Friday, July 31, 2009

A Sure Sign . . .

. . . that children have been here!

A refrigerator covered in drawings.

On Wednesday, we had some children join us for the day, and Leah and I had a wonderful time with them. Some of the highlights were drawing and coloring, picking wild plums with the older children (they thought it was so fun to pick the plums up off of the ground after I shook the trees!), picking green beans together, snapping some green beans for them to bring home to their family, reading books, playing games, talking, sharing, teasing, laughing . . . so fun!

Since then, things have been rather busy here, and it seems that we never cease to have produce to put up! The beans have been producing like crazy the past few weeks - not only are the two rows that were planted later in the year now being harvested, but the first planting of beans re-flowered and now those plants are covered in beans, too. On Wednesday (with some help from the children), I picked 27 pounds of beans, and then picked some more today. We've just about reached the total of how many beans we would like to put up for ourselves, and I am about half-way to the amount (100 pounds) that we are trading with a friend for apples (which we will be getting from them this fall.) It has been fun to be able to 'barter' like this! Though, I am starting to get just a bit tired of picking beans . . . I keep telling myself, though, that I am not necessarily picking beans, but apples. :) Unfortunately, that 'logic' is not terribly convincing! :)

Today has been one of those busy days where it seems that you no sooner finish one thing, then it is time to move on to the next . . . first it was dishes, laundry, tidying up the house and taking care of the animals; then it was onto gathering more wild plums and making juice out of them (for later using to can jelly), doing some mowing, picking beans, and then making the jelly. And in between all of that, getting caught up on some computer work.

Making the jelly was the most enjoyable thing done today, and out of the first batch of juice, I was able to make 9 1/2 half-pints of jelly (1 1/2 half-pints weren't canned, but went in the fridge to be enjoyed over the next few weeks.) There is more wild plum juice in the fridge, but I need a few more cups of it before I can make a second batch of jelly. From the looks of the wild plum trees, we should have more than enough plums to make enough jelly to last us the year as well as to make some to share with others.
Wild plums on the tree

Washed and ready to be 'crushed'

In order to get the juice from them, they have to be slightly crushed before boiling them in a small amount of water. This was tiring to do!

And after a lot of steps taking place between the previous photo and this photo . . . here is the finished jelly

Speaking of wild plums, it will be a lot easier harvesting them off of the trees now thanks to my Dad! He so thoughtfully weed-eated down around the trees that I have been getting plums from . . .

Raking up the grass/brush after weed-eating

The end result . . . much better!

And before I bring this already long and rambling post to a close :), here are a few photos from the vegetable garden that were taken a few evenings ago . . .

The squash/watermelon patch has grown like crazy!

Here are some of the things growing underneath the thick cover of green leaves and vines . . .

A Watermelon

One of our winter squash

And here is the leaf that goes with the above squash . . .

It is huge! I put my hand on top of it to give an idea of how big it is. I think that it is the largest leaf that I have ever seen!

And a little pie pumpkin (only this is from a different section of the garden.)

8 comments:

  1. Everything looks wonderful. You all work so hard and put all your effort into keeping all your vegetables growing nicely! It is nice that you all work as a team. Everything goes so much smoothly that way. I especially love your pumpkin. We love pumpking pie in my home and it is so nutritious. Do you ever post your cross-stitch? I would love to see some of your needlepoint when time allows. God bless, Rose

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  2. Thank you, Rose, for your sweet comment! :)

    It is such a blessing when families can work together! I am so thankful for having the wonderful opportunity to work together with my family on a day to day basis. Not only is it special, but it is also fun! :)

    We, too, love pumpkin pie! Last year was our first time making a completely ‘from scratch’ pie, and it was decided that it was much better than when using canned pumpkin. :) I think pie pumpkins are going to be a staple in our garden from now on!

    Yes, I do post about my cross-stitches occasionally (and now that you mention it, I think I have another one that is finished that could be posted about :). If you would like to see some of the older ones, here are web addresses to a couple of them as well as to some of my Mom’s and sister’s cross-stitches:

    http://asliliessewing.blogspot.com/2009/01/finished.html

    http://asliliessewing.blogspot.com/2008/04/recent-projects.html

    http://asliliessewing.blogspot.com/2008/06/finished.html

    http://asliliessewing.blogspot.com/2009/02/finished-project.html


    Do you do any needlework? If so, what types do you enjoy doing?

    Thank you again for your comment! :)

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  3. You sure have been busy lately, Sarah! It looks like a lot of pleasant busyness, though.

    Our fridge looks like that all the time (lots of artwork)! It makes it seem more cheerful.

    I love your garden photos. I can't wait for the day when our girls are old enough to take over some of the garden so ours might look so neat! And I can't believe how many beans you have been picking! We've had quite a few, but not anywhere near what you've been getting.

    The pumpkin photo causes me to look forward to fall...ours are growing, too, and it's fun to watch them. :)

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  4. Thank you so much for your comment, Joy! I know that you have been very busy yourself, so I especially appreciated you taking the time to leave a note!

    I would imagine that your fridge would look similar :) . . . You have some talented little artists in your family!

    It probably will not be long before your girls will be old enough to take over some of your garden. :) I remember when I first started doing that with ours . . . it was quite exciting, but unfortunately, I did not do the greatest job with the weeding part of it for those first few years!

    How wonderful that you all have been able to harvest a lot of green beans this year! Fresh beans from the garden always seem to be a welcome summertime addition to meals.

    It is fun to watch the pumpkins growing, and I am sure that your children especially enjoy it. Before we know it, fall will be here and the pumpkins will be ready to harvest!

    Thank you again for your comment! :)

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  5. HI Sarah~I just looked at your needlework~it is so beautiful! I love your quilting~that last quilt looked like it was very detailed~did you need to use a ruler and a cutting board? I am really into quilting and knitting these days~I should post some photo's on my blog or e-mail them to you. My quilts are never exact because I piece them together by hand and then tie them. I really should order a quilting ruler and the cutting board~my sewing machine is real old so I hardly go on it. I need to get a new one. I see you were quilting with a sewing machine in one of your posts~is that some sort of quilting machine? It takes me so long to quilt little hearts on my children's quilts by hand~I would love to use a machine for it. I usually do it at night when they are in their beds~it can be relaxing in the winter months when I am cold and use the quilt to warm me up. I found that flannel has to be tied~my daughters just finished their twin quilts for their beds. God bless, Rose

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  6. That has got to be the biggest squash leaf that I have ever seen, Sarah!!! We've begun to harvest watermelon down here which are apparently really really good. Sayre loves to cut a melon open during the mid-afternoon and eat to his hearts content! :o)

    Your wild plum jelly looks really good and the color is neat as well!! How long does it take you to put a batch of it together?
    It may be hard work, but the end results are worth it!

    Have a great day, Sarah!
    ~Ashley

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  7. Thank you so much, Rose, for your kind words! The quilt that you were referring to, was that the baby quilt? If so, yes, I did use a ruler and cutting board to cut out the pieces (in fact, I use those whenever I make a quilt. :)

    How neat that you quilt and knit! I would love to see some of your work sometime. :) Quilts that are hand sewn together and then tied have such a charm about them . . . what fun it must be to make them!

    The sewing machine that I was using in the photo is one that has quilting features with it so in addition to using it for regular sewing, I can also use it for machine quilting which is nice! Hand-quilting does take a very long time to do; especially more complex things like the hearts that you were describing. I hand-quilted a baby quilt once and that took me quite a long time (of course, I am a slow hand-quilter :), and I can only imagine how long it would take to hand-quilt a full size quilt!

    As you described when you do your quilting, it sounds so peaceful. The winter months do seem like such perfect times to work on quilting, knitting, crocheting or other hand work . . . that is one reason why I appreciate winter so much!

    Thank you again for your comment! :)

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  8. I would agree with your thoughts on the squash leaf, Ashley! I was rather surprised with how large the leaves got. Of course, it has quite the squash that goes with them. :)

    How exciting that you've started harvesting your watermelon! It sounds like fun to be able to harvest a watermelon fresh from the garden and then enjoy it. I wouldn't mind joining Sayre on that venture! :) It will not be long, though, until we can hopefully start harvesting our own!

    Thank you for your kind words about the jelly. :) Hmm . . . I think it takes maybe three hours or so to make the jelly start to finish. Though, much of that time is 'down time' where I do not need to be in the kitchen which is nice. Yes, the end results are definitely worth it!

    Thank you for your comment, and I hope that you have a great day as well! :)

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)