Thursday, July 10, 2014

Summer In Full Swing

Hello All, I know it's been a while since I was here visiting.  Things around here are quite busy and I've had my hands full with taking care of this place, the kids home from school and getting food production and preservation started.

Living in a new place is always interesting as you see what landscaping bloom brings you in the spring.  We've sort of decided to live here for a year before we do anything drastic in the change department.  This is further necessary as Music Man broke his shoulder in May and is out of commission on anything in the heavy lifting department.  And I need him to be healthy, as he's not only a part of my heart, but also the muscle around here.  So, we're taking the time to try to heal him up.  But it also gives us a chance to not jump into changes that we might regret later...yes, that's what I'm telling myself so that his injury doesn't drive us both nuts.

In the spirit of taking time, I've happily discovered some food in production naturally around our property.  We have a nice selection of black raspberry patches here and there and it's provided me with some beautiful, organic and free food for the summer garden.  Fabulous!  We also have a blueberry bush that is about 10 feet tall growing down by the pond.  Now, the berries on it are uber tiny, so I'm not sure they will, in fact, amount to anything, but the excitement I feel about the possibility of all those berries becoming cobbler is palpable.  In the meantime, I've planted nine blueberry bushes close to it down by the pond where the ground tends to remain moister then anywhere else on the property.  I also frequented our favorite cultivated blueberry farm, Blueberry Bay, on opening day where I picked seven pounds of lovely berries, three of which I froze and three of which went directly into our stomachs.  It's a long time between fresh berries around here, so we like to partake copious quantities when they are available.

I have a lot of milk here as well as we get two gallons from a local raw milk farmer who milks his one cow and sells it to a few people each week.  I have an agreement to do this each week with this farmer, so I have to pick up.  The problem is, I don't really drink milk, Music Man is allergic to it (though he will drink it anyway sometimes) and the boys aren't fond of it on long, hot summer days.  They would always choose cold water over milk if given the option in the summer time.  So, you can see how two gallons would add up in this case.  I decided last week that after sharing 1/2 gallon with a friend and still having two gallons in the fridge the day before I was to pick up two more, I needed to do something with that milk and cream.  So, I thought I'd make a nice batch of butter to put in the freezer.  Having fresh farm creamy butter for our holiday meals is a treat, so I thought I'd freeze it for those Thanksgiving rolls.  If you've never made butter from scratch, you go through a stage in the whipping of it that it becomes whipped cream.  And I had fresh blueberries picked the day I think you can see where I'm going with this one, right?  Yep, the bowl in the picture above is cream on the way to butter topping those most delicious blueberries.  I mean, what's a girl to do?  I had to do it, it was calling my name.  And, not for nothin', it doesn't get any better then that.  I savored every bite and didn't share a bit of it with any of those growing boys around here.  Mine, hahahaha!  All mine!
The rest of it did make it to butter, which I assure you would not have happened if I had shared with the menfolk, it would have been inhaled as whipped cream and I would have been out of blueberries, too.  Growing boys will eat you out of house and home and then come back for crumbs, it's unbelievable.  So, I got the butter whipped up and nicely packaged and ready for the freezer.  Living in the moment is so important, but so is planning for the future and so our Thanksgiving butter is ready for the table when I thaw it out.
I also managed a batch of yogurt that made it to the yogurt maker.  I went strawberry picking a couple weeks back and picked 12 pounds which I made mostly into jam, but also did some strawberry syrup. This poured on to the plain yogurt is heavenly, so I may have to try my hand at some blueberry syrup to go along with it!
As you can see, I've had my hands full around here.  Now that we have a pool, a lot of people have come over to swim.  I'm not used to entertaining so much and the days seem to be dedicated to that lately, but soon it will settle down so I can get more done around here.  The pool has been a great asset for the boys as they are in it just about every day and not only have their swimming skills improved immeasurably, but they are entertained quite nicely and that's been good.  They aren't quite at the point where I feel safe leaving them to swim alone yet, but since I spend a lot of time outdoors this time of year, I can keep an eye on them and still work in the garden.

Soon enough our time will be all about school books, sweaters, sports and scouts, so I'm taking this summer to enjoy my boys and the fact that we don't have to be in any particular place at any particular time.  Time to just be and have fun, though plenty of work happens too.  I'm a firm believer in the fact that children need unstructured play time, it's necessary to their development and also their stress level.

This child looks pretty stressed out, wouldn't you say?
Happy summer to you all!!  Enjoy these warmer days, the heat bills are fast approaching!


1 comment:

Jennifer and Steve said...

Congrats on the new pup and all the great dairy products you are making! Steve regularly makes ice cream around here and we need to get back to making yogurt since we eat so much of it! We're sorry to hear about your husband's shoulder! That sounds awful! It sounds like you all are making the most of summer though. Enjoy. :)