Friday, September 26, 2008

The Apple Farm

We traveled to Etowah to visit Shultz Farm.
The apple trees were so heavy with beautiful apples.
We purchased some Fried Pies (highly recommended !),
some fresh Apple Cider (for drinking warm next to a Fall Bonfire),
and a bushel of apples.

We washed, cored, and sliced the apples.

We cooked and cooked and cooked them.

Next we removed the skins from the hot apple sauce.

We each ate a bowl of warm delicious applesauce (to ensure good flavor, of course).

The we used our canner to "put up" the fresh apple sauce.

And now in our pantry is a shelf half-full of apple sauce.

Now we have to go back to Shultz Farm next week for another bushel of apples.

We hope to fill that shelf completely. And maybe add some spiced apple rings too.

** Camera Not Working. Above photos borrowed from various sources found with Google search. **

Trip To Mayfield Dairy

Yesterday after school we went to Mayfield Dairy for a tour of the plant --- we saw them making their "yellow" milk containers, filling them, and making all sorts of frozen treats. The tour was quite interesting. But the BEST part of the afternoon (in my humble opinion) was at the end of the tour --- double dip icecream cones !! Yummy !!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Recipe To Share

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups sliced apples, peeled and cored
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pecans, chopped (or walnuts if you prefer)
1 cup raisins (optional)

(1) Mix together the sugar, egg, oil, vanilla until incorporated, add cinnamon and nutmeg.
(2) Add the flour, and mix thoroughly. This batter is rather thick.
(3) Pour the batter into a greased and floured cake pan - 9×13.
(4) Bake at 340 for 45-55 minutes.
(5) Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before removing from the cake pan.

1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

(1) Combine the sugar, syrup and butter and cook, stirring constantly over a medium heat, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has come to a full boil.
(2) Stop stirring and boil for exactly 1 minute more.
(3) Remove from the heat, without stirring!!! Let stand for 5 minutes.
(4) In a second bowl, combine the milk, baking soda and vanilla.
(5) Stir into the the slightly cooled sauce.

Serve warm over cake. Allow to cool before storing in a jar. To reheat, place the jar in a bowl of hot water until the butterscotch has warmed through. You can also use a microwave, use a low setting and heat slowly.

Recipe from

Monday, September 22, 2008

On The First Day of Autumn

* Photo collage borrowed. Found via Google search. *
With what a glory comes and goes the year!
The buds of spring, those beautiful harbingers
Of sunny skies and cloudless times, enjoy
Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out;
And when the silver habit of the clouds
Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with
A sober gladness the old year takes up
His bright inheritance of golden fruits,
A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.
There is a beautiful spirit breathing now
Its mellow richness on the clustered trees,
And, from a beaker full of richest dyes,
Pouring new glory on the autumn woods,
And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds.
Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird,
Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales
The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer,
Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life
Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned,
And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved,
Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down
By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees
The golden robin moves. The purple finch,
That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds,
A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle,
And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud
From cottage roofs the warbling blue-bird sings,
And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke,
Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.
O what a glory doth this world put on
For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth
Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks
On duties well performed, and days well spent!
For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves,
Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings.
He shall so hear the solemn hymn that Death
Has lifted up for all, that he shall go
To his long resting-place without a tear.
By: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, September 19, 2008

Edwin Teale, Naturalist and Author

Charlotte Mason would have enjoyed reading the works of Edwin Teale, and would have enjoyed sharing his works with her students as a part of Natural Science studies. Edwin Teale's true love of all-natural-things is so clear in his books, spelled out in beautifully discriptive language, that Miss Mason could not have helped but love his writing.

Edwin Way Teale was a naturalist whose book, A Naturalist Buys An Old Farm, I am currently reading. Our family will then read this book together (as a read-aloud) as soon as we finish our current book.

Above: Edwin Teale working inside the "hollow brush pile". It was here that he could work and could observe all of the things around the brushpile without being noticed by the wildlife surrounding him. This "hollow brush pile" was amoung his most favorite work places.

Edwin Teale was 60 years old when he and his wife, Nellie, finally found their "dream home" after wandering throughout the country on assignment and project after assignment and project. Their dream home was a large wooded estate in Connecticut. This home, eventually named "Trailwood," became the subject of this particular book (A Naturalist Buys an Old Farm). He shares his life on an old Connecticut farm as it reverts to its original wildness, with limitless observation and child-like wonder. Edwin Way Teale was a man who loved to wake up in the morning, whether it was to freshly fallen snow, the "trip-hammer tattoo" of a flicker "in the full flush of his springtime exuberance," or even to the fiery blisters from a run-in with poison sumac. He woke each day prepared for an adventure, and decidedly set upon letting nature set it's own course.

"There is, in the gaze of a skunk, something innocent and childlike," writes Teale. He writes with knowledge, yet with an 'innocent gaze,' of his and Nellie's years on Trail Wood Farm. I share this “innocent gaze”, despite having seen many things a million times before.

Instead of the usual city-dweller's view, and rather than the casual observer's perspective, wouldn't it be more satisfying to spend an afternoon, like this author, watching a woodchuck prepare its burrow for hibernation, or observing two skunks wrestling over a bit of food?

Through the pages of Teale's book, we are able to live in nature, at least vicariously.
Quotes By Edwin Teale:

"Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals, love them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more."

"The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web."

“Any fine morning, a power saw can fell a tree that took a thousand years to grow.”

WARNING: The foreword / introduction to this book was an extreme disappointment. It states that Nellie Teale "chose to die on the anniversary of Edwin's death." With some research, I discovered that Mrs. Teale died in August of 1993 whereby Mr. Teale passed away in October 1980. It was nearly 13 years and not on the same day or month as is “implied” in the foreword. The misrepresented foreword would lead a reader to believe that Nellie's death was perhaps suicide when in fact she quite possibly died of cancer since all donations were asked to be contributed to the Cancer Society. This book, minus the foreward, is well worth reading. However, the publisher would be better off leaving out a foreword and adding back into the paperback versions, all the wonderful black and white photographs that can be viewed in the original hardcover copies.

** We are blessed to have found an old hardback copy with all of the photographs – thanks to MamaLion for pointing it out at this year’s Library Booksale. We also have A WALK THROUGH THE YEAR, and a few other titles in our home library.

For more information about Edwin Teale and his books:

(** Portions of this post are from others' online reviews of A NATURALIST BUYS AN OLD FARM.)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Let The Game's Begin !

Cherub 5 had her first AYSO (U-10) Girls game of the season today,
playing for Coach TW and The Titans.
Cherub 5 scored 4 goals for her team, and also had 2 assists.
(photo above - Cherub 5 in lt blue, on a break-a-way)
At the end of the game, the score was
(Titans) 7-0 (Madisonville).

Friday, September 12, 2008

What Are We Up To ?

We have had a busy few weeks. Today marks the end of our second week of school. And we have been hard at work in the yard too.
Grandpa joined us for our BACK TO SCHOOL TIME dinner last Sunday (8/31).
Here is Bella GUARDING the school books --- she has not quite gotten used to everyone being inside for much of the day. So she gets lonesome !! It's a good thing our school room is large. HA !
Cherub 6 played with the tanagrams, first to build certain basic shapes, and then just to make designs for "fun".
Cherub 5 working hard.
With a house full of furniture, and a nice large school table complete with chairs, it seems odd that the floor is the "chosen" school spot for many of the children. (top to bottom: Cherub 2, Cherub 3, and Cherub 4)
School Time. Cherub 1 in the blue shirt, Cherub 2 at the little desk by the window, Cherub 3 and Cherub 4 working at the table, and Cherub 6 counting the "rectangles" in the room as part of his math.
Cherub 5 and cherub 6 making PADDLE DOLLS during their first week of Ancient History studies.
Cherub 6 is learning his letter sounds with the help of letter tiles.
Cherub 4 working on his math with Math U See.
Cherub 1 said he was getting a headache .... he is FRACTION-phobic. HA !! But afterwards, he says he LOVES Math U See and wishes we had switched some years ago.
*~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~
After school, we have been working in our vegetable garden. We have been hard at work pulling up our summer garden plants that are finished, pulling weeds, and re-tilling the soil ....
We have started planting our Fall garden. (we mulch each row heavily with straw which works SUPER well to conserve moisture and to keep weeds down -- the heavier the layer of straw, the better !)
Brocolli, Cauliflower, Cabbage ...
Various leaf-type lettuces ...
Spinach seeds ....
And several kinds of winter squash (butternut, acorn, spaghetti).

We are almost finished in the garden -- a few more plants to pull, a bit more weeding to be done, and a few more rows to plant. And then of course we will have to wait ... and pray this is NOT an early-frost year.
Finally, DadToCherubs and the 6 Cherubs have been busy as beavers cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood. We have almost half of our Winter's Supply .... and if the weather stays nice and cool like it has been lately, we should be able to get the rest ready long before the cold weather arrives.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Rememberance

Attack on the World Trade Center (New York).
Attack on the Pentagon (Washington, D.C.)
Dedicated Emergency Personnel.
Only in America ....

God Bless The U.S.A.
by Lee Greenwood

If tomorrow all the things were gone,

I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars,

to be livin here today.
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston,

and New York to L.A.
Well there's pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,

next to you and defend her still today.
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Foster

Last year on this day, a baby dolphin was born at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD. Here is our post from last year: when our wonderful cousin sent us an adorable photo of the baby dolphin. He eventually was named Foster because several of the adult female dolphins began nursing him spontaneously shortly after his birth despite not having had calves themselves (a neat "fact'oid" concerning dolphins).

In February 2008 we visited the National Aquarium in Maryland during our whirlwind NewEngland Tour, and we were able to see Foster "in person". There is a photo of him from that visit included in this blog post:

Then, today, our cousin sent us this message (and photo) from the National Aquarium:

Foster turned one year old today, and the Aquarium is celebrating (photo above) !

A variety of celebrations will take place all week to help mark this important milestone in our dolphin’s young life!

The dolphin trainers held a small birthday party for Foster last week, presenting him plenty of well wishes. The video was sent around to the news stations and is now posted on YouTube and our blog –

o Visitors can send special birthday wishes to

Friday, September 05, 2008

Update On "Said", the Duck

Last spring we bought 6 Pekin ducklings to raise and put on our pond. And 3 of them disappeared over the first few monthes -- we suspected turtles. Then "Said" was attacked, but won - sustaining major wing injuries. She was put into the then-empty chicken pen for treatment (daily baths and ointment) and to heal. When she was better, we reluctantly re-released her onto the pond with her last 2 siblings. They were soooo happy to see each other again - it was adorable !!

Then, one night, her two siblings disappeared without a trace. We tried over a course of days to catch Said for her own protection, to no avail. And a week later, we found her, a bloody mess, having barely survived yet another major battle (extensive head and eye injuries). At this point, she was too weak to prevent us catching her. So, back to the chicken pen she went. Dr. O came to visit her, giving her some mega antibiotics, and we continued to clean and treat her wounds daily. When her antibiotics and topical treatments were finished, having lost her right eye completely, we knew we could not re-relaease her again onto the pond, or it would mean her certain death. Keeping her permenantly in the chicken pen was just not an option either -- it was so sad --- she was sooo lonesome out there, despite many visits every day from the children.

So, with a bit of saddness, DadToCherubs relocated her very early one morning to the duck park that we visited often. There were lots of ducks and geese, plenty of food sources, a flowling creek with nice swimming holes ... and we had been visiting the same ducks for nearly a year (which meant survival there was pretty likely). We thought that she would probably be safer there (no snapping turtles) and would be able to be "social" with ducky-friends. He took her to the park, and we waited several weeks in hopes that she would "forget" us and learn to be part of her new community and her new environment.

And today, we saw her for the first time since she went to the park .... she was surrounded by feathered ducky-friends, happily quacking to one another. She was splashing and swimming in the pools of the creek, while snapping up the bread we were feeding to her and to her friends. She was covered in bright white shiny feathers, and had grown to be quite a plump lady since we saw her last. She seemed genuinely happy to see us in particular --- following us a bit while we visited. She even stood still to let some of the children "pet" her. Needless to say, she is THRILLED with her new home.

I just love a happy ending, don't you ?!?!

** Photo above taken this afternoon. "Said" is in the front, with a tan duck who seemed to be a close friend. **

Get Your Flags Ready

Please join me in this FLY THE FLAG campaign !! PLEASE copy / cut / paste the below message into an email and send it immediately to those in your address book asking them to also forward it. Or attach a link to this blog post in an email to be sent to those in your address book.
There is a little less than one week and counting to get the word out all across this great land and into every community in the United States of America.
On Thursday, September 11th, 2008, an American flag can be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States. Every individual can make it his/her duty to display an American flag on this seventh anniversary of one our country's worst tragedies. We do this to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.
"In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, THOSE FLAGS HAVE BUT ALMOST disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds."