Sunday, October 9, 2005

Maybe it'll work this time

I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve started and not finished over the last few weeks.

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This week we’ve made pumpkin butter and ketchup - with canned pumpkin and tomato paste from the grocery store, but I use fresh whey with both of them and let them sit at room temperature for a couple of days before refrigerating so the lacto-bacilli have time to do their stuff.

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We killed several chickens last weekend - it’s the first fresh chicken we’ve had in awhile, but doing several on a hot day is NOT a good idea. Every fly in the county came to the feast.

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Speaking of hot weather, today it was 96° in the shade. That’s just too dang hot.

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School is still going fine. One completely new thing we’re doing this year is learning French. I’ve wanted to learn French for years but when I was in high school my daddy wanted me to take Spanish. I don’t regret that since it made Daddy happy, but since this is something I’m good at, something I enjoy doing, and we can finally afford to do it, I talked to Mike about it and he said, “Go for it.”

We’re using The Learnables, and though I can’t vouch for its long-term effectiveness, after almost six weeks using it I can say that I really like it and it seems to be just what I needed. There’s a lot of listening, which I think is crucial for training the ear. I’m almost finished with Level 1 and will start Level 2 as soon as it arrives - hopefully by the end of the week. The children are moving much slower than I am - it will probably take them 30 weeks to finish Level 1 - but they look forward to the lessons and have started using phrases they’re familiar with when it’s appropriate in daily life.

Only the younger four are studying French with me - the older three are learning Japanese, and because they use it so much most of us have picked up on a few simple phrases, like greetings. It’s kind of funny to get up in the morning and hear one person say, “Bonjour,” to which his sibling replies, “Ohayo!”

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After debating whether to replenish our fox-destroyed laying flock last winter, we finally got tired of not having our own fresh eggs and bought several new layers this summer. We have eight now, which is just barely enough to feed us, but nowhere near enough to have any for sale. Mike has several coworkers who want to buy free range eggs and would buy from us if we had a large enough flock. As soon as we finish the fencing to keep them away from our yard and porch I think we’ll buy several more.

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Have I mentioned that we have a pig now? The woman who bought four of our goats a few months ago gave us a pig as partial payment. The whole deal was bartered, with us getting our lawn mower repaired as part of the bargain. It was a nice way to do business.

Oh, the pig’s name. My eldest daughter wanted to name him and I told her she could as long as she kept in mind that we’re going to be eating him. I suggested “Pork Chop” and “Ham Hock” as possibilities, but she decided to go with “Lambchop.” She has a rather unusual sense of humor.

The coolest thing about having a pig is never feeling guilty about cleaning out the fridge and having to throw things out.

“Ha!” I say to myself. “I haven’t wasted these leftovers by letting them get a little too old. I’m just turning them into bacon.”

Now all we need is a dog to eat leftover meat and we’ll have it made.

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Well, it’s getting late and I’m ready to go to bed.

Good night all, and please keep praying for rain. We’ve still only had four or five inches since I started tracking it back in April.

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