Sunday, October 25, 2015

Birthday and Lima Beans

It is hard to believe that we are already into the end of October. Yikes! This month has flown by so fast it seems. It feels like yesterday we were sweltering in the summer heat, and now we have the need for light jackets during the day, and a fire in the wood stove at night. my favorite season. Well, I guess I love all of the change of seasons. First there is Spring, the world is waking up from a long winter rest. Spring means new life. The plants are waking up, their roots stretching into the dirt and above ground they stretch towards the sky. Spring is generally a time when new life is born on the homesteads and farms. I just adore watching baby chicks run around, learning about life from their mothers, hearing the peeps,quacks and Baaahs, and soon the little Moooo's. Yes, I am hoping this next year will be the year we finally bring miniature cattle to our homestead. Then as Spring melts into summer with the warmer days, flowers start blooming, berries start ripening, the gardens are planted and it is such a thrill to watch row after row of our favorite vegetables fill in the barren ground.
The fruit trees are filling in and we patiently wait for them to give us sweet treats. Before you know it the "Dog days of summer" are upon us. We have been working hard planting and weeding the the barns and coops, opening windows and doors to capture any breeze we can. Life seems to slow down a bit because of the heat. The animals get lazy and slowly graze the shaded areas of their pastures. This time of year we all slow down a bit. The fast pace of Spring when we are trying to get gardens cleaned and planted, barns and coops cleaned from the harsh winter with the animals spending a lot of time indoors, yes...that means a whole lot of...well...poop! The spring cleaning of our homes as well. Washing curtains, carpets, windows and bedding. If you are blessed to have air conditioning, this is the time to close the windows and relish the cool air, while the heat of summer beats down outside. This is the time of year when my mother and grandmother would drag all of the mattresses and box springs and area rugs outside to air out. They would spray everything with Lysol and let the sun and breeze "freshen up" everything for a few days, then taking a broom or carpet wand, they would beat them all good, getting out the dust mites and...well, whatever else might have settled into the fibers over the winter, before bringing it all back inside. During these few days when they are outside is the time to paint and do all of the deep cleaning. That first night sleeping on the freshened mattresses and pillows, with linen that has been hung on the line to dry....pure bliss. It is a few days of hard work...but so worth it. As summer moves along we ready for canning season. Pulling the pressure caners out of storage, always inspect the seals to be sure that your canning will be safe. Mid to late summer we start canning. Fruits, vegetables, meats, soups, stock, jellies and jams start lining the shelves of the pantry.
Seeing this makes me smile. I know that our family will eat well for the coming year. I know the work that has gone into filling these shelves. However, the work doesn't stop there on the homestead. We primarily use wood to heat our home. Because we have a split level home it takes quite a bit. This year we are ready with 15 ricks of good seasoned wood. We have gathered the smaller branches, cut them and put them in large crates for kindling. this brings us to current time. Mid to late Autumn. A few days ago I went to the garden and pulled the last of the Lima beans. The frost had gotten them so I needed to get the beans off the plants and throw the plants in the compost. I ended up with about a half of a bushel of bean pods. Yesterday I spent a good part of the morning opening the pods and getting the beans out so they can air dry. As I sat there in the edge of the porch, the chickens mulled around my feet waiting for me to throw them the smaller beans or the ones with "bad spots". After I finished getting them from the pods, I spread them out on cardboard to let air dry.
These, with the pint and a half I have already dried, should be enough to make a few meals this winter. Yesterday was my Birthday, so I decided I was going to take it easy. ( I know, laughable isn't it?) While I picked through the beans, the kittens were running about chasing the leaves blowing across the yard. This is great practice for our "mighty hunters" They were running and pouncing on the leaves, then occasionally they would bring their "catch" up on the porch and chew on the stem, until another fast blowing leaf caught their eye and they would be off and running. I couldn't help but smile as I sat there enjoying my lazy morning. Today is Sunday, a day of rest. Well, mostly rest. I will do laundry since I didn't do it yesterday. I just pulled some mixed berry muffins fro the oven. They smell wonderful and will go great with my morning coffee. With the cool weather I am thinking I will do a bit more baking today. Banana bread sounds good. I am hoping to make enough to put in the freezer for later this coming winter. Whatever you do today, whether it be working around the home....relaxing....or organizing your home, Stop and look around...enjoy the day, and give thanks for all you have.

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