Labour of Love

“Don’t live in hope with your arms folded;
fortune smiles on those who roll up their sleeves, and put their shoulders to the wheel.
You cannot dream yourself into character; you must hammer and forge yourself one. To love and to labour is the sum of living, and yet how many think they live who neither love or labour.

The nobelest thing in the world  is honest labour.
It is the very preservative principle of the universe.
Wise labour brings order out of chaos; it turns deadly bogs and swamps into grain-bearing fields; it rears cities;
it adorns the earth with architectural monuments…

A life full and constant employment is the only safe and happy one.
If we suffer the mind and body to be unemployed, our enjoyments, as well as our labours, will be terminated.

Labour, honest labour, is mighty and beautiful.
The nobelst man of earth is he who puts his hands cheerfully and proudly to honest labour.
Labour is a business and ordinance of God.”

-The Royal Path of Life, 1882


And suddenly, without realizing it, the weather gently shifts as we slowly slip into the changing days of September …the labour of the harvesting of garden is in full swing … all our hard work during the summer is paying off as the Provision Room begins to fill with beautiful food that will carry us through the years.



 The morning air has a nip of cold in it … the beautiful maple trees, so leafy and full, have a tinge of red to their tips of leaves.  The ever noticable Canadian Geese are gathering day by day in farmer’s corn fields, readying for their flights south.

Even the bright pink and blue flowers of our garden are slowly fading as the cheerful sunflowers take center stage among the rows. Various school books are brought out to the kitchen table and stubby pencils are sharpened as little minds take on a new adventure of a new grade, a new school year.

The past few days – well, actually the past few weeks- have been a blur of labour – as we harvest the garden, put up vegetables and fruits in season – and prepare for a first ever homeschool family camping trip. This also means cleaning up our old farmhouse for a family who will house-sit our home and graciously take care of our animals for us while we are gone.  It is all a bit much for one week and this stretch of busy time; we have probably never done so many tasks all in a span of a week.

Our daily life has been very busy – today, we managed to clean out the Provision Room (where I noticed nearly all the shelves are begin to fairly burst with produce that has been canned, pickled or put away over the past few weeks; Praise the Lord!) and tidied the rest of our basement, made pizza sauce for canning (happily bubbling away in two canners on the outdoor propane stove) and worked on a double batch of ketchup.  [Now that we have had homemade ketchup, we strongly prefer it to the store bought version. Look it up on this blog – it’s a great idea if you have a surplus of tomatoes! ] Salsa has been canned and put up and tomato sauce has been cooked down for future meals. I’m sure when we return there will be more tomatoes to put into the Provision Room.



Yesterday, the girls helped me prepare a batch of apple cider vinegar  with free apples gathered from a neighbour’s house down the road-  they are not fit for eating but they are just perfect for vinegar. While we may not have enough time to do tackle a second batch before we are away, we will definitely want to do some more when we return. Making apple cider vinegar is not challenging – but like anything, it just requires thought and a bit of clean up when it all said and done. My husband has given us a juicer and that has helped tremendously this year. I have used it for the apple cider vinegar for juicing the apples and also for juicing the tomatoes for the ketchup. It has been extremely helpful.



We have shucked 240 cobs of corn and cut off the corn to put into the freezer last week, as well. All the children helped, but the big girls helped specifically with the cutting. It went fairly quickly and by early afternoon, we had finished our yearly prep of our supply of fresh, sweet organic corn, harvested just down the road by local farmers. And while, yes, it is more work, it is a wonderful feeling to know you have a year’s worth of vegetables stored away for your family.



On the weekend, the girls (and boys – but mainly they played with various tools and sat on random tractors) went to my parents’ workshop to make wooden spurdles to sell at the camping trip. There will be an opportunity to have a marketplace at the trip; we have homemade soy candles, homemade crochet cotton washcloths, handmade soaps, a few crocheted potholders and now, these lovely wooden spurdles. I am excited to see how they sell – I think it is one of my favorite tools in our kitchen! If you have not heard of a spurdle, it is a Scottish kitchen tool – solid wooden stirring stick to be used for porridge, oatmeal, batters, stews of any kind … it is fabulous and very versatile. I love that it is somewhat old fashioned and fits int a theme of “made at home.” The girls will set up a table at camp and try to sell their goods. Whatever money they earn will be used towards extra camp activities such a horse trail rides, kayaking and so forth.

I think the girls did a great job! We have already given one away as a gift to a friend. I love them! [Thank you, dad, for helping the girls with this project!]

Here is a homemade washcloth with a soap packaged up.



On top of all of this, there has been deep cleaning of random rooms, the gentle start of homeschooling in sporadic moments and random preparation for packing and animal care while we are gone. It is a big deal for our family to go away (for us, anyways) and requires a lot of attention to detail, major planning on my part and a lot of organization and help from all the children. The girls have been amazing helpers and we are all working until night falls to get things ready for our trip.

Some of the themes of the training sessions at this family camp will be “Preparing Sons to Provide For a Family,” “The Life-Giving Mother: Bringing Nurture and Order to Your Home,” and “Building Lasting Father/Daughter Relationships.”  Doesn’t that sounds wonderful? We have friends that drive an even longer than our family, as they drive from P.E.I.,  and they say it is worth it – great training for parents, quality family time and God right at the center.




Although it has added extra tasks to our day, I, personally have enjoyed the satisfaction of knowing we are doing an extra cleaning of our home -after a busy summer outdoors, it can get rather dusty (even with your children helping you clean daily) and unloved inside the walls of our home. A good refreshing is just what our house needed. It is still warm enough to keep the windows open, to dry laundry in the fresh air and to have the children play outside after school and chores are completed. The girls know we do not go away often, so they are working hard to help prepare and work out those last minute details for care for our animals and home.

Although we are tired right now, I would call these days just about perfect. I feel so grateful for all these wonderful children to spend my life with. And my husband – what a hard worker – he takes such good care of us and works tirelessly and steadily all through the seasons.

We all retire to bed with the sun, tuckered out from a day of work and a few hours of rest and play. Life is what you make it and I hope you make your September day beautiful and filled with family love.






September 12, 2019 - 5:58 am

Linda I thought the themes for the camp sound absolutely wonderful too!!!. I can’t even imagine what a lot of work it would be to get such a large family packed up for camp though, but I see from reading this post that you have many hands to help, what a joy 🙂 I agree that a full provisions room which represents your hard labour must be very fulfilling. Have a blessed time away. ~ Linda (NZ)

September 10, 2019 - 11:16 am

Donna Hi, is there a search option on your blog? I’m not seeing it. What year and month is the ketchup recipe? Thank you.

September 10, 2019 - 7:43 am

Tiffany We made tomatoe sauce on the weekend, what a great experience. Happy canning! Your children are growing so quickly.

September 8, 2019 - 1:17 pm

Kristal Those classes sound wonderful! Do you mind sharing the name of the convention/homeschool camp you attend? I wonder if they have others in closer areas to me. Have lots of fun! It sounds like you are all working so hard. I am sure this will be a nice, refreshing, soul filling, time with family.

September 7, 2019 - 10:47 pm

Tara Collyer Your kids are getting so big! ❤️ I wish I could have a canning lesson from you

September 7, 2019 - 7:24 pm

Teresa @ SF Gigi, your home is a labor of love for your sweet family. The camping trip and the training sessions sound wonderful. The titles of the classes are ones that I would loved to attend. Enjoy your camping trip. Looking forward to your thoughts on each of the classes and your time away.