Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Maple Syrup

   Last Spring Jeremiah and his dad, Pappy J, built a small sugar camp.  Ryder has had an interest in making maple syrup for several years.  Several days ago, Ryder and two of his friends made syrup over an open campfire.  They ended up with about a quart of syrup. 
   All the talk of boiling got Jeremiah fired up to make some syrup as well.  He contacted a friend of his who has a local sugar camp.  He was able to get sap from him. Jeremiah and Ryder got the sugar camp set up and went to pick up the sap. The next morning, Jeremiah and Pappy J got to work boiling.  I took Ryder back after he was done with his classes at our local homeschool group. When it is complete, we will have about 4 gallons of syrup.
   Growing up I only ever had real maple syrup.  When Jeremiah and I married we switched to buying the store stuff because it was cheaper.  I thought it was so good...nothing better than the gooey, liquid that came out of a lady-shaped, plastic bottle! Jeremiah got hooked on the real thing several years ago and we haven't gone back to the imitation. It took a bit for me to transition back to natural sweetness but it has been good. I had some of the imitation syrup over Christmas and I could hardly believe I used to enjoy that flavor!
  How about you, which is your favorite? Real or imitation?

~ SunnyKaye

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

15 Random Things About Us

Here are 15 random things about us so you can know a little bit more as you read later posts. So here they are;

1: During the cold winter months, which we are currently breaking out of, we keep our house warm and toasty, thanks to our wood furnace. So instead of wearing the normal winter attire, we typically wear shorts and tee shirts indoors all year round.

2: We've lived in this house for soon to be ten years in May and have no plans of moving what so ever. Our house has been in the family since the 1800's, when it was built.

3: The Pine Tree Forest, which the title for this blog was inspired by, is a beautiful, serene, wooded area, that hosts an artesian spring. It's situated on a hilltop that descends into rolling hills, down to where our home is located.

4: We started on our homeschooling journey when Madilynne was 3 and have homeschooled ever since, with Madilynne now in high school. It hasn't always been easy or fun, but until Ryder graduates, we plan on continuing.

5: We have been driving our family car since 2004, when we bought it used.

6: As devoted as we are to canning, we can not seem to grow a very successful garden. This year, it doesn't look like we'll be planting one, instead, we probably will be devoting most of our time to a large strawberry patch.

7: We line dry all of our clothes.

8: Some of our favorite family games consist of Scattergories, Monopoly, Checkers, Tetris, Battleship, Skip-Bo and Uno.

9: Everyone in our family enjoys pizza, macaroni and cheese, certain chicken dishes and tuna noodle casserole, along with many other foods.

10: Generally, our family does not enjoy shopping, with making minor exceptions for special trips, like fancy clothes shopping (Madilynne), hunting and fishing supply shopping (Jeremiah and Ryder), and back to school supply shopping (SunnyKaye, Madilynne and Ryder).

11: We try to purchase organic and healthy foods. We read labels and watch out for things that we know are bad. We don't always eat everything healthy, but we try.

12: We are not cheapskates, but we do cut Jeremiah's and Ryder's hair at home. SunnyKaye gets her hair cut at a salon every 4-5 months. Madilynne grows her hair out, with the occasion trim from Jeremiah, then gets it cut off and donates it after its really long.

13: We don't really follow politics, except for when it's time to vote.

14: We don't coupon. You really can't find too many coupons for healthy food options where we live, due to the lack of stores in our immediate area.

15: No one in our family in gifted in the mathematics department, though with our new math program that we've been using, Ryder and Madilynne have been improving greatly.

   So here are 15 random things about us. We hope you enjoyed reading them. 

The Entire Johnson Clan

Introduction to Pines Upon A Hilltop

Welcome to our blog! Thanks for stopping by! This blog will be a collection of thoughts from different members of our family. The patriarch of our clan is Jeremiah, a fun loving, hilarious, kind man who is talented at working on anything except computers. Our matriarch is a pleasant woman named SunnyKaye. She is a amazing cook and homeschooling mother who enjoys "trying" to homestead. Our daughter, Madilynne, is intelligent, creative, musical and sarcastic. She tries her best to help out around the house and enjoys reading, writing and art. Ryder, rounds out our family with his imagination, energy and entertaining stories. His likeness to his father is uncanny, not only in looks, but in personality and their shared enjoyment of the outdoors. His love for his BMX and mountain bikes is only rivaled to his love of hunting and fishing.
   So, that, in few words, is our family. We are a pretty close knit family, living within few miles of a large majority of our extended family. Our home is situated towards the east coast of the USA where we fully experience all four seasons. Cold winters, warm summers, colorful autumns and rainy springs.
   We currently have 6 beautiful chickens, 3 adorable cats and a small aquarium of tropical fish. We have numerous outdoor bird feeders and everyone but Madilynne enjoys bird watching. Ryder can easily identify most bird species that are native to our area.

   Thank you for reading the introduction. This is just the beginning.

The Entire Johnson Clan