Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another Milestone: Starting 7th Grade

waiting for the bus at 6:30 am
Yes, today was the first day of school and the start of 7th grade for Lars.  Unbelievable, how fast this summer went.  Even though football practice has been going on since the beginning of August, it seems that no one is ever quite ready for the first day of back to school.  But, Lars was happy at the end of the day when he got off the bus - always a good sign :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Day After "Irene"

We were really lucky, being just past the edge of the hurricane path - the counties east of us (Dauphin, Lebanon, and York) all got hit harden than us, with much more rain, more trees down and more wind damage.  We lost power during the night and it was not restored until mid afternoon today (Sunday) - but relatively speaking, that was nothing. Just hoping the states north of us don't get hit too hard.

Beatiful afternoon the day after the Storm
Incredibly enough, Sunday afternoon turned out to be a gorgeous late summer day, warm and sunny, with just a bit of a breeze.  We worked in the grapes, pulling weeds in the last row - this gave us 5 loads of weeds in the back of the fourwheeler - nice addition to the compost, and a great workout.  But the grapes looked happy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Corn Harvest # 3 - 70 More Quarts Frozen!

Jeff's family from Bedford visited on Saturday and together we harvested, husked, blanched and froze another 70+ quarts of corn for them to take back.  This was our late corn - the "Incredible"  variety - and it was rather good.  Although late corn always has more worms (we don't spray any insecticides) than earlier corn.  We still have some left on the stalks, and although we have been eating fresh corn every day - I still never get tired of fresh corn!  We also picked and stored more potatoes (in a friend's cooler) and have been harvesting some more green beans, carrots and parsnips.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New (used) Fireplace Insert and Tiling Project

Jens is helping to lay tile
We were really lucky to find a perfectly fitting used fireplace insert on Craigs List - we picked it up over a week ago in York, and last Saturday, we managed to position it into our living room fireplace (it is rather heavy!).  Went to Lowes and got cement board, tiles, mortar and grout and finally did a DIY project again.

3/8 inch spacers for grout
It did not take long to cut and screw the cement board down.  We borrowed a wet saw from a friend to cut the 45 degree angle tiles we needed - and in just a little over an hour had all the tiles down.  We only used 3 boxes of tiles, this was not a big project. 

 We did pick a great color that really matches to stone wall in the living room, and does not clash with the existing brick around the fireplace either.  Still need to grout it - we thought we'd get this done today, but ended up canning spaghetti sauce instead.

Ready for molding and grout

Monday, August 15, 2011

Turkeys in the Blackberries!

We have been seeing Turkeys everywhere - even Tina saw a whole flock over the weekend (so many, that she accidentally used a 4-letter word).  But now there is proof:  Sammy took some pictures this afternoon of turkeys sitting on our trellis end-posts in our blackberry patch.  By the time she got close enough with her camera, some had already left.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tomatoes Ripening!

Finally this week we were able to start making spaghetti sauce (2 batches so far), and Duff and Anja stopped by to help make 2 batches of salsa.  They took more tomatoes to Pittsburgh with them, to work on pizza sauce and another type of salsa as well.  We also have been having tomatoes in salad and pasta, on sandwiches and burgers.  Just can't beat the taste of fresh, ripe, homegrown tomatoes!!!

(winebottle washing continues - scraping labels, scrubbing and rinsing bottles, and sorting by color, we have about 400 done already!)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Grape and Berry "Maintenance"

Weeding has been the number one activity for the last two weeks - and additional "tying up" of grape vines and bramble branches.  The last two weeks provided  pretty good rainfall, which not only made the grapes and berries grow, but created monster weeds.  The wheelbarrow was soon a useless vehicle and we used the big trailer behind the four wheeler to cart the weeds to the compost pile. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Corn Harvest # 2

It took all of us a long weekend, and a few evenings during the week- to put away another 140 quarts of frozen corn.  Zach, Rachel and Toben came to help, as did Jens and Grace - and one day even our relatives from Germany (Jan and Elly) were helping out!  Plus we gave another 100 dozen ears away.  This batch of corn was Silver King, a rather sweet, white corn.