Monday, April 16, 2018

Free Gardening Mini-Course

Redeeming the Dirt has a free Gardening Mini-course on soil building.

It is called: Building Soil God's Way!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Being Refined through the Mess by Blessings

The Refiner's Fire
By Jon Mohr

There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze, and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by their sufferings
On the anvil of his will

The Refiner's Fire
Has now become my soul desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner's Fire!

I'm learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire's embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase!
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I'm not sure that I'll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive!

The Refiner's Fire
Has now become my soul desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner's Fire!

To stay awake yesterday while driving, I pushed in the cassette in the car (Yes, our car is old enough to have a cassette player.) and this song instantly came on. It caused my mind to go back over everything that has been happening in our lives for the last few years.

In less than ten years, our family has had many medical/physical emergencies:
- a son unconscious after being thrown off a four-wheeler at work. There was a brain bleed and permanent hearing loss
- a son life-flighted to a Regional Burn Center because of severe burns.
- a son with a laceration to his eye, which entailed emergency trip to a University hospital
- several daughters-in-law have had multiple miscarriages
- aging parents, needing surgeries or being over-night in the hospital for medical needs
- this summer a daughter-in-law going home to heaven soon after having a baby
- Mr Wonderful having two shoulder surgeries, and yesterday removal of a Squamous Cell Carcinoma tumor from the top of his head. Which the doctor could only give a 90% success rate because of the way it had grown.
And this incomplete list does not even contain the even harder relationship crises.

There have been many blessings, yet they too are often through a refining process:
- grandchildren born
- a grandchild miraculously alive after a fall from a third story window
- a grandchild, whose arm was not broken when a swather drove over it
- parents moving nearby
- marriages
- relationships in the process of being restored

Then this morning listening to Revive Our Hearts podcast for today, Carrie Gaul shared...

I don’t know all of what that means, but at the very least it means, in the middle of your mess and my mess, this place is where we’re going to see God to do incredible things. It’s where we’re going to experience more of His joy and His freedom and His peace. It’s where we’re going to see Him!

Life is messy. Relationships are messy. Yet, God miraculously works to refine and mold us into His work through these "blessings." They are all blessings.

As Laura Story wrote in, Blessings

Friday, June 2, 2017

2017 Garden 06.01

This winter included rain and wind. Though the snow level in the yard was about average, the raspberries had alot of damage. And winter has left slowly. I was a month late getting them pruned.

Honeycrisp Apple in bloom for the first time!

With help from a good friend, she must be a good friend to be willing to pull the tangled grass roots out of the garden!

Onion plants on top and lettuce below soaker hose.

We are making progress in getting seeds and transplants in the soil.

 New Thyme plant. Smells wonderful and is yummy.
The old had become quite woody.

 Horseradish. I had two in upside down 5 gallon water bottles.
I harvested the front one last fall. A tip of the roots must have been left.
Because a new plant is emerging.

 New Sage plant also. The old was very woody. 

 Transplants ready to go. Mom started: Red Cabbage, 
Broccoli, Kale, Radicchio, Cilantro and some flowers.

Brassica transplants protected with bottles and jugs (bottoms are cut out).

 Rhubarb - already harvested twice.

 Garlic - I've never had garlic make it through the winter before.
The cloves were taken from some a friend grew.
 Both here in the strawberry bed and in the mint bed they are thriving.
I've put the perforated type watering hose in both strawberry beds. 
The strawberries love the gentle watering and it is much easier
to pull weeds from moist soil!

Tomato plants bought as transplants from Azure Standard's Sarah's Starts.
For our short, dry growing season I've found self-watering containers work best.
They are located on the front porch and can be covered easily 
or even brought into the garage at night.

Front Porch Flower/Strawberry Bed - with chives, 
walking onions (these provide green onions as early as March), 
and cilantro that self-seeded from last year.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Beefplate - Beef Bacon

This year when getting the beef butchered, I forgot to tell them to cut the beefplate in 1/4" strips. Opps! So now it is my job to cut the meat. Thankfully we have a power slicer.
This is the meat that is usually turned into short ribs.

We prefer to turn it into beef "bacon." After marinating it in the following basic solution:

Per pound of meat
1 Tbsp. Morton's Tender Quick (I get this at the local grocery store.)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. maple syrup

Depending on how "spicy" you like your "bacon" you can add: black pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, chipolte powder, granulated garlic, etc. Maybe add some liquid smoke if you don't plan to smoke in a smoker.

Put meat in glass or plastic container with a lid. Sprinkle over the meat and rub in well. Let set covered in your refrigerator for about 10 days if the meat is not sliced, probably 5-7 sliced. Turn daily.

Now you can smoke it or just use as is. This will not be as crispy as pork bacon. We find it works better wrapped around filets and wrapped around ground patties for "Poor Man Filets" than pork bacon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Good Shepherd of my Soul

Today, while listening to another hymn, I came across "Good Shepherd of my Soul."

It has blessed me immensely. To listen or read more about it follow this link

Good Shepherd of my soul
Come dwell within me.
Take all I am and mould
Your likeness in me.
Before the cross of Christ
This is my sacrifice:
A life laid down
And ready to follow.
The troubled find their peace
In true surrender.
The prisoners their release
From chains of anger.
In springs of living grace
I find a resting place
To rise refreshed,
Determined to follow.
I’ll walk this narrow road
With Christ before me
Where thorns and thistles grow
And cords ensnare me.
Though doubted and denied
He never leaves my side
But lifts my head
And calls me to follow.
And when my days are gone
My strength is failing
He’ll carry me along
Through death’s unveiling
Earth’s struggles overcome
Heav’n’s journey just begun
To search Christ’s depths
And ever to follow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Busy Day - Tallow Rendering and Cheddar Curds

Tuesday we picked up our meat from the butcher. We had a 22 month old steer butchered. His rail weight was just over 600 pounds. We netted about 350 pounds of meat. With bones and offal there was close to 400 pounds.

I asked them to save the leaf fat. There was 12+ pounds of leaf fat. Today, I chopped it fine and put it in the crock-pot on low. I did this in 3 batches. I ladled the liquid gold into a sterile mason jar by filtering it through a fine mesh strainer hung on the jar funnel. Then would add the next batch of fat. By leaving the jar upside down for 5 - 10 minutes and then turning it right side up the new jar lid will usually seal. These will store well in the basement storage room and will be used for soap, body cream, and cooking.

While letting the fat melt into tallow. I was able to catch up on some housecleaning and make some cheddar curds. The curds are draining and ready to be sliced to cheddar. We enjoy the curds on salad and as snacks. Because you do not take the milk above 100 degrees it is still considered raw. Yum!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Winter Beauty

Pardon the quality on these, I did not have a "real" camera with zoom.

Went to Jackson the other day and it was a beautiful day. 
As we drove up the Snake River Canyon there was just a few clouds touched with the pink sunrise.
After dropping Mr. Wonderful off to work and stopping by a grocery store to pick-up fresh vegetables, I was off to a friend's to make cards.

The National Elk Refuge, elk herd with Tetons behind.

I did not stop to take pictures of the usual Big Horn Sheep herd at the base of the butte as there were no rams to be seen up close.

But farther down there was this Bald Eagle surveying the landscape.

The fences were glittering with the morning frost.

On the way home that evening we saw two moose and more elk in the Snake River Canyon.
Then three coyotes running across the local elk feed ground.