Psalm 27:4 "One thing have I desired; that will I seek after. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life."

Posts tagged ‘tomatoes’

First Day of School, But First….

Today was it. The first day of the 12th year of homeschool. Where in tarnation did all of the years GO???

But before school, there was the end of summer vacation – and canning.

We had a wonderful time in Michigan: no salt, no sharks, no problems. Sigh.  Before we left Kristen & Kurt cleaned my van. The interior looked just as bad as the exterior (translate: I forgot to take before pictures)

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When I went to the car wash, the water jets pushed my new driver magnet right off the van. I walked behind the van at the cheese store and about freaked out. Kristen was planning to drive to Michigan and we needed the magnet. I went back to the car wash and looked everywhere – of course there was a car in the bay that I had used so I’m standing on my head trying to see in while they got their car washed. I can only imagine what they were thinking! I couldn’t see it anywhere, so I called the phone number and a really nice man told me to wait until the other car left and I would find it on the floor – and sure enough there it was, getting the magnet side washed, too. Huge sigh of relief.

When the kids were finished, the interior looked amazing!

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They pulled it into the garage where I couldn’t get really good pictures, but I assure you, my van was a night and day transformation!

While we were chilling at Grandma and Grandpa’s the kids did a lot of reading of “Calvin and Hobbes” books. It keeps them occupied and they have a great time laughing at our family favorite comic strip. Even Present got in on the fun.
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Of course, Present also got her nose into Kristen’s cereal bowl and fresh blueberries – I’m not sure where the picture is. We both got yelled at for that one ūüėÄ

Once we were back home, we had to deal with the garden. There are no pictures of the bounty because the task before us was extremely daunting. 88 tomatoes on the first picking. For 3 days straight (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) Kristen and I chopped, diced, peeled, sliced, stirred and canned. She brought up all of the frozen broth from the freezers so that we could pressure can that and get it out of the freezer to make room for the beef next month. We put up tomato paste, sauce, and diced tomatoes; more pickle relish, peaches and peach jam. Plus lamb and chicken broth. AND Kristen thawed and ground about 12 lbs. of lamb to make sausage. The corn we blanched and froze, but it was past its prime and will probably end up in chicken feed over the winter. I came home to 5 club sized zucchini in the garden and promptly pulled the plants. I also pulled the cucumbers because we have 6 on the counter from before vacation and an overflowing 1/2 bushel since we came home. NO ONE wants that much pickle relish for Christmas!  We still have salsa on the list and that will use some cukes as well.

By the end of the canning session it was obvious that our leaking kitchen faucet had to go; okay, it was obvious before we left on vacation, but Hubby got a real dose of it while we were gone and that was enough! So,late on Saturday, Kristen and I decided the time had come and we would go get the new faucet. Before that could happen, while she was trying to heat water to put in the diced tomatoes – the microwave died! 5 minutes on high, for tap water temperature. Not good. So, we were looking for a microwave as well. I found one I liked at Home Depot.

Off to the store, to find out that they don’t stock their microwaves at Home Depot. They didn’t have the one I found on line, but Kristen found one she liked better. We went to order that. Guess what, that will be $15 to remove the old one and $60 to have the new one delivered-to the store! Are you kidding me? Sorry, fella, that’s too much added on to the price. Lowe’s had absolutely nothing, so I checked Menard’s on my handy dandy smart phone. Well, soil¬†my britches and call me a Gronkel’s auntie, there was my Maytag microwave in stock! Oh, wait, in stock with a stainless steel handle. I just bought a bronze finish faucet for the kitchen, don’t really want stainless steel right there. Ah, here’s the all black option – two weeks to get it in. But, hold the presses! -ships to store for FREE!!! Oh, how I love that word!! ¬†FREE ¬†FREE FREE!! ¬†Order that puppy up and we’ll live with out a microwave for 2 weeks. It will.not.kill.us.

Sunday rolls around and we’re at Menard’s to get a piece of steel that Joel needs for the trailer. I showed him the new microwave with the nice metal handle – no plastic! – he was impressed. ¬†Back home we came to nap and relax and then Kristen decided that she could install that faucet by herself. You Go Girl!!

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Daddy was blown away when he got up from his nap. And you know what the hardest part of the whole process was? Figuring out how to turn the dump thing on!!! We rolled the lever back and forth and back and forth and checked all of the connections twice. No water. Kristen had pulled the hose out and was looking into it when she bumped the handle away from the faucet and got sprayed in the face!! Apparently, it turns on by pushing the lever away from the faucet and then adjust for hot and cold by rolling front or back. I’m telling you, folks, I’m not going gray, I’m going blonde!

Which brings us to today. The first day of school.

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I can’t tell you how precious these pictures are and how much my kids have grown up every year. To see all of the pictures together on Karra’s board for graduation, was something else.

We had a couple of firsts on this first day of school – Kristen threw up, never had that happen before. I recommended that she NOT take her vitamins on an empty stomach in the future. We started at 8 (another first) and both kids were done at 12:00. ALL done, not just sort of done. And I sat in the school room and worked on stuff right along with them. Amazing.

One of the things we noticed with the leaky kitchen faucet and all of the canning was a funny smell in the laundry room and kitchen. We thought it was under the sink, or something from the canning. Turns out it’s the washing machine. THAT is all I need right now. But, Kristen and I did look at them at Home Depot and decided I’d like a stacking set, to maximize room in my laundry. That will be a post for another day and another time (I have a baby blanket to make today!)

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

Sunny and Cool Sunday Afternoon

With a good football game on to boot!

What a beautiful fall day. ¬† Of course, it’s October cold instead of September warm, but it is a nice crisp day.

I haven’t done any spectacular to report on in the last couple of weeks. ¬†I did pick up a free cabinet that Kristen and I are going to paint and use to store canned goods and canning supplies in the basement. ¬†I cleaned it up this past week, but now it needs to be sanded before I can repaint and then it will be a new surface for Kristen and her paint brush. ¬†I was pretty excited to pick it up for free off of craigslist.

We’re hoping we have a buyer for the sheep this week. ¬†He emailed yesterday but I haven’t heard back. ¬†We really want to see Joy and Stormie go for breeding and not for someone’s feast – I’ve had a couple of calls from people with heavy accents (how do you say that without sounding prejudiced?), but it would break my heart to know they were butchered. ¬†Fortunately, I’ve been able to say that I have a sale pending – thank you, God!

We picked apples on Friday and got 1 1/2 bushels of drops for the price of a 1/2 bushel picked off the tree. ¬†I was doing some math for my homesteader ladies and last year the drops that became applesauce saved me as follows: ¬†applesauce in the little cups runs around $1.88 (last time I bought it) and I’d buy 6 pkgs. a month. $11.28/month x 12 = $125.36. ¬† ¬†I saved on applesauce last year – $125.36 – ¬†$24 for the 4 oz. jars I invested in ¬†= $101.36. ¬†This year my Mom has given me another dozen jars, so the savings will be even more significant. ¬†Of course, it’s a lot of work to do all of those batches of applesauce.

The girls came home from the barn on Friday with a 50# feed bag full of sweet corn that the trainer had given us. ¬†Sweet corn is something I just didn’t have the resources for this year and now I’ll still be able to put some in the freezer!

Did I mention that we butchered our old chickens? ¬†I didn’t cry and Sarah will be commemorated with a plaque naming the new chicken coop for her. ¬†We boiled up the carcasses and got 25 1/2 cups of chicken stock and 10 cups of usable meat. ¬†The meat was really tender. ¬†We used 4 cups of the meat in a pot pie and it was very tasty. ¬†I’m going to BBQ some of it too.

I only got 11 pints of pears from our tree. ¬†A lot of the pears were tiny or too full of bugs and bad spots, so the chickens got quite the feast from them. ¬†They’ve also been getting quite the feast from my garden. ¬†The old girls never tried to squeeze through the fence into the garden, but these gals go right through the holes and eat my green tomatoes!! ¬†I chase them around with a stick and have to climb on the compost to finally get them out. ¬†I may have to do something much different with my garden fence.

I went through a nightmare trying to download my much raved about Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. ¬†We’re on super slow internet so I got up Thursday night to download and the link wouldn’t work. ¬†I emailed and tried again Friday night with no luck. ¬†I emailed customer service again and she sent me a new link since they had reports of problems with satellite connections not working. ¬†Up AGAIN last night (have I ever mentioned that I like to sleep all night?) and the new link worked. ¬†I downloaded everything including two videos on using herbs. ¬†Today I ordered the bonus freebies that interested me and signed up for two ecourses. ¬†I have lots of reading to do and I’m excited about it.

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

Just a Quickie

My Mom periodically sends me coupons in the mail that she has clipped from the local Sunday paper. ¬† I have gotten dozens and dozens of notes over the years that started out, “Just a quickie . . ¬†.” (usually trying to get the coupons to me before they expire!). ¬†So, this morning I have “just a quickie” for ya.

Our rounds of college visits are over and now I have to convince her to go where I think she should instead of where her heart is set. ¬†Oh yeah, it’s her life, Mom, not yours! ¬†I have truly enjoyed and cherished the time spent with Karra on our cross-state tours. ¬†The memories of sweltering and too long campus tours and the Sonic we shouldn’t have eaten, but did and regretted and then did again!! ¬†For some reason she is more bothered by that foot long chili dog than I was – oh, was it good!!! ¬†And all of the times we got lost – including yesterday WITH the Navi System!! ¬†That was the machine’s fault because she told me to turn left at the second road but there was no FIRST road!!! ¬†We just drove in circles on campus a couple of times before we got onto the right road and out of town. ¬†I love that mechanism ūüôā

Today I’m frantically trying to can peaches, make salsa, shred zucchini (and make bread to replace the two we gave away), freeze zucchini, feed some old summer squash to the chickens while I dream of fried summer squash to devour myself, try to decide whether to make more pickle relish or make sweet pickles with the cucumbers that Kurt isn’t devouring, cleaning and preparing for Life Group and trying not to kick myself for planning a trip to Michigan right when the tomatoes are ripe and we only have a handful of days left until school starts. ¬†I think I’ll sleep the whole time at my Mom’s!

I did manage to get my carpet shampooed (and Lexi promptly re-soiled it two nights in a row) and have been working on two DIMS Day projects. ¬†I have to finish my part of the pantry door, which translates into finding whatever I did with the blue painters tape, but Kristen’s part of the project turned out gorgeous. ¬†It’s exactly what I wanted and I smile everytime I look at it. ¬†The other project is gifts so it will have to wait until September to be posted – along with Karra’s bedroom curtain update that is taking much longer than expected. ¬†Who would have thought that a valance could be so much trouble?

Well, my “quickie” has gotten long and I need to hit the treadmill – now in the basement where I can use it early in the morning without disturbing a sleeping husband. ¬†I have a peach crisp in the oven and the pork loin in the crockpot simmering away into carnitas that will be barbecued for tonight’s Life Group – wish ya’ll could come and share the food and fellowship.

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm!

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