Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Now the the Greenblade Rises

March and early April have kind of been a blur...  full of highs and lows and busy days in between.

I've had a lot to write about, and I've taken many pictures but there just hasn't been time to write about them here.  Since I wrote last..

The boy turned 12.
Both kids did a great job in our school production of Annie Jr.
I had a multitude of doctor's appointments which all could have been very serious and turned out to be nothing.
My grandmother died.
I took a student to compete at State Forensics.
The kids and I took our annual birthday trip to New York City.

I'll write about those in other posts, but for today --- Spring!

A mild winter means fall planted lettuce is ready for harvesting
This is one of the first years in memory where none of the flowers have gotten hit by a frost.  It's beautiful.

Flowers were even blooming in Pennsylvania this weekend when I took a hike with my Dad.

Isn't it amazing where things will find a place to grow - this is in a slag pile left from strip mining.  Resurrection!

I love French food, but there is no where to get it close by so I've learned to cook that way.  The kale is from the garden too.

Hic Resurrexit!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March Madness

February passed in a blur....  and March will speed by even faster.

Ski and Sugaring Weekend 

We found winter for a few brief days and reveled in cold and snow.  I feel so cheated.  Where was our winter?  I'm not ready for spring - I'm still looking for that three day snow day forecast.  I miss living in the North.

She's 14 now so her default mood is anger.  Uncle Jim knows how to fight those bad mood blues.

We also snuck in a (not so surprising) birthday party for my sister.

I got to hang out in the sugar camp with my Dad and Uncle Bruce and chat for almost an entire day.
It was food for the soul.

 Growing Up

Just yesterday she was in ski school, now she's old enough to work there.  It's lots of fun to see your kid do well at her first real job and it's delightful to be out there with her.  

Pizza Fondue for the birthday party

S'mores dip instead of a cake.  Happy Birthday Girl...

On the birthday kid's day we do take out -- the other kid benefits too.
These were worn after repeatedly getting hot sauce in his eye.


It was the shortest Sugaring Season ever - 16 days, but the syrup was still divine.

His enthusiasm for band is palpable... and they sounded pretty good too.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lion and the Lamb

My son is a few weeks shy of turning twelve. Recently, he's been feeling very sad at bed time and he's been needing more tangible love:  tucking in, singing bed time songs, cuddling and of course talking through his feelings.   I do not know whether his anxiety is about the transition from childhood into young adulthood, or residual anxiety about what's happening in our nation.

But lately these conversations have felt bigger than our little house.  I feel anxious too.  I feel sad and hopeless.  I make my daily calls to representatives, attempt to have dialogue with those that don't think like me, use my money to support humanitarian and social justice organizations and try to keep myself informed.  But yet I feel as if my small voice is being blown away in the wind and that there is nothing I can do to combat the juggernaut of hatred which is our current government.

When I tuck my son in and kiss him good night I think about three things.  One, I am unspeakably blessed and therefore have an obligation to work to be a blessing to others.  Two, I remember those Jewish mothers who continued to love and protect their children until their last moment when hatred ripped their lives in two.  Three, I am saddened that history is repeating itself and envision (and pray for) those Syrian mothers that want nothing more than a safe place to raise their children.

I'm not always sure how to move forward or how to make my voice be heard.  But I can't tunnel under and do nothing.  Mothers have a sacred bond and an obligation to work to protect all children - no matter the circumstances of their birth.  Feel hopeless too?  Try heading here.  Glennon is a light in the darkness and a voice in the wilderness.

Pray, support each other and try not to give up on Hope.

Isaiah 11:6-9The Message (MSG)

6-9 The wolf will romp with the lamb,
    the leopard sleep with the kid.
Calf and lion will eat from the same trough,
    and a little child will tend them.
Cow and bear will graze the same pasture,
    their calves and cubs grow up together,
    and the lion eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child will crawl over rattlesnake dens,
    the toddler stick his hand down the hole of a serpent.
Neither animal nor human will hurt or kill
    on my holy mountain.
The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive,
    a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Hygge: One More Reason I Love Winter

I'm a big winter lover.  I love everything about the season:  the cold temps, the snow, the crackling fires, the wool socks and sweaters, the sunny brisk days when we're able to get out and ski or hike in the winter world.  But, I especially love when weather cancels events and you are forced to stay home.  It gives me time to practice Hygge.  I'm pretty sure if you dug deeply into my heritage somewhere there's a Scandanavian grandma who has influenced me.

I'm a typical type A first born that generally enjoys being busy.  However, having the gift of meetings and events cancelled because of winter weather is one of my top reasons to love this season.  Today is one of those days.  The weather called for freezing rain - and even though I drive a Subaru with Ice Grip Tires and grew up driving in the snow - I don't mess with freezing rain.  The girl and I were scheduled to work ski school, and the boy and The Woodsman had a synod youth retreat planning meeting.  Both were cancelled because of the impending weather.  This meant that I slept in this morning, drank my coffee while it was hot and I may spend most of the day in my robe.  Dinner was already planned for the crock pot (Taco Soup) and laundry and cleaning was mostly done earlier in the week in anticipation of a busy weekend.   It's good to have some forced rest.

A quiet winter's day seems like a good time to reflect on the summer's harvest.

First, what I didn't can - jelly!  It was a terrible fruit year.  I managed to freeze a small amount of strawberries and blackberries for smoothies, but there wasn't enough to make jelly.  The peach crop was small so there weren't seconds available for jelly making either.  There was just enough rhubarb to make one small batch of jelly - but I gave all of that away for Christmas.  It is very odd to have store bought jelly in the house.  I don't think that's happened since I got married.

I also decided not to can whole tomatoes.  I felt like I had a lot in the pantry, and the tomato harvest was sparse so I concentrated on salsa, juice and sauce.  Now it's mid January and I'm out of tomatoes.  I definitely regret that decision.  I forgot how many, many winter dishes call for tomatoes.  Lesson learned.

Here's the final canning tally:

green beans:  23 pints
peaches:  4 quarts
tomato juce:  24 quarts
applesauce:  60 quarts
salsa:  20 quarts
spaghetti sauce:  34 quarts
green tomato curry:  5 pints
hot sauce:  10 half pints
apple butter:  33 pints
roasted tomatoes 2 quarts
pinto and kidney beans  - 16 pints
soup:  venison stew, ham and bean, garden chowder, minestrone - 16 quarts

Overall - not too bad.  

I had an abundance of frozen tomatoes from my Mother's garden.  It all got cooked down and turned into spaghetti sauce.

I had to use the stove top, the oven and the crock pots to get it all heating and cooking down.

Listening to audio books makes canning much more enjoyable.
Tomato sauce was accomapined by the true story behind Moby Dick.  

I hate Green Tomato Curry - but the Woodsman loves it.  Eli helped me make the hot sauce - he's a frequent consumer.  I don't know why I didn't make it before.  I didn't peel anything - just used the Vita Mix to puree it all.  It worked great.

My 93 year old grandmother helped with the apple butter.  It's so good to spend time with her.

We did apple dumplings that day too - October smells like cinnamon.