The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Season Ended, Another Begun

Spring, summer, autumn, and winter.  One season ends, and another begins.  And so it is with our lives:  single life, the entrance of another special someone, engagement and newlywed years, then children come.  Children grow, and they go, and then there's just the two of us again, but with sons/daughters-in-law and beautiful grandchildren to love.

We recently took a step out of one season and into a new.  Our son Jacob took this step as well, into his own new season.  Before taking the step, we went out for a special dessert--and there's only one place to go for that:

Jacob took matters into his own hands, single-handedly packing the car.  Of course, our frugal family made sandwiches and snacks, and packed them in coolers, for meals on the road.

Jacob nudged the rest of his family along, prodding us to get ready so we could get on the road.  You see, he was pretty excited to start this new season of life, and I was not quiet so excited.

Making weird faces in the car

A few little hours later, we arrived at the WIU campus.  Those two tall buildings--specifically, the one of the left--were our destination.  We had very specific instructions where to enter the campus and what roads to take, depending on the dorm hall we were aiming for.  It really is organized chaos!

The building, and our new season of life, loomed larger.

The guys quickly organized Jacob's mostly newly-purchased life possessions at the curb.

Then, the move-in crew got it all into the rolling bin.

Everyone at Higgins Hall seemed friendly.  They had posted signs and welcoming words everywhere.

On Jacob's floor, we found that Jacob's roommate had already moved in, and was very patient as the six of us invaded, shook hands, shared names, and got Jacob situated.

Jacob got things on the desk while Danny thoughtfully got Jacob's laptop set up.

We joked around with Jacob's roommate, Luke, and I persuaded them to pose for a picture.  I think they'll get along just fine.  :)

The third floor has the laundry machines, and, of course, concessions!

Jacob's dorm room is on the other side of the building, on the left, way up high.

After taking all the guys out for pizza, we ended up on the lawn in from of Higgins, where Thomas played around with his dad.

The guys goofed off while I got the camera ready for a family portrait (to be revealed at Christmas).  Luke was happy to press the shutter button for us as we posed.  It was a lot of fun having someone behind the camera who didn't know what he was doing, trying to get us to laugh.  It wasn't hard to do, though, and I think we got a great shot together.

Our family portrait was the last picture I took.  We said goodnight, met Jacob in the morning for a little last-minute shopping, then dropped him off near his dorm (as close as we could get with all the freshmen and sophomores moving in), hugged amidst tears and last words, and drove away.

Thus ends our season of all our children are still at home.  But when one season ends, another begins.  Jacob begins his season of living on his own at college, and we continue on here at home, trying to get used to not having this amazing, personable young man around to keep things hopping.

I know that soon, this will be another treasured memory of life   But for right now, I miss him.  I just miss him.

Back to life,

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 13 Frisbee

It has been fun taking pictures on Frisbee Friday.  The blog posts are easy, too--just insert images and let you enjoy!  Here they are.

Jacob made a great catch.

Then he blocked the Frisbee from Mr. S.

Thomas made a good catch, too.

Mr. L gets blocked (?!) by his son Zachary...

...and somehow Zachary ends up with the Frisbee!

Then Mr. L's daughter Adair snags one away from him.

I got some great shots of the L family this particular night.  :)

Back to life,

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Peeling Garlic the Easy Way

Here is a sample of our garlic harvest.  This wasn't all, either.

This year, my goal was to separate each bulb into cloves, then peel each clove, then freeze all the peeled cloves in a freezer container.  I've frozen garlic before, since you can use it straight from the freezer into your garlic press.  It gets soft very quickly after you take it out of the freezer, but it's an excellent way to make sure a large harvest of garlic does not go to waste.  But--how do you get such a time-consuming chore done quickly?  Here's what I did:

I set a bulb on the table, then smashed into it with the palm of my hand.  I don't smash terribly hard, mind you--I don't want garlic mush, just separated cloves.  The "punch" of my palm into the head of garlic works well.  I then put all of the separated cloves into a bowl.

Some of the cloves came right out of their skins, so I set them aside in a separate bowl.

Okay, all the cloves were separated and put into a stainless steel bowl.  I took another stainless steel bowl--the same size bowl would be ideal; mine is smaller and "nests" inside the bigger one--and placed it over the top of the bowl with the cloves.

Then I got one of my guys to shake-shake-shake the bowls (while holding them together!) for a minute or so.

When the bowls were opened, the garlic cloves were peeled!  In my case, since I had sooo much garlic, about one-third of the cloves were peeled.  We picked them out, then shook the bowls again.

Danny did the honors the second time.

We had to do the shaking part three or four times, but most of the cloves were peeled.  It was simply a matter of picking them out and transferring them to another bowl.  Here they are at the end of the process:

Yes, it was time-consuming after the above steps--I had to cut off the stem end of each clove.  After that step, I rinsed them all very well, then towel-dried them and placed them in a freezer container.  But it was so worth it, and I have a large container full of yummy home-grown garlic to use throughout the winter!

Back to life,

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jacob's Work Day

Back in the garden again!  It was time for a mid-August work day in our veggie garden, and Jacob wanted to do everything.  Of course I was out there to document his work.  :)

Weeding around the tomatoes

Harvesting the cherry tomatoes

A beautiful eating tomato

After the onions cured in the sun, Jacob gathered them for inside storage.

Harvesting the plum tomatoes--a HUGE harvest this year!

The garlic cured, and Jacob gathered it up.

Watering time.

Jacob did a great job in the garden!  He spent at least two hours out there working.  I think he was pretty happy with his work, just as I was.  Thank you, son!

Back to life,

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Taste and See!

The Lord is good.  He gives to us from the abundance of His blessings, and His blessings are sweet.  Even when they seem bitter at the time, He is working in sweet ways, for His glory.

My cousin Tom taps the maple trees on his property, and has a great little maple syrup business going--not that I want you to know about it, in case you buy up all his syrup!  (just kidding, of course)

Seriously, though, we brought home a lot of maple syrup (the above does not show all that we got), with most of it being for our friends who order through us.  Oh, pure maple syrup is so sweet!  It's hard to imagine all that sweetness in one bowl!  (And who would want to?)

O taste and see that the LORD is good;
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!
Psalm 34:8 NASB

Back to life,

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

August Garden Report

Early August.  We were back from vacation, the garden was a mess, and it was time to get to work.  I didn't have the heart to take any before pictures, due to a wind storm that had come through and flattened several of our tomato, pepper, and onion plants.  Boo.  But we got most of them upright again, and most everything survived.

Here are a few close-up sights from our early August garden.

The plum tomatoes are coming in bountifully!

I had my first onion harvest--most were small but they're beautiful and tasty.

All the garlic was harvested--late but a huge harvest (more on that soon!)

This year, my cayenne peppers are coming in mostly red, a surprise

The carrots are small, so I'm keeping them in the ground for extra growing time.

All in all, I'm satisfied with our harvest this year.  Since this post's date, I've canned tomatoes and jalapeƱos, and harvested more onions and even more tomatoes.  The rest of harvest season looks promising!

Back to life,

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Frisbee in August

After vacation, our guys got right back into Frisbee.  Here are the highlights, from a park in Naperville.

Andy filmed the game.

All four of my guys were on the same team!  A first!!

John made a great catch.

Thomas made a great catch, too!

Back to life,

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