mmm!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
home today. Our neighbors raise Black Labs to sell but have a few from a recent litter that didn't sell due to the economy. We bartered a grassfed Tamworth ham for him, a good deal I think! The boys now have a hunting dog and the girls have a pet. He is fairly calm and easy going, even when Asa bit him. :-) I have to protect the dog from the baby, ha ha. We haven't settled on a name just yet, but I think it will be either Ashby or Patton.
In other news we are celebrating Tabitha's birthday this weekend. No pictures other than her cake which is *so* good. It tastes like Autumn should taste.
Pumpkin Spice and Pecan Cake
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I didn't have this so I used cinnamon, ginger and cloves until it tasted good)
- 2/3 cup pureed pumpkin
- 1/4 soft butter
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup ground pecans
- 2/3 cup water
Mix ingredients and bake at 350 in a buttered and floured bundt pan until done. When cool frost with:
Honey and Spice Buttercream
- 1/2 teaspoon unflavored knox gelatin
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 14 soft tablespoons butter
Combine gelatin with 1 tablespoon of water and let set for 10 minutes. Bring honey, sugar and 1 tablespoon water to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool and then stir a tablespoon or so of honey mix into the gelatin water, mix well and then dump back into the rest of the honey mixture. Add salt and cinnamon and beat until fluffy, add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time while beating, stir in vanilla and use immediately.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Proverbs 17:7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tomorrow is Aleks' 20th birthday, I find the whole notion of me having a son that old to be a bit absurd. :-) We will celebrate both birthdays together today since Mr. G and Aleks both work 2nd shift. I know it seems like a cliche' to say "it seems like only yesterday..." but it really does, how could 20 years fly by that swiftly? In some ways I wish that I could just stop the clock right now, right here, with everybody still at home. But it isn't to be, a Mother has so few years to teach and train her babies. I want to cherish every single minute that I have with them.
Friday, September 17, 2010
I stopped at my friend Anna's house on our way home. They have 10 children and haven't butchered yet this Fall so it has been a while since they've had fresh meat. I left some bacon with them and got a box of zucchini to turn into pickles. Anna is the one that I have make shirts for Mr. G and the boys, she charges $10. When we gather apples in the Autumn and have cider pressed we always take some over to their place because they don't have apples to turn into cider. I enjoy the rural give and take friendship that we have, it is the "community" that is largely lost in our modern world. Both Anna and I live in a world that has more similarities to the 19th century existence than it does to the 21st century. So, anyway, for Supper tonight there are fresh porkchops and homemade baked beans. And tomorrow we will have ham! Which, as a matter of fact, is another vestige of a by-gone era. What I mean by that is what was once common place, plain rural food such as: maple sugar/syrup or organic fresh meat is now a high priced specialty food that is beyond the means of most people. Only by creating an underground, homemade economy can I enjoy the life that I do. Of course the downside is that there is an awful lot of hard, unromantic work involved. :-) I don't know if you envy me or pity me, I hope that I paint a realistic picture of my life showing both the good and bad.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Amidst the press of work comes the quintessential rural experience of the County Fair. Our county has held a fair every year since 1849, a chance to showcase the hard work that is a farmer's lot, a change to renew acquaintances and perhaps sell some breeding stock.
I was especially interested in the displays of canned goods, I'd like to enter next year and it was instructive to see which jars the judges favored. There are categories for cookies and decorated cakes, knitting and sewing, quilts and wood working, all signalling the effort to be the best in their class.
There were tables and tables of produce, giant pumpkins, wafers of hay, ear corn, dry soybeans and wheat.
We toured the dairy barns (mostly Holsteins with a few Jerseys and a very few Ayrshires), the pig barns (all of the same boring variety that can survive the stress of a confinement hog facility) and the poultry barn where there were some interesting varieties in addition to the far over represented Cornish Rock Cross (these are the brainless white chickens that you eat and spent their pathetic lives in chicken concentration camps). The only turkeys were Broad Breasted Whites. :-(
The fair used to be the place to witness innovation and see new breeds, but it has unfortunately become a showcase of what works in confinement. Still, I am glad to be a part of the rural heritage that is part and parcel with living here. It was nice to take a day off in the middle of the week and enjoy being with other farm folks. We came home, ate lunch and tried to fit some work in this afternoon. Most of the children want to enter produce in next year's fair, I want to enter some canned goods and perhaps some sewing. It refreshes and revitalizes us to remember some of the entries and think "I could beat that!"
Supper is waiting and there are tomatoes to can yet tonight. Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, September 13, 2010
I never actually finished Rebekah's 3rd dress before starting this one, so much for that resolution. :-/ I am furiously knitting something in my "spare" time that is very needed before the mild days of Autumn pass, I can't wait to show you!
Friday, September 3, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Once upon a time in a land far, far away (it was North Carolina actually) there lived a husband and wife with their perfect American family of one boy and one girl. They lived in a palace (not really, it was a log cabin with bad chinking) and thought that a third child might be nice, instead God gave them twins. The wife mistrusted Doctors (the difference between God and a doctor? God doesn't think he's a doctor) and the Doctors said she was a difficult patient and non-compliant to boot, so she decided to have the twins at home. With a midwife who had never delivered twins before.
Aleks holding Micah and Katie holding Levi, 3 days old
The woman had lots of confidence in herself and her body (which she has sadly lost) and was sure that things would turn out well. She ate lots of protein so that the babies wouldn't be premature and she made it to her due date. And a week after her due date when there was absolutely no sign of an impending birth she told the midwife that enough was enough already, let's get this show on the road. The midwife said that she could try castor oil but didn't know how much to recommend so the woman drank 5. stinking. ounces. of castor oil. Well, let me tell you, that'll clean the sand out of your wicket! So after hours and hours of diarrhea the woman feels so incredibly cruddy that she heads to bed, she gets up an hour later and her water breaks. She calls the midwife and wails, "I can't do labor now, I'm so sick!"
Micah ahead and Levi behind, 14 months old
Levi and Micah at 3
It has been a whole different experience to have 2 at every age. Easier in some ways and tougher in others. They can't imagine life without each other. They do chores together, sleep in the same bed, beat on each other, shoot their guns together, and like the same things. I think it seems just perfect. I think they do too.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
12 cups of pepper rings: bell, jalapeno, sweet banana, chili, any peppers that you like or if your name is Reber or Shumway then add lots of habanero or cherry bomb. :-D
4 cups of onions of onions
2 1/4 cup vinegar
1 1/2 cup or water
6-8 cups of sugar (8 cups if you like it sweet)
2 TBS of mustard seed
2 tsp of turmeric
2 tsp celery seed
-Wash and cut peppers & onions into thin slices and put in a large pot with the water and vinegar...bring to a boil
-Reduce heat & simmer until tender, about 10 minutes
-Add remaining ingredients
-Bring back to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for another 10 minutes
-Pack clean, hot, sterilized jars and lids leaving 1 inch headspace, adjust lids.
-Water bath can for 20 minutes
Yields about 7 pints
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The dress closes down the back, however in these pictures it is only pinned, I'm undecided on whether I want to make dorset buttons for it or opt for mother of pearl. She is wearing it with 3 petticoats to give her skirt the support that it needs to look well.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
However, this post is not about eco-nonsense or even about Malabar Farm per se.
Though before I do get to what it's about I have a cute anecdote; the children liked Malabar and had a nice time though the bathrooms were gross, dirty and had no toilet paper so Abby opted to hold it. We did eventually find a "real" bathroom with flushing toilets, electric lights and a few chairs. Tabitha flopped down in one of the chairs and remarked on how nice it was, this is a bathroom mind you. And Abby's great comment about the famous Malabar Farm? Well, it too was said in the bathroom and was "are you allowed to go both kinds in here?" Oh dear, I laughed and laughed. :-D
While there we went to the pioneer cemetery, it's the original cemetery where the first settlers in that valley are buried. We like to visit cemeteries, I feel peaceful in a country cemetery. There was the stone of a little boy named Silas Baughmann, he was 4 years 8 months and 26 days old when he died. The old stones always have the life counted out in years, days and months, child mortality was so common that perhaps life measured out in this way made it seem longer. Or more meaningful. It's a poignant thing to see the stones and think about the people, that they were real, live people. Very much like you or me with hopes and dreams and fears. And they are long since dead and mostly forgotten, whatever was the biggest issue in their day is now relegated to a paragraph in a history text to be yawned over by today's scholars. I didn't always love history but at some point it became real to me and that has made all of the difference. I own just a few pieces of original children's clothing but each one is hand sewn, labored over by some Mother or Grandmother for a special little one and then packed away. I wonder about those women, who they were and what they were like. I'm so glad to be a woman, doing the things that are a woman's province, continuing to serve my family as women have traditionally done.
Though I am fond of many aspects of the past, there are some that I'm glad are behind us. I don't wish that I could live then, I am thankful that I live today. The birthrate in the 1850's was 5.4 children per woman for whites and for 7.9 blacks. The life expectancy was 39.5 for white men and women combined and 23 for blacks. 23. I can hardly fathom that. The infant mortality was 21.7 per hundred whites and 34 per hundred for blacks.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
A wrapper was worn for breakfast and other times when one might not want to be fully attired in the many layers required for the 1860's. It was also worn for times of sickness and invalidism.
It is piped at the neckline and armscyes and has coat sleeves cut on the bias with cuffs cut on the straight grain.
Since this wrapper is designed to show off the petticoat I wanted to make her something other than an ordinary, plain affair. I decided on a tucked petti, this one is made of cotton sateen and has 11 quarter inch tucks; one for each year we've been privileged to have her as a part of our family and one to grow on.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
4. Put bands and lids in place and can in a boiling water bath canner for a half hour. Watch the storm roll in as you frantically grab the laundry from the clothesline with clothes pins flying every which way. Let it occur to you at 5:30 that you have nothing prepared for Supper and call for pizza.
Be thankful for everything that was accomplished in a day's time and doubly thankful that every day isn't like today. :-D