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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.

schooltwoFall is doing what it has often done in the nearly six years since we have inhabited this land – coming and going. While the last two years have seen that subtle day-to-day change in seasons, this year seems a bit like earlier years. It has been a little drier, a little warmer, and the first “cold front” a bit fleeting. Even so, the calendar says it is fall.

I didn’t realize how much time we were spending on various aspects of the garden until the fall garden was mostly planted and now here we are with a bit more time in our days. Since February it seems we have been out there most days planting, weeding, watering, and tending to these plants that feed us. All the while we have been holding a somewhat regular school schedule for the two oldest boys and, more recently, Annabelle.

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Without the urgency of harvesting, preserving, or planting in our mornings, we are turning to the school books for a couple of extra hours every day. This transition reminds me of the many times I have read, but never quite fully understood, the words of the pioneers. The challenge of putting down the shovel or dish towel and tucking into the books is an ever present one, and even more so for them it would seem.

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Truth be told, the children have never once been more enthusiastic about opening their books than heading out for homestead chores. But I suppose that’s why us parents decide which days are about dirt and which days are about long division.

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I had a great sense of fear when I began homeschooling; that fear that if anyone was going to botch this, it would be me. But the Lord is faithful and has allowed the children to learn to read and to plant; to write and to weed; to milk and to multiply… despite my inability to organize, well, anything.