Gigi's Blog bio picture
  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Mother to six Little Women and Two Little Men. Married to a Happy Mortician. Caretaker to goats, chickens and many, MANY bunnies. Photographer. Homeschooler. Lover of Jesus, coffee & tea and all things pink & vintage.

Why Bother?

  “Then the rush of harvest-time came.
The oats were ripe, standing thick and tall and yellow. The wheat was golden, darker than the oats.
The beans were ripe, and the pumpkins and carrots and turnips and potatoes were ready to gather.

There was no rest of play for anyone now. They all worked from candle light to candle light.
Mother and the girls were making cucumber pickles, green-tomato pickles and watermelon pickles;
they were drying corn and apples, and making preserves.
Everything must be saved, nothing wasted of all the summer’s bounty.
Even the apple cores were saved for making vinegar …”

-Farmer Boy, Early Harvest

Across the counter, a lineup of freshly washed canning jars were lined up like a parade. I was preparing for another canning session … the jars were clean … and the pots were scrubbed and ready for boiling.  Tomorrow, 220 cobs of beautiful golden corn will be ready for pick up – the girls and I will spend the day shucking the husks, cutting the corn of the cob and preserving it for the year. We will work under the shade of the pine trees and pray that God will send a breeze our way to break up the August humidity we are experiencing.

This is not the way many would spend a summer day anymore.

However, if you read books of old fashioned living or are blessed with a friend that likes to live in the old ways, you will  be encouraged to find mothers and daughters working together to preserve what was in season for the fall, winter and even spring months of food supply. Sadly, it seems, overall, this homemaking skill is lost — and what a true loss that is.

 

Not just canning — but putting away food that is in season, freezing, drying, dehydrating, preserving the fruits and vegetables of season is not a regular housewife duty anymore.

 

Why did we leave this way of living and eating? When did it become an old fashioned way of living to put up food that is in season?

 

I have fond memories of my mother canning in our country blue and white kitchen. I remember seeing the steam forcing out of the pressure canner, loaded up with green beans from the garden. Even if we did not have enough property to have a big garden, my parents always found a way – once, we borrowed land from a neighbour and planted our large family garden there. I remember our other gardens in various backyards and even now, as almost-retired adults, my parents still put in a vegetable garden every year.  My sister puts in a garden every year now, too – it must be something our parents taught us because I don’t think either of us would skip a year of vegetable gardening. It just seems wrong to waste the growing season…

 

Why has society lost the art of gardening and growing food?

 

Even if you have a small plot of land, you can grow something – anything. Many people say gardening does not work for them – and that is true, sometimes it doesn’t work out – but other times, it just needs a little bit more effort – or compost. 🙂 Sometimes we just need to learn how to do these tasks all over again – we think we know how to plant a garden, but perhaps we only watched our parents and did not actually learn how to do the process ourselves. It takes time and effort, sweat and a natural schedule to follow. Isn’t it time we learned? Isn’t it time we grew our own food – at least, grow what we can handle or what we can manage on our property, big or small?

[our tomato tunnel]

A well-meaning friend recently asked me, “But why bother? You can just go to the store and get canned tomatoes for really cheap. It’s so much easier.”

 

An interesting question. Truly … why bother?

Tomatoes *are* cheap to buy at the store, that is true.  I am quite sure they are probably not as healthy. When you grow your own tomatoes or buy from a local farmer, there is a better sense of safety in what food you are putting into your family’s bodies.

Recently, another friend’s son was diagnosed with some health issues that drastically changed their eating habits. It was mid winter and she now was  searching around for organic tomatoes – if they were to be found at all. It made me suddenly  realize the value of canning all those home grown tomatoes and tucking them away safely into the Provision Room. While I could offer some jars, it was not enough to supply a second family for their needs. Every year, my husband suggests that we have too many tomato plants – but with 98 plants, we just make it a year with our supplies of tomato products. Perhaps I should plant some extra, just in case?

Right now, the garden is coming to harvest – bright, red juicy tomatoes are starting to pile up on the summer kitchen table. Rows and rows of freshly washed canning jars are constantly being lined up to be filled … sauce, salsa, ketchup, soups … green beans, beets … it is not perfect. I did not get to harvest broccoli as it went to seed to quickly. I am battling squash bugs and am slowly picking them off the plants and praying for a somewhat modest squash harvest. A local garden centre employee suggested I shop vac the bugs off the plants – and so I have dragged out our shop vac and have been sucking up the bugs when I see them. This is the healthy way of gardening – instead of spraying bug killer or a toxic, un-natural chemical that will leach into our food.

[Another garden predator – the Great Horned Tomato Worm! So ugly, albeit strangely beautiful for a worm, and destructive!
A good snack for chickens!]

Why bother, you may ask, when you can just get a can of tomatoes at the store for around $1? Just buy those squash?! Pickles … who needs pickles?

Well, if cucumbers are growing in season here, there must be a reason God made them!  Pickling is  a great way to preserve them. And yes, pickles are very healthy! There is a reason mothers and housewives of old made jars and jars of pickles for their families 100 years ago. Perhaps they did not understand the science behind pickling, but they knew it was what you did with your lot of cucumbers every summer and that is what their mothers did …. well, there is a reason for pickles, I am happy to report, but not store bought. Homemade.

[And if your cucumbers get a little too big for pickles, just make a cucumber salad for dinner…]

Yes, jams and jellies are very cheap at the stores, I’m sure, and perhaps it’s easier just to grab a bag of frozen strawberries instead of picking them locally when they are in season. Is all this work really worth your time, you may wonder… planting seeds, weeding, watering, more weeding and harvesting … tending and toiling, caring for meat birds and raising the meat we eat … planting garlic and harvesting it months and months later …drying it on big tarps and replanting half of it for the next year’s harvest … thinking ahead …

Why bother?

“The little red seeds that Almonzo had planted had grown into two hundred bushels of carrots.
Mother could cook all she wanted, and the horses and cows could eat raw carrots all winter.”
-Farmer Boy

 

 

For our family, it just feels right. It fits into our lifestyle that we are trying to build. It feels like the right way to do things, to make it simple in the long run, to work with our hands, to do the best we can with what we are given. Why not go back to the simple ways of growing your own food, putting it away for the winter and eating from the fruits of your labour? Do you suppose there is a hidden blessing in these tasks and responsibilities?

I wonder sometimes if the faster, smarter ways of this modern world are truly not the better ways at all. Perhaps today’s society has it all wrong … they need to be going back in time [ in some aspects] instead of rushing forward. I know the ‘olden days’ were not perfect … but perhaps today’s world is so much further along, so busy and mind-frazzling hectic that going backwards would indeed be beneficial.

 

Sometimes I wish I was a part of the older generation so I could back up what I feel and think with facts and stories -but, I have not lived through the Great Depression and I have not had to live without food. God has taken care of me and my family so well.

If my generation has lost most of this skill of growing, storing and providing healthy food for their family, what will happen to the next generation? Will they be so dependent on grocery stores and big food chains that they will no long even know what is in season or what is truly healthy to eat?

 

Sometimes, when we are picking produce from our garden and someone finds reason to complain of the heat or mundane chore of gardening or kitchen work, I suggest that we pretend it is a time of Great Depression or need – that we would not complain at the amount of food we are blessed with in our garden … I know I would not waste one green bean or drop one clove of garlic on the ground in waste.

We may not own 100 acres, but we can still raise chickens, some small meat, and grow a big vegetable garden. Our beautiful honey bees will provide honey in the fall and over time, Lord willing, our tiny orchard will bring in some fruit. If we do not have it on our little spot of land, we can source it out.  I have picked wild apples along the road to make our apple cider vinegar in the past. Most land owners are quite willing to have you pick up their old apples as it saves them a chore. I have a neighbour who allows me to use his apples for making apple cider vinegar – he has no use for them. It is a wonderful blessing!

So, in a world where baskets full of groceries can be delivered right to your door … what is the point of all of this work? Speaking for myself, I do not want to lose the homemaking skills of preserving food. I would also like to teach it to my daughters for their future families.

 

And honestly, I do not think the easier way is necessarily the best way.

To me, the hard old fashioned way is no bother.

 

 

 

 

August 23, 2019 - 11:00 pm

sue Well, its just hubby and I here at home now, the kids are all grown and our youngest grandchild is now 13. So its been a while since I had to think about feeding our children but I still home can various fruits, vegetables and soups every year for hubby and I and I love it! There is such a sense of fulfillment that I cant describe. Not only that, but canning has been a blessing for my family and many friends as home canned goods always make wonderful gifts! Thank you again Gigi for your beautiful blog, it has given me so much inspiration over the years!

August 22, 2019 - 4:11 pm

Gigi Kelsey, so good to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself. 🙂 Yes, I agree with the Biblical lessons!
That’s such a great reminder — thank you.

August 22, 2019 - 8:58 am

Kelsey Dear Gigi,
I have been enjoying your blog for some time now, but this is my first time commenting. Thank you for such a wonderful article. It is just the encouragement I needed, as I get asked the question “why bother?” quite often. There is just something more special about growing and putting up your own food. So much love goes into it. I also think it’s a great opportunity for teaching Bible and life lessons, such as reaping and sowing, good seed/ground, stewardship, bringing forth fruit, and so much more.
Thank you for all the work you put into your blog. When another old-fashioned friend (the one who taught me to garden!) and I get together, we will often say, “Have you seen Gigi’s latest post?”
With love to you and your family,
Kelsey

August 21, 2019 - 3:58 pm

TERESA @ SF Gigi, I would love to share them with you! Yes, there were many tales and wisdom they lived and shared. I often think do we have many generations of these type of ladies left?

August 21, 2019 - 3:21 pm

Gigi Rebecca, that is so funny because I always say the same thing about working out and how our lifestyle creates a natural “gymn” for us. Climbing, carrying, lifting, and yes, even running (after animals!) …. it’s a great way to stay healthy, I agree!

August 21, 2019 - 3:21 pm

Gigi Monica, you are amazing. I hope you get some rest today after being up so late last night canning. I know you had a busy day! I love the sound of your grape jelly. Yummmm!

August 21, 2019 - 3:18 pm

Gigi Teresa, wow, what a family you have come from! Fourteen children – amazing! Yes, saving money is another aspect in putting up food. We have just finished our corn for the year – it cost $80 for the year’s worth of corn– Organic and local from a family farm. I feel that is a great option for our family and I will never need to go to the store for corn for a year!
I would love to hear stories from your mother and grandmother. What tales and wisdom they could share!
Yes, I would love to do a Provision Room post again. The garlic is hanging and hopefully we will be planting again in late October. I still need to do a good garlic count to see how it went this year. Thank you for your encouragement.

August 21, 2019 - 2:53 pm

TERESA @ SF What memories this brought back to me of my mother of nine children and grandmother of fourteen children canning each summer. Canning happened in those days for different reasons; one was because families were larger than they are today. This was the only way they could afford to feed their families. My grandmother raised her children during the depression…she canned everything she could get her hands on. I truly loved this post; when all your canning is finished, I hope you will do a provision room post and a post on the hanging garlic. Hugs to you!

August 21, 2019 - 12:02 am

Monica Funny, I am up canning grape jelly, reading this as the grapes boil and the juice seeps out. I have two garbage bags full of pears to my right, an overflow of a hamper full of winter squash as I keep turning around and on the counter is a freshly picked basket full of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, gathered this afternoon. Right in front of me is my grocery circular in which I have circled the chicken sale at 49 cents per pound. I will pick up 40 pounds and pressure can it this week. I’m also one of the strange, old fashioned birds. 🙂 I just love the satisfaction of doing it myself, from start to finish, from seed to can. It’s an amazing feeling. When I am old I may have to buy those $1 cans of tomatoes but as I am able, I plan to raise mine and continue our family in the old fashioned way. I smiled at the excerpts from Farmer Boy. Our all-time favorite book.

Which reminded me, time to get our carrot seeds in the ground for late fall!

August 20, 2019 - 11:19 pm

Rebecca Yes! It’s totally worth it! The other thing is, having a garden and animals to care for, keeps you healthy because you have to work up a sweat and get out daily, no matter the weather. I chuckle to myself when I’m daily hauling 5 gallon buckets of hot water to my ducks and chickens in the winter, that some people pay money to go to a gym and do things like flip tires or lift weights. People ask me all the time why I want to “have chores” and I tell them it keeps me healthy, it makes me get out and get fresh air and sunlight in the cold dark winter, it provides my family with quality organic food, it teaches my kids where their food comes from, it teaches them hard work and how to care for animals — it has so much value beyond the cost of homegrown tomatoes verses store bought tomatoes.

Canning Hamburger Soup

It is Monday already – and while I have some writing in the works, again, I thought I’d share a quick video of my morning. The girls were busy hanging our garlic up to dry in the shed – the house is somewhat quiet and the soup was ready to be canned.

Did you try your hand at canning anything this past week? I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 ~ Hamburger Soup ~

Approximately 8 lbs of ground beef

5 onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 litres of tomatoes
(canned, chopped, however you choose)

a dash of salt to taste
4 cups diced carrots
4 cups diced potatoes
a handful of chopped celery

Prepare your vegetables in a large stock pot, but do not over cook. Your soup will be cooked fully in the pressure canner and if you do not want mushy vegetables, then you only need to gently cook up your soup before you can it.

 

Pressure can for 60 minutes at your proper weight. I used 10 lbs of pressure.

When you heat your soup to serve, add some barley or lentils for extra bulk. {These cannot be canned.} This will make a delicious hearty meal for your family this fall or winter.

** Edited to add: A question about the shelf life of canned goods … here is a good article about shelf life.

 

P.S. Here is a link for the Fly Lady’s purple rags. I would love to get the pink ones, but I have to wait as shipping to Canada is very expensive. Last year, a friend visited Florida and brought me back my shipment of purple rags. I stocked up as I just love them! They frequently go on sale and that is the best time to purchase them – and guess what? They are on sale  (buy one, get one free – so you actually receive six rags in total) right now … so if you were thinking of getting some …. maybe this would be the perfect time!

 

August 21, 2019 - 5:55 pm

Rebecca I’m loving your little videos! And I’m totally gonna can up some of this soup, it looks amazing!

August 21, 2019 - 5:32 pm

Danessa stride I love your videos, it is so nice to see the face and hear the voice of the lady behind all those posts, lol. They are wonderful!!

August 20, 2019 - 2:26 pm

Teresa @ SF Another great video…I am looking forward to your written post as well. Do you write out each post on paper before posting? If so, that’s a great idea.

August 20, 2019 - 8:29 am

Monica Great video!! You have the skills, my friend! 🙂 What lovely soup and what a lovely “canner”. I’m enjoying the videos! ❤️

August 19, 2019 - 10:31 pm

Kristal I am loving the videos! This was really helpful. Your tip on using vinegar is so smart. I’m curious, when you can something with meat, what is the shelf life? I’m sure for your family, you probably go through everything you can yearly, but for those who maybe don’t, does it last awhile? Take care!

August 19, 2019 - 10:24 pm

Rachel I saw the purple rag from the previous video and was wondering if those were FlyLady’s rags. Haha! I recently discovered her and have implemented certain aspects of her routines. Many great ideas and inspiration there!
You remind me of another blog I miss…StrangersandPilgrimsonearth.
As for canning soup, I have a canner and the cans, I only need to plan my method of attack lol.
Thanks for another “lovely” video 😉

August 19, 2019 - 10:02 pm

Gigi Jen, thank you. That is so wonderful of your husband to build those shelves! Now is the time to get started. Peaches are here, you can still find local blueberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans … so much available!

August 19, 2019 - 9:15 pm

Jen Seriously love these posts!! And love hearing a voice to your words! I canned some peaches last year but have been wanting to do so much more. My husband built me beautiful wooden shelves- and now I just want to fill them with canned goodness. Thank you so much for sharing!! I am a visual learner so this is so helpful!!

In Preparation for the Winter …

 

 

Today, I thought of something a little bit different. I was prepping for a canning session and thought I’d just give a word of encouragement to anyone out there who wants to start canning or filling up their Provision Room for the winter. If you have any questions about canning, just leave a comment. I’d love to help you out on your journey to providing food for you and your family!

 

 

 

Here is recipe for the Taco Soup which I am canning today.

 

Taco Soup

You can change and adapt the recipe a bit to your liking.
Of course, I tripled everything. If you’re going to do through all that work,
you may as well have a good, hefty result. 🙂

2 lb. ground meat, browned and drained
16 oz. frozen corn
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed — (I used dry kidney beans & soaked them overnight)
3 cups of tomatoes, however you prefer – diced, crushed, etc.
1 cup of beef  broth
1 cup water
Taco seasoning to taste
Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons squirted in each jar

*** Also, if you have not gone through the Provision Room series, these canning posts here would be a good start.
Happy Canning to all my friends! Do let me know what you are canning or putting up for your winter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 17, 2019 - 8:28 pm

Brenda Clair (Gigi’s Mom) Great video, Gillian … love it!

August 15, 2019 - 4:16 pm

Gramma Cardinal Well done! My beautiful hard working granddaughter! <3

August 15, 2019 - 3:28 pm

Gigi A pressure cooker and a pressure CANNER are different. No, from what I know, do not use the instapot for canning.

August 15, 2019 - 11:38 am

Jen Does an Instapot make a good pressure cooker for canning?

August 13, 2019 - 10:11 pm

Rachel Gigi, I’ve enjoyed reading your posts for quite a long time, but never commented. I loved getting to see you on video! I haven’t been a very successful Florida gardener, but you sure inspire me to keep trying! Tanks! Hopefully, I’ll grow more than herbs one day 🙂

August 13, 2019 - 4:14 pm

Gigi Hello Sarah, aw, that is great about the vegetable soup. Thank you for letting me know. I think, for this batch, about 8 jars? I triple my batch and end up with more. Sometimes if there is a little left over, it is saved for lunch for husband or a small side for dinner. Your peaches sound amazing and your maple peach jam! Yum! I hope I can get some peaches this year.

August 13, 2019 - 4:13 pm

Gigi Teresa, that is a great way of building up your garden. I just have some compost delivered today for next year’s garlic. It is always extra work caring for the soil but it is necessary! I hope your garden soil revives itself for next year!

August 13, 2019 - 11:48 am

Teresa @ Simplyfarmhouse Gigi, I loved your video. It was good to here your voice and I loved your accent. I used to canned a lot before moving the placed we live at now. The land has been depleted by the previous farmer. We tried a garden several times without any luck. We are currently giving our garden a rest while we add to the area with small wood chips , grass clipping, leaves , table scraps. Also add soil and cow manure. Waiting for rich soil to develop in layers. Email me sometime.. I would love to chat more with you.

August 13, 2019 - 9:19 am

Sarah Thank you for sharing this video and the recipe for taco soup. About how many quarts does one recipe make? I make your recipe for vegetable soup every year and it is one of our favorites! I have been busy canning. We have been super blessed with our best garden yet! Each year we seem to do better than the year before, which is a great feeling. Last night a neighbor blessed us with peaches. He invited us to pick from his tree and my husband came home with an 8 quart basket filled with fresh peaches. I plan to use some to make Maple Peach jam. I made a half batch last week and it is delicious! May you have a blessed day!

Sarah

August 12, 2019 - 11:39 pm

Kristal Gigi, it was so fun watching your video and getting to put a voice to the face. You are a natural! I’m not sure if making videos is something you really want to do, but I love seeing things in action, so it would be fun to see more if you decide to give more videos a try. 🙂 I’m so sad our garden never turned out this year. I think looking at the farmer’s market and finding and canning in season produce is such a great idea. We have several farmer’s markets near us, so I think I will give it a try! Have fun if your family decides to go camping!

August 12, 2019 - 11:08 pm

Monica Absolutely LOVE it! ❤️‍
Canning is such a blessing for large families!

August 12, 2019 - 4:36 pm

Gigi Rebecca, you are going a great job! My broccoli bolted and I did not get any, sadly, so well done! Yes, I will post the taco soup recipe. The pressure canner is steaming away right now. Lots of happy jars for the Provision Room!

August 12, 2019 - 4:30 pm

Rebecca I loved your video! It was so fun hearing your voice and seeing your lovely kitchen! Could you share your taco soup recipe? It sounds great! Here in Alaska we also have beans ready, and I’ve started canning my carrots because voles are nibbling them. My cucumbers didn’t do well enough for canning but we have had many fresh eating meals with them instead. And I have blanched and frozen 5 gallons of broccoli so far, in addition to canning up a few batches of zucchini relish, which we like better than cucumber relish. Happy harvest canning!

Study to Be Quiet

 

 

 

 

{Wildflowers picked for a tea table, set out for a Grandmother visit}

 

 

  11And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business,
and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
12That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without,
and that ye may have lack of nothing.
1 Thessalonians 4:11

 

Sweat trickled down my neck as I placed the heavy basket, loaded with vegetables, on the outdoor kitchen table.

Off in the distance, I could hear the pleasant sound of the wind chimes, tinkling in the pine trees that line the vegetable garden. Six lovely girls were sitting beside me, chatting away, helping me – our harvest: the first of our green and yellow beans, just picked from our garden. The two boys were happily playing in the sandbox, littered with child-sized dump trucks and tractors.

While cutting off the ends of our fabulous beans, the above verse had set me pondering..

We live in a noisy, restless world – do you hear it? Does it make you frustrated at times? It seems to be one that constantly finds people competing for attention, higher position and status and success in their businesses.

To live quietly is not common … we have friends that are Mennonites and I would say, from what we have observed, while they enjoy life and love and serve those around them, they live quietly. I respect that.  It is challenging to live quietly when the usual hustle and bustle is brought out in every day regular living. It is not normal to be going, going, going places, filling instagram with amazing photos or filling Facebook’s feed with incredible status updates.

 

How does one stay quiet in this restless world?

I’ve never been a quiet person – but I have found that our lifestyle has forced me into living quietly. By matter of practicality, I am unable to join in many events or attend gatherings ….  one cannot leave children – much less animals and gardens – for long period of times.  My husband works long hours and is not able to attend social events like most men.

 

Although we make room for having families over, when he is home, we want to have family time. The children usually are with me when I go out – I pray that our family can be a witness, by just being everyday {quiet} Christians. We attend church together, we volunteer together (limited – but we find small ways to help), we garden together, we work with our hands together and we are slowly seeing the benefit of living quietly …

 

… and minding our own business, so to speak.

 

 

[Lyla, looking over her 200 sunflower patch, which is coming along nicely, considering we are leaving it up to Nature to nurture it …]

 

 

Staying off social media is a definite way of retaining peace, as well. Closing my facebook account many years ago left a large space of quiet in my life and I just love it.

There is quiet strength and gentle rest in taking care of your own business, in daily taking up the tasks that need accomplishing, in cleaning a sink full of dirty dishes from a family meal or preparing a homemade pie for your Sunday dinner – it leaves little time for too much worry or un-gratefulness. One does not see what others are doing in the shiny, flashy world when your head is bent down pulling up pesky weeds or cutting up fresh vegetables for your kitchen table.

There is a lesser temptation to fell ‘left out’ or behind the times.

 

 

It is now August – hot and dry in Ontario. Our garden is coming into harvest time now and things are getting busier in the summer kitchen. Beans, corn, pickles, peaches, tomatoes , squash, potatoes, onions … many fruit and vegetables are ripening quickly in our heat and we are rolling up sleeves, getting ready for the canning-marathon that takes place from August to September. Herb needs harvesting and garlic needs curing. Stay tuned – I’m sure I’ll be posting recipes or, in the very least, photos of our progress.

 

[the herb garden]

This is one way we have found to live quietly and mind our own business. When running a home and raising children, there’s plenty of good old-fashioned hard-work business to tend – even if you do not have a garden. Simply taking care of your own family and minding your lovely home should be enough to keep you busy and out of trouble — out of the world’s way. If you are not busy, perhaps you are not doing enough around your home. There really should never be a reason to be bored at home, I believe!

 

 

 

{gathering seeds from their wildflower patch}

The girls are seeing the fruit of their careful spring labour – one daughter has a section in the garden of just annual flowers. While some are flowering now, we are anticipating full blossoms any day! It is lovely! I love to look out and see them collecting seeds, studying petals and looking up the flower names in their great flower book. One of our favorite activities is seeing what perennial goes on sale at the local greenhouse, to which we can add to our flower gardens. My daughter loves it when someone comes over and asks for a garden tour.

They are diligently working with their hands and learning new skills …  it is wonderful to witness. Every day, we also work together to clean the house, prepare foods, fold laundry and work on household chores. It creates order and peace in our life, in our family home. We have 10 people living here in our home – it can be chaotic at bedtimes or naptimes :), but our goal is to make this home a peaceful home, a productive home and a quiet home — a home that is different from the world because Jesus is in the center.

 

 

Maybe our life is not as quiet as others, but we have stepped back, so to speak, from much and focused on working with our hands, living honestly, minding our own business while working for the Lord.

 

In a crazy, non-stop, chaotic world …  home is a restful spot to find one’s self.

“The key to evangelism was the integrity Christians manifest to a sinful, confused, and agitated world. When believers display diligent work attitudes and habits and live in a loving and tranquil manner
that respects others’ privacy and does not intrude or gossip,
it constitutes a powerful testimony to unbelievers and makes the gospel credible.”
-John MacArthur

August 12, 2019 - 11:43 pm

Kristal Beautiful pictures. Your daughter looks so happy and proud of her efforts. Well done! To chime in with others, I have also given up Facebook. I have not had it for several years now. It has helped tremendously with wasting less time and getting anxious or frustrated over what people would talk/complain about. Now I only visit a few blogs and youtube channels that I find encouraging and uplifting. My hope is that my own children will see me as an example and choose to stay away from most social media as well when they become adults.

August 9, 2019 - 1:46 pm

Kate God’s glory in all the flowers in your garden.

August 9, 2019 - 11:40 am

sue Beautiful photos and I love your message, however, I am grateful to be living in an age where busy people have created such wonderful devices as these computers we use, to the vehicles we drive and every other modern convenience that we use today. I don’t have face book, never have and don’t plan to, and only just recently started and IG account. I love the fact that I can share my testimony and the gospel to hundreds if not millions of people every day if I choose. In fact, I have even shared a couple of your recipes and helpful hints on my acct just as you have for us all here! God bless you all!

August 9, 2019 - 10:16 am

Gigi Monica, I know your heart and we are similiar in our love for home … 🙂 Journeying to being more quiet and still in a busy world ….
I will tell the girls you like their flowers. They will be encouraged!

August 9, 2019 - 10:15 am

Gigi Regina, you are wise to stay clear of facebook, in my opinion.
That is wonderful news about your daughter! You must be so happy and thankful! Praise God for her dedication to Christ!

August 9, 2019 - 9:58 am

Regina Shea Gigi I enjoyed this post. And those flowers are so beautiful! I love being at home and tending to it’s needs. I don’t have little ones anymore. Two of our three daughters still live at home and I’m so grateful for that.

My youngest is getting baptized on Sunday and we are so blessed that she is making this public declaration!

I don’t have FB anymore either. I had an account back in its infancy and already I could see it’s destructive effects. I don’t think I had it a year before I said “I’m outta here” and deactivated it. I saw it was taking too much time away from my family and the Lord.
So thank you again for another encouraging post Gigi.

August 9, 2019 - 12:04 am

Monica I love this! Yes and amen! One of my constant strivings is to be quieter and live a quieter life. As the world gets faster and more high tech, I find I crave to slow down. Every day I’m challenged—I believe by Christ—to put down my phone more, or slow down and savor a child’s smile or giggle, to bury my nose in my baby boy’s soft cheek, to just be still. Yes I want to do this more and more as Christ leads! And I believe His will IS for us to be still and be quiet (obviously bc is scripture…). Great post! Our heart’s desires are so similar. Amazing.

And the flowers! Absolutely stunning! You must be in awe! So inspiring. Great job, Gauthier girls, big and small. Such beauty.

Well done, my friend! The gardens are gorgeous!!

150 Pounds of Blueberries!

 

If you happened to come by my home for a visit recently, you just be asked to sit on the front porch while I served up some hot (or iced?) tea and some homemade blueberry pie.

 

 

You see, this past week, I was blessed to attain 150 lbs. of blueberries! I do not grow blueberries, although I wish I did (a tractor happened to drive over some of our blueberry bushes and our harvest is pretty much nil) – however, even if you cannot grow your produce, you can still find it locally to preserve it yourself. Perhaps you have a Mennonite market stand near you – or a farmer’s market that opens on the weekend – perhaps it is just grocery stores that carry the fruit or produce that you are looking for.

If you cannot grow it, you can still [most likely] find it.

 

If you are interested, I will post the recipe below for putting up blueberries.

May I encourage you to try it? Preserving your own food is an amazing blessing!
I *love* canning and putting away food for my family for the long winter months. An interesting fact … I barely have to go to the store when the winter rolls around because our all the canning and putting up that happens here during the summer months.

Sometimes we need the odd item from the store but for a family of 10, our grocery visits are very sporadic and the purchases are pretty limited. This is because of home canned goods, putting up food while it is in season, raising some chickens and turkey for meat and and utilizing our freezer system.

 

 

How to can blueberries:

 

Wash your blueberries, rinse and set aside.

Wash and sterilize all your jars. While you are doing this, heat up a kettle for your rings and lids. Once the water is hot, place your lids and rings into a pot of  hot water which will sterilize your rings and soften the rubber for sealing.

In a second pot, prepare a juice [see blow] that you will pour over your berries.

Into the pot you will pour six cups of water with three cups of sugar – heated together to make a lovely syrup.

Canning blueberries is the most easiest of all projects … simply fill your jars with your freshly washed berries, pour the syrup over top, squeeze a squirt of lemon juice in each jar, wipe the rims, place your new lid and ring on top and put it into the water bath canner! You will process your jars according to your altitude. (Check the website below.)

So easy and so worth it – when the winter comes and you have beautiful jars of blueberries to use over oatmeal, in muffins, in cobblers and pies … what a blessing!

If you want specific measurements, try this website.

Now, to make a homemade pie, it is simple and easy – just use the pre-made pie dough I have already prepared and my jar of blueberies, sprinkle some sugar over top and with a minimum amount of effort, there will a hot, delicious pie awaiting your family …

Isn’t that simple? Don’t let the season of fresh produce slip by …. or you will miss out on this lovely way of old fashioned goodness for your family.

 

 

August 9, 2019 - 6:27 am

Gigi Yes, such happy jars!

August 9, 2019 - 6:27 am

Gigi Thank you, Teresa!!

August 9, 2019 - 6:27 am

Gigi Lynnea, that’s a perfect use for blueberries!

August 9, 2019 - 6:26 am

Gigi Danessa, keep on working for the Lord from your home. I’m sure you will feel contentment and peace as you work with your hands. If I ever get to Newfoundland (if that is where you still live), I’ll come for tea!

August 7, 2019 - 6:07 pm

TERESA @ Simply Farmhouse Beautiful color to add to your pantry. Thanks for the recipe for the pie ~ I’ll be trying that soon! Loved all the photo’s…I always smile when I see a post from you. Teresa

August 5, 2019 - 2:48 pm

Lynnea Your pie looks scrumptious! I love blueberries and fondly remember picking them as a young girl with my Nana. I have not canned them but often freeze some to use in baking and in breakfast oatmeal. All those jars of blueberries are a beautiful sight to see and must bring a great sense of satisfaction!

August 5, 2019 - 10:50 am

Danessa stride I cannot tell you how much your inspire me to keep doing what I love, cooking, cleaning(most of the time) and canning for my family, it brings such satisfaction. I love your post and I am always checking to see if there is a new one lol. I love how you are trying to preserve the “old fashion” way of life, something as simple as making a pie is becoming a lost art, and I love that your are passing this down to your girls. I get such a warm feeling just from wearing a apron, hanging clothes on the line or watching my little garden grow, not many can relate, but I’m sure you can! I would love to visit you some day and have a cup of tea out of an old tea cup on the front porch or sitting by your old fashion cooking wood stove, I LOVE that stove:) Maybe I will have to add that to my bucket list of things to do lol. Keep up with your beautiful posts, can’t wait for the next one! until then God bless!

August 4, 2019 - 4:18 pm

Monica I’m loving all of the PURPLE! Hooray for so many blueberries! It’s nice to see how it is all done and also as usual to see the helpers! 🙂 xo

August 2, 2019 - 2:10 am

Rebecca Wow what an amazing gift!!! I’ve always just frozen blueberries when we have been fortunate to get some. We haven’t found a good blueberry patch yet. But now you have inspired me to can them when I get some!