We are very excited about this upcoming year. Each of the kids are getting a chance to live out a dream. We have never been able to do this before. Two years ago we were at an all time low with no idea how we were even going to get our utilities on, much less afford our children's dreams! But God, in His mercy brought people into our lives who had the tools to give us hope again. Our life began to turn around with the council and care of some wonderful people at Advocare. Doors began opening and things began happening. Family stepped in and provided very practical aid. God has continued to move the chess pieces in our life and make a way where there seemed to be no way. Here we are two years later, continuing to grow and be changed: seeing dreams and desires realized in the process. Look at those beautiful children and the smiles on their faces as they step into their desires. They are made for such a time as this. Not just to get through another day, but to live and love and be a light. Certainly football, woodworking and ballet aren't the most important things in life, but learning to try, give it all, get out of our comfort zones, commit to a goal and enjoy a desire fulfilled are all worthy of some excitement. God is good. We are blessed. Never going back. How about you? Are you living?
I am having a lot of fun canning this year. It is a lot of work and I wouldn't have the energy without my Spark, but it is fun.
Friends blessed us with some tomatoes and peppers. I picked up a few more tomatoes from the local farmers market and made salsa for the first time. Wow, fresh salsa is delicious!
I worked up the second half of my Ginger Golds and turned them into apple pie filling.
Peaches at the Orchard went on sale and I went a little crazy. I bought a bushel each of Red Haven to freeze and Sun High to can.
I worked up some of them yesterday as not all are ripe enough yet. They sure do make pretty pictures. We will be eating good for a long time! God is so good.
''Would you like some blackberries? We have more than we need. We picked 2 gallon last time, you'll probably get as many.''
So, we were off on a berry adventure. We pulled up on the farm and looked left as we had been instructed.
''Well, kids, I guess we're heading into the woods on a treasure hunt.'' The weather was pleasant. There were nice mowed paths leading here and there. This was going to be fun. We soon came to a little bramble bush and I instructed the kids, ''Here's what you're looking for. Look out for poison ivy and wildlife. Stay on the paths and fill your buckets.''
I'm a country girl, I had come prepared in long sleeves and long pants but these bushes were even more pokey than I had expected and the fruit was much smaller than I remembered blackberries to be. But, they said we should find two gallons. They had, so we could too, I was sure. And why turn down good food free for the picking with six kids to feed.
One after the other my kids came running back claiming they couldn't find any more berries. They just must not be looking, I thought. We headed further into the woods together. Indeed, I wasn't finding berries either!
Well, it was a pretty nature walk anyway. We circled around and eventually found a bit larger patch which we set out to strip. Storm clouds were rolling in, but we had maybe a quart all together, this couldn't be it yet. We pushed through the tangled bushes picking all we could find. The kids were getting discouraged and I have to admit I was relieved to feel raindrops. ''Looks like we're getting rained out today. Head to the van.'' I looked rather disappointedly at our scanty buckets. So much for two gallons. Maybe two quarts if we're generous.
We made it home and unloaded. A few minutes later, the phone rang, ''I'm over at the farm and I see you haven't been here yet. You still planning on picking blackberries tonight? ''
''Uh, yeah, we didn't pick them all cause we got rained out and, well, maybe we weren't looking, at the right place cause we just couldn't find much worth picking. ''
''Oh, there's a good two gallons here by the left side of the house.''
We were finally convinced to try again, and sure enough when we looked in the right place, there were some beautiful blackberry brambles. All neat and tidy like, along a fence row. Manicured and sitting pretty with huge berries and few thorns. We found our gallons after all plus a quart or two of raspberries waving from their pretty row. Our generous friends threw in some corn, peppers and tomatoes to boot. Time to put up some berries! And eat some good summer suppers for the next few days. God is good and you can't beat living in the country near good people-oh, and finding the right patch. :)
We also put up applesauce today. I still have half of the bushel I bought to do tomorrow.