Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath...

In reality, these grapes were only grapes of juice.  Lila and I actually had a very pleasant time picking them.  Maggie was down for a nap, which normally means Lila is in "Quiet Time", or in her room playing quietly while I get things done around the house and have a mommy break.  But, I decided she'd probably enjoy helping me with this project and I would enjoy her company as well. 

We have three grape plants in our backyard that over the past six years have become pretty prolific.  We've been watching the grapes and finally decided that they were ready to harvest.  So, Lila and I did just that.  In the past, it seems like all the grapes have been ready pretty much at the same time.  This year, however, only about half were dark purple while the other half was still green.  Needless to say, we didn't pick a whole heck of a lot.  And, after I cooked them and juiced them, there was not enough juice for even one batch of jelly.  So, hopefully, the other half will ripen and we can have another picking time.  Until then, I'll just have to freeze the juice and wait patiently.

The grape jelly really is worth the wait.  It's so yummy throughout the year.   I never buy jelly or jam at the store, it's another aisle I just walk on by.  We have quite a few fruit-bearing plants.  Plenty to keep us stocked with all kinds of yummy fruity spreads.  This year I have made plum jelly, strawberry jam, and blackberry jelly.  I usually also put up pear butter and apple butter.  Yummers.  The apples have started coming in and I've ventured into dehydrating them.  I've really been happy with the results.  My family has really enjoyed munching on them. 

On a happy note, today as we were leaving, I realized I hadn't packed the girls a snack for the car and I knew they would ask for one.  Conveniently, all I had to do was reach up and pick a couple apples from the tree in our front yard.  They were a big hit and healthy to boot! 

Monday, August 23, 2010

A little lactavism...

The Howards performed at The World of Good Festival last Saturday.  You can see we had a very rowdy crowd to play to- a bunch of dancing kiddos and their lactavist mommies.  It was really fun and well-organized event hosted by La Leche League of Southern Indiana to promote the normalcy of breastfeeding.  I sported my shirt that my friend Amber gave me while preggers with Lila "I make milk, what's your super power?".  I must admit, however, that I am not currently making milk as I weaned Maggie about a month ago.  Maybe I should have written in the word "Can" or something.  But, regardless, I'm a big "Lactavist"- that would be a breastfeeding proponent for those laymen out there.  I nursed both my girls until around 15 months.  A lot of my mommy friends nurse a lot longer, but that seemed to be right for us.  I've been so thrilled to see a change in the culture even since I was pregnant with Lila.  Breastfeeding does seem more normal and the word is getting out about the many benefits of breastfeeding for Mommy and Baby. 

Our bass player Josh and his partner Morgan were standing near the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding display listening to comments from people checking out the art which had varying degrees of modesty.  One couple in their 50's passed and had this conversation:

Man: What's this all about?
Woman: I don't know, but there are a lot of titties hanging out.

But, you know, I think that's exactly the point of the event.  Just to get people talking about and questioning their own comfort with seeing breasts used to feed babies.  If I had not been so encouraged by several friends, family members, and Cameron, I doubt I would have been successful if it were just me committed to breastfeeding.  As it was, I'm so glad I had the opportunity to nourish my babes in the healthiest way possible.  Like another shirt said at the event- "Breast milk- never been recalled".

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To market, to market....

This evening we loaded up our pig, not called Halle, and took her to be butchered.  In the past, we have raised pigs as part of a co-op for neighbors and friends who wanted locally-raised pork but didn't have the space or desire to raise a pig.  So, we have had 7-8 pigs at a time.  It's really not a lot more trouble to have 6 pigs as opposed to 1 until it comes times to load them up in the truck once they have reached close to 300 lbs.  It has been quite a trying fiasco in years past.  So, this year we decided just to keep a pig for ourselves.  When the pig came to live with us, Lila started calling her Halle.  We immediately curtailed this, as it's our farm policy not to name anything we plan to eat. 
Lila accompanied Cam to the butcher to drop the pig into her overnight pen.  We've been very open with Lila from the beginning about why we are raising the pig.  In fact, we eat a lot of the animals on our farm, and to date, she's very okay with it.  While she was munching on some baked rabbit the other day, she commented, "This is YUMMY!..... It sure was cute, though!".

I rarely shop in the meat section at the grocery store.  We eat our rabbits, pig, and chickens.  Cam is also a hunter and fills our freezer with venison, squirrel, and turkey.  Cam doesn't fish much, but our neighbors sometimes share their catch.  We've also done purchased some local beefalo (part buffalo, part cow) in the past.  It's really great to know where our meat came from, what it ate, and that it was happy and well-taken-care-of while it was alive. 

We were talking with Lila about what will happen to the pig tomorrow morning at the butcher.  She wanted to know a lot of detail, which I will spare you here, but we answered all of her questions honestly.  She came home tonight explaining to me again what will happen to The-Pig-Who-is-not-called-Halle tomorrow.  She told me how they put her in her pen and wide-eyed with a big smile she told me, "She made friends with the other piggies!"  I guess better to have friends for a short while than to never have friends at all.  Here's hoping for some yummy bacon in our future.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mollukkah... a season of celebration!

A few years ago, as I was celebrating my birthday with some friends of mine, Cam was teasing me about how my birthday, which is August 11, seems to extend far beyond that day and fill up the whole month.  One of my guests (I can never remember if it was my clever brother-in-law or a friend's boyfriend) coined the term Mollukkah.  (You know, like the 8 days of Hanukkah?) Henceforth, we have celebrated the Season of Mollukkah in my family.  I am an only child, and honestly, am really spoiled (to this day) by my parents.  So, it's true that my celebrations have always run a little long, but what's the harm in a little extra holiday revelry?

This year, I got a new laptop for my birthday, along with an aircard that will hopefully afford me speedier internet connections (see the spoiled comment above).  A few months ago, my friend Melissa asked me why I hadn't started blogging.  I gave the excuse that I had dial-up and therefor it was out of the question to do things like add photos and such.  Well, when I told her that I got a laptop and speedy internet, one of the first things she said was, "So, you're going to blog now!?" Which was followed by a resounding "Yeah, Molly, blog!" by my friend Bonnie.  So, here I am.  We'll see if our life on the farm is interesting enough to read about.  But for now, Happy Mollukkah!

PS- at the Mollukkah celebration above, my sweet sister-in-law printed stickers that said "I celebrate Mollukkah".  You can see the three-of-us in the picture wearing them proudly.  =)