Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Family Pictures 2012

Recently, we had the joy of having our family pictures taken by Amber Archer Photography

 This first picture is my favorite family picture....
 Family picture #2.....
  Family Pic #3..not my favorite since the wind was 30mph and my hair is all blown about.
 The kids each got to pick an animal to get their picture taken. Lance and his duck.
 Julia and her precious bunny, Peter.
 Zach and his bunny, Mr. Rumples.
 Caleb started his picture with Jasper, but he didn't really cooperate, so he hopped on the tractor.
This picture is actually my favorite...to my children's disgust...I got a great BIG print made!
 Julia and I struck a pose for the camera....
 I love that little lady!
 All my men.....
 A HUGE THANK YOU to Amber Archer Photography and her hubby Mark for coming to our home and giving us these great pictures to treasure for many years to come.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Preparing our Garden for Winter

I was able to pick up some Everbearing Strawberries the last week of September to extend our strawberry patch for next year. I added 15 new plants.
 After such a hard summer, I can't believe how gorgeous and full both my patches are looking.
 We ripped out the rest of our vegetation a couple weeks ago and began to fall plow.
 Here is a picture of one our hard working tractors doing her job.
 Hubby got the plow all painted up nice and perdy....so he could get it all dirty
 The garden look so nice all plowed and ready for winter. Although Justin and I both commented on how much bigger is looks all plowed up with nothing planted in it.
I'm not sure about your household, but we are already beginning to talk about what to do for next year. We are planning to hold a "homestead" meeting here soon and hash out some goals and projects for the coming year. All I have left to do is get my garlic in the ground! I should have did it two weeks ago...I kinda forgot! I'm hoping at the end of this week to get em' in the ground.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Making Apple Cider

We were blessed with the opportunity to make some apple cider a couple weeks ago. We had never pressed cider before and were excited to get to be a part of it this year. In case you haven't pressed cider before, here is how the process works. 
First the apples were gathered/picked, then we rinsed them off.
 Apples are then put into this little hopper and ground up. The pieces of apple drop into a 5 gallon wooden bucket below.
 Then the magic happens, apple pieces are pressed and cider appears!
We got a little over a gallon of cider per five gallon bucket. We brought home five containers of this ohhhh so YUMMY goodness. It was such a hit that we had them ALL GONE in five days! I'm happy none of it was wasted, but sad that is all gone already! I hope we get the chance to do it again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Picket Fence Project completed!

 This past spring around Mother's Day, we started a big project. 
I wanted a picket fence around the fruit garden. 
 Here is the fence is progress.....
 One side done three to go.....
 I just love this picture of my hard working man! (Sorry honey I couldn't resist!)
 All the sides are done, and the gate is up.....Now it's time to paint!
 The weather was SO HOT this summer it made it difficult to want to get outside and paint. We made good time and finished mid-Sept with the painting. It feels good to have this project completed!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

All Things Fall

Fall is such a lovely time of year. Bring out the hoodies, start up the bonfires, and enjoying life at a little slower pace. I'm not exactly sure if "slower" pace is accurate but it is compared to our summer pace anyway. This last weekend I spent some time finishing my fall decorating. Here are a few shots of what it looks like around the homestead. Let's start at my back door....

 Someone gave me these adorable pickets last year. I have one on each side of my garage door.
 I love this rustic flower sign. I picked it up at a local sale just a week ago.
 On the warmer sunny mornings I am still enjoying some quiet time outside in the mornings.
 This is the entrance to the covered porch.....
 As we move through October the kids and are going to start our
"Thankful Lists". 
Each day we will write one or things we are grateful for this season.
We will then read them aloud to each other right before Thanksgiving, cultivating thankful hearts at harvest time is a set-up leading into the Christmas season.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Preserving the Goodness of the Seasons

There is something about the site of pretty jars that makes my heart go pitter patter....
 I have spent much time and effort collecting these little ladies. Garage sale, gifted to me, handed down to me, and auctions are my favorite places to find them. I had collected so MANY of them I thought there was no way I would actually ever really use all of them. By the end of summer, I had enough to fill up all four shelves of my three shelving units. This Spring this is what my pantry looked like.....BEFORE..........
I was out of many things and low on everything else. I had high hopes and day dreams of filling those empty shelves with beautiful produce, fruits, and sauces. Despite a terrible drought the good Lord blessed our efforts to the brim. I am thankful he provided us with such a bounty, and the encouragement to keep working hard all summer long in the terrible heat.
 Before I give you a run down of what was accomplished I wanted to let you know that I didn't do it all by myself! I had FIVE helpers! Plowing, planting, pulling weeds, watering plants, moving sprinklers, watching timers, and then doing it all over again and again all season long. It was very hard work for the size of garden we took on this year, but boy ohhhh boy did we have a lot of fun!
 Green Beans: 80qts
 Potatoes: 14 qts canned, 2 BIG crates of fresh in basement
 Onions: I had enough to make all my salsa and sauces. I don't have a total number though.
 Salsa: 20pts, 28qts
 Green Peppers: I have enough for all the salsa and sp. sauce. I also have a gallon freezer bag for later.
 Corn:  53 pts, 14qts, 7 dozen ears enjoyed fresh from the garden
 Currant Jelly: 2pts, 9 small jars
 Sugar Snap Peas: I just planted enough to eat fresh from the garden. YUMMY!
Carrots: 3qts
Spinach: harvested several times, enjoyed by all
 Blueberries: 37.5 pts FROZEN I bought 30 lbs this year, hopefully in a few years they will all be from my bushes.....but that might take a few more years.
Spaghetti Sauce: 43qts
Juice: 30qts
Pizza Sauce: 9qts, 3pts
 Ketchup: 8pts, 2 jelly jars I already know that I should have made MUCH more!
 Rhubarb: 8qts FROZEN, I bought 10lbs. this year, next year should be a great year for my plants.
 Strawberries: 18qts. FREEZER JAM
 Apple Pie Filling: 36qts
Apple Butter: 8 pts, 3 jelly jars
Apple Syrup: 2pts
Pumpkin Puree: not done yet
Concord Grape Juice: 34qts
I'm tickled pink that we have an ample honey supply as well! (120 lbs.)
In case you weren't counting that is around 464 jars of food that was processed. (This official count
does not include the honey, not the pumpkin stuff we have to process) that was processed!
Our freezers are full of meat and shelves are stocked with baking staples, and our pantry if overflowing with yummy goodness. I'm not sure what winter has in store for us, but I think we will eat well while we gawk at seed magazines and dream of Spring to come again soon.
 Here is the AFTER..........

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