Saturday, September 15, 2012

Before I Leave ...

... for a break from the blogging world, I thought I'd touch base with an update on what's been taking most of my time lately.

Remember a couple weeks ago when I posted about frost damaging our garden?  Well, after that post I went out to try and salvage what I could and realized that because I had not pruned the very thick foliage on my plants, only the tops and outside leaves were damaged.  I was so excited to discover that the vegetables and lower leaves were fine!  I pruned all the damaged leaves.

frost bit tops & outer leaves of tomato plants

tomato plants after pruning frost damaged leaves
That's why I'll be away from blogging for a short time.  It is now time to harvest and preserve the bounty God blessed our family with this growing season.  When canning is over I'll be back with an update on the total amount of food we've been blessed with.

God Speed & See you later!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Useless or Useful?

When our farmhouse was built in 1912 the average person simply did not own the obscene amounts of clothing that are common to U.S. citizens today, thus closet space was not considered a necessity - especially for country folks and farmers.  Although our home had an extensive remodel prior to our purchase, it still has only two closets.  Ever since we moved in I've wanted a wardrobe for the guest room.  I knew that finding one that was short enough for the dormer ceiling would be a challenge.  I prayed a short little prayer asking the Lord to bless me with one that would be the perfect size and fit for our guest room.

Last week while doing some volunteer work I found an old, battered wardrobe that had been discarded in a barn.  I asked if I could could have or purchase it really cheap.  They couldn't believe that I wanted the old, dirty, beat-up thing - so they gave it to me for FREE.  We hauled it home and cleaned it up with 1/2 c. Murphy's Oil Soap to 1 gallon water and two coats Liquid Gold furniture polish.  When we are buried under snow this winter, I plan to haul it down to the basement and completely refinish it.

before cleanup

after cleanup & in it's new home
 Just for grins and giggles, here are a couple more photos of our guest room.

reading chair & chest of drawers

 writing desk & dressing table

Cleaning up this old piece of furniture got me to thinking.  Many years ago my own poor life choices had left me pretty battered up and discarded.  I was unwanted and had been thrown away.  BUT, just like this old wardrobe where others could no longer see it's usefulness or any of it's hidden beauty, God saw.  He hauled me home, applied some soap & water, a little polish and throughout the years He's been refinishing and restoring me.  When others couldn't find any purpose in me, God found many.  When others discarded me, God retrieved me.  When others looked at me and said, "Yuck", God looked upon me and said, "She's just what I've been looking for".

So, useless or useful?  In God's eyes all are a gifted treasure.  His greatest desire is to welcome us home to His loving care for cleanup and restoration.

Isaiah 61:3 - "To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified." NKJV

Friday, September 7, 2012

Up & Downs

Today has been one of those crazy days filled with disappointments, frustrations and excitement.  Our day began by finding out the weatherman was off by about 10 degrees with last night's low.  Instead of our low being around 40 degrees it got down to 31 degrees.  Since we anticipated much warmer temperatures we did not cover our garden.  We've lost our tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, winter squash, melons, pumpkins, cucumbers, strawberries and green beans.  The carrots, lettuce and turnips are the only veggies left with green leaves.  All that work ... gone.

We went into town to get the oil changed & tires rotated on the truck and get new chains for Mr.B and Grandpa's chain saws.  I expected a 1 hr. drive into town, 2 hours for the work and an hour drive home.  We needed to be home by noon so we could work on some other projects (feed bagged, grain bin cleaned out & more work on the sheep shed foundation) and get in a good day of schooling.  Not Happening today.  The truck took 2 1/2 hours the chain saws more than 3 hours.

However, while the saws were getting new chains, the littles and I went over to our 2 favorite treasure shops and SCORED.  Here's what we found:

blue striped blouse $5, pink sweater $7, green striped blouse $6
lt. pink blouse $6, green jacket w/ black & green tank $8

green turtle neck sweater $1, burgundy jacket $1.50, green eyelet
blouse $1, blue blouse $1, dk. pink blouse $1

waffle iron $3, 4 badminton rackets w/ bird $2, steam iron $1,
snack service for 8 $2, sterling silver bowl $0.50, silver plated
trivet $0.50, glass sectioned server $0.25, 12 yellow napkins $3,
basket weave denim purse $1
OG also picked up a pair of sweatpants and two work shirts totaling $3.  EJ found a western shirt and a pair of short pants for only $3.50.  So, although our day started off less than perfect, God still saw fit to bless us abundantly.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Zucchini Recipes

Everyone I know who plants zucchini seems to end up with more than they anticipated.  They are always looking for new ways to prepare it.  Tuesday evening I created Warm Zucchini Bruchetta.  I promise this recipe will become a new summertime favorite in your home.  I've also included a lightly spiced and fabulously moist Apple Zucchini Bread recipe that I'm sure you will love.

Warm Zucchini Bruchetta

1 large zucchini, cut into 1/2" rounds
oil for frying
Dredging Station:
container #1 = 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
container #2 = 1 egg, well beaten
container #3 = 1/4 c. all-purpose flour, 1/2 c. cornmeal, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil to 350 degrees. Dredge zucchini rounds in flour, dip in egg, dredge in cornmeal mixture.  Fry in hot oil until golden, about 1-2 minutes.  Place on baking rack to drain AND to retain crispness.

1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil leaves, chopped OR 1/2 tsp. dried basil

Mix together tomato, garlic and basil.


Sprinkle mozzarella cheese onto each zucchini round.

Top mozzarella with 1 tsp. tomato topping.

Garnish tomato mixture with more shredded mozzarella.

 Place under broiler (on a baking rack to retain crispness) until cheese is melted and begins to brown.
 Mmm, Mmm, Good!

Apple Zucchini Bread
(adapted from Taste of Home Recipes)

4 c. all-purpose four
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
5 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 c. shredded unpeeled zucchini (about 3 med.)
1 c. shredded peeled apple (about 2 med.)
1 c. chopped walnuts (original recipes calls for 1-1/2 c. pecans)

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  In another bowl, beat eggs.  Add oil, sugars and vanilla.  Pour over dry ingredients, mix well.  Stir in zucchini, apples and walnuts (batter will be stiff).  Spoon into three greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yield:  3 loaves OR 3 dozen muffins
NOTE:  If making muffins, reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.