Friday, September 28, 2018

Harvest Day

You'd never know it was the end of September... the high today was about 83. I love all this sunshine. But rain is in the forecast and most of the garden is done for the year, so I brought stuff in and pulled up plants.

First I picked the last of beans and zucchini, only to discover that the plants aren't quite done yet. So I let them stay to see what happens...

The beans, however, were done. So they got yanked...

I wasn't sure about the winter squashes but they hadn't gotten any bigger in weeks, so I just picked them, too.

My pumpkins came on quite late. I have 4 good sized ones but only one just started turning.  I guess we'll see what happens???

The tomatoes just don't seem to be getting ripe on the vine much anymore, so I picked them all, brought them in the house, and put them in a box with a few apples to force them. It's worked well in the past. I'm hopeful to get enough for a freezer pasta sauce that I tried last year and loved...

 But my favorite part of my harvest this year is that big laundry basket full of green apples. Those are our apples. We didn't even know we had an apple tree for the first 6 or 7 years we lived here. Then one day we saw an apple in our driveway. We couldn't figure out where it came from. We looked up and there were a couple of tiny green apples in the tree right above our garage.

This is the very first year we've had enough to even bother picking. And it was such a good year for apples, we got a bunch! Thankfully our youngest son was willing to climb up on the roof of the garage to pick them for me...

When I went to take a picture of my now mostly-empty yard, I saw I have new chives growing in my pot. Just in time for potato soup season... :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Fruit Fly Trap

Canning fruit season also means fruit fly season. I don't know if they are especially bad this year but they are especially annoying this year. So I had to do something about them. After doing some research, this idea seems to work best (other than whatever we have out to eat LOL)...

First put a squirt of dish soap in the bottom of a large cup. Then pour about 1/3 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar in the cup. Fill with hot water until suds reach the top of the glass.

Place wherever you need to trap fruit flies, possibly near your kitchen garbage can.

When the suds are gone, refill with hot water again.

Change water/vinegar once to twice a day...

Saturday, September 22, 2018

13th Annual Cider Press

We kicked off the first day of Fall with our annual cider press with friends. Even though our kids have grown up they still come together to press cider. It makes my momma's heart happy.

That's about half of the pulp we ended up with.

This year we bought a bin (858 pounds) of apples from Yakima. They are a new variety from New Zealand called "Smitten."

That bin barely fit in the back of our truck!

We had some last night with my grandma's recipe for caramel apple dip. They are a hybrid of galas and honeycrisps and are some of the best eating apples I've ever had!

Unfortunately, they didn't make great cider. They were a bit too sweet and didn't yield much. We had over 850 pounds and only got 33 gallons of cider. On the bright side, we were done in well less than 2 hours which meant I was able to get done canning my 8 gallons before bedtime... :)

Now it looks, and smells, like Fall...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vacuum Make Over

Is your vacuum looking dirty and sad? Maybe it's just not working like it used to?  Wish it sucked again?

I have just the solution! Your air compressor...

Take your vacuum outside. You could do it in the garage, but be sure to have the doors open. It's gonna get pretty dusty in there. In fact, I would highly recommend wearing a face mask when doing this job. It is kind of yucky.

Just fire up your compressor (don't turn it up too high) and take your vacuum apart as much as you can and lay out all the parts.

Then just blow every one of them with the air hose nozzle. You can even blow off your filters if you are very careful (I wouldn't do paper ones. Vacuum those out with a shop vac instead.) Pay special attention to the

You might be surprised what comes out of your hoses... :)

When you're all done, clean the parts off with your favorite household cleaner so everything is spic and span!

Put it all back together and it's like having a brand new vacuum again!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

National Popcorn Day

In honor of National Popcorn Day, I decided to post about the popcorn popper we bought this fall. We bought it for our church's Harvest Party because it wasn't that much more expensive than the rental. Then we liked it so much we decided to keep it and let the church borrow it... ;)

While the popcorn was good, it just wasn't that buttery, tasty, movie theater-y goodness I was hoping for. But then Amazon popped up an ad on my FB for Great Northern Popcorn Portion Packs.

According to 70% of the 2,354 reviewers it was just the thing I was looking for.

I store them in a cute little enamelware bin on top with everything we need.

We popped some up on Sunday night...

They were right! Movie Night will never be the same!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Hostess Tips

Now that all the boys have moved out, we have 2 guest rooms with real beds and everything! ;) wink emoticon 

So, when we had out-of-town guests over the weekend we stole an idea we got while staying with our friends in Canada. We made a basket full of toiletry items our guests may have forgotten and put it in the bathroom. 

I also put folded bath towels on the bed with a chocolate on top just for fun...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Summer’s Almost Here… Right???

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here the past couple of days with highs in the 70s! I washed both the truck and the van today in bare feet. I got a bit of a tan while turning half of my garden. My sister posted a picture of a inflatable floating island for the river on my FB. Summer can not get here soon enough!

I LOVE summer! I’m pretty sure it’s because I simply LOVE the sun!

I love having to wear my sunglasses when I step out the door!

Butchart Gardens 30 I love the sound that my flip flops make when I walk!

I love eating supper on the deck!

I love sitting by the campfire on a warm summer evening!

campfire 02I love hiking to beautiful places that most people don’t get to see!

lewis river falls 08lewis river falls 74I love being at the beach and playing in the waves!

I love Bible Camp!

BC close up 07

I love the 4th of July!

4th of July  25

I love opening all the doors and windows and letting the breeze blow through the house!

I love playing at the river!

river day 03I love camping!

backpacking Clackamas 20

I love watching my garden grow!

Aug 11 creations 03 sept 3 creations 01

I love going on the Great Escape!

GE 25  I love floating down the river!

camping trip 56I love playing at the creek!

camping trip 46  Is it summer yet???

Monday, March 31, 2014

I’m Not Old Enough To Be This Old

When my oldest son was born almost 21 years ago I remember being so excited that I would still be “young” when my kids grew up. So why is it that I feel so old???

birth day I think I first knew something was amiss when I found that stray black hair in my chin about 3 years ago. Where the heck did that come from? I quickly plucked it out only to find that it came back. While annoying, I could totally deal with using tweezers every few weeks. I’m just thanking God it hasn’t brought friends. No big deal…

But then I turned 40 and it seemed that all my jeans suddenly became skinny jeans and I couldn’t use the I-think-I’m-just-a-bit-damp-from-the-shower excuse anymore as to why they seemed to go on so hard. Then I couldn’t get them on at all anymore. What???

And don’t even talk about swimsuits… only I had to talk about swimsuits because we were going to Hawaii for our 20th wedding anniversary. People were going to have to see me in a swimsuit. I was faced with a choice, change my diet or start exercising. Exercising it was…

Have I ever mentioned that I HATE exercising??? HATE IT!!! After several months of walking the lake, it just wasn’t enough and I knew it. I was going to have to kick it up a notch. So, I bit the bullet and loaded the Couch to 5K app on my iTouch and ran. Do you know that running sucks? Eventually I could run the entire 30 minutes. Then I even ran an official 5K race and passed other runners!

bacon race 01

I was feeling pretty good about myself And then I made the dreaded mistake of stepping on the scale. I GAINED weight! It didn’t seem possible. It couldn’t be. I just kept telling myself that muscle weighs more than fat. Yet at some point I have to accept the fact that it’s probably not true. I am just not 23 anymore.

Why keep exercising? Because you have a heart attack “scare”. Yet when they admit you to the hospital, run a ton of tests and tell you that you are in perfect health and your heart looks great, you know it’s all worth it!

So why doesn’t it feel like it every day when I look in the mirror??? Maybe because I have to step further and further back to see myself in the mirror.

I am picking up my first pair of bifocals on Thursday. I used to be able to read anything I wanted. Now my arms are hardly long enough to read my “Why You Should Have a Mammogram” flyer the doctor gave me at my annual physical today. Ugh!

But 42 really isn’t that old. (Actually, I’m not 42 yet. I will be in May but I’ve been telling people I’m 42 all year long. Geez! Is my memory getting that bad that I don’t even know how old I am?)  It totally isn’t! Just don’t think about the fact that my sweet little “baby” is about to turn 21 in a few short weeks and is getting married in about 5 months…

proposal 06


Monday, March 17, 2014

Why Do They Have to Grow Up So Fast???

They lied to me. They said it would get easier when they got older. I suppose it did, physically, but no one told me how absolutely exhausting it would be. No one told me that it would just get harder and scarier. I’ve got REALLY GREAT kids and it still got harder…

LCC grad 33

When they were little, you worried about ear infections, colic, teething, whether they would only eat canned peaches and saltines forever. Now the worries are bigger and badder and life changing. Decisions they make now matter for the rest of their lives, not just until the next meal that they decide they like to eat.

And now you can’t just post on FB about how frustrated you or what you should do about (fill in blank here), because kid issues now are deeply personal, humbling and potentially embarrassing, and you are friends with your kids on FB, not to mention, 112 of their friends. Do you know how tedious it is to make a list of who to block from seeing certain posts? It’s just not worth it. So you just worry about it and pray about it alone. The thing is, there are other mothers out there who have been there and done that. The problem is there aren’t “Mommy & Me” groups for mothers of 17 year olds to sit in a circle with and talk and cry together. Who has time for that anymore???

Life is now lived in the mini van. The calendar is not just filled with your engagements and appointments but those of your children. And they don’t always work with your calendar. In fact, they often make plans without ever even consulting you. So now you have to figure out how to get who where and when. Who gets the car and are you ok with not having it for the next 7 hours? It just gets so complicated when everyone has their own life. It was so much simpler when everyone’s life was your life.

Now you have a life of your own and you have to decide what you’re going to do. And everyone wants to know. They ask, “So what are you going to do now that the boys are grown up?” I don’t know??? I just spent the last 20 + years doing exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up. I didn’t have time to think about what I would do next. Geez, I guess in my head it felt like I would be doing this until I was dead. If you thought people gave you “that look” when you were a stay-at-home mom with little ones, you should see the look they give you when two are off to college. What profound and meaningful thing are you going to do to contribute to society now? And catching up on 20 years of scrapbooking doesn’t count. To be fair, many of your friends have gone back to work. They had to because kids get WAY more expensive the older they get. Diapers and formula are nothing compared to auto insurance and college text books. You pray they don’t get any tickets because their fast-food minimum wage job won’t cover the increase in their insurance payments. Did you know that they stop giving you that tax credit when they turn 17 or that they expect you to take out loans for your kids to go to college? Yeah, neither did we.

So, now you’re left with being a wife. Not that you haven’t been a wife for all these years, it’s just that your husband had to share you. Now he has you all to himself again. He’s been looking forward to this for a long time. But you have to figure out how to spend your Friday nights now that everyone is off in their own directions and they can be activities that don’t involve Chuck E Cheese or animated movies or games that don’t involve reading. You are dating and falling in love again. Learning about what you enjoy doing together and doing it. Date nights still involve talking about the kids though. I suppose that will never change???

What do we do now? I don’t know? I’ve never done this before and no one talks about it…

First, the answer is always Jesus, right? Yup, it is. Spend time in the Word every day. “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) This verse never made sense to me until my kids got to be teenagers. When they were little I thought, who has time to pray continually? When they were older I found myself praying for them ALL THE TIME. Especially once they can drive a car and date. Pray for your kids. Pray for you and your husband. Pray with your husband. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) He loves you but remember, God loves your kids even more than you do.

Have friends. Real friends. You don’t need many, just a few that you can really trust with your heart and your struggles and that you know will pray for you. It’s helpful to have friends in the same stage you are but possibly even more helpful to have friends who have already been through it. Have coffee or lunch, go shopping together. Be real and open and honest.

Hang in there. God knows exactly what He wants for you, and your kids, next. “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ “ (Jeremiah 29:11) Know that even when you feel all alone, you aren’t. God is always there with you and millions of moms have walked the same road you are on before you and know how you feel. Just ask ‘em…

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cranberry Boggin’

My youngest son and I went on an adventure today out to Long Beach to pick  cranberries. Every year I run out of fresh cranberries long before I get tired of them. Mainly because I adore my friend Lois’ cranberry sauce recipe! This year I wondered if I could can the sauce and have it all year round??? So, I asked a canning expert/teacher and she said it was a go for canning! But that meant I needed a whole LOT of fresh cranberries!

We also happen to live only an hour from the Washington coast where they grow cranberries. And there happens to be a lovely little cranberry farm in Long Beach that lets you u-pick your own, Cranguma Farms. And they are only 50 cents a pound! It was totally worth the gas to drive out, so I picked up Will from school at noon and we drove out to the coast…

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife

When we got to the farm we discovered that the bog had already been flooded. This would make picking difficult but scooping easy. Unfortunately, we didn’t bring waders. :o(  But they did provide us with the nifty pails for scooping!

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard FarmwifeSo, off we went to the water’s edge to scoop out our cranberries. The problem was you also scooped up a whole lot of leaves! Little tiny sticky leaves…

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife  First, you scoop them out along with a whole bunch of leaves and a whole bunch of water. All the while being very careful not to get your shoes wet. Then you carefully drain the water off and drop the whole messy bunch in a bucket.

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwifecranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwifecranberry pickin' - The Backyard FarmwifeAfter getting 20 pounds of leafy cranberries, I decided I wasn’t sure it was worth all the work to save 50 cents a pound when there was a  giant bin full of already picked and clean cranberries just ready to fill my bin. So, we quit.

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard FarmwifeIn the end, we brought home 50 pounds of cleaned berries and 20 not-so-clean berries…

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife  cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife  We’re working on the cleaning issue right now. We’ll let you know how it goes… :o)

cranberry pickin' - The Backyard Farmwife