Last night a friend of ours (Paul) came out to stay the night and go hunting with Ben's first time out. Paul got the one and only deer he spotted with one shot, while Ben saw 30 (yes 30), took several shots, and came up with nothing. He had to chalk it up to nerves, as he has decent aim normally. He even set up a paper target later in the afternoon to make sure he wasn't crazy or had defective equipment. Maybe deer have angels too?
Paul taught us how to field dress it! It was a wonderful experience and such a blessing to see it "live" before we have to do it solo. We have been watching videos...but its different in person. I got to watch the very beginning of it, but had to get back in the house to the chores at hand. Good friends are such a priceless treasure!
While we don't "do Christmas" ...I must admit I enjoy getting cards, newsletters and photos from those friends and family who like to send them this time of year! So please keep us on your "list" if you do that! (We will not be "offended" -- rather blessed, to know that you want to stay in touch with us and share what is going on in your lives!)
We started some reading practice with Gideon today. He is showing signs of readiness...so we thought we would "feel this out"...he is still quite young...so if the novelty wears off and we find he isn't ready yet...I'll just "shelve it" for a later season. I find it is so much easier to do it with a willing student than to try to force it if they are not. You could spend months struggling for no reason...when they are ready...something just clicks and they respond quickly. That is so much nicer for everyone than phonetic torture! :-)
We decided we would try to figure our how to make banana pudding today. We have lots of bananas from our last produce order and it was time to put the ones that had not yet been eaten in the freezer to use for smoothies and baking, which is why we were inspired to experiment. It was a success! YUM! I think we are on a roll...we make vanilla, chocolate and banana pudding from scratch now! I just love going back to the old ways, and not being dependant on commercial boxed "junk /processed food". Of course I have been on the natural organic train for many many years...which is a nice in between step, but that kind of stuff it is expensive and hard to find now...scratch is so much more satisfying on so many more levels!
Our sassafras soda, however, is not bubbling for us...so we messed something up. I will have to play with that some more. We were experimenting with water kefir...but we suspect our Berkey water filter was interfering with its success. A friend said that was her experience too. I didn't want to buy water and the well pump isn't in yet (and won't be for a while)...so I just kind of put that on the back burner for now...Maybe I'll try again in the summer.
Today we spent the better part of the day getting wood. We collected it from a local Amish mill, who had a big pile of "waste wood". They get whole trees in and cut them into boards for construction. They sell the wood for $16 a truck load (in our case a full 5 x 10 trailer). We did three loads today and filled our wood shed 6 feet high. The whole family helped, it was a nice day of family work...all the kids loved it, and Chazaq even "endured it" pretty well. The ground was wet and soft, so we couldn't pull the trailer up real close. We discovered this the day before when we went the first time. So when we returned we were better prepared with wheel barrels which made a huge difference. We got a nice little "system" down that became pretty efficient! It was a very satisfying day of work! It is so good to have a stock pile to pull from in our shed and it was very reasonably priced. It burns nicely, its cheap, and is close by, we were blessed. Doing this not only relieved the stress of always being behind on our need for wood, but it will also gauge how much wood we need for next season, which was very hard when we were on the "collect and burn as you go" program were we on before now. :-) This is much better.
I connected with a neighbor today that I have been meaning to connect with for some time. We have a date with her and her husband to come to dinner after the new year. I find it getting harder to know my neighbors these days. With so much land between us and with us being so busy with the family and farm...I have found that a whole year has passed with "good intentions". We have met many of our neighbors...but this will be the first one we have actually had for dinner. :-)
We are parking the van by the road again, it is moist enough that she will get stuck in the soft ground. (which we know all to well!) Driveways really are beautiful thing! Be thankful if you have one! Our "farm truck" has been sitting for a week in a bog by the edge of the woods, waiting for a nice deep freeze to harden the mud she sits in, to get her back up the hill.
This morning my friend Michelle, had her baby at home! It was such a treat for us to stay in contact with one another via internet and emails. She had a healthy baby boy and named him Boaz Zephaniah, born at 6:32 am, 8 pounds 7 1/2 ounces. We are rejoicing with her and her family. I have several friends who are expecting right now...she is the first one to go, the next 4 will be over the next 4 months of so..one of which I am planning to attend (Yah willing).
Today we went into Nashville to pick up Ben's Mom, Carol. What a treat! We tried to keep it a surprise from the kids...but it is hard to do in a small house when we all live, work and play together! The older kids figured it out, but we were able to keep it a surprise for the 4 littles right up until the time they saw her at the airport. So that was fun. :-) Today is Eliana's 4th Birthday but we will be celebrating it tomorrow...so stay tuned for that next week. :-)
Ben, Pamela and the Tribe