Sunday, September 27, 2009

Making Sauerkraut...and Memories

Making sauerkraut is a tradition that we started when Jon inherited his family kraut cutter. It is really old, but works great, Jon keeps it well maintained. We make it most every year. Once in a while we skip a year, like when Jon thinks its a good idea to fill the 20 gallon crock to the top, and we have more than enough to last. The first year we made it we cut the cabbage in the dining room, I'm here to tell you that was not~nor will it ever be repeated, what a mess! We make it Labor Day weekend.
We bought cabbage from a local family owned garden. Ours did not do well in our garden. We used 110 lbs of cabbage.
Jon and Willy tear off the outer leaves, wash, quarter and core the cabbage. Then the cutting starts, everyone takes a turn~except for me. Jon and the kids that are home or come home for the event took turns doing the different stages at different times. For the sake of orderliness I put the pictures in the order of operation not how they actually happened so you can get a good idea of how the system works.
Avery did the lions share of the cutting this year.Grace at the cutter.J.J. vocalizing as he cuts. I was a bit creeped out having him be shirtless, then Jon reminded me that back in the old days they stomped it with their feet and the fermentation would kill anything anyway so take a chill pill:)My next concern was how low Willy put his arm when he was at the cutter, this one Jonny sided with me. Jon was really the last to cut, he's good at using up the last of the cabbage and not shaving off pieces of the oak presser. When one of the kids do shave off some oak presser board into the cabbage they just use the "it adds flavor" line.This honestly was about all I did. I just wanted to have my hands in it a little, so Willy let me give him a weighing lesson. We weigh out 5 lbs of cabbage.And then I direct the sprinkling in of 3 tablespoons of canning salt. That really was all I did, well almost, I went and laid on the couch for awhile and some kid with the camera came in and took a picture of me, and reminded me "this is a memory too"!Grace was the mixer in charge, she does a good job of getting the salt and cabbage all incorporated well. She also does a good job of keeping the boys in check when they take over for her while she was off dabbling in other jobs. J.J. stomping...with his shirt on:) We let it get about 4 inches of cabbage on the bottom before the stomping starts, you could break or crack the crock if your not careful. We don't stomp to hard, just enough to bruise the cabbage and create a nice amount of juice.Once it is all stomped, with a nice amount of juice coming up, we tuck in 2 Curity cotton diapers, not the pre-folded kind. We learned the best way to keep it covered is to fill and industrial garbage bag with about 3 gallons of water and then tie strap it shut. Its done when its done, it all depends on the weather. We keep the crock in the garage where it is cool and it cures a bit slower, we think that helps keep it crisp. I'll let you know when its done. Then comes the job of canning all of it...and making more memories.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

End of Summer...

This was Grace's last year on Bethany Ski Team. Below are a few pictures from ski camp she went to and then the ski show on the Black River. It is really hard to get good pictures when your planted on the beach chatting and all the action is out on the water. Some of the photos are from the ski team disc that they hand out at the end of year root beer float award night.
Water front meeting and prayer.Grace in back of boat full of skiers and ski's, these would be some of the ski's Jon and his brother make.
Jon and I on the beach, I would be the one under the umbrella,
"have I ever told you how much I love my umbrella" is a statement he had to listen to over and over this summer.
Our niece and her little friend watching the ballet skiing, our other niece Brooke is in the ballet line.Grace on wake board.An unscheduled event...wave jumping!
End of a long day full of little Blessings...
...end of a short summer.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Beneath the Sweet Gum Tree...

Years ago I went to an estate auction, amongst a pile of treasure I acquired was an old Redwing boot box full of poky balls. I had no clue what plant they came from and have asked several people over the years. I figured they would be great for some kind of craft or decor. The only thing I've managed to do with some of the poky balls is put an ornament hook in, spray paint them ivory, then with gold dust and hang them on "my little tree" at Christmas time. We have since found the source of "the poky balls" they are from the Sweet Gum Tree. Jon did a bunch of Sweet Gum research. They are a southern tree and have some of the most brilliant fall colors, golds, reds, and purples. We have a new found love for the Sweet Gum Tree...
Beneath the Sweet Gum Tree...
We stepped out of the auto on a cool crisp day
with sunken hearts, walked to where they lay
not noticing the crunch beneath our feet
not wanting that this would be how we meet
born silently on a September day
hopes and dreams have slipped away
our girl child, her heart is broken
wound so fresh, no healing words can be spoken
they both kneel and touch the earth
recounting the moments of their birth
he holds her close, and they weep
they know only the Lord can heal a hurt so deep
as we leave we look around
we pick the poky balls from off the ground
we know these, there is comfort in the familiar
a bit of soothing to know the tree is there
a year of learning to live with out
clinging to the Father...releasing doubt
they visit today on bended knee
and water the ground beneath the Sweet Gum Tree.
~Jody Blue
In memory of...
Alex & Ben
poky balls from their Sweet Gum Tree
twin to twin transfusion syndrome website
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep is an organization of photographers that offers their service free of charge. They take photos of babies born silently so that Mama's and Daddy's can have something to remember. The music(a very heart touch song can be heard when you click the "about NILMDTS" tab) and stories and photos(our work tab then stories tab) on this website capture very bitter sweet moments in the most respectful and precious manor. I leave you with this little saying found on the web sight...

There is no foot too small
that it cannot leave an imprint
on this WORLD