Friday, October 31, 2014

From Can to Can't

Warm and inviting smells have been tantalizing us this week...the smell of baked local apples encouraged everyone to finish morning chores and get to the breakfast table...QUICK!
Hello Everyone!

The fall feeling is deeply entrenched in our lives takes its time appearing here in Tennessee. Each day now greets us now with its' chilly darkness, then a color burst grows as the sun rises above the treeline by the time we sit down for breakfast at 8 a.m. Charity has been pointing out the sun each morning as we thank God for our food. 

Each new day is a blessing of new beginnings. It doesn't really matter how well I did the day before, Jesus gently forgives, and sets me back on my feet to live victoriously for Him again. Praise His name!

During my morning devotions life looks "doable" with Christ close by. I can teach and train the 9 children still left at home...I can get the house orderly before school starts at 9:15...I can keep up with 6 grades and be creative in the process...I can keep up with all the facets of the farm business...I can get the fall and winter clothes sewn...I can keep the food storage organized and growing for the winter...I can be hospitable to folks that desire to visit...I can be an attentive and caring Grandma...I can! 

So, I used set off to do just that! My finger was in "every pie" of my home! I had grown confident in the needed skills over the years, and pridefully saw the fruit of my labors in the pantry, root cellar, gardens, closets, and kitchen. Then...I fell.

God used my fall and concussion to show me I can't really. My life's verse has always been Phillipians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  I knew my God was my strength, and that He delighted to pull me through each draining day...but I really didn't know how needy I was, or how dependent He desired me to be. 

Why am I such a slow learner?! Sometimes it's the harder lessons He sends that really allow us to see reality from His standpoint. So, I will praise Him for my fall...for through the past 6 months I've really seen that I can't, but He can.

We all hustle first thing in the morning after devotions to get our jobs finished before the breakfast bell on the porch rings!  With our new fall schedule I traded cooking breakfast with Caleb (22) so I could have alllllllllllllll the laundry for the day folded and away before breakfast. While I'm hustling, tantalizing smells waft from the kitchen making my stomach growl! Baked apples is a fun addition to our usual sausage and eggs during apple season. Leftovers flavor our children's "leftover meals" of rice and milk or a special treat of Shredded Wheat, so we plan for leftovers.

Baked Apples

1 apple per person
brown sugar
raisins (optional)

1. Wash and core apples, keeping the apple whole if possible. (We have a simple tool to do this with like this apple corer.)
2. Grease a pan or line it with parchment paper.
3. Stand apples on end in pan.
4. In a small mixing bowl mix a small amount (maybe a cup) of oatmeal with 1/4 C. (+ -) brown sugar or honey, and a heavy teaspoon or so of cinnamon. Mix with a spoon.
5. Fill the holes of the apple with the mixture.
6. Put a pad of butter (approximately 1 t.) on the top of each apple's filling.
7. Cover with foil.
8. Bake at 350 degrees until the apples are almost tender. 
9. Remove the foil and let the apples continue cooking till tender and bubbly yummy!

There is never a dull moment on our farm!  This week we...

*Bought 17 new feeder pigs.

*Began work on Adam's new house site.

*Began Faith's new sewing course! (That means she and I finished the aprons she had promised, and I had got to the bottom of the mending stack...all but the 6 pairs of jeans or overalls that need patching!)

*Experimented in the kitchen with the children.

We've started to experiment with
coconut flour! These are
coconut flour pancakes.

While the coconut flour ones
cooked, the little ones made
whole wheat ones for themselves.

My coconut ones didn't turn out
real bad...I'm just used to fresh stone
ground wheat.

I served them with an almond butter
butter mixture.

Faith Anne baked alongside me on
Thursday for the Crossville market and
made chewy molasses cookies! Oh boy! Every
boy in the house came in to see if any "burnt" as they like to eat our "castoffs". (There was none...poor things!)

Levi came up with the great idea of
making butternut muffins. I didn't really catch on to what he was saying ..."a woman at market says she makes them with grated squash"... He wanted me to share our recipe with ya'll!

Butternut Squash Muffins

3 eggs
1 C. Colvin Family Farm Honey
or Sorghum Molasses
1/2 C. Coconut Oil
1 t. vanilla
2 C. grated raw butternut squash
2 C.  soft whole wheat flour (unbleached can be used in a PINCH)
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/2 C. chopped nuts (optional)

1. Peel and grate butternut squash. Set aside.
2. Crack eggs into a mixing bowl, whip.
3. Mix in next 3 ingredients. Mix well.
3. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients.
4. Add dry ingredients all at once. Mix only until mixed as over mixing will create a tough muffin.
5. Remove the beaters from the mixer, and mix the squash and and nuts in by hand.
6. Fill greased muffin cups 3/4ths the way full if using whole wheat, 1/2 way if using white flour.
7. Bake approximately 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Cool on rack. Serve with fresh butter.
* Farmer Steve and I escorted his parents on their annual drive in the mountains to "see color".

*Harvested for the 8 markets we still sell at.

Our late tomatoes are being sold green...

We are looking forward to finishing our new
packing shed...we still wash with a hose...I can hear
you! "That explains it!"

Caleb and Shelby sure do have fun packing greens!

Our turnips can be used any way a white potato can be...mashed, fried, salad, in stews, even in chowder!

Faith Anne is wiping the butternut squash for

Sweet Potatoes

Our favorite addition to stir fries lately has
been Tatsoi. I marvel in its beauty!

Adam and Allison "help" pack vegetables for Saturday's market...

We've roasted and stir fried (my personal favorite)
fennel from the sweet fall harvest. Have you tried it yet?

A side view of our table in Chattanooga
on Wednesday.

The texture and tastes of the different lettuce varieties makes an incredible salad!

People are raving about our tender pasture raised

Our family favorite turnip! What
a mess (that's southern) this would cook up to be!

* Home schooled the 6 grade school children.
Our learning center...preserving leaves in glycerine

Charity practices her spelling words occasionally
using shaving cream on laminated scrapbook paper. It's fun to see the colors come through and feel the gooey cream as you spell!

I use my baking scraper to "erase" the words.

Levi uses Teaching Textbooks 4.

Luke had fun extracting the pigments from colored leaves in our learning center.

* The boys cleaned up fields and prepared them for a cover crop.

After the growing season there is weeks of
clean up to do. There is always a race to get the cover crop in before it's too late since we grow so late in the season.

* And of course the young men courted their gals...

Our church had a hayride for all the children ...everyone enjoyed an evening of fellowship. I enjoyed an evening of quiet here on the farm.
Farming has many daily cans to can'ts in it...We can start growing in the early spring if the weather allows. We can't grow when God sends freezing temperatures. We start our day with a can feeling, but when the mid day sun beats down on you for hours as you work in the field the can't feeling overtakes you.

Family life encompasses many cans to can'ts too! They are too numerous to even begin listing! 

There is one thing I KNOW... my God, Jesus Christ is able to direct me in the way I should live so I will not really get to the can't attitudes again. 
Cry out to Him and learn how to live victoriously!

We are having revival at our church November 10-14, and then the 17-21. Brother Sammy Allan will be preaching in his old time style (lots and lots of stories of how God has worked in his life through the 50+ years of preaching) which is a delight to my soul. Come on out and join us at 7:30 p.m. each evening. 
Victory Baptist Church is in Dayton, TN...a short ride from anywhere we market! Bluegrass gospel music nightly along with our huge, fun choir! Ya'll come!

       "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work."

2 Corinthians 9:8

                         Abundant Blessings!
                         The Farmers's Wife