Today was Baby’s first time to leave home. We took a picnic lunch to Gore Bay, and the older children played in the sand for a couple of hours. Esther and Grandma enjoyed taking pictures!
Yes, it’s been a long silence on this end. Baby decided to wait 11 days after his due date, and my mind was not functioning quite normally, then he suddenly got in a hurry Sunday evening and arrived after only 2 1/2 hours warning! Recovery has been slow, but he’s quite worth it all. Everyone is thoroughly enjoying having a baby in the house once again. They fight over holding him at times. Next oldest adores him; anytime he has the privilege of holding baby he laughs and laughs! He’s only tried carrying him once so far…all the way down the hallway from our bedroom to the kitchen! He got told off pretty sternly; hope he learns his lesson without doing it again.
Last night, the children all decided to camp out! They pitched our two 3-man tents beside the pear orchard, and three slept in each tent. Esther came in a little after 6:00 this morning, because she hadn’t slept well, but it seems as if the boys all slept fine. They built a fire this morning and cooked sausages for their breakfast–then came in and most of them are eating cold cereal to finish off now! The only thing that would have made the night even better is if baby would have come. Oh, well.
After the wheat was harvested, the straw was baled–they got 251 BIG bales off the three paddocks (50 acres) here. Then, they lined the bales up along the road and at the edge of one of the paddocks, mowed down the stubble for about 10 feet around the inside of each paddock, and raked that stubble into the standing stubble. The next step was to plow a firebreak all around where they had mowed stubble, and then burn off the paddocks. To burn them, they used a drag to pull a pile of stubble together, lit it, and drove around the paddock through the raked stubble. As they drove, the stubble caught on fire and soon the entire paddock was ablaze. Within a very short time, it was all over and all that was left was black.
I know this is common-place to natives of Canterbury, but it was something totally new for us. There are hedges around many paddocks and houses, to break the wind and give privacy, and every couple of years they are trimmed. The one in front of our house was trimmed two years ago, right after we moved into this house, and now it’s been done again. This time, we were home to see it done!
Our family fun activity today was electric- and halter-breaking our two calves! It was quite the rodeo, with one calf collapsing and rolling over into the mud, then deciding he would never willingly stand up again. The other was scared nearly out of his skin. We did accomplish our purpose (we hope), at least as far as electric-breaking, and got both calves out in the big paddock with the cows.
I had a request for my sourkraut recipe, so here goes.
I weigh out 5 pounds of cabbage, then shred them. If the head is decently tight, this gadget works great– otherwise, chop finely with a knife. Then, mix in 2 1/2 ounces of non-iodized salt. Pack this all into 5 pint jars–yes, it will fit! Fill the jars, then pack it down with your fingers and fill the jars again, then pack it down again, and fill again–the cabbage keeps wilting down and you can pack an incredible amount in. You want to end up with the cabbage/juice mixture all the way to the top of the jar. I cover with a piece of plastic wrap, or a plastic bag cut open, then put the lid on. Warning–don’t use a good ring for it if you use Mason jars–it will rust! Put in a darkish, coolish but not cold, place for six weeks. Be sure to have something under the jars to absorb the juices that ooze out, because they will for the first week or so. After six weeks (mark your calendar), open a jar and taste–should be good! As long as you don’t open the jars, they will keep on the shelf, but as soon as you open a jar it must be kept in the fridge. The children and I like to eat this for our salads in the winter at lunchtime. Gayle doesn’t like it, so we eat it when he isn’t home. It’s also delicious cooked with porkchops, of course, and Gayle likes it that way with mashed potatoes. I like to eat it raw because of all the good-for-you enzymes and bacteria.
I should mention–I end up using odd-sized jars for my kraut here, so I just measure out five pints of water and pour it into jars till I have the right combination.
I was getting behind on my work, so I declared today to be a school holiday. Would you believe, no one objected! I was able to get a lot of things off my list: The beans Esther picked Monday got snapped (while I read to the boys, so we did do some school). The cabbage the boys picked for me Monday got turned into sourkraut. We had a freezer go out this week, so I cooked up a pile of bags of plums from last year. One big pot turned into jam (didn’t follow the recipe, so I’m not sure yet if it set or not–it will be syrup if not!). Another big pot has had the pits picked out and has been pureed, but I’m bringing it to a boil tonight so it will be safe to leave till morning. The last big pot (yes, I have a lot of big pots–love them!) is also coming to a boil and I’ll decide tomorrow what to do with it.
And, we got in a field trip of sorts this afternoon and evening. Our landlord started combining wheat around 4:30, and the children have been watching intently! He’s running his own combine and having someone else run their Klaas combine to get the job done quicker. The combines are harvesting faster than the trucks and tractors can haul it away! They are getting about 180 bushels to the acre. One truck that’s being used must be from the ’50s or early ’60s, and frequently backfires–“Mom, what makes a truck backfire?” “I don’t know, ask your dad. I just know that’s what that noise is!”
We had a party today to celebrate and thank God for being granted residency here. Around 35-40 of our friends came to rejoice with us, and we grilled sausages. The people who came brought salads, bread, and desserts, and we had a great time of visiting.
A few weeks ago, Esther prayed that if God wanted her to have Photoshop He would give it to her–she didn’t have the money for it. I had been thinking that it would sure be nice to have another computer, since we use this one so much for school. Out of the blue, one of the people who came today gave Esther a laptop! And, it has Photoshop loaded in it! What a surprise–a gift straight from God.
The boys were all finished with their “hard” subjects by lunch time, and two of them got busy playing a game of New Zealand geography that a friend gave us yesterday. The youngest was being himself, while the oldest was working on her high school. She’s using the Far Above Rubies curriculum, and loving it. She’s been putting everything she does with it on a blog.