Monday, September 28, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
we need a woodshed to store all our wood for the winter- Dave estimates that we burn 35 face cords of wood each heating season. (which around here can truly be from September to April!)
originally we had planned on building the shed over top of the stove, and running the chimney up through the roof of the wood shed.
that's until we heard the startling story of what happened to friends of ours from church: it seems that after the stove was fed and stoked for the afternoon, the door was not shut. this led to a massive buildup of gasses at the top of their wood shed, which in turn lead to a massive (if not impressive!) explosion which sounded like a train barreling down the tracks at full steam.
after hearing this story at the church picnic, Dave decided that he didn't want to chance the same thing happening at our house.
even if it is covered by insurance!
we bought a truck load of logs, and Dave worked at cutting that into lengths.
with the tractor, G and N, it didn't take long to get all that wood cut and stacked. the wood shed will hold only about half of what we burn, so the rest will be stored somewhere else, under tarps.
we decided to get another truck load of logs, and in addition to being fairly green, the logs were much bigger than the previous load.
the girls and i took out a snack for the hard-working wood crew, and admired their work.
and reflected on how true that old adage is- "he who heats with wood warms himself twice"
Thursday, September 10, 2009
(notice the zucchini and summer squash? my late planting is really, finally producing!)
AND... this wonderful pebble-ware-surfaced 9X9 baking dish! it's aluminum, and i can tell already that it's going to be my new favorite baking dish. (especially since my family is so much smaller now)
i got right to work making apple crisp- so much easier than apple pie, and every bit as good! (although, the topping is much darker than it normally is. i didn't have any brown sugar, and had to make a substitution involving white sugar and molasses. because, since when do i ever follow a recipe exactly?)
here's the finished yummyness- and the baking dish was great! if you
finally won a bloggy giveaway after entering about 87 of them don't have a great baking dish like this, you can still make this apple crisp for your family. now that the weather is finally getting cooler, it's a great dessert for a autumn night!
this in an authentic, old~fashioned country recipe given to me by a dear friend, ages and ages ago. i hope your family enjoys it as much as our family has!
Apple Crisp Recipe
peel and slice apples, filling your dish to slightly mounded. drizzle with maple syrup, and dot with butter if you wish.
1 cup oats (i use old~fashioned)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
combine in bowl, and work together like pastry until crumbly. (this will make enough topping for a 9X9 pan; but often i quadruple the recipe and freeze the rest, making it even easier to throw together at the last minute!) bake at 350 until apples are soft, and your whole kitchen starts to smell wonderful. serve with ice cream as a special treat!
Saturday, September 05, 2009
parts of this year have been very difficult, especially after our oldest son left home last October. i treasured all the more the time that we had as a family, realizing that it's all too fleeting. it seems like it was just yesterday that i had my first baby girl, M, and already it's over 20 years later and my children are growing up!
this big old house seems strangely silent without M and N. i find myself glancing at the clock to see how soon either of them might be home. i find myself leaving the back porch light on for M, since she always worked 2nd shift and came home after dark. i catch myself wondering if N will bring home coffee or (and?!) donuts when he gets off work at Dunkin' Donuts.
there are still 3 children here at home with us, and a long way to go before we have an empty nest. but still, after 20+ years of mothering, i find that i wasn't quite ready to be done.
did i miss something? did i teach them all that they needed to know? did i forget something gigantic and really important?
do they know not to mix the lights and darks? not to wash something red in hot water? when to put the fabric softener in? are they organized enough? will the homework, reading and assignments all be done on time? do they know what a dangling participle is? (do i even know what a dangling participle is?) do they remember the difference between their, they're and there? will they eat right and not drink too much coffee? take their contacts out every night? wear sensible shoes? listen to the weather report before getting dressed?
i could talk myself into dashing down to South Carolina to give them that final list of Really Important Stuff That I May Have Forgotten To Mention.
But don't worry~ i won't do that. because i know that in spite of all my parental flaws and imperfections they are going to turn out just fine. along the way we may have missed a few important tidbits about prepositions or ancient Greek history, but i think that M and N have learned the Really Important Lessons Of Life.
Love God with all their soul.
Serve Him with all their might.
Seek Him with all their heart.
they had a good foundation, and now they are ready and eager to build their own house.
and i, for one, will be their greatest fan and cheerleader.
because I'm so proud of them both!
Thursday, September 03, 2009
I've finally and officially given up on the tomatoes. this meager spread is all the beefsteak that G and i were able to salvage. (although there may be a few more out there that we'll find when we pull up the remaining 2 rows of tomatoes this afternoon, this is truly the end.) all in all, a very disappointing year for tomatoes. however, we cannot count the tomatoes as a total loss, since we "harvested" well over six 5 gallon buckets of tomatoes to feed the pigs. at least we got some food value out of all that work!
next year the tomatoes will be planted in the lower garden, so we don't have to worry about the spores of the blight hibernating in the soil to attack again.
the cauliflower and broccoli is doing very well in the high tunnel- perhaps I'll actually harvest some?
the beans are very lush and green, and they are all flowering, leading me to believe (hope?) that we'll get more beans for the freezer. the buckwheat cover is doing well, too, here in the upper garden.
many of the potatoes are still in the ground down in the lower garden. we've still been steadily selling them in the produce stand, as well as giving some away. we're hoping to borrow a potato digger for the tractor~ there is probably over 500 feet of potato rows, between the kennebec, red Pontiac and yukon gold. neither G or i look forward to that much manual labor, so I'll try to nail down the rumor of a potato digger for the tractor.
we bought 4 more bales of hay for mulch, and between the hay, buckwheat and annual rye, we'll make sure that both gardens have an adequate cover of mulch/green manure for the winter. additionally, we'll have soil samples from both gardens tested to make sure that we're on the right track as far as the soil nutrients go. i have no problem trying to address the deficiencies in our soil's nutrients organically with mulch and green manure cover, but i am not opposed to some synthetic fertilizer, either.
so, except for some beans, cauliflower and broccoli, and a ton of potatoes, we're done! it's hard to imagine that it's been almost 6 months that we've been working at our garden! I'm tired just thinking about it, and i look forward to those long winter days to just relax. i can read to the girls, sew and maybe even knit something.
won't that be nice!
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
each set of stockings sells for $46, postage paid. (two sets mailed to the same address will receive a $6 discount for the second ordered, bringing the total to $86. Orders of 3 or more sets will be charged a $10 shipping fee, plus the cost of the stockings. ) contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to place your order. i will mail anywhere in the continental US, and you'll receive your own set of stockings in plenty of time to get them hung on YOUR mantle in anticipation of the blessed event that we celebrate on Christmas morning!