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
Sunday, November 9, 2008
You may have noticed that my last several posts have a date listed before the title. I've decided to blog daily on my computer then download those blogs when I have internet access. So you may notice a lapse in blogging then several all at once will be posted. I hope you will enjoy keeping up with things a little more closely than before.

Today we had a deer given to us with the skin still on. My dear family knows that any time an animal was being butchered when I was growing up, I ran and hid. Well our desire to learn how to do our own butchering and processing of food has changed my outlook quite a bit. Last weekend, with the help of our friends I butchered 30 chickens, 15 for us and 15 for them. Tonight Pastor Steve and Bob, friends from church came over to teach Phil and I how to skin, quarter and butcher venison. Ok.... Kirk & Dad you can pick yourself up off the floor and continue reading. :-) Yes, I touched raw bloody meat! Not only did I touch it but I de-boned it cut it into steaks, butterflied the tenderloin, and cut roasts while picking off hair and cutting off the Grissel. The doe was quite small so we only got about 13 meals from her but free meat is free meat!!

Now that Phil and I are trying to learn all this stuff I only wish I had paid more attention when my Dad and brother cut up meat each year. Phil is thinking about taking some butchering classes sometime in the future so we will be able to more confidently process all our own home grown meat.

I'm very thankful to have chicken and venison in the freezer along with a little Lamb and Elk that we received from friends this past week too. We might get to eat meat every night this week what a treat that will be!! We've also been blessed with more carrots, beets, and cabbage. MMMMM!

Phil will be hunting with a bunch of men from our church opening weekend. If he doesn't get a dear there is a very good chance that there will be "extra" deer shot that others won't want for their families. Very soon our freezer will be full of venison, pork, and beefalo! I'm exciting about being able to have a menu centered around meat rather than beans BUT ....... I think we will need another freezer next year!! I already have my chest freezer almost full with lamb, chicken, and veggies from the garden. I'll have to do some shuffling to fit in all the meat we have coming, but it will be worth it!

Oh and for those of you who care..... we got 9 eggs today! :-)
Yes, that is right we are in one of the many areas across the US that are receiving a bit of snow. I laugh as I think about us have 70 degree weather on Mon & Tuesday and an inch of snow today. Only in the Mid-West!
It is a perfect start to the day since we are heading out at 10 to go to the church for Christmas Program practice. Samuel has one of the lead roles in the play. Elizabeth, Caleb, Philip, and I all have small parts. Yesterday I was approached by the program leader and asked to play the piano for the program because the woman who was lined up to play is no longer able to. I'm so excited! It has been so much fun getting back to the piano after 8 years of hardly touching the keyboard. Yesterday before our chiropractor appointment Sam & I stopped by the church so I could practice for an hour. I probably could've sat there for three hours if I had the time. I'm trying to prepare some simple offertories for when I'm scheduled to play for church services while reviewing some scales, chords, and technique books that I used years ago in an effort to get my hands to start working properly again. I'm also reviewing a classical book that I started in College to help build my skills further.

I am loving teaching piano again and am praying that the Lord would provide a piano for our family so that I can not only teach our children but be able to offer lessons, a couple each day, to those in the community. My three students seem to really be enjoying lessons more and more as I discover their true level of play and am able to get them into books that are appropriate for them. Two of my students have had 4 years of lessons but only went through the primer level then jumped to books that are really really hard. We have decided to scale them back into a “normal” level and start a strong emphasis on theory, note, chord, and scale studies. The girls seem to be really excited about it and so am I! I'm anxious to get Elizabeth going again so she can also catch up for two years of stagnancy in her playing. Our greatest challenge is finding time to get to the church to practice since we don't have a piano of our own.

When I began piano at the age of 6 I had the best piano teacher. Mrs. Irene Lowe was my teacher all the way through 6th grade. I know that Mrs. Lowe always wanted to see me teaching piano some day. She was an amazingly talented musician who taught such a well rounded piano program. It is my desire to follow her style of teaching with my children and with all of my students. Because of the way she taught I was able to learn a wood wind and brass instrument in high school along with playing various percussion instruments. I'm not sure if Mrs. Lowe is still alive, but I am thankful for her godly example as a teacher and mother. She taught piano in her home because she has a son with Downs Syndrome. I know my mom saw her a few years ago at Shepherds Home in WI. When he moved into Shepherds they moved to Wisconsin to live in the same area in order to stay close to him. If I remember correctly, even those in her lessons who were not “church goers” had to learn how to hymn play as a part of their lesson. I see that as a great way to share the gospel with others. I pray that I will faithfully use what Mrs. Lowe taught me to help prepare others for church ministry, as well as to simply share her love for piano.
We have changed our focus, attitudes, tones and expectations for our home a lot these past two weeks. The Lord brought me to a point of deep conviction about how I was talking to (yelling at), training (scolding), and dealing harshly with the kids on a daily basis about their laziness and disobedience. Through a situation in our church and listening to a friends abuse story I realized how horrible I was being and how miserable our family was. I confessed my sin and asked God to change me and make me a peaceful, loving, encouraging mom.

The next day I sat down with the kids and shared with them what the Lord had done in my heart. I asked their forgiveness and told them that God wants to see our home be a peaceful loving home. I also shared with them that I saw how much my anger had effected them because of the anger in their lives and how they dealt with conflict between siblings. We talked about how in the Bible Jesus only got angry and frustrated with the Pharisees and Sadducees who were being “fake” Christians. Jesus always taught people with patience and love. I have not been doing that but want God to change me and pray that God will change the kids too.

The past two weeks have been very different. Got has given me the ability to view the kids through His eyes and as a result I haven't “yelled” at the kids one time. We are working together more peacefully and have a family goal of making our family peaceful and loving. Our chores have really changed from a frustrating time to a time of each of us working together to get things done. The kids are having better attitudes and are learning how to prayerfully change their hearts of anger into hearts of love. We are studying anger in Proverbs and this weeks spelling verses are Proverbs 14:17 and 29:22.

This week has been fun gathering eggs. Elizabeth is trying to convince the boys that gathering eggs is a girls job! :-) Tuesday we got 4 eggs, Wednesday 5, Thursday 5, and today 8! We are at the point where I won't have to buy eggs anymore! YEAH! This morning we had veggie loaded omelets with our beautiful deep orange yolked eggs. We had green peppers from our garden, onions & chard from friends gardens a piece of bacon each, topped with some wonderful sharp cheddar cheese. YUMMY! It is very exciting for me to see the kids enjoying more fresh foods.

Tonight we will be enjoying elk meat balls, mashed winter potatoes, and cheesy broccoli. And for dessert we are having Chocolate Cream Shakes: 3 cups cream, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder or carob powder, a drizzle of real maple syrup or agave nectar, 1-3 farm fresh egg yolk, and about 4 ice cubes. . Put all ingredients in a blender and give it a whirl. Taste to see if it needs a bit more sweetener. The kids loved it and I loved giving them a healthy “snack” before bed.
I am shocked and pleased to report that our garden is still producing some beautiful food. We have Romaine, Butter crunch, and Black Simpson lettuces, two types of spinach, celery, leeks and the Brussels sprouts are loosing their leaves while revealing a stalk filled with lovely mini cabbages! Today we will be liming the garden and hope to finish laying a very thin layer of straw before we do the last tilling of the season. The strawberry plants might need a little more straw over them. We've had so much wind that a lot of it has blown off. I still have beets to preserve, and some carrots to dig up and prepare for winter storage. I'm going to preserve some of the beets without pickling so we can use them in our Valentine soup and for Balsamic Beets. I have three 5 gallon buckets FILLED with beets to cook up and preserve. I also have some other root veggies that I'm going to experiment with storage techniques to see how the foods will last the longest in our root cellar. I cannot believe that I'm still harvesting food and it is November.

We have a lot of work to do in the new garden plot before the ground freezes. The pigs have rooted up a lot of rocks that need to be removed. I hope that the kids and I can get all the rocks out, get some lime sprinkled on it and get it tilled before the ground freezes. Even if we can only get half of it ready that will be extremely helpful for our spring planting. A lot of what we will be planting in the back garden won't go into the ground until late May/early June.
Raising animals is another great prof for God's miraculous seven day creation. When you want eggs from chickens you have to have hens that are at least 5 months old. This week our hens reach their 5 month birthday and it has been so fun seeing the beautiful new eggs they are laying each day. According to our calculations only about 6 of the 23 hens are laying. Some hens take 6 months before laying so we aren't expecting them all to be producing until sometime in December. Our hens are laying beautiful eggs, some are a light tan/beige, some are orangish brown, others are brown with white speckles and brown with red speckles. It makes a beautiful carton of eggs! The next time we are able to fill up a carton I'll try to remember to take a picture. We tend to eat them about as fast as they are coming into the house most of the time.
The weather has been amazing these past few days. Today we put aside the school books for some practical learning in organization and farm management. We spent the day enjoying the 70 degree weather while cleaning the barn, organizing the feed, mixing chicken feed, and doing more preparatory work for the winter housing of the animals. It is a very nice feeling to see the barn looking more like a barn and to hear the happy thankful responses from the animals who are living in it. We still have to build a few stalls but thankfully the work we did will make the building project much easier!
Today my third born celebrates his 9th birthday. He spent the day helping daddy paint our old house up north and came home with “grey” hair and absolutely exhausted.

Caleb has accepted Christ as his Savior but struggles, as we all do, to understand the magnitude of God's sovereignty. Caleb is our family clown, he enjoys being silly and making his little brothers laugh. He is a very special big brother. Each night Caleb reads books to his little brothers before bed time. They ask for Caleb to read to them almost every night and miss it when he doesn't. Caleb is very intelligent and an avid reader. He is currently doing 3rd & 4th grade school work even though he is technically only in 3rd grade. I am proud of Caleb for his heart of love and leadership toward his little brothers.