I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalms 23This Psalm is so familiar to us I think we sometimes skim over it and miss the depth and meaning there is behind it…I know I have and do sometimes. Read it again and once more.There are promises, truths and foreshadowing of things to come both physically and spiritually. For those who earnestly seek for and serve the Lord. He has promised that He will tend to us and supply our every need. He will be the one to defend and protect us as we face our enemies. When we go through circumstances in life that are overwhelming and the way is dark He is the one to lead and carry us through, comforting us in the way we need it.On the other side of our darkest moments, on the other side of this life we are living in these earthen vessels, we have an eternal promise of His bounty which He will supply us. A banquet, an anointing and overflowing cup with eternal life. Abiding with Him in the place He has specifically gone before to prepare for us forever.
Let’s look to the future and not grow weary in this life’s temporary trials and tribulations. Continue looking heavenward towards our savior who is seated at the right hand of our heavenly Father “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9
The days are getting shorter, fauna life including the insects are beginning to show the telltale signs of the season’s changes. The flora (we do have lots of plants growing this summer due to the Lord blessing us with rain!) is beginning to change growth patterns and types slowly as the season begins to slide into fall. Yes, our days have been pretty warm lately but the nights have cooled off and what a blessing to not have the 110 degree days this year!
Recently our family has been enjoying a couple of delicious and relatively quick-to-make recipes that use produce we have available right now. The first is a scrumptious cucumber salad we’ve adapted to suit us from a friend’s recipe and the second is a quick and delicious pineapple squash bread!
One of our volunteers, Ms. Fritzemeier, came out to the farm with some children she has been watching through the summer. It was fun to watch each of them find various activities to catch their interest as we went around doing chores – from the turkeys…
…to pulling the rope on the hay derrick…
…on out to the chicken palace with the chickens and geese.
We took a short grasshopper catching excursion before continuing on out to the pigs. Rounding up the buckets and eggs we decided that was a good place to quite for one day!
It was a blessing for Dad, Mom and Jena to get a “mini vacation” being gone most of 5 days. Day one was spent traveling to Kentucky and staying at a lodge overlooking a picturesque state lake.
Day two Jena worked with one of her hoof trimming mentors, Mr. Steve Johnson. This continuing education helped her pick up some techniques that both helped her polish her trim better and speed it up considerably. What a blessing he was to motivate her with new insights and ideas.
While Jena was mentoring with Mr. Johnson, Dad and Mom spent the day at the nearby Mammoth Cave National Forest. They said it was beautiful outside the cave and thus far this cave system has been traced with over 400 miles of tunnels and new areas are still being discovered!
Days three and four were spent with Mamaw and Papaw, Mom’s parents. They got to see another lake and the highlight of their time was probably seeing a couple of herds of horses around the old coal strip mines. Individuals have been releasing their unwanted domestic horses in the strip mines which is potentially going to cause some problems…such as road blocks! Going down one of the small highways they came across a herd of horses including one very young colt just a day or two old!
Jena was able to touch a few of the horses but many were a little too shy to get that well acquainted. The main purpose of looking for the horses was enjoyment and I think everyone got that!
Back on the home front chores still needed done and the overgrown forest (garden) needed chopped down to size! G-Jean and I (mostly G-Jean) have been weeding our oldest strawberry patch. Whew it’s a mess but we’re almost done with that section of the garden! Granddad has been taking on the larger sections of weeds with the Kubota’s rototiller and brush hog! Altogether the garden is looking much better although there is still much work to be done.
We and some of our volunteer help have been getting the remaining tomato vines corralled again. Praise the Lord we are beginning to have more tomatoes ripen now! There are red, pink, a few yellow and a “new” to us old heirloom called Cherokee Purple. Although the heirlooms don’t always look as pretty or produce as heavy as hybrids their flavor is outstandingly delicious.
Fresh salsa, tomato/ onion salad (chopped tomatoes and onions with apple cider vinegar), a lightly stir fried mix of tomato/pepper/squash and/or okra with cheese over the top is delicious! Simply an elegantly sliced fresh tomatoes with some salt (or not) is hard to beat too!
Preserving some of our vegetables for use later is another way to keep our family supplied with good produce year around. Dehydrating is one great method to store a lot of food compactly. We dehydrate everything from tomatoes to peppers, cabbage, beets, asparagus and okra. Nearly any fruit or vegetable may be dehydrated. Many of the dehydrated foods may be mixed together with some nuts and sesame sticks to make a complete meal trail mix! Squash chips were new to us this year! Yum!
Freezing and canning are two other methods we use to preserve our excess produce for use later.
Our late summer crops have started picking up production this week. Okra, squash, bell peppers and tomatoes are the main crops coming on strong while the cucumbers are beginning to back down in production a little.
A real blessing from the Lord this past week was when we started picking a patch of very late second picking green beans and they produced about 5-6 times the amount we’d originally thought! Our main fall planting of beans will be several weeks later, but are looking very good right now. Some of the varieties are beginning to bloom well while others are still growing to reach that stage.
We replanted some beets in a different area as our first fall planting did not come up very well during our monsoon of rain. Rutabaga and purple top white globe turnips are also planted so we shall see!
Signing out for now, but may the Lord bless each of you!
Farmer Joshua and the Mitchell Crew