This blog is simply the story about my little life
with my sweet family that the Lord has blessed me with
and the day in, day out things that we do.
It basically is my online diary/photo album of our life.
I'm glad you're here!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I can CAN!

 Oh how I love having a garden! It is just so wonderful to go out and pick fresh produce to eat for dinner!
 I also love the feeling that we canned and froze a lot of our produce so we will have food for the winter!
  What a haul!
This year we dried our onions, froze berries, canned beans and made pepper jelly.
I'm so happy that my husband is interested in this and we worked together.
 We cleaned the jars.
Next step is rinsing the beans and....
 .....snapping them and filling the jars.
 We added 1 tsp of salt to each jar.
 Then filled them with boiling water leaving an inch of room at the top of the jar.
 Then we put them in the canner and sealed.
 My hubby set up his propane burner out in his shop.
 We started timing it when it got above 12 pounds of pressure.
I sat there and watched it to make sure it never went under because if it does go under 12 pounds, they won't seal properly and can grow botulism. We also didn't want it to go over 14 pounds.
 We did another batch and this time added yummy garlic!
 They look so beautiful! I hope they taste as good as they look.
 A few days ago my daughter-in-love, Rachelle, came over and we made Dilly Beans, which are picked beans.
 I made them many years ago, but forgot a lot, so I basically was starting over.

 We didn't make very many, but they turned out great!
 A few days later, Eric and I made more pickled green beans. This time I'll show you the steps. First you must blanch the beans for 8 minutes.
 Meanwhile, boil vinegar and spices.
I bought this dill at the store, but next year I am going to plant some!
 Fill each jar with garlic, a little dried pepper and a sprig of dill, then fill will beans.
 Put the lids on tightly and boil for 20 minutes.
 We broke into them and they turned out delicious!
 Now it's time for peppers! We grew some dandies this year!
 This time, my other beautiful daughter-in-love, Megan, came over and we made pepper jelly together. We also made plum liqueur
 This was very special to me as we used my dear mother-in-love's recipes. Alice was known for her delicious pepper jelly and plum liqueur!
 We had so much fun together.
 I wish blogs had smellavision, the scent is marvelous.
 They turned out perfect and such a pretty shade of green!
 Next we went out to the garden and picked berries and made raspberry liquire along with the plum liquire. The plums were given to me from a friend at work. It's really simple, you fill jar with fruit, pour gin and sugar over the fruit and seal. Put the jars in a cool dark place and turn them weekly. In a few months we will strain them and put the juice in pretty jars just in time for Christmas!
Everything turned out great! I am feeling so domestic and productive! I'm so thankful for my helpers too!  It's so nice to know that I can can! :)

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord." Colossians 3:23a

Monday, September 5, 2016

Happy birthday Mackenzie, you are so loved.

 I want to wish my eldest son, Mackenzie James, a very happy 32nd birthday.
 I know life has been difficult for you lately and you've gone through some hard times.
 I want to make sure you know how much Dad and I love you.
 You brightened our worlds when you came into it.
 You bring delight to our souls.
 You mean so much to us.
 We miss you.
 We are so proud of you.
We wish you a very happy birthday. May you find what you are searching for. May you find hope, happiness, success, joy and peace and God's love. May you come home soon.

Love Mom and Dad

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bountiful garden...

Welcome to the garden!
God blessed us with a bountiful garden this year!
This is a side door to the garden, but we don't use it that often, we'll go around to the front to go in, I just wanted to show you the cute zinnia's we planted around it.
They are in full bloom and are just gorgeous. Unfortunately, we had to plant and replant three times! They would not come up for the longest time. We are seriously thinking about making a green house so we can start them and a lot of our other plants from seed much easier.
Let's pull the latch...
....and walk into our "not so secret" garden!
Immediately to the right of the main gate we have bell peppers and they are doing great!
Next we have artichokes. We ate several, which were delicious, but....
...several went to seed, which is kind of a bummer, but wow, they are so pretty.
Next in that row is our zucchini.
Immediately to the left of the garden gate we have eggplant growing!
This is our first ever attempt and they are doing amazing!
Then we have our row of tomatoes. We only bought 3 plants this year and had probably another 6 volunteer, and needless to say.......
......our tomato patch is now out of control and a huge mess, but we have plenty of yummy tomatoes!!! Next year we are going to make wood stands to hold them so we won't have this big mess!
These cherry tomatoes volunteered and I'm so happy because they are scrumptious!
Another volunteer was this huge pumpkin plant!
It has gone crazy and has given us almost a dozen pumpkins!
We planted one cucumber plant and had another three volunteer. That's okay with me, I love them!
My garden assistant, MacGyver, is showing up for his shift. haha
I added a little table for two in the garden this year. It's such a pretty spot to sit and visit.
Our flowers in the base of the windmill are doing phenomenal.
I was so thrilled to see this beautiful butterfly.
I don't know about you, but I have not seen nearly the amount of butterflies that I used to see as a child and it makes me sad. Since we've moved to the country, I have seen more, but usually just one or two at a time. I want to plant more flowers that attract them.
Our bush beans did great this year.
They gave us plenty to eat for many dinners, to can and to pickle.
The onions did great too.
I'm pretty proud of myself for figuring out this great drying system for the onions. I went to a recycle center looking for some kind of lightweight screen or rack to lay them on and found these vent covers, which are perfect!
They are strong, lightweight, stackable and cheap at only $1.00 a piece! We laid two 2x2x8s on two sawhorses, placed the racks on them and then laid the onions on them to dry out in the hot sun for 10 days, turning them every couple of days. We left them right in the garden, which is fully fenced in so the deer can't get to them and also they were not in our way (last year we laid them out on the patio and it was an ugly mess for two weeks). It worked out great!
Once the onions were harvested, my husband planted late crops of lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower.
We originally had a spring crop of broccoli in these two rows, which produced wonderfully and then my husband planted corn. He planted the corn too late, so we did not get any cobs. :( Oh well, we will give it to the cows.
Another big disappointment this year were our blueberries. They started out great, but the birds got to them, so we never got to harvest them. Next year my husband is going to put nets over all of our berries.
The strawberries did great though!
And so did our raspberries and  boysenberries.
Oh my goodness, they are fantastic! We actually got a second crop of the raspberries so we froze a ton.
The boysenberries are absolutely gorgeous.
They are so large too and delicious!
The asparagus has grown fabulously, but we must wait two more years before we get to start harvesting it. I can't wait!
We planted sunflower seeds on two sides of the garden perimeter, but they did not grow up so well like they did last year. As a side note, I love looking out from the garden over to the field so see our cows grazing, they are just so beautiful.
I'm thankful we got a few healthy sunflowers, this one is really pretty.
Well, that finishes up our garden tour for 2016.
It has been a bountiful garden for sure!

"Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce." Jeremiah 29:5
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