Thursday, September 30, 2010

fairy tea sets and fairy repairs.

The temperatures really dropped this past week, and we finally got a bit of rain...and have been stuck inside. Every year when the season changes, i get bit by the crafting bug. Even though i have lots of unfinished projects, i can't seem to help my self from starting new ones.

i have also been trying to fix up a few things that needed repairs. Sage's little bendy faeries fell victim to Rufus the beagle puppy. One night, he pulled almost everything off of my nature table and destroyed it all. He completely chewed up all my acorns and pine cones. He chewed the ends off of the stackable rainbow and broke several of the ceramic mushrooms. :( He also got a hold of Sage's faeries and chewed the caps and faces off of them.

So yesterday i figured out which were still salvageable and went to work fixing them up. i replaced acorn caps and hair, and re-drew faces. Most of them look good as new. The faerie in purple has some permanent chew damage on her face, but is otherwise fine. :) She still needs an acorn cap, but i didn't have one big enough for her head. This weekend we'll go out hiking and collect some more.

My latest obsession is painting all these little wooden things, and putting together play sets for my girl. These are all inspired by the Etsy shop The Enchanted Cupboard, which i've had my eye of for a while. i have always loved all the little details in these playsets, and felt like i could paint and create my own...but had no idea where to purchase the little wooden pieces. To my surprise, i recently found some at Micheal's craft store. You can also find them at Hobby Lobby, although i don't have one can purchase from them online. They have an entire section with lovely little wooden blanks. Some are obvious things like bowls and bottles and rolling pins...while many others are nothing more than wooden plugs or rounds. It just takes a bit of imagination to see what they can become. The mushroom stools are made using a 1"wooden round and a candle cup glue together. The table is a wooden spool, with a 2" wooden disc on top.

The little faerie cakes are made from wooden button plugs, and i made some loaves of bread using a larger sized button. i do need to work on my painting skills. :) i don't have a good paintbrush and have been using the kids big stiff plastic ones. i need to get a really fine and thin one so i can paint details, and clean up the sloppy edges.

MMmmm....faerie cakes. :)

i created the details on these bowls and cupcakes with a gel pen.

The honey pot is made using a candle cup, and i put a big squirt of hot glue in it to look like overflowing honey. So many possibilities!

i picked up a black wooden box/purse at Michael's to store the finished playset in. i still have to paint and decorate it, but i do have a lot of ideas! i'm going to start a mermaid 'under the sea' playset when i get this one finished up.

Most of the wooden pieces come in sets of 4-8 pieces. So i have lots of extra rolling pins, milk jugs, cakes etc. i have a feeling our nieces and friends' little girls will be getting similar sets for birthdays and Yule. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to make goat cheese (chevre)

i recently made my first successful batch of goat cheese and thought i'd post a quick tutorial. Honestly, making Chevre is so easy you really don't need a tutorial.
There are a few things you do need however, and it's best to make sure you have them before starting your cheese.
You need 1 gallon of raw goats milk.
1 pkg of Chevre starter
a large stock pot big enough to hold a gallon of goats milk. Mine is a 12 quart.
a basic cooking thermometer

Place 1 gallon of goats milk in your pot and heat slowly to 86 degrees. This is just slightly warmer than room temperature. Once it reaches 86 degrees, remove from heat.

Sprinkle your starter mixture on top and let it rehydrate for 2 minutes. Now stir it in, and let it cool to 72 degrees (room temperature). Mix well and let culture at room temperature for 12-20 hours. i started my cheese in the evening and then put the lid on the pot and placed the entire thing inside my cold oven. This worked well, and helped it maintain it's heat even though it cooled down to around 50 degrees outside that night.

In the morning, after it had set for 12 hours it looked like this! The cheese is at the bottom on the pan, and has the consistency of yogurt.
i didn't take a picture of the next step, but you just need to line a colandier with cheese cloth and place it over another large bowl/pot. Pour the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander and let them drain a bit.

Then tie up the ends of the cheese cloth and hang the bag and let drain 6-8 hours.

After 6-8 hours you have cheese!

i pressed mine into homemade cheese molds. These are just clean recycled yogurt containers with a few holes poked through them to let any remaining whey drain out.

Here's the finished product. i intended to get a prettier picture, with some crackers next to it or on a bed of fresh picked greens...but it didn't happen. Every time i got it set up on a plate we ate it. :) The chevre' should be stored wrapped tightly in plastic. It's good around 10 days and can be frozen for several months.
It's good spread on crackers, in spinach pies, topping pizzas, salads and bruchetta. It's very similar to feta and can be used in a similar way.
The leftover whey (all the stuff left after you drain your cheese) makes a nice treat for pets, although if you give them too much be prepared to clean up a mess. lol. You can also use it in bread recipes in place of water, or as a soup base. It is full of nutrients, can be added to smoothies, used to water plants etc.
i have always wanted to try making cheese, and the cheese is absolutely delicious!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Falling behind...

This week, i'm feeling a bit behind. Fall sort of snuck up on me, like it always does and caught me totally off guard. i've been feeling the usual melancholy of this season, mourning the end of summer and trying to embrace the beginning of Autumn. Well, maybe not...this year i haven't really been embracing the change of season at all, i have been mentally rebelling. i feel like i'm entering the season kicking and screaming and not quite ready to 'let go' of the summer. It does not seem that long ago that we were in the midst of that never ending winter. i'm not at all ready to go back to that.

So, a quick run down of the past week. i finally gave my approval to start the cutting of pines on our property. We hired some local folks to clear around 1 acre of our land to expand the yard. This was really, really hard for me. Even though i know how much having this cleared land will help with what we want to do here, i don't like to cut down living trees. However, it also seems a bit silly to have all this land and not be able to use it. We didn't have the area clear cut, but instead they took out selective trees. i'm actually somewhat surprised how many trees are still standing. Now that the large pines are gone, there are many small hardwoods that will have a better chance to grow. We split the profits from the timber, and actually made about twice as much as we were expecting. The space is going to be really nice, and we'll use the profits to put up fencing for the goats, plant clover and purchase some fruit trees. We should also have enough to start the framing for a small goat barn. The area needs to be cleaned up, and there is a lot of left over wood that can be cut for firewood this winter. So we should be totally set for heat this winter.

My mom is also here visiting from MI. She came on the 15th, and will be here another week or so. We've been processing apples together, and have canned around 30 pints so far, this doesn't include all the apple sauce i made earlier this month. We still a lot of apples, and can pick more when we get through these. It amazing how much quicker it goes with a bit of help. i've been peeling the apples with my new apple peeler (early b-day present from the hubby!) , and mom cuts out the brown spots, and cuts them up and tosses them in the pot. Then we just let it cook down and season it, then fill and process the jars. Now that the weather has cooled down a bit (for a few days at least) i'm looking forward to baking some apple dumplings and apple crisp. i've also been checking out some new ways to preserve apples over at i'm thinking we may have to make the apple cider donuts sometime this week. :)

This past week, i've been milking my friend's goat while she was out of town for a few days. It was a great experience, and really good practice for me. After just a few days of milking regularly, morning and evening, i definitely feel like i have it down. This is the sweet girl who was allowed me to milk her. She is incredibly gentle and docile.

Getting everything prepped to milk. Sanitizing the milking pail, udders, and hands.

i got a little over a quart at each milking, so she produces a full gallon every two days. At the end of the week i had a fridge full of milk and made a second batch of Chevre'.

My mother, who had never had goats cheese asked, " what can you do with goat cheese?"
So this week we enjoyed spinach-mushroom and goat cheese quesadillas, tomato-basil bruschetta with goat cheese, veggie stromboli with goat cheese, and homemade pizza topped with portabellos, caramelized onions and goat cheese. :)

We've have also been enjoying these end of summer, early Autumn days. We've taken a few hikes in the woods, collecting fall leaves and acorns.

The spiders have begun to come out. We've seen large several barn spiders and black and yellow garden spiders around the yard. We found this Nursery web weaver spider down by the creek and i couldn't resist getting a picture. She has a web full of babies, and she guards them until they are big enough to leave the nest.

This weekend we have begun the move into cooler days and nights. Soon i'll be dragging out our wool socks and sweaters, and curling up with my crochet hook reflecting back on the past year, and how quickly it has all gone by. Autumn is the season of change, and we have had our share this year. Although i'm not ready to give up the summer yet; i can feel us moving forward in many ways,and look forward to many of the changes that are yet to come. Each small step brings us closer to the dream, and we are getting there one small step at a time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award.

i won a Blog Award from:

My Money Mission Online

Thank you!

The rules are to pass it on to 15 new blogs ( i came up with 14) that i have enjoyed visiting.
Congratulations to all the winners of the Lovely Blog Award!

Instructions for winners:
  1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

  2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.

  3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they’ve been chosen.
I hope you'll visit these blogs soon! They are awesome!! :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

gathering food like little squirrels...

We've been having a very busy couple of weeks. Change is in the air, and we've been experiencing our share of it lately. i have started new projects, and finished a few old ones. We are still waiting for rain, so my garden is dry and sad. i am still getting tomatoes, purple beans, peppers, several types of squash and some chard. My second planting of cucs fell victim to sudden wilt. It has been too hot and dry to grow any cold crops, so all the seeds i planted just withered away. i'll wait for it to rain and cool down and try again later in the season.

We have been incredibly blessed this year with wild food. Living where we do, in the mountain where the land is still wild there is almost always an abundance of wild food. In the past we have gathered apple and blackberries. This year we have been gathering much more. i'm begining to feel like a little squirrel gathering food for the winter.

Although this year has not been the best for our garden, it has been a good year for fruit and nuts. Every where i drive i see apples. So many wild trees completely loaded with fruit and dropping all over the ground.

Right on the edge of our property we found an abundance of these peculiar looking pods. This isn't the first time we've seen them, the kids use the dried hulls as 'ant boats' or cradles for fairy babies. This is the first time we have seen so many of them with the nut still intact. After doing a bit of research, i was thrilled to find that they are hickory nuts, and are edible! A half cup serving provides 394 calories, 39g fat, 7g protein, 11g total carbohydrates. Contains vitamins A, E, K, and B6, and the minerals zinc, folate, riboflavin, iron, niacin and calcium. So we gathered them up. Kenan went for a hike in our woods to seek out other hickory trees and found a large grove of shagbark hickory trees. What an exciting find!

i spent an afternoon sitting around removing the nuts from the hulls. The hull can go straight into the compost and then the nuts are set out in the sun to dry for a few days. Cracking the nuts is another story. The shells are really hard, and it's almost impossible to remove the shells without destroying the nut meat. i found a good tutorial on Mother Earth News about how to extract the meat from a hickory nut. It requires a hammer, a brick and a bit of time. A nut pick will also come in handy. The nuts flavor is really good, sweet and nutty and mild. It reminds me of banana nut pudding. It will be quite a process to crack/retrieve the nuts, but i know we will enjoy them this winter, baked into cakes and cookie recipes.

Another fabulous find are these chestnuts, growing on a neighbors land. They told us to pick as many as we wanted. When i first looked at them, i wanted to make sure that they were indeed Chestnuts and not Horse Chestnuts/Buckeyes which look very similar...but are poisonous. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the pods/burrs. The American Chestnut and Chinapin are both edible and their pods/burrs have thin needle like spikes that point out in all directions. They look like large soft, furry burrs. The Buckeyes/horse chestnuts have short bumpy spikes on a smooth ball shaped fruit. This site has great pictures to show the difference. Another difference is that edible chestnuts have a pointed tip, while the buckeyes are round and smooth. Chestnuts spoil quickly and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Wild apples everywhere!! Kenan came home with more apples, free organic apples! These are smaller and prettier that the ones i had before. i'm hoping they'll store a little better than then the others. The last apples we had were not keeping well at all, so i turned them all into apple sauce.

i also made a batch of apple butter, and will be making more this week.
Apple butter is easy to make and so good on hot biscuits. The recipe i used came from the Blue book guide to preserving.

4 pounds of apples (about 16 med)
4 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

For the Apple Pulp. Wash, core, peel and quarter apples. Combine apples and water in saucepan, simmer until apples are soft. You can puree' them or put them through a food mill...i never do, i just cook them until they are saucey. Measure two quarts apple pulp.
To make butter combine the apple pulp, sugar and spices into a large pot. Cook slowly until thick enough to round up on spoon. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Remove air bubbles, Adjust two piece lids and process for 10 minutes in boiling water canner. Mine thickened quite a bit after processing, so don't worry too much if your apple butter seems thin. Very easy to make and so good!

There are many way to acquire food, although people don't always realize it. You can forage if you have a place available to do so. Many cities are starting food sharing programs, where public fruit trees are registered and folks can register and share their garden bounty and fruit locally. You can check this site to see if there are any registered near you. Many large cities have their own programs, so you may have to do a google search for food sharing and your cities name. You can also check freecycle. This year especially, i have seen a lot of people offering free fruit on freecycle. You can ask for any excess fruit or garden produce. Craigslist is a another good place to look. You can ask for free fruit, barter for fruit, offer to pick in exchange for some of the harvest. Ask around, many folks with fruit trees have more fruit than they know what to do with it and would be happy to share with someone who will use it.

My second attempt at making goat cheese was a success! i'll post all about it in my next blog! :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Raw goats milk

i've been practicing my milking. Guess who is making cheese this weekend? i have starter and am going to attempt Chevre. Fingers crossed that all goes well.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Can you tell we love butterflies?

i just couldn't think of a clever or good name for this post. There isn't much too it, just a few pictures of butterflies and caterpillars taken this week.

We spotted our first Red Admiral of the year. Several years ago, we had a bunch of these appear. Our big oak tree behind the house had slime flux, and the butterflies were attracted to the sap seeping from the wound. We had so many butterflies that year! Most years however, we only see a few of these. This is the first and only one we have seen so far this year.

It was a very friendly red admiral and kept landing on me curiously. i gently placed a finger underneath it and was able to lift it up without it flying away.

Last week, Kenan took the kids hiking and came home with this interesting looking fella. He's an Eastern Tiger swallowtail caterpillar about to pupate. They are typically bright green and turn brown right before forming their chrysalis. This is the first one we have found. The host foods for the Tiger swallowtails is different trees, like yellow poplar, sassafras, black cherry and willow. The caterpillars are usually up in the tree so they are not as easy to find as those that feed on plants and flowers.

Notice the fake eyespots? He looks like he's sticking his tough out.

We broguht him inside, and added him to the aquarium with the monarch caterpillars. i had several sticks in there propped up for him, but he chose to attach himself to the new papers that lined the floor. This is our first time raising a Tiger swallowtail. i've read that it could take several weeks before he emerges, and if it gets cold it may overwinter in it's chrysalis.

Ealrier today, i came upon this beautiful Question mark on the edge of our yard. It seemed to be attracted by the rotted fallen apples that were all over the ground. The Question mark butterfly is so striking when they open their wings.

When the wings are closed they are quite difficult to see. They have the perfect camouflage and look just like a brown leaf. This one is feeding on rotten apples under the tree. You see can see the white 'question mark' on her wings. The comma butterflies look very similar, but lack the dot.

This year we have had our usual abundance of butterflies. Mostly Fritillary, Red spotted purple and Swallowtails. i haven't seen any new species yet though. One of these days i'll post about creating a butterfly garden, and share some of the flowers and plants in my garden that seem to attract the most.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
Rabindranath Tagore

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Summerizing- Summer in Review

What is the best memory of this summer for you?

My best memory of the summer is just sitting outside in the sun hanging out in the yard. Watching the goats grazing in the yard, the chickens scratching in the garden, butterflies and hummingbirds zipping around the flowers, and the kids running around playing together and just being kids. i had a lot of moments this summer where i would be sitting outside and would find myself smiling. Everything just felt right, and i felt like i was exactly where i was supposed to be.

What is the one event you looked forward to the most? Did it turn out as you expected?

Honestly, we didn't really do a whole lot this summer. We stayed very close to home. So the one event i looked most forward to was our trip to Raleigh. It was both something i looked forward to, and something i it was the first time leaving the goats and dogs overnight. We had a really nice time, and i was able to relax a bit and not just worry about the animals the entire time. :) The kids had a blast, and it was nice to get away and be back in civilization for a couple days.

Have you done/tried/tasted something completely new, how was your experience?

This summer i got the chance to milk a goat for the first time which went well. i also attempted to make goat cheese, although it was a complete fail. i attempted to brew my own kombucha, although it too was a fail. The culture got kind of funky looking, so i panicked and just threw it out. Lets see....i canned pears, and grape juice for the first time. i made grape jelly for the first time. We raised painted lady butterflies for the first time and found our very first Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillar. In the garden i grew several new types of squash including patty pan, 8 ball and Kabocha squash. So far the only one we have tried is the 8 ball, and it was very good.

Is there a valuable lesson you learned this summer?

i learned a lot with my garden, which really struggled the first half of the year. i figured out that the 'seasoned' horse manure that we have been adding for years is complete crap (no pun intended). i was told it was so composted it was like really good soil. It has actually been hurting our garden instead of enriching it. i've literally been planting weed seeds and insect larva straight into my garden, and creating mineral deficiencies in the soil. i learned that adding fresh cow manure to the compost really makes it rock!! :) i also learned that piling good compost around tomatoes at the first sign of blight really, really helps them. i'm sure compost tea would work well too. i also learned the importance of water in a garden (after having almost no rain all summer) We really need to make irrigation a high priority and get the gutters/rain barrel system back in place.

Have you applied yourself creatively and created projects that you wanted to?

i have created a few things this summer, but not as much as i would have liked. Most of the things i have created have just been for kids, it has been a while since i have made stuff for myself or for business. Lets see, i made my daughter a mermaid tail and a matching one for her doll. We made fairy crowns and fairy houses. i finished up a beaded necklace, made my daughter and her doll a new dress and did a bit crocheting all mentioned here. i also made my daughter more playfood.

Is there something you wanted to try or complete that you didn’t have the time for? What do you think stood in your way and will you still attempt it?

So much i don't know where to start. i always have way too much on my plate, and a tendency to procrastinate. Most things were limited by finances, and my inability (and fear) to use power tools. i really wanted to create hoop houses to cover many of my garden plants, and make some addition raised bed. i also really wanted to make myself a new wardrobe, but all the fabric i liked are out of my price range...and i have so much quilting cotton that it really doesn't make sense to buy more fabric until i have used some of this up.

i wanted to attempt pressure canning, but the canners i received are used and i need to replace the seals and have the pressure gauge tested before i can use them. Our county Extension office does the testing, but only once per year and it was before i had acquired the canners, so i'll have to save that for next year. i also wanted to learn how to use my drop spindle, but i still just don't really get it.

From your summer experience, what are you most grateful for?

i am most grateful for being able to be at home with my children. Even though it isn't always easy, i can't image having to go to work everyday and not be here with them sharing every moment. i am also grateful for the generosity of neighbors, and the abundance of homegrown garden produce that we were able to grow despite a few setbacks.

What was your favourite place you travelled to? Do you plan to go back there?

We didn't really do much traveling this summer. i like to hike the New River trail, and we usually do that a couple times a year. i also really like the Life and Science Museum in Durham and hope that it becomes an annual trip for us.

Is there a blog that inspires you the most?

Yes, way too many to mention. My favorites right now are The Magic Onions, A Foothill Home Companion, Path to Freedom and Weefolk art.

Is there a blog post you’re most proud of?

Not really, i'm really struggling with adding emotion into my blogs. i tend to write very factual and straight forward blogs, and fail to really add any insight, depth or opinions. i'm not really sure what is holding me back, except that i am a very introverted, private person...and the thought of sharing too much of myself to the world is somewhat terrifying.

Is there a blog post you wish had more reaction and/or comments?

Honestly, i don't really expect folks to read my blog, so i'm never really surprised that i don't get many comment. ha ha. i really thought this photo was an unbelievable capture and i'm extremely proud of i was a bit disappointed it didn't get more of a reaction. Wordless Wednesday- Flower sprite.

What is your favourite photo that you’ve posted this summer?

i'd have to say this one. It's very rare for me to post pictures of myself. In this photo, my husband had taken the kids to town and i was enjoying a few hours to myself. Although i had a lot i could have been working on, i chose to sit and share space with my goats. Although we go down to feed them and pet them a few times a day. It is rare for me to get to just sit and talk to them. Delilah has always been very skittish, but we shared a moment, and i just happened to capture it.

What photo or photos from this summer you didn’t get a chance to post?

i carry my camera around with me in a little camera bag, that i call my attachable pocket. People joke that my camera is attached to me, and in all pretty much is. So i have 100's of pictures that i haven't posted.

This is a favorite, because it really captures the laid back spirit of our summer. My boy spends a good deal of time hanging out on this swing, and this past summer he spent a good deal of time reading in this spot. My girl, who follows him everywhere, spent quite a bit of time on the back of the swing climbing the ropes, talking to the animals and swinging. They spent many hours like this together in the swing.

i had lots of fun SUMMERIZING my summer and looking back on everything, and digging through all the pictures.

Big thanks to Ella over at for inviting me to be apart of this. If you would like to participate you can paste the ‘Summerizing’ image from the top into your post, answer the questions in your own words and link back to the Lifeologia's original Summerizing post. Have Fun SUMMERIZING!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- goat kisses.

Labor Day Flea markets

This past weekend we attended The Hillsville Labor Day flea markets and gun show. Twice a year on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, the entire town of Hillsville turns into a huge flea market. Around 500,000 people are expected to attend. It's hard to get a good picture, but the flea market extends back filling miles of fields and parking lots. It is not just along the main strip like the picture shows.

The flea market brings vendors and people from all over. There are antique dealers, gun enthusiasts, food vendors, a few crafters, and lots of junk dealers. Almost every year, we attend the Labor day flea markets, just to say we went. We also go for the food. :) Once a year, i really like to indulge in super unhealthy fair food. :)

We usually enjoy the Hawaiian shaved ice, but this time Sage requested the chocolate covered frozen cheesecake on a stick. Holy cow was it good! They also have all the usual yummy fair treats like homemade kettle corn, homemade ice cream...and some groovy looking homemade Rootbeer that came in old fashion looking bottles with cork stoppers. Funnel cakes, and caramel apples and lots of super greasy, artery clogging deep fried anything.

We always get a blooming onion. Yes, i know how unhealthy it is..and no, i don't care. It was sooo good. hee hee. Even with the ranch sauce that was all hot from sitting out in the sun. The idea totally grossed me out, but we still ate it and no one got sick. Bonus!

So besides being a flea market, it's a gun show. which means folks can come from where ever and buy a gun without a permit or background check.
This is a sight i just can't ever get used to. Some folks are carrying shot guns, while other folks are walking around with pistols in holsters, rifles with scopes strapped to their backs or other types of handguns. Nothing like being a bit claustrophobic and being crammed elbow to elbow with lots of people with big guns. i'm honestly not sure why we even still attend...the food isn't that good...well, maybe it is. :)
Folks everywhere we're proudly wearing stickers (probably from the NRA) that said, "Guns Save Lives" and my first thoughts when reading this sticker was, "from what? Other people with guns?"

Friday, September 3, 2010

Our week in review.

i really can not believe it is already September. The summer always goes by way too quickly, and i look back on it and think what did we even do? In past summers we've done a lot more hiking, and weekend traveling. This year we really haven't gone anywhere or done much of anything and yet, we are always busy and rarely bored.

In just this past week, we've released 8 monarch butterflies. We've had two more emerge this morning, and still have two munchy crunchy caterpillars and one more chrysalis. We also found a praying mantis with a swollen belly right outside our door. So we are expecting we'll be finding an egg case in the flower bed soon.

We spend a lot of time outside chasing butterflies, and peeps, blowing giant bubbles, weeding the garden and feeding garden scraps to the goats.

i finally tackled the tomatoes that have been sitting on my counter. In fact, i've done a ton of canning this week; applesauce, pasta sauce, tomatoes and pears. This isn't everything, just what has been sitting on my table from yesterday and the day before. Kenan has been moving it all down to the basement. i don't have shelves down there yet for storage, but am hoping too soon. i've run out of space on my table and counters. i am feeling extremely fortunate this year to be blessed with such an amazing harvest, and generous neighbors...but i'm really lacking on storage space.

This week, i have been focused on my pears. They have begun to ripen enough for canning. i've canned a ton so far...well, maybe not a ton, but well over a bushel. i still have around 25 lbs to finish up today. Then i get to start in on apples...again. Kenan went back and picked more apples the day after i finished up the first bushel. So, i have over 100 lbs of apples to peel, core and cook down into apple sauce and freeze/can. i asked Kenan for an apple peeler for my birthday. :) i've been doing all of these by hand with a paring knife.

So i've been feeling quite food obsessed lately. While i work on canning, Sage plays with her kitchen and playfoods. She pretends to cook and can. It is so cute it absolutely melts my heart. So while my jars are processing, and i give my hands a rest from peeling...i've been sewing felt playfood. This week, i made her a fried egg and an veggie omelet. The omelet has removable cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms for decorating. i need to pick up some velcro next time i'm at the store, to put on the end so she can fold over the omelet.

i pinned it closed to show how it will look with the velcro. She is loving it! i also made a stack of blueberry pancakes with syrup and melty butter. tee hee.

She also requested her favorite meal, which is tofu and veggies over udon noodles. The noodles i had made before as fettuccine for a different meal. This week, i made tofu triangles, snow pea pods, baby carrots, broccoli florets and red peppers. She also wanted purple beans, like the ones we grow in our garden. i sewed these all by hand, using the blanket stitch. i use free patterns, make up many of my own patterns, and get a lot of inspiration from the web to make felt foods. All very easy to make. This link has a really good list of free felt food patterns available on the web, and also a good list of places to purchase patterns.

So that about wraps up my week. Somewhere in between the canning, butterfly chasing and felt food making... i've also managed to keep up on the dishes and laundry and even feed the family and critters. :) Sequoia and i also finished up the third book in the Lemony Snippets series earlier this week and have begun reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians. We also did several science projects from the Science in a bag book, including removing an eggs shell without breaking it and then shrinking the shelless egg through the process of osmosis. Fun stuff.
Looking forward to a weekend of sleeping in and finally getting to the end of the pears.