Sunday, August 31, 2008

I've Been Given An Award

Melissa over at Our Own Green Acres gave me this award. Since, I have received and passed on this award before, I will just tell her thank you for the kind words about our blog.

Fennel George

I have a regular Caterpillar zoo on my kitchen counter. After I found Weird George last night, I called the WN and Mrs. WN and the girl came over to look at him. When they came, they brought me another Monarch George. Today, I was out looking at my herb garden and what did I spy? Fennel George, so named because he was on the fennel. My husband went to pick some more fennel to put in the jar with him and he found Wee Fennel George. I put them both in the same jar. I hope they like each other. =) I believe they are a Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar. I am not sure which variety. They are two different colors and I am not sure if the one is a different color just because he is smaller, or if he is a different type of Swallowtail. Here is pictures of the newest Georges.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weird George And Pantry Progress

I was outside this evening picking tomatoes. They are starting to turn red. I had to go and open the door for Michael so he could put a set of wooden shelves in the pantry room. After I opened the door, I looked down and saw this fellow on a little stem sticking up in the grass. He is very large and very mean looking. =) He might be really friendly, but I am not going to find out. My WN friends are going to look him up for me. He may be a Sphinx Moth Caterpillar. I know that the Hummingbird Moths are Sphinx Moths. That would be really neat if it was one of those.

We have the 2 sets of wire shelves up in the new pantry. Today, we got the wooden shelves in there and I am starting to transfer my pantry and set it up. I will take pictures soon. We used to have a bulk food store on our farm. I sold lots of bulk herbs and spices as well. I have LOTS of jars left over. I found lids for them all and have offered them for sale around here. I hope I get rid of most of them. I kept the ones I thought I might need, plus a couple of extra. I have them in all shapes and sizes.

We have a lot to accomplish this weekend as well as a lot of produce to deal with. I am not complaining at all. I am thrilled to death with my bounty.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary...

... How does your garden grow? I have heard from people all over the United States that this has been a very different gardening year. Many of them have had trouble with their tomatoes or peppers. Most of them have had problems with their cucumbers. It seems it is not the same problems, but they are all having problems.

We are no exception. My friend Ginny has been canning tomatoes like crazy. She lives about 7 miles from me. I have lots of tomatoes, they are just not turning red. I have one paste plant that is sitting among other paste tomato plants of the same variety. It gives me red tomatoes pretty often while the plants around it hang on to their green ones.

We love pickles and I hoped to can a whole bunch of both dill and bread and butter pickles. My cucumbers are all dead or dying. I got maybe 6 total cucumbers off of them. I went looking for some pickling cukes to buy. No one but one place even had any and they were sky high with their price.

I am grateful for what we are getting though. I pulled my back a bit, so I have been in slow motion for 2 days. I need to get back in the saddle tomorrow and catch up.

Let's hear from you... How is your garden growing???

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Product Highlight

On Thursdays I plan on highlighting a product that we carry in the General Store. This will give people a chance to hear about why we chose to carry that product.

Today I want to talk about the Stainless Steel Norpro loaf pan. I prefer to cook with stainless steel or glass. I have many older glass baking pans from when I got married. I just read an article that you can see here about dangers in some glass bakeware in recent years. After reading that article I will probably only buy stainless steel for now. *One of the things I want to add about this article is the last part says if your glassware is older than 1998 it is probably OK. * Norpro pans are noticeably different. The loaf/bread pan has a nice lip on it which makes it easy to handle and get the loaf out, even while it is hot. You can feel that this pan is more sturdy and of a heavier gauge of stainless steel than the run of the mill pans. I had a friend buy a couple to try out and she came back and ordered several more.

I use pans this size for my bread making, meatloaf, and even to heat up left overs the next day.

These are available at the General Store, along with other items made by Norpro.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Celebrating God's Abundance!!

Last night my sweet husband and I were out in the garden picking produce. The tomatoes are still mostly green, but the amount of red ones is increasing. With what we already had picked and what we picked last night, I have enough to make it worth my while to can them. We also got another abundance of green beans we picked. These two items are on my list of "to do" for today. My cucumber plants are all dying off. I don't see any bugs, but something must be getting them, because they have been watered by us. I did get 3 small cukes off of them. We were hoping to do a bunch of pickles. I will have to see if I can buy some somewhere.

After we got done in the garden, I was walking around to see how the drought we are having has affected the different plants. Many of the weeds are even dying. My Echinacea is dying off and the grass is brown and almost crunchy in most areas. The Black Eyed Susans are doing great though.

I went over to check out the peach tree. It is loaded and they look beautiful. They are still pretty hard though. However, I think they can be picked and left sit a couple of days to soften up. I just have to figure out when I can pick them.

I noticed our grapes are ready to be picked. Another job I will have to fit in somewhere or else lose them. I also saw many blackberries still waiting to be picked.

The banty chickens are such fun to watch. They are GREEDY for any scraps I give them, although they are a bit picky once the scraps are in there. Last night, I opened their pen up and reached down in to get their food bowl. One of them flew up at my hand trying to get first dibs on anything I was sharing. He was disappointed as I had nothing in my hands. I got out their feed and water bowl and then moved their pen. They love to attack the fresh grass area looking for bugs. That kept them busy while I filled their feed and gave them fresh water.

Then the best blessing of all. We woke up this morning to rain!!!!!! There is a steady gentle rain that should stick around for awhile. Thank you Lord for watering the earth and our garden and our pasture!!!!! We have not had rain for so long. We are truly blessed!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for you to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in your life. If you have a blog, please sign Mr. Linky below and post on your blog. Please link back to this blog and you may use the picture above. If you do not have a blog, leave a comment on this post telling us what you are thankful for and what you are counting as a blessing today. This is a way that we can encourage one another. Many of our blessings we will have pictures of and we can share those as well. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. They encourage others. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

Today, I am thankful for God's Word. He left us a love letter and manual all wrapped up in one. Many of the things in His Word are a paradox. When you are weak, then you are strong. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. To be a leader, be a servant. He leaves us many instructions and specific things to do in certain situations. If you have a problem with someone... go to that person is one of the things we are told. We are told to honor and obey our husbands as unto the Lord. What that says to me is that I trust God to work through my husband. Many times I feel like I am right, but if I choose to not argue and submit and trust God He has been faithful. It does not always come out like I think it should, but I have seen God at work in this way. We had some misgivings about a situation involving someone else. We prayed and went to the others involved as God's Word tells us to. Praise the Lord that the others were also believers who want very much to be in tune with God's Word. We got the best possible results. Now, there is peace and an open freedom to communicate. It bonds and cements the friendship deeper. That is what can happen if both sides truly desire to do it right and have spent time in prayer and reading God's Word about the situation. I am so blessed by the truthfulness of God's Word and how it has proven itself time and again in my life.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Life On The Farm

I read Perri's post over at My Life in Bits And Pieces about getting a dog. They are getting an Australian Shepherd which is what we have. So, I thought I would write about our dogs. We have noticed a new behavior in our dogs. They are finding little hiding places to lay in. They have never been in the habit of doing this. Star will be 11 in October and Belle will be 6 in September. Belle has now picked under the piano bench as her "den". =) She has to get down and do a sort of army crawl, but in she goes.

We have a portable dish washer... (OK, I heard all those gasps) and that dishwasher is one of my hand maidens. Life is much easier with it around. We push it off in a corner behind the love seat. There is barely enough room for them to walk between the love seat and the dishwasher, but they some how manage to lay down back there. I guess it sounds like a normal behavior for a dog, it is just that our dogs have never done that.

I got my sauerkraut into the crock the other day. I took lots of pictures and somehow they all got erased off the camera. =) I followed Ginny's blog post on how to make it. I just tried to look up that post, but can't get it to come up. It is now in the crock and I need to check it every day to see how it is doing and to skim stuff off the top if I need to.

I have peaches in the crockpot right now. I am making crockpot peach jam. I also made cottage cheese today, but it came out a bit sour. I don't know if anyone but me will eat it. It took forever for the curds to separate this time.

We had just a tiny bit of sprinkles of rain. It did not even wet our ground. We are in desparate need of rain. If you feel led, we would appreciate any prayers for rain.

Yesterday, Michael was moving cows and a couple got out. They are experts at that. We will be glad to take those 2 to the butchers. The WN daughter came over to help us get them in. The one got his leg caught on the wire of the fence and started running with it. Unfortunately part of that wire was in my two hands. It burned across the finger on one hand and lifted up the side of my fingernail on the other. The fingernail part is very tender today. Next time, when I see them out, I will drop the wire. =)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wee George And Remodeling

This is my last George that I have been waiting on. I thought he would go in the night on Wednesday, but when I checked him yesterday morning, he was still in his chrysalis. I was gone most of the day yesterday. Ginny and I spent the day together running some errands. We hit a thrift store and took the two fleeces I had washed to the wool mill. The mill was really neat and is run by a wonderful Christian family. You can see their mill here. I forgot to check George as soon as I got home because I was scrambling to get supper together. Michael got home and as I was walking through the kitchen movement caught my eye. There was George in the jar. He had emerged from his chrysalis and his wings were already dry and he was trying to get out of his glass prison. I showed him to Michael and then I took him outside and opened the jar. He was much smaller than any other one I had ever seen. Goodbye George and thank you again Lord for allowing me to witness one of your miracles.

I have been wanting to make this room a pantry for a long time. There always seems to be another project that is more important. Joshua and Michael have finally started on the room. It will be a pantry, work space and canning kitchen. There is a sink and a stove in the room as well. They were already there. Joshua put up dry wall and then primed and painted the walls. He put a counter on the wall for me. We bought some metal shelving that Michael put together. He helped Joshua install a cabinet, that we already had, on the wall over the counter. I made a little bread making workspace on top of another cabinet we had. I need to make curtains to keep the morning sun off of the garlic that is hanging as well as where the canned goods will be. I will also make a skirt to go across where the counter is. I will put buckets of grain and large pots under there. We will be putting our milk fridge just to the right of the counter. I have another set of metal shelves to put in here as well as a couple of wooden ones. I will keep you posted with pictures. I get very excited when a project like this starts to actually happen. It will really help me to get organized.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday Product Highlight!!

On Thursdays I plan on highlighting a product that we carry in the General Store. This will give people a chance to hear about why we chose to carry that product.

This week I want to talk about the Atlas Pasta Machine. This is the #1 seller of hand noodle machines since 1933. You can make fresh, beautiful pasta with the Marcato Multi-Pasta Set
We have had one of these for many years. It is so easy to use that even a child can do it. There are different cutting blades you can easily attach to it. This is a machine you'll pass down - very heavy, very sturdy, beautifully made. How do you clean it? Just brush off the rollers and store. Includes narrow and wide cutters for fettuccine and vermicelli, crank, clamp, recipes and instructions. You select the thickness you want your dough to be and send it through the one side and it makes a long flat piece of pasta like you see in the above picture. I usually start mine going through at a thicker size and then send it back through a couple of times to get it down to the thinness I like. You then take the long piece of flattened dough and send it through the cutter of your choice. Out comes your pasta to either hang up and dry or to put right into the pot of boiling water. If you have never had home made pasta, you don't know what you are missing. You won't believe how easy it is either. We have good friends that use theirs regularly. One of the children runs the dough through and makes the pasta for their mom. You can get a ravioli cutter that allows you to put filling between two pieces of dough and it cuts them into raviolis. Right now, only the machine with the 2 cutting blades is online in the store, but if you would like to know what else is available, just ask!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wee George is Almost Ready!!

I know that many of you are sick of George. =) That is OK. I am still fascinated as I am every year!! Click on the 2 pictures below and you will see that the chrysalis is now clear instead of green. You can see Wee George's wings inside. He will probably come out of the chrysalis tonight. Where did the green come from? Where did it go? If you look at the last George post you will see that the gold is still on the empty chrysalis. What a miracle!!!!

More Questions Answered

Nancy asked me in my last post if the cheese I showed was the same recipe as on my cheese page. It is. I tell about it here on my blog or here on my webpage. This is such a versatile cheese. I use up a lot of extra milk doing this. It freezes really well.

Someone also asked if our "Tails" From the Farm was over. It is not. I had already written much of it and just put it on here in sections. Then I was having to write more each week to keep up. I don't write well or think well that way. I will be writing more and after I have enough for several weeks, I will probably continue it. Thanks for asking about it though. If you don't know what they are talking about it starts here. If you click on the link that says Tails at the bottom of the post, it will show you all 14 entries.

I was also asked if our milk spray attracted flies or bugs. We have never noticed this, but we have also never really looked for it. Sorry, I don't have a better answer.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wool And Veggies

I washed some brown wool today. The lighter color you see is what the sheep looked like. Once the wool was sheared off, you see more dark brown. I do have some fleeces for sale if anyone is interested.

I had let cheese sit in a bowl overnight in the fridge. I poured it into the strainer to finish draining. =) I will mix in salt and Italian herbs and garlic. Yum. We use it in baked Italian dishes and also as a spread for crackers. We even put small amounts of it on our salad in place of feta.

We are starting to get a little bit from the garden. Most of the cabbage we planted was done. There are still several heads out there that need some more time. We got lots of pole beans and a nice amount of bush beans. I still have not figure out the whole tomato thing. One plant out there is covered in red and turning red tomatoes. All the rest are all green with an occasional plant having an orange one. If they keep coming in this slow, it will be hard to can, or I will have to make a big mess for just a small amount. We also got one green pepper. There are finally lots of little peppers on the plants, so we should be getting some soon. The corn is trickling in as well. We will have some of this for supper tomorrow, but it is sure not enough to work on for freezing.

George Emerges

Here is George!! I saw that the chrysalis turned black today. I thought he had died. I looked later and there George was. After I took this picture, I put the lid back on the jar. If you touch their wings when they are really wet, you mess them up.
Here he is outside.

Here is the empty chrysallis.

Questions for YOU to answer!

I have some things I have been pondering and I thought I would ask y'all your opinions on them. If you back them up with scripture it will be even better.

I know a lot of people who are Christians. I know people of all different flavors in Christianity. There are some who are VERY sober. They almost make it seem sinful to burst out in laughter. Some seem to go through life and everything is fun and exciting and they are known for their laughter. Some have exacting ways to look as in dress, hair, etc. Some are not caught up in those areas. I know that God made us all as individuals. I know there are certain doctrines we all have to agree on (as in Jesus is the ONLY WAY to salvation). What do you do? Are you the exact same person no matter who you are around? Do you feel a great responsibility to be an example to those you come in contact with where ever you are? Do you remember that where ever you are that you are a living Bible and a representative of Jesus Christ? I know that we are all that as Christians, but is it in the forefront of your mind? Do you have a way to remind yourself to do this? Are you just yourself and figure that people will see both the good and the bad?

My husband and I have been having some conversations recently about these types of things. We see people act or react in certain ways. Then we wonder what we would have done in that situation. We looked at people who are quick to condemn others, but see themselves in a holier light. Then we are looking at ourselves and wonder if we do that same thing. Do you regularly examine your life in the light of Scripture? If so, is there a pattern you follow that you could share? We can get so caught up in things in life that interest us, that we forget about others. We can become very self focused and selfish.

Do you have accountability in your life from someone? If so, who? Is it a formal arrangement or does it just happen? Do you welcome accountability? What if you have a friend and you are not sure how they will take accountability and they continue to do something... do you talk to them or leave it to the Lord to show them?

None of these are really specific, but I am just fishing around for ideas and ways to handle and deal with myself and situations that arise. I would love to hear from you on any of the above.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bits And Pieces of Farm Life

My sheep Sunshine, has LOTS of wool. I got out her fleece from this year and washed it. Here it is laying in the sun to dry. I thought it had been skirted, but it wasn't and I am not sure what kind of a job I did at skirting it. I want to take it and have it processed into roving and I may even try to find someone to spin this. I have an urgent project that I need to make out of this wool. I may take some other fleeces and have them made into roving and spin them this winter. I actually thought about offering someone one of the fleeces in exchange for some spinning. I am not sure yet what I will do.

I found this guy out back. He was a quick little bugger. He was up against the house. I wish he was in my garden.

My pole beans are coming in hot and heavy. I hope to have a big bunch to can. We bent a 16' stock panel over and made a trellis. Most of the beans hang down on the inside.

All of our tomato plants are loaded. This one plant and one other seem to get ripe tomatoes. The rest are all green.

My cabbage is ready to pick. I am going to be making sauerkraut with it. That has become a favorite meal at our house. I put the sauerkraut in the bottom of my pressure cooker, then I put potatoes on top of that and then I put pork chops on top of that. YUM!!!

Count Your Blessings Monday!!

Here is an opportunity for you to give thanks unto the Lord for a blessing in your life. If you have a blog, please sign Mr. Linky below and post on your blog. Please link back to this blog and you may use the picture above. If you do not have a blog, leave a comment on this post telling us what you are thankful for and what you are counting as a blessing today. This is a way that we can encourage one another. Many of our blessings we will have pictures of and we can share those as well. I think that many times we forget that it is a blessing to be able to breath, to get out of bed, to hold a baby... Share your blessings with us. They encourage others. We can share so many other things.... special gifts, recipes, let's take the time to share how God has blessed us!!

I am so thankful for the weather and how God likes to keep us guessing. =) This is August, mid August. Normally, our temperatures are in the mid to high 90's with high humidity. They call them the "dog days of summer". So far, August has been very pleasant. The highs have been in the mid to low 80's and there has not been much humidity. It has even been cool in the evenings. Cool to the point where you wonder if you had long sleeves on if you wouldn't be a tad more comfortable. This is a true blessing.

Yesterday when we were coming home from our fellowship, we saw several trees that have started turning colors. There are always a few that start early, but normally it is not until September sometime. Our real fall comes later. Here are a couple of pictures from our return drive yesterday. If you click on the second one, you will see how they plant their crops on hill sides up here. They have strips of alfalfa between the corn to help keep erosion at a minimum. It makes for a beautiful design.

Let's hear from you. What are you thankful for today?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Children Are a Blessing.

This post has been on my heart and mind for some time. I always wonder how transparent one should be on their blog. I would get an email with a question or a thought about this and think about writing about this topic. Then we would meet someone who would say, I read your blog all the time. Most of the people who say that we already know. Our little town brings in a garbage truck one Saturday a month and you can take your trash to town and get rid of it. My husband was taking the trash and our neighbors happened to be there and one of them happened to have on their Amazing Graze Farm Cow Patrol shirt. The guy at the trash truck looked at the shirt and then turned to my husband and told him he reads our blog. =) I have had people ask me if a certain post was about them. We ran into a friend today at Lowe's that we have not seen in a long time and he told us he reads our blog. So, sometimes I am hesitant to write something.

I am praying that I will write what God wants me to write. Hopefully this will help someone else. The topic is barrenness or infertility. My sweet husband and I will be married for 30 years on our next anniversary. We wanted a large family. He was one of 7 and I was one of 5. We both love children and looked forward to all the joy that a big family brings. God had other plans. He has chosen to not open my womb, but praise His name, He did give us our son through adoption. We attempted several other adoptions that all fell through for various reasons, but none of which we were in control of. We thought for sure we were going to get a sibling group of 6 about 3 years ago. In the end, we believe the fact that we were going to home school them was their reason to turn us down, although that is not what was said. We have had a more recent possibility of adoption fall through in the last few months.

We have a quiver full heart, yet there is only one arrow in our quiver. We live in an area where large families are the norm. Ten children is not an unusual amount around here. Our friends have many children. I have a friend who just had a baby, and two friends who are pregnant. I had to come to terms a long time ago with seeing others being blessed and having empty arms. When Michael and I finally got on our knees and gave up our right to have children (as if it is our right to choose), we had peace. It was about a year later that a young woman made the most unselfish choice in life and allowed us to adopt her baby. My sweet baby is now 24 years old. He is getting married in October.

We have been told many things over the years. One person told us that we had a baby the easy way. Another friend with several children told us she understood our pain. Many people are angered when they hear that. I knew that they were just trying to reach out to me in some way. They thought they were helping. We have been told we are cursed. We don't believe that. It says this in Luke about Zacharias and Elisabeth (they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren) My barrenness has been my refining fire. It has been a thermometer of my relationship with the Lord. When it felt overwhelming to me, I was usually not sitting before Him and working on my relationship with Him. I have people tell me that they dread telling me that they are pregnant. I really don't want that, yet I understand. If the person telling me is someone who is close to me or lives close to me and likes to share their babies, I am thrilled, yet there is still that ache that bubbles up a bit too. Will I have a turn one day? Will I be able to look in my husband's face and tell him that we are going to have a baby? Will I get a chance to feel the miracle grow inside of me? Will I experience the event of birthing that little one into the world? Will I get to nurse a child at my breast? Often times I have to pray and ask God to give me the grace to walk on in victory in this area. He has been so faithful. I have walked this path of barrenness for 29 years. He has carried me much of the way.

I had one friend who shared her entire pregnancy with me. I can't even describe all that she did to include me, but she did. I was in training to be a midwife at the time. She told the midwife in charge that she wanted me to be able to do anything that I was comfortable with. If I was with her and Audrey (her baby) began to kick, she quick grabbed my hand and put it on the spot. I got to help and take part at the birth. Besides my dear friend whose body held her, I was the first one to touch sweet little Audrey. That was the second live birth I was at. The first one was very special too and I will never forget when Caleb entered the world. His mother is still a hero in my heart. She did not know me really well, but knew my love of babies and invited me to come over after she was in labor. I came and stayed downstairs because I felt funny. She was told I was there and told me to come on up. Here she was in labor trying to make me feel comfortable about being there. Caleb was born into his daddy's arms. His sister was allowed to cut the cord and then this wonderful lady told his sister to pass him to me... even before she, the mom, held him. Birth is a miracle. All of a sudden there is a precious new life in the room. It was there before, but hidden away.

This year has been a very different year for me. Earlier this year, I thought I might be pregnant. It was a long enough time that we were getting excited. Then one day we knew it was not to be this time... again. The next day, I heard from a friend who just found out she was expecting #9. I was thrilled for her, but I had to work through that one. Then there was the adoption possibility a couple of months ago. It sounded like a for sure thing. Again, it was not to be this time. Shortly after finding out it was not going to happen another friend found out she was pregnant. We are thrilled for them. However, again, I had to work through that. Add to that my son is leaving home to start a new home with his bride to be in October. I will have an empty nest Then in December, I turn 50. My clock is running out. God is still able, but I am asking for grace again to walk this path. With all that has happened in my life over the past 3 years, God has brought my heart to a place of tenderness that I have never experienced. The tenderness of a bruise or a wound. He is using it to skim off the new layer of dross that has come to the surface. He is still faithful. Many people have told me to look ahead to my grandchildren. I will be THRILLED to be a grandma. Yet, they don't understand. It is OK, because He does.

God gave me a deep love for children. Some of my best friends are 5 years old and under. I can remember my Mom sharing with me when we heard of a horrid story of abuse or something saying that she did not understand why God would give children to them and withhold them from me. She grieved for me. Part of my testimony is this... God IS sovereign. There are too many times in my life that He has showed Himself strong on my behalf. There are too many times He has moved in answer to my prayers in a miraculous way. His Word tells me that it is for my good. I truly believe that one second on the other side of the grave, I will see and understand and will thank Him with all my heart. Faith tells me to give that thanks on this side of the grave.

If you long for children and none have come, cling to His Word and His promises. Thank Him and yet still tell Him the desire of your heart. Read Psalm 131. Climb up on God's lap as that weaned child and rest against Him.

I tried to answer some specific questions in what I wrote above. If you have others I did not address, please don't hesitate to ask them. I will try and do my best to answer them.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Answers to Your Questions

I have not been real on the ball lately. There are things going on in life that have occupied my mind and heart. I have not been ignoring you though, so I thought I would answer some of the questions you have asked.

Melanie asked what type of turkeys do we raise. We raise the Broad Breasted White ones. We have never tried the heritage ones, but hope to some day. We have heard pros and cons and want to be sure before we try it.

Mary asked if my camera had a macro setting. She was trying to give me some help with the problems I have been having taking pictures. It does have a macro setting and that is what I have been using for close ups. I did get the book out and read some other things to try, so I will be doing that. Thanks for the suggestion!!!

Nancy wanted to know about the milk spray I talked about spraying on my tomatoes. You use one part milk to 9 parts water. They really suggest you don't make it any stronger than that. You just spray the leaves really well. Some people use powdered milk, but we always have plenty of extra milk.

Teresa had a few questions about the peanut butter stirrer. The peanut butter IS harder to spread than the regular stuff you buy, but it tastes more peanuty and is better for you. =) You do not leave the stirrer lid on the peanut butter. You take it off, wash it and replace the lid that came with your peanut butter.

If I left a question out that you asked, let me know and I will try to answer it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Product Highlight!!

On Thursdays I plan on highlighting a product that we carry in the General Store. This will give people a chance to hear about why we chose to carry that product.

Today, I am going to talk about a small tool that has been a real blessing around here. Have you ever bought a jar of natural peanut butter... nothing but peanuts and salt? There is always a layer of peanut oil on the top that needs to be mixed in. We always made a mess, no matter how careful we were. We tried all different utensils including knives, but the oil would run over the side of the jar and your hands, the jar and the counter were a mess. We have one friend that would take theirs out of the jar and put in a bowl, mix it up and then put it back. This made a big mess, plus you lost some of your peanut butter.

Someone must have had the same problem we did. They did something about it. They invented a peanut butter stirrer!!
In the picture above, you can see the layer of oil on the jar on the right. The jar on the left has already been mixed together. Once you mix them store it in the fridge and it won't separate again. This mixer comes with a lid that fits on the 16 oz. jars. The curved end goes down in the peanut butter and you screw the lid on. Then you can turn the handle back and forth, plus it goes up and down. All the mess stays in the jar and it mixes well. It is very easy to clean and the metal bar comes all the way out if you want to store it flat.

Come on over and check out the General Store and see all the new items we have added!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Friends and Garlic

I was blessed to have another overnight guest. A good friend from Kentucky is up in the area and came by this evening. I had wanted to ask her to show me how they do their garlic, because they are able to keep theirs around from year to year to sell and to plant. I was just going to have her show me on one bulb, but I should have known she would want to do them all. We did not quite get them all done. I called a halt to it, because I got a blister on 2 fingers and couldn't find my gloves.

There was a little bit more to it than I thought, so I am glad she was here to show me. When you cut the neck off, you want to leave a bit above the bulb. Also, when you trim the roots, if you leave them too long, they will wick up moisture, but if you cut them to short it did something else to the bulb. Also, she had me remove some of the papers on them.

The bowl that the above garlic is in is a huge bowl and we are not quite done yet. She said the garlic was exceptionally beautiful and I would be able to get a $1 a bulb for it at their farmer's market. I am going to keep some to plant and use the other for both us and as gifts. We hope to make our own garlic powder.

We had a good visit sitting there together doing garlic. I was blessed with a sweet visit and got something accomplished!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

I Saw a MIRACLE!!!!

Wee George grew up. He attached himself to the lid of the jar and hung in the shape of the letter "J". I pulled the lid off the jar and suspended it between 2 jars so that I had a clear view of him. I talked to the Wonderful Neighbors and they said that he would start to jerk right before he began the chrysalis process. I kept checking on him and nothing. I was talking to my husband on the phone and happened to turn around and look, and he was jerking!! I could see green appearing at the bottom of him.

I told my sweetheart that I was going to try and film this. I did not realize that it took about forty minutes to an hour, so I got a couple of short videos of it. This first one is really dark, but you can see the green starting toward the bottom of the gyrating George. It is actually his skin splitting off of him, but you could not tell that just by watching. It just looked like the green area was growing.

You can see his antennae hanging down as well as his little row of feet. =) I still did not realize until it was over that this was his skin he was shedding.
Everyone has laughed at me when I tell the story of this video. I thought the black part at the top was still his head and it was bobbing around. I thought the head was working away until all of a sudden it dropped off. I had a moment of horror thinking George had just lost his head!! I know go ahead and laugh.... Then I realized that it was just his skin and he kept working.

Here is what it looked like. You can see part of a design on the right side. There is a better picture of it below. I took pictures of different sides of it.

Here is the design. Isn't that neat????!!!!! See the two little black dots at the top? Looks like his eyes sticking out of the top of his sleeping bag. Ok, so I have an imagination!!!

Here is the skin that he shed.

The green just kept changing, but it was hard to see what caused it. It was just so neat to watch.

At this point, he was all done. The gold had not turned all the way shiny gold yet.

Isn't God amazing?? It was a miracle and I finally got to see it!!!!