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Saturday, September 28, 2013


This has been a busy month for me. Along with all the usual stuff, I have also been busy putting away the garden bounty that we have been blessed with. Our concord grapes did well this year and I was able to put up 26 jars of grape jelly.  Our apple trees did very well this year, the first time since we planted them ten or so years ago, and they are keeping me busy. The grandchildren love applesauce so I am making plenty of it. I have put up 6 quarts of applesauce so far and will easily have enough apples  to do another 8 quarts of sauce, and I have made 9 pints of apple butter.  My sauerkraut is fermenting away in a bucket in the kitchen, I will can it some time next month, it smells very good right now.  Our pear trees are loaded down and early next month I plan to start harvesting them and will begin to can some of the fruit.
I think this year I have canned more than I ever have; the inventory so far:

Tomatoes 65 quarts
Peaches 27 quarts
Green Beans 50 pints
Corn 35 pints
Grape Jelly 14 pints
Apple Sauce 14 quarts
Apple Butter 8 pints
Strawberry Jam 24 pints
Pickled Beets 12 pints
Pickles 22 quarts
Peppers 7 quarts, chopped up and frozen
Sauerkraut 25 lbs still fermenting, yet to be canned

Everything was from our garden except the peaches which I purchased at a very good price.  We are very pleased with our little harvest. And, we thank the Lord for the abundance. I think back to early spring when we planted the garden, I stood with the grandsons in one of the gardens, we held hands in a circle and we prayed for the Lord's blessing upon our little gardens, and we have truly been blessed.

Family Update

Grandson Henry who just turned 5, started preschool earlier this month and really likes it. His favorite part each morning at school is recess and playing with his new friend Eli. 
Grandson Patrick who is three and a half, has started to draw "proper" pictures, he suddenly has a great interest in coloring and drawing, I enjoy his art work.
Grandson Charlie who is 16 months old is into absolutely everything and I feel that all I say to him is no, no, no, all day long when I watch him! Henry says, "Bad Baby", and I say no, "Learning Baby", and hopefully he will learn soon that he cannot climb up onto everything and bang on everything in sight :) 
Granddaughter Alivia is just about 11 months old now, she is starting to take a tentative step with a lot of encouragement, but her preferred method off locomotion is speed crawling everywhere. You can hear Alivia coming from a mile away, as there is a frantic slapping of hands and chubby knees on the floor, as she races from one thing to other. Alivia now has four teeth.

The other day Henry told me about a dream he had, I want to remember it for him for when he gets older, so here it is:

In the dream Henry and Patrick are taking a bath, when they get out of the water they are different colors, Henry is blue, Patrick is green and their ears are feathers! They are able to remove the feathers and then find that they have brown ears and they cannot be taken off.

Well, what that is all about I don't know, but I thought it was quite an original dream to have! We spent a while talking about dreams and Henry wanted to know what kind of dreams I had when I was a little girl. I remember a few dreams, most likely because they disturbed me and I thought about them and they became part of my memory. One I remembered  from when I was around four years old, my family had come home from a weekend of camping and there was evidence that mice had enjoyed our home while we gone. I heard my parents talking about the mice and they put out some poison. I dreamt that a family of mice, people sized and sort of Mickey Mouse looking lived in my wardrobe, I don't recall what happened in the rest of the dream, but still can see visions from the dream. Henry told me that my dream was "very freaky"!

Everyone else is simply busy. Amber has stepped down as manager at the salon she works for and is transferring to a location closer to home, she got tired of managing people! Son-in-law Brad is away on an 8 week training course for work, he is able to come home on the weekends, and has just completed the third week. Amber and the boys will be glad when Daddy is home for good.

Ben and Emily are working hard on their college courses.

Dave returned to work last week and has fully recuperated from his surgery and the complications that followed.  Thank you for all of the prayers.

My fun Friday night was spent in the large recliner in the TV room watching Mary Poppins for the umpteenth time with, at one point three grandchildren snuggled up with me, I thought to myself that it really doesn't get any better than this, and I felt truly blessed.

So all in all although we are busy, life is back to normal again and that is good thing, and we thank the Lord for the many blessings he pours upon our family.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bread Baking

For many, many years Dave and I have made our own bread and I couldn't tell you when we last purchased a loaf of bread.  The basic white bread recipe that we use was given to me by my dad. My dad baked bread most Saturday's of my childhood, making a weeks worth of loaves for the family. I started to make bread in my early twenties, but not very often, and at first it did not turn out so well. Over time I started to have more consistent results with my bread making, but still it was something that I did once in a while, we still purchased a lot of bread as we had four growing children at home, believe me we went through a lot of bread each week. My husband started to get interested in the process and decided to try the recipe, his first batch turned out very well  and he has baked bread ever since. Dave is home more in the winter and tends to take care of the bread making during the winter months, and I tend to take care of it in the warmer months. Usually when we bake bread we make two batches for ten loaves this keeps us going for a couple of weeks.We have pretty consistently made our own bread for about fifteen years. I sometimes make oatmeal bread for a change, I will post the recipe another day.

Basic White Bread

2 T dry yeast
2T salt
4T shortening
6T sugar
4 1/2 cups warm water - 110 -115 degrees F
10 - 12 cups of water

Yield 5 loaves, or 4 LARGE loaves
Place, yeast, salt, shortening, and sugar into a large mixing bowl, add the warm water, stir, let stand for five minutes or so, yeast will be nice and foamy.

Add 8 cups of flour, stir in, it will be a big goopy, sticky mess.
Add 2 cups of flour, and dump the entire mixture onto the counter.

Have another cup of flour handy, start kneading the bread, by pulling up the side and pushing it into the middle, turn pull up the side and push into the middle, turn and repeat for about ten minutes. Withing a minute or two you will have a much more manageable dough, keep sprinkling the counter with the extra flour so that the dough doesn't stick, keep kneading. After about ten minutes the dough will feel different, kind of clammy, elastic, and smooth. Use a little shortening to grease the mixing bowl, take the dough and rub it in the bowl to grease the bottom, then invert the dough (greased side is now up), cover the bowl with a dish towel and let sit for 40 - 50 minutes to rise.

Once the dough has risen, dump it out onto the counter, let it rest a minute, then divide into four or five parts, depending upon how many loaves you desire. Roll each portion out into a rectangle, then fold the ends in so that the rectangle is now 1/3 of the original size, then roll up and pinch ends and place in the bread pan. Cover the bread pans with a dish towel and leave the loaves to rise for an hour to an hour and a half.

Heat the oven to 420, bake the loaves, up to three at a time, for 22 minutes.  Remove each loaf from its pan immediately, sit the loaf sideways across the top of the pan and allow to cool.

Bread Makers Treat!

Glorious Sunrise

I was up early this morning getting the bread going, and was privileged to view a stunning sunrise, I grabbed my camera and took a couple of pictures. I am glad I took the pictures immediately, because within five minutes the glorious golden light was gone and it was just an ordinary early morning again, but for just a few minutes it was truly enchanting.

View to the west, the camera really captured the strange light.

View to the east - spectacular!

Few to the west a minute or two after the first picture already the light had changed .


 Well when you have a lot of cabbage what else can you do but make sauerkraut. I now have twenty-five pounds of shredded cabbage fermenting in a bucket in the kitchen. It will start to smell a little rank around here in a few days, but we will have to put up with it for 4 - 6 weeks, then I will can the sauerkraut and the house will smell a whole lot better :)

Shredding the cabbage, thank heavens for my trusty old food processor, it made quick work of shredding all that cabbage.

The cabbage breaks down very quickly, I have twenty-five pounds of shredded cabbage in the bucket.

All you need to make sauerkraut is a food grade bucket, cabbage and salt. Shred five pounds of cabbage, mix it with 3 T of salt, let sit for five or so minutes, then put in the bucket and press until water begins to pull out of the cabbage. Continue on, five pounds at a time. When the final batch of cabbage is packed into the bucket the water should be over the cabbage. Place a layer of cheesecloth over the cabbage, then add a plate for a weight, this makes sure that the cabbage remains submerged, you can add a weight if necessary. Put the lid on the bucket, not tightly, just sit it on top. Leave for 4 - 6 weeks, daily skim the scum from the top. This is the only recipe I have ever read that tells me to skim the scum daily!!  Once the sauerkraut is ready, pack into quart jars and process in a hot water canner.  Yummy, so good with pork roast and mashed potato, or bratwurst. I did not have sauerkraut until I met my husband, he loves the stuff, I learned to like it, at first I just like the taste of pork cooked in sauerkraut, but now I love the stuff too.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Do You Ever Just Feel Blessed :) ???

Well I do. Life has it's ups and downs that is for sure. Stressful times come and go, but all works outs in the end, time spent worrying is wasted. I trust in the Lord and he is GOOD!  "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord". Psalm 31, verse 24. I just so love this verse, I find it so encouraging.

Anyway today lots of little things make me feel blessed:

My husband is feeling much better.

Emily is feeling much better.

I went to the Grabill days parade with daughter Amber and the trio of grandsons - we had a good time.

My sister stopped by with her husband, to get more Kale, and to just hang out and visit - we had a good time.

I made cheese and tomato toasties for everyone for lunch - YUMMY to enjoy fresh produce from the garden. And "break bread" with loved ones. Aren't impromptu gatherings simply the best kind of gatherings.

I made extra toasties and took a couple down to my neighbor Nancy, and a friend who was there working to repair her sink. I am thankful for good friends. I am thankful Nancy is healing well from her knee replacement surgery.

I love that my chickens love all the left over bits and pieces we feed them, oh how they love melon rind.

I am glad I have so much kale to share with my sister and am glad that she is doing so well.

I am looking forward to a sleepover tonight with the grandsons - if it doesn't rain we will have a campfire and cook hot dogs.

I am just glad to be a daughter, a sister, a mom, a grandma, and a friend all of these roles make me feel so blessed.

Like I said, lots of little things make me feel blessed, and I wouldn't trade any of them for the world.

Blessings to you,


Friday, September 6, 2013

WOW - A Much Better Week

What a difference a week can make! Dave is home, he was discharged from the hospital on Saturday evening, he has taken it easy since being home and is feeling better and better as each day passes. Emily and Skylar are doing okay.

It has been another busy week, lots of canning, on Monday I put up 28 quarts of tomatoes, so far I have processed forty-five quarts, and it looks as if by Monday I will have a whole bunch more ready to can.

Last week a friend told me that I could get a 3/4 bushel box of peaches for $25 from a farm near Hicksville, OH and gave me the phone number. On Wednesday I called and spoke with the peach lady and she said she still had some peaches but they were really ripe and should be canned right away and she would sell me the boxes for $20. I loaded the boys into the van and we headed off to Hicksville, Henry always finds it exciting if we leave Indiana and venture into another state, in fact after a little bit he starts to get anxious and wants to know when we will be back in Indiana! I love the way little kids think about things. Patrick and Charlie fell asleep almost immediately, but Henry chit-chatted away all the way to the peach place, and all the way home, he really likes the Garmin and always has lots of questions about it, he was pleasant company for the twenty five minute drive to and fro. When we arrived the peach lady and her husband went off to get the boxes of peaches and came back with three of them, they gave me all three boxes for $40, so I ended up with 2 1/4 bushels of peaches. That is a LOT of peaches!
Once home I started immediately on the peaches, they were ripe, and oh so tasty. It took about six hours to can the peaches and when done we had twenty-seven quarts canned. With the kitchen clean again I was ready for a mug of tea and bed.

Blessings to you,


Monday, September 2, 2013

A Soul Comforting Blog Post

I can't begin to tell you how much this post spoke to me, over at Living on Less Money

We have had a rough week, the simple out patient surgery my husband had last Monday to mend a hernia ended up with complications requiring a trip to the emergency room and a 3 day stay in the hospital!!  While Dave was still in the hospital our youngest daughter, Emily, had a doctors appointment for her first ultrasound, she was so excited because they were going to get the first glimpse of the new baby and see the heart beat if it still could not be heard. The technician located the baby, then left the room to get the doctor, the baby had died. Emily was extremely upset, as we all are. On Friday morning I felt that I could bear no more, and I simply did not know what to do for Emily other than give her and her boyfriend a hug and then give them space to cope. And of course, pray for them, and pray for the little baby.

Last night I awoke around two in the morning and felt a bit stressed, I started worrying about just how long my husband will be unable to work, will he have a hard time regaining his strength for the physical demands of his job, when will the medical bills start arriving, how are we going to manage, well you can imagine my mind was in a bit of whirl. So, I ended up online, saw that Georgene had a new post, read it and it WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO READ!!! I stopped stressing, made myself a mug of hot milk and went back to bed, and slept soundly until seven-thirty this morning. Thank you Georgene for your words of wisdom, they are truly God inspired.

Please keep our family in your prayers.

Thank you,