Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hunting elk in Arizona, and making gallons of apple sauce

Steve was gone for six days, hunting elk in Arizona. He has never been away from home that long since having three kids, but I really encouraged him to go since he has been working so hard. We had a free airplane ticket, so he flew to meet up with his friend Bradley who lives in Flagstaff, AZ. Usually, Steve hunts with traditional wooden longbows and arrows, but Bradley used a gun. They had an amazing experience hunting and processing a huge elk, respectfully, gratefully, not drinking-beer-in-the-woods-shoot-at-everything-that-moves. It's beautiful country over there. Steve came back energized and grateful, full of male-bonding hormones, and ready to be immersed into the sweet chaos of our family yet again.




He missed Luke's birthday (the big ten!), which was okay with Luke, since we will celebrate with all his friends later on. It's fun when you have two or three parties, isn't it? On his actual birthday, we invited their best pal Alden and his Mom over, had plenty of cake and ice cream, and in the evening celebrated some more with our close friends and neighbors, who had made a huge meal, complete with chocolate cake and whipping cream. You can see Luke didn't suffer too much when his Dad was gone.




I held down the Fort by myself, and actually really liked it. I find that I am much more patient when Steve's not around. I am not as whiny either.  Yes, I have to do more and take on the chores Steve often does, like scooping huge spiders out of the sink, or feeding the pigs and locking in the ducks at night, when it's dark. It's quite a walk out to the pasture at night, and it's scary out there, what with all the monsters lurking around corners and stuff, so I took either Kai or Luke out there to do chores in the dark with me. They obliged me patiently, if not a little patronizingly. 
 “Don't worry, Mom. There's nothing out there to get us.” 
Right.

I stayed busy with homeschooling the kids, baking bread, and making lots of applesauce. How much applesauce does one family need, you ask? Lots. Lots and lots and lots. I made over four gallons, and I'm not done yet. One of our trees (the one we buried Kai's placenta under when we planted it eleven years ago) cranked out six boxes worth of apples.  My method for applesauce is simple. Wash the apples, cut them in quarters, and don't do nonsense like remove the core or peel them. No, they go in seeds, skin and all, and after putting some water in the bottom of the pot (so they won't scorch), I turn the heat on. I throw some cinnamon and allspice in (since I never seem to have nutmeg on hand) and keep it simmering for a couple of hours. The house starts smelling like Christmas. When the apples are nice and smooshy, I let them cool a little and then spoon them into my amazing applesauce-making-colander-thingy I got at a flea market a long time ago. It filters out the sweet flesh and leaves the seeds and skins inside (which then get fed to the pigs). Then I can it in a hot water bath for ten minutes, and we're done. No sugar, no honey, nothing. It's amazing, and the kids can't get enough of it. We eat it by itself, or mix it with yogurt, or put it on pork chops.






How else are we spending our days, now that the rains have started, and we light fires in the wood stove?
Kai is obsessed with teaching himself computer programming and physics.  
Lukas spends hours on his keyboard and electric guitar.  He got an amp for his birthday. Need I say more?
Eva spends her days changing her clothes one thousands times a day.
Steve is finishing up his planting projects and is gearing up for making more bows.
I try to keep our family fed, cleaned, educated and loved.  And I knit.  Lots.
What are you doing these days?


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