Monday, September 28, 2009

whatever happened to that sporadic blogger, anyway?

i figured since I'm starting to get e-mails, phone calls and other frantic inquiries from people that i know in real life, i better at least post something up here, so my hundreds of faithful readers MIL won't wonder if I'm sick or dead.

ever since M and N went to college and G started school again, I've lost a bunch of people to boss around help out, it seems as if I'm too busy to post about my exciting life.

but- i haven't forgotten about all of you, my dear and faithful readers, and i have a few posts up my sleeve that I'd like to share with you.


but until then- here's a sneak preview of coming attractions:

* the final Livestock and Garden Report for 2009
* chores and the getting of them done (happily)
* my first ever giveaway!
* a quilting tutorial
* another quilting tutorial
* more pictures from our trip to SC
* general profound ramblings about evangelical Anabaptists
* another giveaway that i'll be participating in at weareTHATfamily
* a new feature of my blog: QUILT gallery

so- since nap time is officially over, and can not be stretched out any longer (and believe me, I've tried!) i need to get off the computer.

but I'll try to be back soon.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

it's got to be some kind of bloggy record!

can you believe it ~ we actually built another outbuilding without me giving you an agonizing blow-by-blow (with pictures) to accompany every board and nail that went into the construction!

wow. like i said ~ some kind of record!

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.

so yesterday Dave brought home an early Christmas present for G: a gasoline powered wood-splitter that he borrowed from a friend at work. (as opposed to the old-fashioned way: a son-powered wood splitter. with really great muscles. named G.)

it's helpful to have 2 people working the splitter, and in just 1 hour this morning, Dave and G split the same amount of wood that would have taken nearly all day by hand!

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

just a little bloggy love!

a beautiful northern PA fall day was even more delightful when i received a package in the mail from my "bloggy friend" Milah. inside was a handmade in Indiana pottery bowl:

(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.

crumb topping:

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

it's just not the same without them

last weekend we packed up the van again and drove over 700 miles south, stopping at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. in addition to M returning to college as a sophomore, we also took N as a freshman in the class of 2013, majoring in chemistry.

it's a comfort to me to have them both there at the same place, but BJU is so far away!

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

Thursday's Livestock and Garden Report ~ Week 23

can you believe that it's week 23 already? almost half of the year, and I've been posting these weekly sporadic L&G reports! are you as tired of reading them as i am of posting them? could anybody possibly still be interested in the weekly blow-by-blow of our garden? most likely not- but thanks for being polite and reading anyway! the garden is winding down, so this should be near the end.

did i hear a big internets sigh of relief from all my readers?

yesterday we got our last 50 peeps, bringing our grand total for the year to 175 chickens. (25 buff orpingtons and 150 cornish cross cockerels.) we are still on a learning curve as far as the meat birds go. our last batch of 50 had the shocking and disappointing mortality rate of 50%!!!! hopefully this batch will not be so. some of this batch is for selling, and some for us to eat.

the pigs are growing well- as of this morning the larger of the 2 weighs approximately 250 pounds. come the cooler weather, i guess we'll be butchering! we've already eaten nearly all of the pig that we had butchered last April. just a few pounds of bacon and miscellaneous roasts floating about in the freezer. with that consumption rate, we're guessing that our family will eat about 3 pigs a year. (in addition to the 100 chickens that we butcher and freeze for ourselves)

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

just in time for Christmas!

i know that Christmas is over, but remember, it's coming back again next year! i still have several sets of stockings left and they are available for purchase.
just e-mail me at djcap at frontiernet dot net
Christmas is just around the corner, and before you know it many of us will be scrambling for those last minute gifts!

this set of his~n~hers scrappy Christmas stockings are 100% cotton, and measure approximately 9" x 20". crafted in muted, country colors with a machine quilting stitch that looks like it's done by hand, these delightful Christmas stockings are sure to please anybody on your list~ so order now, as i will only be able to fill a limited number of orders.

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 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!


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