Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Random Thoughts

   I have a bit of randomness going through my brain today so I decided to just do a weird blog post of those thoughts.  Random and jumbled- my specialty! 

   ::Am I the only person who can't wait for the election to be over?  I am all about going and voting and such but I get so tired of the bickering and the TV ads constantly ripping the opponent apart.  Ack! What irritates me most is that they pick a small section of wording and use a sentence fragment in an attempt to make you believe a lie.  I know it's part of politics but I dread it!  

   ::I made tomato soup again yesterday.  I ended up with 29 more jars.  Madilynne is thrilled with our supply.  Actually, I will say that we are all happy that the shelves are filling up.  I am thinking that I will attempt to make a V-8 type drink next.  I am not sure how this idea will turn out.  I need to look into a recipe for that.

   ::I need to make grape juice.  Our grapes are finally ready to harvest.  I may make some today actually....well, after I clean my messy house....keeping it real for ya!  :-)

   ::I am enjoying the cooler evenings.  We have pulled out the long sleeved shirts/flannels. Jeremiah is itching to build a nice big campfire!  We haven't had many campfires this year but only because we have been pretty busy. We need to slow down and enjoy our time together.   

   ::I have been focusing my time on being at home lately.  I still run Madi and Ryder to work.  Madi is working 3-4 days a week at a local discount store.  She is still really liking it.  She runs the register, stocks shelves and does some cleaning.  Ryder has several mowing jobs that keep him busy along with odd jobs when someone needs a helping hand.  He is gearing up for archery season because deer season is coming soon.

   ::I am so glad we homeschool. The kids are really gaining a lot of life experience and are able to keep up with their school work. They are learning how to handle money and make decisions on how to spend it wisely, save and tithe.  Our hope is to educate our children to be wise adults and not so much about being "smart kids" on paper.  Let me clarify that there is nothing wrong with smart kids but they need to know how to use those "smarts" in real life situations or it isn't going to help them when they leave home.  If you have an interest in home schooling, I would definitely encourage you to pursue it.  It has been wonderful for us. 

   ::Our chickens have been giving us many eggs!  I have been using them up quickly and even have a few people willing to buy them from us.  It isn't going to make us rich but it pays for the chicken feed!  :-)

   ::I have been eating way too many bologna and cheese sandwiches lately! I am not even sure why... yesterday I ate two, two people!  I don't even know if its real meat but it tastes-so-good!

   Well, I think that I will wrap this up.  I have much to do today. And maybe I need to make a sandwich....

   Be Blessed! 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Beautiful and Full Days in the Pines

   I woke up while it was still dark this morning.  That really makes me feel like fall is coming quicker than I want.  I still have so much to finish while we have the warmer weather.  I will be the first to admit that the heat of summer isn't my favorite at all but I need a bit more time before the frost and snow comes!  The sun was starting to rise and I couldn't help but take these two photos so I could send them to Jeremiah.  I wish photos could show the real beauty of the sky but hey, I tried!  I opened the front door and snapped them from the porch. 

   I carried more jars of tomato soup to the basement this morning.  I have close to 50 jars on the shelves. Now, before you think that is a large amount let me say that several of those jars are the smaller jelly jar type so that Madilynne can take them to work.  She enjoys the soup and some mac and cheese for her lunch.  It's always a decision for her on whether she wants green beans or tomato soup now.   I ended up with more than 70 pints of salsa this year.  I couldn't remember how many we ate already and I gave some away also.
   I am so thankful to God for blessing us with a very bountiful garden this year. We are filling up the canning shelves.  Over the weekend Jeremiah and Ryder took a metal cabinet I had in the playroom, for storage, to the basement.  Madi and I filled that cabinet up quickly and made room for the new canned goods. 
   Our chickens are filling the egg cartons quite quickly.  We have been eating a lot of eggs. I am finding the challenge of using the eggs up fun. The Breakfast Burritos have been a big hit and they use a lot of eggs.
   School has been getting done. The basics are being completed.  I have put the literature curriculum and several other extra curricula on the back burner until the garden and canning is done.
   Ryder has been shooting his bow in.  He is patiently waiting for archery season to start.  I kept some extra space on the shelf for some canned deer meat.
   We have a nice sized grape arbor.  I am hoping to make some grape juice this year. I have 6 jars left.  I didn't make any last year and I gave most of the grapes away. If they wanted to come and pick 'em they could have 'em.  :-)
   I must get busy again so I need to finish this post.  I hope you are having a great end to summer! 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

We Have Eggs!

   It was an exciting day when Madilynne went to feed the chickens and found an egg!  We were pretty close to doing a happy dance- ok, well one us might have!  LOL  We've waited so long for them to get mature enough to start laying that it was exciting!  We got the chicks in April and Madi found the first egg about two weeks ago. They have slowly started to lay.  At the moment we are getting about 7 small eggs a day.  It takes about two eggs to equal one large egg until they get a little bit older. 

I prefer to wash our eggs quickly in lukewarm water.  There is much debate over the proper way to clean them but for my own sanity and just plain cleanliness I prefer a gentle wash, dry, then into the fridge.  Jeremiah and Madi keep fresh straw in the nesting boxes so they really aren't dirty to begin with.  The eggs have a clear seal on them called bloom from the chicken and it keeps the shells sealed from germs and bacteria.

I tried to take several different pictures so I could show you the different shades of brown our eggs are.  I am thinking that the darker brown eggs may actually get a bit darker as they mature. 

Ryder told me that I was spending way to much time taking pictures of eggs.  :-)

He may have been a little bit correct but I thought that you may want to see a couple different pictures.

I took two pictures holding different eggs.  The smaller eggs are from the newest layers and the larger egg is from the early layers.

I thought that this photo may also show you the color differences.  The first egg is probably the lightest shell and the smaller on is on the darkest side. 
I didn't really think about it until now, but all the eggs are brown or tan.  We don't have any white egg layers.  It doesn't really matter to me but I do like the variations in color.  A couple different people told me that the brown eggs are more flavorful. I personally am not sure about that claim because I think they are all equally good. Oh well, maybe next time we will get some white layers!  Next time! What am I thinking?  I thought it was crazy to get 10 chicks to begin with!  HaHa! I do enjoy watching the hens.
Now to start finding some more good egg recipes.  Madi likes eggs so she has been eating a lot of them lately. Jeremiah enjoyed the Freezer Breakfast Burritos too!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Busy in the Pines

   Hopefully everyone had a great weekend.  Here in the USA we celebrated Labor Day on Monday.  We went to my in-laws on Sunday, after church, for a picnic. Jeremiah grilled chicken and some cheddar brats.  I made a Caesar style pasta salad- that I will not make again. Ack, just not very flavorful and tasty.  No big deal though as we had so much other tasty food that it wasn't a problem.  Volleyball was played and the kids spent a lot of time in the pool.  We ended the evening with a campfire.  Madilynne and I did leave early as she had work the following day so we didn't enjoy that time long.  Jeremiah and Ryder decided to stay and visit a bit longer before heading home on the golf cart. 

   I canned 15 pints of salsa on Saturday morning. Jeremiah and Ryder went to the garden yesterday and picked a bunch of tomatoes so I can make more. After I have enough salsa made, I am going to try to make some tomato soup.  I haven't made this before but I am excited to try it. I have a recipe that I have tasted and it is good.  I just hope I can make it taste like what I tried.  Anyone every try to can tomato soup before?  

   My shelves are filling up.  I really enjoy looking at the "fruits" of my labor!  :-)   I had my sister-in-law J come down with me yesterday and look at the them.  She happily complied and even enjoyed it.  Yes, I am that person! I even have a picture on my phone that I will show people, if they want to see it. LOL  This is the picture:

   I took this picture one day in August to show Jeremiah the shelves and planned on deleting it but I never got around to it. I guess that procrastination worked out in my favor today!
   Along with the canning, we are trying to keep up with the house, school work and yard.  Jeremiah is busier than ever with work and the yard.  As we enter into September, the days become shorter and busier.  We are also looking at attending some of the local festivals that come in September.  The kids and I will be going to a festival on Friday with some family and friends from our homeschool group and then Jeremiah likes to go to a different jubilee to get grilled chicken that he loves on Saturday. 

   We had a nice cool down for a couple days but it looks like it going to warm up again.  I hope the humidity stays away though.

   Well, I think that's a good update for now.  Hopefully everyone has a great day and enjoy the remaining days of summer. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Freezer Breakfast Burritos

   I have an interest in freezer cooking but not those cook all day making weeks worth of meals type freezer cooking.  I like the smaller, more manageable freezer cooking recipes.  I have mentioned that I like to brown and freeze hamburger, cook and shred chicken, I even chop onions and green peppers and freeze for later.  Doing these type of things really helps food prep here. 

   I decided to try my hand at Freezer Breakfast Burritos.  I have seen quite a few blogs that are making them lately but I was inspired by Lynn's Kitchen Adventures to make them.  She kept the ingredients and recipe simple.  I took her suggestion of adding green pepper and onion (from the freezer) to the sausage.  I also added a bit of pepper and hot sauce to the eggs.  Madilynne and Ryder like the little bit of extra flavor hot sauce gives to eggs. I also used Horizon American cheese slices because Ryder decided that cheese would be better than shredded cheddar.

   I made a smaller batch (it made 5) because I was concerned that they wouldn't be tasty but they turned out delicious. Our next issue is to figure out is how long to bake them in the toaster oven as we are a microwave free home. I also try to avoid aluminum foil as much as possible.


    Do you freezer cook? What is a favorite at your house?  I would like to add to my recipes but its hard to find ones that are freezer friendly and taste good!  :-)


Thursday, September 1, 2016

From My Front Porch

   Hi Folks!  I am challenging myself to do a wee bit better with updating. I know, I know, I have said this before but I am really going to try!  One of the thoughts that I had was to take a picture or two from my front porch of my view at the beginning of each month. I was talking to about this idea from a sweet and honest friend of mine and she thought that this was an interesting/good idea also. 

This particular photo is taken from directly in front of our front door. The Black-Eyed Susans are starting to fade already for the year.  I love those happy flowers.  These start to bloom as soon as the daisies are finishing. They are the little splashes of color along the road.

This angle is from the end of the porch towards our garage.  This photo shows our barn and a pine tree that my dad cut the branches off.  The tree has been struck by lightening so many times.  It is a home to several different birds and ants!

I couldn't resist the sky photo.  You can see the heavy cloud cover coming in on the right side of the photo.  I was busy in the kitchen all morning and didn't have a good chance to get a sunny picture. I was finally able to capture a shot with some sun. 
This is a picture of our home.  I thought you may want to see where I will be when I am taking my pictures!  This isn't the best photo I have but it was all I could find while trying to post this.  :-)