Friday, September 30, 2011

Canning Inventory

On the first weekend in September, Heather and I drove to the Okanagan Valley in BC to pick up fruit and bring it home to preserve.  It's been a busy, busy month but I have so much goodness stored up from that trip - and our garden - for a long, cold winter.

For the first time ever, I had to expand to 3 shelves on the right hand side to get everything in!  I still want to make one more batch of salsa, some sauerkraut and there are lots of green tomatoes that need to ripen.

Inventory List of Jars 

6 nectarines
7 plums
21 apricots
52 peaches
21 pears
34 tomatoes
13 tomato salsa
10 apricot salsa
3 tomato sauce
12 zucchini relish
5 raspberry jam
10 apricot syrup
9 beet relish
7 applesauce
10 dill pickles
9 dill slices/spears

I have plans to share some of this bounty with other families too.   What a gracious God that has provided all this food!

P.S.  There are several bags of berries, containers of applesauce and bags of kernel corn in the freezer too :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #39

Lists of 2011 - #39 - Causes I Favour

1.  Compassion International

2.  Canadian Lutheran World Relief

3.  Samaritan's Purse

4.  Women's Shelters

5.  The Mustard Seed 

6.  Santa's Anonymous

7.  Libraries and getting books to children

8.  Women for Women

9.  Fair trade organizations

10.  Farmer run markets, stores and shops around the world

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Walk With Him Wednesday

Thinking About Hope In a Potato Patch

As I pull out the dried stems and leaves and dig through the dirt today to find the potatoes, I think back to the day the sprouts were buried deep in the garden soil.  Each one was just a little piece of red and white with two or three small growing ends beginning to break out of the eyes.   And we had hope and trusted that the Master Grower who created all things living had blueprinted reproduction in these potatoes and there would be plants and flowers and tubers soon growing.  That was only four months ago and now I scrape the hard dirt away from eight or ten tubers per hill.  The little bit of hope with some sunlight and rain grew and multiplied into these red orbs that will feed us and others on many days when the land is covered in snow.

Then I begin to think about the little bits of hope that are planted by my actions, sometimes not intentionally at all or even when I realize it.  The  times in a classroom when math problems are tackled or sentences are written.  The smile and chat I have with a lonely student as I supervise at recess.   The sharing of a few ripe tomatoes and crunchy apples with those who no longer have yards or gardens, only an apartment in town.  The letters and scripture verses of love and guidance that are sent to Ethiopia and Brazil to our Compassion children.  Small things to me really but perhaps to them a bit of hope planted in a lonely or hurting heart.  Who knows what a few months or many years will grow with that hope?  When watered and nourished by the One who promises living water and His light I am absolutely convinced that those seeds will mature in ways that I have no idea about now.

So I keep planting hope, daily and piece by piece, and leave the rest to Him.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Or at least I'm planning to very soon with this lovely bundle of free fabric that I won over at The Green Bag Lady!  Teresa's vision is to rid the world of plastic bags so she and her crew are sewing and giving away fabric shopping bags.  I've had one for more than a year now.

There are 4 pieces of organic cotton knit fabric from Harmony Art.  The two prints are fat quarters and the solids are a full metre each.  The colors are my favourites!  And the little piece of white with text looks like a word search with words like Mom, Dad, family, and love in orange and the other letters in green.  It's very cool!  The blogging world is filled with generous people who are so willing to share.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

Philippians 2: 12   "Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

Do I say "yes" and then do nothing for Him?  Do I say "no" to the world but really mean "yes" by my actions and thoughts?  Is my "yes" all for Him and for all He offers to me?  This week I open my eyes and my life to all that "yes" in Him can be, beginning with the counting of His "yes" gifts.

#3054 - #3086

- warm winds blowing through the nights
- reminder of tropical warmth
- flowers still blooming
- no frost so the squash and tomatoes grow on!
- still more sweetpeas

- hours enjoying Maƫlle
- how her smiles brighten a moment for others, especially in the hospital
- pretty little red crocheted hat
- time to spend with those I love
- photo reminders of when our four were little - oh, my!

- harvesting complete!
- bales hauled off and stacked for winter
- smell of earth turned over and now resting
- full grain bins
- beautiful colored leaves

- ducks bobbing and spinning in circles on the waves
- bike rides
- seeing beauty on every side of the path
- sun shining on golden leaves
- amazing sunsets

- only a few empty jars left
- shelves bursting with jars
- daily picking of tomatoes
- digging potatoes
- five boxes of apples picked off our tree

- emails from family
- weekend planning
- book club
- wonderful friends
- celebrating Bob's mom's 85 years of living

- sensing His presence in each day
- a reminder that grace - love - mercy from Him are first in our lives - where are they in my heart?

This Day

This is the beginning of a new day. 
You have been given this day to use as you will. 
You can waste it or use it for good. 
What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.
 When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever;
 in its place is something that you have left behind…
let it be something good. Author Unknown.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Five on Friday

1.  The weather this week has been so gorgeous that I just had to pump up the tires on my bike and go for a ride along the lake yesterday.  When I drove home, this is what it looked like going up our road.  The leaves have really changed color now and the sun was at that perfect point in the western sky to give a beautiful warm hue to everything.

2.  After breaking my glasses nearly three weeks ago, I finally have new ones to wear!

3.  Today was the day to make beet relish - it's going to be so good on the deep, dark days of winter.

4.  If you are looking for home decor projects that you can sew, the Sew4Home site is amazing!

(photo from Sew4Home)

5.  Do you have some apples that need to be taken care of?  Then you should try this Apple Pie Filling In A Jar.  Naomi gave me some two years ago and it is absolutely delicious!  It's still on my to-do list for this year.

(photo from Skip to My

Thursday, September 22, 2011

City Chase

A physiotherapist that I know is part of a team for the National City Chase Championships that are being held in Halifax, Nova Scotia next week.  (City Chase is a Canadian race similar to The Amazing Race.)  As part of their entry, they had to produce a 45 second youTube video and now have to try to get it viewed by as many people as possible, on as many different devices as possible.  It would be awesome if you could support James by taking 45 seconds to watch this on your computer, your laptop, your Smart phone, your iPad, etc. etc.  

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Lists of 2011 - #38


Listography #38 - People I'd Like to Meet

1.  Jesus

2.  Mother Teresa

3.  Princess Diana

4.  Marie Currie

5.  Wayne Gretzky

6.  Celine Dion

7.  Jack Layton

8.  Ann Voskamp

9.  Cleopatra

10.  Mary, mother of Jesus

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Walk With Him Wednesday

This morning when I slipped out of the house early, just after sunrise to bring in the beets pulled at dark last night, the rising sun was lighting the straw bales, all golden and round.  The new day was dawning on a new season and all the goodness of summer was wrapped and rolled and laid down all over the field. Soft circular shapes glowed here and there, signalling to all who looked that the harvest was over and gathered in on this parcel of land.

And I was reminded of all the goodness He wraps and lays down for me, all over my days.  Bales of grace, wrapped in eucharisteo, laid in rows of gratitude.  The moment was golden as the light reached into my soul and the sounds of geese honking trumpeted my thanks heavenward.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Good friends of ours welcomed their first grandson into their lives this summer and on Sunday there was a baby shower for little Ian and his parents.  I had seen an idea online at Do It Yourself Divas for a baby rag quilt and thought I should be able to make one like it.  So in between the last of my canning, I sewed this sweet little project together.  

It ended up being 40" wide and 55" long, a perfect size for a floor or grass playtime quilt.  I can see more of these in my future :)  I hope it will get used alot!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gratitude Gifts Today

Just simple counting on of the grace, the gratitude, the joy that comes by numbering the gift from Him.  There are no other words to describe His love and blessings to me.  What peace that brings!

#3028 - #3054

- a place to record the counting
- the peace that sitting and writing them down brings to my soul
- reading her words again
- women, like Sara, who write and encourage others
- trees with yellow leaf coats

- sound of geese honking long into the evening
- big flock gathered in the field to eat a grain supper
- V's forming in the sky
- another sign of autumn
- welcoming a new little boy

- pulling onions and beets from the garden
- knowing that we'll have food for the winter
- apples crunchy from the tree
- full jars, shelves and freezer
- still no frost

- tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes
- smell of earth as the field is worked over
- safety for extended family members
- bright orange marigolds blooming on
- apples ready to pick

- bees buzzing on flowers
-  water for washing and rinsing and drinking
- reading to the class
- planning for visits
- Samuel's voice telling me about diggers
- resting in the Saviour's presence and peace

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fall Baking

I finished the last canning of BC fruit today - hurray!!!  I will post some pictures and numbers of my inventory - the shelves are full!  I baked two things today using the last few pears and both of them are delicious :)  There are still lots of pears available in the stores so I'm going to share the recipes and hope that you can try them too.

Ginger Pear Muffins (from Canadian


2-1/2 cups (625 mL) all purpose flour 

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

    1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
    3/4 cup  packed brown sugar
    1/3 cup (75 mL) vegetable oil
    1 egg
    1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
    2 cups chopped peeled pears
    1/3 cup (75 mL) packed brown sugar
    2 tsp (10 mL) butter, melted
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground ginger


In bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, salt and cinnamon.
In separate bowl, whisk brown sugar with oil; whisk in egg and buttermilk. Pour over dry ingredients; sprinkle with pears and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups.
Topping: In bowl, combine brown sugar, butter and ginger; sprinkle over batter. Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until tops are firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Pear, Vanilla Bean and Browned Butter Crumble 
(from Better Homes &

  • 1/2
    cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4
    cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4
    cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8
    teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8
    teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3
    tablespoons butter
  • 1
    vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2
    cup butter
  • 2
    tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1
    tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 6
    medium pears, peeled and chopped
  • 1
    tablespoon pear brandy (optional)
  • Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

    Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter eight 6 to 8-ounce ramekins; set aside. For streusel mixture: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, almonds, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using a pastry blender, cut in 3 tablespoons butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
    With the tip of a sharp knife, scrape seeds from inside of vanilla bean. Place in a small saucepan. Add the pod halves and 1/2 cup butter. Melt over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue to cook, without stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until butter becomes brown and fragrant. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
    In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, pears and pear brandy, if desired. Toss together until well mixed. Remove vanilla pods from butter and discard. Stir browned butter into the pear mixture.
    Spoon pear mixture into prepared ramekins. Sprinkle with streusel mixture.
    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.
    Note:  I didn't have a vanilla bean so I just added 2 tsps. of vanilla after the butter had browned.  I'm sure the flavour would be even better with the real beans.  I used a casserole dish rather than ramekins. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five on Friday

1.  Tomato Salsa

2.  Roasted Tomatoes

3.  Canned Tomatoes

4.  Tomato Sauce

5.  And in other news - - - Bob had a very good week combining, finishing up all the barley!  Now there's still a little bit of oats to do and then we will be done. the. grain. harvesting.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Lists of 2011 - #37

Listography #37 - More Things I Love (continuing on from June 2 - #22)

1.  Smiles, hugs and kisses from my children and grandchildren

2.  Sweetpeas in vases

3.  Autumn colors just beginning to show

4.  Picking fresh produce and eating it within minutes

5. The thought of apple pies in the freezer

6.  Ripening pumpkins and squash

7.  Corn on the cob, dripping with butter

8.  Peaches and cream with brown sugar

9.  Jars full of fruit and vegetables, lining the shelves

10.  Beets, in all their red glory

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

September on the Farm

Gratitude Gifts Today

Some days the happy and the hard get all mixed up and cause me to wander in the desert of 'self' instead of walking and leaning on the One who is bigger and better than everything.  Living in faith is a daily - no, sometimes it's a minute by minute - calling back to Eucharisteo and grace.   I marvel at my own inadequate attempts to go it alone, thinking I can figure it out and handle life in my own ways.  That quite simply just doesn't happen and I am so thankful when I give the burdens back to Him and rest in unfailing hope and promises.

When I pause to list the gifts, my heart lifts and my eyes are opened again to how incredibly blessed I am!

#2995 - #3028

- fresh peach slices right off the stone
- smooth pears, skin peeled off
- apricot syrup
- butter melting on corn on the cob
- aroma of dill pickle brine wafting through the house

- God's incredible patience with me
- knowing that Jesus walks right beside me, through all of it
- prayer over the telephone wire
- peace that floods my soul
- that my God is quick to forgive and welcome silly me back into His arms

- surprising the grandchildren
- sleepovers at the farm
- pizza picnic in the field
- big smiles that they get to ride with Grampa in the combine
- all the questions that get asked

- birthday candles lit and relit so everyone could have a turn
- little boys and their special days
- great-grandmothers lovin' on babies
- my parents' gift of hospitality
- memories of my grandparents

- my dad with another generation in the fields
- him showing them how to shell wheat

- and her trying to do it just like he did

- camera repairs
- reading stories together
- Psalm 23
- sweet peas in the van cupholder
- little voices singing while driving

- steady progress on work
- days of subbing booked for the future
- interesting books (Pope Joan - a wonderful read)
- leaves beginning to change color
- autumn arriving