Zechariah 13:9

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Zechariah 13:9

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

This & That

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

  • This & That

    A while back I had blogged about our sunflower and cold-frame experiments.  We had cut the sunflower heads, put them in paper bags and put them in the basement to dry.  When we opened them to remove dry seeds, we discovered that most of the heads rotted. I am not sure, but maybe the heads were not dry enough when we cut them?   I read that we could've let the flowers dry in the garden by tying paper bags over the heads while they were still on the stalk.  The bags would prevent the birds from getting the seeds and from the seeds falling to the ground, but the air still could get through.(?)  If it would rain, the bags would have to be replaced, though.  I have my doubts on whether we will attempt that experiment again in the near future.
    The hay bale cold-frame experiment?  That has been interesting.  After about a week, the lettuce and onions started popping through the soil.  I was excited!   Then, I forgot to "open a window" on a hot day, and the lettuce went down hill fast.  Now, the only things that are growing are the onions and something else that I didn't plant.  The soil was some compost, and I believe the seeds were already in the soil before it made it to the cold frame.  The other issue was that the hay bales themselves started to decompose, which effected how the windows fit on top.  So, the lesson learned with this experiment is that we would rather have a hoop house.   Maybe next year......
    With this being the end of the season for broccoli, we ended up doing 3 banana boxes full the last two days.  The boys were big helpers once again.
    more broccoli
    I decided to try some brussel sprouts.  They were sold still on the stalk, so we had to cut them off, soak in salt water, blanch for a few minutes, then into the freezer they went.  Only Dave & I like them, so we only bought 5 stalks, which gave us about 6 quart.
    brussel sprouts
    We had about 6 head of cauliflower to either put into freezer or can.  Some of us love pickled foods, so I found a recipe for pickled cauliflower (vinegar, sugar, celery and mustard seeds and turmeric).  I canned 7 qt. and have 2 qt. in fridge to eat.  It is not as good as chow chow, so I am not sure how popular our pickled cauliflower is going to be.  It is fun to try new things every now & then, and sometimes we discover a winner of recipe that our family loves.  To top off the day, Ben brought home the hamburger from the beef we had butchered at the shop where he works.  Everyone always enjoys packing the burger.  First we weigh it into 5 pound "lumps".
    weighing burger

    Then it gets packed into ziploc freezer bags, pressed flat and carted off to the freezer.
    From the beef, we had as many roasts saved as possible.  The shop wrapped and froze those for us.  After Thanksgiving, I am going to try my hand at making deli roast beef and I will let you know how that all turns out. 
    May each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
    Until next time...........

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life of a Farmer

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

  • Life of A Farmer

     A farmer's day starts before the sun rises in the morning, anyway the farmer at this home does.  Maybe I should mention here about the different farmers.  There are chicken farmers, hog farmers, crop farmers, beef farmers, vegetable farmers and all these raise what their name describes (and I don't know what time their day gets started).  Then we have dairy farmers.  These farmers milk cows and provide the dairy products your purchase at the store.  In the category of dairy farmers, we have some that milk 2 times a day, 3 times a day, some every 16 hours or less, and some once a day.  You have small family farms, like us, who milk anywhere from 30 - 100  cows.  Then you have what we call the cow factories, where they milk hundreds of cows.  Only on family farms, the cows will be milked in tie stalls.  There are stalls that the cows will go into and be tied and either remain there all the time or be left out to pasture between milkings.  In the "factories" the cows are milked in a parlor.  They are milked and immediately released back into a holding area.  Usually these cows never go out to pasture, they remain in this holding area where there are stalls that they can lay in.  Things certainly have progressed in the dairy industry, for now there are robot milkers, but to me that is not true farming, so I will not go into that.  I am only going to focus on what it is like here on our farm.  We milk 2 times a day, morning and evening.  Dave is usually the first one out of bed about 4 - 4:30.  Either Georgie or Ben will go to the barn with him at 5 - 5:30 to milk.  Everyone else goes out around 6:00ish to feed the cows, heifers and calves.    It takes approx. 1 1/2 - 2 hrs. to milk.  Each person has their responsibilties.  Dave, Ben & Georgie are the milkers, 
    Solomon feeds and does manure management.
    Uriah & Oliver (with my help) feed calves.
    We usually are all back in the house around 8:00 for breakfast.  Needless to say, everyone is hungry by then, so we try to have a nuturious breakfast of greek eggs and/or potatoes.  We also enjoy leftovers for breakfast or I will fry up vegetables with scrambled eggs.  Dave lays down for a nap, and we try to start school around 9:00.  Dave is then off to do his masonry jobs till late afternoon and then it is chore time again.  We try to have everything wrapped up by 6:00 -6:30, eat supper, and since it gets dark early, the children go to bed 8:00 - 8:30 and us soon thereafter.   This is a typical week day here at our home.   Weekends, chores are the same, but we are able to get projects done on Sat. and on Sunday, we go to church and either have a day of fellowship or have family time at home.  We have had people tell us that farmers are a special breed of people and after thinking about that, I think they are right.  Nobody understands a farmers life, unless you are or were a farmer.  It looks like a life of ease, just working at home with the family milking cows, but there is so much more that goes into it then what people realize.  Don't get me wrong, it is a good life and it brings alot of positives with it.  It also can be never-ending.  The cows don't stop producing milk on weekends or holidays.  For vacation, we try to do things very close to home or we do staycations, where we stay at home but plan a weekend  camping out in the yard with a campfire only doing necessary chores.  This past weekend, we went to Camp Swatara for the day, hiking, playing on playgrounds and sitting by pond.  It was fun and refreshing!  If you happen to have farmer for a neighbor or friend, tell him how much you appreciate his hard work and sacrifice to provide a product that is wholesome.  Nowadays, it is not a paying proposition, but that is for another blog.
    Until next time..............

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Am I a Hypocrite

Wednesday, 04 November 2009

  • Am I a Hypocrite?

    Are you? This has been brewing around in my mind for a very long time.  What is a hypocrite? The dictionary says it is:  "a person who pretends to be what he is not; one who pretends to be better than he really is, or pious, virtuous, etc. without really being so."  The question again is: am I a hypocrite and are you?  A hypocrite will "sound a trumpet" when he gives money or goods to gain attention for himself.  A hypocrite will make himself obvious when he prays.  When he fasts, he will make sure that people will notice. He will use himself as the standard of judgment for which he judges others.  A hypocrite will draw near unto God with his mouth, and honor Him with his lips, but his heart will be far from God.  He puts stumbling blocks in the way of the sinner who is repenting and being converted by being a false leader.  He makes a show of religion while extorting money from the poor and widowed.  With his mouth, he destroys his neighbor.  His outward appearance seems righteous to men, but he is full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.  He is very careful to keep all the "regulations", such as tithing 10% etc., but overlook mercy and faith.  Just go to Matthew and you will find all these references and more.  It is so easy to become a hypocrite.  We want to fit in, to be accepted, to be looked up to by others.  Isn't it heady when people compliment you on your spiritual insights, your wonderful Godly family, your educated children, your delightful marriage relationship, your ability to pray in front of people,  your ability to teach the Gospel and lead people to repentance, etc?  But, is it really as it appears?  Is your family really Godly?  Are you really praying publicly for God's approval, or is it to impress people?  Is your marriage really as delightful as it appears to others?   Are your posts on Facebook, or on your blogs truthful?  Or are we "beefing up" our words to make people think we are something? (I am asking myself these questions too and not meaning to target just "you").  Do we cave into all the peer pressures around us to find acceptance?  Am I a hypocrite and are you?  God has made each one of us exactly how HE wanted us, but for some reason we want to be the person who everyone else thinks we should be.  When we surrender to this temptation, we will find that after awhile we have no idea who we are and we have become a hypocrite.   We only need to look at the scriptures and God tells us what we should believe, how we are to speak and act, and how we are to present ourselves outwardly.  The only person we are to compare ourselves with and gain approval from is JESUS CHRIST and when that is done we will realize that we fall way short in all our accomplishments and have nothing to boast about except that He gave His life for us, out of His love for us.  He knows whether we are being genuine or not and He despises fakiness!  "Woe unto you......hypocrites".  Woe means: "great sorrow; grief; misery".  So, the question is once again:  am I a hypocrite?  The verdict is.... quilty!    I am VERY genuine when I say I HATE it in myself and am uncomfortable around others who are not "real" or genuine either.  The rest of the question is:  Are you?  And if your verdict is "quilty" also, join me in a journey to becoming a TOTALLY genuine and truthful servant before God and everyone we come into contact with.  May our lives mirror the life of Jesus. 
    Until next time.........