Friday, April 28, 2017

Strawberry Days are here again

Each year a little group of ladies that I am friends with gets together and buys a BUNCH of strawberries from a local farmer. Last year one of my friends told me of a trick to making the task of slicing all the berries easy peasy! It's so great in fact that I feel a bit like a dunce in that I never thought of it!
This ancient food processor of mine has a slicing attachment. I just cut off the green tops and drop the berry down the shoot and slice, slice, slice. Perfectly thin, sliced strawberries. In no time flat!
Last night we prepped all the berries that we will be using for jam today, plus we sliced up some for a delicious strawberry cobbler. 

Strawberry cobbler is so easy and so good. 
I use my basic cobbler recipe of 
Melt 1 stick butter in 9x13 casserole dish
Mix together:
 2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk

1 quart of sliced berries (sweetened or not, your preference) 

Pour crust mix over melted butter in pan, then pour strawberries (or whatever berry, fruit you like) over crust mixture. The crust will rise up above fruit and juice.
Bake at 350* for about 40-50 minutes, til golden brown and bubbly.

After everything was done, I had my piece of cobbler on the back deck as the sun went down. It was a sweet ending to a really great day! 



Thursday, April 27, 2017

Getting our ducks... and chickens in a row

Yesterday the weather around here was GORGEOUS! I got outside almost as soon as the sun was up. We had some chores that needed tending and ideas we wanted to accomplish. Only bummer was the ground was STILL too wet to plant. Sigh. Soon it will be dry enough, we hope. But not too dry. ;)

So this was the plan. We got this portable chicken coop from some of the family that wasn't using it anymore. It's in pretty dire need of some repairs, but for what we had planned, it would work well. 
We hooked it to the lawn mower and pulled it into the place that we wanted it. 

You see our chicks and ducks are getting big and eager for more space. So we thought that on this pretty day, it would be nice for them to be outside. 
We put them in the coop on fresh grass and they started doing what chickens do immediately! Scratching, pecking, and peeping... they don't cluck just yet. 
We gave the ducks a quick bath in a wash tub just to let them be ducks for a while. They LOVE being in the water! 

Eli repaired a few of the loose spots on the coop.
These guys got to spend ALL day outside! 

By the evening we saw that we had a good chance of rain in the forecast and with these being still quite small we knew we couldn't keep them outside. So they came back inside. When Shannon got home, he helped Eli attach some plastic on the top of the opening of the coop... because yesterday afternoon Eli brought home a few new additions.

5 Silver Laced Wyandottes. And because we don't have the big chicken pasture ready and because we saw a massive coyote in the back yesterday, we decided to keep the new ladies in the portable coop. 

Elijah is pursuing a side job in farming. He is hoping to sell his eggs and tomatoes and some other vegetables and fruit this summer. (All his idea and I am tickled pink). 

He said to me, "Mom... we might be getting our "Heritage Acres Homestead" back after all." 
Aww, melt my heart. 
Have a great day, friends! 



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Life these days

I found this Luna Moth late last week. It's wing was damaged and it looked to be dying. I brought it home to show the kids and to add to our nature collection once it was dead. I sat it on our shelf and it remained there for hours and hours. 
Then, through the night we heard a flapping noise. I am guessing it was somewhat still alive enough to flop around, and so it's been flopped for a while now. I knew that moths were more active at night, but I was really surprised with this one because I thought it was almost dead, for sure. 

The other morning, Carlie Jean set an alarm for early because she wanted to get up and make some homemade cinnamon rolls for the family for breakfast. She has said many times before that she thinks one of the greatest things is kneading bread dough.... I quite agree. It is very enjoyable. Anyhow, I told her that if she wanted to be a baker, that she would have to get up early enough because breads have to have a rising time. So, she set her alarm and had her recipe and got to work early and made a wonderful batch of cinnamon rolls for the family. I worked along behind her, helping her tidy as she worked, because that's one area that I tell the kids we all need to work on. Clean as you go and there will be MUCH less of a mess at the end. ;) 

As you can see in the photo above, the chicks and ducks are definitely growing! We have this one who keeps testing the limits. We call the chick "Deacon" because it hops up on top of their little 'house'. My nephew Deacon is always climbing up on top of everything right now, so this is why we call this chicken "The Deacon chick". Because the chick wants to test his boundaries also. ;) 

The weekend was a slurry of moments of sun, but a LOT of rain. Buckets even. We were able to work outside a good deal on Friday, but Saturday was rain on and off and then the evening was a downpour. It hindered my gardening plans, but I did get to work in the flower beds and get them mulched and cleaned up. I was thankful for that. Now if we will get some decent days of sun, the garden plot can dry out and we can get some plants in the ground. I'm an eager beaver... for sure!

Have a great day friends!


Monday, April 24, 2017

4.24.17

Every day there is something to be thankful for, something that we can see and appreciate the beauty of, or that we can take some enjoyment in, or something that we can realize that, this. is. grace.... 
Every. Day.
Sometimes I am really good at this. Sometimes though, I really stink at it.
On Easter we had a hardship hit us, and it shook me pretty hard. I know God is with us. I know He will see us through things, because I know His ways are best. 

But sometimes, I don't do what I need to do. 

I got scared, upset, and even a little angry. 
Sigh.... will I ever learn?
I knew each day through His word He was telling me, "I can be trusted."
I've got a big head and a thick skull, and even when I *KNOW* sometimes I struggle. 
As the Lord began to quieten my worried heart, I began to see.
Seeing those sweet mercies. Those tender graces ALL AROUND.
New life. New opportunities. New experiences. Renewed hope.
I've used the adage here more than once before.
Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or
Do without
So much we can do with what we already have, if we just take the time, energy, effort... to make it happen. 
Maybe you are dealing with something too, something that gave you an eye-opener. Don't be a blockhead like me. Allow the Lord to use the experience and show you His mercies and His grace. 
And then open your eyes and see all the beauty that surrounds you.
All the glories of His creation!
Blessings... 


Friday, March 31, 2017

Ginger Juice

I use a lot of ginger... I put it in my drinks, but I will tell you, in the past I would just grate it and put it in the bottle with my water, unsweetened tea,  and ACV (apple cider vinegar) but I did NOT like getting the gritty ginger sucked up in my straw. Maybe I'm a wimp, but I didn't care for it.
So, I decided I would try something out and I really love the results.
I took one large, peeled, ginger root and 1.5-2 cups of water. I placed them in my blender and pureed it together with the water. 
Then I took a thin flour sack type of towel and strained. The juice flowed through easily and the pulp remained in the towel. After the initial juice flowed through, I clipped it to help force out any remaining juice. 

I let that strain for several hours. Then labeled the jar and put a lid on and stuck it in the refrigerator. 
If it makes too much, freeze some in an ice tray and then take the cubes out, once frozen, and put them into a ziplock type bag and label. The ginger is great to use in any of my drinks and the pulp is not wasted either. It can be frozen and used in dishes where I would use grated or ground ginger! 
I get the healthy benefits of ginger, with none of the grit for my drinks and plenty of pulp to put in any of my cooking dishes.
Win. Win.

Hope this is a helpful hint for y'all too! 



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Zoo with Cousins

Last Friday we had the opportunity to visit the Chattanooga Zoo and meet up with some cousins and take our little sidekick cousin as well. It started off as a bit of a chilly, windy day, but turned out beautiful and we had a great time!
Most of the animals were very active and even showing out for everyone. Although, I don't believe this male peacock was showing out for us as much as the female peacocks. 
And note, I said... "most" haha, these two macaws were having a lunchtime siesta! 

The whole gang.


Our little buddy loved looking at all the animals! 







But... he did NOT like touching the animals. Haha. Only looking. ;) 


Abe was the goat whisperer... most of the goats only wanted the sweet feed that you can get from the dispensers... but Abe was able to get the goats to come up and eat the hay. 




It's a small zoo, but it's a whole lot of fun and we enjoyed the animals! 
What a blessing to get to spend a few hours with family and a big THANK YOU to my friend who sent us some free passes to go!
xoxoxo