Strawberry Jam!

From this...

From this…

To this!

To this!

The girls and I went strawberry picking this week at a local, no-spray farm. Oh my, the berries are sooooooo yummy and sweet. Picking was good and we brought home 33 pounds.

I’ve been working away to make strawberry jam… for you!

Our family wants to donate to our orphan care mission and I’m hoping that your family wants some fresh, super delicious jam. (I tested it this morning…. ohhhhhh, it is so delicious.) It spreads easily (but not too easily), is a beautiful bright red, has a heavenly scent like sun-warmed strawberries and tastes mmmmm-mmm!

Picked Wednesday, Jammed Thursday, ready to eat Friday!
There are very limited amounts available.

Suggested donation:
6 oz. jar $4
8 oz. jar $5
12 oz. jar $7

From left to right: 6 oz., 8 oz., 12 oz.

From left to right: 6 oz., 8 oz., 12 oz.

FAQ:
-The jam has been canned, so it is shelf stable.
-Your entire donation will go into our orphan care jar, which will go directly to somebody in need.
-I have not researched shipping options yet, but if you are not local, the cost of shipping would apply.
-The berries are not organic, but the field is no spray.
-The cost (ignoring labor) that I have donated to each jar to purchase the jar and its contents is approximately $2.50.

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Kittens again!

We’re fostering kittens again. These ones are a little older and aren’t with a mother. They are adorable and sweet and my bathroom smells really bad. It’s the truth. They’ll be available for adoption on June 4th. We’re having fun with them! I’m ready to have a clean bathroom, so it will make our parting bearable. :-) :-)

Ricky

Ricky

Lucy

Lucy

Leopard

Leopard

Fred

Fred

Ethel

Ethel

Desi

Desi

Other babies on the farm:

We held them real quick and then gave them back to their distressed mother. :-D

We held them real quick and then gave them back to their distressed mother. :-D

Awwwwwww

Awwwwwww

And we went to the zoo once:

Here is the youngest elephant swimming! She was fully submerged and only coming up for air and was romping "weightless" in the water. Pretty fun!

Here is the youngest elephant swimming! She was fully submerged and only coming up for air and was romping “weightless” in the water. Pretty fun!

The new elephant exhibit has the same number of elephants, but is huge. They look very happy now.

The new elephant exhibit has the same number of elephants, but is huge. They look very happy now.

Eaglets at the zoo?

Eaglets at the zoo?

I am amazed at the number of species of bees there are!

There are many Miner bees in the field. They are cool!

There are many Miner bees in the field. They are cool!

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Honeybees!

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Beginning:

Empty hives

Empty hives

Hive on the west has Carnolian bees

Hive on the west has Carnolian bees

Hive on the east has Pacific Northwest "survivor" bees - don't know what kind they started as.

Hive on the east has Pacific Northwest “survivor” bees – don’t know what kind they started as.

First nuc installed.

First nuc installed.

That's me!

That’s me!

I opted for bare hands so I could have better dexterity. Watching lots of beekeeper videos helped me be brave enough.

I opted for bare hands so I could have better dexterity. Watching lots of beekeeper videos helped me be brave enough.

The queen is in this photo. Can you see her? Hint: she's a dark colored Carnolian.

The queen is in this photo. Can you see her? Hint: she’s a dark colored Carnolian.

The first nuc had very little honey. This second nuc is honey bound!

The first nuc had very little honey. This second nuc is honey bound!

Amazing critters.

Amazing critters.

Sitting and watching.

Sitting and watching.

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Farmers

We have found farming to have a pretty big learning curve. We’ve made more mistakes than I would like. And stuff has gone wrong. And there have been setbacks. And it’s been more expensive than I planned. And yet, we’re still doing it and want to do it. :-)

The chickens have been pretty easy. Except the meat birds. We’ve raised the fast-growing Cornish Cross (Cornish X) twice and both times I’ve been unhappy with how miserable the birds are by the end. Unhealthy, injured. Not what I was going for. There’s another breed that a different local feed store carries that we’re going to try (the White Broiler or something like that) but we decided to take a break since we’ve been too stressed lately.

The garden… well, things sometimes don’t grow that we plant. And sometimes they die after we plant them. And sometimes the slugs eat them or the rabbits or the deer. Most recently, we’ve had some significant loss to our SHEEP. Argh!!! We seem to be slow learners. We have done multiple kinds of deer fence (none of them traditional, because that is expensive) and they keep breaking. We do keep planting and weeding and watering. Watering is a big chore right now, since the soil has lots of clay in it and the hose water just runs off… and the drip system is not installed, because we need to run a water line to the garden. We did get as far as purchasing the parts, so we are getting closer!

The sheep. Well, there has just been so much to learn. Hoof care. Feed. Lambs. Illness. Vet bill. More feed. More supplies. Fencing. I’m still on the learning curve for them. Ask me later.

Bees. Umm… I’m supposed to go pick up a BOX OF HONEY BEES this weekend. That is really bizarre. Honey bees have been dying off really bad lately. Probably related to pesticides. Also, bees have a hard time in our climate due to the extended, cold and wet season. I hope this works. I hope I don’t get stung. (I wrote this last week and only just posted it… will post pics of how it went later)

Fun in the mown grass.

Fun in the mown grass.

I can explain why she's nearly naked, despite the chilly evening weather.

I can explain why she’s nearly naked, despite the chilly evening weather.

On a mission.

On a mission.

Good times.

Good times.

Carolyn rolls down the hill:

How Maggie rolls down hills:

We had cups outside, but we (parents) were feeling goofy, so we wouldn't pour any more in cups and had them drink out of the gallon-sized pitcher.

We had cups outside, but we (parents) were feeling goofy, so we wouldn’t pour any more in cups and had them drink out of the gallon-sized pitcher.

Even Anna, who was pretending to be a moody teenager drank that way.

Even Anna, who was pretending to be a moody teenager drank that way.

This sight. This sight and the quiet sounds of the country. Birds. Sheep. Children's laughter. Breeze in the trees.

This sight. This sight and the quiet sounds of the country. Birds. Sheep. Children’s laughter. Breeze in the trees.

The back pasture.

The back pasture.

Ready for our first honeybees!

Ready for our first honeybees!

All set up.

All set up.

The ram finished shedding and looks quite handsome!

The ram finished shedding and looks quite handsome!

We call him El Senor.

We call him El Senor.

The lambs are getting big!

The lambs are getting big!

Watching the sheep graze:

Well... I didn't want the fence to stay looking pristine. (sigh)

Well… I didn’t want the fence to stay looking pristine. (sigh)

I enjoy our colorful chicken eggs.

I enjoy our colorful chicken eggs.

This is our orphan care savings jar! There is about $15 in there already!

This is our orphan care savings jar! There is about $15 in there already!

Huge success with Jordan!

Huge success with Jordan!

This was a mother-son bonding experience. I loved it.

This was a mother-son bonding experience. I loved it.

AWANA awards night.

AWANA awards night.

Maggie is in the middle.

Maggie is in the middle.

Anna's on the end. I didn't get one of Carolyn.

Anna’s on the end. I didn’t get one of Carolyn.

Big news of the evening is that Jordan was force-fed one bite of chocolate chip cookie. He then… asked for more! NO JOKE!

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Parks and more…

Exercise was going really well awhile back, but then I got that one upper respiratory thing that was really bad. You know, cough, trouble breathing through the crud, lasted about six weeks. So I’ve been working myself up to get into regular exercise again. I would love to have a fit bit, but I’m not sure I can justify the cost. I like the fit bit best for the simple fact that it counts stair steps… since we live on a big hill in a 3-story house, seeing those numbers go up would be encouraging. We’ll see.

One thing that makes me smile is to do fun things with the family outside in the sunshine at the drop of the hat. No pre-planning… just up and go do something that isn’t work. Going to a park. Going for a walk. Eating at a restaurant. Those things allow me to drop stress and get back into being a relational mom instead of just the taskmaster.

Another park day! This time as a family. I sure love sunny weekends.

Another park day! This time as a family. I sure love sunny weekends.

It was a beautiful spot with big flat rocks so we could go out and look at the rapids.

It was a beautiful spot with big flat rocks so we could go out and look at the rapids.

The rapids made us very nervous with the kids. But Brian held Carolyn's hand and I held Jordan's. But it still made us nervous. It was loud and wild and beautiful.

The rapids made us very nervous with the kids. But Brian held Carolyn’s hand and I held Jordan’s. But it still made us nervous. It was loud and wild and beautiful.

Brian is hiding his fear well.

Brian is hiding his fear well.

We also tromped around a short trail.

We also tromped around a short trail.

It's beautiful in the Northwest in the spring.

It’s beautiful in the Northwest in the spring.

I look so.... grown up and all.

I look so…. grown up and all.

Anna and I treated our long-hair selves to a haircut at an actual salon. She got her hair bobbed and my hair was cut... umm... just shortish. I like it.

Anna and I treated our long-hair selves to a haircut at an actual salon. She got her hair bobbed and my hair was cut… umm… just shortish. I like it.

Big girl.

Big girl.

A night at the Keller Auditorium, compliments of my brother to see a sold out show of The Newsies!

A night at the Keller Auditorium, compliments of my brother to see a sold out show of The Newsies!

We got all dressed up and went out to dinner afterwards.

We got all dressed up and went out to dinner afterwards.

These two did awesome... newborn baby and all!

These two did awesome… newborn baby and all!

So.... Jordan likes to throw things at people and hit them. He doesn't mean to hurt (I don't think) but does mean to get a reaction. Typical little boy business. Anyway... he should not be allowed to swing the end of vacuum cords around. He hit Maggie in the eye and she had quite the shiner for a week.

So…. Jordan likes to throw things at people and hit them. He doesn’t mean to hurt (I don’t think) but does mean to get a reaction. Typical little boy business. Anyway… he should not be allowed to swing the end of vacuum cords around. He hit Maggie in the eye and she had quite the shiner for a week.

We got to go on a tour at Brian's work (Bonneville Power) on take your kids to work day. This was the chemistry room. We saw everything from how they test the strength of ropes/wires, from small electricity to big electricity... to a man-made lightning bolt! It was pretty incredible.

We got to go on a tour at Brian’s work (Bonneville Power) on take your kids to work day. This was the chemistry room. We saw everything from how they test the strength of ropes/wires, from small electricity to big electricity… to a man-made lightning bolt! It was pretty incredible.

This reaction went FAST due to the addition of a reagent. They call it elephant toothpaste and it kept spewing out for quite a while!

This reaction went FAST due to the addition of a reagent. They call it elephant toothpaste and it kept spewing out for quite a while!

We've been gardening!

We’ve been gardening!

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