The Gang

The Gang
October 2008 Sweet Potatoe Harvest

About Me

I am a busy mommy of 6, seeking to be a loving, godly helpmeet to my husband and a biblical discipler to my children. God has blessed us with a child with Autism. May the lessons that the Lord is teaching me and our family be a blessing to you and yours!

My Favorite Books

  • Bible
  • Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
  • Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Tuesday, July 8, 2008

It has been a few days since posting. Nothing major has been happening here. I organized my canning jars and unpacked most of my stoneware yesterday. We've been trying to keep up with the garden, laundry (hang drying everything since we don't have a dryer yet) and keeping the house in order. It is amazing how much easier it is when there are no distractions... like Internet or TV. Mind you the house isn't immaculate, but it is usually company ready and pretty clean (my mom would be proud of me).

So, is anyone wondering about how the garden is going?

This is what I see when I walk through the gate into our garden. Can you see all the beautiful green plants? For those of you who have seen or heard of our failed attempts the past two years, you'll be SHOCKED to hear me say that our garden is beautiful and about 85% weed free. In a garden as large as ours it is almost impossible to keep it completely weed free. The interesting thing is that this years garden is about 3 times larger than last years. The big difference is that we have a desire to really work at it and we have researched out how to do it. Over the past couple days I rescued the strawberry plants from the weeds. About 40 of the 50 we planted have survived. The few berries we have gotten have been so sweet, more like candy than fruit! We've already started to cut broccoli. For some reason our broccoli is flowering instead of making large heads, I'm not sure why. If any of you know please leave a comment and share what I should be doing or not doing to get nice big heads of broccoli. Some of the broccoli plants are about mid thigh on me, so the plants are definitely large enough. All have some broccoli forming. We now have enough broccoli to have a meal with cheesy broccoli once a week plus have broccoli on salads a couple times a week. YUM!

Elizabeth took this picture of me standing in the middle of the garden so you could get a bit of an idea as to how large it is! This is the view I see of the garden from my kitchen window.
This is the view of the garden from the road. You'll notice there appears to be several straw piles in my garden. These are my potatoes. I was told by a friend that instead of using soil to cover my potatoes I should use straw. I guess the straw makes it easier to harvest and gives a good yield. It will also be great to till into the garden this fall to add to the health of the garden soil. That same friend told me to put straw around all my plants. She said that the straw would help to keep back the weeds as well as to keep the soil moist around the plants. Since it has been a VERY warm lately I have put straw around everything except the corn, onions, garlic, and the new squash & cucumbers that are emerging. Our squash veggies (butternut, spaghetti, cucumber, pickling cucumbers, yellow & green zucchini) went in a little over a week ago along with more bush beans and they are coming up nicely.

I have two beds of red onions. One is almost ready to harvest, these are the ones I started from seed and I think there are only about 16 onions, though I haven't counted. We will start using them once I use up the organic ones I have in the pantry. The onions that I started from seed are doing better than the ones from sets. Next year I will do a LOT more from seed and will succession start them indoors. The green bush beans & peas are both flowering. I'm not sure which pea I have that is doing well, a rabbit mowed down about ½ the pea plants. I plan to plant a lot more peas in August for fall harvesting since I only have about 5 plants that are doing well. Many of the tomato plants have flowers and a few have fruit forming finally!! We are still planting carrots. I planted some a few days ago and will do more today or tomorrow. From now through August I plan to plant about 6 rows of carrots every 5-7 days. My rows are three feet long and spaced about 3 inches apart. I also have more beans to plant. Since the ones I planted a week ago are all up I plan to do about 30 more plants today. We never seem to have enough green beans to last the year. This year I'm doing succession planting and hope to have my freezer full of beautiful green beans. August will start a time of even more planting as we prepare the fall crops and winter boxes.

My dear hubby knows that I really want to keep up with the garden. He also knows that I HATE getting up early. Today he woke me with a sweet kiss and breakfast in bed. He served me a yummy omelet with some green grapes and coffee with fresh cream. He knows that I don't like mornings yet he also knows that I love getting up to kisses and food! :-) I got up, had some Bible and prayer time, made the kids donuts (the recipes is below), and headed out to work in the garden for the next 2 ½ hours. Nathan came out at some point half naked, so I had to head up to the house in my mud moon boots to get his clothes. The soil was very wet because of last nights rain so it clumped badly on my shoes adding about 2 inches of mud and a couple pounds of weight to each shoe. Last week when Caleb had his surgery and I worked in the garden early in the day, Nathan came out with two shirts on, one where it was supposed to be and the other around his waist. :-)

It has been a while since I posted a recipe. Todays recipe is Whole Wheat Soaked Donuts! My children LOVED them!

Whole Wheat Cake Donuts

3 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour or freshly ground flour of your choice

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ nutmeg (I left this out because I don't have any right now)

2/3 cup kefir or milk (I used kefir)

¼ cup butter melted

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

oil for frying (I used safflower, I'd like to try them in coconut oil but cannot afford to this month)

Powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or an icing or glaze of your choice.

  1. Combine flour, baking powder, spices and ¼ tsp sea salt in a bowl.

  2. In a different bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick.

  3. Combine melted butter and milk in a separate bowl.

  4. Add flour and milk mixtures to egg mixture alternately beating well after each addition.

  5. Cover and let set at room temperature over night.

  6. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours in the morning.

  7. Roll out on a lightly floured surface ½ inch thick. Use a cup to cut 2 – 2 ½ inch circles or a donut cutter. Use a corer to get a middle circle and donut hole if you don't have a donut cutter.

  8. Fry for 1 minute or until golden brown, then flip with tongs or slotted spoon and cook for another minute.

  9. Cool slightly on a rack then sprinkle with powdered sugar (if you have a sugar shaker) or put sugar in a baggie and shake donuts to get them covered.

COOKS NOTE: If you have a large family you will need to double this recipe. This made 12 donuts and donut holes. If I was making these again I'd double it because Phil and I didn't even get to try them!

Tonight at dinner Caleb was giving us a digestive tract lesson. He didn't care for the veggies served (garlic Parmesan grilled zucchini & baked potatoes) with dinner so he only ate his grilled pork chop then he said he was full. We were questioning him as to whether or not he was REALLY full. Phil said something about Vanilla Ice Cream to see if he'd all of a sudden have room in his tummy. He said he'd have room for Ice Cream because only the food side of his tummy was full. He had room on the desert side of his tummy! We enjoyed the mini lesson that followed talking about how his tube divides so food goes down one side and dessert down the other then they come together at the bottom until they go all the way through and eventually come out the front or back! :-) My comment: “I sense the need to do a unit on the digestive system this year in school!” :-)

If the Internet is cooperating tonight I'll try to post a couple pictures of the garden. If not I'll at least load up the one that Elizabeth took so you can see how large it is. I wish I could post more pictures of the garden showing off each individual veggie. I am so thankful and in awe each time I walk through. God is so good to provide all this wonderful food for our nourishment and enjoyment. Today as I was sweating while working on weeding the leaks, beans, yellow beans, red onions, and planting more beans & carrots I was struck with how it must have been difficult for Adam to have to work hard after having things “spoon fed” to him in the Garden of Eden. Phil and I have talked much about how “lazy” we've been over the past 13 years of our marriage. This little homestead farm is forcing us to get a small picture of what hard work really is when it comes to providing good food for our family. I say only a small picture since we aren't farming the land while trying to raise animals and work a garden. Our dream is to some day be able to grow our own crops for our livestock both the four legged and the two legged kind! :-) God has seen fit to only give us what we can handle as we learn how to do more for our family and I'm thankful that He is taking us through this journey one step at a time!

Well, for not having much to post about I've sure managed to kick out a VERY long post once again. I hope it was enjoyable!