November 22nd, 2014
This morning while waiting for my parents to come with a chainsaw, Andrew raked up leaves and the kids had fun playing in them.
The reason for the chainsaw was to finish taking down this dead tree at the end of the driveway.
The reason the tree died is because I unintentionally killed it this summer when I was killing a poison vine and some pokeberry bushes that were growing up in it. (Word of caution: Banvil (and banvil by any other name) is effective!) The tree was up in the power line, so the power company cut it down out of the lines and cut off many of the branches. They left them in a pile in our driveway. Today was the first day we had a chance to deal with the pile of brush and the tree trunk. Our neighbor who has a chipper and use the chips for mulch told us we could bring the brush up there and run it through his chipper. My parents brought a cart (hitched to their car) and we used that to haul the brush up the road just a short distance.
My dad had my mom push on the trunk when he was almost done cutting to help it fall in the right direction.
All went well and there was a mighty thud when it hit the ground. (Andrew missed this part since he was up the street feeding the branches into the chipper machine.)
Then my dad cut the trunk into manageable pieces and Mom and I loaded them onto the cart. They are going to burn these in their furnace up at their place.
It feels so good to have that job done. It looks even better! It was quite a rubbish-looking pile there in our driveway.
We feel extremely blessed to have had so much help getting this dead tree taken down and distributed to useful destinations. It sure made the task a lot easier than if we had to handle it all by ourselves. (Especially since we don’t have any hauling devices or a chainsaw.)
November 18th, 2014
…can get me into a lot of things!
Tonight, I thought I should always go to the orchard and the fabric store when I’m all worn out and tired. That way I won’t decide to take on more projects than necessary.
Obviously, last week when I went to the orchard I was feeling very energetic because I bought 1/2 a bushel of apples and 2 gallons of cider to make into apple butter. Of course I couldn’t do it at the time since I was preparing for Paul’s birthday and we had two other birthday parties the end of last week (a nephew and a niece of ours).
Today was the day to make the apple butter. I was determined not to let the apples rot or the cider get hard before I finished the project. Let me tell you, by the time I was setting up my mill to run the cooked apples through for applesauce, I wondered what in the world possessed me to think I was going to make apple butter on a school day!!! It was a rather disjointed school day, with lots of punctuations and breaks while I did the next step on the apple butter project.
Last year I made apple butter for the first time on my stove top. I did a little batch in the dutch oven, and it was grand! The kids loved it, and soon it was all gone. This fall they have been begging me to make apple butter again. I decided to make a 1/2 bushel into apple butter this time and borrowed my mom’s big 5 gallon kettle. Well, as I was boiling down the cider from 2 gallons to one gallon, I realized why people do this stuff outside! I had to wipe the underside of my stove hood every few minutes to keep the condensation from dripping. And the windows in our house got all steamed up! I believe the sound board on the piano was not too dry this evening! I guess the volume increase made it a different experience this time.
Even with all the dripping condensation and boiled out splats all over my kitchen wall and floor, and all the time it took to make this, when I took the first taste (after putting in the spices and brown sugar) I knew without any doubt it was worth it. I could even talk myself into making another batch, but I remind myself of other projects that are waiting for me. We don’t have nearly as much apple butter to put on the shelves in the basement as we have grape jelly, but I’m confident we’ll have some to enjoy for a little while. (And maybe next year we’ll figure out how to do this outside!)