Family Is Forever
I can’t believe how fast the summer is going by. School is back in session, grandbaby number 7 is in 1st grade, and I have started the fall garden planting. I thought the last two months were busy, but the month of August has been crazy busy. Vernon and I have been harvesting and putting food up for the winter months: canning, freezing, drying and vacuum sealing vegetables and fruits. We have one more fruit tree to harvest and that is the pear tree. The apple trees are done; the peach trees are done; and the cherry trees are done, thanks to the crows who clearly thought the cherries were for them. And for the first time in the 6 years we’ve been living on this property we have almonds! Our almond trees are finally yielding almonds. We thought that would never happen – apparently, it takes several years for the trees to mature. And the muscadines are producing full and delicious fruit. I decided this year we would just enjoy eating them straight off the bushes. If you are a lover of muscadines, you already know what a delight it is to have that pop of yummy burst in your mouth.
Every year, I like planting something I have never planted before. So when going through my Baker Creek Seed Company Catalog (an Adventist company that many homesteaders use as their go to source for seeds) I saw something that caught my eye. Schwartzbeeren - literally "black berries". The schwartzbeeren blackberry is of German origin, and is a type of edible black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) that was grown in many of the Volga German colonies of Russia during Catherine the Great’s reign (who was of German descent). The schwartzbeeren blackberry was brought to the U.S. by Volga German immigrants in 1875. Schwartzbeeren plants produce small, black berries similar in appearance to blueberries. And I must say they are very tasty. So I looked up different recipes that the German people developed in making use of these berries and found one that looked pretty easy to make: a German apple and blackberry cake - served warm and dusted over with powdered sugar. I made a delicious German apple and blackberry cake twice, recently, for get-togethers with some special friends, and they were a hit!
The month of July was one of the best months for Vernon and me. Some of my family from Pennsylvania came to visit. I was so happy to see them! In all the business of country living, I had forgotten how much I missed them. My aunt Merle, and cousins/sisters Rhonda and Lisa came first. We had so much fun recounting our childhood memories. When it was time for them to leave, we all found it difficult to say goodbye. It was so hard to let them go. We all teared up as we stood by their car hugging each other; I still do get misty-eyed thinking about it. But, two weeks later my sister Kim, her husband Laurence, and daughter Katlynn came and stayed for a long weekend. I can’t begin to tell you how much fun we had. One of Kim’s long desires was to pet a chicken; and she finally got her wish.
Family is so important, and when you haven’t seen them in a long time you don’t want to let them go. I have a sign in our sunroom that says, “Family is not an important thing; it’s Everything” That’s how I feel about my family; they are everything!
Family is at the center of God's plan for the happiness and progress of His children. The Bible teaches that God established families from the very beginning, and it shows us many examples of strong, loving, happy families. What is a family according to the Bible? The family is the foundational institution of society ordained by God. It is constituted by marriage and is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood or adoption. The family is a fundamental institution of human society. Genesis 2:20-25, 4:1. Our shared experiences and God’s love bond us together, forever.
Not only were Vernon and I blessed to have our family come and visit, a few of Vernon’s high school classmates made long detours to come spent a short, but wonderful time with us. They got to experience our daily life on the farm first hand. And they seemed to love it.
There are many people we meet in our lives, but a few leave indelible impressions on our hearts. They care about your well-being; they like you for who you are, and they support you for all times. It is these rare people that we will think of often, and who will always remain important to us as true friends – family, really. Vernon and I know such a family, and this week we had a good by dinner for them. They took Vernon and me in when we had no place to park our RV when we first move to the area. We lived in their driveway for 10 months in our RV. They taught us things we needed to know about living in the country and they loved us as if we were their own children. Chuck would check on us often after we moved into our home to make sure we were doing ok. I don’t want to say goodbye, just… See you later. It will feel strange knowing they are not 5 miles down the road from us anymore. But they will always be in our hearts. We are fortunate to have such true friends. See you later Chuck and Janice. We love you!