Thursday, October 3, 2013

Back Again!

Fall has arrived in the beautiful midwest bringing with it cooler temperatures, dew laden mornings, leaf colors changing, and also a slower pace. Something I am thankful for! And with things slowing down now, I am looking forward to getting back to blogging . . . I have missed it and you all, too!

The past two months were so full and flew by very quickly! I didn't capture many photos during these months, but here are a few of the highlights that I do have photos of . . .

~ Canning with Mom and Leah ~

(which we did a lot of! This took up most of our August along with putting up
produce in the freezer.)

Colorful heirloom tomatoes and peppers

Leah running tomatoes through our new Roma strainer (while standing on a step-stool to make it easier) . . . the strainer is a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Why didn't we get one of these before?! It made tomato processing so much faster which was a great blessing during these busy months! 

Mom quartering tomatoes in preparation for going through the strainer

Salsa, Tomato Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce, Barbecue Sauce, Ketchup, Cucumber Relish, Jalapeno Pickles, Tomato Juice, Carrots and more were canned this year . . . I love having so many canned goods put up to enjoy throughout the year!

~ Spending time with Ryan, Ashley, Adelyn and Gracen ~

Which included babysitting the girls quite often, having Ashley and the girls stay at our house for three days when Ryan's work sent him to Colorado for something, and then having their whole family stay with us for five days while they had some work done on their house. To say that these times were wonderful would be quite the understatement! Such special and fun memories! Though not many photos. :) I really need to do better at taking photos while they are here, but it is hard to remember when we're having so much fun together!

 We did get a few photos, though, so here's a teeny tiny glimpse into our times together . . . 

Sweet Gracen is getting so big! She's running all around now, saying some words, and brightening up our days so much by her cheerful, bubbly little personality.

Adelyn enjoying storytime with Poppy! He is reading her very favorite book to her
('Poppy' is the name she came up with for him when she couldn't say Grandpa - it's so cute!)

Having too much fun wearing 'Aunt Sarah's shoes'!

Adelyn loves to sit in my lap while I play the piano and especially when I play "In Christ Alone" . . . she also likes to play and sing along with me! And now she knows the song so well that she 'sings' it a lot while she's playing with toys or even while looking at books. She's quite the little musical girl! It is rather common to hear her singing different songs or hear her 'playing' the piano and singing for long lengths of time.
Gracen coloring with Aunt Leah

Adelyn helping her Grandma make sandwhiches . . . and eating cheese meanwhile, too. :) It was rather funny as part of her 'helping' was putting her half eaten cheese on one of the sandwiches!  

~ Enjoying the Homeschool Music Fest with Leah, having wonderful conversations with many sweet friends, and spending time with a dear friend, Joy, and her family ~
(Thank you so much Joy for opening your home to us!)

One of the many highlights of the music fest . . . hearing the Harper Family! They had such hearts for the Lord which shone through the songs they sang/played and in the things they shared.

~ Going to the State Fair ~

Boer goats waiting to be judged

Looking at all of the antique tractors that were displayed . . . after we had the fun of watching them in the 'parade of tractors'

Love the old Farmalls :)

Beautiful quilts

And the highlight of the fair . . . team sorting! This was so fun to watch!

Singling out the next calf

My favorite horse that was there. :)

In action!

~ Extracting honey several more times ~

Some of our honey for sale!

~ Spending a day with dear friends of ours (and a new friend, too)  ~

We met at the halfway point between where we each live, and enjoyed a very special and fun day of thrifting, visiting, a picnic, and going out for ice cream. Friends are such a blessing and especially these sweet girls!

And there you have a quick overview of some of the highlights of these past months!


  1. I'm so glad to see you back, Sarah! I really enjoy reading your posts. :) It certainly looks like you had a full and enjoyable couple of months!

    I would agree that the food strainer makes canning so much easier. We have one, without which I don't think we would make applesauce. It even separates the seeds, cores, peels, etc.!

    I can't believe how your little nieces have grown . . . Adelyn's hair is getting so long!

    God's blessings to you!

  2. So pleased to see you back after a very busy Summer. How lovely to have all your produce harvested. It makes the hours spent tending to plants really worthwhile.
    Your little girls have grown so much, so very sweet!
    I have not come across a strainer, and wonder if it also peels the tomatoes?

  3. I am so happy to see and read your delightful post. I have missed visiting with you very much and have often wondered how you were keeping. It is wonderful to share in your delight in the blessings in you life. thank you so very much and God bless.

  4. I'm so glad you're back, Sarah! And it was such a blessing to have you stay with us. I only wish it could have been for longer! :)

    And I can't believe how much hair Ryan and Ashley's girls have! Our babies are always pretty bald, so I'm amazed at babies with hair! :)


  5. Yay! So nice to see another post! :-) Did you successfully sell all that honey? What a blessing that you had so much extra! Have any of your hives been robbed by other bees? What have you done to prevent / stop it? A couple of our hives were robbed this year and that has been very discouraging. We did get over a gallon of honey this year, though, which was a blessing (and delicious!).

    The little girls are darling! I am delighted to see you instilling musical interests in Adelyn. She will probably be very talented at singing and playing, which will be such an asset for her and will bring joy to others all of her life!

  6. Welcome back, Sarah! We have missed you! I love what you did with your blog header looks very pretty, and gave me the expectation that you would be back online soon!:-)

    Might as well start your return answering the usual Betsy questions!:-) To begin, we too have that strainer and have enjoyed using it each year to make applesauce. Do you simply quarter the tomatoes, boil them a bit, then run them through? I loved that we didn't have to peel or core our apples...just quarter, cook a bit, then run them through and the strainer did all the separating. Delightful!

    I noticed when your mom was making sandwiches with Adelyn, that she has a bowl of what looks like homemade mayo that she's spreadiing on the bread. Is that correct?

    The honey sale is so exciting! Did you sell it at the fair? And how did you make those beautiful labels?

    In other news...did you finish the shelter for the rabbits? How are all the farmette animals doing? And how has you health been, Sarah--any more trouble with your legs?

    Finally...what one or two new lessons did The Lord teach you in the past couple of months, that you could share about?

    Look forward to hearing--and reading--more from you. Thanks for not staying gone too very long!:-)

    ~ Betsy

  7. Great to see you back Sara looks like you had a busy summer ~ have a blessed week-end x

  8. Sarah,
    Sooooooooooooooooooooo glad you're back!!! You're such an inspiration that it's a loss in my life when you're not here everyday!!
    Missed you terribly!
    Miss Lila

  9. So glad you are back and that you are doing so well.
    You are such a blessing.

  10. Thank you, Anna, for your sweet welcome back! Yes, they were full and enjoyable months! And so much more so even than what could be expressed in this much abbreviated post. :)

    The strainer is wonderful isn’t it?! I am sure you all appreciate it with your canning as well! We’re hoping to put up apples again this fall so are looking forward to trying the strainer with those.

    Adelyn and Gracen have grown so much! I love watching them grow and change . . . they are such special little girls!

    Blessings to you as well!

  11. Thank you, Elizabeth! It is so nice to be back. Yes, the time spent tending the garden is indeed worth it when being able to harvest and preserve so much produce!

    They have grown a great deal, haven’t they?! It’s bittersweet in a way, but so fun to see their personalities developing and watching them learn and grow.

    Yes! The strainer does peel the tomatoes. All we do is wash them, cut them into quarters (or smaller pieces if they are really big tomatoes which we had a lot of this year!), and then run them through! The strainer separates out the peels, core, and seeds. It’s definitely a time saver! If you were interested, here is the strainer that we got:

    Thank you again!

  12. Thank you so much, Suze! Your sweet comment brought a smile to my face. Now you know some of what was keeping me busy as of late!

    You are more than welcome!

  13. Thank you, Joy! It’s good to be back. :) I know, I wish it could have been for longer, too! Maybe next time!

    Adelyn and Gracen do have a lot of hair! And curly hair, too . . . something that isn’t really in either of our families. It sure is cute!

  14. I am glad you enjoyed it, Katie! We’ve sold almost all of the honey that we had for sale (and there was quite a bit more than what was in the photo) so that has been a blessing! And yes, it was so nice to have extra. I think we ended up with around 20-21 gallons total!

    Yes, we did have robbing this year . . . it’s not pleasant to watch is it? And so hard to stop! The robbing we had started when I was opening up the hives to pull off honey supers to extract. Before long, every hive was being robbed! I reduced down all of the entrances and then open fed them a distance from the hives. It was crazy out at the hives after that! I didn’t know what else to do, but just left them as they were. Thankfully, the open feeding helped reduce the robbing (although it made a feeding frenzy of bees outside! There were bees everywhere!) and then the next day brought rain and cooler temperatures and that brought an end to it. Since then, we haven’t had any robbing. If it had continued, I would have put on what is called a ‘robbing screen’. Those are put on at night on the hives that are being robbed, and the resident bees will eventually figure out how to enter and exit them, but it is much harder for the robber bees to figure out how to get in. I will always use those on a hive during the fall if I am feeding a hive! Here is a link to a post on my blog that I did when I first built the robbing screens:

    I didn’t realize that you even had bees! And I am really sorry that they got robbed! That is hard to watch. Another thing I have heard mentioned before and I tried it once, but didn’t really find it to work very well for our hives, is to put a wet sheet over the hive. That’s usually done in desperate situations, and while it keeps out all the resident foragers that are trying to get back, it does stop the robbing. Hopefully you won't have any more robbing this fall!

    I am glad for you that even with the robbing you were able to get a gallon of honey! I am sure you are enjoying that. :) Now that I know you have bees, I’ll have to ask you more about them when I e-mail next!

    It does seem like Adelyn has a talent and love for music already . . . it will be exciting to see how that develops in her life, and I am so glad that I have opportunity to help cultivate it a bit!

  15. Thank you, Betsy! And thank you also for your comment about the blog header . . . I was wanting something different and inspiration came one day and that was the result!

    For the tomatoes, all we do is wash them, quarter them (or cut them into smaller pieces than that if the tomatoes are really large), and then run them through. No boiling is necessary with them which is really nice! We haven’t done apples yet, but are looking forward to hopefully doing some this fall. The strainer makes the process so much faster!

    What is in the bowl wasn’t homemade mayonnaise, but was homemade salad dressing . . . it’s really good on sandwiches, too!

    No, we didn’t sell honey at the fair, but so far have just been selling to people we know. The labels were ordered . . . we didn’t make them! :)

    The rabbit shelter is almost finished save for constructing the framework for the ends of the ‘greenhouse'. All of the animals are doing well!

    I am doing very well, thank you! No more trouble with my legs, which I am so thankful for! I'm still just a little tireder than normal and don’t have quite the endurance, yet, but I'm gaining!

    There are so many things the Lord taught me and helped me grow in over these months, yet what stands out in my heart and mind the most about these months is His nearness. There is such joy and peace in not worrying or fearing, but simply trusting and resting in Him. He has helped me grow more in these areas as we went through various situations over the past two months, and I am realizing ever more how wonderful and how very abundant His strength and peace are when I simply trust Him!

    You’re welcome! I’m glad to be back. :)

  16. Thank you, Marie! It was a busy summer . . . and a wonderful one. My weekend was a blessed one, thank you, and I hope yours was as well!

  17. Your enthusiastic note brought a smile to my face, Miss Lila! Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy reading, and now you’ll be seeing posts again a little more regularly. :)

  18. Thank you so much, Julianne, for your sweet comment! It was a blessing to me!

  19. Sarah! I missed you and am very glad that you're back to blogging again! I'm glad that you had a great summer! Cool that you are selling your honey! I love "In Christ Alone" song too. It's one of my favourites! Maybe you & I will be able to sing that song together someday in heaven!

  20. Thank you for your sweet comment, Leah! I'm glad to be back. :)

    "In Christ Alone" is a wonderful song, isn't it? The words are so beautiful and powerful! Yes, maybe someday we will!

  21. Sorry, Sarah, I guess I forgot to mention about our bees. :-) We only have a few very small hives, maybe only two by now. Wow, you got a LOT of honey! Thanks for the helpful information about robbing. Yes, we'll probably start talking about bees in our emails now (the next of which I really am working on). :-D


  22. I am glad it was helpful, Katie! That's wonderful that you all are keeping bees . . . I hope that they make it through the winter well for you and produce abundant honey next year!

    Please feel free to take your time with the e-mail! I know how busy life can be so I'll just look forward to it whenever you have opportunity to write. :)

  23. Linda SmithOctober 19, 2013

    Sarah I am so glad you are back but also glad you enjoyed your summer and God drew you closer to Him in this time of rest. Loved all your post and the new heading. Also glad to hear your health is stable. Would like to follow you and know when you have a new post up and not have to just check every so often to see :) I did not see a follow button though so will keep checking in. Again I am glad you are back~~

  24. Thank you so much for your kind comment, Linda! It brought a smile to my face to read. And I'm sorry about your last comment! It was mistakenly deleted, so I am glad that you commented again!

    Hmm . . . I think there are online programs you can use for blog following (bloglovin comes to mind), but other than that, I'm not sure how one would follow a blog!

  25. Linda SmithOctober 21, 2013

    Thanks Sarah for the info on the blog following, I will check into that. Hope you have a wonderful week. Would love for you to visit me on my FB page and say hello.

  26. You're welcome, Linda! I looked for you on facebook, but couldn't find you . . . perhaps your privacy settings have it set so someone searching your name can't find it?

    I am having a wonderful week, thank you! I hope your week has been as well!

  27. Linda Andrews SmithOctober 23, 2013

    Sarah, my FB is Linda Andrews Smith, not sure I put that in. I checked my settings and you should be able to find me. My husband and I are having a good week, it is beautiful here in our part of MO. Went to Silver Dollar City today for the last week of the Harvest Festival and it was a crisp wonderful music filled day.

  28. I think I may have found you on there, Linda! Your week sounds delightful . . . and how fun to be able to go to and enjoy the Harvest Festival!


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