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