Friday, September 7, 2012

We went the garden and....Lady Ash Pickles!

 We have a garden in our back yard, but the bounty of our harvest comes mainly from the plot that we share with my folks. There is a good 2 acres that we plant yearly. We have brought home many good foods from our labours. 
My oldest two boys helped me gather onions, a cabbage, an overripe red pepper, and the last of our broccoli.
 And of course, our main produce for the week, cucumbers. We have big plans for these cukes! It is Lady Ash Pickles (or otherwise known as Mustard Pickles). The only difference between the two pickles are that the Lady Ash has the peel left on and with the mustard pickles, the peel is cut off. We also brought home some baby cukes to make a small batch of garlic dills. This will be my first attempt at dills. Any tips? Good recipe? A friend suggested I use the recipe here. I think I will try it out. Seems easy enough.
 So here we are, nearly half way through cutting, coring and dicing the cucumbers. I cut up enough for a 2 1/2X the recipe listed below, so 10 quarts of cukes. The trick is to get out all the seeds and dice them nice and fine. I will post the full recipe at the bottom of this post. Once I have all my cukes cut, then I pour the salt over top...I mix mine in just a little. Then you let it sit overnight.
 In the morning, I drain the water off the pickles, and then add the onions, vinegar, turmeric, celery & mustard seed, and the sugar. I heat to a simmer and let it cook for 45 minutes on med heat (without boiling). Make sure to stir. The smell is devine. At 45 minute, I turn up the heat and add in my bowl of sifted flour & ground mustard.
 Once the flour mixture has been blended, I keep the pickles on heat for an additional 15 minutes or so. Then I bottle them. Today I canned 20 baby food jars that I plan to use for gifts at Christmas time. (I pickle the old school way...which means sealer jars are not really needed)
I still have plenty of cucumbers left. Most my eldest will eat I am sure (He ate 4 just this morning). If by Monday morning, there are still lots, I may do another batch of Lady Ash. If there is not, we will visit the garden once again. I have not yet made my baby dills, but that will be another post I am sure..

Here is my family recipe that my mother, grandmother, and sister all use. 

Mustard Pickles:
4 quarts cukes (cut into not peel, but remove seeds)
Add one cup salt (coarse sea salt) and let sit overnight.
In the morning Drain off water
add:1 quart diced onions,
1 pint vinegar,
1tbsp tumeric, 
1tsp celery seed,
1tsp mustard seed, 
3 cups white sugar. 
Cook on med heat 45 minutes (do not boil)
turn up heat to near boil, then add sifted: 1tbsp ground mustard & 4 heaping tbsp flour
cook and additional 15 min. 
Bottle & cover with hot jars & lids, being sure to wipe rims of any debris.
It is not necessary (as per this recipe) to use sealer jars or to hot water bath.
*it is recommended that you follow safe practices for canning.


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Learning Just A Little & An Update On My Cream

We are in full swing now for our Home School as our 4th week nears it's end (we are taking tomorrow off to make Lady Ash Pickles). Cylas is studying a unit on shapes, and Carter is learning time. 

For Social Studies we are reading a book from the Discovering Canada Series called "Native Peoples". I called the local 1st Nations Reserve in our area and enquired about activities that the boys could partake in as part of their studies. I was happy to hear that they are currently working on a birch bark canoe (which we have read about) and will be having a ceremonial boat launch upon completion. We are invited!! The lady I spoke to also offered the contact to a man in the community who is actively involved in some major culture practices. He has a sweat hut in his yard (maybe we can learn about this practice?). We also learned that the Lord Beaver Brook Museum has a exhibit which displays the Maliseet culture. We are excited! Carter suggested we built our own canoe!

This morning I confirmed registration to a Composting & Kitchen Gardening workshop for us all to attend in the coming weeks. This will serve as an agriculture study for us. The centre that is hosting the workshops will be sending me a full list of workshops available to groups, so we can look over and if we see some things we like, we can gather some people and request a workshop for our group!

The photo below is an update on my cream I wrote about here.
I let is sit at room temperature over night then put it in my churn in the morning. 5 minutes of labour gave me fresh made butter! I poured off the buttermilk and then cleaned the butter. Once the butter has been washed and lightly salted, I put it in mini loaf pans to mold, then place the pan in the fridge to harden. In 20 min, I take it out and I have 1/2 lb blocks of butter. I keep one out for fresh use, and freeze the rest.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Morning Worship

We are home schooling our two oldest boys, ages 8 & 10. This is our first year. I have been contemplating teaching their bible studies with curriculum, verses devotionals, & daily readings. So far we have been reading passages starting in Matthew, followed by a discussion and prayer. I want our days to start with God. I have decided that I want to teach the boys worship songs and reinforce that rejoicing is not just for Sunday morning service! We can praise him all day long! 

I found my favourite song here. It is a song that brings my spirit to a place of utter joy, and I want to share this with my children. I plan to play it through my netbook, onto the large flat screen in our living room. Perhaps we can sing, dance and even learn to play some of the chords along with the music!

As far as following a particular study, I feel that is too rigid. I want to instill in these children a love for fellowship with God. Someday, when the workbooks are gone, will they still wake up and ask him for guidance each day? 

By leading them in a simple, yet honest and humble journey as him as their leader, and learning good habits such as repentance, reading of scripture, prayer and worship, I hope to teach them life long habits....later we can focus on dissecting his word for meaning and application.

Do you have worship songs that you sing with your kids? What are they?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Raw Milk? Well...maybe some cream for today

We journeyed out to our friends place to see about some milk. The lady of the house had just made cheese from yesterdays milk and so I was out of luck for getting some milk for today. I did however score this dandy jug of fresh cream, which I will be making butter & then cheese out of! We agreed I would come once a week for 3 Gallons of whole milk. While we were there the boys got to see the ducks, chickens, goats, dogs, and horses. Cy (my eldest of three boys) managed to sneak past the barking dogs to see the kittens inside the house, leaving Carter & Vinny to suffer tears in retreat of the intimidating dogs. Cater said the dogs were going to bite his leg off...

I'll post more about processing the butter later. Subscribe for the update.

The low down on Raw Milk

I was reading an article about Raw Milk and thought it was important to share with you. We have been using raw milk in our home for a while now as my father has a cow. However, recently there has not been enough milk to pass along to us. This evening we go to visit our friends who have an abundance of milk, and are willing to share! 

Raw milk is no doubt absolutely superior to pasteurized . Our family loves it! We make yogurt, cheese, & butter from our milk. I am excited to have made a new connection for us to be able to bring home some good milk, as the grocery store milk does not compare. Perhaps I will post a little more later detailing out trip.

This is our story

We are a Family of 5. Plus one dog and some rabbits. We love God. We garden. We homeschool. We enjoy the little things. We hunt & gather, enjoy Church fellowship, and try to find peace all along the way. This is our story.