Harold mowing hay last weekOur pear and cherry tree. Yellow delicious and red apple trees. All have a good crop of fruit
Have you noticed when the temperatures began to feel fall like the squirrels stopped chasing each other and started their search for food to bury for the winter?
I get the same urge through I don't bury food. I've seen how forgetful the squirrels are when it comes to finding their food supply. In the spring, their acorns and walnuts sprout in my flowers. I would be just as forgetful as the squirrels if I tried that except my tomatoes and cucumbers wouldn't come up in the spring to remind me where to look. The safest place for what Harold brings in from the garden is going into jars stored in our basement or baggies in our freezer. That way the food supply is centrally located for me to get at when the ground is snow covered. Perhaps, that's a suggestion the squirrels should try. Pick one spot, dig down and bury all the nuts to make it easy to find them. The idea works for me. I wouldn't have so many tree sprouts to pull up in the spring.
We are fortunate to be able to raise our food. Gardening is good exercise and a safe way to have healthy food. We have a large garden, but there are times we wonder if it's going to hold all that we want to plant. We like a variety of vegetables so we plant our spring garden as early as possible, and when some of that has finished producing, we start over with a fall garden. Just like last year, we're now carrying water to the plants. Our new lettuce, radishes and carrots are up and growing, but some of the other veggies have yet to sprout. The seeds are dormant. What we need is a good soaking rain and soon.
Preserving all the good foods to eat this winter really limits my time on the computer. I'd like to spend more time working on a new Amish story right now, but I console myself with the thought that this winter when I'm making lunch with quick cook dishes from the freezer or jar, I'll be writing more.
Right now my writing project is a special one. If you remember, I just finished publishing a book written by a cousin about his experiences in the Vietnam War - 199th Light Infantry Brigade Redcatcher M.P. Now I'm soon going to publish another book for a dear sister-in-law this time. She just lost her battle with cancer at age 60.
The two of us started out in the late eighties thinking we would like to write a book. I signed up for a 6 weeks summer writing course in the back of the library. That was a very helpful course and fueled my fire to some day be an author. The next summer the course was offered again and both of us signed up. There was only a class or two before the classes were canceled. We were on our own again, and life seemed to get in the way this time. After that, our conversations weren't on a possible book. Though I kept working on my writing skills every time I had a spare moment, the sister-in-law didn't. Her possible book was placed in a metal box for safe keeping until she had the time to finish it. She didn't get the chance. The metal box surfaced recently and brought back memories of our bright hopes to be authors.
So now I'm going to make her dreams come true by publishing her book. The story is a romance. It needs much work and an ending which I've already figured out. So the day will come when I'll be able to share the book with the author's name on the cover. What a special legacy for her to leave her children and grandchildren. This woman lived her life with courage. She embraced life with humor and bravery in the last 14 years all the way to the end. She enjoyed her few remaining years and then months and days she had left and always kept in mind ways to make it easier for her loved ones to live life with her and without her. We were sisters in a common dream. If the situation were reversed, she'd have done the same for me.
Now time to get busy. On my list of to do today is making homemade ice cream from an Aunt's recipe.
Pudding flavored Ice Cream
2 cups sugar
1 small box Cool Whip
1 large box of instant pudding in any flavor. (We love butter pecan which you won't find in the grocery stores anymore but Amish stores carry the pudding in bulk.
1/2 gal. cold milk (I use siky very vanilla soybean milk)
Beat eggs in large bowl. Add sugar and pudding. Beat. Stir in Cool Whip. Pour in freezer can and add milk to the fill line. Freeze.
Summer is showing off its best in Iowa right now. Pleasant temperatures, warm not real hot, during the day and cool at night. This makes for a perfect time to have company come and enjoy our country place. My husband keeps the area mowed like a park. The lawn chairs are in the ash tree's shade. My flowers are blooming bouquets of red, pink, purple and white. The multitude of cats laze about in the sunny driveway or hide for a nap in the butternut tree or the grapevine, seeking shade and solitude. The goats wander back and forth from the cool darkness of the barn to the tree groves or pasture to graze. The free range chickens are busy scratching in all the wrong places, the garden and my flower beds. The two red and black roosters proudly crow and strut around their domain until they find some eatable morsel, an ant hill, hidden small black beetles, Japanese beetles or the biggest ripe tomato in the patch. That excites the roosters into clucking a tune that calls the hens to come to dinner.
All this activity that we take for granted is a natural wonder to our city relatives, especially the children. My husband's niece reminded me about when she and her cousins were small they each used to spend a week with us in the summer. Our son had a different playmate each week for most of the summer, and his cousins got a taste of country life, because I put them to work doing chores. That's what made the wonderful memories for this niece. She wanted her children to experience a taste of that. So one day this week four generations, my husband's mother, his sister, her daughter and two children came for the day. My husband grilled brats and hot dogs to go along with the dessert which cuts like cake and reminds me of ice cream with a crumb topping.
We ate lunch right away so the tour began as soon as possible. My husband is in charge of tours. I take pictures. We're raising six turkeys this year so they were a new sight. also new was the birth of eight chicks in the hay loft which was a total surprise, but one that we have learned to expect each summer. There is always a hen or two that outsmarts my husband with a well concealed hiding place. We set 3 hens in the spring and they hatched 20 chicks which we thought was enough for the season. My husband gave all the chicks to one hen. At the time the temperature was cool day and night. Most days were rainy. Mother hen had to worry about fluffing her feathers out enough to cover so many babies. As the offspring grew covering them became impossible so some of the babies roosted on the hen's back for warmth. What was more vexing to the hen was the chicks began to wander away from her to explore on their own. She clucked sharply, but that didn't work. They ignored her so she'd wind up running after them to gather the chicks back into her brood, forcing the remaining chicks to keep up. Since the chicken room is in the barn loft, we hear the loud tromping overhead and all those tiny fee sound like a heard of elephants.
The children and their mother made a quick trip to the rabbit room. Nothing very exciting there. A black and white buck and doe sat at the back of the cages. One white doe hid in her nesting box, and no babies yet to report this summer. Since the rabbits are my husband's project I don't ask for an explanation. You see all of the above had been my domain for many years while my husband worked. He took over what we call chores several years ago. Though I still do the vet work, the rest of the time I stay away from the barn as much as possible. I tell him I'm retired.
The doe goats are very friendly this year as long as the kids stayed on the outside of the pen. They came to smell hands extended through the gate in case the children had something good to eat and remained long enough to be petted. Once in awhile, they took a nibble of a shirt sleeve. In another pen, the smaller buck goats circled around out of reach except for one. When he's called he still holds out hopes of getting a bottle. Most of the time I consider him a pest when he's under foot like a dog or pressing his head against my leg to get my attention but this once, I was glad he came for the children.
Last was the tour of the garden and flowers which was given for Harold's 92 years old mother's benefit. She has always been a lover of all plants. She still has a large garden and appreciates the efforts that goes into a well weeded and productive garden. Now our fall crop of veggies, radishes, lettuce spinach and peas can be seen in the rows hidden among the spring crops that are producing so well. Harold's mother has made it her goal through life to try to get as many different varieties of flowers as she can, and from my inexperienced viewpoint, I'd say she succeeded. I know I can always go to her for advice on flower plant care so it always fun for me to show her my efforts.
That was the last of the tour as far as the grownups were concerned. We were ready for a break, but the children kept exploring. They knew where everything was at by now.
A woman that has worn many hats in my life time. Join me here and find out about those hats.