We're working our way through Laura Ingalls's first book, Little House in the Big Woods. I can't say I remember reading the book as a young girl, so I'm really enjoying this experience.
The book thoroughly describes life in the big woods and we have had so many great discussions about how different our lives would be if we were born in a different era.
The Butter Ball
In Laura's day, one day was set aside for making butter. Ma would churn the cream and make the butter. What a great activity for our family! So the kids and I bought some whipping cream (believe it or not we didn't milk it directly from the cow) and shook it and shook it until it thickened so much it "outgrew" the container we had it in. We then decided to speed up the process and put the thickened cream in the blender (that's how my mom did it). The thickened cream quickly began to form a ball of butter. We then removed the butter from the blender and squeezed out the extra buttermilk and had our own large ball of BEAUTIFUL butter. What great fun!
This week we also read about "hasty pudding." We made our own hasty pudding yesterday following lunch. We made two types. One type was made with corn meal. That's the type Laura had. The other type we made is one that I enjoyed with my Papa and Grandma in the evenings when I lived with them. My Papa said his mom used to make if for him when he was young.
Laura's hasty pudding was made by boiling water and slowly adding cornmeal until it thickened. We let it set covered until it cooled and then we added a little sweetner to it. For my Papa and Grandma's hasty pudding we heated milk on the stove and added flour until it had a thick pudding type consistency. I then spooned the pudding in bowls and we topped it with a little butter, sugar and cinnamon. We added a little more milk to it also.
Last weekend a friend asked, "What was the greatest thing that happened in the last week?" Wow, what a question! We do so many wonderful activities, but they're gone like a blur as the days pass. I couldn't remember one event from the past week, even though we did so many memorable things.
At that moment, I realized when I write down our memories I'm much more likely to be able to recall them. Lately the kids have been asking me, almost daily, questions like, "Mom tell me what I did when I was a baby. Tell me what I was like." I'm finding that in the process of life, I'm forgetting what I thought was engraved in memory banks of my mind. So for the preservation of our family events I journal in this blog. Then when family asks, "What did you do last week?" We can all look to the blog and recall.
I worked in the garden again yesterday, busily planting some seeds. I took this photo before I had planted. The focus this year will be on more flowers and less vegetables as we are not able to eat everything that comes up. Last year I canned, froze, gave away, and donated to the food bank and still there were some things that just went to the compost pile because I couldn't keep up.
So yesterday I planted carrots, french marigolds, african marigolds, stock, cosmos (orange, pink, yellow, white mix), teddy bear sunflowers, gaillardia, bells of ireland, and larkspur. I hope to have a nice cutting garden this summer.
Tomorrow we'll level the garden out and make the paths and figure where the grass will grow.
I'm off to find some boards to make raised beds for the strawberries.
After the overwhelming task of maintaining a HUGE garden (about 40X150) last year we decided to scale down and rethink my garden. We had a landscape designer draw a new plan for us. Last fall I moved the trees, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, and rhubarb to different locations as to make room for more grass and paths and less planting areas and weeds.
The whole garden just went through the 2nd tilling and I've been able to plant a couple things. I ended up having to transplant the peas I had planted as I didn't take into account the new grass pathway that is going in.
So today, between rain showers, I transplanted my peas--All 125 of them and put them in new rows. Now I realize that doesn't seem like I'm downsizing, but really I am. I saved one of the sprouts that was a great lesson for the kids to see the pea that split open, the sprout that has grown, and the long roots.
I've also planted some lettuce mixes, beets, radishes and have about 100+ strawberry plants to replant. But first I need to build the raised beds for the strawberry plants. The rhubarb is also growing quite well.
As you will see in the photos, the devastation in Mississippi is still very evident. Although the hurricane was over 7 months ago, the landscape, the homes, and the towns are far from being restored. I've realized through these photos how controlled we are by the media. It's an "Out of sight, out of mind" situation. We don't realize that there are still so many people down there who are still without or who have just walked away from everything. The truth is really sobering.