Monday, October 27, 2014

Sweet Potatoes and Apple Cider Vinegar Part II

In early June, or maybe it was still May, I got some sweet potato slips from June at the farmer's market and planted them at the far end of the garden.  The deer promptly ate nearly all of the slips, and the three that survived were in the shadiest spot in the garden.  Today, I was thrilled to harvest a few sweet potatoes from those:

They are now sitting the sunroom, where they will cure for 2 weeks before we can eat them.  Yum!  I do love sweet potatoes, and I kinda forgot I had these, so they were a very nice surprise today.

Also this morning, I started phase 2 of the apple scrap vinegar.  I strained the liquid and put it back in the big jar minus the apple pieces.  Now it needs to sit and be stirred every day for 2-4 weeks.

And lastly, I had to leave you with a picture of my big 10-year-old!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Camping 2014

Well, we are back from the annual family-reunion camping trip.  This year 53 people camped, and four came to visit for a few hours with a one-week-old baby!  It was nice to hold such a little one again.  But now, onto the pictures:

Elijah liked helping Max.  Here they are riding Grandma Betty's wheelchair lift up and down.

At the Falls

This little man is now 10!  I still can't believe it!

Lydia loved the pony ride.  It was drizzling off and on during our pony time, but it didn't bother Lydia in the least.  The area around the stables was full of color, like God was showing off with his paintbrush.

The park was just gorgeous...
but it's not the only beautiful place around.  Check out the beauty of my own front yard:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Review - The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller

I enjoyed my latest book from Bethany House, The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller.  This story is set shortly after the Civil War in West Virginia, where a young woman and her widowed mother are selling the family brickmaking business to an Irishman and his nephew, Ewan.  Ewan is a devoutly Christian young man with high morals, though his uncle has many vices that could cost both Ewan and his whole family dearly.  Ewan quietly displays his faith throughout the book and is just a very likeable character.  Laura, the former brick owner's daughter, is a feisty and determined young woman.  She is courting a lawyer to please her mother, but as she works with Ewan, she finds herself more drawn to the young Irishman.

This book is full of historical details.  The author deftly describes the brickmaking process through the enthusiastic eyes of Ewan and Laura.  The manners and customs of the times are also prominent throughout the book, so it was obvious that the author did her research.  I always appreciate historical detail!  The story was engaging, and I particularly enjoyed some of the minor characters, especially the children.  The ending was satisfying though not surprising.  Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it.  I will say that I am not fond of the title, though.  This book is the first in a series, and I am curious to see what book two will entail.

I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Applesauce and Apple Scrap Vinegar

I came home to a clean house, happy kids, and still those apples that I should have dealt with last week.  I decided to make some more applesauce.  Today, I made plain (4 jars) and blueberry applesauce (5 jars).  I used some of the blueberries that we picked and froze this summer.

Last week, I canned an additional 2 jars of plain and 4 jars of raspberry applesauce.  This time, though, I decided to make apple cider vinegar with the scraps.  The chickens got about half of the peels and cores, but the other half I put in a large glass jar and covered with a water and honey combo to make apple cider vinegar.  There are several tutorials on this online, so I picked one and am trying to make it for the first time.  If I succeed, I'll have some nice homeade vinegar, and if I fail, well, it took no money and very little effort, so I figure this is no-lose situation.

Now, I've dealt with all of the apples I'd intended to can, and we still have those delicious russet apples for eating.  To make it all even better, Nathaniel discovered that the world championship gymnastics tournament was on tv, so I was watching that while making and canning the applesauce.  It made for a nice afternoon.