Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Preserving Frenzy

Lately there has been little time left for anything, but weeding, picking, and preserving.  Which I am SO thankful for!


                                                                                                                                corn roma


lima beans


In the beginning of the summer I wondered how much canning and freezing we really would be able to do.  The drought, rabbits, bugs, heat,  all took their toll on our garden.  Then when it looked like all the green goodness might rally, the raccoons moved in, stripping corn down and having nightly feasts.  Now with a 20 mile fencer (yeah, we go big!)  protecting our corn and some sweet, glorious rain my garden is bouncing back.





And it’s keeping me hopping.




Thankfully I have a helper! (Or four… the boys have been issued rows of corn to weed.  No pictures of them since we all get busy, dirty and sweaty when its weeding time.)

So far we’ve canned Kosher Dill Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Dill Relish, and Blackberry Jam.  Still to go… Garden Blend Tomato Juice, Tomato Sauce, Tomatoes, Dilly Beans, Peaches, Peach jam, Pears, and Applesauce.




blackberry jam-1

I found these cute canning lid labels for free HERE.


On the freezing end I have done strawberries, blueberries, and a bit of corn.  Still to go…. Green beans, Lima beans, Pumpkin puree, and a whole lot more corn.  I normally would have my beans close to done, but for the first year ever I had rabbit trouble.  They kept mowing my beans down to just a few leaves.  After the third time and several failed attempts to keep them out of the beans, we put up a temporary fence.  Yesterday when I picked I got enough for three of us for dinner.  Not exactly a bumper crop, so we’ll see.  It may be a no bean-preserving year.




I’ve posted this photo before but, I thought if fit so nicely into this post and plus I love that quote!


Have a wonderful, bountiful, productive, God centered day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/29

This weeks items:  Paint, Green, Eyelashes, Shapes, Clouds



I love how late summer paints the world in FULL color!


red admiral and zinna




We’ve been enjoying corn out of our garden now that we have gotten some rain and put up the fencer to keep the racoons out.






My youngest son has the most beautiful eyes with LONG lashes







I love the star shapes on this milkweed.




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Linked up with Ashley:


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/22

This Weeks Items:  Wrapped, Time Together, Tell Me a Story, Love, Duplicated



I have several Swallowtail Caterpillars enjoying my dill right now.


swallowtail caterpillar-1


Linked up With:




Time Together

Lake View Softball-002



Tell Me a Story




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your sunday best






Linked up with:

simple things 



swallowtail caterpillar-2




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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream is a BIG treat in this house.  We rarely make it because let’s face it….1) it’s pretty expensive to make by the time you buy all those dairy products,  2) The fat content is artery clogging high and 3) It is a dessert that lasts about a nanosecond around here with all these growing boys.

But, that doesn’t stop us from indulging from time to time.

For the 4th of July we broke out the Ice cream making machine.  Momma splurged and bought all the necessities for some scrumptious, creamy, yumilicious ice cream.


chocolate chip ice cream-1



Recipe:  Makes 4 quarts

3 cups 2% milk

2  3/4 cups  sugar

1 teaspoon  salt

4 cups half and half

1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla

4 cups whipping cream

12 oz  mini chocolate chips

(for mint chocolate chip ice cream add 1 1/2- 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract)


Scald milk until bubbles form around the edge of pan.  Remove from heat.  Add sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved.  Stir in half and half, vanilla, and whipping cream.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Freeze in an ice cream maker or check out David Lebovitz’s post on making ice cream using your freezer.

I reduced the fat content somewhat in this recipe, but it is still not a low fat recipe, but you can reduce the fat even more. Use 1% milk instead of whole or 2% milk.  Replace the half and half with whole milk and the whipping cream with evaporated skim milk.  This will change the texture slightly since it takes out a bunch of the fat. The fat makes is super rich and creamy and if I’m going to splurge I’m going to go for all that creamy goodness.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Scavenger Hunt~ 07/15

This weeks items: Water, Petal, Fresh, Eight, Calm








A Coneflower from my garden





No offense to anyone who lives in the city, I just LOVE where I live.





Blueberries from my fledgling orchard/fruit garden





Lavender = Calm




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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Time Stands Still

Time seems to stand still, yet it is measured in ragged breathing.  Long seconds pass, too long, and all I can think is this is it, she’s going home to Jesus.  But then she gasps and sucks in short almost non-existent breaths which culminate in a loud snore and a deep breath.  A few more breaths more normal than the last are taken and then again, no breathing.

I lay my hand on her arm trying to keep control.

I look at her arm. I begin to stroke it back and forth with my thumb. I feel the soft, shifting age of 95.  My heart wrenches as I connect with her warm, sweet, soft skin.

I can’t stop staring at her arm and I break.

I clamp my jaws together and fight off the waves.

Tears trickle down my cheeks as the memories flow through my mind and grab my heart.

I remember Grandma as she was, small, thin, yet unbelievably strong and feisty.  I love her feistiness. Her quick, dry humor still resounds in my ears.

I see Grandma standing at the stove cooking, preparing a meal to feed many.  My whole family sits  around her dining room table laughing and talking. Grandma spends most of her time offering each of us more meat, salad, bread, milk, until we all think we could burst.

I remember watching for the moment when she would reach into the bottom cupboard and pull out her cookie jar.  My small hand would go in empty through the wide mouth container and return with a large soft molasses cookie that melted in my mouth.

As I gently caress her arm I remember how she always smelled like a Kleenex (due to the fact that she always had one tucked up her sleeve!).  There was always a powdery, fresh, comforting scent about her.  I loved to lean into her as a little girl and just breathe deep.

I remember all the nights my dusty sisters and I took a bath using the pink bar of Caress that rested on the side of the tub.

I treasure the memories of the nights sleeping on the old mattress in the basement, in front of the crackling fireplace, snuggled up under one of Grandma’s old quilts. Sleep gradually swept over me as I listened to the logs pop and the low hum of my parents and grandparents catching up with one another.

While I stare at my grandma’s time worn arm I can almost hear her reading one of the stories she had written. My sisters and I gather around Grandma on the old plaid couch and listen intently as she tells us the story “Night Sounds on Grandpa Smith’s Farm”. The bullfrog makes his presence by a big chig-a-rum and the owls hoot their awakenings. Grandma makes the story come alive by creating each sound perfectly. And we beg to hear it again.

Memories continue to tumble through my mind. My heart is overloaded with them. I couldn’t stop them now even if I wanted to.  They come alive and rush at me as I glide my thumb back over her arm.

Time stands still.

I watch her chest waiting, wondering.  She breathes, I wipe away my tears.

And I pray for Jesus to come soon.



grandma smith

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