"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

Have Yourselves a Merry Little Christmas!

Come and Get It Hanzel and Gretel!

We finally got our first snow of the season yesterday.   I can't say that I really appreciate snow as much as I did when I was a kid.   Back then it was really fun to see the flakes falling and to sit in the kitchen with the radio on just praying that your school would be next in the snow-day line.   If it was, I usually scarfed down my breakfast, ran to get my winter stuff on and was out the door faster than Secretariat on coals! 

But now...not so much.  Now I see snow and I think of cold weather, shoveling the walk, fighting bone chilling wind to feed the critters, icy roads....

Fortunately for me though, I was indoors yesterday watching the snow from behind the window, in front of a toasty fire, all nice and warm.   DH was out feeding and shoveling and I was inside taking down the Thanksgiving decorations and starting to put up the Christmas decorations.  

The kids and I finished their ginger bread house (I cheated and bought a kit from Walgreens on sale for almost $2 off).  They had a blast.  

This morning I woke up and started a couple of loaves of bread to get us through the weekend, hopefully.  Then Oldest has Girl Scouts and DH and I have some boxes to clear through to make room for the holidays.   Should be a pretty busy day today.   

Random Act of Culure

Just wanted to share this one with everybody!

Middle's Thanksgiving List

In keeping with the previous post, here is Middle's Thanksgiving list:

1. I'm thankful for my toys.

2. I'm thankful for my mom and dad and Gran and Grandpa

3. And for my dog.


Oldest's Thanksgiving List

I've decided to let each of the two older kids take some time to post what they are Thankful for this year.   In this case, Oldest has typed it out herself, for Middle's post I'll do the typing and he'll do the dictating.  

My Thanksgiving LIst:

I'm thankfull for my mom and my dog becuse he is cute. 
I"m thankfull for my dad becuse he fixed my bike.
and I'm thankful for God and Chrismas and my bruthers.


Now that we're getting closer to Thanksgiving I thought it would be prudent to really make an extra effort to be consciously aware of all that I have to be thankful for this holiday season.

1. I'm thankful for my family and my friends.  Even though my husband and I don't always see eye to eye on every little thing we're still a perfect fit for each other.   I love him for who he his and he loves me for who I am.   Everyday I learn more and more from my kids about joy, appreciating the little things, unconditional love, and imagination.   And my friends help me to realize that you don't have to be blood related to be family.  

2.I'm thankful that I live in a country where, despite some instances of discrimination, we are allowed to practice our faith in freedom without having to worry about being jailed or killed.  

3.I'm thankful for good books and warm fires.

4. I'm thankful for friendly smiles from people just passing by.

5. I'm thankful for the Word of God that helps me put everything into perspective.

6. I'm thankful for my church that helps me to help my community.  

7. I'm thankful that growing up poor has helped me to be more appreciative of what I do have, more empathetic towards those who have very little, and more aware of poverty in the US and overseas.  

8. I'm thankful, and very much in awe of the fact, that God feels humanity is worth the effort and the sacrifice.

9. I'm thankful for full baskets of yarn and plenty of fabric.

10. I'm thankful for my good health and the good health of the one's that I love.  \

Oh Sock, Why Do You Mock Me...

I started a second pair of baby socks for Youngest yesterday and was already finished with the first sock by this afternoon.   I was pretty proud of it since I had finished it so fast (usually it takes me at least two days to finish one sock..I knit slow).   I couldn't believe my luck!   I figured I must be getting better at this since I was so obviously moving much faster than usual.  

So here I was feeling rather proud of myself when I decided to try the sock on Youngest's foot.   I found that while the cuff fit perfectly, the heel was right smack in the middle of his foot.   It didn't fit, at all.   Then I realized why this project had gone so quickly for me.  You see, when it comes to knitting the instep and the toe the pattern says something like this K6, K2tog, around.   Next row, Knit.  Next row, K5, K2tog, around.  And then you continue on like that, knitting every other row.   And that's the part that I forgot.  So instead of decreasing in one row and knitting the next row, I decreased every flipping row.   So I ended up with a sock that was half the size that it was supposed to be. 

This cute little sock that was going to keep Youngest's feet toasty warm is now a Christmas tree ornament and I did a full face-palm.  Knitting fail. :p

Crib Sheets

Winter is creeping in on us and that means there is ALOT of preparing that has to be done.  I'm nearly finished with Middle's sweater.   I've knitted several pairs of socks.   I've canned TONS of food including tomato sauce, pickles, sandwhich spreads, apple sauce, apple butter, pear butter, peaches, apple pie filling, cherries, cherry pie filling, beans, corn, well you get the picture.  

On last nights to do list: warmer crib sheets for Youngest.   Crib sheets really are a simple thing to make.   It's pretty much cutting out a large rectangle from the fabric of your choice, cutting 9 in. squares from the corners, a little sewing, a little heming, a little elastic and presto! Crib sheets!   Ok, so that wasn't a great tutorial.   Here's a better one at make-baby-stuff.com

Here's an example of what your corners should look like after they've been sewn (but before finishing the edges and adding the elastic).

And this is the finished product! 

All told it only takes about an hour and half.   So get over to the tutorial, then head for that sewing machine and have at it! 

Make Your Own Gummies!

If you are anything like me and my kids then candy is one of the greatest of the simple pleasures.   One of our favorite candies is the classic gummy bear.  
My kids are also incessently searching for things to do so we found a cute little blog that tells you how to make your own gummy candies.   I really like this recipe because it was one of the easiest that I found.   You can find the recipe at Skip to My Lou.  Enjoy :)

Danaus Plexippus

Otherwise known as the monarch butterfly:
This lovely little male specimen was warming up in the sunshine when we (oldest and I) snapped this picture. 

They visit us pretty much all summer and most of the fall, but not becuase we are good company.   They come for the food.

Specifically, this food.  Butterfly weed.

Another sign of fall...the pumpkin patch.   This was our first batch (we've since added about 30 to the pile) after it had already been pretty well picked over.   For the rest of October, my days will be spent sitting with the pumpkins at the pumpkin stand.  
Which means, I will have some free time between customers to do...

Crochet!  This modest little fellow is Sherman, Oldest's doll and my new model.
He is currently wearing the blue scarf I designed for a Christmas swap...hopefully nobody in that swap has my blogger address.

Also, while sitting at the pumpkin stand, I've been working on finally finishing Middle's sweater, doll clothes for oldest for Christmas, and a really cute fall/Halloween table runner.

And, just to leave you all with a smile, here's a funny little blast from the past.

American Girl Doll Nightgown

My days have not been completely void of crocheting.   I finally finished one of the several projects I've been working on last night.  Oldest wanted a nightgown for her doll so I found a cute pattern at Bizzy Crochet.  

This Christmas the majority of our gifts are going to be handmade gifts so I will be making several more doll clothes, several amigurumi animals, several play food items and hopefully a couple of hats and sweaters over the coming months.   Trying to get all of these things finished should be pretty interesting. 

Adventures in Homeschooling

One of the things that I appreciate the most about being blessed with the opportunity to homeschool my kids is that we can take "field trips" whenever we feel like it.   The freedom to go on outings spontaneously is a wonderful thing and we took one such outing a few days ago.

While I was going over Middle's preschool lessons about nature I decided to take all the kids on a scavenger hunt at the nature preserve a few miles down the road from us.   I gave the older two kids a list with different items that they should look for (eg. pine cones, acorns, pond, snake, etc.).   When they found an item they got to take a picture of it.   They had so much fun taking pictures that they didn't want to stop so they continued to snap away long after they had finished finding everything on their list.   

Oldest took this picture of the path that we were walking down.

Middle took this one of a field off of our trail.

Middle took this one of some fallen trees.

He also took this picture of the pond which you can just barely see beyond the overgrowth.

Oldest took this picture of the bald eagle that is part of the center's animal rehabilitation program.

Wow, I'm Really Behind

It seems like forever since I've updated, mostly because I haven't had much to say.   We've been cleaning the house in mad preparation for Gran's sister to come visit us all the way from Texas.   She has alzheimers and wanted to visit with Gran while she could still remember who she was.   Her son and his wife are coming up as well to make sure that her trip is a safe one.   So we've needed to clean and get ready for the three house guests as well as get some homeschooling work done and try to get ready for pumpkin selling season.   While we've been busy, it doesn't seem like anything we've been doing has been interesting enough to talk about.  

The weather here has been so unusually dry that most of our apples have fallen off the trees well before they were ripe so we don't have much going on in the way of apple picking, canning and baking.   We have had a bumber crop of zucchini this year though.  So far I've made zucchini bread, zucchini muffins, zucchini cake, fried zucchini, zucchini stir fry, stuffed zucchini and baked zucchini sticks.   I still have 5 zucchinis sitting in my fridge.  :)

Anyways, I haven't given up on crafting, I just haven't gotten much of it done lately.  I'm still working on knitting sweaters for each of the kids for fall, which is coming up on me way to fast.   And I'm still working on the afghan from hell, which is moving way to slow.   And I've been working on crocheting a comfortghan for a care package that will be heading for a good friend hopefully pretty soon.   The projects are in the works.  I know I've said this before but hopefully I'll get some pictures up before long.

Peanut Butter and Jelly People

I have been blessed with two very picky eaters.   The only things Oldest and Middle will eat easily are macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, and tacos.   Unfortunately a kid can't live on mac and cheese alone so I have to get a little creative sometimes with their food choices.  
Introducing:  Bob!

Bob here is a peanut butter and jelly person.   He's very easy to make.  Take a slice of whole wheat bread.   A gingerbread man (or woman) cookie cutter.   Cover in a layer of peanut butter.   Then put jelly of your child's choice in a plastic bag with one tip cut off or a piping bag and add some jelly details.   In Bob's case he has orange marmalade hair and raspberry jelly eyes, mouth, nose and buttons.   Ordinarily my kids refuse to eat peanut butter and jelly but, unfortunately for Bob, he looked delicious to them.  They even asked for seconds.   RIP Bob.  

Reflections on Husbands and Wives

I have an anniversary coming up and in between harvesting, starting the kids homeschooling, and healing from a corneal abrasion (those things REALLY hurt) I have been out shopping for this anniversary.  These trips to the store have led me to ponder the differences between husbands and wives.   And so, I present to you, one man's take on husbands and wives:

A Fair New Fridge

Our refridgerator decided to quit right in the middle of the busy season.   Just went kaput.   No, explanations.  No, it was nice to know ya's.  It just died.   So we made an emergency trip to Lowes to get another fridge.   Word to the wise:  Bargaining works.   The new fridge was listed for $1699.   We paid $1289.    Not too shabby.  

Here she is, the new fridge.

We also spent some time at the fair this week and I snapped a couple of pictures.

We actually didn't get to spend much time in the animal barns because the kids were desperate to ride as many rides as they could.  But they did enjoy seeing some of the animals even though it cut into precious midway time. :)
All in all, it was a fun time.  

The Title Well is Temporarily Dry

This is the face of a dog who didn't know when to quit.   It was a good 95 degrees out a couple of days ago and Cocoa here spotted something in the field while I went to pick peaches.   She chased the thing and barked at it and just generally had a fit until she finally collapsed from heat stroke.   Not heat exhaustion, full blown heat stroke.

Now, by the grace of God, I got a hunch to stop picking and head towards the barn to check on her.   I found her, collapsed, panting like mad, about 10 feet from her water bowl and the shade of the open barn where she usually hangs out when we go to the field.   I hurried and hosed her off, brought the water too her, helped her lift her head enough to drink it and then managed to get her up and into the car so I could take her back to the house and get her into the air conditioning.   Unfortunately, her back legs weren't working properly so it was a struggle for me (weighing in at 130-ish pounds) to get her (weighing in at 75-ish pounds) to the car.  

We then called in the vet who told me that I was lucky to have found her when I did because had it been a couple of minutes longer she would've probably died.   He then gave her fluids and basically said that it would be a waiting game from there.   Fortunately, she came out of it and to look at her now you wouldn't be able to tell that she had been so sick just a couple of nights ago.

That particular picture was taken just after she threw up all over my brand new rug, hence the fact that she is laying on the non-slip mat instead of the rug itself.   And for all the animal lovers out there, do not worry, that little box by her neck is not a shock collar.  It's a spray collar that shoots a mist of water or citronella (depending on what you fill it with) everytime she barks, although it was empty on the day of the incident.

I did get a fairly nice (albeit small) bushel of peaches out of that trip.   Tasty too.  

A Little Humor Goes a Long Way

Ever find yourself giggling at the wording of some of the church bulletins in your parish?   Well, if that sounds like you then you definately aren't alone.   Here are some of the best church bulletin bloopers from around the web, enjoy:

"Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.."

"Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help."

"Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get."

"A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow."

"Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered."

"The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon."

"Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance."

"The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last Sunday: ‘I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours’."

"It's Drug Awareness Week: Get involved in drugs before your children do."

"The Women's League reported that Mrs. Springston, a grandmother of five, made a hole in one last week. Good Shooting! "

"This Friday is our annual church hayride. Bring a pack of hot dogs and guns. We'll have a good time. "

Getting Ready for School

We've hit that time of year again, where it's time to start getting the kids back into school mode.   I don't introduce the workbooks usually until closer to the start of the traditional school year but I do start getting the kids used to the structure and routine that we have about now.   One of the ways I go about doing that is to start to give them short bursts of structured, focused play time.  
Yesterday Oldest spent her time building with some k'nex (and secretly learning how to follow directions from a pictures).   By the time her focused playtime was finished she had already built two butterflies, two fish and a dinosaur and still didn't want to stop.   So she spent about an hour AFTER her focused playtime building a hanglider.

Her dollhouse "father" is taking a harrowing ride.

And in orchard news:
One of our young peach trees "exploded" this year growing up and out and getting a tree full of fruit.  Unfortunately, it had more fruit than it's young little branches could handle and it started to bend almost all the way to the ground.

It's kind of hard to see in the pictures.

I ended up having to throw off about 40-45 peaches to ease the weight on that limb.   I wasn't really happy about that fact but "ya' gotta do what ya' gotta do, ya' know?"    In about an hour I'll be heading out to the bigger, established trees and picking peaches and plums for much of this afternoon.   Should be fun...maybe.  

Worst Sewing Idea Ever...

We have a winner folks for the most disgusting craft project...The Placenta Bear!!!

Yep, it's a bear that you make out of your very own leatherized placenta. The best part is, you get to make it yourself! (blech).  The company sends you a kit and you get to get straight to work.   Now your little one can cuddle it's very own internal organ!  No, that's not creepy at all.  

"Hello Clarice...."

Free Crochet Pattern

I've been teaching Oldest to crochet and she's finally starting on her very first actual project, a doll blanket, for her baby doll.  We even went out and bought her her own crochet hook (a size N.   Larger hooks are easier for smaller hands to work with).

She's getting slightly annoyed by the flash on my camera.  It's apparently affecting her ability to concentrate.

A bit more aggravated...

And finally, FED UP.  XD
hee hee hee.

In the title of this post I promised a free crochet pattern and I wasn't lying.   This is a pattern for a doll diaper.   You have kids?  They have dolls?  Well, now you can have reusable doll diapers!

This is a modified pattern.  You can find the original here. 

Using a size H hook and worsted weight cotton yarn (if your doll "pees" cotton is best.  If the doll doesn't pee than any worsted weight yarn will do).

Ch. 22

Row 1: DC in 3rd ch. from the hook.   DC in each ch. across.  Ch 2, turn.

Row 2-6: Sk 1st DC.   DC2Tog.  DC in each DC across until last 2 sts.  DC2Tog.  CH. 2, turn.

Row 7-9: Do not skip 1st DC.  DC across.  Ch. 2, turn. 

Row 10-15: dc across, 2 dc in turning chain.  Ch. 2 at the end of each row (except row 15) to turn.

bind off, weave in ends.

add 2 buttons and use holes between dcs as buttonholes.

Easy peasy, lemon squeezy :)

Ugh Writer's Block

It seems like we've been busy these last few days but haven't done anything worth blogging about.   So I got onto one of those websites that gives you prompt questions to answer on your blog.   My prompt question went like this
"What's your favorite quote and why?"

My favorite quote is   "As novices, we think we're entirely responsible for the way people treat us. I have long since learned that we are responsible only for the way we treat people. "

Rose Wilder Lane
I'm not sure why that's my favorite quote right now and it will probably be replaced by a new favorite quote sometime in the near future as I'm always changing my mind about those sorts of things.   I like it, I suppose, because it illustrates personal responsibilty, humility, balance, and puts into perspective what we can and cannot control.   We can't control what other people think about us or how other people treat us, we can only control what we think about ourselves and how we treat other people.   Simple, timeless wisdom.
Well, that's it.   I've got nothing else for today.   Not the most exciting post ever.   Here's a funny little picture to make up for it.


I decided that I needed something to do with the extra beads that I had left over from my knitting needle making extravaganza.   I headed to my garage and found some "magic" elastic cording for bracelets, rings, ankle bracelets, etc.  
I made these two bracelets out of the smaller beads in my bead packet.

While on Etsy a few weeks ago I found these really cute Abraham Lincoln brass charms.  They were only about $1 for a set of four of them.  After shipping they came out to be about a dollar each.  Worth it because I like them so much.  ANYWHO, I decided to put ol' honest Abe on one of the bracelets and I also made a necklace out of one of the charms (I may get a picture of that up at a later date). 
Oldest now wants an honest Abe bracelet of her very own so that will be my next jewelry making venture.   We can go out with matching Presidential effigies.  

I also finished my knitted prayer square for a prayer square swap I'm participating in on Ravelry.   Unfortunately I didn't snap a picture of it before I sent it out.   Oh well, I'll have to remember that for next time.  


I haven't been doing much crafting the last couple of days.   We have family coming from Florida so I've been preparing food, and lots of it.  
I picked two more buckets worth of apricots today for jam and apricot butter (you can get a decent recipe for apricot butter at The Independent.

I also made and froze two loaves worth of bread dough and picked several onion, tomatoes, peppers and herbs from the garden for salsa.   Tomorrow we'll be going out and picking several ears of sweet corn from the neighbor's.  

Since we've been working our little booties off preparing to have company, I thought it would be nice to treat the kids to one of their favorite breakfast treats, peach cobbler muffins.   Our recipe is from my mother's cookbook but it's exactly the same as the one listed on that website.

Good stuff :D

Thrifty Thursday (on Friday again)

Do you like to knit?   Do you hate spending all that money on knitting needles?   Well, now you can make your own.  

I made a few size 6 bamboo knitting needles out of 12 in. bamboo skewers and a few beads.   The skewers cost me $1.99 for 100 of them.  The beads I had on hand, but you could pick up a bag of beads for about $2.99.  One set of 12 in. bamboo knitting needles would cost you anywhere from $5.75 to $8 or $9.   Custom knitting needles can cost you anywhere from $10 to $20. 

The only other thing you need is fine grit sandpaper to smooth out the points and some of the rough spots on the bamboo.  

The first step is to pick out to skewers that are nice and straight and are the same length. 

Next, smooth out the points and the rough edges with your sandpaper.

Then pick out two beads that have a wide enough hole to fit at the end of the skewer.  If it's a tight fit you can get away with just twisting the beads on, but if there is a bit more room then clue the beads on with craft clue or E600.

Wait for your glue to dry and then, tada!  you have custom knitting needles!

If you want different sizes or different types of wood then you can always use wooden dowels.   You would just need to create a point using a standard run of the mill pencil sharpener.  You can customize them further with paints or wood stain just make sure to pick a paint or a stain that isn't going to come off onto your hands or your project.

The World's Fastest Knitter

Check her out.  It probably takes her all of a couple of hours to knit a hat.  It takes me like two weeks. LOL.

Happy 4th of July!

I love the 4th of July.  Grilling, spending time with family and friends, and then watching the fireworks, it's all awesome. :)

The kids harvested two of the onions that they planted in their garden this spring and it looks like the rest will be ready in the next couple of days.
DH is grilling hamburgers up right now as I type this and their onions went into his special hamburger sauce.   They were really excited about their harvest being used in one of our 4th of July recipes. 

We also spent about 2 hours out in the orchard picking apricots this morning so that we could grill them (I maintain that you can grill just about ANYTHING). 

These ones are very small, about bite sized but really tasty.  

After supper, we'll be heading off to see this:

Hope everyone has a good 4th of July!

The Dachshund Says Hello!

Oldest snapped this picture of Chandler the other day.  It was so funny that I had to share it.

Life here has been a flurry of doctor's visits.  Youngest developed a rash on our first day of cherry picking.  Initially I just assumed it was heat rash since the temps were in the high 80's that day and the following days when we were out picking. 
But when it was still there about a week later I began to get a little suspicious. 
On Saturday the rash looked like it was getting a little bit worse.  I decided that I would take him in to the doctor on Monday to see if we could figure out what was going on.   An hour later I put him down for his nap and went to work on some of the knitting and crochet projects I have going.   Youngest slept for about an hour and then Oldest got him and brought him out.   At first I thought he had been in some sort of terrible accident.   Both of his eyes were swollen practically shut.   His rash had spread and started to form large hives all over his back, chest, belly, and shoulders and he just generally acted like he didn't feel well.  DH and I decided that he needed to see a doctor before Monday and took him to the urgent care.  

The urgent care promptly refused to see him (too young) and sent us to the ER.  So there we sat for about 3 hours.   The doctors and nurses were very nice and they even gave Youngest a brand new cow shaker toy and referred to him as "their little man".   It was really cute.   The nurses really enjoyed coming into our curtained area and playing with him.   The doctors ran a strep test on him and asked us a bunch of questions about what he had or had not been exposed to etc.   Finally we were told that the strep test was negative and were given the diagnosis of "allergic contact dermatitis".   He was given a prescription for benadryl and the baby version of prednisone and told to follow up with his pediatrician within the next couple of days.

On Sunday the rash looked even worse than it had on Saturday and by this time it had spread to his face and arms and legs.  His back and chest were completely red, they had become one giant hive.  The swelling on his eyes had gone down but he looked like a little leopard boy with all of his spots.   The medicine did seem to help some though, at least for a couple of hours.  But after the meds wore off he was back to his old spotty self.  

By Monday his back and stomach were mostly clear but his eyes were once again swollen and the spots on his face and head were much worse.   The spots on his arms and legs were also worse and he now had spots on his hands and feet.   And he was itchy.   On top of that he had developed a slight fever and his little voice sounded hoarse.

On Tuesday we went in for his doctors appointment.   By this point he looked much better.   He still had several light spots on his arms and legs but the swelling was gone and his face, back and stomach were almost completely clear.   His fever also seemed to have subsided although his voice was still a little hoarse.  The doctor claimed that it must be the result of some food allergy and sent us home with another prescription for benadryl. 

When we got home from the doctor, Gran informed me that the ER had called with Youngest's test results.   This surprised me since I thought we had gotten all of his test results when we were there.   Apparently they called almost as soon as I walked out the door for the doctor's appointment.   I called the number that they had given and talked to one of the nurses that had seen Youngest on Saturday.  Low and behold his rapid strep test had actually grown strep.  It was a positive.  The boy was not suffering from some unknown allergy after all.  He was instead having an allergic reaction to the toxins released by the strep bacteria.   They called in a prescription for amoxicillin (the very antibiotic that both of my older two children are deathly allergic too and DH is moderately allergic too. Needless to say giving this medicine to Youngest makes me a bit nervous and we watch VERY closely as a result). 

So here we sat with little mister contagious walking around getting extra hugs and planting big wet baby kisses on everyone's faces while we were blissfully unaware of the lurking bacterial baddies that were living in his throat.   
Oh well, I'm just glad that they did catch it.  I had strep throat as a child that went undiagnosed too long and I ended up with scarlet fever.  I was in bed for almost 10 days.   It was a miserable experience and one that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies let alone my own children.   Fortunately for me, once you've had scarlet fever you develop an immunity (usually) and you can't get it again. But that wouldn't have done Youngest any good if they wouldn't have caught the strep to begin with.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this I did manage to finish a 12" crochet square that I am planning to use to make a tote bag that will be used to carry the older two kids' things to their swimming lessons and back. 

The pattern for this square was found on crochet pattern central in the 12" square section.  Unfortunately, for the life of me, I can't remember the name of it but it is there.  So if you are interested in making one you just have to look through the squares patterns until you find it.   There are some beautiful patterns there though, so the hunt should be pretty fun. 

Cherry Picking Time

The temperature when I woke up this morning was around 75 degrees with a steady comfortable breeze blowing.   It seemed like the perfect day to be out in the orchard picking the cherries.  

I made my peach cobbler muffins and some orange juice then got the kids up and dressed for the day.   I then went outside to feed Cocoa.   The temperature was now 80 degrees and the breeze was coming in frequent bursts.  

Gran and I packed up the kids' bikes, a few blankets, some snacks, a diaper change for the baby, and plenty of water and gatorade for Gran, myself and the kids.   Then we headed out to the orchard.   It was now almost 90 degrees and there was barely any breeze blowing at all.   The humidity was up to 80%.   From there my day went like this:

I got Gran and Youngest settled in the yard out at the barn.   I unpacked the bikes, blankets and snacks/drinks.   Middle took off like greased lightning (does anybody still say that anymore?) on his bike to see Peanut.   Oldest and I went off to the cherry trees to start picking.

Oldest found the tree that she wanted to work from and I found my tree.   Unfortunately ALL three of our sour cherry trees are right smack in the open sunshine.   Needless to say, it was HOT.   Anytime you are out working in the heat water and gatorade or some other electrolyte drink are a necessity and will quickly become your very best friends.   I've seen way too many people forget to stay hydrated and get very very sick as a result.  

Most of the cherries looked pretty good and there were a fair amount of them on each tree, which is much better than how our sweet cherries turned out this year.

In case you are wondering, those are plastic grocery bags hanging from the cherry trees.  The sunlight reflecting from the bags and the movement created when the wind blows helps to scare the birds away from the cherry trees.

Unfortunately, it's been hot enough and wet enough that many of the cherries started to spoil almost as soon as they ripened. 

I picked a total of two full buckets worth (Oldest pooped out after a half bucket and went to ride her bike).  Then it was off to other chores around the barn.

The first on the list was feeding the cows.   This is Herman.   We usually don't name our cows but Herman is a special case since he had to be bottle fed from birth.  He was heading for a drink of water in the cow barn when I snapped this picture.

Then we checked the silos.  Two of the three are, fortunately, almost completely full which is nice since we probably won't get the corn planted this year because of the wet weather we've been having.

Then we had to work on the small tractor.   Apparently something about the transmission was off, don't ask me what...I'm not great with farm machine mechanics.  I'm simply there to hand my husband and father in law the tools that they request.

Then it was time to feed Bluebird.

Afterwards I had to coax Middle off of his bike so that we could go and look for his missing flip flops and, after about 20 minutes of searching, they were found and we were headed home.

After a long, long day at the barn it was time to set up the cherry pitter.  It's old (about 100 years old) but it does the job.  I like it much better than many of the new ones, mainly becuase it's made out of a sturdy metal instead of glorified plastic AND because it pits two cherries at one time instead of one like most of the new pitters I've come across.

I got all my pots and pans set up for the process.

The whole process of pitting the cherries took about an hour and we ended up with 9 total bags of cherries.  Each bag had 4 cups of cherries in it.

One of those bags was destined for cherry pie tonight which will be our Sunday dinner desert tomorrow and the other 8 bags went into the freezer.

After it was all said and done I was utterly exhausted and I had so much cherry juice splattered on me that I looked like I was the victim of some horrific act of violence.   A warm bath, my bed and a good book are calling my name.