Monday, September 24, 2018

First Weekend of Autumn

We have enjoyed regular hikes to the bottom pasture of our homestead recently. It is a favorite place of ours, especially this time of the year when the creekside trees and bushes boast the colors of fall and the creek itself is but a few inches deep in most places and perfect for wading and splashing and exploring.

There is a certain place along the bank of the creek where the mud is absolutely clay-like. It molds easily and holds its shape so well. Our boys collect it and make wee balls that harden into perfect practice ammunition for their slingshots. It is a frugal and sustainable endeavor that they came up with on their own. {smile}

And last week, we gathered another bucket of the creekside clay-mud to craft into some heart shaped ornaments for our Christmas tree and to use for a homeschool art project.

All of us worked together on the hearts. We fashioned a heart shaped template from cardboard so our ornaments would all be the same size.

As they dried, I poked a hole in each one with a straw so I can add a hanging ribbon later. And we smoothed the sides a bit to keep them neat looking.

Isn't the clay-like mud wonderful? What a blessing to have discovered it for our rustic makings and craftings.

Here is a disk of the clay all patted out flat with the heart template on top.

Did I mention that I had a 22-pound turkey in the roaster oven while the family crafty-ness was taking place on the deck? It was done at just about the same time we were... and it was delicious!

After we made some heart ornaments, our children each made a bowl with the clay. We have been studying clay sculptures in our homeschool and they had fun making their own artsy projects.

We put a few of our goats out on the grass of the barnyard for awhile on Saturday afternoon. Heidi was happy to nibble and wander and she always stays close to her herd sisters.

And there was just enough of a breeze for me to get the day's laundry dried in no time.

The slight breeze didn't dampen our enthusiasm for archery practice. Our oldest at-home daughter had to work, but the rest of us took some practice shots at our target from various distances.

My dear hubby and our teen boys use compound bows. The rest of us prefer to use either a long bow or a recurve bow... my hubby has a nice collection of archery equipment after his many years of interest and participation in the sport. How blessed we are that he is sharing his skills and knowledge with the rest of us!

We are all having a great time with it. Most especially my dear hubby, I think.

As we returned home from some time in town on Sunday we stopped to admire the colors of fall that have taken over the foothills of the beautiful mountain that we call home. Ahhhh.... Autumn. So lovely!

And amongst the doings of Sunday, I took the time to stitch a bit on my poppy cross-stitch sampler kit. It mostly gathered dust over the summer, I admit. But there is such a homemade feeling about fall that infuses me with a palpable *need* to craft and cook and bake and create. Even more than usual.

So I anticipate regular progress being made on my poppies!

Autumn began in a crafty and cozy and beautiful way on our happy gentle homestead. I do hope the first weekend of fall was a good one for you, too.


Friday, September 21, 2018

A Grateful Heart

Happy Friday to you, friends! It is a glorious summer-becoming-autumn day on our homestead. 76 degrees (F) with the slightest hint of a breeze, blue sky, and the lovely look of fall in the air. Do you notice it, too, the way the light shifts as summer ends and it is as if God has put a beautiful autumn filter on Creation? I think it is wonderful.

Oh, what a happy-busy week it has been around here. You know, it has taken me years and years to find the balance of rest and play and work that my tribe and I thrive within... and I treasure that family and homesteading rhythm! I hold it dear and am very careful to guard it as well as I can.

I'm not perfect at it, and things often always happen that are out of my control (God is in control!), but I love a calmly productive day where we get things done, tend to our necessary tasks and responsibilities, and still take the time for fun and play. I have been blessed with several of that kind of day this week. {smile} *Grateful!*

Yesterday afternoon, our homeschool assignments were finished for the day and I had *finally* taken the time to do the big test that was next in my American Sign Language syllabus. (I did very well on that test, I was so happy! I don't know why the Lord sparked my interest in learning ASL, but I am greatly enjoying my studies.) I had already made bread and the kids had helped me pat out the pizza crusts ...

The older boys were practicing archery and it wasn't yet time to proceed with the next step of my refrigerator pickle making... (here they are finished in half-gallon sized jars, I didn't take an in-progress photo) ...

The day's laundry was washed and hung to dry, but I hadn't yet gotten it folded and put away. And we spontaneously set it all aside to hike down to the creek. We got Jack harnessed and grabbed a bucket to collect some things we need for a school project and off we went.

How glad I am that we did! Time flies, days pass quickly, and I am determined to *not* miss the simple opportunities we have to do activities as a family, appreciate nature, and enjoy the farm we are blessed with. It was a lovely adventure... happiness! {smile}

Here are a few more snippets from my ongoing gratitude list today~

:: Jesus. I have listened to several bold and encouraging sermons lately (I listen to sermons while I am trail running, often) and they have all made me realize in a fresh way just what Jesus did for me (us) when He became sin (my sin, all sin) and willingly died on the cross to fully pay my (our) penalty and allow me (us) to have the blessed gift of eternal life simply by truly trusting and really believing in Him.

So often, we try to make God like us or like we want Him to be. But God is God and we are not! And then to love God and live for Him, obeying His commands from a place of eager joy while basking in grace... *that* is the secret to a happy life, I think. When we have Jesus we have everything, including the promise of eternal life in Heaven.

So yes, I love this present life and all of the wonderful blessings we enjoy... but not more than I love Jesus. I seek to be mindful and abide in the moment at hand... while keeping my eyes on eternity. God is good, friends. I hope you know Him, too.

:: Our farm. The animals, the chores, the small steps God allows us to take toward self-sufficiency. Making things, doing things. The feeling of satisfaction at the end of another happy-busy day. That my cow-friend Matilda comes to me when I call her. The smell of goats. I love it!

:: Blogging. It is a creative outlet that I truly enjoy. I love that blogging is a tool that helps me be more present in my day, it puts me in a noticing place and prompts me to do things... to live a rich and full life that I can write about! Even ordinary days contain nuggets to savor, thoughts to explore, lessons to share...

My blogs are a place to sort things out. To share the beauty of a simple life. To record my recipes for myself and my children and anyone else who wants to try them. To proclaim the joy of a slowed down, homemade, contented life that does contain its struggles amidst the joys and fully trusts and abides in the Lord through all of the ups and downs. Simply put, I feel free to be myself in this space.

I imagine, when I write my posts, that I am writing to a like-minded friend... perhaps a sister-in-Christ... someone who knows me well through my words and accepts me just as I am. Is that you, dear reader? If so, I sincerely thank you.

It does seem that there has been a shift in blogging since I began my first no longer published blog way-back-when (ten years ago?). But that's okay, change isn't automatically a bad thing... change is often good, necessary, and beautiful! And as for the rumor that blogging is not worth it anymore, I respectfully disagree! Mine bring me great joy. (this one, Run Hoop Julie, and Images of a Happy Gentle Life) And I love visiting blogs, too... it always makes me sad when a favorite blogger of mine says goodbye. It feels like losing a friend!

Well, the duties of the day and big family life beckon me away from the computer... and, Lord willing, I would *love* to venture back down to the creek with my crew to bask in the loveliness of this end-of-summer afternoon. So, I will wish you a cup brimful of gratitude and a lovely weekend where you are and be on my way.


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Homemade Peach Pie

Like many homesteading keepers at home, I am an avid home baker for my big family. I bake bread and bread-type goodies most often... twice a week, at least. I do my best to keep the cookie jar filled and my cake plate rarely gathers dust. But if you asked my tribe, especially my dear hubby, to name their favorite baked treat that comes from our homestead kitchen I don't think there would be a moment's hesitation before *pie* was declared the winner.

And this week, at our local grocer, the peaches were too beautiful to pass by! The peaches were large and at just the right stage of ripeness. It was peach perfection. So peach pie was immediately added to my menu plan as a seasonal and delicious treat for my pie-loving family.

I'm not an expert pie baker, but I have learned over the years how to make pies that my crew can't get enough of. These days, one pie lasts the eight of us at home one meal or snack. {smile} And showing my love to them with something as ordinary as baking them a pie... peach or otherwise, gives me a feeling inside that is best described as contented and cozy.

Love is the best ingredient in any recipe, yes? And today, we had peaches!

Homemade Peach Pie

You will need pastry for a 9-inch double crust pie. Do use homemade pastry if you wish, but don't hesitate to put this together with ready-to-use purchased pie crusts if you prefer. {smile}

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F). And have a baking sheet handy if, like me, you want to use one under your pie pan in the oven.

8 cups of peeled fresh peach slices
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup white granulated sugar + a tiny bit more for sprinkling
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon butter
2 unbaked pie crusts

Place the fresh peach slices in a bowl or large measuring cup and sprinkle the lemon juice over them. Mix gently and set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the unbleached white flour, white sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt. Stir well.

Add the peach slices to the flour mixture in the large bowl. Mix gently with a rubber spatula or with your clean hands to coat the peach slices as evenly as possible with the flour mixture without damaging or squishing them.

Put one of the unbaked crusts into a standard size pie baking pan, easing the crust into place.

Spoon or pour the peach slices into the crust in the pie pan and mound them so they are highest in the middle. Dot the peach slices with the tablespoon of butter by cutting the butter into tiny pieces and placing the pieces evenly atop the peaches.

Cover the peaches with the other unbaked pie crust. Crimp or flute the edge of the crust. Cut a few slits in the crust to vent the pie and sprinkle the top crust lightly with a tiny bit of white sugar.

I cover the edges of my pie with a foil shield to prevent over browning, and I place my pie pan on top of a baking sheet in the oven as a precaution in case the pie overflows. Pie overflow has only happened to me once in many years of pie baking, and it was a huckleberry pie, but that mess was enough for me to begin my baking-sheet-under-my-pie habit, just in case!

Bake in a preheated 375 degree (F) oven for 60 - 70 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is nicely browned.

Carefully remove the finished pie from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool well before serving. We like our peach pie served warm and topped with ice cream or whipped cream or both... yum!

If you have any leftovers, I recommend storing them covered in the refrigerator and using them up within a couple of days.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this peach pie as much as we do. Enjoy!

Monday, September 17, 2018

My Style :: Thrifty, Modest, and Handmade

I was so excited to share with you last week the recent thrift store finds I was blessed to discover. Our children found quite a few things that they wanted and I finally happened upon some clothing items in my happy-size and style. Yes!

It is rare for me to find plus-size clothes or even sewing patterns that fit my body in the way I prefer *and* also fit my eclectic modest style, so to discover such things second-hand truly inspired me to do a happy dance. Right there in the thrift store.

And over the weekend, I put together a cute and modest thrifty outfit with a top and skirt from those recent finds.

This entire outfit was purchased second-hand, except for my headcovering. I really like this style of top, it is cotton and loose-fitting with a button front. And the denim skirt is just right for me in every way, I love it!

Before we left the homestead, I decided to also wear the crocheted vest that I made for myself last autumn. It was a crisp fall day and perfect for a cozy handmade vest. With flip-flops, for now. Ha!

I liked my thrifty outfit. It felt like me, if you know what I mean. {smile}

Writing this post and sharing these images has brought on a feeling of nostalgia and thankfulness. It took me back to a time twenty years ago, when I first felt the niggling to begin wearing skirts and dresses exclusively. I remember how nervous I was to make such a noticeable outward change, and how the occasional comment or article suggesting that such convictions are prideful legalism stung my soul.

And I remembered the first time I wore a headcovering. With my dear hubby's blessing, it was and is my heart's delight to obey the New Testament principle of covering even though many (most?) disciples of Jesus do not these days. And with my ear piercings, too. I realize that piercings and a headcovering are a rather unique combination.

Do I wear dresses and headcoverings pridefully? Are my piercings meant to make a statement?... no, no, and no! I wish people could understand that legalism is an attitude, not an action. Piercings are just cute, I think, something I got for me. But it is up to the Lord to open the eyes of understanding, it isn't for me to worry about.

So, after years of unsolicited fashion advice from others and going back and forth between dresses and pants so as not to offend anyone, it feels amazing to have the Christ-based confidence and the stable size and the body positive mindset to fill my wardrobe with what I love to wear! To dress according to my very own tastes and Bible-based convictions and my own dear hubby's preferences.

And I feel happy for those who may just now be contemplating their own modesty standards and convictions in response to Bible mandates... modesty isn't about rules, it is an outward expression of a transformed heart. A heart that isn't following the world or even another believer's rules, but a heart that listens to the Lord.

One of the perks, perhaps, of this current culture is that it seems rather easy to express oneself! But I want to not only be myself, I want to be all that God created me to be. The authentic person that the risen Jesus died to save!

As for me, thrifty and handmade is working quite well with my choice to homestead in a skirt. And I am quite convinced that my style and convictions will not be swayed by anyone but the Lord.



Friday, September 14, 2018

A Grateful Heart

Happy Friday to you, friends! It has been a week of adapting for me as our family rhythm and my mama heart adjust to our nineteen year old daughter beginning her first job away from home. I do miss her constant company and our long morning walks and everything else I was blessed to enjoy for the nineteen years that brought us to this new phase of life.

But it is good... she is thriving at her job, as I knew she would. And one of her managers praised her performance and work ethic and then asked if she had been homeschooled, which we both took as a compliment! {smile}

It has been a reminder, too, of how quickly time passes... my baby girl is all grown up. So thankful I am for the many ordinary days and adventures we shared as she oh-so-quickly became who she is today before my eyes. Day after week after month after year. In a blink, it does seem.

But there are such blessings to being a mama in every stage of mothering.

I loved being pregnant... and I do *not* take that privilege for granted, especially since we recently discovered that our girl who has always desired to get married and have babies will likely not be able to experience a pregnancy due to a female health issue.

And the baby days were bliss for me. I loved nursing and cuddling and using cloth diapers and carrying my babies close to my heart in a homemade sling, and even the many sleepless nights. I miss them. Unless the Lord blesses us with an unexpected miracle baby at this middle-aged stage of our lives, my hubby's and my baby days are behind us. It is a bittersweet thought.

I loved being the mama of my babies and now those babies have become little kids and big kids and teenagers and adults. Our eight children currently range in age from seven years to twenty-nine years old. Every stage of motherhood has its struggles and joys. But it's all good, it's such a blessing and a privilege to carry and nurture and love a baby from conception and beyond...

I am grateful to be the mama of the children that the Lord gave to me and my dear hubby. Such joy each one of them brings into my life.

Here are a few more things I am thankful for today~

:: Wildflowers. A few pretty wildflowers remain here and there, scattered about the dry pastures of our farm and along my running trails. Tenacious they are, rain has been sparse for quite some time.

:: Wild children. Ha! What I mean is, our children love to play and get dirty and explore and run and simply be kids. Kids who love nature and being outdoors in all kinds of weather. It lends perfectly to our simple homesteading life and meshes beautifully with our eclectic homeschooling methods and philosophy. We are building a life together that works for *us* and that we love... Praise the Lord for all of the lessons along the way.

One of those lessons was to live our own life and not worry about what others are doing or what they may think of our unique choices and convictions and methods. The simple life with all of its complexities isn't a competition and it doesn't come with instructions... and the God-dependent self-sufficient homemade life is indeed a joyful adventure that looks a bit different for everybody! I think that is kind of awesome.

:: Finishing up. I am done putting up applesauce and chokecherry syrup for now. I got through all of the apples we were given... not a single one was wasted. The few I couldn't use became treats for my cow-friend Matilda. And I have four gallons of chokecherries yet in our freezer to use for future syrup or jam making endeavors.

It was a good morning in my kitchen. I made bread and used some of the dough for pizza crust for our weekly family fun night homemade pizza tradition. And I made cookies while the bread dough was rising, which earned me a passel of smiles and hugs from my tribe. While that was going on, a huge batch of dry beans cooked in my instant pressure cooker, and now they are ready for this weekend's enormous pot full of chili.

And I did my trail run. My dog Jack joined me for 2 3/5 miles of intervals today. It was a beautifully crisp morning for an outdoor run and I achieved my goal of having fun!

The children and I read together, had devotions, and did school. Our art appreciation class had us viewing paintings from France, today. Which got me to thinking...

I am thankful for the Internet... while we use it with careful discernment and moderation, it enriches our lives with lessons and information and classes and even entertainment that would be hard to come by on our rural mountainside homestead otherwise.

It would be a challenge for me to study Hebrew and ASL and poetry and even hoopdancing without online resources. The Internet enriches our homeschool tremendously. I find so many tips and patterns and recipes to try. And there are so many lovely blogs and articles and sermons and podcasts that encourage me in my interests and calling!

Not to mention that my own blogs live in cyberspace. {smile} Abundant screen free time is so necessary and important to me, but I do find the interwebs to be quite a blessing when used mindfully.

Well, I need to scoot. One of my girls just burst through the door to tell me that there is a big green grasshopper laying eggs in the corner of our front yard. I think I will go and check that out!

I hope you are having a good day where you are...

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Milk and Honey Artisan Bread

I recently mentioned that I have been dabbling in the craft of artisan bread baking. I am enjoying it and finding it to be an interesting creative outlet... and it is bringing new excitement to the twice-a-week or more bread bakes that I already do to keep homemade bread on the table for this large tribe of mine.

Yesterday, I had the time and ingredients to experiment with a new bread recipe that I have been thinking of testing... a white flour yeast bread made with milk, honey, and our farm produced eggs. The bread was delicious and I was pleased because I am a bit out of practice in making bread with white flour. I usually make whole wheat sourdough bread.

And prior to this artisan loaf, I was using a knife to score the top of my craft bread. But for this loaf, I used a lame and achieved a much more precise cut into the dough surface. The pattern is just my attempt at being artsy. After scoring and before baking, I dabbed the top of the loaf with a beaten egg white to give it that lovely brown color.

I thought it came out pretty nice. I was happy with the shape of the finished loaf... I am learning to shape the dough so it doesn't spread out too much on the sheet as it bakes. And the bread was yummy... Lord willing, I will get my milk and honey recipe tested and tweaked to share with you soon!

But for today, I just wanted to show you this artisan loaf. It's one of my first attempts at what is proving to be a fascinating and creative and tasty new hobby for me. {smile}


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Thrift Store Finds

What a delightful place it is that I find my inner self abiding in these days. The sunshine of Christ's love is flourishing in my life and it does indeed bring with it a peace and joy that is beyond understanding because it has nothing to do with anything but Jesus. Outward circumstances, good or bad, can't affect it a bit!

I missed that unshakable peace in the many years that I struggled with an eating disorder... and as I am now celebrating ten months without those self-imposed shackles, I am happy to glorify the Lord for my recovery and for the joy and peace that truly knowing and loving and walking with Jesus brings.

What does all of that have to do with thrift store shopping, you may be wondering?

Everything, for me. It means that for the first time in years, my size is stable and I dress according to my own tastes and convictions and my hubby's preferences. I don't need clothes in every size from 2 to 22 anymore. I don't want trendy things or jeans.

I began my ed recovery and adapted it along the way as I wish to go on and end... as a girl who eats anything and everything without rules or restrictions and has a love for body positive fun fitness activities... and my body eventually returned to its happy place and has been here for long enough for me to have confidence that this is where it will stay.

And I can finally begin thrifting and making for myself a lasting wardrobe of clothes that I love!

Almost all of my clothes and many of the things the rest of my tribe wears are either second-hand or handmade. We just prefer it... though knowing that we are saving lots of money, recycling, and supporting our community by shopping at our local thrift store are lovely details of our choice. And this mama does love to knit and crochet and sew. {smile}

Last weekend, we had an especially fruitful thrift store shopping day. Sometimes I will find one or two items that we want or need, sometimes nothing... but last weekend we spent around fifty dollars and filled two large bags with thrifted treasures!

The kids picked out these things among them...
5 blouses, 1 pair winter gloves, 2 pairs of new shoes, a dress, a winter coat, a light jacket, 2 cute tops, 3 jeans, snow pants, snow boots, plus 2 new toys and a book about a topic that is one of our boy's special interests! All of the clothes were name brand items, too.

And for me...
A long denim jumper with pockets. Yes! In exactly my size! I was so thrilled... I caught a glimpse of it on the plus size rack and when I saw it was my size I literally jumped up and down. It's true! I haven't had a denim jumper for years and putting it on felt amazing.

I also got a long denim skirt, 3 cute tops, a peasant blouse, and a winter coat. I tend to wear shawls and wraps quite often in the winter time, but an actual coat will be handy for when I do chores or go for a snowshoe walkabout.

A pretty decent thrift shopping day, yes? *Squee!*

I have a couple of recent outfit pictures that my daughter took of me. Every item of clothing in both pictures was bought at our thrift store or given to us in a bag of hand-me-downs.

:: my thrifty modest style ::
The skirt, top, undershirt, and even my flip-flops are second-hand. I *love* this top... oh, and this is my current favorite way to wear my headcovering.

:: my thrifty modest style ::
And this was a comfy outfit. My daughter passed the sweater along to me, another of my girls passed the undershirt along to me, and the skirt is from our local thrift store. Same flip-flops. And I wore my hair down under my covering on this day, which my dear hubby really likes.

I tossed or donated all of the items that were in my wardrobe that no longer fit my size or style, and it felt *fantastic* to do that. I don't even own a pair of pants or anything that is too big or too small or that I don't love. And how I look forward to putting together a modest wardrobe in my happy size that reflects my personal tastes and thrifty style. It's going to be fun!


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Good Morning Oatmeal

Good old-fashioned oatmeal makes a very regular appearance at our breakfast table. It is a quick and simple real food that everyone in our large tribe likes. I regularly purchase quick rolled oats in 25 pound bags from our local grocer for under twenty dollars and with those oats I make peanut butter granola and pumpkin pie baked oatmeal and quite a few other yummy things.

But I probably make a big pan of good morning oatmeal more than anything else these days.

I developed this recipe after a friend gave me a big bag of almond flour. I was looking for ways to use it up and one day I added a scoop to my morning batch of oatmeal. It was pretty good!

So I spent a few days experimenting and adding things and tweaking the ratios until one morning my large tribe proclaimed that I had made the best oatmeal ever.

The best oatmeal *ever*? I have been tweaking my oatmeal making method for thirty years and this is the very yummiest of all? Yes! They insisted it was really the best. And I admit, it is delicious.

We named it good morning oatmeal because it is very good and we eat it in the morning. Aren't we a clever bunch? {smile} It is creamy and slightly sweet and I do hope you like it as much as we do.

Here is the recipe.

:: gather the ingredients ::
Good Morning Oatmeal

You will need a wire whisk and a 4 1/2 quart (or larger) saucepan with a lid.

1 egg
8 cups water
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups quick cooking rolled oats (uncooked)

Break the egg into the saucepan and stir it well with the wire whisk.

:: whisk the egg in the pan ::
Add the water, dark brown sugar, ground flax seeds, almond flour, salt, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to the egg in the pan. Stir well. Place the pan on the stove top if it isn't there already. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a near boil.

:: add everything but the rolled oats and stir ::
Carefully add the quick rolled oats to the pan and stir with the wire whisk. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble. After the oatmeal mixture begins bubbling, continue to cook and stir for one more minute. Be mindful, sometimes the bubbling oats splatter.

:: add the rolled oats and finish cooking ::
Carefully remove the pan from the heat and put the lid on the pan. Let the oatmeal sit, undisturbed, for five to ten minutes so it can cool a bit and thicken.

Spoon the finished oatmeal into bowls to serve when it is cool enough to eat. It is sweet and creamy as is, but do add whatever milk and toppings and additional sweeteners you like to make it your own, if you prefer.

:: yum! ::
This recipe amount serves my large family (eight of us at home) with no leftovers. If you do have leftovers, I recommend storing them in a covered dish in the refrigerator and eating them up within a day or two. And if you want to cut the ingredient amounts in half to serve a smaller group, I would still use one whole egg.

Enjoy... and have a great day!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Archery Season

It is archery season in our neck of the woods and a palpable feeling of autumn is upon us. That combination prompted my dear hubby to set up his archery target over the weekend for some practice time.

And all of our children were interested in some archery lessons. The older boys are archers already, and simply wanted to practice. But all of our girls, and our youngest boy, were eager to receive their first instruction in archery safety and technique from their very experienced and long-time archery enthusiast daddy. 

Such a blessing it is to pass along this old fashioned skill to our children. We want to give them a plethora of homeschool memories and experiences to draw from as they form their own hobbies and special interests. And archery class was quite a fun thing to add to our eclectic homeschool mix.

All of the girls had a fantastic time, as did our boys. It was a time of big bonding for our big tribe. {smile} Enjoying the wide open space of our homestead in the fresh air, wild and free as can be. *Bliss!*

Then it was Mama's turn. My dear hubby taught me to shoot a bow when our oldest children were young, but I haven't shot since then. And that was twenty-five years ago. So nobody was more surprised than I was when I made several good hits on the target!

We all had such a good time. I think it is safe to say that we are adding archery practice to the ever-growing list of activities that our large tribe enjoys doing together. 

We were outdoors quite a bit over the weekend, besides our archery target practice. Our youngest boy had a homeschool art assignment to make a sculpture from natural materials. He used some clay from the creek and a rock and some wildflowers to make a unique and pretty piece.

And while some of us worked on outdoor projects... like tractor repair and maintenance... my helpers and I continued to process and put up apples. I made the apple pie I had planned for family fun night...

I also made another large batch of applesauce and an apple cake that was delicious!

All of these apple projects are generating piles of cores and peelings for our critters. Matilda knows it is apple season. Do you see the wee bit of froth on her lower lip? That's because she knew we had a treat for her. That best cow-friend of mine *adores* apples.

As Matilda munched her cores, a few of our chickens ran off with some of the strings of apple peelings made by my apple peeler. It was so funny, they looked as though they were running about with spaghetti hanging from their beaks. Ha!

I do hope you had a lovely weekend at your place as well, wherever that may be... and I wish you a wonderful start to your week.