Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lots to Do

It's one of those days when I'm trying to decide what to do first: Tomatoes to be canned, already canned ones to box up and find somewhere to put them, herbs on the table ready to be dried, bread to bake ... The weather is windy, cloudy and a bit rainy, and not at all enticing me to go outside. The boys are out doing their chores before breakfast. So much to do before winter sets in. Jim and the boys will help out some friends later today with taking down a shed, so I better get organized and get busy.

Thankfully yesterday was one of those Indian summer days, and I was able to get clothes dried on the clotheslines. However, when I walked over there with a load of towels I couldn't figure out why I was hearing a lot of buzzing going on. I soon discovered that Jim had hung his bee suit on the lines -- and the bees found it. Guess he must have spilled some honey on the suit. I didn't dare get too close, as they looked pretty crabby. We have 2 hives and it's time to extract. Out of necessity Jim created a honey extractor out of a large plastic barrel, but the day wasn't warm enough to keep the honey running and so they will wait. I'm beginning to wonder if we will actually have a warm enough day yet to get the honey to the point where he can extract it. I'm hoping he doesn't decide to bring the frames into the house!

I am very thankful to be done for the time being at the retreat center where I filled in for a week. I think I had a touch of the emotions a mom would have that works out of the home; come to think of it, I probably felt what a dad would also feel when there is the yearning just to be home with his family. It was hard when Jim would stop by with the boys to say hi on their way somewhere -- I just wanted to go with them. I guess I didn't realize how good I had it until I didn't. The extra income will be helpful, but I wondered sometimes if it was worth it. I would come home at night totally exhausted, and had nothing to give the boys either emotionally or physically.

Time to get busy. This Saturday will be our last farmer's market of the season, and the town is having something called Oktoberfest (in Sept. yet!). Jim and the boys were also asked to play their bluegrass for an hour somewhere in the festivities. Jim's folks will be heading our way for a week in early October, and then shortly after that we will head to the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" to visit my folks and attend my niece's wedding. Sure is a lot going on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lots of Preparations to Do

This is why (we had a very heavy frost last Sunday night, and most of our tomato and pepper plants died):

Partly cloudy. Lows in the lower 40s. Southeast winds 10 to 15 mph.

Partly sunny. Slight chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon. Highs in the upper 60s. South winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20 percent.

Wednesday Night
Mostly cloudy. Chance of rain showers in the evening...then chance of rain showers and snow showers after midnight. Windy. Lows around 40. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph increasing to 20 to 30 mph. Chance of precipitation 30 percent.

Mostly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of rain showers. Highs in the upper 40s. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph increasing to 25 to 35 mph in the afternoon.

Thursday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain showers and snow showers in the evening...then partly cloudy after midnight. Widespread frost after midnight. Lows around 30. Northwest winds 15 to 25 mph decreasing to 5 to 10 mph after midnight.

Mostly sunny. Highs in the upper 50s.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Note to Check In

Tonight I heard something that we've all been waiting for ... David came running in and informed me, "Mom, the corn's ready!" Whew, we were afraid it would not be ripe before we had a heavy frost. We've already had a few light frosts, but more in the valley and not up where the gardens are situated. We have so much left to do before winter, and I hope we can get it all done.

Tomorrow is my big day for baking bread, buns, muffins, etc. for the Saturday farmer's market in town. The boys sell garden produce, and I have gotten into the act by selling baked goods. I still can hardly believe that people no longer do their own baking, but are willing to buy it from me. Homemade bread is old hat to our family, but apparently it's quite a novelty for others. I've also been selling strawberry and raspberry jam, wild plum and chokecherry syrup, and may try selling hawthorne jelly. I didn't realize how much pectin is found naturally in hawthorne berries, so it may be a bit thick. We'll have to try out a jar of it in the morning and decide if I should sell it or not.

I also agreed to help out the local retreat center by filling in as cook until they hire a new one. I will start on Sunday, and hope all goes well. Hopefully they will hire someone soon, because I have lots of canning left to do. Our tomatoes are close to being ripe, and I have only canned 7 quarts of them so far.

Jim and the boys have been working on the main floor of our house. They may have the floor between the main and 2nd floor done soon, and we'll see how far we can get before it's too cold to work in there. It sure is nice to at least have storage up there.

I guess David (8) had a little bit of excitement today. When David is around, there's always excitement! Part of his chores is to feed our two pigs. The older boys put together a new pen for them with newly purchased hog panels, and David was trying to get the feed over to the pig's feeding bucket and promptly fell in head first! I am very leery of pigs, since I've heard how mean they can be. The boys quickly informed me that these two pigs love being scratched and are very friendly. Guess I haven't been down there to check them out for a while. All I know is every time I walk to the clotheslines to hang up wet clothes they think my laundry basket is their slop bucket and start squealing!

I would love to show you some photos of all the activity around here, but our digital camera is currently not working.