Follow by Email

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hi! We are in the midst of birthing baby chicks. Just want to share a Brilyn quote real quick. In reference to a lil chick having a hard time getting out of his shell, "Mommy, this one's gonna need batteries." LOL! The best part is, she had already gone to get the battery!
More later....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Friday!
I am so glad the weekend is here. This week just seemed to drag a bit. One thing we (well, mostly Joey) did this week is paint our living room floor. We painted it red, and since we have had quite a few questions as to how that looks with our furniture, I took a pic with our chair in it.
As you can see, the colors compliment each other nicely. And, our ratty old wood floor looks nice and clean and new. YAY! (And, it cost us approximately $25.00). Our living room will soon be looking all put together, we are going to put up some moldings, and I am going to make some new curtains.
Next up, we have this lovely phothograph- "Moon over trees in winter" by Joseph Rebisz. Pretty neat, huh? It looks really nice blown up big- I have it as our wallpaper.
And here are some lovely Valentine socks. We got these in the mail on Valentine's Day from my mom. (Thanks mom!) Brilyn insisted that we put them right on, so we did! They made our feet happy.
Two more things before I go.
1. I have heard a lot lately about why God lets bad things happen to good people. This is a really big question, but God has given me a relatively small answer. It involves some heavy theology though, so if you are not in the mood, just scroll down to item two. I am going to assume that you agree with my premises. I don't want this post to take all day. Let me say two things to start. God does not punish people by sending them bad things, and he doesn't send us bad things to "teach us lessons" either. He doesn't send the bad things at all. Bad things are a result of the fact that we live in an imperfect world. In the beginning, God created the world, and it was good- perfect. However, God gave humans free will and they disobeyed God. This brought sin and suffering into the world. Not as a punishment per se, but as a natural consequence. When Adam and Eve sinned, they separated themselves from God. That is actually a merciful act by God, because his holiness would zap our imperfect selves dead on the spot. So, to keep us alive, God withdrew.
There is sucky stuff in the world because of sin. God doesn't send it or even "allow" it. That word still implies that God is responsible for it and he is not. Bad stuff happens to good people because the world is no longer perfect. And God knows that and it makes him sad. So, he came up with a plan to help us be rid of sin. Our sin creates a debt we cannot pay. God sent his son to us to pay for our sins, because we just couldn't afford it. He has set up a way for us to have hope of a life without pain and sorrow- aka Jesus.
And, on top of that, he uses the bad things in our lives for good. He doesn't send them, but because he loves us, he works it out so that we grow from the trials in our lives instead of sinking under them. He sends support in the form of fellow believers and The Comforter- aka the Holy Spirit. And then, when all is said and done, perceptive Christians can look back and be thankful to God for helping them through a hard time and bringing them through to the other side, not just alive, but stronger!
So, if you are in the midst of a trying time, ask God to show you the supports he has placed around you.
If you have come through a trying time, ask God to show you how you are stronger and who you might be able to come alongside to help through a storm.
2. Tillaboro. A number of people have asked me what this is. It is the name of our farm. It comes from the German "Dillenburgh" and roughly means farm town. It is also the name of the place where my ancestors, the Duesler's, settled in New York in 1752.
And all this time you thought the BD in Jocelyn BD Rebisz stood for Big Dog. (It is actually for Briana Duesler, in case any of you are scratching your heads.) Speaking of names, my Gramps lived on Tillaboro Road, and his CB handle was Tillaboro Tiger. That is now the name of the apple jack we brew right here at Tillaboro Orchard. Wondering why would name it that? Have some when you come to visit.
Tillaboro is also a historic site. It was raided by Indians back in the day. You can read about the Tillaboro Raid online. Notice that there is no mention of the Dueslers- we all lived! HAHAHA. Legend has it that all the kids hid in the potato bin. There are two ways to pronounce Tillaboro, neither one phonetic. You may choose (a) Till-burr-oh, or (b) Till-a-burr. I generally say it as shown in number (a). (That one is for you, John Keller.)This picture is of present day Tillaboro Road in my hometown of Ephratah, NY.
What do we grow here at Tillaboro Orchard? For now it's chickens, eggs, apples, grapes, various vegetables, and deer. And beer. And kids, ain't she cute? This pic is from last spring. SPRING! It's coming! I know it !
Well, TTFN!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hi! Sorry about not posting this week- it has been really busy- Joe was home Monday through Wednesday. I have lots to say, but no time today to say it. Hopefully, I will post tomorrow.



Bribe picture: A little girl who got caught playing with mommy's makeup during nap time. As you can see, she was not happy with herself as this point. However, now when she sees this picture she says, "Look at my pretty makeup!" LOL.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are some of my Valentine's We have an update on the baby chickens eggs: 13 out of 18 have a definite baby chicken inside. Here's a pic of what we saw: You can see the beginnings of a baby chick! How cool.
I tried to make some maple cream candy. It came out as maple caramel. It is still yummy. All the candy making books say to keep trying, so I guess I will. I usually have more success in the kitchen so it is hard on my ego to have to "practice" a recipe. Anyway....
We are looking forward to the long weekend. Thanks to Washington and Lincoln. If only we could get some candidates like them running in November. (Although I might not have voted for Lincoln). I definitely would have voted for Washington- I hear he was a real hottie. Not that I could have voted at all due to my lack of a ability to own property. My thanks then really goes out to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, born in Johnstown, NY. I gotta give props to the lady who fought for our right to vote and just happened to be born in my (almost) hometown.
Check out this article (scroll to page 24) to see why I like this lady so much.
Anway, one more random thing. I like coffee. I like it strong, but not bitter. I like just one big cup. And I like it with lots and lots of real cream. I just thought you should know that about me. In case you ever need to order my coffee.
Well, I really have a lot of things I should be doing. Better go do them or I will be all stressed out when it is time for me to leave for class tonight.
Love you all! Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bribe picture: Brilyn and Cade after church yesterday!
Here's a quart of our very own maple syrup! It is really really good. We did a head to head tasting with maple syrup from a local producer- ours is much more buttery, and has a light maple taste. I think I might enter it in the fair!
I also wanted to include directions for delicious oatmeal-
Prepare some oatmeal according to the box (I use organic old-fashioned oats from the Mennonite store). Add cinnamon, vanilla, and raisins to taste. Serve with real maple syrup and half and half. Enjoy!
And one last thing, Joe and I have discovered a great new game (thanks to the Kellers), Settlers!
We may be addicted, its all we can think about. (Last night, all I could dream about was buidling roads and cities.)
Anway, I will post again this week, so stay tuned!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy Thursday morning to you! The thing about Thursday, is that it is almost Friday! Yippee!
Anyway, lots going on here at Tillaboro Orchard.

1. The sap's runnin'! We tapped a few trees- 4 to be exact, and two days ago we got 5+ gallons of sap. That's really good. So today I am boiling it down into syrup on top of my stove. Not the ideal setting since my walls and windows (every surface, really) are covered with a fine layer maple sugar mist. Ooh- Maple Sugar Mist, that sounds like a nice Bath and Body Works fragrance.
You can see in the picture above that the pan on the left is closer to being syrup than the pan on the right. Sap starts out almost clear, and darkens as the water evaporates through boiling. To deal with the fact that I am purposely evaporating about five gallons of water into my house, Joe set up the dehumidifier right next to the stove. Three benefits of boiling sap in my house- great humidity, my house is warmer than it has been since July, and it smells great!
This is helping the "mist" significantly. Our plan is to build an outdoor fireplace under the overhang of our barn this summer as a summer kitchen and also as a place to boil off sap next sugar season. Right now, I am just waiting for the sap to become syrup- measurable by the temperature. Add seven degrees F to whatever temperature the sap first boiled at- Our sap boiled at 210.5, so we are waiting for it to hit 217.5. At that point, I will strain it through cheese cloth and bottle it up! If you are interested in a nice book about the life, lore and recipes of maple sugaring- here's the book for you-
Sweet Maple: Life, Lore and Recipes from the Sugarbush by James M. Lawrence (Author), Rux Martin (Author), Paul O. Boisvert (Photographer) .
2. We are also growing "chicken's baby eggs" as Brilyn likes to call it. The eggs are from our own chickens. Our hens started laying about a month ago- they sure didn't take much of a break. Which I am thankful for, because eggs are bloody expensive at the store. Here's a pic of the eggs in the incubator. This particular incubator keeps the eggs at the right temperature, the correct humidity, and rolls the eggs completely every three hours. It's pretty easy. We'll candle the eggs tomorrow to see if anything is growing. We'll take a pic if we find anything interesting!

3. Another project we are (well, Joe is) working on is making some honey wine (mead).

As you can see Joe is brewing one gallon of mead on top of my piano, it elevates the bottle to a slighter warmer temperature, and my piano is in the warmest room in the house- the dining room. Our hard cider is coming along nicely too, we poured a glass for your viewing pleasure. Our cider sparkles!

When (if) you get a chance to taste it I am sure you will say-"Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!" like Dom Perignon at the moment he discovered champagne.

4. Where are our children when we are working on all these projects? Well, they are usually underfoot, imitating our every move- but sometimes, when they get bored, we let them watch a movie. This week's favorite is worth sharing with you- The Stranger in the Woods. Very good movie for young kids, and even older kids and adults if you only watch it once. We also watched Fly Away Home this week. I really liked that movie too. The only part I didn't love was that they made migratory bird hunters look like bad guys, when, in fact, migratory bird hunters do more to help support healthy bird populations than any other group. This includes both time and money spent.

Well, I had better wrap it up for the day, I have lots on my to-do list. I am making some friendship bread, so come on over if you want some! Also, every morning I make my coffee and think to myself, well, I better make two cups in case someone stops in. Well, if you never stop, I am going to have to stop making coffee for you. And, I make good coffee. And, I always have real half and half.



Monday, February 04, 2008

Bribe picture: Brilyn playing DDR with Nicholas- helped a bit by Uncle Larry.
A few thoughts and random pieces of information:

1) Cooking venison- a) Do NOT overcook it. Do your family a favor and invest in a meat thermometer and avoid cooking "Mom meat" aka cardboard porkchops, plywood venison steaks, sawdust hamburgers, etc. Venison should not be cooked over 140 degrees F. b) Do NOT be afraid of spices. I personally recommend Montreal Steak Seasoning, onion powder, and garlic-any form. c) DO cook it in fat. Venison has no natural fat, so add some. I personally like to use olive oil, butter, or bacon grease*. d) Finally, do NOT bake it. Fry it, grill it, put it in a stew, but please, keep it out of the oven.

2) Saving money- a) Eat venison. b) Buy frozen vegetables. They are more nutritious than fresh anyway. This is because they are picked closer to being ripe since they won't have to survive the grocery store shelf. c) Get rid of unnecessary bills like car payments, cell phones, cable, etc. It is possible to live without them. d) If you have babies: use cloth diapers, make your own baby food, and breast feed for as long as possible. Also, avoid paying for childcare at all costs. e) I saved the best for last. TRUST GOD for the things you need. I hear a lot of stories about how people blow their budget and/or go into credit card debt for something they need. In my experience, God provides. (But, you have to wait sometimes. Patience is a virtue, really). You know the lilies of the valley? Even Paris Hilton doesn't dress that nice. (Not that I think she looks all that nice, its just that she blows hundreds of thousands of dollars on clothes. That's my point.) And, if God dresses flowers even better than Paris Hilton can afford, you can bet He'll keep clothes on your back. I will share just ONE of the ways God has provided for us this way, okay two ways, here goes. We needed a carseat for Brilyn. She had outgrown her carrier. So, we looked at carseats, they were out of our budget for that month. The next Sunday at church, our pastor asked us if we could use a like-new carseat. WOW! And, now for story number two. We needed clothes for Cade. I prayed. God sent WAY more than Cade could ever wear and I was able to share them with a friend. Talk about packed together, shaken down, and overflowing.

3) Simplifying life. Just one thought for the day. Don't watch TV. Try it for a week and see what happens. I'll tell you more about how this affects my life later. I have to go do laundry.


Here are my baby's diapers drying in the laundry room.

*After cooking your bacon, pour the grease into a heavy coffee mug and keep it in the fridge. Use it by the tablespoon when frying in place of butter or oil.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

I made some delicious English Muffin Bread- it was so good I thought I would share the recipe!

The recipe came from the book shown in the background. What a great book! Full of traditional recipes and craft ideas.

Here's the recipe:

5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups warm milk (110 to 115 degrees F)
1/2 cup warm water (120 to 130 degrees F)

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add warm milk and water; beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat on high for 3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour (batter will be stiff). Do not knead. Grease two 8-1/2-in. x 4-1/2-in. x 2-1/2-in. loaf pans. Sprinkle pans with cornmeal. Spoon batter into the pans and sprinkle cornmeal on top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately to cool on wire racks.

Look, you can see the nooks and crannies! YUM!

About Me

About Me
I love Jesus, my hubby, my 6 kiddos, my farm, good books and good food.