Friday, July 28, 2006

Berry Picking

My berry picker is home from his sleepover; I can't wait for the day to cool so we can head out with long pants and sleeves to harvest the crop. This weekend we have a wedding to attend of my college roommate, so it looks like the jam making will have to wait until Monday. I like to make blackberry jam by first letting the berries juice and drip and then I add just enough pulp to make it chunky, but not excessively seedy. There's nothing better than blackberry jam on homemade bread, toasted, on a chilly fall or winter morning. Last night on a canoe ride I discovered what looked like very large blueberry bushes all along the old dike in the reservoir. I picked a branch and brought it home to key it out and found out that they are most likely huckleberries. They are quite seedy, but I plan on making a batch of jelly next week. Something else to look forward, too.

Tonight it's pancakes and scrambled eggs. And here's a household tip: Save old sport socks. Turn them inside out, so that the bumpier side is out and use them to dust, wash walls, wash the van, etc. They work great and can be tossed without guilt or washed. Windex works great for getting old sticky tape marks off painted bedroom doors, especially when used in combo with the sock.

Friends and Divorce

My longtime friend is getting a divorce. We've been friends for 16 years and they've been married for 19. He served her the papers in March and they have a court date set for August 28. Between child placement and finances there really isn't much time to think or do anything else. I've been noticeably more irritable and I think it's a response to her divorce and our changing friendship. We are more different than alike and it seems to be a wedge in our friendship now. The divorce is changing the way she looks at life, she's never been a real strong believer in Christ and even less so now. The kids seem more needy and demanding and the discipline is lacking. Now they are considering medicating their 8 year old daughter due to her anger outbursts. I think it's a normal response for a child going through a divorce, to be angry. She's lost control of her life and is now being bounced around from her dad's apartment to her home. Dad is making drastic changes in his appearance and hobbies and mom cries and yells all the time. Anyway back to my irritability, since we only talk about the divorce, the possible other woman, problems with her kids, extreme financial troubles, etc. etc., I can't really talk about anything from my side. My "troubles" are nothing near her troubles. I can only pray that in time this will work itself out and our friendship will be like it use to be (kind of).

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Canning Beans

Thrifty Homeschooler is blogging about canning this week. Turns out it couldn't be at a better time. My green beans are ready to be harvested and canned for use on cold winter days. Yesterday Lee helped pick and then we all snipped. Grace helped me with the canning process. She was intrigued by all the steps necessary for proper preservation. They all watched Princess and the Pea in the heat of the day and then Grace biked to Grandpa's to vaccuum his bedroom and wash his kitchen floor. She's been looking for extra jobs (that pay) in order to save money for camp, which she might do next summer. I used my favorite line on her, "We'll see". So, we'll see if she goes to camp next summer; it's hard to think about not having her around for a full week.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Where did July go? First it was the 4th of July and now it's almost over. I can't even begin to blog about the entire month, so it will forever be a lost month in my life. However, we did have a blog worthy event happen on Saturday. Together DH and I butchered 13 chickens. Grace plucked one and then the smell was too much to handle. She helped me wash out the insides, bag and weigh each chicken. We've never done 13 in one day. We usually split the butchering into two days. This year was great, set up and clean up only once. The garden is in full production now. I'll be canning green beans this week and hopefully we'll have corn in another week. Everyone looks forward to lunches of only fresh sweet corn, butter and salt.

I'm gearing up for the start of another school year. I put together a general plan for history and science. I'm looking for a nice balance for Saxon Math and I might buy a couple of Christian Readers from Keepers of the Faith. We need to survey our art supplies and other traditional school supplies, now that these things are on sale at ShopKo.