Consecration Acres

"If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy."

“And having food and raiment…

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…let us be therewith content.” I don’t know that this was exactly what Paul had in mind, but there’s a blog I read where the mom uses that verse to prioritize demands on her time and to measure her success. Children fed? Check! Children clothed? Check! There are times when everything else is just bonus.

Bethel and I have been tackling the family clothing this week. I think it has been good, thus far. I think she’s getting a better appreciation for the financial side of it, as we made all the children’s clothing purchases this week. She appeared rather shocked.  All I can say is, thank goodness that some things survive to be handed down! This next week we need to sort and store/eliminate the off-sized stuff. One of these days we will perhaps take on my closet. Ugh.

As we go through it all and have to make purchases, I am making a concerted effort to purchase things that will survive to be handed on. Some brands seem to be pretty consistently garbage by the end of six months, while others make it into the blue bins. I think where it gets tricky is when I find options that are supposed to last forever—socks, boots, pants that are supposed to last for decades—and when I break down the costs by that many years then they really could be an excellent deal, as long as they were not lost and no one grew! I want a calculator where I could punch in all my variables and I could get personalized recommendations based on all my various factors. For instance, last year’s recommendation for Elijah might have read, “It appears that your child has hit his adolescent growth spurt. We have taken into account his age and parents’ heights, his daily activities, his regular Scouting camp-outs and youth activity attendance, the presence of blackberry bushes and other scrubby plants on your property and have noted the existence of two younger brothers, suggesting a combined total desired wear time of 9-14 months, allowing for moderate growth spurt variation. All factors considered, we recommend purchasing….” I would pay for such a service.

Once we get all the clothing figured out, we’ll need to figure out its storage. Benjamin Franklin said that “three [re]moves are as good as a house fire” and we have found this to be true with our furniture. I think of how new they are and it makes me rather ill, but they are just not functioning any more and our repair attempts have proved futile (particle board by any other name is still rotten stuff—making furnishings out of sawdust may seem eco-friendly, but my experience is that it merely delays its trip to the landfill and leaves much aggravation in its wake). I wish I were up to building right now as I have a design I’d like to try. Oh well. We’ll see what we can do on craigslist and thrift stores.

While hunting for dressers I am also looking for a new dining table. Our table (which was also broken in moving, but successfully repaired—solid pine, thank you) has fit ok into our dining area, but is always difficult to get around when we install the extra leaf for company. Now that we have a small person needing to graduate from the high chair (slightly overdue… *ahem*) we’ve got to figure this out. If our current table were just a little narrower, rectangular rather than oval, and then if we had two long benches on the sides then I think that would do it. Again, if I were up to it, I’d get out my circular saw, purchase some plywood and just make a new top to fit over what we’ve got. And then I’d whip up some benches out of 2x6s. Anyhow… it is rather difficult to find large tables, unless, of course, one is shopping at amishtables.com where one can purchase a table with thirteen leaves! The wonders of internet shopping.

I am afraid we are proving no match for our goats. Penny is over at our neighbor’s avoiding the buck like the plague. I was really hoping to be able to milk them up until two months before they kidded, but drying up and boarding with the buck is looking more like the reality of our situation. How does the cost of keeping a buck relate to keeping two dry does for an additional three months? If they eat the same amount, it sounds like we’d need to get to four before we’d break even. There’s just no easy way to do this, huh?

As for successes this week, we have some lovely sourdough bread in the kitchen. The day before, I dumped a bunch of the culture and fed what was left rather heavily. To the bread mixture I added some baking soda (1 tsp per loaf), did two shorter rises rather than one long and baked it at 375F rather than 350F. The result was a lovely browned crust and some actual loft! We sawed up and ate all the greyish bricks I’ve been making because they still tasted good, but Bethel commented that this was almost like normal bread. Yes, indeed. Now to make a batch of homemade butter.

And Isaiah finally got tired of waiting for me to drive the project and installed the new water pump in the washing machine. It works perfectly! So now we need to get it moved back into the laundry room. I am trying to convince my husband that we should move the dryer out of there (it’s too expensive to run at our electric rates out here) so we can have space to keep everyone’s shoes by the door. He’s not entirely sold on the idea yet, but I’d really like to be able to get into the fridge and broom closet without tripping on shoes and I don’t care to keep a giant metal box around just to match the other giant metal box.

And a follow-up note on the orchard. Upon closer inspection, the peach and nectarine on Lovell rootstock yielded an odd surprise. The tree above the graft is not doing well in either case, but when Elijah and I were doing a little weeding out there, we found loads of water sprouts coming from those rootstocks. The reason I hadn’t noticed them before was that they had grown low through the mulch and popped out on the far edge. So the strength of the rootstock has overwhelmed the strength of the grafted branches. (This sounds vaguely scriptural.)  Does this simply mean that they were poorly matched for vigor or do we have other things going on?  This makes me want to order some scion wood and try my hand at grafting something in there, as it appears I have nothing to lose. As always, there is much to learn and try and limited hours and energy, so that I must learn, above all, to make wise decisions.

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