Labor Day weekend came as a huge relief for me, not due to some huge free for all at the lake on a boat (although there is nothing wrong with that), but because I was finally able to catch up on some of the canning I needed to do. We've spent so much time working in the garden and at the Farmer's Market, I haven't had any time at home long enough to get some canning done.
You see, for some time now, I have felt the pull to create some sort of cottage industry, but could never really put my finger on what it should be. One of my favorite things to do is to grow organic heirloom vegetable plants. The garden is my sanctuary. It is where Imeet my Maker. I get to experience resurrection every time I plant a seed and it reaffirms my faith each and every time. So this year I felt led to do it on a grander scale in order to help with the household income, but to also help provide others with good food. There can't be anything more healthy than to eat fruits and vegetables in their purest form from our Creator. Between my learning curve with this endeavor on a larger scale than I what I was used to and my great lack of organization, some of my duties of the home have been lacking like preserving our own food and it has weighed heavily on my mind. A whole free weekend was just what I needed!
The first thing I tackled was a large batch of green beans. This is the first year I've been able to put up beans because I've never had a pressure canner before, so now I feel the need to really put it to some good use. The problem is that our first planting of beans didn't do so great and I've had to wait for our fall planting and with the heat and drought here in the Ozarks, I wasn't sure I'd have any beans this year at all....so every single bean is highly treasured.
The second round of canning consisted of Peach Butter and Spiced Peach Butter, pictured above. I had enough peaches for three batches so I made two of just the Peach Butter and one of the Spiced Peach Butter. The Spiced Peach Butter only made about three pints. They are the ones pictured in the front, they are much darker than the smaller jar to the right which is simply the Peach Butter. I had never made this before so it was an adventure for me, however, I must tell you that it is extremely simple and scrumptious! Both of the recipes I used can be found on our homesteading blog at Ozark Mountain Family.
With the abundance of sweet bell peppers and hot peppers, I also had to make a double batch of Sweet Pepper Salsa. It is great to spread on meatloaf, hamburgers, crackers and cream cheese.....just anything you can think of. One of our friends will eat it straight out of the jar....I made sure he got a few jars.
Another thing that keeps me busy is the fact that there isn't a day that goes by where I'm not called out (usually out of the kitchen) to see one of the chickens for one reason or another, this weekend was no exception. Our daughter has named each and every one of them and knows every feather that they have. She can tell me which ones are laying, what each chicken's personality is like (yes, chickens have personalities) and she even knows several first aid tricks if one of them needs a little tlc. After her morning chores, we get the full report of who is bothering who, who is being greedy, who is sneezing, who needed rescuing from the rafters.....you get the idea. She will sit and watch a hen lay, just so she'll know what kind of eggs that hen lays. She can tell by the size and color who laid each egg in the hen house. Talk about the ultimate science project!
This is one of her roosters. There are two of them and they look exactly the same to me. How she can tell the difference is beyond me, but she loves them dearly. I have to say though that I greatly appreciate the fresh eggs the hens provide!
Another constant in our lives is the second "man of the house".
He doesn't mix well with the chickens, but he is the most lovable security system a home can have. The railing that he is resting against comes about at my waist, so that might give you an idea of how big this fella is. He stands about as tall as I am. Needless to say we feel very protected even though he does create a bit of extra house cleaning on occasion!
Life is never dull at our home. We do treasure our moments of peace even though they are few and far between and mostly in the wee hours of the morning and the late hours of the evening. I wouldn't trade my place as keeper of this home for anything in the world. There are days where I do question if it's worth it, I'm sure we all do, but when all is quiet and I take the time to seek the Lord, I know my soul is at peace. It is all I need.
I cannot finish this small snapshot of our lives without sharing one more constant...
Our small corner of this wonderful world consists of some of our dearest friends. Friends that accept us just the way we are, friends that will come in time of need, friends that will take the time to explain how to build, cook, clean or grow anything, friends that will answer the endless questions you might have about their faith and lifestyle, and friends that remind us to slow down, work hard and enjoy God's gifts. They have taught us a great lesson....we don't have to run the rat race of the world, it's so much easier to live simply and find God in everything throughout your day. The Amish are not perfect, none of us are, but what a joy to be able to share life with such dear friends. I have much to learn about being a keeper of the home, but God has surrounded me with great examples. I pray He will do the same for you!
Shared at: Raising Homemakers