Monday, October 19, 2020

September 2020 Newsletter

“It was a lovely afternoon - such an afternoon as only September can produce when summer has stolen back for one more day of dream and glamour.”
~ Luce Maud Montgomery

Has September truly left and brought autumn with it? Time moves and marches on and if we don't enjoy every moment we will miss it! The seasons are such a gift as they offer variety for the keeper at home. There is a daily rhythm in the household but it does change which keeps it interesting. Here we are with another monthly newsletter in which I talk about books I have read, things I have watched, projects I have been working on and any other ponderings which really don't fit into its own post! It's pretty much some old-fashioned, homemaking chit-chat. Do pull up a chair and sit a spell...

(picture above are pomegranates from grandfather's tree)


For starters, I was thrilled to find we actually have fruit on our property! On the side of the house where there is a concrete slab with shut off valves and other utilities, this prolific tree had been quietly extending its branches and fruit without anyone noticing. When my husband made the discovery, I actually had to do some Google investigating to identify it. They are guavas! You can imagine our delight to find such tropical bounty! The aroma from this tree fills the air like a luxurious perfume and actually infiltrates the window of our bathroom. As you shower it is amazing aromatherapy! As one garden website explained it, "Another clue as to harvesting guava is the smell. The aroma should reach your nose, not your nose reach the aroma. That is, the fruit should begin to become so aromatic that you should smell the sweet, musky fragrance as you approach the tree." And this is absolutely true! Guavas begin their season in mid October through March. Apparently they are from the myrtle family, which also includes spices such as clove, cinnamon and allspice. Although it's native to South America, it is also grown in California, Florida and Hawaii. I foresee plenty of projects coming my way!

(picture above are the guavas on our tree)


Though the cucumbers and tomatoes are slowly trickling in, the eggplant continues to produce! Another recipe I enjoy making with them (besides eggplant parmigiana) comes from a friend from a far away land! It is a delicious vegetarian eggplant and rice casserole dish. Everyone loves it! It is one of those recipes that can easily be adapted with what you have as it is a "real homemakers" recipe. This is how it was given to me: 

"Sautee in butter and olive oil...Onion and red and green bellpepper and garlic fresh or dried garlic/parsley and a grated carrot and zucchini with 2 large eggplants cubed with skin and 1 cup of raw rice and 6 fresh pear tomatoes cubed or whatever tomato you have and cook til tender......salt/pepper to taste with approx 1/2 to 1 teaspoon oregano and a dash of cayenne and add 3 to 4 cups boiling water or broth and cook until most of water is absorbed. You also can add a soup mix for flavoring. After all is cooked...pour into a greased 9X13 and top with cheese and bake at 350 for approx 30 min or until mixture is hot and cheese is melted."

I have substituted the "pear tomatoes" (aka Roma tomatoes) for a 28 oz. can of Cento's "chef's cut" tomatoes that I found at the 99cent store and it turned out wonderful too! This is a hearty recipe that tastes very Italian that most people who don't care for eggplant would probably enjoy! 


The fall baking bug has also bit me! I was good all summer long eating raw fruits and vegetables and then it just hit like a ton of bricks -- almost on the exact day it became autumn! Within a few weeks I had baked over 18 dozen cookies! They freeze so well and therefore come in handy for impromptu guests and the evenings sugar cravings (just being honest). These oatmeal scotchies are a family favorite. The recipe can be found here on the Quaker Oats site. 

The other thing I have been doing in the kitchen is making up my own sourdough "Boboli's" for the freezer for future convenience. It is really simple as I just double my sourdough pizza recipe on Friday nights (this can be done with regular pizza dough too of course!). I keep two for our dinner and par-bake two extra each week to add to the freezer. I place a piece of parchment in between the two cooled crusts and store them in an oversized plastic bag in the freezer. Then I just need to add the toppings on a night where I'm short on time, bake until bubbly and we're ready to go! I love double cooking shortcuts because there is less mess (it's done once) and more back up meals for busy nights. I also love that I don't need to throw out so much of my sourdough discard. It gets used up nicely here!


I've also been mixing up batches of fabric softener for our "laundry room pantry". These are the thrifty little projects that I love to do. I recycle our glass vinegar bottles until I collect a set (and then I use the bulk vinegar to prepare them). I enjoy making up the bottles with different aromas and purposes. I use the lemon scented vinegar for kitchen linens to cut any residual grease and disinfect the towels and napkins. I use the lavender (which means “to wash”) for my clothing which feels so old fashioned and pretty. I use the “natural” version of vinegar (aka plain vinegar) on my husbands’ work clothes. All have a purpose which adds to the joy of homemaking. It makes for a delightful life to put love into every task. Here is the simple tutorial


I also made up a big batch of these botanical perfumes using essential oils to give as gifts for the sweet females in my family and church friends. I like to prepare little gift kits of love and I included these in the packets this year (along with an encouraging Scripture and bookmark which were all lavender themed). They smell luxurious (if I do say so myself) and offer the aromatherapy benefits of gentle relaxation. I hope to share my recipe for this natural "sweet lavender" perfume soon!


As far as reading goes, I actually picked up an old Victorian novel from one of my favorite writers, Isabella Alden (aka Pansy) this month (it's been a while since I've read fiction). Her books are practical Christianity packaged up in a nice clean story which really inspires you to do something in your faith! She is a seed planter! She knows that everyone she comes in contact with is being influenced by her daily walk (whether good or bad) and she takes her lifestyle seriously. I also find a raw humor inside her writings because she fixes on our weaknesses so well (but that is probably my quirky nature that is amused by it). But if you haven't read a book by her, I really encourage you to! They are simple in style but very inspiring!


Synopsis ~ "Lewis Morgan had, at last, disappointed his mother. Mother Morgan knew that her son would one day marry; it is what young men do, after all. But she had hoped that he would wait a few more years and then choose one of the local girls. A good, sensible, hardworking farm girl would have been good enough for her. Why not for her son? Louise, Lewis's young bride, wants so much to fit in at the Morgan house. But from the moment she arrives it appears that she has little in common with her in-laws. How, she wonders, will she ever be able to share God's love with them?"

I'll leave you with an excerpt to give you an idea...


"Don’t you begin your Christian life by supposing that all these duties which fall upon us in such numbers consume just so much time that must be counted out, and with the piece that is left we are to serve Him. Remember it is He who said, ‘Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.’ Doesn’t that ‘whatsoever’ cover the pudding-kettle, too, Dorrie?”

New light was struggling on Dorrie’s face—just a glimmer, though, shadowed by bewilderment.

“It sounds as though it ought to,” she said, slowly. “And yet I cannot see how. What can my dishwashing have to do with serving Jesus? It seems almost irreverent.”

“It can’t be irreverent, dear, because he said it himself. ‘Diligent in business, serving the Lord.’ There is no period dividing these. I long ago discovered that I could make a bed and sweep a room for his sake, as surely as I could speak a word for him. It is my joy, Dorrie, that he has not separated any moment of my life from him, saying, ‘Here, so much drudgery each day, from which I must be entirely separated, then, when that is done, you may serve me.’ Work so divided would be drudgery indeed. I bless him that I may constantly serve, whether I am wiping the dust from my table or whether I am on my knees.”

Dorothy had held steadily on her course, the first lesson in her Christian experience being ever present with her, that in the very smallest matters of life her light might shine for Christ. She was learning the important lesson to be "faithful over a few things." 

 ~ A New Graft on the Family Tree by Isabella Alden, 1880 (affiliate link)


And a little reminder, if you haven't yet joined our giveaway please do so (there is 36 hours left)! Don't be shy... I would love to see what your favorites items are and I can't wait to mail out this giveaway gift to the randomly picked winner. It's fun to share and it makes it that much more fun knowing it is for one of you sweet ladies!


And finally, what about you dear reader? What wholesome and lovely things have you been reading, watching and/or working on? As always, recommendations are much appreciated and hearing about your homemaking projects always inspire me! (As for myself, here is a platter I picked up on my monthly thrift day that I absolutely love!) Until next time...


Verse of the Month:

"that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing."
~1 Thessalonians 4:11-12


18 comments:

  1. It is aways lovely to scroll through and read the delights in and around your home. I love your array of washing vinegars. I have always just used plain vinegar in laundry...perhaps I should change it up a bit. Baking in the fall time does seem to come all too naturally. :) I have a couple pumpkins that will be going into the oven to bake today to make pumpkin treats this winter. I love your beautiful little rose platter. Those special dishes really make live beautiful!

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    1. Sounds like you have a lovely day planned! I could already smell the pumpkins baking... ❤️ Thank you for sharing here today!

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  2. It all sounds lovely! I'm especially looking forward to the perfume recipe. My daughter tried making perfume with our lavender and with our rose petals (without a recipe) but wasn't successful. She will be glad about this!

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    1. I'm glad to share it!! I also have a rose one lined up to make in spring (for my gift kits once again) and I will share that one too. Sounds like we have similar taste ❤️

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  3. Oh, lucky you with the guavas! I love Guava jam but I have not had it in years!

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    1. It is good! I found it to taste very similar to an exotic pear ❤️

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  4. Jes, our guavas here get attacked by fruit fly that get to them before we do unfortunately. I have read a lot of books this year and have found some great new Christian authors like Cathy Gohlke, Kristy Cambron and Lynn Austin. I will see if our library has the book you mentioned.

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    1. How frustrating about the fruit flies!!! We had that problem on our farm too with other fruit.... heartbreaking ๐Ÿ’”... I haven’t read anything by those authors but will check them out... Isabella Alden is actually from the Victorian Era so it’s probably somewhere for free in the public domain.

      Thanks for dropping in❣️

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  5. Another lovely newsletter!I haven't read anything by Isabella Alden yet but I am going to try the one you linked. I am currently reading George Mรผller's Autobiography. I have been doing a lot of Christmas knitting and grandbaby knitting, some autumn baking. We had our family autumn tea party the other day. I am also listening to the audio book North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell while I knit.
    I always use plain vinegar and sometimes add lavender but will have to use lemon too.

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    1. I adore Elizabeth Gaskell and am trying to find a hardcover copy of North and South to read... I loved the movie! Her book Mary Barton is one of my favorites ❤️ Thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    2. I haven't read that one but will definitely be on the lookout for it. I would love to find a hardback of it while thrifting! I love the movie too and I keep seeing scenes from it while listening to it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    3. Yes!!! ❤️❤️❤️

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  6. Like Gabrielle, I'm looking forward to the Lavender perfume. I love the lemon vinegar for the kitchen linens. I use Borax for extra deodorizing, but I like the lemon smell better. I'm going to try that.


    We're having 'weather whiplash' here in the central U.S. It was a warm weekend, then 3 days of cold. And we're supposed to be in the 80s on Thursday and possible snow on Sunday!!

    I defrosted some chicken to make a big pot of Chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight. And my dear husband went to 2 markets in search of celery and carrots! Neither store had any! So, my chicken will become something else. That was a first, but I suspect the Cali fires had an effect on those two crops. After the Derecho in Iowa, I'm sure corn won't be easy to find in the near future.

    I'll repeat myself in saying that it's so nice to see your blog active again!

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    1. Thank you for your kind and encouraging visit! I am surprised about the produce but probably shouldn’t be! The weather here has been very un-fall and I hope to bundle up soon... but in the meantime, I will get moving on the lavender perfume ๐Ÿ’œ

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  7. It is so fun hopping in here for a bit - for a look around. You are just such a treasure!!! All of your ideas and such. love it!!

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    1. It’s nice hearing from you Bevy! I hope you have a lovely weekend ❤️

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  8. I always love to stop by your blog. Your tips, recipes and ideas are practical, affordable and all the while beautiful as well. I loved the recipe with the eggplant !! Thank you. I also wanted to mention something...re you sure that fruit is a guava? it looks so much like a pomegranate? The only guavas I have ever seen were about the size of a large marble...just wondering. Blessings to you ~ Linda

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    1. Hi Linda, thank you for your sweet visit!!! I can see what you mean about the pomegranates as I think I have confused you! Sorry! The top picture are pomegranates given to me by my grandfather. The second picture of the tree is actually the guava (and they are the yellow fruit). The shape of the guava could look like an under-ripe pomegranate but I actually pictured two different fruits! :) I will see about remedying that in the post! Thanks for pointing it out! Have a lovely week! ❤️

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