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Friday, July 25, 2014

July Happenings

I titled this as "July", but I think I'll throw in parts of June as well. Time seems to fly by in the summer!

In June, I helped butcher chickens (for the very first time!!) with some of my in-laws. They butcher all of their own meat, and I found the process quite enlightening.

And, they graciously allowed me to use all the feet, even their half. I've got the best in-laws ever!

This month, my main focus was the garden, which exploded in abundant produce that I'm gradually freezing, canning, or feeding to Hubs. He's got to be getting tired of summer squash. Last week I made some dill pickles, and have been continually freezing green beans and black and red raspberries. I made a stir fry mix with my carrots, snap peas, squash, and some green peppers and broccoli.

Unfortunately, I would consider myself a beginning vegetable gardener. I had a frustrating time this spring getting my corn and peas to germinate, and I believe I planted my cucumbers and watermelon too thick and too close together. The vines from both have spilled over into other areas of the garden, and I came up with the bright idea to put up a 'retaining wall' of pallets. Hubs helped me put up the wall. Or rather, I helped him. He did all the work!

Pallet Retaining Wall

Volunteer Potatoes

Besides the chickens & gardening, I also tried making hard candy. It still needs some tweaks, but was overall a success.

This summer has been a great time for bike rides, foraging and picking up beer cans. I continue to read my book on Michigan Wildflowers and discover new plants like St. John's Wort, Motherwort, Joe Pye Weed and many others. Hubs and I enjoyed a trip to Greenfield Village, which was a lot of fun. My favorite part was the Doctor Howard's office, which I had not been in before, and the herb garden with medicinal plants used during the Civil War. One of Hubs favorite stops was the glass shop, where you can watch craftsmen blow glass into ornaments, pitchers, vases, and other glassware.

In July, Hubs & I ran our second 5K of the year. It was a great race for us; Hubs came in first place in his age group! I didn't get a medal (wah wah!) but still beat my best time ever and crossed the finish line at 30 minutes and 13 seconds. Yay! 

Lastly, I started reading a book called Trim Healthy Mama. It is a huge, thick book that focuses mainly on nutrition with some other health and exercise tidbits.

THM has inspired me to start using stevia and xylitol instead of sugar. Since getting married, I haven't really made desserts regularly. This makes Hubs sad. I'm looking forward to learning how to make more healthy desserts (especially chocolate!) in the coming weeks and months.

How has your summer been?


  1. So what did you do with the feet?????? When the kids have a craving for lemonade, I use 1 cup stevia, 1 cup lemon juice and 2 quarts water. Its fast and easy, and cheaper than buying the lemons. No food coloring, either. If they had lemonade often, they might be able to tell the difference, but there has been no complaints thus far.

    1. I made a fantastic vanilla ice cream with stevia. I couldn't tell that it wasn't sugar. The 'aftertaste' comes through more with chocolate, though. Gotta work on that.

  2. Pray tell what did you do with the chicken "feet"??

  3. Oh the feet! I used some for making chicken stock (like broth, but it's got more gelatin) and threw the rest in the freezer for more stock later. Don't worry, they were clean before I cooked them! ;)