Apple day

We’ve been busy today taking care of various projects around the house. It’s the first weekday the Blessings have had off school since mid-September, and they’ve been a big help.

We worked on getting the venison we were given earlier this week in the freezer at last. We were given one rear haunch and two front haunches, mostly clean. Jonathan boned and cleaned it up some more, then we roasted it. The boys and I got a good bit of it trimmed and pulled/shredded this morning, and when I realized I was wearing out with quite a bit of meat left and other projects still to do, we went ahead and got it all in the freezer… some ready to pull and some still in need of trimming. Whew.

The Blessings put the winter squash we gathered last night onto a shelf in the basement, and did some cleaning around the house in preparation for the arrival of our apples. Because today is apple pickup! I headed out at lunchtime to pick up the six bushels we’d ordered, and threw in an extra 1/4 bushel of a type we hadn’t tried before while I was there. We will get serious about putting them up next week, as we have chiropractic appointments this afternoon and a busy day tomorrow. I’m so excited about canned apples, applesauce, and applebutter, and I think we’ll try dehydrating some as well. Any favorite recipes you’d like to share??

We listened to the Statler brothers through a good bit of the day as we worked (that 30 years 3 CD collection lasts through a lot of projects!). Love the Statlers! My friends the Youngs introduced me to them when I was in high school, and I was thrilled that I got the bonus of marrying into a family that appreciated them as well.

I love to listen to the Statlers sing How Great Thou Art. I got all thrilled and throat-catchy today thinking on
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
and there proclaim (for eternity!!), my God, how great Thou art!

So, here’s a treat for you (you’ll have to follow the links because WP is not letting me embed them, for some reason)…
The Statlers singing How Great Thou Art in 1971 on a Johnny Cash special
And a more recent version (looks like it’s from The Statler Brothers Show)
Enjoy!

The garden is almost done for the year. Last week we gathered a large harvest before the first freeze of the year.

The Blessings and I also spent about an hour covering tomato and pepper plants with sheets before that first freeze to try to protect them and give them a bit more time to mature the fruit they’ve been working so hard to produce since the intense heat cooled. What you see on that plate was the extent of our tomato harvest to the date of the picture, less three tomatoes. Impressive for the almost 50 tomato plants we planted in the spring, eh? Hot hot summer makes gardening interesting, anyway!

The long skinny peppers are Holy Moles (holey moleys). This is the second year we’ve grown them. They are prolific producers with varying degrees of heat. The first year, they were quite mild, while this year they packed a bit of a punch. I found this out after I’d taken them to fellowship lunch along with miscellaneus bell/banana peppers and assured everyone that I had only brought sweet peppers. Or not…
I canned five pints of Holy Moles (sliced) and a couple pints of banana peppers (a portion of this batch), but I haven’t gotten a picture of their loveliness yet.

Tonight after we got home from town, we did another pre-frost harvest, as it’s supposed to get down to 31. Here’s what Jonathan and the older Blessings gathered while I got Andrew ready for bed:

The tomatoes made a bit of progress in the mild week+ after the first freeze; hopefully these will ripen nicely inside.
The pitiful watermelons didn’t have time to mature, yet this is the best success we’ve had yet with watermelons. Maybe next year we’ll grow some that we, instead of the chickens, eat.

A couple of the little butternuts broke off at the stem and were cooked tonight… gorgeous, aren’t they?

Songs, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

We’re working on getting back in the habit of having a hymn and a Scripture song (or, occasionally, a chorus) that we sing daily each week. This springs from a desire to instill the great hymns of the faith and the Word of God into our children, and, thankfully, they all seem to enjoy it. I have been deeply blessed over the years as the Lord has used the words of hymns and Scripture songs to bring His truth to my mind in times of need, and I pray that this habit will be seed in the lives of our Blessings.

This week’s hymn is May the Mind of Christ My Savior. Such a wonderful prayer:

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Words: Kate B. Wil­kin­son, be­fore 1913; ap­peared in Gold­en Bells (Lon­don: Child­ren’s Spe­cial Ser­vice Miss­ion, 1925).

Music: St. Le­o­nards, Ar­thur C. Barham-Gould, 1925

A pdf of the sheet music can be found here.

Our Scripture song for the week is Romans 12.1-2:
I urge you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, *
that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good, acceptable and perfect.
(repeat to *)

What a Weekend!

Friday afternoon found us at the home of some new friends, for an enjoyable visit and (hopefully) an intake of the chicken pox. Our older Blessings have been exposed multiple times and have not yet broken out in the pox, but I keep trying whenever the opportunity arises. That doesn’t seem to be very often; Stephen had not been exposed previously in his four+ years. We shall see what the next few weeks bring.

Saturday afternoon, we had a wind turbine raising, complete with chili supper. Dad and Mom Smith joined us, as did James, Wendy, and Shay. We’re thankful for family help! I took scads of pictures:

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We were gifted with some venison on Sunday evening, so Jonathan left our weekly pancake night to go pick it up, then spent quite a while removing the meat from the bones. I roasted the bones and have had bone broth simmering all day, about which I’m excited. I’m not certain yet how we will be processing the meat, but we are thrilled to have about thirty-five pounds of venison to deal with!

This and That

So, I left home late LAST Monday morning to go to a birth and haven’t blogged since, though I did start a post last Wednesday afternoon with this:

I left home late Monday morning to go to a birth. Got home late this morning. Intense physically, mentally, and most of all emotionally. Glad for my wonderful preceptors, for the safe arrival of a baby, and for the rock solid “knowing” that God is good. So thankful to be home and I can hardly wait to see my husband this evening. As I learn more in my midwifery journey, my thankfulness for the midwives who have blessed me by serving at my births increases exponentially. God is good. After the last couple of days, I am clinging to that knowledge.

Last week’s birth was quite the emotional ride, and between the swirl in my heart/brain and efforts to get back in the swing of things with my family, blogging just took a back seat. I’m hopeful to be back in the saddle again now.

Random news tidbits:
~ Davey and Barak started basketball practice this week. I’m excited about all they will learn this season, as it is their first time on an organized sports team.
~ School is going well these days. We are doing well with a forward-moving routine. Though I am still needing to tweak/add some things, I feel good overall about the learning we are accomplishing.
~ We bought a wind turbine and are having a Turbine Raising this Saturday. We are excited about this as a way to save some money on our electric and as a potential income source, as Jonathan is interested in installing them for others. It will be interesting to see how everything comes together.
~ I’m now walking five mornings a week with Bethany (when births allow). I’m hopeful the added days will help get me off of the mini-yo-yo I’ve been on with my weight loss/health journey. We’ll see what tomorrow’s weigh-in tells us!
~ Would you pray for some St Louis-area friends of ours, Brian, Allison, and one year old Henry? They were hit by a drunk driver Sunday night and Allison and Henry were both injured severely. They are out of ICU now, and there is a possibility Henry will be released today, which would result in the family being able to really be together for the first time since the accident. Allison is in a tremendous amount of pain, with a broken femur and her pelvis broken in multiple places. Please pray for them?
~ I had my first “missed” birth yesterday. Things went really fast at the end for this mom, and since the hospital was closer than our arrival, they went ahead and checked in and baby arrived before us. All is well with baby, and Mom and Dad are thrilled that they were able to have the best-for-baby birth for which they had hoped, despite the last minute change in plans. It was also nice for B. and I to have a positive hospital experience after last week.
~ And the big news in our house this week are some fun and exciting milestones for Andrew. He has 1)started standing by himself for several seconds at a time, and 2)signing “please” when prompted. The “please” is his first consistent intentional “verbal” communication, and we are hoping that it opens a whole new world for him. The other Blessings have really been working with him on signing, and our work is having results!

Here’s a cute shot of Andrew standing yesterday with his physical therapist, Dayna. She is actually not supporting him at all, though her hand is close. Yay for Andrew!

In Which I Speak of Soy and Estrogen

I have recently been asked to articulate my concerns about soy as food. I have told some of my experience with soy and estrogen dominance in my dust-gathering-yet-unfinished series on Balance, but thought I would share this brief as well.

About five years ago, at 32 years of age, I was displaying the classic signs of pre-menopause (about 15 years earlier than average). I will not go into the details of my physical symptoms, but I was miserable. In addition to my obviously feminine-related symptoms, I had memory loss, confused thinking, mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, extreme fatigue, and blood sugar issues.

A midwife friend suggested that I might be dealing with the results of estrogen dominance. After research, I realized that while I had likely been dealing with estrogen dominance for most of my life (having displayed key signs of hormonal imbalance along the way), the soy-intensive diet plan that I had been following for the previous year plus had sent my balance further askew than ever before. This resulted in the symptoms mentioned above, all of which are linked with estrogen dominance.

After realizing that my consumption of soy was likely linked to my physical, mental, and emotional difficulties, I cut soy from my diet. I made changes to eliminate other sources of phyto (plant) and xeno (chemical) estrogens from my life, but the elimination of soy was by far the biggest change. Within a month, I could see a dramatic improvement in my mental, emotional, and physical state. In a few more months, it was like a new person (the person I had once been, but hopefully even better) had come to live in our house.

Hormone balance is all about balance… having the right proportions of estrogen, progesterone, etc. Large amounts of soy, a phyto-estrogen, can cause an imbalance in anyone. Some people are more susceptible than others to this imbalance or, already having an hormonal imbalance, to even greater extremes of imbalance. I am one of those people, but I am not rare. And I believe that there are many people whose health issues are, unknown to them, due to hormonal imbalance.

If I’ve peaked your interest, I would be glad to answer questions as I am able. Also, I have found Dr. John Lee’s website to be a helpful and informative resource.

State Fair Reflections – Through the Years

Our camera went kaput at the end of August and revived a few weeks later, so we were without it during the State Fair. Though I missed having the camera, I can see how its absence allowed me to relish our Fair experience in a different way. I wonder if I could paint pictures for you with words instead…

But first some memories, because the Kansas State Fair has seemed a magical place to me for as long as I can remember attending.

When I was in Jr. High and High School, the Kansas Bible Camp board meeting was often held during a Fair weekend and I have memories of exploring it various times with my brother Eric, playing carnival games, buying trinkets and Fair Food. For years, my front license plate was one from an airbrush booth at the Fair… adorned with a pig and my name.

A highlight from a later board meeting weekend was one of the “older” guys at the chapel taking a couple of us youngsters to the fair one evening. It was me and this guy from camp that often irritated me, but we had a fun time with Jase that night. The lights, sounds, and smells of the Fair that night still stick with me. We discovered we were both taking French in school and enjoyed comparing vocabulary. Little did I know it was my first visit to the Fair with the love of my life.

My fourth year of college, I came home in September just to share the Fair with my friends, especially this certain fellow who still could get under my skin, but who seemed to have become much nicer over the years. We weren’t “official” yet, but the magic of the Fair was extra special that year.


(Bob, Jo, and that guy, Sept. 94)

And by the time the next Fair rolled around, we were weeks away from our wedding!

Time’s up…

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