Saturday, August 27, 2011
I don’t intend to hammer away at people who own a food processor, Magic Bullet, vacuum cleaner or bread machine, but let me give you some sound reasons to put them away or use them less. We live in an age of unprecedented ease, never have such large amounts of people had to work as little as what we do. And yet, yet, we’re so unsatisfied. Something is missing from our lives; I touched on this in the post What Would You Give In Exchange? “Community” is a cry I’m hearing a lot, more people are waking up to the fact that truly no man is an island and they’re groping for a way to regain what was so carelessly tossed away by those of a generation or 2 ago. However, trying to rebuild community is putting the cart before the horse. Without the proper building blocks you can’t build anything that will last. The building block is the family and until the family is experiencing “community” you will never be able to replicate community on a larger scale. The best you’ll be able to do is to reenact it. Family community is built on need, Father and Mother need the children just as the child needs its parents and you can’t need somebody that you don’t know and never spend any time with. Let me present an example: we preserve a lot of food, right? :-) I’ve written about the tools that we use so you know that there isn’t a whole lot of mechanization being used here. Why would we choose to make it so hard on ourselves? Family community.
When we're making salsa somebody is washing tomatoes, Mr. G or Katie or Levi is cranking the Victorio Strainer, Elisabethe or Abigail is putting the tomatoes in the hopper, Aleks or I are dicing peppers, somebody else is cutting onions etc. We’re together, working to get an important job completed. It’s the same when we’re canning corn. Aleks picks it, Katie puts the water on to boil, Levi, Micah, Tabitha, Rebekah, Elisabethe and Abigail begin to husk it and remove the silk. Asa tastes the corn cobs to verify that they’re edible. And then Aleks, Katie and I cut it off the cob. Mechanization means not only noise that prohibits conversation, but it erases opportunities for us to work together. I need my children, we could not live this life without them and that needing them in turn grounds them to a real life. We're weaving more of the cloth that binds us together everytime we work together.
What kind of child abuse is it to turn a child loose to have their character shaped by their peer group? To substitute meaningful work for a virtual reality and passive existence: watching actors pretend to have relationships and act out immorality, listening to somebody else sing, watching other people play football, listening to somebody else read the Bible and explain their interpretation of it. Entire childhoods marked by passivity and then when they should be adults we wonder why they aren’t. We’ve set them up for failure by denying them a real childhood. “Fun” should be replaced by these two questions: is the task meaningful? and is it satisfying? Of course I’m not saying that we should never have fun, but it shouldn’t be a god that we worship. Enjoy spending time with your family, whatever your family happens to be; build that community first.
The two images shown are both of corn husking bees, the top image is a scene painted from the Island of Nantucket in 1876 and the bottom is a photograph taken at Hog's Jaw, a small community on the Cumberland River in lower Whitley County Kentucky about 1910. Friends and neighbors once gathered to help each other for such things as house raisings, quiltings, stir-offs, and bees. As it brought people together, it was considered as fun in those days and friends came from miles around. The work was often followed by a delicious meal and perhaps an evening of square dancing or games. Community building was happening all the time without there being any special effort to “create community”. Need compelled people to rely on each other, nobody was self sufficient but communities were to a large extent. If your very survival depended on your small town blacksmith, shop keeper, wagon maker, and midwife you would be much more careful to tend those relationships. We have so many more choices today that the “need” has been removed, or at least it appears so. But be not deceived, your survival still depends on others, they're just a nameless and faceless other that doesn't care about you as an individual. The Bible says that "My people perish for want of knowledge", you can apply that many ways to this situation, but it's not a stretch to say that God desires parents to work with and impart values to their children and also that He wants us to build communities.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
I'm assuming that at least for those of you in the Eastern U.S. that the several varieties of Sumac are easily identifiable, yes? If not, stop right here and get some good field guides or do some internet research and before you eat anything be positive of what you're consuming. If you're bright enough to get yourself dressed and use a computer then you're intelligent enough to learn to positively identify Sumac. Poison Sumac tends to get all the press leaving its humbler cousins in obscurity, but differentiating between the poison and non-poison varieties is very easy. Smooth Sumac and Staghorn Sumac both have red berries, whereas Poison Sumac has white berries, simple. You can use both the Smooth and the Staghorn varieties pretty interchangeably but you should be aware that the Staghorn has more vitamin C than the Smooth. For this recipe I used Smooth Sumac because it is what was growing at the side of the road, "hey that's Sumac STOP THE TRUCK!" and Mr. G dutifully jumps out and twists off 6 berry clusters for me. Some sort of clippers or trimmers would have made the job easier by the way.
You will need to remove the berries as the stems give a bitter taste if you don't. The outer berries will come off easily but the inner ones don't, you can dehydrate the clusters to make removal easier and to store berries for the Winter. Because Sumac berries are high in vitamin C, higher than oranges even, you should keep plenty in reserve to combat colds this Winter. The Native Americans used Sumac extensively for this purpose.
You then boil 1 quart of water and pour it over 1 cup of berries and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Strain the tea through a cloth to remove all debris, sweeten with up to 1 cup of sugar and enjoy. If you've never imbibed Sumac before go easily at first as some people allegedly have a mild allergic reaction to it. The tea can also be combined with elderberry or red raspberries to make a jelly though I've never tried it.
As an aside, many folks on the survivalist forums recommend on stocking up on Vitamin C, but these people's idea of survival tends to involve generators and fossil fuels etc all in the attempt to maintain their current comsumer lifestyle. Our family's plan tends to center around learning to live without or learning to make our own reasonable substitutes and if you share that philosophy then Sumac meshes in nicely with that.
Friday, August 19, 2011
The kernels aren't in rows but are placed hodge podge all over the cob. The taste is different than what I'm used to but we knew that going into it, we are exchanging hyper-sweet for a more realistic corn taste. Because the sugar in any corn begins to turn into starch the minute the corn is picked we strive to get our corn into the canning jars within an hour of being picked. I try to have the exact number of cobs picked to fill the 7 jars. Today it was 46. The children immediately begin to husk it and pick the silk off (we save the silk too). Then the kernels are cut off with a knife, there are specialized tools for this but I've not found any that I thought were worth the money and hassle.
For each 4 cups of corn I mix in 1 teaspoon of salt and then the corn goes into the quart jar to be immediately covered with boiling water. So we go, jar by jar, until the 7 are done. They are then pressure canned for 85 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
We have many things that grow wild here and I feel obligated to preserve them since God has provided them. We have an abundance of mulberry products because we have mulberry trees, the black raspberries grow wild as well so they get put in jam, we will have chokecherries that will become waffle syrup and maple trees to tap in the spring. If I would neglect to take care of what has provided for us for free, then how could I ever complain about God's provision for us? If it's here and I'm able, then it goes in a jar.
I saw a yahoo headline about how downgrading of the U.S. debt is inevitable, for those with eyes to see that's old news but I was surprised that it's now on the mainstream media. Despite what some are saying it will have a big impact on you and I and now is the time to tuck a little away to have for later. Our Forefathers understood this principle, that we must labor in season to provide for ourselves out of season. Modern dwellers have become accustomed to relying on an outside entity to maintain life, that's risky business in this day and age. On the preparedness front I came across this site. I have never done business with them but the idea of having a supply of antibiotics really appeals to me. I can't remember the last time any of us needed an antibiotic, but in an emergency situation the ability to save somebody else's life would make it worth having a supply layed in.
Take care, I hope you're enjoying your summer!
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Remove from heat and place in jars
My one canning shelf still needs to be taken outside and scrubbed and then it's getting a fresh coat of paint. Until then there are jars of food completely filling 2 cupboards and much of the counter space. I feel rich!
Friday, July 15, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
His chemise and strapped petticoat were sewn by the lovely and talented Brooke Whitaker. She did a fabulous job!
I have two of the four buttonholes sewn, I get bogged down at the end and just want to quit looking at the thing that I've been laboring on. :-( For buttons I'm using china ringers, the ring being black, it really looks well with the print.
Now hopefully he won't have outgrown this gown by September!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
After an 8 month hiatus I have returned to the sewing machine. It all started innocently enough, I was thinking about Zoar and who will be there this year and then I thought about the daguerreotype that we had taken of Asa and Katie. And then I thought about having another taken this year to commemorate him turning 2 and became more and more enthralled with the idea of childhood milestones marked by wet plate images. However, having a wet plate image of all of the children really, really appealed to me and now boom! I'm back sewing. We had our own version of The Great Try-On and I found that Aleks and Levi have trowsers and vests, but no shirts and Micah has nothing. Katie is all set but the other 4 girls need dresses as does Asa. I've ordered Asa's fabric and will begin on his when it arrives but in the meantime I've begun a gown for Abigail.
I had the bodice and sleeves already cut for somebody, but I can't remember who. Elisabethe maybe? So I rewashed the pieces and trimmed some bodice length off for Abbie. I finished the neckline this afternoon and want to cut new sleeves out this evening. Hopefully it will be finished before the new fabric arrives. It feels good to have a needle in my hand again, I think I must have missed it. I have approximately three and a half months to get everybody ready and that seems somewhat daunting, but I keep thinking of the image that will preserve the memory. I'm thinking a full plate will be necessary, maybe a 3/4 plate? I don't know, that's nine people to fit in. I'm full of anticipation.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
William had six sons, the second of which, George, was born in 1706. George married Elizabeth Gill in an interesting twist of fate. "Gill" is Mr. G's first name, the surname of a not-too-distant relative of his, meaning that he and I are possibly relatives. :-) In 1771 George dated his will and bequeathed the plantation that he lived on to his son Field Traylor along with one slave. George doesn't appear to have the wealth his father did, but he was a second son which helps explain this.
Field Traylor married a woman known only as "Sandal" around the year 1779, he too was a slave owner and fathered 12 children, including 7 sons. His 10th child was Bedford Traylor, whom we named our last child for, Asa Bedford. Bedford was an overseer but not a slave owner as far as I can tell though he worked for a slave owning relative. Bedford's wife was Airy Blankenship.
One of Bedford's sons was Edward who fought with the 14th Virginia. He was a P.O.W at Five Forks on April 1, 1865. He swore the Oath of Allegiance and was released on June 20 of that year. He fathered seven children including my direct ancestor Alice Rebecca. Alice married a Northerner, George Northrup and so from this point on my ancestry becomes Northern.
I'm proud of my Southern heritage, there isn't any of it with which I look to with shame or embarrassment. My ancestors were slave owners, they held other people in bondage which is something that we in the 21st century view with a very different lens than they did in that era. I don't condone slavery, I don't think blacks deserve to be held as less than whites, but I also refuse to judge actions of people long dead against a standard that was unrecognized in the era they lived in. The past is what it is, like it or not, and as history it deserves to be preserved untainted by modern sensibilities. So I'll celebrate that I come from a long line of wealthy Southern stock and teach my children that who and what they are today is at least in part derived from who their family was. We all have a heritage that we can be proud of. If I were black and had ancestors that were slaves I would be in awe that a people who suffered so much still survived, I'd be proud of who they were and who I was.
I dislike the term "Lost Cause", it tends to trivialize and mock beliefs that are still strong 150 years after that war ceased. I believe that the majority of what the South stood for was absolutely right; I believe in State's Rights and smaller limited government. I believe that your average Southern soldier was fighting for the right of self determination, the right not to told what to do by a serpentine Federal government. Slavery was a vestige of a by-gone era and would have been short lived in the South even if they had won. Enough leaders saw the evils in it, I believe. If the South's only goal was to perpetuate slavery then the best way to accomplish that would have been to stay in the Union where slavery was legal. No person is going to go to war to secure a right to something that's already legal, there had to be more to it then that. I believe that they rebelled against being forced, on unequal terms, to capitulate to the will of Northern industrialists and that was what the conflict was really about; which explains why so many people are still drawn to the Southern viewpoint. It resonates with us today, a beleaguered minority fighting against a tyrannical majority, we love an underdog. I also dislike the "you lost, get over it" mentality. Try that with a Jewish concentration camp survivor, the logic is the same isn't it? Jews lost big time in WW2, they got slaughtered, so give up an ideals about survival or "never again". Admit you were wrong, accept your defeat, and graciously live with the humiliation. Somehow, that sounds a little, oh I don't know, WRONG to suggest that, doesn't it? The principles that motivated the South are the same principles that motivate many people today and there isn't anything wrong about revering a people who had the moral courage to stand up and be counted. I'm proud of that and you should be too.
Friday, May 20, 2011
We came home and Katie took him outside, his favorite place to be.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Ten Great Reasons To Have Another Child
1. Have another child to join with God in the creation of an immortal soul.
Parents are given the incredible opportunity to assist God in the creation of an immortal soul. As the late Cardinal Mindszenty said, even the angels have not been given such a grace.
“The most important person on earth is a mother. She cannot claim the honor of having built Notre Dame Cathedral. She need not. She has built something more magnificent than any cathedral—a dwelling for an immortal soul, the tiny perfection of her baby’s body...Even the angels have not been given such a grace! What is more glorious than this—to be a mother.” Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty Reason
2. Have another child to bring joy into your life.
There is no joy like the joy of welcoming another child into your life. You will marvel anew at how perfectly formed your little one is, and over how quickly you will fall head over heels in love with him. You will be enchanted with every tiny aspect of her appearance. The color of her hair, the shape of her nose, and the winsomeness of her smile will occasion endless happy debates about from which side of the family (yours, of course) she got that adorable trait.
The birth of a child will bind you to God more tightly than ever before, in awed gratitude. “She was the most miraculous thing that had ever happened in my life,” Whittaker Chambers wrote about his new daughter in Witness. And in the lives of most of us.
I thought that one day
I would be a famous artist
and create great works of art
Instead, God made me a mother,
and my children are His masterpiece.
The design of their lives
will live on after me.
What is painted on their hearts
will last an eternity
3. Have another child to grown in holiness and virtue.
For those who marry and have families, children are the primary means God uses to help them grow in holiness and virtue. Children teach their parents patience, perseverance, charity, and humility. They give their parents the opportunity to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. They come into the world naked, and we clothe them, hungry and we feed them. Thirsty, and we give them drink. All of the things that we are required to do for the “least of these our brothers,” we do first and foremost for our own children. St. Catherine of Siena once had a vision in which God took her to a roomful of crosses and told her to pick one. St. Catherine went to the largest, heaviest cross in the room and would have chosen it. But God told her that it was not for her: That was reserved for the parents of large families.
“Mary gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes.” Luke 2:7
4. Have another child to help end abortion.
When Mother Teresa of Calcutta was asked by a young mother about the best way to proceed with pro-life work, she responded emphatically, “Have a big family. That is the best way to end abortion!”
How this works is not difficult to understand. As children become more rare due to contraception, sterilization and abortion, whole segments of society become less and less familiar with the sense of joy and hope that only babies and children can give. In this climate, contraception and abortion feed on themselves, as the increasingly selfish few further reduce their number.
By having another child, you demonstrate once again to the world that children are God’s greatest gifts. “Children build up the life of the family and society,” as Pope John Paul II has said. “The child becomes a gift to its brothers and sisters, parents and entire family. Its entire life becomes a gift for the very people who were givers of life and who cannot help but feel its presence, its sharing in their life and its contribution to the common good and to the community of the family.”
The more children there are in society, the more pro-life that society will become, and the easier it will be for the great evil of abortion to be eradicated once and for all.
“Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19
5. A) Have another child so your sons will have brothers and your daughters will have sisters.
Children who have siblings learn early to share. They learn to take turns and to put the needs of others before their own. The bond formed between brothers and sisters is lifelong, and stronger than the bond between the closest friends.
“How good it is, how pleasant, where the brothers dwell as one!” Psalm 133:1-2
B) Have another child so your sons will have sisters and your daughters will have brothers.
Boys who have sisters learn the dignity of women. They learn to treat other girls and women with respect, as they consider how they would like their own sisters to be treated. Girls who have brothers learn the complementarity of men and women, both fashioned in the image and likeness of God.
“Love begins by taking care of the closest ones—the ones at home.” Mother Teresa
6. Have another child so you (and your parents) won’t be lonely in old age.
People who have children don’t have to rely upon strangers to care for them in their old age. Children also become the parents of your grandchildren. Grandchildren bring joy, happiness, and laughter, while still allowing you to get a good night’s sleep! “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their parentage.”Proverbs 17:6
7. Have another child because people are our greatest resource.
Humans are blessed with the gifts of an intellect and free will. It is human ingenuity that discovers creative solutions to the problems which confront us. People without children should remember that it will be someone else’s child who will become the doctor that performs their life-saving operations. Someone else’s child will become the firefighter that saves their house. Someone else’s child will become the railroad engineer.
“How can there be too many children? That’s like saying there are too many flowers.”
8. Have another child to contribute to the economy.
Families with children are fuel to the economy, purchasing houses and cars and college educations. Without young people to enter the workforce, social security systems fail. Without children to attend school, teachers are jobless. Many industries, from fast food restaurants to toy stores, obviously rely heavily upon business from and for children to stay in business. But ultimately the whole economy does.
“Like a fruitful vine your wife within your home, Like olive plants your children around your table. Just so will they be blessed who fear the Lord.” Psalm 128:3-4
9. Have another child to counter global depopulation.
Anyone who has traveled from coast to coast in the United States and seen the vast empty spaces should know that America is not overpopulated. In fact, the entire population of the world could live in the state of Texas, in single-family dwellings with front and back yards. Fertility rates are falling everywhere. The world’s population will never again double. If current trends continue, world population will peak by the middle of this century and then begin demographic freefall. Our long-term problem is not too many children, but too few children. Having another child will help offset the coming population implosion.
“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth.” Genesis 1:28.
10. Have another child to help populate heaven.
The child that you and your spouse have been generous in accepting from God was created to return to Him, after a life of love, service, and obedience on earth, to spend eternity with God in heaven. Our Lord Himself said that there was plenty of room for those immortal souls. There is no overpopulation problem in Heaven!
“There are many mansions in my Father’s house.” John 14:2
“Ten Great Reasons to Have Another Child”
Permission to reprint granted.
Credit requested. http://www.pop.org
Friday, April 15, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
We were in Kidron today so we stopped by Lehman's, they had a flood there and some merchandise is marked down 70%. I bought this cutesy little 1 gallon keg for $15 and 2 real bayberry hand dipped candles made in Zoar for $3.
Though I pointed out to Aleks and Katie that the Forsythia is in bloom and there are daffodils galore, they sniffed disdainfully at this cold Northern weather after their foray into the South. We still need a fire many mornings, though by noon it's warm enough for the cow to go on her picket and the calf to go in her portable pen so she can still see Mom while she grazes. It's much more pleasant to hang laundry out now that Spring has arrived!
Friday, March 18, 2011
On Day 2 after you have poured off the lime water into a separate canning jar you can prepare your corn by shelling 3 cups of kernels. This is Micah and I shelling our dried open pollinated corn from last year.
Grind the corn coarsely, this is important because it needs to be ground much more coarsely than you want wheat flour to be. Measure out 3 cups corn meal into a bowl.
Pour 3 cups of lime water into your 3 cups corn meal. Mix it up well, it might look a little greenish and that's fine. Let set overnight.
The next morning bring 3 cups of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon real salt. When water boils add your soaked corn, liquid and all. Reduce flame and stir constantly to avoid sticking. Cook until thickened and serve with butter, maple syrup, sorghum etc. For leftover grits mix 1.5 cups grits with 1 egg and form into patties, fry in butter and serve with a pork product. Mmm!
Sunday, February 6, 2011
We watched a hawk swoop down the other morning and kill one of Micah's banties. :-( There are mice, voles and rabbits galore, but the hawk prefers "chicken welfare". Tansy is due to calve in another month or so, I'm ready for it! We're eagerly checking the weather in anticipation of syrup season. I just ordered another 20 gallon cast iron cauldron. In some areas of the country you can pick them up for very little money, here however, they go for way too much money! The Amish still use them and demand drives up the price. Anyway, I bought both of ours from the same folks in SC. They're honest, decent people and I enjoy doing business with them. Syrup boiling should go twice as fast now. Aleks and the boys use the roaring fire to melt lead to cast their bullets. It helps break the monotony of sitting up in the sugar camp for hours, plus it's a useful skill.
In the background there is our deceased vehicle. So, currently we have no working transportation! :-) Woo Hoo! Mr. G is working some things out, so by hook or by crook we should have something figured out in a day or two. That's pretty well the sum of happenings in our neck of the woods!