Monday, August 3, 2015

Creation Conference in South Carolina

Creation Ministries International (CMI) is one of our favorite creation ministries, and over the years, we have been blessed by a lot of their teaching and materials. When my parents found out CMI was hosting a week long conference in South Carolina in July, and it was over their 35th wedding anniversary, they decided to go!

As the day drew close for their departure, excitement was building and preparations were in full force. We had a lot of fun those days, and finally, they were on their way early on a Sunday morning.

The conference started on Monday and lasted through Friday, and it was full of excellent teaching, much fellowship with other people attending the conference, deep discussions with some of the speakers, and more. They had such a wonderful, encouraging, and refreshing time!

And here are some of the photos that they captured during their trip . . .

On their way! With the Tennessee hills in the distance

The view from their motel room in South Carolina

Mom enjoying the vast, beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean 

One day they walked out on this pier and visited with the fishermen that were there. One of which caught a small shark while they were there.

A speaker giving one of his sessions at the conference . . . Dad and Mom said that the sessions were all so good! Mom took a lot of notes, and they brought home quite a few books and DVD materials as well which we have already been benefiting from. 

In the area where all the books, DVD's, and other materials were 

A session by Dr. Robert Carter 

 Having lunch with new friends

Dad out on the beach looking at shells and things 

 The conference hosted a tour at Ripley's Aquarium which Dad and Mom really enjoyed! There are so many fascinating sea creatures there.

Dad photographing (and the two photos below are ones he took.) 

An interesting looking lobster

A few of the many diverse and beautiful fish in the aquarium

Where the conference meals were. Dad is in the center visiting with one of the men they met there. There was a lot of time for fellowship which was a blessing to both Dad and Mom! 

Dr. Russell Humphreys during one of his sessions

Dad and Mom . . . so glad someone took this one of them together!

Mom and one of her new friends 

The beautiful sunrise the last morning they were there. They got up early to enjoy time at the beach together before the conference began again. 

Mom collecting seashells 

She loves the ocean (they both do in fact) and really enjoyed this morning time spent there 

My beautiful mother 

One of Dad's many creative photographs he took . . . it was so fun to look through all of them

Looking from the beach up to their motel

A Palm Tree

The beautiful ocean . . . one can almost feel the fresh breeze, smell the salty air, and hear the seabirds calling and the waves rolling in

 Mom and another new friend walking along the beach

They were so glad they could take this trip, and it was again, a time of such spiritual encouragement and learning, wonderful fellowship and more. Once they arrived back home, then came the fun of hearing all about it, looking at the materials they brought home, seeing all the beautiful shells and treasures they found, and simply enjoying being together again!

As a little side note, CMI is having smaller speaking events in many states through the rest of 2015. Check out their events page to see if one of their speakers will be near you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

First Honey Harvest of the Year!

Last week when Dad was checking the hives and adding on more honey supers, he pulled ten frames out for us to extract (there are a lot more ready, though we'll do those at a later time.) So Leah and I had fun together extracting the first bit of honey of the season!

Using the electric uncapping knife to remove the wax cappings

In the process of uncapping which is fairly quick with an electric knife
(and the plate on the counter is to put under the frame to catch honey drips while I bring it over to the extractor and the clock is for Leah to keep track of how long she spins the frames in the extractor.)

Next is using an uncapping scratcher to remove any cappings the knife missed 

Then into the extractor the frames go, and Leah spins the honey out of the frames - about 30-60 seconds for each side of the frames. 

It drains out through the drain into a stainless steel double sieve which removes wax particles and any other debris as the honey flows through down into the honey bucket.

And that's it until we're ready to bottle it. It's a pretty simple process! And does the kitchen ever smell good when we extract as the deliciously sweet aroma of warm honey fills the air.

This honey has a bit different taste than our last spring honey which makes us wonder what kind of flower nectar it is made of. Until we began keeping bees, I used to think honey was just honey and tasted the same, but it can vary a lot and can have so many different flavors and colors!

Monday, July 27, 2015

By Request ~ Peach Crisp Recipe

This is for you, Elizabeth! (And anyone else who would like to make a delicious peach crisp. :) The recipe includes the changes that Leah made . . .

I didn't get a finished photo of her crisp, but these are some of the peaches she used

Peach Crisp

- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed

- 4 cups of chopped or sliced peaches (first boil peaches around 1 minute, peel, and remove stone)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water or peach juice

- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 Tbsp. butter

In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Pat into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile in a small saucepan stir the sugar and cornstarch into the water/peach juice until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in peaches. Pour into crust. For topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, and flour. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Masked Bandits

Last week, the peaches were so close to being ripe, and their sweet aroma filled the air around the tree. Leah and I were going out every day to check them, anticipating the harvest and putting them up. The tree was loaded with peaches, and while some were being damaged by insects, there were still a lot that looked great. It was our best looking peach year so far!

But then last Friday night while we unsuspectingly slept, masked bandits raided the tree and helped themselves to the vast majority of the crop! While they were rather cute little bandits, deterring future visits was a must . . .

One of the little bandits . . . this one was only half-grown and let me get pretty close to it

Saturday evening after Dad and Mom got home from their trip and after we spent a couple of hours sharing with each other about our weeks, Dad and Leah got an electric fence put up around the tree. That did the trick of saving the remaining peaches for us!

The other day Leah made a delicious crisp with some of them, which was very much enjoyed, and we have been enjoying some fresh as well. The peaches are so sweet and flavorful! And while our harvest was a lot smaller than expected, we were glad for at least some peaches from the tree, and now we know how better to protect them next year!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Refinishing and Restoration

Last week, my parents had the opportunity to go to Creation Ministries International's Super Conference in South Carolina. They left early on a Sunday morning, had a fantastic week there, and then arrived back home this past Saturday evening. It was so good to have them back home again! Leah and I had a wonderful week together, but our parents sure were missed. :) They took quite a few photos during their trip, and once I sort through them, I will be doing a post about their time there.

While they were away, Leah and I had a very full and fun week . . . taking care of all the animals, harvesting beans and blueberries and putting them up, making lots of soap (for me), training Kymber (for Leah), volunteering two days at the riding center, having very encouraging 'sister talks' about so many things, and much more.

A part of that "more" was working on refinishing/restoration projects! We wanted to do a fun project while our parents were gone so we each picked one - Leah decided to restore her Singer treadle sewing machine and I picked my chairs (which is one reason why we made sure to get them put together before my parents left as I knew we would need dad's help with that step!)

A friend of ours had thoughtfully given Leah the treadle sewing machine several years ago when she was downsizing. It wasn't in the greatest condition, and Leah wanted to keep the original finish so she researched how to restore it without refinishing . . .


We had so much fun working on these projects together! Leah started by removing the lid, taking the machine and drawers out, and then washing down the entire cabinet with Murphy's wood oil soap.

I did a bit of touch-up sanding on my chairs to remove some wood glue residue from when we put the chairs together, dusted them off, and then wiped them all down with a tack cloth to remove any bits of dust that remained in preparation for staining.

We had set up an area outside and spent our mornings out there working before it got too hot (most days, the heat indexes climbed to 110+ degrees - a little on the warm side!)

Our setup

Staining the bottom of the chair seats

The next step for Leah was wiping down all of the wood pieces with Old English Scratch Remover for dark wood which she is doing here. It worked amazingly well!

Staining the chairs . . . I love seeing the grain of the wood 'come alive' after being stained!

Rubbing off the excess stain

And it's all stained!

That was our first day . . . the consecutive days we didn't really get any photos so I'll just write a bit about the steps . . .

The chairs needed two coats each of Tung Oil finish applied, and it takes at least 24 hours drying time between coats. I love the look of this hand rubbed finish, but it isn't the easiest to work with! (At least the kind I am using.) It needs to set about 5-10 minutes on the wood and then be rubbed off, but by the time it is ready to be rubbed off, it is always so sticky, it can't really be done.

To get around that, I apply the Tung Oil onto small sections of the chair at a time, and then when the 'setting' time is up, brush a fresh coat on as that removes the stickiness. Then it is quickly rubbed off before it gets sticky again.

It was exciting to have those steps done! I had hoped to be able to start caning the seats as well, but ran out of time for that. Hopefully soon I'll be able to put those in which will be fun!

Leah's machine cabinet had quite a few large and small paint splatters on it, and Dad had suggested sanding those off. Leah was a little unsure about how best to do this, so I helped her pick out the sandpaper grit, and we worked on it together inside one evening. It was fun to do and exciting to see those green and white paint splotches coming off! She applied more Old English Scratch Remover afterwards to help blend the now lighter spots in.

Next she used steel wool to apply Howard Restor-A-Finish in walnut. That was then rubbed off with rags as well. This step really brought forth the original beauty and color of the wood and stain.

Last but not least, she rubbed in several coats of Howard Feed-N-Wax which polishes and conditions the wood. The difference in her machine after all of this was amazing!

Here are before photos . . .

And after . . .

Isn't it beautiful now? She did such a great job!

And here is a before and after on my chairs . . .

Before . . .

And after . . .

The two on the left are the ones I did this time

Now that we have these steps and/or projects done, we're already looking forward to our next ones (after I cane the seats that is) . . . our bookshelves? Leah's pie safe? My trunk? It will be fun deciding and working on them probably sometime in the fall!