Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Celebrating simplicity.

In the cottage garden, the abundance of flowers are in full bloom.
~It's amazing that in only a few months, the bushes and flowers have really filled out and grown--adding fullness along the pathway. These Cosmos waited till the cooler weather rolled in to blossom.

~My mother does a wonderful job tending to the garden. I look forward to adding more wild rose bushes...It's rainy and damp outside, perfect for transplanting ;)
~Within the picket fence, I noticed there's a new crop of tomatoes coming in. The plants seem to love these Autumnal temperatures. My dad planted collard greens a few weeks ago, and the seedlings are making their entrance quite well! Leafy greens and root crops seem to grow wonderfully during our mild winters...I love it because they're dependable, and a major part of our meals during the cooler season. At a local museum, there were old pear trees heavy with fruit--and I was happy to find out I could glean as much as I wanted, what a blessing!
~The pears were huge, each one about a pound each. So I got to work, peeling & dicing--Ready to preserve for later!

I ended up canning 20 quarts of diced pears and 18 pints of Vanilla Spice Pear Jam. I also was able to make "All Fruit" jam (no sugar!) using Apple juice concentrate as the sweetener! That was very exciting ;)

~After his school lessons, my brother decided to have a camp-out. He pulled out his tent, supplies, built a fire, and headed into the kitchen to create a meal.
~He ground up Oats to make oat flour, then added salt, baking soda and milk. He stirred up his created recipe, then fried his cakes over the open fire. Garnished it with preserves, and we even got a chance to taste--I was was really good!


Sprouting Garlic

I decided to try garlic again this year--So I bought 2 packs of fresh garlic for $4, then divided up all the bulbs..there were 120 cloves total. I got a shallow pan, filled it with with bathroom paper and poured water over it until it was soaked just enough. Then I arranged all the garlic cloves on the saturated surface.

~In 2 days, every clove had sprouted fresh roots--Some even sent up green shoots. I'm glad the experiment worked, and so quickly!

My dad had prepared an area out in the back field for us to use, so after weeding it thoroughly, I began to plant the garlic cloves. In a 25 ft. bed, I was able to plant all 120 bulbs, with a little extra room to spare. I'll be buying more garlic to plant soon!
~In the backyard, Mother helped moved old pieces of wood into the burn pile...
The wood ash can be used on the garden as a natural fertilizer.
~Down the lane, the soft cotton is in full bloom. The wondrous way it grows never ceases to fascinate me year by year. When the fibers blow into the road, we glean what we can & use it for homespun projects.
~We had friends come over to stay for the weekend, and one exclaimed, "You have books in EVERY room...even the kitchen!" It was quite humorous because it was so true...Its wonderful to be surrounded by good authors, timeless stories & a wealth of information. This is the backbone behind our cottage schooling. Almost all of our bookshelves were constructed by my Dad, which is nice.
~This week I taught my first canning class! There were about forty children ages 3-14, while some adults watched on as well.
~ I brought everything that I'd need, so while my water bath canner was heating on the stove, I focused on teaching about why food preservation is so important. I asked them to guess what was in my various jars of preserves I brought from home, and also to name "fruits of the spirit" (love, joy, peace etc).
It was good to see how much the children got involved, especially in answering questions. This is all so new for them, but they caught on quickly! As I stirred in the pectin, they watched as the fruit began to thicken. I also talked about how fruit was preserved in biblical days. As I added the sugar, I mentioned that our spiritual journey can be a sweet experience..they loved it!
~ By the end of the class, the children were able to taste some of the Peach jam they 'helped' me to make! I made homemade bread for them to sample as well. Afterwards I was asked to do a presentation for the parents as the children shared what they learned. It seemed to spark alot of interest, so it looks like I'll be doing another class soon!
Next time I hope to share more on self-sufficiency ;)
~ I'm so thankful for these peaceful days.

"But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." Psalm 37:11


Anonymous said...

I also have books in every room in the cottage :) It makes for a very cozy lifestyle.

Thank you for sharing,


édis said...

eu adoro seu blog.parabéns!

Joy said...

What a lovely post, Mia! Garlic is such a great thing to grow...I hope we can grow some next year. :)

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

Oh I am going to try making my next batch of jam with apple juice concentrate. I recently made mulberry jam but the amount of sugar needed did alarm me, I cut back the sugar that the recipe asked for and it set just fine - we have just a slither on our toast!
Your brother's culinary creation are very much like what we call pikelets though I add an egg into our recipe. I will have to try them with oat flour. I loved the illustrations you used when teaching your class. I am going to remember to do this with my children when I make my next batch of jam! What a lovely way to impart Biblical truth into the lives of children as well as teaching them skills for life. You have been blessed to be a blessing Mia.

Anonymous said...

OH Mia I just loved this post. it was so wonderful, so peaceful and so magnificent! Thank you for sharing your life with us, and telling us about your adventures! I hope that this blog will help young african americans to see that there is on like them thats doing things right and loving God and standing up for what they think is right!

Thank you mia and God bless you.

AuntLou said...

Beautiful post, which is no surprise! I know it takes time to craft such loveliness and I know you must be a very busy young lady, but I could wish your posts came more frequently. :)

Jaimi_C said...

What a wonderful post. Fresh pears, yummy garlic,fresh food, books, what a good life! Would you be willing to share your recipe for your Vanilla Spice Pear Jam? It sounds so good!

Joyfulhomemaker said...

love your blog:) I was hoping you might be able to share more details on using apple concentrate as a sweetner please ?like the aount you used for the amount of fruit you had..thanks in advance

Salomé said...

Hello Mia.
I just found your blog, but loved going through your posts. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep shining your light for our Saviour.
Love in Christ. :)

Tracy said...

Beautiful, as always, Mia. I'm anxious to hear how your garlic does!

Cyndi Lewis said...

Such a blessing to read your posts. Thank you for being such an inspiration while you aspire.

Christi said...

Mia, we need to get together soon! We miss you all and haven't seen you in quite a while. New baby is due "anyday" now. Hug the family for us.

Mrs. A. and family

Queen Bee said...

I am so glad to see a new post! Your blog is such a blessing... we are a homeschooling family in Alaska, and when it is cold and snowy here (which is lovely!), it is sometimes nice to know that other people are still enjoying sun and planting. Since our weather has turned cold and snowy, I have been focusing on doing freezer meals. Do you do those? They are wonderful if the family gets a cold or something where cooking would be harder to do.

Your blog is just a cup of cool water, and I check it almost every day hoping for a new post :) Thank you!

AJ said...

Hello Mia!
God is Good!~I'm enjoying peaceful days as well. :)

Fresh garlic, onions, and herbs are great for soups and stews. Especially with the cooler weather coming. I'm starting some herb plants inside on my kitchen windowsill.

*Love how your Ginger cat 'helps' you in the garden.* :)

How wonderful you incorporated The Word and His Glory into your class. You're becoming quite the teacher. :) Want to come to Texas to teach? ha ha

No surprise your brother is becoming a good cook. Between your mom, sister, and you he's had some great examples. ;)

I'm so pleased to see your posts and to learn about how your family is living. It gives me inspiration to continue to do more in living simple and to be true to Him. ~ Thank You.

May God Bless You & Your Family.

ZipZip said...

Dear Mia,

All those little garlic cloves, each a little life reaching out new roots and displaying the work and the glory and blessings of life. Your class did something similar, yes?

Very best to you,


Michelle-ozark crafter said...

It's always so good to come and visit you!

janice15 said...

Such a lovely always my dear...I have wanted to try garlic in the garden, I saw it at the nursery but didn't buy it. it seems simply enough so I will have to give it a try. I sure wish I could can. I'm nerves about doing it..but maybe one day in the future..have a blessed day your blog..Janice from visit soon...hugs

Hawthorne said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely post - as usual. You shine light into the difficulties in my life, Mia - God bless you and your family! And your beautiful cat too ;-)

Melissa said...

I adore your blog and all your wonderful pictures. Keep up the great posts!

jmosley2 said...

Dear Mia,
Your blog is truly an inspiration.
So far I have tried out your Sticky Buns and Oatmeal-Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies recipes. (Which my students really liked. ;) Now I hope to move into canning. Apple juice concentrate sounds like a good sweetener choice. If you are ever in Pennsylvania we would love to have you stop by.
Your brother seems quite the adventurer as well as a baker. It is so good to see him show his own self sufficiency. You have taught him well. :)
When I see the way your mother works around the house it is no wonder that you and your sister have turned out to be such lovely young ladies. Truly your father is a blessed man.

Grace and Peace to you and your family,

Mrs. Arpino said...

Mia, I can't thank you enough for blessing my spirit and my mind. I just want to move in with your family and be part of it. LOL Do you mind if I bring my husband and baby? LOL Just kidding I'm no stalker just a lady who appreciates God's creation in natural settings more so than in the city. May He bless you bountifully!

Bella said...

Great post! You have inspired me to want to bake, cook, and really work more on being a homemaker. Thanks!
I think that we have met before at the Pitt's house on the Fourth of July. Without a doubt, I'm glad to have found your blog!

Rose @---} said...

I know this may sound stupid but do you mind telling me what you do in your spare time, besides blog and read? I'm trying to keep my days from being boring but getting away from tv all the time. I have 2 very small ones, so I can't read much. Anyway, I grew up with 24/7 tv so it's very difficult for me to figure out what to do.

Heather said...

As always, you show us what a lovely and peaceful home you have! Its such a joy to visit you here :) hoping you and your family have a wonderful autumn!~

colleen said...

please post your recipie for vanilla spice pear jam and your brother's oat cake recipie. thanks.

Laura Lee said...

So inspiring, Mia! YOU, my dear, should write a book! Love and miss talking to you :)

Come checkout my giveaway this week!


Kennesa said...

Hello Darling Mia!
Wonderful post, as always! Thank you for the wonderful inspiration you and your family are to me.
I love you guys!
Lots of Love!
Your sister in Christ,

Naturally Anita said...

This is so inspirational!
Thank you for a beautifull blog!

maría cecilia said...

Hola Mia, just couldn´t leave without letting you know how much you have enter deep into my heart while I was reading you here and in your older posts, you are such a tender and sweet person.
hugs from Chile

AbbiYah said...

Hello Mia,
What a very stimulating post!
I enjoy reading what you have to say.
I am very pleasured that you taught a class on preserving, I would like to can some day. But we just can't because of the circumstances we are in right now, please be praying.
Much love, AbbiYah.

Kaitlyn said...

Hello Mia!

I just found your blog and read the whole thing! I finally found a kindred spirit!!! I am a 19 year old, home school graduate and I am furthering my education by becoming a Family Herbalist. My story is similar to yours. :o)If you could please email me at, I would really love to get to know you better! I have started a blog a while ago, but have slacked off a bit. You have inspired me to get it going again! Thank you and God bless you and your family. May the Lord give you strength in every endeavor as you live for Him.

In Him always~

Sandy R said...

I love your blog! It is so lovely, and it is encouraging to see young ladies who see the wisdom of walking in the old paths. God bless you and your family!

Amy said...

Been away for awhile. So glad to come back and find this wonderful post.

It is always a bright spot in my day.

God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Mia, do you buy the garlic at the grocery store or does it need to be untreated or something from the nursery?
I really need an answer. I would love to grow some too but am obviously just a beginning gardener! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You have a lovely, peaceful blog, Mia. Thanks for your posts!

ladybug loves lilacs said...

Hello Mia,
I found your blog through a friend. SO inspiring to see a young person walk out their faith. What a blessing for you to be able to share with youngsters the things you have learned.

I have been canning for years and have yet to come across a recipe that uses fruit juices instead of sugar or honey. I would surely appreciate it if you would share where you found your recipe or how you did it.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Could you answer the question about the garlic? Please? :)

AbigailDawn said...

Oh Mia, your blog always makes me feel such peace and make my heart happy. I know the Lord is pleased with the way you share your love of Him and His teachings!

To Anonymous - I've grown garlic I got at the grocery store, but I've heard that doesn't always work. It's worth trying though. I did it this year because the heads of garlic I got at the store started sprouting just while sitting in my cupboard.

Mia said...

Hello, I apologize for not answering right away! I appreciate every single comment and never intend to overlook any...

{Rose@---} had asked,"..But do you mind telling me what you do in your spare time, besides blog and read?"
Dear Rose,
Often my days are spent preparing/cooking meals, gardening, cleaning, researching(19th century life), and occaionally I may go out of town to help out with a family in need etc. I try to find time to practice guitar, sew, read, and photograph everyday activities when I can.

Anonymous asked,"Mia, do you buy the garlic at the grocery store or does it need to be untreated or something from the nursery?"
Dear friend,
Although some recommend planting seed garlic, I prefer fresh.
I buy fresh garlic from a International/specialty grocery store..not any place big like Walmart etc.
I get a pack with 5 softneck garlic bulbs included. From that pack, I can get about 50 cloves to plant!
So far, I've planted about 300 cloves..I'm hoping to do about 150 more so that we'll harvest enough to give away to friends as well as sell in the market.


Hope that helps! Thank y'all for everyone's sweet comments--they make my day! :)

Julianne said...

Mia, thank you so much for your answer about the garlic.
I will try it! God bless you richly! You have inspired so many.