Showing posts from October, 2011

Fall, Applesauce, and Grace

This full week, with all hands helping, we managed to get the elk in the freezer,  and the applesauce canned, along with spaghetti sauce, completing our fall canning.   I believe we have over 200 quarts of fruit and veggies put away now. Today we put all the canning stuff away and gave the house a good cleaning. We also scooched furniture around close to the fire now that the mornings and evening are cold. With just fire wood left on the project list, I feel a burden lifted, and can happily sit by the fire with a cup of tea...and rest.

 Gabe is more than willing to test the apple quality.

Everyone enjoyed the sauce making and wanted to help.  I am not sure that this many hands make light work, but we had fun anyway.

The living room outfitted with a rug and chest I swiped from another room, ready for tea and a story tonight after dinner.

Nothing, in my mind, says "cozy" like a pile of books and candlelight.

 A sunny spot for reading.

A corner for the littles and their books…

Keep Your Heart

"Keep Your Heart with all diligence;  for out of it are the issues of life." Proverbs 4:23

What do you do when your children fight?  It is just sibling rivalry, right? No, it is sin.  It is a manifestation of the heart. Just as is every sin and form of idolatry. That is why Solomon so earnestly admonishes us to keep our heart pure, clean, and full of Christ,  leaving no room or invitation for evil, selfishness, pride, bitterness, or the like. Keep it carefully. Keep it diligently.   Tend it regularly. Zealously weed out the rottenness, the junk. Fill it with the beautiful things of the Lord.... for out of it spring forth ALL the issues of life.
If there is any one thing we teach our children, any one thing we do each day, it should be to engrave this thought on our hearts,  on our children, impressing it upon them so it is the air they breath. How?  By instructing them in the Proverbs and faithfully praying for their souls.   By living what we teach.
As our family works through Kevin Swanson Fam…

How Then?

In answer to my dear sister over at Freedom Acres Farm,  who asked the question,  how do we make sweet memories in our homes when we are up to our eyeballs in work? reply is earnest and probably too simplistic. 
We rely on God's grace. 
His grace is huge.  It is sufficient.  It is there, just waiting for us to take it in, like a feast on a table all set for us,  only too often we sit under the table and whine and wait for scraps.  Beth Moore, in her study, "Believing God," says it this way,  "We are like ducks swimming in a puddle when just over a little hill is a beautiful pond." 

We have been canning for weeks now with applesauce still to go, there are two elk hanging ready for us to cut up this weekend,  then there are the remaining six cords of firewood  (to add to the six cords already prepared)  yet to cut, haul, split and stack before winter.   We are busy!  Fall is always like that when you live a country life.  I am so busy, in fact, that I do not have tim…

Home Memories

"Many a roof covers a home life that is bare of beauty and joy. Yet all the elements are there that are needed to make it a true image of heaven in its blessedness and peace. In the children growing up together there are the possibilities of a very rich life, with deep joys, fond ties and mutual inspirations.  There is wanting only the mighty transforming power of affection  to bring out all these possibilities.   Surely it is not right that so much blessing should be lost.  There is not so much happiness in the world that we can afford to leave our homes desert spots when they might be blossoming gardens." J.R. Miller, Homemaking pp 146

Some memories,  the beautiful ones that bring a smile to the face,  bring perpetual benediction to the home.   In our youth, we gather these sweet moments, and hold on to them like a bouquet of lovely flowers, breathing in the aroma,  eyes closed.  Thus we clothe our memories with  the gladness of bright days,  and carry them with us as we journey life.�…

Plum Crazy

One of our family traditions that everyone enjoys is trekking south about 2 hours every fall to forage for wild fruit.  Choosing a glorious fall day,  we load up the van with everything we could possible need for about a week, and set off.  Some years we go in September, when the blackberries are still ripe and the apples green,  but this year, we waited until the blackberries were gone and the apples ripe... but what we found in abundance was plums.  Oh we had fun!   The road winds along the mountains and comes out on a rolling plain,  where our van became a roller coaster ride and, very noisy as the children yelped and squealed  as daddy drove along up, then down, then up, then down...for miles.   Finally we wind down the draw to our favored spot, deer scattering in front of us, and squirrels scolding us for invading their privacy as we unload and head down the trail  with baskets, boxes and various containers for apples, rose hips and plums. To me, this is just of the many lures …

Christian Heritage Mother Daughter Tea

A world of beauty, grace, and affable faces awaited us  as we, my two oldest daughters, my mom, my friend,  her daughter and myself,  waltzed in the doorway to the Georgian Room at the Spokane Athletic Club for the annual Christian Heritage Mother and Daughter Tea

I have been to this lovely event in years past, yet found the 2011 tea to be the best yet.  The speakers, a mother and daughters team consisting of  Sherril Endicott, Emily Hageman and Betsy Bloomfield were absolutely wonderful.   Not only that, they are one of the most charming families I have ever met.

Over 100 ladies of all ages attended, and there was room for many more!  I would love to see the precious gift of this annual event attended by many more because  it was such an encouraging, fun time to spend with daughters and mothers.  I believe that women today hunger to spend time reveling in the delicacy of femininity,  that they need to cultivate opportunities to let the sweet, gentle spirit of femininity warm their hearts  fr…

My Non-Electric Life

When we built the lodge, the power company wanted a terrible amount to bring power
into our remote location.
At that point, we made the decision to spend our resources on solar panels,
batteries and a generator so that we could be off-grid. Although I have always wanted to live in a little non-electric cabin,  our family size and lack of a year around water source altered the ideal to being off-grid with solar power.  Over the years we were building the lodge we began acquiring non-electric household goods.   Now, when we are out at a yard sale or thrifting,
we are always on the lookout for such items. 

Coffee is an essential in our home,  so when some friends gave us this awesome vintage coffee grinder,  we were thrilled.   They found it on eBay.
We make our coffee in a french press that we found at Goodwill. Yes, I use antlers in all my decorating.
Clothes Dryer. This is my indoor model.
And the outdoor model.
Dish washer.
Vacuum cleaner... and a cute one to boot!

Oil lanterns.  Quite cozy an…

Books for Older Boys

I often get asked what books I would recommend for older boys.  I love this question, because I think it is great for boys to read good and honorable books  filled with adventure, godly character and big words. I am not fond of twaddle, thinking it just as wasteful as the abhorred video games. Believers ought to be very intentional and gravitas about raising their young men to be tomorrow's leaders,  full of integrity and godly morals.  Thus, I am a firm believer in filling a young man's mind with good, wholesome, hard, stretching books.   These qualifications may make it more difficult to find the books you want,  but places like Vision Forum and Amazon are great helps,  and authors such as  Jim Kjelgaurd,  Douglas Bond  and  G.A Henty are always trustworthy.

Here are our top picks for Jr High age boys:

The Young Carthaginian, G.A. Henty
The Golden goblet
In Freedom's Cause, Henty
The Cat of Bubastees, Henty
The Endless Steppe
Pilgrim's Progress, Bunyun
The Hobbit, Tolkien

The W…