Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Living a quiet Life

"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving,
and tell of all thy wondrous works." Psalm 26:7
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My brother baking his first Apple pie for Thanksgiving...
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Never Fail Flaky Pie Crust
*3 cups flour, *1.5 cups butter/margerine, *1/2 tsp salt, *5 TBsp cold water, *1 egg, *1 TBsp vinegar.
Combine flour, butter & salt. Mix well. Combine water, vinegar and egg. Mix all ingredients together w/ fork. Add flour if necessary. Divide dough into 2 balls, one for crust, other for cutting into strips for the top of pie.
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Deep Dish Apple Pie
I used my cast iron skillet as the 'pie pan'.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1 TBsp Cinnamon
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Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add sugars and water; bring to a boil.
Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Coat apples with cinnamon. Fill until mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over all the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes.
It was Delicious. Fantastic. Spectacular. lol!!
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Chopping up fresh picked collard greens
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I hope everyone had a lovely Holiday!
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The simplicity of a chilly morning
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Having fun in the Garden
My Dad brought home two bundles of local sweet Vidalia onion sets!
I couldn't wait to get them in the ground, so I spent all day yesterday planting them :)
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The night before, I soaked them in water (for a head start) and spaced them 4" apart, with 12" between the rows. Doing this for almost 250 onions got a little tedious, lol!!
We have dry sandy soil, so incorporating compost into the beds (and covering w/ leaves) has really improved the soil...although we still have a long way to go :)
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Hopefully I'll be able to plant more before it gets too cold!
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Cottage Schooling
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My brother was reading his McGuffey reader in a crazy accent,
so there was alot of laughing going on :)
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Rainy day art projects...
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The beauty of Spinning
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My sister has found a new interest in Spinning,
and so using our own cotton (we just collect it as it blows into the road from next-door)..
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She hand-spun it using a homemade drop spindle!
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She got really creative with it, using a long crochet needle, an old CD & gauze (to hold it in place). She's getting better at it everyday...apparently cotton fibers are short, so it's a bit harder than spinning wool.
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The view of our little Cottage from the back...
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It was very windy today!

The crunch and rustle of the leaves instantly makes a simple walk outdoors a pleasant experience.
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Turnip greens...
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Kale
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Collard greens amongst the fallen leaves...
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Save the Dishes!
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Instead of throwing away cracked/unusable china, why not re-use them outside?
For years, my Mother has saved a few dishes to use as a nice border in the grass. This one is in front of our porch...
~ Tucked away, and off the path they're a fun touch :) Behind roses, against a fence...
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Mother and our loveable dog Ol' Yeller
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Looking up at the leaves...
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We still have small pears on our tree, and they're beautiful as natural decor! I was wearing my new linen dress (please excuse the oversize sleeves!)
~ The leaves of Autumn...the golden hues of the season. ~ On the porch, we have an antique container that we fill with pear branches and other decor inside.
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Take time to relax and enjoy the simple joys of today :)
Often we can spend entirely too much time on the details, and not enough on what really matters!
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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

November Moments

The month has seemed to fly by!
Everything has been going well, I apologize for the lack of updating, it really has been too long!!
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The acoustics of the season keep me outside, enjoying the crisp Autumn air--There seems to be a rythym in the woods, a diligent spirit of preparation in nature...Knowing our still, mild days will only last for a short while--yet we eagerly anticipate the upcoming days ahead.

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Our pear trees have bloomed--perhaps believing the fantastic hope that Spring is here, or rather, forgetting we still have a cold winter season to yet experience. However, the abundance of flowers here at the Cottage has been most welcome, especially among the fallen leaves of crimson and gold.

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I recently returned home from the wonderful state of Ohio! I traveled up with friends to attend a wedding, and I'm so glad I did--it was a beautiful event! The ceremony and reception was so unique! Notice the bride's vintage style veil :)
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A Candlelit Evening spent with friends

In the outdoor kitchen, 'swamp stew' has been prepared on the old woodstove...


and final preparations are made as friends begin to arrive.


After we ate, everyone gathered around the bonfire, and I was asked to share my experience at the rural village where I 'lived' as if it were the 1860's.

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I mentioned how one day the Impressment agents came by the homestead demanding we pay our taxes upfront. Without cash, we had to pay in produce and precious food preserves for them to collect. Distraught, I asked the head cook how we would get by without the food--She answered that we would just have to manage without. That scenario was just one of many 'dramatic moments' that we experienced during the event! I must admit, it was a bit of an adjustment to come back to 'everyday life'--but I look back and am thankful for the experience!
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Garden update

I planted Snow peas as an experiment :) They're doing well along with the greens (collards, kale, turnips). We harvested our sweet potatoes, and the yeild was a little over 50 lbs! I also planted garlic this month.

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::From a dear reader::

A question on Contentment:
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"I went to college, got my degree and am now working on my Master’s in Education online. I’m having a hard time enjoying my place in life.
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I’ve have been struggling with my role of being a homemaker and housewife. I came across your blog and found it to be amazingly refreshing. It is so crazy how society places such a stigma on being a stay-at-home mother or housewife, but I wouldn’t trust anyone else to raise my son or take care of my home.
Unfortunately, I have found myself playing into the lies that I am not good enough in this role. I know God calls us all to something greater- and His ideas of greatness are often very different than ours.
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Do you have any tips on contentment? Is your current lifestyle choice something you desire to continue for the duration of your life?"--Mrs. M.
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Dear Mrs. M,
Thank you for your question!

Being content at home definetely takes a state of mind and personal conviction that I've had to grow in. Yet, as time goes by, I'm finding this path to be a blessing. I can relate to questioning whether I'm 'good enough' in this (aspiring) role...but I take comfort in these words:
"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;
and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels." Proverbs 1:5
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Honestly, I've just been trying to ask questions, gain knowledge (in practical life skills and arts), and using my time at home as productively as I can.
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~Mother chopping vegetables for soup~

What has nurtured my heart toward home has been my Mother's example, and in turn she has appreciated the example of various mentors throughout the years. Here are books that cultivated her desire for homemaking while still working (before homeschooling and staying at home)
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"The spirit of Loveliness" by Emilie Barnes -- "Love in every room" by Karla Dornacher,

"A Mothers Heart" by Ellyn Sanna & "Wholeheart Education" by Clay Clarkson
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~Bringing a touch of Autumn indoors~
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In the meantime, my family does stay active with attending various events, volunteering and a host of other things, but I believe what has helped me most in contentment has been to love being at home. At the end of the day, coming home to our little Cottage is a retreat for us.
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~My Mother clearing out weeds and undergrowth~
I appreciate that my parents have always shared their vision for our home with my siblings and I, and have passed on a Pioneering spirit that has been a blessing. I understand that not everyone's family unit is the same, but for us thus far, I don't look back with any regrets but look to the future with excitement!
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Dear Readers, What are your tips on Contentment? I'd love to hear from you!!