Life has been so busy with preserving the abundance of apples and pears we have been blessed with this year. We still have some that we will be making apple pie filling with and jar up some simple Apples for Apple Cobbler. We've made several batches of Apple Butter too, but I did it a bit different this year. Instead of using regular sugar, I added maple syrup and honey until it was sweet enough for me. Recipes tend to call for too much sweetener so I just add a half cup at a time until it is just right. You can click on this Apple Link for all the apple posts.
As you know, I haven't gotten around to post the third part on our barn project, but I am gathering the pictures for it so hopefully I can get that post done soon.
One of the duties on my plate recently has been to write an article for four local newspapers each week. Why I haven't been sharing them with you.....well I just didn't think of it! The article is basically about things that I would post on this blog, so this morning while I was writing, it dawned on me to begin to share them with you.
Unlike the newspaper article though, I can share up to date pictures with you. For instance, the above picture is of our favorite fiddler in our woods from this past week. I couldn't resist trying to capture the beauty of Autumn, especially with the music bouncing off the trees (sorry I couldn't capture that for you).
The scenery was our outside joy this past week, while our inside joy has been a warm fire in the stove during the cool evenings.
Ok, well on to the weekly article:
THIS WEEK ON THE HOMESTEAD
What a beautiful week it has been! Just when we thought our warm days were gone, we are blessed with a blue sky and a warm sun, which allowed us lots of time to do some finishing up around the place for winter.
With such nice weather during the past week, we enjoyed turning the chickens loose to chase the bugs and scratch through the leaves to their hearts content. Day by day, we noticed one missing here and there. The final tally is that five have gone missing. We happened to find one yesterday, but there have been no signs of the others. We’ve run down the list of possible predators, coon, possum, hawk, fox, weasel….it has all happened in the early afternoon from what we can tell and it has been one at a time. Black bears and even a cougar have been spotted in this area, but they don’t tend to be chicken predators. We have guard dogs, but sometimes they sleep pretty heavy in the afternoon and the chickens tend to wander over into the fields where we can’t see all of them. All of the ones that disappeared have been smaller pullets with the exception of an older rooster. After all that has happened, we decided to keep the chickens in the chicken yard and turn the guineas loose. I’d like to see whatever it is try to get one of them, at least without a ruckus that gives them away. Guineas travel in a flock and tend to create havoc when anything out of the ordinary happens. One of the reasons we have them is to alert the chickens to danger, but it can tend to get a bit old when they enjoy raising a fuss even when the wind changes directions.
On Sunday we enjoyed a long overdue visit from some friends of ours from Springfield. Some people would consider their family of seven large, but around here, a family of seven is just getting started! The children seemed to thoroughly enjoy being turned loose in the woods and interacting with the animals and birds. There is something about the freedom of a child being a child when they can get back to nature and truly learn hands on from God’s creation. The sun set came too fast and they had to say goodbye, but the squeals, giggles and joy of the children linger in the trees. I’m not exactly sure the chickens were sad to see them go.
Our weekly visit to the nearest town is always heartwarming. Instead of just going to town to shop for necessities, we live in an area where going to town means seeing friends and neighbors. That is one of the things we love about a small town. People know you by name and are quick to say hello, shake your hand or hug your neck and share the latest news until time demands you move along to finish your list before returning home. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. We even stopped by the local vet this week only to find a beautiful draft horse there being prepped for the gelding process. Not only was our daughter allowed to watch, but she was recruited to help. Much to her joy, it was quite the experience she will never forget.
I understand that we are facing some colder weather for the next several days so I’ll say goodbye for this week in order to stock up on the fire wood and transplant some of the plants that I want to bring in.
Have a blessed week!