Winter Prep and the Book Giveaway

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Our View Two Weeks Ago

Two weeks ago we had snow. It was a great reminder that we needed to start prepping as winter would definitely be coming. One thing you can count on in Iowa is the changing seasons!

The past days have finally been dry and resemble what fall should look like. My husband has been busy hauling wagon loads of soybeans to town to the local Farmer’s Coop Elevator. Now we wait for the corn to be dry enough to be combined.

In between those two harvest times we have been using the days to prepare for the cold of winter. We love to burn wood to help save on our heating budget. We have spent the last couple days splitting wood.

A couple years ago my husband had his hips replaced. We borrowed a friend’s log splitter and learned how wonderful that invention really was. The next year we decided, as we were getting older we needed to work smarter. We found a log splitter on a clearance sale and made the purchase. It was a great decision!

We have a few more days to go on wood splitting before the pile is all done. Fortunately the weather looks promising for that task. I get the easy part of just pushing the lever. This year I am doing my job by sitting on a tall chair and just pushing the lever.

The girls tend to wander over while we split wood. They love the ants and grubs that sometimes have found their way into the pile. It is  satisfying to see the split wood, stack up and watch that splitter turn logs into usable pieces.

My husband used to split all of it with a maul and a sledgehammer. As I said….we have learned to work smarter and this wood no longer has to warm us twice!

On another subject……I have finally done the drawing for the book giveaway!  With the help of my husband who was a neutral bystander.  I numbered 1 – 24 and put the names next to the numbers. I then put the numbers on pieces of paper and my husband drew a number from a bucket. I have no idea how to do the rafflecopter thing so we went old school!

Here is the list of those that were in the giveaway:
1. Terri J                             2. Jackie VG                   3. Jo O
4. Donna VG                       5. Kristi K                       6. Michele R (rabbitpatchdiaries)
7. Juliescreativeyear         8. DeAnn T                     9. Lena DK
10.Lisa@Lismorepaper   11.Jessica                       12.Lorna K
13.Vicki                               14.Sheila T                     15.Ruthsoaper
16.Robbyefaye                   17.Miriam B                  18.BeverlyP (moreinkplease)
19. Lindaschaub                20.A.Michelle                21.Judy L
22. Judy B                            23.Robin                         24.Jocelyn M

The number drawn was (drum roll) #3!   Congratulation Jo O….you will be gifted the book: It’s All Under Control and workbook. I will be in touch with you to see that you get it.

Some of those who entered are fellow bloggers. If you click on their names it should take you to their blogs and you can enjoy some good reading!  You will also meet some amazing women that way!20181014_103846.jpg

 

I have not yet read my copy of this book. I do plan to spend some wonderful time…. in a rocking chair…. in front of the woodstove this winter. I plan to be holding that book in one hand….a cup of hot chocolate in the other and enjoying the warmth from the wood we have split.

May you have a blessed weekend and may this post find you doing something you enjoy.

 

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”
–William Blake

“Some books are to be tasted,
others to be swallowed,
and some few to be chewed and digested.”

Francis Bacon, The Essays   

 

Warmed Twice

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We seem to be running behind this season. The harvest is running late due to rain….the grandson came two weeks after his due date and we are cutting wood for the winter season way later than is normal for us.

Usually we try to have wood cutting done in the spring so we can just check that off our list of things to do. This year, due to surgeries, that did not happen. By the time we had both recovered from those surgeries we were full tilt into summer stuff to do.

Things like lawn mowing, gardening, weeding, lawn mowing, walking beans, lawn mowing etc. just seemed to need doing more than wood needed cutting. We are now at that point in time where we can no longer put it off.

We are in that season where the weather can change from one day to the next….sunny one day and snowing the next. We have had our first hard freeze so we know it will really not be long before we do hit the winter season.

We have also had several cold rainy days where we were scrounging around for wood to put in the wood stove to take the chill out of the house. The last couple days we have had a break in the rain so it became time to go cut wood.

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Wood cutting was chilly and wet this morning and I was feeling a little cold and miserable. My husband had to remind me that heating your house with wood warms you twice. I think he is right because as you are cutting and hauling wood it warms you and once you put it in the wood stove and light it up, you are warmed once again.

I must say that there is something wonderful about seeing that fire in the stove and feeling the warmth it produces. I am quite sure, by the end of the heating season, I will not feel quite the same way. I will be sick of sweeping up bits of twigs, bark and ashes. I will be ready for the warmth of spring and summer.

After re-reading that last paragraph I am beginning to see why time goes faster the older I get. It seems I am wishing my seasons away. That might be a lesson for me to slow down and just enjoy the season I am presently in.

Even though there are uncomfortable parts of those seasons, I guess I should really relish the good parts. There are exceptional parts to each season and I may have to stop and look for those parts.

Changing seasons are so much like life. Good and bad all rolled into one.  The choice is to decide what we are going to focus on…the good or the bad.

I think I will choose to enjoy the damp mornings that smell of fallen leaves melting into the grass….mornings cloaked in that peculiar stillness that is the season of autumn.

My choice will be to stand, at night, on my porch and listen to the sound of the combines in the fields and dryers running to dry corn in the bins.

It will be a good thing to see the fog roll up from the river on a frosty morning and hear the lonesome sound of geese as they fly….following instincts that take them to warmer places for the winter.

I will choose to delight in the cool nights where I can sit by the warm wood stove and drink my tea. I will try to remember the joy of being “warmed twice”……and I will close my eyes, sip my tea, and be grateful.

“One can enjoy a wood fire worthily
only when he warms his thoughts by it as well as his hands and feet.”
Odell Shepherd

 

Good Impulse Buys

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A Taste of Summer

I have to admit…..I can be an impulse buyer. The stuff the stores put on the end caps of their aisles draws my eye and sometimes causes me to open my pocketbook and dig a little deeper so that I can purchase it.

Last week I made a quick stop in our local grocery store and discovered they had lugs of fresh peaches standing there…..right where I could not miss them. I love peaches. I love fresh peaches, frozen peaches, peach pie, peaches on ice cream, peaches in smoothies…..peaches.

I found myself walking out of the store with a box of peaches. Of course.  I knew when I saw those peaches that at least one box would be going home with me. (I must also confess I picked up another box a few days later!)

From that first box of peaches I ended up with 19 pints of canned peach halves. I would have ended up with more, but we just could not resist having some fresh, sugared peaches over vanilla ice cream.

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Stocking the Shelves for Winter

When I was done filling my jars with peach halves; I was left with a bowl of peach pits and peels. I remembered that last year I had attempted peach pit jam and it turned out beautifully…..it also tasted great on toast or ice cream.

I decided I would give it a try again. I could not find the recipe I had used last year but I found another one that seemed comparable. (If I would organize…maybe I would have my recipes when I needed them!) I did tweak it because I wanted to water bath can it, as I do not have enough room in my freezer to store jelly. Here is the link if you want to follow the freezer jelly directions: that Susan Williams

For those of you concerned about cyanide with peach pits, I have been assured that it is so minimal that it would not matter. (I do not use the cracked pits as they say the cyanide traces are in the seed inside.) I also washed my peaches prior to canning with Young Living Thieves Fruit and Veggie Soak as I did not purchase organic peaches and I really didn’t want all the stuff they spray fruit with, to end up in my jelly.

Here is the adjusted recipe that I used:

Peach Pit Jelly

Yields approximately 8 jelly jars

Ingredients:
Peach pits and peels from a lug of peaches
water to cover peels and pits
1 box + 1 Tablespoon Sure Jell low sugar recipe pectin (the pink box)
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Instruction:
Peel and slice peaches, reserving pits and peels in a pan.
Cover peels and pits with enough water to just cover and bring to a boil.
Let them steep, covered, for 8 hours or overnight.
Drain liquid through cheesecloth or flour sack towel.
Measure out 4 cups of liquid and pour into large pot. (it may boil over)
Bring peach liquid to a boil and stir in the pectin.
Whisk and boil for approximately 3 minutes to dissolve any lumps of pectin.
Add 4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice.
Boil jelly till it comes to a temperature of 220º.
(I boiled for 4 minutes- stir constantly)

Pour into jelly jars, put on lids and rings and
process in water bath for 10-15 minutes.
(Can also be frozen instead of canning.)

I have also been told that if your jelly fails to set; you can open your jars, bring to a boil again and add another Tablespoon of pectin per each quart of liquid you have. Once you boil that for 3 minutes, again put in jars, (with new lids) and reseal.

IMG_4089 Peach Jelly

Summer in a Jar

I have not opened a jar yet so I cannot say how it tastes…but it smelled wonderful as I was stirring that potful of jelly! I may have to crack open a jar tomorrow just to check the flavor.  I will let you know how it turned out when I open one of those jars.

It is always fun to can the produce but it is also fun to start using those jars. It is a win win no matter which way you look at it.

And now I am wondering….what is your favorite thing to can or freeze? Do you like doing fruit best or vegetables? Do you have a favorite recipe to share….because if you do..please feel free to leave it in the comments so we can all give it a try!

 

An apple is an excellent thing —
until you have tried a peach.