Tuesday

Hi everyone!  Today is a beautiful day here in Floyd.  Actually it has been a beautiful week so far.  Our nighttime temperatures have been in the mid 40′s and daytime highs are low 70′s.  Perfect temps in my opinion.

Sunday we took the girls to Tweetsie Railroad for a day out.  We had actually planned on going with Dave, Jess and kids but the kids had some type of virus going on.  Daniel and Sam had it earlier in the week and we thought maybe Katie had escaped getting it.  However, Saturday afternoon Katie came down with it so they did not get to go with us.   Hubby actually decided to go with us at the last minute.  He is not much for amusement parks but I think he didn’t want us going alone.  We had a really fun day but kept missing Jess and crew.  Sam so loves trains.

Today we are working with apples, SURPRISE!  We also had 4 more l00 lb sacks of apples gave to us Friday evening.  We will have plenty of apples this winter.  I am juicing most of the ones gave to us Friday.  We are making applesauce and applebutter too.  Our steam juicer and our sauce maker sure do make this work go faster.  I am very glad we have them.

Seems like we have been so busy here.  I haven’t had time to make a post or read anyone else’s posts.  I will try to catch up some today.  Enjoy your day and God bless.

 

 

Grapes

The girls and I are starting on our grapes today.  We picked 1/2 bushel this morning.  We plan on making mostly jelly from these.  Tomorrow we will start making juice.  Yesterday I went to our friend Mrs. Faye.  I helped her with her grapes.  She wanted to make jelly and juice.  Last year, they purchased a steam canner and a steam juicer like ours but they were not too confident with using them.  So I went over to help them a little.  It was a fun day.  We had green beans, corn, cucumbers, cole slaw and cornbread for lunch.  YUM!

Not much else going on here.  Just mostly canning.  We plan on picking more tomatoes this evening.  We have been blessed with lots of beautiful tomatoes.  Our temperatures have been cooler at night here.  You can feel fall in the air.  The dogwood trees are starting to turn colors.  Apples will soon be ready.  I love fall.  As I am sitting here typing this post, the sweet smell of grapes fills my home.  God is so good to us.

I hope you all have a wonderful day and God bless.

 

Tuesday

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I thought I would give you all a break from festival pictures today.  Underneath these two trees sits my “green swing” which as you know I dearly love.

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This is a picture of a late blooming hollyhock.  See how tall it is.  Our house is a two story house and if you look in the upper left corner of the picture you can see the edge of the roof on the house.  Just look at how blue the sky is today.  God is so good!

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Our grapevine getting ready to rest for the winter.

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Cows in the field behind our house.

Today I am trying a new recipe.  Well, not completely new, I have made it once before.  The other time I made it in the oven.  Today, I am making it in the crockpot.    The recipe is called Honey Baked Lentils and Rice.  

1 cup lentils, 1 cup brown rice, 4 1/2 cups water, 2 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp minced onion, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/4 tsp each).  Place in crockpot, cook on low for about 4 hrs or until lentils are done.  You can also cook this in the oven in a casserole dish for 1 1/2 hrs at 350 degrees.

School today as usual.  It is an absolutely beautiful day here in Floyd.  I am doing another batch of apples in the steam juicer and will be making applesauce later on today.  I also want to go up on the hill and gather some mullein leaves to dry for making tea.   This tea is very good hot or cold and it is very good for respiratory ailments.  I usually just pick it in the summer and make a cold tea from it.  I have never tried drying it before. 

Our supper tonight will be bbq made from the remainder of the roast I coooked yesterday.  Homemade buns, home fries and the honey baked lentils.   I think we will have peaches for dessert.  Enjoy your day and God bless.

Wednesday

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Today, we have been busy with school.  We did a batch of apples in the steam juicer.  We got 1 gal and 1 qt. of juice.  We then run the apples through the Roma sauce maker and got enough applesauce to make 3 qts of applebutter.  YUM!  I also made a batch of homemade laundry soap. 

Colors here are at their peak this week.  I hope to get more pictures to share.  We have been having rain but it looks like it will clear up this evening.  Hubby has been busy making a king size bed for Jess and Dave.  I will show you all pictures when he gets it finished.  I think it looks beautiful.  Here he is working on one of the posts for the headboard.  I think I actually managed to get this picture without him knowing it.  He was deep in concentration.

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Tonights supper will be baked pork chops with potatoes and carrots, pumpkin pie for dessert.  I guess I better get busy, I think everyone is getting hungry.  Enjoy your day and God bless.

 

Old Books

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I love old books, especially old school books.  I thought I would share a few of them.   I thought I might share how our school days “normally” go.  I usually wake the girls around 7:00 A.M.  They get dressed, make their beds and come downstairs by 7:30.  Sometimes they fix their own breakfast and sometimes I do.  It mostly depends on what they are having and how our time is running.   I begin cleaning up the kitchen and they start piano practice.  They practice 30 min. each.  While one is practicing the other one is helping me and then vice versa.  We shake the rugs and sweep the floors every morning.  We have certain days that we do other things, clean bathroom, dust.  I have a chart made with the days of the week on it and the designated chores for that day.  We try to have all the house chores finished before we start school.  It is so difficult for me to concentrate on school if these things are not already done.  Laundry gets worked in  every day.  We are normally finished with all this around 9:15.  They then get a 15 min. break to do whatever they want.  We try to start school by 9:30.  We say our pledges, pray and then begin.  Bible is always first.  Then they take turns chosing what subject they want to do.  Our subjects are bible, spelling, history, science, math and language.  Most days we are half way through by lunch time.  We break an hour for lunch.  Free time for everyone (except Mom).  We then finish up somewhere between 1:00 and whenever.  Yesterday was a long day for us.  It was about 3:30 when we finished.  Julie’s math was very long.  Today is an easier day.  It is now lunch time and all we lack is math.  I’m glad as we need to work up an 1/2 bushel of apples.  I already have them in the steam juicer and I want to make applesauce from them.  Well, our lunch break is almost over.   I hope I didn’t bore you all too much.  Enjoy your day and God bless.

Grapes

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Beautiful grapes!  Last night a friend of ours called and said they had some grapes that we could have if we wanted them.  They had already used all they wanted so we loaded up and went over to pick.  We picked about 3 bushels.  The girls and I have been busy all day, processing them.    We are using the steam juicer.  I think we will end up with about 20 qts, maybe more.    What a blessing.  God is so good!

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Guess what?  We have a broody hen!  Well, where I come from we call them setting hens but here most folks call them broody.  Anyway, she is only 4 months old.  I don’t think I have ever known one to set that young.  We have kept Mr. Rooster separate from the hens so her eggs would not hatch but she doesn’t seem to know that.  The girls and I wanted to put her back in the coup with Mr. Rooster so we could let her set but Hubby said no.  No more chickens-(this year).  Anyway, we moved her out into her own little coup for a few days.  The other hens were glad as she was hogging the only nest they will use.  They have two other nests but for some reason they all prefer to use just this one. 

I hope you all have a wonderful day and God bless.

Beautiful Day

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Today has been a beautiful day here in Floyd.  Temperature as I type this is 72 degrees with a slight breeze.  An absolutely georgeous day.  Thank you, Lord. 

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This is a picture Grace took yesterday.  This is the view from the back yard of the house Hubby is working on.  The girls and I have  been working on plums today.  We did one batch of freezer jam.  I am trying out the ponoma pectin that my blog friend Cheryl at http://holcombhappenings.wordpress.com/ uses.  You only have to use a small amount of sugar with it.  I have some now on in the steam juicer.  I wonder how plum juice will taste? One thing for sure,  the  house smells delicious! 

 I am also making yogurt today.  This is a new recipe for me.  I got it from Cheryl too.  The recipe is Sweet Yogurt:
7 cups milk
1 pkg unflavored gelatin
2/3 cups instant milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tablespoon yogurt

In a small bowl, measure yogurt and let it sit. Mix ingredients (except yogurt) in a large saucepan and cook to 180º; do not boil. Cool to 112º in pan. Stir in a small amount of milk into the yogurt and then mix it all into saucepan. Stir well. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla (if desired). Divide into 2 quart jars, cover with lid and band. Wrap in a towel and set over a pilot light or on a heating pad covered with a large pot. Check in 4 hours.

The only thing I did different is use my yogurt machine.  Well, actually, it is Jessica’s machine.  She is letting me borrow it.  The recipe filled up the yogurt machine with about 1 pt left over.  I put that pint in the oven and turned the oven light on.  I want to see how that works.  I’ll let you all know. 

Well, the juice is almost done so I better get busy.  Enjoy your day and God bless.

A later note to this post.  The girls and I were working on the plums when the house started shaking.  David, my son-in-law called almost immediately to see if we were okay.  Evidently, there was an earthquake somewhere close to Richmond VA.  We have never felt an earthquake here.  It definitely was strange. Our friends, the Horn’s, felt it at their house also.   We said a prayer of thanks to the Good Lord for his protection over us.  We also prayed for the safety of others.  I will let you all know more about this as I learn of it.  God bless.

Blackberry Syrup

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So I finally got around to making the blackberry syrup this morning.  I used about 3/4 gal. of blackberries and got three pts of syrup.  Pretty good.  I’m not sure how it will turn out but it tasted really good when I sampled it.  I put the blackberries in the steam juicer.  This is what it looks like.

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This is a very handy piece of equipment.   We bought ours at our local Farmers Supply.  I’m not sure if they sell them at Wal-Mart or not but I know you can order them online.  You might even find them on Ebay.  The name brand of ours is “Back to Basics”.

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This is the bottom of the juicer.  You put 3 qts of water in this.

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This fits directly on the water container.  This catches the juice as it comes out of the fruit.

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You put the fruit or veggies in this basket.  It fits directly on top of the other container.  Then put the lid on.  You see in the first picture the tubing.  This is how you drain your juice into jars.  Put it on your stove and when it starts to steam, you start timing.  Different things need to steam for different times.  Blackberries steam for 60 min.  You can then use the juice for whatever you want to make.  The pulp that remains in the basket from your fruit or veggies is still usable too.  I will show you all another time what I do with the leftover pulp.

Here is the recipe I used for making the blackberry syrup.  I got it from the internet and it is very simple.  I hope it will be good.

4 cups blackberry juice, 4 cups sugar, 1 tsp. lemon peel.  Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 min.  Fill jars. (I used a strainer here as I did not want the lemon peel in the syrup)  Process 10 min. in water bath canner.

Enjoy your day and God bless.

Our First Egg

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Very exciting news here today.  We got our first egg!  I guess maybe we need to get out more, if just getting an egg gets us this excited.  But we think it is beautiful.

Well, we finally got the pink apples worked up today.  This is what they looked like when we cut them up.

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They are so pretty.  Remember last year, we purchased the steam juicer and the Roma sauce maker.  They have been so helpful already this year.  We just quartered the apples, no peeling necessary.  Put them in the steam juicer and let them cook.

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This is what the juice looks like.  Such a beautiful color.  We got 5 pts of juice.  The juice is concentrated.  For every pint you get a quart of juice. 

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Then after the apples cooked in the steam juicer we ran them through the sauce maker.  We got 6 pts of applesauce.  Thanks so much, Donna, for sharing these with us.    We are working on peaches now.  They are canning as I type.  We saved the peelings from the peaches.  We are going to put them in the steam juicer and make juice from them.  I like the fact that there is hardly any waste. 

Remember how I said last weekend was unusually cool here.  Well, I can hardly remember that now.  It has been HOT all week.  I know not as hot as many of you but still hot.    Temperatures have been in the 90′s outside and about that hot inside our house.    I am so thankful to a blogger friend who gave me the idea of using a propane unit to do our canning on.  We put it on the front porch and it makes such a difference keeping the house a little cooler.  Most of the heat is out there not in the kitchen.  

Well, we better get busy doing some cleanup.  Enjoy your day and God bless.

Sunflowers

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I just love sunflowers.  I think they are so cheerful and fun.  These come up underneath the feeder and I think they add so much to the area.  The cats have played there so much though that a lot of them are drooping down to the ground.  They still look pretty though.

I have been kinda busy for the past few days.  As you all know, we went down to Jessica’s on Friday.  We had a great visit and enjoyed play time with the boys.  Then we went to pick the apples.  She didn’t have very many but we got what was on the tree.  I haven’t worked them up yet so no picture of pink applesauce.  On Saturday, we went to pick apples at Faye’s sisters house.  We ended up with about 4 bushel.  When we got home I started working on them.  I have told Faye all about our steam juicer and sauce maker.  She has been wanting to buy them for herself.  Sunday evening at church Gene (her husband) said he was going to buy them for her.  We met them yesterday morning in town at the Farmers Supply.  He bought the steam juicer, the sauce maker and a steam canner for her.  She was so excited.  We then went home with them and showed them how to operater their new equipment.  She had a 5 gal. bucket of apples to work up.  From that she got 2 qts of juice and 5 qts of applesauce.  It was a really fun day.  I really want one of those steam canners.  It takes my water bath canner about 1 hr. to start to boil.  The steam canner is ready in about 10-15 min.  Amazing.  We definitely would be saving on the amount of gas we use.    Hopefully, we will be able to get one soon.  Much faster and more economical.

I worked up some more of our apples yesterday evening after we came back from Faye’s house.  We will be working on them more today.  So far, we have 8 qts of applesauce and 4 qts of apple juice.   Grace has been taking some more pictures.  This is a picture of the sunset God gave us yesterday.

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I forgot to tell you ladies about the nice weekend we had.  Remember Thursday evening I said temperatures were cooling off.  Well, Friday and Saturday morning the temperature when we got up was 58 degrees.  Can you believe that?  Then Sunday and Monday morning it was 61 degrees.  The highs for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were only in the mid 70′s.  Wonderful!!  Thank you Lord!!  Yesterday, it started warming back up and today I think it will be back to normal but it certainly was wonderful to enjoy a few fall-like days in summer.  Enjoy your day and God bless.