Monday, August 29, 2011

The Garden

It has been a productive year...not quite as much as last year, but I am still grateful. We had a raspberry bumper crop, and now the cucumbers, tomatoes, and green beans have been steadily flowing from the garden, to my counter, and into glass jars for canning. I have been canning pretty much anything I can get my hands on. So far, I have pickled beets, dill pickles, bread and butter pickles, three-bean salad, canned whole tomatoes, and peaches. I also froze a lot of rhubarb and green beans. Today I have been trying to strain the juice from these bags of chokecherries that Ethan and the two oldest kids picked in North Dakota. The juice takes a long time to strain in the jelly bag because it is very pulpy. I finally finished this evening and have about a gallon of juice that I placed into the freezer until I can pick up some Sure-Jell and sugar to make jelly and syrup.

The carrots do not seem to be growing, so I am not sure if any will come out of the ground this year. Much to my children's delight, one of the zucchini plants died. The other one sort of died, but then revived, and has since produced one zucchini. Another zucchini is growing, so we will see what we can squeeze out of that sick plant. The tomatoes have spotted leaf fungus again, but according to my neighbor, Harley, this fungus gets into the soil and will never go away. The only way to get rid of it is to rotate crops, but because I have a smallish garden, there is not room to move the tomatoes to another location. I still have gotten many, many roma tomatoes and beefsteak tomatoes, despite the dead leaves. Praise the LORD for that. God is good, and He will provide.

School's Starting!

I have four very bright children who are (sort of) eager to begin school. One of my kids was thanking God tonight for school, but when it was bedtime, the anxiety started setting in as well as the complaints. I tried to give some motherly exhortation, but I am afraid I was a bit short because I wanted this child to go to sleep rather than talking and keeping the others up. We will see how it goes. As I grow and mature, I am realizing more and more the need for a strong relationship with God through prayer.

As I prepare for homeschooling again in this town, I realize that my expectations for what would be this year are quite different from God's plans. I honestly thought we would have moved by now and we would be starting our lives in a new ministry. But as always, our thoughts are not God's thoughts, and I am peacefully embracing God's will for staying put at the moment and beginning another year homeschooling here. I am content with the fact that God is in control. The biggest perk of being here is the School of Choice that meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. We had our mom's meeting last week, and I began to be so excited for the material that the teachers and I will be covering both in school and in homeschool. One of the fun lessons will be a missionary biography presented by the co-op teacher every three weeks that will correspond with the historical time period we will be studying. Adoniram Judson is the first missionary, an amazing persevering Christian man in Burma whose story has brought me to tears after hearing John Piper speak about his life. How Few There Are Who Die So Hard is a very honest look at a man who persevered through tremendous suffering for the sake of the Gospel in Burma. Our teacher will use this missionary to correspond with the time period of the Civil War at the beginning of our American History unit this year. We will cover the Civil War to present times in history this year. I especially look forward to all the wonderful material on WWII, a favorite topic of my husband's, who was a history major in college. This is the fun stuff, the facts, that our kids LOVE.

The basics that require practice and rote memory do not appeal to my kids, and we struggle through them. Math facts, spelling, and handwriting are sometimes a "teeth pulling" experience. I pray for great creativity and perseverance in teaching these subjects this year. I am grateful that God has provided some great materials for these subjects. Just last week, I received two free handwriting books, one for Peter and one for Gretchen. These were some things I really needed. Now I am praying for another need, that I trust God will provide in His special way. Let's roll!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Look At 'Em Beans!

I finally got the beans blanched and frozen today. This will not be the last day of doing that this summer. Amy was my wonderful helper!