Thursday, August 15, 2013

Photo Update: 1st 1/2 of August

The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, my corn is only knee high.
We've been busy. Between finding baby animals, harvesting berries, canning,  home improvements and preparing for school to start; August is flying by.
Mint meltaways --candy Praise made.

 The best breakfast pizza, someday I'll post a recipe.

Cuddling with a rooster, have chickens ever been so loved?

A small start to my Back to Eden garden: I raked up all the crap (literally) around the chicken pen and accomplished two things at once; clean up the chicken yard and get great compost/mulch for the gardens. It was enough to cover one of the small raised beds close to the house and most of my tomato plants in buckets.

I love looking at this, such nice stuff.

Happy beans which I thought were bush beans, but turned out to be pole. oops.

Just mulched tomatoes.


When we first moved in and now..... I am so blessed!

Here's another before picture, right before we put the new floor in.
I am all Amens and Hallelujahs about seeing the red floor gone!


So we did it, finished the dining room/kitchen floor. We had enough (down to the last board) to also cover the sub-flooring in the downstairs small bedroom. I'm so glad that salesman roped us into those 2 extra boxes --to account for the 10% waste, which wasn't waste at all.

A sushi feast with friends.
These are the days she will miss when school begins.

Frogs: The perfect play thing, who needs toys...or ipads?

Muscle feast with different wonderful friends. This is the first time I've had them I made an herbed garlic butter to dip them in. I think I like them better than clams. 

This is pectin (hopefully) dripping from this t-shirt bag I made. We went out and picked green apples, enough to fill a large canner. covered them with water, boiled them to mush. strained them over night and cooked them and cooked them until it was the proper consistency. It made a gallon. I'm hoping it will work and will be trying it tomorrow when I make blueberry jam.  I'm sick of spending 4+ dollars for a box of pectin. I researched it and here is a good link to read more about making it:

We raked some blueberries on Monday.

Here we devised our own winnowing device to try to separate the blueberries from the leaves and grass. It worked very well getting at least 3/4ths of the field debris out.

After blowing the most we could out. Still more work to be done though Oh how I wish we had access to a real machine.
We cleaned the rest out by floating them in water and picking it out,
 probably not the best way but easier than picking through each handful.
By the way if anyone as a better way of doing this please give me some pointers in the comments.

Also Monday night we found a baby red squirrel hiding in the entry way of the house. We leave the door open and we think it just wandered in. We let it outside that night and in the morning it was crying at our door it was pretty weak and hungry and just let me pick it up. Little G's dream come true to take care of one.

The book below, The Complete Care of Orphaned or Abandoned Baby Animals, we found second hand years ago and just in the last few weeks it has really come in handy. Two weeks ago the kids found a tiny scrawny kitten in our yard, definitely abandoned, we have been taking care of that. (Sorry no pics of the kitty.) And now this little squirrel baby. We found out its a pretty common thing for the father squirrels to throw the babies out of the nests also read how they make wonderful "temporary pets".  We determined it is probably about 5-6 weeks old. Its taken very well to eating for us, definitely not ready for solids yet. It surprisingly likes to be with people and we are happy to help this little thing. We will help it be released back into the woods as soon as it is ready.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Lesson on Sowing and Reaping

Last Spring the kids and I planted some spaghetti squash seeds. As a surprise, when the little squash was still small, each kid scratched the word Mama with a nail into the surface of the skin so as the squash grew the letters would grow. I never took a picture of this special squash even though it sat in various places around my house for almost an entire year. Sean drew a face on it several times, it was played with in different ways. We had had our fill of spaghetti squash for the year and I thought for sure it would be rotten by the time we felt like eating it. But no, it lasted and in the end was played with too roughly and cracked.
I cut it open, amazed that it was perfectly good.
Instead of mindlessly scraping out the seeds to feed to the chickens like I normally would, a few of the kids started picking out the seeds one by one. They patiently picked out every one. I was amazed seeing all those seeds, over a hundred, born from one seed planted over a year ago. This turned into an impromptu life lesson.

Its a law of the universe you know, sowing and reaping, set into motion by the Creator. Whatever we put into the ground, we always receive more of it in time. We were able to see first hand the results of our sowing.
The simple action of planting a seed set into motion the birth of a plant, and fruit- in this case; squash. And more than just one, we probably got 4 or 5 from the one seed. Each squash containing over a hundred seeds. If we kept every seed from each of the squash on that vine, we would have enough to plant a whole field of spaghetti squash. In this case, that saying... about having too much of a good thing-- not always being good, applies-- but not so with the things of the Spirit.

Not only does this law apply to plant life but it applies to all of creation, including the decisions we make with our own lives. I love how God has geniusly woven nature together for us to understand big life things in simpler terms so I could show this to my kids. There is both a warning and a blessing for us to learn here.
                                     Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked:
for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption;
but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

 Like planting the seed; one action of ours, even one word can sometimes put something into motion that will change our lives or ever or for years to come whether for good or bad and what ever we plant we get back. 
If we disobey we reap the consequences, like when people in this house have a mean crappy attitude, they are then responsible for cleaning the toilet. Punching and fighting with a sibling might result in punishment at home but when people are all grown up if they haven't learned their lesson yet, that same action could result in jail time.
Okay now lets look at the good choices, they reap benefits. If we plant kindness to everyone we meet, in time, we reap many friends. Or like when I decided to marry Daddy-- the love of a lifetime and four beautiful kids are the fruits.
...The examples are endless. I wont bore you readers with the many examples of good and bad sowing and reaping that I talked with my kids about ...I went on for a long time :) 
Its amazing to me that even in the hard clumpy weedy soil of our garden we still reaped a harvest.
So it is with our lives, most of the time our hearts are sometimes hard and crowded with the weeds of this world. Yet when we choose to obey the Lord in doing what we know in our hearts to be right, considering others more than ourselves. Letting Jesus, the Master Gardener tend the soil of our hearts, He honors that, despite our lack of perfect soil or hearts.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Galatians 6:9

There is a season for planting, watering, waiting and tending and the Lord does the rest.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:13 (NLT) -- I love the way this is worded, God doesn't ask us to do anything he's not going to give us the power to accomplish though him. He even gives us the desire to please him! ...and then we are rewarded. His grace is amazing, let's walk in it.


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