Saturday, August 31, 2019

Baby Chicks and Flowers

 Earlier this month we added seven little hens to our flock. We lost two of our older hens this summer and had only three left. It was depressing to imagine how cold and lonely winter would be with only three hens - but we thought it was too late in the season to purchase baby chicks. 

Much to our surprise Adam discovered that our local Tractor Supply was selling baby chicks earlier this month. What surprised us even more was the selection they had available. Back when we purchase our original seven hens they only had Isa Brown pullets available.
 This time however they had several breeds to choose from, in fact it was little hard to decide, so Adam picked out the seven little beauties we brought home.

Adam chose two Barred Rocks, two Brahmas, two Plymouth Blue Rocks and one Silver Laced Wyandotte. The little cutie in the picture above is one of the Plymouth Blue Rocks. Adam claimed both Blue Plymouth Rocks and named them Callie and Iola after the Hardy Boys' girlfriends. : )
 They are all adorable and such fun to watch. Jemimah is thrilled with the baby chicks. The white Brahmas are her babies. She has been hoping to train them to ride in her bicycle basket.
 Miranda has found the baby chicks quite fascinating. When they were tiny we kept them in a box on the porch with a screen over the top. Miranda watched them all day long! The picture above is of Miranda watching them out of the kitchen window.
 Each August I anticipate the first blossom from my Rose of Sharon bushes.  I love to see each variety blossom. We have three different pinks, a white and a lavender.
 I think the color of this Rose of Sharon is especially pretty.
The cows across the road have been fun to watch all summer. There is nothing quite like waking up to the sound of cows mooing. This year the farmer has had a bull penned up, separate from the other cows. The bull does not moo, I'm not sure what to call the noise, but it sounds a lot like a fog horn on a ship. Thankfully he is quiet most of the time, but when he does sound off, we all have to chuckle over the absurd sound.

"The LORD is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works." Psalm 145:9

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Jam, Zucchini Bread and A Doily

 Zucchinis are one of my favorite vegetables! They are incredibly versatile, just yesterday I was commenting to my mom how many ways I have incorporated zucchini into our meals. Last night we enjoyed a supper of zucchini pancakes, corn on the cob, tomatoes and cucumbers- all from our garden, and for dessert zucchini brownies. It is such a blessing, especially since our first few gardens at our home were complete failures

In the picture above I had made a savory cheddar cheese zucchini bread and double chocolate zucchini bread. When I make the double chocolate zucchini bread I substitute the 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/3 cup honey, making it a little healthier. My daughter, niece and nephew all refer to the double chocolate zucchini bread as chocolate cake. It truly is a delicious recipe.
 Another recipe I tried for the first time this year is Peach Maple Jam. Adam made maple syrup this spring. Much of it was boiled over an open fire and it has a marvelous flavor. It was fun to find a jam recipe that could use some of Adam's syrup. The flavor of the maple syrup and vanilla combined with peaches is unique and absolutely delightful.
 Recently I finished crocheting the doily pictured above. It was a fun project and the design is one of the prettiest I have seen in quite a while. I love the unique shape. It looks perfect on my kitchen table under our oil lamp. The pattern I used can be purchased here.
 This was our first year to plant sweet corn. Jemimah loves corn and was extremely excited to plant corn with her papa this spring. She monitored her corn daily and compared her corn's growth with the corn in surrounding fields. You can imagine how thrilled she was to eat the first ears of corn from our garden. : ) We have been eating corn a few times each week for the past couple weeks. Jemimah has been very pleased to pick the corn for supper and then husk it. I love to see her carrying the freshly husked ears of corn in her apron skirt. 

We are already planning to plant more corn next year in hopes of having enough to freeze or can.
Right now I am collecting up tomatoes with plans to make pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce.

Do you have a favorite zucchini recipe? Or a favorite jam recipe?

"Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honor of his name: make his praise glorious" Psalm 66:1-2

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

August Days and Thimble Summer

On the left peaches from a kind neighbor and on the right tomatoes from our garden! I am hoping to make salsa tomorrow.

 "While the men worked on the barn Garnet and her mother had their hands full with the house and garden; for now the garden was yielding in all its abundance. It was hard to keep up with it. When you had finished picking all the beans it was time to pick yellow squashes, shaped like hunting horns. And when you had got through with squash it was time for the beans again. And then you had to hurry, hurry and gather the bursting ripe tomatoes from the heavy vines, for canning. Then there were beets and carrots to be attended to; and after that it was time for the beans again.

"Beans never know when to stop" said Garnet's mother in annoyance.

Corn was picked every day; and that was pleasant , walking in the rustling good-smelling aisles between the stalks. And the watermelons! Big solid green ones that Garnet thumped with a finger to see if they sounded ripe. And every now and then she dropped one on purpose and it would burst open, cold as a glacier and rosy red. Then she would walk homeward dripping and drooling, spitting out black seeds and feeling fine.

And Canning! Oh those weeks of harvesting and peeling and preparing apples, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, plums and beans. All day the kitchen smelled like heaven and was filled with steam.The stove was covered with kettles and vats, and upside down on the windowsill stood processions of mason jars full of bright color and hot to the touch."

From Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright 1938
Jemimah and I recently finished reading Thimble Summer together. It is hard to say who enjoyed it more. I love stories that are set in rural areas and especially those that take place in the 1930's. Thimble Summer is a simple story that spans a summer in the life of a young mid-western farm girl. There were many incidents in the story that made us laugh and a couple that surprised Jemimah. She would occasionally feel it necessary to scold the main character, Garnet, as she would get herself into some rather wild predicaments. 

I especially enjoyed the descriptions of home and family throughout the book. The selection I shared above seemed to capture the essence of August. The smells, the warmth, the abundance. 
My kitchen has been once again taken over by my canner and an assortment of beautiful vegetables from our garden. We feel truly blessed by the produce we have picked each day.

Today I made dill relish. I have made dill pickles each year but never relish. Adam loves relish and made a special request that I would find a relish recipe and give it a try. This was the ideal year since we seem to have more cucumbers than we know what to do with. This is the recipe I used. I can't say how it tastes, it needs to set for two weeks before using. But we are looking forward to sampling some then!

Don't forget, it is always best to do your canning in a pretty apron. It makes the experience more enjoyable, and keeps your clothes clean. : ) This particular apron is sewn from one of my favorite calicos, so be sure to stop by my shop if you find yourself in need of a new apron.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18