The summer has flown by and while we have been very busy with all sorts of things, our faithful blog readers have been sadly neglected. I will attempt a quick overview of the highlights from this summer…
As most years, we have had a garden. It is doing remarkably well, a fact we attribute to the drier weather. Under normal circumstances our garden is far too wet which causes a lot of plants to grow mould faster than fruit!
We’re looking forward to getting a bountiful harvest, Lord willing!
Some working has been done on the extension begun three years ago. The upstairs is finished, but next to nothing had been done on the basement. Daddy did most of the plastering with an occasional helper. It is finicky work if one wants it to come out looking nice. He and his helpers did a wonderful job.
That done, the apartment side of the basement was ready for painting. The painters made quite a mess, but most of the paint got on the walls. 🙂
The painting session was finished with a massive cleanup in the other half of the basement. Those who didn’t see it as it was before can’t really appreciate the way it is now.
The summer has also held opportunities to minister. A few things include having people over for a Canada Day meal, music at a camp near the border (and the enjoyment of washing dishes afterwards!), and ministry at the Grace Christian Home. Evelyn and I have also had opportunity to volunteer at the Home. It has been a delight to work with these people of so much experience.
Thursday evening meetings continued at least part of the time, along with the, now traditional, celebrating of birthdays.
Daddy had a week off work this summer. While some of that time was taken up with making some progress in the basement, he also made time for some family outings. A visit to a fish hatchery was very interesting and “fishing” in their stocked ponds proved fun even for those who didn’t really care for fishing. It went so fast that one didn’t have time to become impatient!
A visit to the Coaticook dairy was also a highlight. Nothing can beat Coaticook icecream, and getting it directly from the dairy was extra special as they carry flavours there that cannot be obtained even in the local stores.
Speaking of dairy, we have also been busy managing a lot of dairy products at home due to Mocha producing far more milk than we orginally anticipated. Butter and cheese making have become an almost daily activity!
A previous post featured most of the butter making process, but we have not yet shown any pictures of cheesemaking. Our favourite cheese is Mozzarella, which is actually fairly simple to make. It starts out with 16 litres of milk whose ph has been lowered by the adding of citric acid, heated to 90 F. It doesn’t look like much until the rennet (the coagulating factor) is added.
After cutting, the cheese needs to be heated to 105 F. Then the fun begins. The cheese is carefully squeesed into a ball, removed from the pot, and placed in a microwave safe bowl. Heating in the microwave oven softens the cheese. Stretching causes the whey to come out. Our mozzarella is very stringy.
Only 10% of the milk actually turns into cheese, the rest is left behind as whey. We soon learned, however, that the whey can be “reused” by boiling. Another 1/2 kg of cheese can be taken from it in the form of ricotta.
We have actually never bought ricotta that I can remember, but it didn’t take us long to discover that it makes excellent cheese cake!
A few other home cheese products…
I can’t miss putting on a picture of the one from whom all this milk comes…
And a couple of the calf…
We had to get some hay for the cows. It was a lot of fun working together as a team to get it in the barn. Many thanks to our good friends who made the hay, hauled it, and helped us stack it!
And while we’re on the subject of livestock, I might as well make a report on the chickens. Yes, I know, we never got around to mentioning that we even had them and now the first batch of 20 are dead. (That was their destitny. 🙂 ) Though we have raised turkeys several times in the past, raising chichens was a new experience. We learned a lot the hard way (with a 50% mortality rate – not owing to the butchers). Consequentially, we made some major changes to our setup which now appear to be paying off – we have not yet lost one of our current 14 chickens. Nevertheless, the ones of our first batch that survived their full 11 weeks turned out quite large. The biggest was 10.7 lbs!
We now also have 6 turkeys, but the computer insists on putting the picture sideways, and my computer expert isn’t in here, so I’ll let it be.
So, that has been our summer. Well… some of it! I guess I’ll finish off with just a few random photos that demonstrate the “little” things we do too.
In conclusion, what can I say? In the midst of all the hectic summer schedule, it is sometimes easy to forget why we are doing what we do. Colossians 3:23 is often a good reminder to me. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” (emphasis mine) May we be constantly reminded that our life is not our own and this world is not our home.