Traditions

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Recently someone asked me why we have a family Facebook page and a blog.  The answer was quick to me.  My blog is a place where I can share more in depth my thoughts and feelings of why we work so hard to carry on our lifestyle as well as share a bit about our family history.  Facebook users (myself included) are normally scanning quick in their spare time to possibly learn or see something new, share in the pages they follow, and keep a brief running of their life happenings.

As an example, on our facebook page today I posted a few pictures of things we will have on our Easter table.  All of the items are homegrown, hand picked, or made by our family.  To me they signify a tradition passed down from my family starting from my great grandmother, grandparents, mother and aunts.

Our ancestors were “doers”.  They had no other choice but to provide for themselves.  Today’s world is more about “consumers”.  Not many take the time to even think about where their food comes from much less contribute, except monetarily, to their own existence.  I am not implying this is a wrong way to live, but it’s important to me for my children to know how their ancestors lived and to be able to provide a bit for themselves.  Maybe I was born in the wrong era 🙂

Our Easter lunch table will be filled with food and decor our family has grown or made.

It’s a tradition and one I hope my children will carry on into their futures!

 

 

 

 

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Reflections and Beginnings

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This was the sky this morning reflecting on the ice pond on a day that many use to reflect. We have had a pretty great year in our home with many many things to reflect upon and be thankful for.

I don’t make resolutions on this night.  There are basically two things I try to remember and work towards with the beginning of a fresh new year.  The first is to keep negativity out of my life be it with people, situations, and mindsets.  I don’t like to let negativity in.  The second is to be content.  Being content with what you have, who you are, who your children are and where you are going in life leads to a certain calmness and peacefulness in your days.

So with the beginning of this New Year, I would like to say thank you to all my followers for being a part of our journey in life and wish you all much happiness, peace, and a content mind in 2015!!!!!

Happy New Year

Cranberry Sauce

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In our area you can buy fresh cranberries between October and December and then they are very hard to get.  The stores have great sales on them so I always try to grab them and make our supply of cranberry sauce and can it for the year.  I also froze 6 bags so I will be able to utilize fresh cranberries when we need them (especially since my son saw the batch of cranberry sauce I made today and said “mom that won’t last until Christmas”).  He LOVES the stuff.

I made it today using my recipe at the bottom of the post.  I made a double batch so you would need to double the recipe if you are making a double batch also.  I find it best to only double the batch and make multiple batches if you want more than 6 jars as it sets up better.  I will make another double batch next week to can.

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First wash cranberries.

In a pot add 1 cup of water per 12 oz bag and 3/4 cups sugar and bring to a boil.

Place cranberries in boiling sugar water and boil gently for 10 minutes (they will start to pop and foam and look like this picture).

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After 10 minutes take the hot cranberries and pour them through a fine strainer or use a food mill to separate.  I have done both and there are not lumps or pieces of fruit in the sauce after you strain it.

mill  Today I used the food mill.

Once you have it separated you can do:

1) if storing in the fridge, pour into the containers, let cool and then place in the fridge for up to 10 days.

2) if canning it get the jars prepared and water bath

THIS IS FOR CANNING:

Take the strained juice and place it back into the rinsed out stock pot.  Bring to a boil and add 1/2 bag pectin (1.75 oz box) or 3 heaping tablespoons.  Boil for approximately 1 minute.

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Ladle into hot prepared jars and put them in the water bath.  Once the water is boiling again, time it for 15 minutes with the lid on and boil gently.  After 15 minutes turn the heat off, remove the lid and let them sit for 5 more minutes.  Remove and place on a towel or wire rack and let sit for 24 hours before moving.

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This was a double batch

 

Store in a cool dark place for up to a year.

As a tip when we are going to eat one I pull it out and put it in the fridge for a few hours so it’s chilled!!

CRANBERRY SAUCE RECIPE (for 12 oz bag)

12 oz bag cranberries rinsed

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

pectin (if canning)

Bring water and sugar to a boil.  Add cranberries and boil gently for 10 minutes stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and pour into a bowl with a fine mesh strainer or use a food mill to separate skins and stems.

IF REFRIGERATING — place in jars or container and let cool.  Cover and store in fridge for up to 10 days.

IF CANNING — have water bath boiling and jars/lids hot

Place the strained cranberry sauce back in the rinsed out stock pot and bring to gentle boil.

Add the pectin and boil for 1 minute stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and ladle into hot jars and cover with lids and screw bands until tight

Place in the water bath and bring to a boil and boil gently for 15 minutes.

Turn heat off, remove cover and let them sit for 5 more minutes.

Remover from canner and place on dish towel or wire rack and let sit for 24 hours before moving them.

Store in cool dark place for up to a year.

IF YOU WANT TO FREEZE YOUR CRANBERRIES YOU DO IT THE SAME WAY AS I HAVE SHARED FOR OTHER FRUITS SUCH AS PEACHES.  DIRECTIONS HERE:  Flash Freezing Fruit

Camp Out Visitors

This camp area is about 600 yards from our house.  Tonight while sitting back relaxing and getting the spot ready for a weekend camp out, we had some visitors of all kinds.

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Gram and the man of the house waiting to light the fire and having a serious chat about building a cabin.

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Gram watching the fire and the ice skating pond and warming shanty

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Next came the horses to relax with their family

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This is the view the horses see

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Shortly after the fire was lit, Chance and 2 neighbor boys wandered over to check it out

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Across the pond another neighbor and friends headed out on our trails for an evening trail ride

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This was followed by Chance and his friend passing through again with our dog who runs with them while they ride

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The fire was going strong enough to lure the tween and her friend and Chance back for some marshmallows and snacks

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The kids are nestled in and it’s adult time to relax and enjoy some drinks on a candle lit table

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This is what it’s all about 🙂

 

I AM NOT READY!!

It is 11:30 p.m. and everyone is tucked in and asleep for the night.  In the quietness of the night, after a very busy joyful few days filled with family and fun, I am sorrowfully trying to figure out how the Holidays will be now that my 9 year old told me this morning he had a discussion in school with his classmates and they all know there is no Easter Bunny and probably no Santa 😦  UGH!!

My 11 year old told me last year she no longer believed and she cried at the loss of her childhood traditions as did I with her.  She asked me to be honest and questioned Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.  I explained to her my belief of St. Nick and because the world has grown no one person could handle it all and parents are expected to help. We looked up the history of the Easter Bunny on google and talked about how the tooth fairy made losing a tooth not so scary and upsetting.  She was born with the maturity of an adult and mourned a few hours over the changes for her life but rationalized it’s all part of growing up.  I, on the other hand, cried for about a week at the change for her and me!!

Today with my son, his questioning was so matter of fact and typical of a 9 year old boy stating “you can’t fool me, I know it’s you and dad”.  I asked if he would like to look up the history of the Easter bunny but he was “over it” and opted to ride his scooter instead.  I decided I would speak to him before bed as there are a few things to make clear such as you can not tell your younger cousins these secrets etc.  So I approached him as I tucked him in and again he was so matter of fact about it saying he has known about the Easter Bunny since Christmas and would not tell anyone.  I was fighting tears the whole time and told him the same as I did his sister.  He simply stared at me and said, “can I stay up till midnight tonight?”

So here I am sitting at my computer, tears rolling down my cheeks, pondering will there be joy in our next Holiday?  How is this going to feel knowing I don’t have to sneak and hide things.  How can their little minds process this, they are my babies??????  I AM NOT READY!!

Ahh but life has a way of making things happen regardless of being ready or not.  I was not ready 11 years ago when my father passed away at a young age of cancer.  I could not figure out how life would go on and how I could enjoy it again, but you find it does and while there is that heartbreaking loss, you find a new way to rationalize it and have joy again.

Tonight I will mourn the loss of my baby boy still feeling in my head I am not ready to let him go just as I did his sister.  I will mourn the loss of how things have been and let myself feel the uncertainty of our future now that both of my children have matured and time has forced me to deal with what all other parents deal with.  I will continue to cry as I have been doing for the past hour and it’s ok.   Hopefully tomorrow I will awake and be ready to help him into the next stage of his life and we will find our way together as a family.

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It’s an “Egg”stravaganza

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Oh the fun my kids get to have when it comes to coloring eggs for Easter.  We have ducks, bantam chickens and regular hens.  Our egg collection is vast with light brown eggs, white eggs and even light blue duck eggs.  It’s such a fun hobby for the kids to collect those eggs everyday.  It is even more fun during Easter as they can decorate the small eggs, large eggs, and extra large duck eggs.

Yesterday they collected their eggs and last night they had the joy of coloring some.  I thought I would share some pictures of the farm and where our eggs come from!!

These are our mallards.  I try to get a few every year as the kids enjoy raising them until they are old enough to fly off.  The whole neighborhood celebrates as the ducks take their first flights around the yard, then circling above the houses making larger circles every time and eventually flying off.  In the spring a we will head back to our ice skating pond and there some of our previous ducks will be enjoying their old stomping grounds.  These will probably not fly off for another few weeks so the kids are enjoying them while they can.

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I’m sexy and I know it

These are our larger hens with our only rooster “Flash” who is a bantam size.  He was born and raised with us and thinks he is a dog!! He loves to sit on our feeder looking in the back window.

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And our banties

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Here are the eggs collected, cleaned and colored

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