Monday, July 11, 2016

Friends, Family, Food Preservation, and More . . .

So much filled the last week! And here is a taste (plus a number of flower photos as there are many blooming beautifully right now) . . .

~ We had a friend over for the fourth of July which was enjoyed by all! Especially the close of our evening with two guitars being played, all of us singing hymns together, and after a bit, I played along with the fiddle, too. How wonderful it is to be able to play music and lift our voices together in song to the Lord!

~ Mom was able to come with me to the nursing home last week which was so nice! She played the piano and I sang, and what a special time it was with a circle of residents around us with some of them singing along or tapping their hands in time to the music.

One (of many!) wonderful moments there was this one . . . I had been praying for an opportunity to speak more deeply about the gospel with one dear lady whom I have become good friends with. She is 99 years old and loves hearing the old hymns. While Mom played "What a Friend We have in Jesus", and I sang, her eyes filled with tears which began slipping down her cheeks. I knelt before her, my hand on hers, as I finished singing the beautiful words. Then followed a very sweet and special time of talking with her more deeply and intimately than we have before . . . it was an answer to prayer! And during part of the conversation, what joy filled my heart to find out for sure that yes indeed, Jesus was her Savior, He was to her this glorious "friend" that the hymn speaks of.

When I gave her a hug goodbye, she squeezed my hand and said "thank you for helping me." So thankful for this door opening!

~ Mom, Leah and I went to a friend's house to help her make freezer meals before her baby is born. She is due this coming Sunday, and we're all getting quite excited to meet their little guy! Needless to say, our time together was so much fun! And now she has a well-filled freezer of many meals for her and her husband to enjoy after baby arrives . . .

Peppers chopped and meatballs browning

Leah and Meagan finishing up with the lasagna

 ~ Mom worked on restoring and revitalizing the finish on our dining room table, chairs, the piano, and a few other wood furniture pieces. They look so nice now! The piano and table especially.

~ The garden continues to grow and produce abundantly which is a great blessing! We've been eating fresh garden produce just about every day for quite awhile now . . .

Part of the garden . . . beets (the few remaining ones), green beans, potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, various herbs, sunflowers, and tomatoes.

Cheery sunflowers blooming 

One of the rows of tomato plants. They are full of tomatoes, and they should begin ripening soon which means tomato canning will likely begin around the beginning of August or so

A growing tomato on the vine 

 The cattle panel trellis that Dad made this year is working really well for the cucumbers!

A honeybee on a sunflower with the setting sun behind 

Dad and Mom out in the garden at dusk

 Mom next to the giant sunflower plant we have this year! It is a volunteer one that just kept growing and growing and growing. Surprisingly, it has withstood the strong winds that a couple of severe storms brought through, though Dad did eventually put a t-post next to it and tie the plant to it.

~ Business work and making more product happened again which is normal for every week. And then as always, there was Farmers Market on Saturday . . .

  Photo from quite a few Saturdays ago . . . and with my new banner sign!

When at the market this past Saturday, I went on the search for sweet corn since we don't grow it ourselves, and got 13 dozen ears from a farmer there. Any guesses what we did after we got home? :)

The pile of corn

Leah and I husking it

58 ears husked and ready to be boiled . . . 98 ears to go

Mom boiling the corn for 5 minutes before putting it into ice water in the sink

Me cutting the corn off the cobs

 All ready to be bagged! Which Leah did. And now we have 44 bags of corn in the freezer - some in meal size portions and others with the amounts needed for using in casseroles and soups.

 ~ And to close, here are a couple of random photos from around our place . . .

A few of the beehives . . . notice how tall the one in the back is? Honey extraction isn't too far in the future!

Wild blackberries . . . there aren't enough to make anything with, but they sure are good fresh


At the close of another day . . . Leah taking care of some of our goats


  1. Your garden looks incredible! I really like the cucumber trellis your dad built, what a clever idea!

    Your story about the dear lady at the nursing home was precious, I am sure you are the brightest part of their week. You are certainly a beautiful example of a young Christian woman, and always an inspiration to me.

    May the LORD bless your week!


    P.S. I love your sunflower apron! : )

    1. Thank you, Sarah! My Mom has put so much work into the garden this year, and it is certainly paying off. I really like the trellis, too. It works so well!

      Thank you so much for your very encouraging words! It's such a blessing being able to go to the nursing home, and the residents there are always a bright part of my week. :)

      May the Lord bless your week as well! Enjoy these lovely summertime days!

  2. What a prolific harvest! Your cucumbers amaze me. I have managed to grow one my greenhouse, and we have started to eat the cucumbers, just small ridge ones.
    And the Sunflower!!

    1. It has been, Elizabeth! We're so thankful for all the produce.

      That's great that you were able to grow a cucumber plant! And even better to be enjoying cucumbers from it. :) The last few years we had hardly any cucumbers, and I think the plants are making up for it this year!

  3. I had to laugh at the corn processing account.:-) That is a LOT of corn to do all at once! Would that amount last y'all about a year or so?

    I love the volunteer sunflower! My daughter planted some seeds around the chicken coop area and the barn--a little late in the season, but hopefully they will keep growing like yours with time! I hear that chickens really enjoy the seeds.


    1. Glad you enjoyed the corn processing account, Betsy! Yes, this amount of corn should last us a year or so, which is what we were aiming for. We love sweet corn. :)

      I hope your sunflowers grow well for you! And fast so you can see their lovely blossoms. It sounds like it will be lovely with them around the chicken coop area and barn. Oh yes, chickens do like sunflower seeds . . . or any seed for that matter! When we give them some of the over abundance of produce from the garden (yellow squash, zucchini, etc.), they always go for the seeds first.

  4. thewarmfireplaceJuly 11, 2016

    Your garden is looking so beautiful, we have a hedge of brambles here 500ft long and it is full of berries that wont be ready for another month, I shall be making lots of bramble jelly for the family! I was so moved by your dear 99 year old lady, what a blessing you are to them at the home. I have never husked corn before, I think next year I shall try to grow some and freeze it. Will keep your friend in my prayers for a safe delivery. God bless Sue

    1. Thank you, Sue! My Mom's hard work in the garden is really paying off. Your hedge of brambles sounds lovely, and how nice to be able to harvest and use the berries! Have fun making your jelly. :)

      What you shared about my “dear 99 year old lady” made me smile . . . she is a very special lady and friend. And they are all very much a blessing to me!

      If you try growing and freezing corn next year, I hope that goes well for you! And thank you for your prayers for our friend . . . hopefully baby will be here soon!

  5. A super industrious summer time! Looks like you are getting lovely weather.
    I'm glad you had your chat with your friend at the Home, bringing the conversation to another level, not many bpeople try to reach out like that or even care at all, so well done you!

    1. It has been, Alex! Yes, we have had nice weather . . . albeit a little on the hot side. :) It has been a hotter than normal summer here so far, but at least we are getting rain regularly so everything is staying lush and green!

      Thanks so much for the encouragement! I am so glad that we were able to have that chat, too.

  6. I love your new banner and the whole booth! Maybe someday we'll be down that way and will see it in person! I'm always looking for new ideas, so do you mind sharing what freezer meals you made? The meatballs and peppers looked really good!

    1. Thank you, K Family! That would be fun if you were ever in the area to have you stop by and meet you!

      If I had the recipes for the freezer meals myself, I would be happy to share them with you! Unfortunately, though, they are ones she had, and it will probably be awhile now before I'd get them from her as she's going to be just a little busy. :)

  7. Your garden is beautiful and I loved your entire post.

  8. Lily season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yours are GORGEOUS! The red one is my favorite. What kinds are they? Do you know? I'm afraid I married a bit of a lily aficionado. :D It makes me try to learn all the different lily kinda now. XD

    Yum! Freezer meals! Have you ever done those for your family? I'd like to try, but I feel a little hesitant about making a bulk of recipes without knowing we'll like them first. It's a brilliant idea though, to make all those freezer meals for seasons with newborns. How long did you spend working together?

    Your piano looks so beautiful now! Your mom really did a good job. I don't know about you, but when something looks so nice and new, I tend to use it a bunch more all of a sudden!

    Wow! That is a tall sunflower. I've never seen one so big! Sunflowers are so much fun because they volunteer so easily. Did it originally volunteer from a giant sunflower or is in an oddball? I've been watching the storms passing through; I'm glad you're not having any rain shortage! :D

    I had to laugh at your corn comment! In the thick of preserving, it always seems like a lot; but really, then I remember is such a blessing to have so much to preserve! There's nothing like fresh sweet corn, though, so I have no doubts all your hard work will pay off.
    We recently received 2 lugs (or about 60lbs!!) of peaches from a pre-order. Oh my! Canned peaches, peach pie filling, peach butter, peach jam, and any other peach thing I can find! That's what we've been busy with. It would be nice if we lived closer -- then we could team up and help each other with summer preserving! Maybe someday in heaven. :) That was one of the first things I learned about preserving produce -- don't be bashful about asking for help!

    Well, I better wrap up this comment before it gets much longer.
    Enjoy your day!
    God bless,

    1. Isn't Lily season so nice, Christina? I always love when ours begin blooming. They are beautiful, though I have no idea what they are called. Sorry!

      We haven't made freezer meals for ourselves before, but I really like the idea! Especially during certain seasons of life. One thing we already do, though, is brown a bunch of ground beef at a time and freeze it in meal size portions so it's all ready for casseroles, etc. We do the same with chicken, baking several at a time, picking the meat off the bones, shredding it, and then freezing it as well. It really makes meal prep faster!

      We spent maybe three to four hours working together on the meals. I can't remember for sure!

      Thanks for your kind words about the piano! She did indeed do a good job. It makes it all the more enjoyable to play having it look so much nicer!

      That sunflower is the tallest one we have seen, too! It's still standing and blooming prolifically. It didn't come from a giant sunflowers, so it is an oddball. And a welcome one! No, we certainly aren't having a rain shortage! I hope you all aren't either.

      It is such a blessing to have so much food preserved. We have been canning cucumbers and tomatoes now, and it's so nice to see the shelves filling.

      That is a lot of peaches! It makes my mouth water just thinking of all the delicious goodness you made. :) Peach butter especially! That's one of my favorites. O that would indeed be fun if we lived close enough to can together! Made me smile just thinking about it. :)

      Hope the rest of your preserving goes well for you!

  9. The pictures aren't great quality. All we had was a flip phone camera. I hope it makes you smile anyway! :D

    1. How fun to see so many geese and their goslings, Christina! That was a lot! Thank you for sharing with me! It did indeed make me smile. :)

  10. The garden looks great!
    Love your apron.:-)
    God bless, ♥

  11. Your garden looks great-You will have lots of cucumbers to make into pickles! Your lilies are beautiful! Ours are almost done blooming, as are our hostas (?) and it makes me a bit sad! But our Sedum will bloom this August I am sure. :)

    1. Thank you, Nathana! We have had a lot of cucumbers. :) We've been eating them fresh, giving them away, and yes, making lots of pickles!

      Our lilies and hostas are nearly finished blooming as well. And I know what you mean about feeling a bit sad about it! I hope your Sedum does bloom well for you soon. Right now we have an abundance of wildflowers blooming. It's so nice to have cheery flowers throughout the summer!

  12. MNMicheleJuly 27, 2016

    Loved your corn pictures! My daughters and I usually put up 11 dz ears. We sit outside in the shade to shuck then cut it into our roasting pans outside. Saves on sticky floors. (Smile) of course we do tend to attract bees...

    1. Welcome to my blog, Michelle, and thank you for your comment! I am glad you enjoyed the photos. :) How fun for you and your daughters to put all that corn up together! Working together makes any work more enjoyable and makes good memories, too.

      Shucking outside in the shade sounds pleasant (and cleaner!) . . . we do that sometimes, too, though it has been SO hot lately we opted for inside despite the mess!


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