Monday, June 30, 2008

A Hunter In Training ?

Cherub 1 is 14 1/2 years old, and loves to be outside. He has been fishing lately, and has now decided that he would like to try hunting -- deer hunting. DadToCherubs has never hunted either, but has decided he might like to try it too.

Well, in order to hunt, one must be "a good shot". DadToCherubs is, of course, because of his Navy & Marine Corps days. Cherub 1, however, has done a small amount of target shooting with DadToCherubs over the years, but needs to practice more.

So, on Sunday afternoon, our friend Mr. T came to visit with DadToCherubs, and they helped Cherub 1 with his shooting. And as he continued, he improved. (Thanks Mr. T !) Cherub 2 said that Mr. T is very patient, super careful, and that he does a great job of explaining -- and that Mr. T is a great teacher.

Now, today we have to call TWRA and find dates, times, and locations for the Hunter Safety course. (I wonder if the TWRA course can go on his Highschool Transcripts, and exactly what "subject" it is ?)

*~ *~ *~ *~ *~ *~

A Quick Update on Cherub 2 - While Mr. T was visiting (he is our friend and our family doctor), he took a look at Cherub 2's knee. He said that it looks GREAT and is finally healing well. There is almost no reddness, but it is still pretty weepy and is still oozing a bit. He said that the sutures should really stay in until the end of the week at least, but that the infection seems to be clearing up. HOORAY !!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Save The Bees ....

... or we are all in REALLY big trouble.

Making Butter With Fresh Cream

We use Charlotte Mason's philospohies in our home and in our homeschool. And those methods include Handicrafts, which are not "crafts" in the modern sense, but rather are "useful skills" such as cooking, sewing, wood carving, and many other practical life-skills to be used in real life. Lately, our Handicrafts have been concentrated in the kitchen and in the garden. That being said ....

Our family has never really liked regular store-butter, but we have always liked LandOLakes fresh cream butter (only).

So, the thought of making butter with clabbered milk ... well, we just assumed that we would not like the taste.

But since Cherub 2 LOVES to try new projects in the kitchen, we decided it might be fun to try. We began with some research online and in cookbooks about Butter Making, and also began emailing with some knowledgable people online ... we began getting ready to try Butter Making.

And on Wednesday, Cherub 2 and I tried making FRESH CREAM BUTTER for the first time.

We actually made 2 separate batches. We had 2 full quarts of fresh cream, and so we decided to work with 1 quart at a time, thus being able to "experiment" a bit along the way.

We have a KitchenAid mixer, so we decided to try making butter with that first despite many mixed reviews on whether it would work or not. (BTW - Butter Churns, whether electric and non-electric, are very pricey - YIKES !!)

With Batch #1, we used room temperature cream -- and our KitchenAid ran for literally an hour or more until we had butter.

With Batch 2, we used COLD (actually the jar of cream sat in the freezer while we processed Batch #1) cream, and the Kitchen Aid only ran for 20 minutes --- so the Cold Cream method "worked" better.

Then, after each batch, we drained off the buttermilk, and washed the very-soft butter. We found that pressing and shaping the fresh, just-washed butter was easier if we let it chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes ... but not for too long. (Fresh cream butter is a bit hard when it is really cold, just like LandOLakes - imagine that !! HA !)

Also, if you are going to attempt to make fresh butter with your Kitchen Aid, be sure to use the Wisk attachment, and be sure to have lots of aluminum foil on hand to "close" (as much as humanly possible) the top of the mixing bowl while the mixer is running. If you do not cover the mixing bowl (we used the plastic lid that is from KitchenAid, and then covered it even more with foil) while you are "churning", you will have a HUGE mess when suddenly the mixture changes from whipping cream to chunky butter splashing around in buttermilk. In other words, you will have buttermilk all over the counter and all over the mixer as well (and buttermilk is sticky when it begins to dry, and is a bit difficult to get cleaned off of the mixer).

Photo of our Fresh Cream butter while the buttermilk was being drained away.

Earlier Wednesday morning we baked 2 loaves of Zucchini bread and 2 loaves of Yellow Squash bread .... and they were perfect for taste tests of our Homemade Butter .... of course, a TEST is really only "authentic" and the results are only "accurate" if one has MANY samples .... so one loaf of each kind was eaten rather quickly, slathered with (test results !) THE BEST BUTTER WE HAVE EVER HAD. (Thanks MamaLion for the squash bread recipe)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Truly A Gift !!

The Lord sent us a WONDERFUL gift today ! After over 4 weeks without rain, today the dark storm clouds rolled in, and the thunder boomed in the distance ... and THIS time they did not roll past nor did they just simply vanish. Instead, the clouds opened and delivered a half inch of cool, clean, refreshing rain !!

After the storm passed and the rain stopped, we could ALMOST hear all-things-green singing Praises to Him. The birds seemed particularly joyful in their songs.
And this evening, the farm's corn (which looked very withered and rather pitiful) looks SO much better !!

Thank you Lord !!
The Lord just sent us another 1/2" of rain. YAHOOOOO !! The ground soaks it up almost as fast as it falls .... although I do not hear it making any slurping noises, which is good. (HA !)

Our Chicks Are Here ... Finally !!

The Post Office called at 7am -- our order of Dominique chicks FINALLY arrived. So I went to pick them up, after a quick stop at the Coop to get chick starter.

I ordered 25 chicks -- 20 pullets (hens) and 5 cockrels (roosters) --- and they shipped 28 chicks. Every chick has a spot on it's head -- yellow for the females and red for the males.

Aren't they cute ?!?! The Cherubs were very excited ... and I am too, as if you could not guess. HA !!

Here is the original blog post from when we placed the order. This post also has photos of Mature Dominiques.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Homeschool Launch

WOW !! I have been slowly working to plan for our next school year. I like to have everything planned out, supplies and resources gathered and ready ... all of my ducks in a row, so to speak.

I found this site mentioned on a blog .... it has an enormous amount of notebooking pages, flashcards, and so much more .... all shared free by other homeschool parents.

Check it out:

Monday, June 23, 2008

First Injury of Summer

It all started with a bike race .... 6 children racing round the house toward the finish line ... lots of laughing, giggling, shrieking ... they were all having such a grand time.

Cherub 2 was in the lead, but there were two other Cherubs in hot pursuit and right behind her. So she stood up to pedal harder and faster .... her bike wobbled a bit ... and the next thing she knew, she was on the ground with her bike over one leg.
So, the race did not end at the Finish Line ... Cherub 2's knee was cut pretty badly, and DadToCherubs and I were quite concerned about a structural injury to her knee (based on the very rapid swelling and discoloration) .... so, instead, the race ended in the Emergency Room.
At least twelve (DadToCherubs lost count, and we cannot see under the bandage) stitches later ..... she came home to get a toss-n-turn night's sleep ... and we will go to get an xray and/or CT of her knee in a day or two when the swelling has gone down a bit, to check for structural injuries. She is taking a strong antibiotic to prevent an infection too (we do live on a farm, and she fell on the farm driveway with who-knows-what on it).
In the mean while, she is "grounded" .... not in the punishment sense (although it feels that way to her - HA !) .... no swimming, no bike riding, no scootering, no running, no jumping, no climbing .... and no dirt. For at least 10 days (sutures come out in 10 days) ....
Please pray for Cherub 2, that her knee is uninjured except for the cut / stitches. Knees are slow to heal, and very difficult to repair.
Cherub 2 is heading back to the doctors right now for an emergency visit (DadToCherubs insisted on taking her to the doctors). Despite 250mg Kelfex twice each day since the injury, her knee is VERY hot, VERY red, VERY "ugly", and growing increasingly more painful. Please pray for her, and for our dear friend Dr. T who is seeing her on VERY short notice (which is such a blessing and is very appreciated) ....
Cherub 2 came home this afternoon with a nice black-line outline of her infected area - she thought this was funny (that her doctor drew on her). She is now on a second heavy-duty antibiotic (Septra) along with the Kelfex she will continue to take. And she also came home minus a stitch or two - Dr. T removed it/them to allow for a bit more drainage. We did some warm moist compresses, and Cherub 2 spent the remaining afternoon walking about and playing a little, trying to keep her knee moving. She is a bit achey this evening, but says her pain is not as bad as it was during the late morning hours today. She has had her medicines and some Motrin for pain control overnight, and is now sitting on the couch playing boardgames with her sister, Cherub 5, who has been uncharacteristicly sympathetic through this process, and who even did Cherub 2's chores tonight without being asked. WOW !! Please continue to pray for Cherub 2 ... and be sure to say a prayer of thanks Dr. T too !
Cherub 2 is feeling much better. Her knee is just barely red, and is nice and cool. THe infected area never spread beyond the lines, and is now well within them. I believe she is officially on-the-mend. Thank you Lord !!

Another Masterpiece ...

.... created by God, the Creator of Beauty.
Spectacular, isn't it ?!?!
(yesterday's sunset over our garden)

The Gratitude Campaign

Be sure to check this link ....
What a GREAT idea ...
our Service Members absolutely need our support ...
and we need to show our gratitude !!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tasha Tudor

This message come to me via email:

Dear MomToCherubs,

It is with great sadness that we must tell you Tasha Tudor, 92, passed away in her Vermont home on June 18, 2008 surrounded by family and friends. We have created an online memorial website and invite all who loved Tasha to share their feelings and memories in the Memory Book section.
Memorial Website

The office of Tasha Tudor and Family is closed for the time being and will reopen on June 30th.

Due to the extensive travel plans of our national and international guests, the Secret Garden Tours of Tasha Tudor and Family will proceed as scheduled. They will, however, be led by our capable staff, instead of the family.

We thank you for supporting Tasha Tudor's lifestyle and artwork during her long career. We hope that Tasha's message of 'taking joy' in all that one does will be remembered as we pass through this difficult time together.

-The Tudor Family

The gloom of the world is but a shadow;
behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy.
Take Joy.
* Fra Giovanni

Having been an admirer of Tasha Tudor for many years, this news of her passing brought tears to my eyes.

What an incredible legacy she leaves behind ... her family, her art, and her "style".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Let The Preserving Begin ....

Let the Food Preserving begin ! (insert sound of a trumpet call here)

This afternoon we harvested our first "to keep" batch of Yellow Squash and Zucchini. (We harvested a few the other day to have as delicious friend squash and fried zucchini with dinner - yummy !)

We washed, sliced, blanched, and freezer-bagged a total of 11 quarts (6 Squash and 5 Zucchini). We plant to use them next winter for meals and in soups and casseroles.

This weekend we are planning to finally make our Strawberry Preserves (strawberries purchased and frozen a few weeks ago). It is supposed to rain on Saturday, so it will be a good day to spend in the kitchen.

We are all excited about watching the freezer and pantry fill up with delicious fruits and vegetables from our garden.

More to come ......

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Boy And A Tractor

A certain little boy that has spent the past year racing from window to window as the tractors passed by had a very special treat this morning ....

He was invited for a tractor ride ... to take a scoop of grain up to the calf barn ...

And he even got to help steer.

He was sooooooooo excited, and it is still all he talks about.

The Diva's Day of Beauty

Daisy, our Senior Golden Retriever, went to the groomer this afternoon.
She had a much needed Day of Beauty.
While there, she had a bath, a skin treatment (to help her dry skin), her nails and ears were taken care of, and she got a MUCH cooler summer haircut ....
And she looks positively lovely ....
She looks just like a young pup, full of energy again, doesn't she ??
(I wish a haircut would do that for me - HA !)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

On Father's Day

Today, the third Sunday in June, is Father's Day.
The day honoring fathers was officially declared in 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson,
but it has been celebrated since the early 1900s.
DadToCherubs and Grandpa are going this morning to play golf,
and then this evening we are having dinner together.
I am so very blessed with a wonderful husband,
and our children are blessed to have such a wonderful father.
And I thank God today for these blessings.
Happy Father's Day, DadToCherubs !!
Happy Father's Day, Grandpa !!
Happy Father's Day, Grandad Gregory !!
Happy Father's Day, GranMickey !!
Happy Father's Day, Uncle Ed !!
We love you !!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fishing Tournament

At 530 this morning, DadToCherubs and Cherub 1 left for breakfast at Hardees, and then they went to a Kids Fishing Tournament being held in the next town.

They had a wonderful day (fishing from 6a-12noon) ... feed the ducks and the geese (who followed them around for the whole morning) ... Cherub 1 learned all sorts of useful fishing information from the other fisher-kids parents (DadToCherubs does not have very much fishing experience, but was a good sport about learning how) .... they did not catch anything at all, but had a great time together.
This outing was a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY outing for Cherub 1.
And all afternoon, Cherub 1 has been down by the farm lake "practicing" ..... I'll update later if he catches anything.

Bella's Day Of Beauty

Being a Working Dog, Bella finally earned enough money Guarding
to afford a trip to the groomer this morning. (HA !)
(guard-dogging does not pay well after food, shelter, and vet care - HA !)

** I could not get the "before" photos to post at the top of this entry -- arggg !! **
A smiling Bella after her trip to the groomer .... look at those powerful legs !!


Bella after her Day of Beauty ....
WOW - you should have seen the pile of hair under the grooming table !!
YIKES !! The groomer will be sweeping up for HOURS !!


It is in the mid-80s here today, but humid ....

and Bella was not panting and drooling with the heat.

She seems to feel SOOOO much better ....

and she SMELLs better too which makes her humans happy,

and also gives her the priviledge of coming inside more often.

90s coming next week, and then Bella will REALLY appreciate her haircut !!


A very serious Bella ... probably because I had the leash in my hands.

To Bella this means we are going somewhere, which Bella does not really appreciate.

She is a homebody.

One last BEFORE ....

at this point the children had taken off her

Radius collar and put on the standard dog collar ....

and this step DEFINATELY means she is going somewhere ....

Little Miss Creativity

God is THE Master Creator -- and THE Great Master Artist. This is fact .... (just look to nature for proof)

However, for most of my life, I have wondered ---

Is true creativity born in a person or is it learned ? Are people more inclined to be creative when their parents or grandparents are/were creative ? Or is creativity a completely individual trait, given by God to a specific person ? And what DRIVES creativity in a person - from where does that NEED to create come ?? (just to name a few of my ponderings in this area ....)

All of our children are VERY creative, but with most of them, it seems to come in bursts.

Cherub 2 is one of the most consistantly creative children here at Beck's Bounty. And she has been on an absolute Creative ROLL lately.

She receieved this (below) book along with several others -- beginning sewing projects. And she has made more than several of the projects already. (And I just ordered some more "sewing" books for her, because she wants to learn to make her very own skirts, dresses, other clothing, and accessories. Sewing is going to be an "elective" for her in our next school year.)

She spent Thursday afternoon working on this little red "softie". All that is left to do now is to stitch it closed with the sewing machine.

And with another Craft book, there were all sorts of Mask ideas -- Cherub 2 made this (above) mask, and then made a cute crown for her cat (Tiger). He climbed in her lap and sat perfectly still with the crown on his head for the longest time, looking MOST pleased. And then, once the camera was ready, Tiger decided that wearing the crown had lost it's appeal. (He looks unhappy in the photo, but his loud PURRRRRRing could be heard from several feet away, so he apparently was not really UN-happy. And after the photo was taken and the camera put away, he sat AGAIN for more than several minutes proudly wearing his crown. Gotta love cats, huh ??)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hummmm ....

First there was the Burger scare from Jack-In-The-Box .... then there were too many PetFood recalls to count ... next came the bagged Salad product contaminations .... then ground beef was dangerous (again and again) .... then Spinach was forbidden .... then Children's Breakfast Cereal was contaminated (Malt-O-Meal) ....

(I know I am forgetting several other big recalls - sorry !)

.... and now a Tomato cannot be found anywhere (nor should it be !) because of the newest round of contaminated food ??

First, I am thankful to God for a place to grow a garden, with plenty of tomato plants ... and to live in an area where there are many farms so that the opportunity to BUY LOCAL is very real and very practical.

And second, I am left wondering .... how can the greatest Nation in the world continue to ask for Consumer Confidence if the very food we struggle economically to buy from the "safely regulated" big corporate food producers and big chain grocers is becoming increasingly more dangerous for consumption by humans and animals alike ?

...... still wondering ...... (and "this might take a while".)


Nest of Pleasant Thoughts posted “Thoughts On Educating” - an inspiring collection of quotes from Charlotte Mason.

Graceful Girlhood has created an interesting product for Character Training to be used with Little Girls, based on Charlotte Mason’s motto “I am; I can; I ought; I will.” She included instructions for this product …. What an interesting idea !

Simply Charlotte Mason’s Sonya has shared her wonderful Planning Series. These articles are so informative and helpful – her ideas for simplification are fantastic.

Many homeschool families are busy planning for next fall. Beck’s Bounty will have a child in Kindergarten, grade 2-3, grade 3-4, grade 6++, grade 7+, and grade 9. School Plans For 2008-2009.

And for those who are just beginning their Homeschool Journey with young ones, Keep The Way Christian Academy has shared some wonderful Preschool Ideas that incorporate Charlotte Mason’s methods, in Trusting My Instincts.

Milestones Academy says “Since they read like living books, I hesitate to call Apologia’s many science books texts.” Here is the post called Apologia Science Books Are Living Books.

Thinking Outside The Science Book from At Home Science is a wonderful article chock full of ideas that Charlotte Mason herself would admire … using Living Books for Science.

The World Is Our Classroom shared a delightful time of Nature Study in What Is Good For The Goose. We are so blessed to be able to see these moments when God touches the hearts of our children.

And what if the question begs … Nature Not Your Thing ? Lifestyle Homeschool has a wonderfully encouraging article for those who have delayed beginning Nature Studies. There are plenty of WHYs, and then many HOWs that might well inspire your family to begin the delightful practice of Nature Study.

Harmony Art Mom explains
Why Use The Handbook Of Nature Study, and her explanation is truly inspiring.

Nature Mama has a lovely update (complete with sound !) on a Mother Robin and her babies at Nature Notes From Above. How spectacular !!

A garden is always a wonderful place for Nature Study. At Nest Of Pleasant Thoughts shared their Garden Learning, where there are photos of a lovely raised bed garden, and notes concerning a wonderful dinner preparation.

By The Word Of Their Testimony found a huge feather !! Click to see the photo and take a guess by leaving a comment – whose feather is it ??

Freedom Academy posted several Nature Journal Entries from the recent past. It is often helpful to others to see examples of real Nature Journals, for encouragement and for inspiration.

In her article Kitchen Mishap Just Melds Into The Atmosphere Of Education, Pockets Of The Future turned a kitchen mishap to a wonderful Math activity for her young son.

Adventures In Daily Living has a very interesting article concerning Writing. “Writing instruction is about error correction in the same way that gardening is about weeding.”

Hearts and Trees posted Part 1 of a Watercolor Tutorial -- this is a fantastic how-to watercolor tutorial with plenty of instruction, and even photographs step by step. And Part 2 was just posted as well. Learning to paint with watercolors would make a wonderful summertime project, and then could be part of Nature Journals and Narrations next fall !

Praiseworthy Things shares a method for Hymn Study. “Charlotte Mason recommended that children learn hymns.” This article is sure to inspire !

Harmony Art Mom shares an experience she had visiting a local nursery, which inspired her to write about suggestions for
Classical Music – Painless And Easy.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dekalb Farmers Market

This weekend I drove to Atlanta to visit with my parents. We went to dinner on Friday evening, and then visited Saturday morning. (We had a lovely visit !)

On Saturday afternoon, we went to the Dekalb Farmers Market. WOW !! This place was absolutely incredible -the length of two football fields. Everything "food" was represented ... plus a resturant, a wine shop, a coffee bar, a deli, and a bakery (with lovely desserts and all sorts of breads) .... and I think most nations of the world were represented both in languages I heard spoken and in styles of clothing .... it was a geography lesson indeed ... AND all of the food that was imported has signs stating it's place of origin.

There were hundreds of freshly prepared herbs and spices (many I had never even heard of), fresh loose teas, seafood of nearly every kind from all over the world, fresh meats cut to order .... and the produce .... I have never seen so many different kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables in one place in my whole life. The shelves were stocked with all sorts of organic pastas, freshly ground flours, beans, organic cereals and grains ....

The prices were reasonable, but the choices were nearly endless.

I drove home with fruit for my family -- some old favorites (blueberries, strawberries, fresh whole pineapple, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines), and something new (mangos and fresh apricots) to try. I also bought some fresh corn on the cob along with snow pea pods, fresh green beans, and a few other things. We will have those tonight with dinner.

If you live in Georgia, or if you are just passing through, this place is a MUST SEE .... and be sure to take a cooler along for your purchases.

I am definately going to the Dekalb Farmers Market again .... perhaps I will make a trip or two later this summer to get some fruits and veggies for the freezer or to can .... apricot preserves would be lovely (and I cannot find fresh apricots here in our area of TN) ....cherries and other berries to add to yogurt .... pear butter .... blueberry syrup for pancakes .... fresh marmalade .... oh the possibilities are endless. And I will definately take the children with me next time; they will LOVE it. (And I will be sure to take the big van for the next trip so that we can stock up !)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

About Richard Scarry

As a young child, Richard Scarry books were my absolute favorite !
And much to Mr. Scarry's credit, I owned more than a few copies that were read so much that they were held together by tape ... and more tape .... and more tape ....

Today is the birthday of Richard Scarry, born in Boston (1919). He's the author of more than 300 books for children. He said that what made him happiest as an author was receiving letters from people telling him that their copies of his books were all worn out, or were held together with Scotch tape.

Happy Birthday Richard Scarry.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


Yesterday our family joined Dumma (who drove up from Atlanta for this festival) attended the FIRST ANNUAL MOO FEST together.

Here is the Official Website for MooFest:

We walked all through downtown Athens to see crafts, products, and demonstrations. There were crafts, antique sewing machines, organic farm products, jewelry, handmade musical instruments, and so much more. All combined, these "booths" made up a wonderful variety.

Mayfield Dairy had a very big presence at the MooFest Dairy Festival of course. And this meant there were a lot of yummy treats -- icecream, popcicles, and more.

Here are the 6 Cherubs with Maggie -- Mayfield's Mascot.

And here they are with another human-sized Maggie.

After walking all through town to see all of the vendors and demonstrations, we went to the Carnival Area ....

Cherub 6 having a grand time on the Monster Trucks.
DadToCherubs took Cherub 6 on the BIG Ferris Wheel.
Cherub 3 and Cherub 4 preparing to ride the Ali Babba.
Cherub 3 and Cherub 4 riding the Ali Babba -- they are in the 6th and 7th seats from the right of the photo.
Cherub 5 LOVED riding the Elephants ... of course. Cherub 2, our friend Miss Em, and Cherub 1 on the Ferris Wheel.
Cherub 1 and Mr. Tr waiting in line for a ride.

Arriving home just a bit after 6pm, we were EXHAUSTED.

And we all agreed that the First Annual MooFest Dairy Festival was a smashing success, and we are looking forward to next year !!