Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Green Bean Harvest and Canning

Today was one of those days where I just wanted to pinch myself.  Some people may think that this simple, organic life that we live is crazy, but I rather love it.  Sure, we have our moments just like any family, where I'd like to ship my children off for a few weeks.  Then I take a breather and look out my window.  Usually one of my children is doing something cute or funny, and I have to remind myself how truly blessed I am.  I really am!  

After piano lessons for Alegra and Josiah, we went home to get a quick bite for lunch, then start on the job of the day.  Today the produce stand was closed, so all the beans that were left over, we canned.  Friday's customers get fresh picked beans, so we needed to take care of these, so they weren't wasted.  All of my children helped in some way.  Some more than others of course.  We did have some fighting with a couple of them ready to quit the job, but they quickly adjusted themselves and got back to work.  Diella stayed home and hauled jars upstairs and started washing beans.  She is such a great helper!  

Time for everyone to work.  They were real troopers.  I didn't end up with as much as I was hoping, but I'm sure we'll have more throughout the summer to get the rest of our winter stock up done.

Then just as two are fighting, I go over to start some coffee because I just needed a calming moment.  I looked out the window to see Benaiah standing with a homemade fishing pole at a hole that he filled up with water.  Wondering what he was doing, I asked, "What are you doing?"  To which he replied, "I'm fishing for alligators".  Now if you know Benaiah, you know that he doesn't talk right (we're working on that).  I had to ask him what he said to make sure I heard him correctly.  Sure enough, he was fishing for alligators.  I'm so glad he didn't catch one!!!!

The rest of my evening I didn't capture on camera, though I wish I would have.  After supper, while the children did their supper chores, Jonathon and I sat on the porch swing and discussed more of our dreams for our farm.  Slowly but surely things are coming together.  It's so exciting to dream together!!!  As we were sitting there our neighbors from around the corner and across the field came riding down the road on their horses.  Saphira sure enjoyed watching them go by.  She was so cute watching.  After awhile, here they came back, only they came right into the driveway and up to the house.  Best treat ever!!  It was nice to visit with them and enjoy watching their horses.  Such a great night for a ride and for a visit from the riders.  

As they left, Jonathon's sister came to take the children to Stroh for ice cream.  So, off they went (except Saphira) and there we sat again on a quiet porch.  He walked over to visit with his brother who was mowing and Saphira and I played with the kitten who had jumped up on the swing.  She sure loves that little kitty.  After a bit the children came home and we all walked over to his brother's house to look at some rocks and just enjoy the evening outside.  A walk around the farm to check on the elderberry bush and other herbs, is so delightful to me.  It truly refreshes me to see how many natural things God put around me to help my family.  

Back into the house to check on my beans.  Fourteen quarts done, all sealed, and ready to save for a cold winter day.  Love when I use lids over again and they all seal.  I know, probably shouldn't do that, but it does work, and I don't have to spend extra money.  :)

Everyone ran off to bed, I sat down to check a few things online, and I looked out the patio door to a beautiful moon.  As I stood there and watched, a bat was flying in the back yard.  Now, usually I'm not a fan of bats, but that one was doing a fine job and catching bugs, I just know it.

I really enjoy where we live.  The sights and sounds are so lovely.  The neighbors are great, which helps.  The dreams can come to life, and the children can be a part of that, hopefully something that will be truly a blessing to us and our community.  Time to close things up and head to bed.  A work day tomorrow, blueberry picking, and maybe some fun in the evening.  Our days get full, but I wouldn't want them any other way.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

While Waiting for Customers

The children have been running the produce stand again this summer.  They are open on Mon, Tues, and Fridays.  They've upgraded to a shed to keep them out of bad weather, but so far we've had perfect days when they are open.  The garden isn't in full swing just yet.  I'm thinking in a a couple more weeks, we'll have the shed full of yummy, nutritious produce.  They are also selling homemade items such as jewelry and jams.  The baked goods are by special order only.  That reduces the extra baked items left over that we have to eat.  :)

They are enjoying the gorgeous days we've been having.  Playing outside on the farm stuff and with the animals keeps them entertained while waiting for customers.

Alegra has been really reading and practicing her photography hobby.  She's been taking portraits of her siblings and of garden items.  I thought I should share her best shots here, so she can look back through them when she becomes a professional.  :)

And last but not least, I got tractor lessons.  It was a snap!  :)  Wood hauling has been filling our spare time.  It feels good to get the barn full of wood for winter.

Our blueberries are doing great!  We are so excited for when we can officially open for a U-Pick.  We'll need another summer of root growth to strengthen the plant, then I think we'll be ready to invite you all to come enjoy our berries.  So excited!!!  We did go through and pick blossoms off, but we found that we missed quite a few, so those were a special treat.

We've had such a lovely summer so far of bike rides, kayaking, swimming, fun with friends, bale jumping, and the warmth from the sun.  We are blessed and I have to remind myself often of that, so I don't take this life for granted.  He gives and He takes.  Right now, He is giving to us, and we love all of His good gifts that He's giving.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Troyer Wedding- 4th of July

We had a full weekend over the 4th of July of partying, fellowshiping, and just hanging out with those we love the most.  Wedding set up, massages for friends, family gathering with the Bovees, wedding, fellowship on Sabbath, then hanging out with my family for supper, fun, and fireworks to end it all.  Phew, we were whipped after that weekend, but filled up with lots of good memories and fun!  This post is only of the wedding.  I've included a few decorative pics, but mostly people pictures from the wedding.  If you want to see the full post on the decorations for this wedding, check out my CLB CeLeBrations Blog here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

An Afternoon From the Reward Bank

Some days just feel full of goodness.  Other days feel like nothing was accomplished.  Yesterday was a rough day for my children with behavior and then not getting a fun reward they were looking forward to because of the lack of obedience.  :(  It's always a bummer when that happens.  So, today was much different, and boy oh boy was I glad!  

We started out the day with butterfly research and moving the butterfly tent to where it would be in front of the patio door that gets lots of sunlight and warmth.  We arranged some of our potted plants in their and figured out how to feed butterflies that were now residing in the tent.  Alegra has been so interested in butterflies lately, so this has been a pure delight for her.  

After lunch, it was time to do weeding in the garden.  Nobody wanted to, but it had to be done.  We also placed a shed that some friends gave to us in the garden to be used this year as our produce shed.  We would like to have produce out all the time instead of just a couple days a week.  The children will still sit out there when we're home, but if we're not, we'll just leave a money can there.  Hoping we can have a few more customers this year to enjoy our delicious produce!

 Look at that garden!  The whole thing is weeded except my flower area which got mutilated when my man drove the tractor through it.  Hoping to have flowers to sell too at the stand, but not sure after his driving today.  :)  Oh well.  We did plant sunflowers this year to sell, so they at least look great and will be fun to have in the garden.

We also harvested our first ingredients for salad today.  What a delicious supper we had.  Fresh spinach and lettuce from the garden, deviled eggs from our coop, and herbed (dried from the garden last year) tortilla strips.  It was so yummy!!!

 Since the children did fantastic weeding and working in the hot, hot sun today, we let them draw a reward from the reward jar.  They picked "take a bike ride to Stroh for ice cream and to play at the park".  What a gorgeous ride we had.  It had just finished raining really hard and their was a lovely rainbow that lit our path all the way there.  I didn't even realize that I got the rainbow in this picture.  Off we go to have some summer fun!
 Benaiah sure did try out his energy on this trip.  I had to take quite a few breaks with him, but he did a great job.  He also learned to keep his feet on the pedals at all times.  He went down our big hill and took his feet off the pedals and then couldn't slow down, so all the way down the hill he screamed in terror.  I had to console him and explain to him to keep his feet on the brakes, and then he picked his feet up and pedaled to catch up to the others.  Hopefully lesson learned on that one.  It could have been a big crash.  :)

This is why we love where we live.  Nothing beats this kind of scenery on a bike ride.  I mean look at that sky.  Look at that old barn.  Look at the stretch of fields growing with green life.

We finally made it to the ice cream shop.  They switched owners, so they actually had reasonably priced cones, just smaller portions, which was just fine with us.  See that big puddle.  Yep, that little guy pointing at it rode his bike right through the middle of it.  Ugh, he did so good avoiding the puddles all the way there, then I guess he just couldn't resist this one.  Who could when you're a 5 year old little boy? :)

We then went to the park after our ice cream was gone and enjoyed some fun there.  A simple park in Stroh, but it sure brings delight to our children, which brings me delight too.  
 Time to head home.  Benaiah was pretty tuckered out, but he kept on pedaling.  I was reminded of the movie Nemo, and kept singing to him, "just keep pedaling, pedaling pedaling".  We can't forget about the scenery on the ride home.  Not everybody has cows that stand on the sidelines to cheer you on.  What's not to love about this picture!
 And then there was that gorgeous sky once again, lighting up in a different manner with less color but more brilliance.  That picture is not edited.  The sun beams were so distinct and bright.  Alegra had thrown her camera into the trailer, so she wanted Jonathon to stop, so she could take a picture.  Guess she gets that from her mom.  :)  Nothing like capturing all these priceless moments in picture for them to reminisce about when they are older.
 And I realized, thankfully not too late, that I hadn't taken Saphira's picture in the trailer enjoying the ride.  She sure loves the ride!
I didn't get a picture of a few other things that made our evening a delight.  While at the park a neighbor came to play ball with his son.  It's just good to see father and son spending time together in that way.  Then on our way home, a friend and neighbor stopped to visit and tell us all about his recent honeymoon.  I just smiled while we sat there visiting on the road and enjoying the wonderful evening.

This community isn't fancy.  It is full of simple pleasures and people who stay engaged with each other.   This makes where we live a grand place to raise our children.  Where people just stop by, sometimes on tractor even just to say hello or see if you need anything.  It's a place where the whole neighborhood gathers to keep traffic safe when a tree falls in the road.  A place where my children can run to the road to wave to whoever drives by and generally, they know who the person is.  I miss our little house in Sturgis, but the community that we have all around us here, is irreplaceable.  So thankful for these peaceful evenings of getting another glimpse of the people we are surrounded by and getting to enjoy my children moving and enjoying the country.

I hope you are all having as great of a summer as we are at the Bovee's!

Oh, and if you are wondering how Benaiah did taking that long of a trip.  Uncle Jeff almost had to push him up the big hill at our house.  Once he got in our driveway, before even getting up to the barn, he stopped and put his head on his hands, like he was out of breath and couldn't go any farther.  That boy!  He pedaled up to the barn then and felt pretty good about himself biking such a long distance.  I was watching him pedal at one point.  It took him about 4 times pedaling to our 1.  That boy moved those little legs fast! Time for a bigger bike after this summer of practice on the little one.  Good job, Benaiah!