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Frost kissed the pumpkin leaves this week and though they and the sweet potato leaves blackened a bit, everything in the garden still stands.

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Well, except the okra we hacked down a couple of weeks ago. In its place – and in the bed next door – now sit oodles of radishes and turnips and tatsoi with some lettuce, cabbage, and cauliflower babies in between. We haven’t had much rain but still, the fall garden and these crops generally grow themselves. Especially those radishes and turnips.

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The hens, too, have been quite generous lately. The flock has become a bit unwieldy as I haven’t really done much in the way of culling or even paying much attention in recent months. They are taken care of every day and they keep giving eggs which, I suppose, is reason enough to leave well enough alone.

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Most of the comfrey survived summer! I am not sure that this has happened in all of the years we have tried planting it; usually at least most of them die.

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Right around the time we cut back the okra, the garlic started to go in.

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And it’s already coming up with gusto. I think we have more we want to plant and certainly there are onions to put in and could someone please tell me how to grow more beets? Somehow getting these guys from seed to a safe size has proven extraordinarily difficult and am I the only one who could eat these earthy beauties every single day and be quite happy?

Baby greens have provided us with lovely salads and the mustard and collard greens are loving these cooler temperatures. As the days grow dark earlier and the mornings lean closer and closer to frost, I am actually looking forward to a somewhat “off season” in which we aren’t planting and harvesting regularly. Such abundance we have been given; such abundance.

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Until the goats freshened and we began milking again this past summer, I had a niggling feeling about the children’s nutrition. Sure, they were getting all of the usual traditional foods but the goats had been dry for several months and I was just starting to wonder. It probably had something to do with the little comments here and there about how good a glass of milk sounded or how much they liked yogurt.

And now, this.

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Twice a day I can’t quite believe my eyes when I strain the milk… and skim the cream. I really, firmly believe that raw dairy products provide nourishment in ways that most other foods simply cannot. When you have milk, you have a meal, I sometimes say as I put whatever vegetables, beans, eggs, or meat we might have onto the table. And everyone gets a huge glass of milk.

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And now, with that cream, has come raw butter and raw sour cream (and maybe raw cream cheese soon). While some of us can eat store-bought grass-fed butter and cheese from time to time when the dairy animals are dry, Stewart and Elijah cannot. Pasteurized dairy almost immediately makes Stewart feel unwell. So to bring these foods that are not only tolerable, but down right medicinal, to their bodies… and to watch them liberally eat of such nourishment has been a really fulfilling and almost overwhelming experience.

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When I see that milk pail, it is a twice-daily reminder that we don’t deserve any of it, and yet God in His mercy created this animal to produce such nourishment and placed her right in our own backyard by His providential hand. And she has been such an easy cow – no kicking, no fighting, and even though we have messed up along the way, the Lord has allowed her to stay with us and nourish our family and with such delicious foods at that.

Such mercy it all is. Such mercy.

I don’t know how long Mabel is destined to be a part of our homestead but I am so very grateful for what she has, quite literally, brought to the table.