Weekend Links & Updates

I absolutely love how our gravel road looks this time of year.
In which I share my favorite posts from this blog's Facebook page.

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But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Matthew 6:33

I had to give up on apples. I'm not typically one to give up on things (i.e. I'm stubborn), but the apples got the better of me. We have 10 apple trees and they all produced like crazy this year.  I canned applesauce, apple juice and cider, apple halves in light syrup; I freeze dried apple rings; I dehydrated apple rings; I gave literal tons of apples away. I considered canning apple jam/jelly/butter, but looking at our larder, we already had too many sweet spreads. And then it was time to re-start homeschool. Preserving, homeschooling, working, being a home-keeper...something had to give. I am only one person. So I didn't preserve the rest of the apples. So. Hard. For. Me!

My family is still eating fresh apples and apples cooked into meals or baked into treats; I'm still giving apples away; I'm still feeding apples to the chickens. And someday, if I can manage to create an appropriate space, we can store whole apples in cold storage. But right now, the apples beat me. It's been a good reminder that I'm not superwoman and that priorities matter. Sigh.
Pork chops and apples is one of many recipes I've adopted since moving to our apple-rich homestead.

In other homestead news, it appears our first batch of chicks is entirely female. We are shocked by this, but since they are nearly fully grown, have shown zero signs of trying to crow, and the rooster is mating with them (haha!), we're pretty sure we have 5 new hens. Our second batch of chicks isn't fairing quite as well. We feel pretty sure one of them is a rooster, just by paying attention to its behavior. Time will tell. And we lost one of the other chicks. The possible rooster pecked it to death...and its mother and the rooster did nothing to prevent it. We did isolate the picked-on chick for a time, to allow it to heal from its wounds, but as soon as it was re-introduced to the flock, it was harshly attacked again. This is the hardest part about chickens, I think. They are pretty darn cruel - even the nicer breeds, like Australorpes. Experience tells us something was probably wrong with this chick...something we can't detect, but that the chickens somehow know. 

This book is SO good!
On a cheerier note, I've read two outstanding novels recently - both tough to put down. One is Sandra Byrd's Lady of a Thousand Treasures. It's one of the best historical romances I've ever read. (Actually, I pretty much love everything written by Sandra, so if you haven't checked out her historicals, her contemporaries, her kid's books, or her devotionals, I think you should! See all Sandra's books here.) The second novel of note is Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin. I love many of Lynn's historicals, and this one gave me tears of joy. (You do not need to have read book 1 in this series to completely understand and enjoy Mercy.)

* If you want a fun treat for your kiddos this fall, try these chocolate chip spider cookies. I made them a year or two ago, and they were a big hit. You can use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, if you prefer, and just borrow the technique for making spiders. It's easy!

* Can't afford organic? This study shows the best (and easiest and cheapest) method for removing pesticide residue from the surface of fruits. 

* How to hang onions for storage.
Blueberries just coming out of my freeze dryer.

* Check out my first-ever article for GRIT magazine. It's about winter squash on the homestead. 

* This article. Read it! It explains why you shouldn't do a ton of garden clean up this time of year - not if you want to help pollinators survive.

* This pie garland is so cute! It makes a fun Thanksgiving-ish activity for kids.

* Speaking of Thanksgiving, check out this Family Bible Reading Plan for Thanksgiving.

* Wanna be a hero this holiday season? Make a scrumptious pie (or 2 or 3...). In my book Easy as Pie, I show you how to make amazing and easy crusts, plus some of the best-tasting pies you'll ever eat! Some of my family's favorites that are included in the book are fresh (not from a can!) pumpkin pie, green tomato pie, zucchini pie, cookie dough pie, and shoofly pie. 


Oldies But Goodies:

* Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Food Ideas
* How we get .06 cent eggs (Feeding Chickens on the Cheap)
* Best ideas for upcycling jeans

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