Thursday, December 17, 2009

Machen's First Haircut

It's way past time! At 2 1/2, Machen is finally getting his first haircut. He was on a trip in Texas, and Daddy and Papa Jack took him in. He was very serious about the whole thing.
Time to cut these curls!

Where else but Texas do the hairstylists use the state flag as a pattern for their capes?

Not so sure about this...

Taking shape!

"Freshy good..."

I'm a big boy now, backseat driving through Texas with my John Deere.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Summer 2009, by Jonathan

Following is an essay Jonathan had to write for speech class. The picture above actually has nothing to do with the essay, but in an ironic kind of way captures his essence. Interpret that how you like... :)

My Summer Achievement

My brother went off to do an apprenticeship for the summer. As he was gone, all his chores fell to me. In addition to my own chores, I had to take care of his dogs, which included a brand new litter of puppies. So I was a little concerned about all my responsibilities for the summer, which included caring for my two sheep, my four pigs, and my brother's dogs.

Most people think that sheep are meek-hearted, tender little animals. Well, they're not. The first time I realized this was when they busted out of their pen and I had to get them back in. I'd get them just inside the fence, and they'd just jump back out. Also, it was a good day when I did not receive bruises from the ram. He could never resist butting me when he got the chance.

My four pigs did not require a lot of attention at first. It was quite easy walking their feed and water to whatever pasture they were rooting up. But moving them to another pasture took a lot of convincing, and in the end we had to practically drag one with a lasso. We had to do that three times!

Raising puppies is a lot harder than I expected. At three weeks old they can walk around, so I had to start feeding them and playing with them. The food had to soak in warm water until soft, and I had to make sure all eight got plenty. Playing sessions happened each morning and afternoon. This was fun, but eight are unpredictable. I lost many a good t-shirt to sharp teeth.

The summer was even harder than I thought it would be, but I survived. It was a great relief to have my brother back and doing his own chores. I guess I can say my summer was a success. The puppies are selling, the sheep are having a lamb, and I now only have three pigs--and some bacon in the freezer.

Jonathan Cannon, age 11

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ready for the Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving! This year all three Cannon boys were together, so we especially missed their parents, Jim and Bobbie, and Joe's wife Diane, all of whom were in Texas for Thanksgiving. So, a toast to those who were not with us--we love you!

Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally when we search out a Christmas tree at a local farm here in Evansville. I (Jerlene) am not allowed to pick out a tree without my husband because I have a history of making bad choices--too big, crooked trunk, etc. However, the day after Thanksgiving Keith broke his ankle and had to spend tree hunting day (his birthday to boot) on the couch.

Incidentally, this is where he was when the tree was unloaded, set up, and decorated. We had good substitutes for Keith in the form of Kathryn and Jonathan, and Joe went along to keep things in hand. We found a good one almost right away...HmHmmm

Machen didn't really care which tree we picked.

Looks good out here...

We should have noticed the proportions at this point, but we just got carried away. There are no pictures to document how we got it home, off the truck, into the house, and balanced in the stand, because, well... things were a little tense during that time. Let's just say we owe a huge thanks to Bobby, Joe, Caleb, Jonathan, and Kathryn, who were sticky with sap for a while. But the end result worked out pretty well.

We hope your holidays are blessed with peace and joy that comes from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. For family worship during this time, Keith is taking us through Athanasius' On the Incarnation. As we enjoy lots of family traditions, we reflect on Christ's advent in a human body, His work of redemption through His death, and His resurrection, which is our hope of salvation. We praise God for His provision to us. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Lauren made a batch of better butter...

Lauren is our butter maid. She's become quite proficient at keeping the fridge stocked with nice, fresh butter. Here's the method she has found easiest to use:

First, Lauren pours the cream off the milk into the blender. We have found that the butter is best if the cream is allowed to sit for a couple of days before we process it. By trial and error, Lauren also found the butter develops faster by processing it about a cup at a time on low speed.

The cream goes through a really "thick" stage before the butter separates out. At that point, Lauren pours the butter and the whey over cheesecloth (or a thin diaper rag!) into a strainer. Here she is using the strainer in a double broiler set, allowing the whey to drain into the pan beneath the strainer.

Here the butter sits while the other batches are being made. Lauren just pours each batch into the same cheesecloth, as long as she has the room.

When she's done with the last batch, she gently squeezes as much whey as she can out of the butter.

Lauren then leaves the butter to sit in the cheesecloth up to a few hours, allowing any remaining whey to further drain out. This seems to make a difference in the amount of buteric acid that builds up as the butter ages. The buteric acid is the guilty party for making your butter smell rancid as it seeps to the outside surface over time. To further avoid this buildup, we rinse the butter with cold water occasionally and pat it dry.

Lauren stores the butter in an airtight container for the fridge.

Sometimes when we need to freeze any extra butter, we weigh it out in 4oz. baggies for convenience in baking.

Dear Lauren, Thank you for all the time you put into making our great butter. I think of you every time I pull it out of the fridge, and each time I pass up the butter in the grocery aisle. Love, Mom

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Barn... Finally!

This Thanksgiving (2009) marks our 11th year living out here on Stonewall Farm. After all that time and multiple dog litters, chickens, sheep, pigs, hay, a tractor, and various farm implements, we finally have a barn underway! These are some pictures of early construction.

Caleb stood on the bucket of the tractor
and flipped the trusses right side up to be fit
in place. Everyone but Caleb seemed to think it
was a great idea.

Machen, Paige, and Shelby entertained
themselves while everyone was working.

Be looking for an update! Right now all the trusses and purlins are up and the roofing is half way done. We'll try to post pictures soon!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reformation Day

This past weekend we celebrated Reformation Day with our friends in Centerville, TN. We worked hard, played hard, and worshipped hard, as is the Presbyterian way. Enjoy the pictures!

The kids competed in the Turkey Shoot...

...along with Miss Brooke.

Some are enjoying the moment...

...more than others.

The Diet of Worms didn't agree with Machen.

The boys played a game of football. (Caleb is in the black hat.)

Friends were made...

Machen and Auby observed the football game...from a safe distance.

All in all, a great weekend!