Weekend Links & Updates...Early...and Late!

The plum harvest has begun!
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"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

James 1: 2-4
My friends, I'm sorry I have been so absent from this blog. 2019 has been one heck of a year. Let me backtrack a little so you can get the big picture.

In February, just as I was finishing a book project for Dover Publications and planning to put in a big garden - I got a call that shook my world. My dad was going home from the hospital with hospice care. My husband, kids, and I drove out of state to be with him. We cared for him for about a week, but on the very day my husband took my kids home (he had to get back to his job), my dad died. I remained out of state for more than a month, looking after Dad's estate.

When I finally came home, I was utterly exhausted, but still dealing with SO MUCH PAPERWORK related to Dad's estate. And, on the same day my dad died, my husband's grandmother also had a terrible stroke; the family was trying to care for her in her home, then struggling to find a foster care situation for her, since her care was more than anyone in the family could handle.

In the meantime, Dover Publications sent me another contract. It was something I told them I would do before my Dad went home on hospice, and while most of me wanted to turn it down because I already had my hands too full, I knew the publisher was relying on me to fill a spot in their catalog. I didn't want to let them down. So I signed the contract and began working hard on finishing the job under a tight deadline.

Then my mom had a heart attack. And another. Docs put two stents in her arteries, which were 90% blocked. And today, she's had another heart attack.

And did I mention that I've been having some issues myself? The nausea, dizziness, vertigo, and passing out my doctor and I thought were related to my severe anemia last year have returned. Oy.

I completely trust in the Lord, but this is all still pretty stressful. All I really want to do is cuddle my kids and enjoy summer with them.

So, the blog, writing for magazines, and a whole lot of other things have fallen by the wayside.

We did go to the county fair last weekend...the first fun family thing we've done since...I can't even remember. And I have taken up sewing again - purposefully making time for fun, easy, cheerful projects. (I've been on an apron-making spree, as you can see from the photos below.)
From a 1980s pattern: McCall's 608
From a reprint of a 1940s pattern: Simplicity 8571.
From a 1940s pattern: Advance 5998. It's my new orchard harvesting apron and it works GREAT!
(If all these aprons put you in the mood to make one yourself, check out The Best FREE Apron Patterns on the Net.)

So...that's why I haven't posted. But for those of you who don't follow the blog on Facebook, I thought I'd take a few minutes and share my news and some interesting links. I hope you enjoy them!

First harvest out of any consequence this year.
* Even though I didn't get a big garden in this year, my husband did build a beautiful asparagus bed. I got the asparagus planted and it's doing well! But because the asparagus is still young and relatively small, I also planted beets, radishes, turnips, and carrots in the same bed. Yesterday was my first harvest off this garden. Isn't it lovely? In the basket you'll also see a few greenhouse tomatoes, a bell pepper, and some yellow and red plums.

* My dad had several small mandarin trees he started from seed. I brought them home with me, and we'll see if they survive our cooler climate. Here are some great tips on growing citrus in cooler-climate areas.

* I get bored cooking and eating the same things over and over, so I like to regularly try new recipes. Here is something I made for the first time last week. Everyone loved it, including my chicken-hating husband! Spicy Chicken with Cauliflower Rice. I may change up the seasonings for the cauli-rice, however, since it was too cauliflowery for my kids ;)

* Being a canning "rebel" has consequences. Often it's children or the elderly you're putting at risk, but in a recent case, it was the canner herself who nearly died. Follow the rules, people. Proper canning isn't hard. There's no excuse.

* Gripe water is a safe, old timey remedy for colicky babies. Here's how to make your own.

* I cringe when I see people asking what type of poisions to use in their gardens. There are a lot of effective ways to get rid of weeds without using RoundUp. Here are a few.

* A few reasons your children should have their own garden.

* Do you participate in Operation Christmas Child? Here are some great tips for doing so most effectively.

* Such a wonderful story: "A Group of Lions Save Christians" 

* I saw this and HAD to have one. Wore it to my last doctor's appointment and my doctor LOVED it,
too! (He tells me I should be the poster child for getting diabetic blood sugars under complete control...You might want to read How I Reversed My Diabetes, if you or someone you love is suffering from diabetes.)

* An article I recently wrote for Backwoods Home magazine: How to hatch chicks with a broody hen.

Oldies But Goodies:

* Keeping the House Cool in Summer (With or Without AC) 

* The 7 Wonders of the World Homeschool Project 

* Low Sugar, No Added Pectin Blackberry Jam 

* Canning Pickled Green Beans (Dilly Beans)

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