Monday, June 30, 2014

Gardening: A Little Different Angle

I have been meaning to post a garden update for some time.  But for some reason or another it keeps on getting put off, and the garden keeps on growing, which means I have to take new pictures before I can think about blogging.... and the circle goes round and round. 

So before another day passes.  Here is "how our garden grows."

It all started a couple months ago, inside under lamps, slowly moving to the porch, then gradually, as the weather warmed, outside.

Little tiny sprouts sprang up in the garden. 

Onions and Radishes, Lettuce, and peas.  All pushing their way through the dirt and made drops of green in the garden.

It has been 7 years since we planted the first half of our large garden #1.  So the idea of giving the garden a year off ("Six years you shall sow your field, and gather it's fruit; but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard." ~Leviticus 25:3-4) combined with the fact that the upper garden was too wet to get into this spring, so we really couldn't plant it even if we wanted to, made Faith look into alternative places and ways to garden.  
One of the ideas was planting beans (you could also do it with lettuce etc.) in gutters.  Faith drilled holes in the bottom of the gutters and then screwed them to our deck railing (perfect for picking!).  Then she filled them with compost and dirt, planted her beans seeds and watered.  So far they are doing quite well!

Faith first made a "three sisters garden" a couple years ago, but this year we went all out with 15 mounds.

The idea originally came from the Native Americans.  The oldest "sister is the corn, which you plant first.  You plant beans around the corn when they are up.  The corn providing a "pole" for the beans to climb on.  The third sister is squash (or pumpkin) which shades the corns "feet" and keeps predators from coming and eating the corn or beans (racoons don't like climbing through poky, tangly squash vines).

In the back (currently our main) garden, there is everything from peas, to lettuce, to tomatoes and peppers.

The great wall of peas...

Our corn has done fabulous this year.  Instead of knee high by the fourth of July, I think it will be shoulder high. ;)  (depending on the person of course)

Faith likes to experiment with different types and colors of your normal garden plants.  This year we have yellow, white, orange and red striped, green striped, and blue/purple tomatoes.  Along with some purple peas!

{Faith in her garden}

Not all of the plants we need fit in the back garden (and you can't quite put them in gutters) so we have an accumulation of potted plants on our deck as well.  More tomatoes and peppers, some celery and some ground cherries.

We are super grateful for how well our garden has done this year, even if we have had to take a little different angle on it, and thankful to our gardener Faith who puts in so much work to make sure we have good food to eat.  Of course the most of our thanks goes to the "Master Gardener" who sends down the rain and gives the increase.


Sunday Snack

 Charity and Mom have been trying out a new diet/way of eating.  It is called Trim Healthy Mama and was created by the Campbell sisters (Above Rubies magazine) and is really for everyone not just "mama's" :)  

Well one of the perks to this diet, is that Charity likes to experiment with their recipes especially the desserts.... which is just fine with us! :)

Particularly when they look like this!  Meet the Dark Chocolate, Strawberry cheescake/jello pie.  Doesn't look much like a health food does it? :)  But this beautiful and delicious dessert is grain free, and sugar free, and very good for you. 

Oh, and it's even better when frozen....


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Turkey Lurkeys

Yet another poultry has arrived.
We had so much fun growing Turkeys last year that we decided to do it again. This time we ordered 12 of them, 10 white, and 2 bronze.

They are growing up, and are goofy little creatures, already strutting at only 6 inches tall!

So within 3 months or so we will be having Turkey meat coming out of our ears!  Until then they are rather fun to raise, even if they are rather dense little birds, they are very personable and friendly.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Homemade Saturday: Strawberry Glacé Pie

I know I haven't done a Homemade Saturday post in a while, but I thought what better time to start up again than in Strawberry season! :)
As I am sure I have mentioned before, one of the awesome things about strawberries is how versatile they are.  You can eat them fresh, (and boy do we do that, I think we are the healthiest this time of the year because of the amount of Vitamin C we ingest through the strawberries) slice them over ice cream, or oatmeal, or any cereal really, make sauce with them to go over waffles, or angel food cake, or shortcakes, mix them with Rhubarb in pies and crisps, blend them into Strawberry Lemonade, or.....  One of our favorite Strawberry desserts...

Strawberry Glacé Pie!!!

I am assuming most people know and make their own, but if you haven't yet discovered this decadent dessert, I would like to share the recipe we use!

Stawberry Glacé Pie
1 pie crust
6-8 Cups of Strawberries rinsed and topped 
(this amount completely depends on how full you want your pie to be)
1/2 cup of sugar
3Tbs Corn Starch
1/2 cup of Water
4oz (give or take and ounce :) ) of cream cheese.  SOFTENED! (most of the time I forget to soften it, solidifying in my brain how much easier it would be if I would have remembered....)

Make a single pie crust with your own tried and true recipe, then roll it out, put it in your favorite pie plate, poke it with a fork, and bake it in a 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly brown.

While the crust is baking you can make the sauce. 

Mash enough Strawberries to make a FULL cup of mashed berries. 

In a small saucepan mix:
1/2 cup of sugar
3 Tbs of Corn starch

Gradually stir in:
1/2 cup of water
your "rounded" cup of mashed berries.

Cook on the stove, stirring rather frequently till the mixture boils and thickens. Then remove it from heat, and let it cool.

Meanwhile take your softened cream cheese and plop it on the pie crust.  If your pie crust is warm this will go easier (especially if you forgot to soften your cream cheese).  Spread the cream cheese on the bottom of your crust, careful not to break the crust in the process.

Now, take the remainder of your Strawberries and pile them in the dish.  Pile them as high as you would like!

Pour your sauce over the strawberries, trying to make sure it covers all of them and gets down in the cracks and crevices, then pop the pie in the fridge, for 2 or more hours.

After the required time, pull out your pie, slice, serve and enjoy!!!!

Oh the decadence of fresh ripe strawberries, accented by the cream cheese, and sweetened and held together by the sauce.  Absolutely delicious!!

Does anyone have a family favorite Strawberry recipe?  We would love to hear so we could try it out.  Tis the season! :)


Friday, June 20, 2014

While We Were Gone

 Faith and I didn't have all the excitement last week.  When we had time off, we would call home and hear the stories of the day.  From Strawberries, to Snapping Turtles (to be elaborated on later) it was all interesting, and one of the stories had to do with Josiah going out to feed his chickens one morning, and discovering a little creature laying next to one of his extra empty hoop houses.
Can you spot it??

 A brand new, just born, absolutely adorable fawn was curled up in the grass.  Josiah thinks that the Momma gave birth the night before, and left for the day.  It was gone by the next morning, so we are assuming Momma came back and took her baby away.

It is always wonderful being able to get close up looks at God's marvelous creation!

"The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth; and in His temple everyone says 'Glory!"

(Photos by Josiah)


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Be Still

"Be still and know that I am God."
 "This is my Father's world, He shines in all that's fair."
 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal Godhead, so that they are without excuse."  
"Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him all the earth."

(Photos by yours truly)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Week at Camp

For the past 2 years, on the second week of June, Faith has accompanied three of our friends, the Thompsons, to Camp Living Waters in Luther MI, to volunteer for the Special Week that they hold.  This year the Thompsons were, for various reasons, unable to attend, and it worked out that both Faith and I were able to go together!   The week was memorable in so many ways, and we were so blessed to be able to spend it with such precious people, as well as being able to work with horses at the ranch.  I had a hard time selecting "a-few" photos from the week, so this post is picture-full, and long.  I hope you enjoy these "snap-shots" from our week at camp.
{Cabin row, including Aspen, the Cabin where Faith slept for the week}

The camp is set on 100 gorgeous acres including a large lake, and the property is full of beautiful wild life.

Faith gave me a tour on Sunday when I arrived (the campers weren't scheduled to come till Monday), and of course the ranch was one of the places we visited.

{Pretty Chino}

{Apache was so Handsome!}

{Sailor, a new horse}

{Steps down to Lake Stewart}

{Chapel/Worship time in the Lodge}

Originally Faith and I were both supposed to help out in Chickadee, but things changed, and Faith moved over to Aspen.  We both had wonderful Counselors in our cabins who we enjoyed helping.

The theme for camp this year was "Unchained"... and the theme song, "There is Power in the Name of Jesus to Break every Chain".

The campers all arrived Monday afternoon, and the rest of the day was spent in meeting everyone, having hugs all around, getting them all settled, and just hanging out.

{Joanie and I}

That night we had "Carnival", which included bowling, bean bag toss, fishing, and the campers favorite, where if they made a basket they got to dump a cup of cold water on their counselor of choice! :)

Before we went to bed we had a wonderful song time around the camp fire.

{Scout the "ranch dog"}

Tuesday morning found us down at the barn after breakfast getting ready for the rides of the day.

We had 2 groups of campers come down, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and in-between we got to ride to help exercise the horses, as well as allow Judy (who ran the ranch) to teach the "wranglers" for the rest of the summer. Of course, since I was on a horse (or helping out with the campers) I don't have any photos of the actual rides. 

Not all of the campers rode, but they loved to pet the horses, and we also had baby bunnies for them to pet and hold.

{Coloring, one of the favorite activities}

{Another favorite craft, making bracelets}

{Jeff and Judy an amazing Christian couple who put SO much into Camp Living Waters}

Wednesday night was "the Birthday Party," where we celebrated everyone's birthdays in one fell swoop.  There were Pinatas, and face painting, bowling, and cake for snack.  One of my favorite nights. 

{Bambi, one of the horses}

{Faith and a soft squishy bunny!}

Thursday night was the Talent Show.  We had everything from singing, to dancing, speech making, favorite people lists.... the works!

The saddest day of the week had to be Friday, the day everyone went home.  The morning was overflowing with packing, hugs, tears, more hugs, and good byes.

That was Faith and my past week in a nutshell.  It was a truly amazing week and I definitely wouldn't be  adverse to returning next year if God wills it! :)