August 30, 2016

What Comes Next

The other day when I was cooking dinner Abigail came in and just wanted to be near.  I suggested she get some paper and color a little bit in the kitchen with me.
Next thing I knew she was drawing lines, asking how to spell this or that and writing out her very first stories.
If you need help reading her writing, the story is:  "The ship found land.  Scott and Sue spotted a sparkle."  The kids are kind of big into pirates and books these days.  What a fun result.

August 29, 2016

Day of Beauty

This summer has been on the rainy side.  So when the sun shined the other day I declared it was a day of beauty.
Abigail was super excited to have her hair washed in the sink ( just like a fancy beauty shop) and head outside for her yearly haircut.
And even though I am no a beautician I can cut a straight line, for the most part.  Even though her hair need up about two inches shorter then planned she LOVES her new haircut.  
Ethan wasn't left out at all either.  I love the deck and sunny days for haircuts.  A broom to the deck floor and the mess is gone.  A fresh look for all, that feels good.

August 26, 2016

The Garden Obstacle Course

I am the main gardener these days but the other night Josh offered to run out and get me a head of cauliflower.  It was fun for me to get to observe him do what I have to work through each day.
The garden obstacle course is always changing.  It is easier now that the romanesco is all harvested and pulled up (that gap in the second row) but now the zucchini and pumpkins are about twice as big as they are in this picture.  
And after each little garden walk my counter looks like a version of this picture.  A bowl of chopped cauliflower, a basket of broccoli, zucchini, basil, cabbage, cucumber, green beans and wild blueberries.  What a blessed time of year.

August 25, 2016

Reading

We have always been a reading family.  But this summer I have taken that to the next level.  Books have become so much to the kids through this.  Opened their worlds more and more, stretched their imaginations and brought us together over and over again in the pages of books.
Watching Naomi play with her baby the other day made me smile as she was sure Laura had a good dose of story time after her many outfit changes.

August 24, 2016

Pesto

Harvesting from the garden takes many shapes and forms, as you will see this week.  
One of last week's harvest and preserving projects was to pack as much basil into my small food processor and let it go.  Pesto in the making.  Oh the chicken, bread, pasta and rice that will be seasoned this winter due to my homemade pesto.  It always makes the cold days of winter seem warmer when our food has such great green tastes!

August 23, 2016

Progress

Last week Josh was home a little more then he has been in the past month.  Time at home has meant time to work on the fort.  Yeah.  This picture shows you the climbing wall and slide in place.  The ladder was the object being built this day.
A progress report and final pictures to come soon.  

August 22, 2016

A Trade

One fun this has come out of the garden this year.  Living where so many of my friends also garden we often do the great garden compare.  How is this grown, how about that.  My zucchini are large but your cauliflower came a week earlier then mine.  Thus I feel this summer has been one of trades.  The kids and I picked raspberries one week.  I made them into a pie and we traded them for a friend's peas.  Her plants were overwhelming while mine were just struggling along.  Another friend had chicken and eggs so I traded romanesco for that and we both went home happy.  
Having a garden and giving produce away is fun.  No trading is necessary between friends.  But when you can give for something that is given.  I find that fun.  For both of us a need has been filled.  Yet the peas still have to be shelled...thus the preserving work of this season goes on.

August 19, 2016

33 Years

33 years ago another little blonde haired two year old wore this outfit.  Three years ago her sister also took a turn wearing this matching set.
I love when my kids can wear things from my childhood.  Just feels right.

August 18, 2016

Fresh

While the kids and I have been busy with school, garden, playgrounds and swimming Josh has been working.  This is the busy season for him and that is the way it is.  But it is also blueberry season.  Last year we didn't get any just because of Josh's busy schedule.  I have to be honest.  I don't love picking berries.  I don't know why I just don't.  Josh and Abigail, they LOVE it.  So funny.  I am big into preparing and preserving but the picking, sigh.
One Friday night Josh came home and met a wife who was heading out berry picking.  Kids were in bed, the day had been wrapped up but we needed some berries for the winter and this was the week to do it.  Seeing the determination on my face and with the knowledge I was doing something I didn't love, Josh took the buckets and headed out himself.  Lord I do love that man.  Three hours of picking in the rain on Friday night and two hours in the rain again on Saturday.  Josh was happy, and very wet, and I was too as we now have 5 1/2 gallons of berries in the freezer.  What a good team we make.

August 17, 2016

We Have Begun

Trying to blog in chronological order is very hard sometimes.  To make sure those pictures from our trip to southern Alaska were posted while crazy new things were happening here, so hard.  But for future sake of rereading the blog someday I am glad I do it that way.  All that being said, big things are happening here in our little home.  All the local kids in Fairbanks, Alaska are loading up on big school buses today and starting their first days of school
 But we started two weeks ago.  August 1, 2016 my little girl became a big kindergartener.  We have been reading books, writing letters, playing math games and more for a long time but now it has a title and a purpose.  The first day of school was so exciting.  Abigail dressed up in a favorite outfit for the day but then was able walk into our "school room" barefoot.  Love that!
Each morning finds us busy.  Learning the calendar, our math, reading, writing, spanish, art and more.  A few people asked me why I started when I did.  If I could start anytime why not push it to September or even October.  Well, to tell you a truth, while the kids were sort of oblivious of what was about to happen, I was a nervous mess.  I didn't sleep well for days leading up to school and for my nerves we just need to start and see that it did really work, and work well.  I have slept so much better since August 1st that is for sure.  Plus it sure will be nice to be done earlier in the spring next year too.  Don't mind that at all.  School at home, school with our siblings, school with our toes bare. That is us.

The end of the first day Abigail gave me a huge hug and said, "Mama I am just so happy we started school and you are my teacher.  Thank you so much."  Will she always feel this way?  I am sure not but she does now and for that I am thankful.


August 16, 2016

Filling Up

You can judge a year by so many calendars.  The sun, the weather, the dates printed on the wall calendar, the animal migrations and much more.  One way we judge our years is by the pantry.  Fall the jars are full and ready, winter things are thinning out, by spring we are searching the back for the few last items and by summer the pantry is full of empty jars.  
 This is the time of year when I always look and say, why do we have so many jars?  Do we really use this many?
But soon I am singing a different tone and am contemplating where I can get more.  Due to the large amount of work I have been doing I haven't been able to take pictures of everything but I do have numbers.  

With the salmon given to us by my in-laws I canned up 25 pints and added that to the few quarts I had canned this past spring.  

Two days later I started cooking down the chicken bones left over from butcher week.  15 brought in 5 1/2 gallons of canned chicken broth and 16 cups of cooked chicken meat to freeze.  Only 30 more carcasses to go but I will have to wait for more canning jars!

And then with the canner still out on my counter I started into the green beans.  33 quarts of green beans have been cut and processed for our pantry.  

It was with great relief that after having my big pressure canner out for a week and a half it is now put away.  So many of those late canning nights I almost didn't do the blog posts that were put up at the time.  Days of canning are tiring, plain and simple.  The joy of eating food we caught, raised and grew all year long.  Worth each ounce of weariness.  

August 15, 2016

Just In Time

We returned from Soldotna just in time to join in the fun with our local library.  How we love our library.  Each summer they put on a great summer reading program.  At the end there is always a costume parade around our local Pioneer park.  The kids think it is so much fun to get to dress up and join in.
 This year we had a Butterfly herding talent fairy from Neverland, pirate Ethan and a University of Texas cheerleader.  So fun.
We also came back just in time for the garden to start kicking out the wonders of the year.  We have over 20 gallon bags of chopped and blanched broccoli, 7 of romanesco and 4 of cheddar cauliflower in our big chest freezer for the winter ahead.  The broccoli and the cauliflower are still a coming, slower but still going.

  The picture from above is actually part of a friend's harvest.  On the verge of having a baby I asked what I could do for her.  She was managing the garden work fine but by the time she got to the kitchen she was tired out.  So one day I stopped by and picked up a huge tub of her produce, brought it home, cut it up, blanched it and returned it to her freezer.  It is so great when I want to help and I can find that thing that really does help.  Garden harvest time means a whole lot of kitchen work!