Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Apples, Apples, and MORE Apples!


   There's nothing better than a fresh crispy apple. We love apples and eat a lot of them in our family. Recently we ordered apples along with others in the church we attend. We purchased 160 pounds! We made 120 pounds into applesauce. The other 40 pounds were split with my parents.

My mom and sister came over one evening. We sorted the 40 pound box we shared separating the bruised and smaller apples. These were made into apple butter. These we peeled and cored by hand and cut into quarters. The larger apples were peeled, cored and sliced for apple pie filling. Thank the Lord for my apple peeling/coring/slicing gadget! Quite a few of these were eaten fresh before we even got started. We ended up with 8 quarts of apple pie filling and 9 pints of apple butter. The apple butter is absolutely wonderful smeared on warm buttery biscuits!

The families at church got together for applesauce making. This was a fun experience. The apples were going to be quartered the evening before applesauce making day. We live about 2 hours away from where we attend church. The church families offered to prepare our apples for us so we wouldn't have to do them all ourselves or make the trip 2 days in a row. This was a blessing. Everyone working together made quick work of the apple quartering. The next morning we arrived at the designated home where there were boxes upon boxes of prepared apples. All the church ladies arrived and we started washing, cooking, milling and canning apples. We had 4 stoves going, numerous pressure cookers and 2 food mills. This was an all day job and a lot of work but many hands made light work and the day was very enjoyable. By the end of the day I'm guessing we probably put up between 600-700 pounds of apples. When I left that evening they were processing the last few batches. Our 120 pounds of apples made almost 60 quarts of delicious applesauce.

We are so enjoying eating our fresh applesauce. It makes a nutritious snack or side dish at meal time. And apple pie is only a jar away.  Now... I want to plant an apple orchard!

My girls peeling the apples for apple butter.

My son and husband...peeling, coring, and slicing for apple pie filling. The chickens and pig thoroughly enjoyed the peels!

Here I am making applesauce in the food mill. My daughter is watching and learning while helping out with one of the sweet babies.

Some of our applesauce still waiting to be processed.

"I have given you every plant with seeds on the face of the earth and every tree that has fruit with seeds. This will be your food." Genesis 1:29


Monday, October 7, 2013

The Prairie Primer- Big Woods complete!

   Yes, I am a big slacker blogger! I have not been able to find time to blog regularly as you can see. I believe I will make an entry at the end of each unit instead of at the end of each week. That will give me time to blog about other things on the homestead as well. I hope!

We have finished the Little House in the Big Woods unit and we so enjoyed it. We actually just began the Little House on the Prairie unit. Unfortunately, our camera broke so we don't have as many photos to post as we did at the beginning of the Big Woods unit. What did we learn?? We learned about honeybees and the nutritional value of raw honey. We studied the moon and it's phases, we learned how "Pa" provided for his family and how his family trusted and respected him. What a good example of a Godly man "Pa" is. And lets not forget "Ma." She was an excellent example of a Godly woman. What a wonderful wife and mother. We learned about oats. How to harvest them, their nutritional value, and how to cook them. We also made granola using oats and raw honey. Yum! We studied yellow jackets and how to treat stings and sickness with herbs like they used to "back in the day" seeing that doctor's weren't readily available. This was interesting because we also use herbs and essential oils medicinally in our home. We studied how important it is to follow the instructions of your parents and not be swept up in foolish behavior.  We made Johnny Cakes and studied the history of Johnny Cakes as well as the history of songs like "Oh Susanna." We learned about maple sugaring and hope to be able to experience sap collecting and the syrup making process this year. We studied the California Gold Rush. While studying about the Gold Rush my children learned that getting rich quick is usually never the case. To be successful takes a lot of hard work, time, and a good quick mind. Most importantly my children learned that life is not all about wealth but about love, happiness and servitude to God. My little Grace always tells us "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." From her favorite book in the Bible, Matthew 6:19-21  So very true.

During the Big Woods unit the kids had the opportunity to visit Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Mansfield, Mo while on vacation with their grandparents. This was exciting for them. This was the home Laura lived in while writing the Little House books. While there they were able to see many things that belonged to Laura and the Ingalls family. Including Pa's fiddle. Sadly, they were not allowed to take pictures inside the house.


The Wilder's "modern house."

We also went on a field trip to our local museum where we saw an old log cabin, a wagon, and many historical items that would have been used in Laura's time as a child. Such as a long rifle like Pa had and a butter churn like Ma used to make butter.