Monday, September 12

Who says school has to start in September?


That’s a good question I have as my title up there. Who says school has to start in September? The government? Our neighbors? The public schools? Or is is because that’s what we did growing up? Last year when I was so sick I realized that there was no reason to be stressing my self out over trying to do it all. Because if there is one thing I learned well from being ill; I CAN”T DO IT ALL. So I stopped the one thing that I could and that was school in September. Just because that’s what everyone else does does not mean it’s a good thing for our family.

Now don’t think that means we just do one month less than everyone else. No, I still have 180 days a year that I must comply with. It just means we school on a different time frame. I call it the agrarian calendar. It’s the same one our ancestors followed and it follows the harvest. Before the Industrial Revolution when life in America was more rural children were needed on the farm to work. That meant that they went to school in the summer and winter and not in the spring and fall. There would have been to many chores with planting, harvesting, calving and the like. School back then usually started in November.

For our family we start in October, or after the apples are harvested and turned in to sauce and cider. We do not live on a farm so the garden is our only work and we also do not have any animals, save for our indoor cat. This is our first year following this type of school year fully. Last year was a an attempt to see how it would work. It turns out it’s one of the best decisions we made about our school schedule.

I can tell you that it is so nice not to have to worry about book learning or seat work during the harvest. I can focus all of my attention on the tasks for the day and the children are all pitching in where they can to help. I LOVE that fact that we get to enjoy the best parts of summer as our off times. September is the best summer has to offer, cooler temperatures and sunny days. I can also tell you that I am probably the only one in my area following this plan. So when I run out for an errand at 10:00 in the morning I get even more stares and questions than usual. But best of all we are still learning and working together as a family without the added stress of one more thing.

Thursday, September 8

What to do when it rains


Today it rained, and yesterday it rained, and yep it rained the day before that one too. The forecast for tomorrow? More rain. Now normally I love rain, it makes me want to curl up with a book, bake cookies , and generally lounge around the house all day. Especially if it’s a chilly rain. But this? This is during the harvest and I am busy. I don’t have time to do all those things the weather making me want to do. I must dice up those tomatoes that are sitting in boxes, string the beans, freeze the broccoli and some how try to keep the house clean in case someone wants to look at it. IMG_2421

The children are very helpful but there is still only so much I will let them do when working with boiling water and pressure canners. So after asking me about a million times to play in the rain, I finally said yes. After all there was no lightening or thunder and it was warm. They played outside for 3 hours, building dams, moats, and filing the boat with water.


They were quite resourceful in their playing and wore themselves out!


The girls? Well they didn’t want to get wet so they played inside under umbrellas.


Sometimes saying yes is worth all the extra work.

Wednesday, September 7

Cinnamon Pear Jam

This is one of the new recipes I tried this year and it turned out so good! I made two batches out of a peck of pears which came out to 8 cups diced pears. You will need 4 cups diced for a single batch. IMG_2389
The first thing I do is make sue to get all of my ingredients measured out, jars washed and sterilized, canner started to boiling, and pears diced. This way I can work quickly when it matters.
This is the first year I have used Pomona Pectin and I will never go back to Surgel or other brands again. It allows you to use less sugar(as little as 2/4 cup), honey or other sweeteners. It is a bit different to work with but very easy once you have used it once.
For this batch I used one cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 3 teaspoons pectin powder.
Important!!  Make sure you thoroughly mix all dry ingredients together or you will get lumps in your jam. I learned this the hard way.
Begin peeling, coring, and dicing your pears. I usually dice about one or two pears and then add the lemon juice to keep them from browning.
You will need 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
Mash pears. this is personal preference, mash until you have as little or as many chunks as you want.
Next mix up your calcium water. The instructions for this are in the box of Pomona Pectin.
Add 2 teaspoons of calcium water to your pears.
Bring your pears to a boil.
Add sugar mixture and bring to another boil. I stirred mine at a rolling boil for about a minute.
Remove from heat and ladle into hot jars.
Process Pints for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Remove and let cool.
4 cups peeled,cored, and diced pears
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
sugar and pectin according to directions included in the box of pectin you choose

Tuesday, September 6

Summer Strong~Tuesday Ten

Around these parts summer is still going strong. In fact it doesn’t end until the 23rd of September. So while most people are starting school and gearing up for fall we are enjoying summer. We won’t start school until the apples are harvested and sauce is made. For us that will mark the change of seasons and fall and winter will come quickly on its heels.
I want to savor every moment and even grill in the rain.
Enjoy fresh salads straight from the garden.
Snap beans on the porch while the children play and snatch fresh beans to snack on.
Enjoy popsicles  in the afternoon sun.
Enjoy new garden boots while there is still work to be done.
Let little girls wear their nightgowns “just because”  she won’t be little forever.
Leave dining room tables full of canning supplies and food that has been put up because there is no more room on the shelves.
Take cat naps in the sun.
And even enjoy the fruit flies that infest my house during harvest due to all the food lying around.
Oh and don’t forget reading. Lots and lots of reading!
Enjoy your last days of summer!



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