Maggie ran out last week to try to capture the beauty of the full moon, but the photo does not do it justice. The days here are lovely and the nights have turned very cool and the season is so gorgeous that it is hard not to just want to be out-of-doors playing with the kids. Not much time for fun though because we are still filling our pantries and freezers with the harvest of goods.
Before very long, we will be butchering the turkeys, ducks and chickens and yesterday we cleaned out and organized 5 of our deep freezers. What a job that was. I threw out a lot of liver and some things that I know we’ll never use. Old meat went to the kittens and old sweet corn, green beans etc. went to the chickens and hogs. It makes me feel better knowing that they are going to good use.
Today we are going to render the rest of the lard and work on more apples. We’re going to freeze bags of sugared apples which we will use for apple crisp, not too many, maybe 10 or so. That will depend on time and ambition:) The carrots and beets are still out there in the garden as well as the balance of tomatoes.
And now, two days later, I am finishing this post. The lard has been rendered and all the apples have been frozen into apples for crisp. The potatoes have all been packed into the basement for winter use and the onions were all bagged today as well. We ended up with 17 quarts of crab apple jelly the other day and it tastes amazing!
I was thinking about all this work as I rendered the lard in the warm sun. There was plenty of time to think as I chased away chickens and stirred the lard down, occasionally running into the butcher shed to bag a portion of apples. I could hear from within the butcher shop walls some singing and laughter from two of the kids assigned apple peeling duty. Also to be heard, was the radio from the front porch blasting where the other two kids were completing the crab apple jelly job. (Our family loves music and are likely to be found singing often during the day.) We were accomplishing plenty of tasks but at the same time the kids were having fun or at least making the jobs fun. I sure hope I don’t paint a too rosy picture of family life:); yes our kids are like all kids the world ’round. They argue just like your own kids do! I write this because it is probably the number one question that has been asked of us over the years while performing as The Callens Family.
Dad and the boys were putting in our supply of wood for the long winter. I could hear the chainsaw humming and Caleb coaxing Mario right along to help stack the wood. Older ones, in each case, were helping to train in the younger kids. Good honest work really does build character. When a child looks back at what he or she accomplished in a day at a given task, they sure feel proud of that work. Kids and people in general learn by actually doing. So what if they have never done it before…….just try it. With a bit of encouragement you’d be amazed what they can do. Caleb and Mario both have been working up on the hill at Peter and Frenchy’s place building an addition, again, hands on learning with older people. Real life shop class, right here at home!
Later that evening we had a bonfire up on the hill to celebrate some of the work we had completed. The fiddles sounded crystal clear in the star lit night and our voices were raised up to meet them. When it was time for bed, knowing there were no neighbors to wake up, the kids and I sang loudly……..”Over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we go”…………our bellies still warmed from our own apple cider. Everyone was too tired to stay up as late as we had planned:)
Today when Fred and I hauled hay home from the sale barn, I was telling him how much I love this time of year; I could feel my heart swell within my chest with happiness. It’s hard to describe that feeling, but I am sure most of you have felt that very same thing, right? Hard to describe…..Everything is so beautiful this time of year. Even with all the chores that need to be done before winter I can honestly say, know and believe that life is good, even among so much bad in the world. What a blessing to have a very small farm to raise our family on, a perfect school setting as well. How many kids in this world actually get to work alongside both sets of parents on a regular basis, as well as older siblings? I thank God for allowing me this kind of life. Sure we don’t have money…….but nobody seems to notice:))
Our small world has been even more fun lately with the addition of Frenchy and Peter’s little Kallie Jo. She has grown so much as you can see in the photo below. We eagerly await, any day now, the birth of yet another grand child from Jessi and Luke. Pray for a safe delivery of a healthy baby, thanks!
I will be posting our rooster butchering excursion soon. Today is the big day:)