Bringing in the Spring Harvest

Spring arrived, and along with it a beautiful bounty of fruits are filling the property at my uncles house. We've been spending lots of time visiting with family and spending time with the animals. The kids have loved that! And now that the trees are bending with the fruits of the season, they are happy to help collect from the trees so that I can make yummy jams, jellies, and pies.

There are a few challenges to working on my uncles property. It sits on the side of a hill, so reaching the fruit from the tops of the trees is nearly impossible in some places. Since we were lacking in the proper tools, we improvised! It may seem like a rather crude version of this lovely fruit picking basket that you can order online for $30+, but it worked just as well, and was not anywhere near that price.  And the pretty tape was a nice touch, thanks to my Homemakers kit from Brit + Co.

You simply need a broom handle, a 15 oz can (or whatever size you prefer for your fruit), and Duct Tape. If you'd like to have a sharper edge to your can to cut the stems of your fruit, you can use some metal cutting sheers to cut a V shape before you tape your can around the broom handle. Easy-peasy.
Worked fantastic! And it is especially helpful for us gals who happen to be a whopping 5 ft 1 inch. Ladder not needed!

 And take a look at these beauties!

 Loquats are one of those fruit that can make you wonder a bit. What do you make with them? What can you pair them with? Personally, this was the first time I've ever cooked anything with them. I remember as a child eating them straight of the tree, so Google and Pinterest were my best friend when I was looking how to prepare them.
I chose the jam route, and paired them with some Rosemary. The flavors were beautiful together. It's a simple recipe that I threw together, but could easily be multiplied to suite how much fruit you have to use. Enjoy!

Loquat + Rosemary Jam

1 cup of pitted and chopped loquats
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp gelatin 
1 sprig of rosemary, plus 1 tsp minced rosemary leaves reserved

In a medium sauce pan put your Loquats, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil, and turn to low to simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the fruit is opaque and thicker like a syrup. Melt your gelatin in a tablespoon of water and add to your pan. Cook for about 5 more minutes. The jam will thicken slightly as it cools. Preserve in a canning jar according to packaging instructions, or reserve in the refrigerator. (In our case, it only lasted a few days, but I imagine it could keep for quite some time!)

Happy Spring!


The View.

Sometimes the view is all about perspective. It's not what's going on outside, but what's going on inside that matters. Life transforms before our eyes everyday and we take it for granted, when things look mellow or boring from where we're sitting. The internal struggles can be so real and yet no one else sees them. It's all the surface muck that changes the view of what's really taking place within for other people. We all know how that goes. We all struggle with stuff throughout life. Often times it's better for us to quietly go about our business of just getting things done.

It struck me yesterday to remember something that I'd seen often floating around on Facebook. It's the quote, "Everyone is fighting a battle. Be kinder than you think is necessary." Or something to that effect. It's so true. We're all going through something. This Lent, I was joking with a few people, God arranged my "fasting and abstinence" better than anything I ever could have come up with. He has a way of knowing what will help us grow if we're open to taking those things on. 
It also gave me some perspective to take into account that maybe a grumpy face, or a pained expression pointed in your direction might not be about you necessarily, but about something that is going on with the other person. Don't take it personally. Instead pray for that person, and be kinder than you think is necessary. Maybe that person is experiencing something that you can't imagine. The perspective is different from the outside. The internal struggle is real. It's all about the view.


Quiet Days & Handwork.

 I've been a little obsessed with sheep and wool and handwork and quiet and calm lately. Probably because life seems a little crazy and "unplanned" lately, and those things I mentioned make me feel peaceful. Peaceful is good. It really has been incredible to me that despite all that goes on around me, and with me sometimes, that God seems to make these perfect opportunites available to me and the kids that allow us to take a "breather" and just rest. As my youngest boy likes to say, "He's a good Dad-God!" He knows just what we need.

We've taken a few short day trips to visit some family that
have some sheep. I'm completely obsessed with them. My aunt and uncle sheered their sheep a few months ago and had been holding onto the wool. They generously gifted it all to me. I have this glorious pile of wool, full of twigs and hay, and lathered in lanolin that is just begging to be cleaned and turned into something magical and beautiful. I'll get around to cleaning it eventually. I wanted the kids to see where it came from, so the day trip was important. The sheep had birthed some lambs just recently and I wanted to make sure that they could experience them while they were still fresh and young! There is nothing in the world like experiencing new life.
 Anyway, all this lamb and wool talk got me enthused to make a quick something. I took 15 minutes and crocheted a cover for this wooden bead that I soaked in Thieves Essential Oil, and strung it on a hemp cord.

Quick crafts are my favorite. Who doesn't love some (almost) instant gratification from a project completed! What's funny is, it's nothing fancy. But I wore it today when I went to the dentist and both she and her assistant commented on it. Where did I get it? Could they get one, too? Funny how that happens.   
Now, to bed to dream of other things to do with all the wool that awaits me.
What would you do with a bundle of raw wool? I'm open to ideas!


A Taste from my Childhood.

Growing up there were a few things that my mom was well known for. There was her artistic talent (breath taking), her taste in furniture (fantastic), and her food (amazing). My sister's favorite cake has always been this sponge cake from The Joy of Cooking, with Seven Minute Frosting, and sprinkles galore. We were visiting my sister over the weekend and decided she was deserving! She's been nothing short of phenomenal over the last year at helping out when we needed it most. The least we could do was make her a cake.

We grow older, and our lives change and grow, but some things stay the same. Like cake with sprinkles. That will always be good. 

Have you tried Seven Minute Frosting? It's like this delicious fluff when it's freshly made. And then, as it sits, it turns to this crispy meringue. Yum. Give it a try!


My little Entreprenuer.

 My kids take after me. They like to come up with ideas about how to accomplish what they want. When my youngest boy came to me wanting something, it there was not question about whether or not we would put it off. We set to work to help him earn what he wants.

We collected supplies and he got to work making Dark Chocolate Dipped Blood Oranges with Sea Salt.

 "Like this! This one looks good. Someone will definitely want this one."

"Ok, Mom. Can I take some pictures so that you can share them?"
 "This is perfect! They look good. Can we share them now?"
You betcha, young one.
I love him to pieces. 


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