Those dreamy summertime days…where have they gone? Astronomically speaking, summertime comes to an end with the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22, even though many people’s minds, it ends with the Labor Day weekend’s last round of picnics and outings.
Now that there is a snap in the air, it is the time for wild Black-Eyed Susans to be made into daisy chains by little girls and princesses-at-heart. Now is the time to harvest the few butternut squash and melons and bottle up the liquid-gold honey from the hives; now is the time to clip the last roses of the season and relish the dwindling bounty from the garden…all too soon it will be only a memory, and we will be wishing it back again.
Occasionally on this old blog I need to chronicle a small sampling of impressions for my family…something to bring back memories of a season past. You, of course, are welcome to come along for a quick view into our gardens and home this past summer. Nothing too personal, just some homey things…
Ode To Summertime
Arapaho Blackberries are new to our garden. We planted one in an old tire, bedded it with straw, and are training the canes to grow over a cattle panel. In its first year of production, we have picked somewhere close to 6 pounds of pure juicy delight.
“Go to the ant…
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.”
~Proverbs 6: 6-8
After struggling to keep our fruit trees from Miller Nursery alive (no fault of the trees) due to happy, hungry deer and forgetting to prune, several of our ‘no-spray’ Jonafree apple trees bore a small, but wonderful, crop of apples.
Harvesting together to cook a meal with a friend is one of the best pleasures in life!
For the first year in years, the spring rains were near perfect for all the fruit here at our Berry Hill home.
“Let us now fear the LORD our God,
Who gives rain in its season,
Both the autumn rain and the spring rain,
Who keeps for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
~Jeremiah 5: 24b
I feel this surge of domestic pleasure that comes with preserving food at home. ‘I made that’! How satisfying to gather and store up a plentiful bounty for the long winter ahead, just like the industrious red squirrels are wisely doing right now!
We put up a very English red currant honey-sweetened jam using Pamona pectin and red raspberry, too.
It was great learning how easy it is to make refrigerator jam (raspberry and blackberry) using honey for sweetness and chia to thicken. I froze a lot, but left head space.
Since we helped host our state’s annual homeschool convention in the end of May, our garden was smaller than usual. Lots of variety of heirloom tomatoes and peppers, but noticeably missing were pole beans, corn, and the usual spring lettuces, cilantro, basil, and spinach.
I must be having a heart change about the farm equipment in our yard. It has been hard for me to embrace in the past since I was a city girl, but the Lord can do great things in our hearts when we ask for His help to transform us! Also having a hay operation makes it rather dusty in the summer, and I am so grateful for intermittent rains the Lord sends to wash it all away!
“…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” ~1 John 1:7
The enormous Mike’s Monster tomato is still bearing; they have expanded many amazing tomato-based soups!
Going sprouted: Last year we made the decision to eat only organic sprouted grain products (organic sprouted corn or wheat) or make our own artisan breads.
Several of you have asked what we make for quick and healthy lunches here. One thing we are loving are the Food For Life sprouted corn tortillas for personal mini-pizzas.
My summertime favorite is fresh tomato, chopped cilantro, onion, and avocado smothered in cheese, while the boys love chicken, onion and olives, covered in cheese or a black bean/corn salsa and cheese. Use a 375° oven until the cheese bubbles.
Another favorite is cheese toasties topped with fresh tomatoes from the garden and cilantro on sprouted bread. This yellow tomato is a Russian heirloom with a funny and almost unpronounceable name: Malakatavoya Shkatulka.
An example of our peasant lunches. Eating around what you produce in the garden is frugal, nutritious, and quick if you keep it simple.
Chicken salad-stuffed tomato with melted Parmesan cheese topping…
I am a visual person, so in an effort to de-clutter my kitchen counter, I decided to keep our toaster on a catch-tray in my pantry. I love how I have so much more counter space.
It has been fun seeing our children enjoy baking and cooking together. Our favorite bread book is Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.
So, I don’t think I can let summertime go without a proper goodbye. It was a very full summer with many trials and many blessings. Despite all the difficulties that came one after another, I am even more thankful and choose to look on the many wonderful blessings!
So even as I write this, the cooler, rainy autumn days have arrived, and I thank God for the beauty of change. I look forward to all that autumn has to bring.
“Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” ~Acts 14:17
What was your favorite summertime memory?
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Thanks for reading!