Ahh!…The End of a Beautiful Summer!

…southeastern Pennsylvania style!  You may have read Sharon’s post with this same title, so here is my edition of our ‘end of summer’ here in countryville, Pennsylvania!  In Utah, summer means hiking in mountains and canyons, rodeos, and Utah Statehood days; in our neck of the woods, it means stocking and storing up Summer’s Bounty!

Last year, I posted about canning tomatoes, something I had never done before!  Then I tasted the canned tomatoes.  I was sold on them.  The problem was, in January, I ran out.  And then it was, that I decided, rain or shine, this next summer, I would can tomatoes, and I would can a lot of them!  So last week I did twenty-four quarts, and may have more to come!  Have you ever tasted home-canned tomatoes?  Suffice it to say, I don’t mind if I never taste store-bought canned tomatoes again!Oh yes, and those green beans are actually remnants of last summer’s bounty!  They have a story of their own you can read if you missed it last year!

Then there is the sweet corn.  Oh, the sweet corn!  A dear friend (and even more dearer now!) blanched and froze corn with another lady from church.  Kindly, she offered to give us a bag.  I expected one ziploc bag of frozen fresh corn for us to taste.  Well, she awarded us with a grocery bag full of sweet corn!  Wow, what a blessing!  We tasted it for the first time last Sunday.  I hate to be prejudice, but it had to be the best I remember!  It had no sugar added to it, and yet was soooooo sweet!  And the flavor and even texture were perfect!  Come to find out, it was from this church lady’s Amish neighbors.  Well, they must know the secret to raising and harvesting sweet corn!

Then there are all the berries!  Last year we picked wine berries, a type of red raspberry, and I also picked blueberries.  Well, this year I went the easy route, and simply bought blueberries and strawberries.  I had to get up a good store of strawberries for Dustin’s favorite smoothie: Strawberry-Banana-Orange Juice.  Bananas are still easy to find in the winter, as is orange juice, but strawberries go from $1-2/quart to $5-6/quart!

And last, but not least, we made refrigerator pickles.  Dustin had a taste for pickles, and so after some research, we decided to make our own.  We found a good recipe, put the spices into the jars, sliced and chopped cucumbers to fill them, and added the vinegar and water.  They look mighty tasty, but we have to wait one more week for them to ‘pickle’ before eating them.

And there you have it…this time of year is very busy here in rural PA!  There are produce stands all over the place, not to mention the farm markets; and some ladies at our church are very busy canning and freezing and pickling!  We certainly don’t compare to the stockpiles some families amass, but we do make our own feeble attempt to preserve Summer’s Bounty!

The Lindsey Visit

We could never fail to mention our overwhelming fun we had with Lindsey over the past seventeen days. We had goals to do a lot of things with her, and accomplished most of them! The first big thing we did was go to a pumpkin patch and pick a few of those. We all had a blast! Earlier that same day, we ate at Chick-Fil-A (one of our new favorites–delicious food, very clean, born-again Christian owned, and closed on Sunday) in Shrewsberry because we had a couple coupons for free sandwiches. It just happened to be their fifth anniversary week, so they had a few fun things that afternoon. Lindsey was able to see a couple of “cows” in the restaurant.

Just look at that smile on her face!
Andrea and Lindsey also had a few baking days...

Lindsey also met some new friends…

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Visiting a farm with Hannah, Catherine, and Olivia Turner
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An evening with Jenna and Alyssa Starr
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Raking leaves with Kate McCleary

Sunday night was our “last hurrah” before she left.  The Mullers, missionaries to Mongolia, came and reported to our church just before they head back to the field early next month.  They are from Fairhaven, so they were able to take Lindsey back with them.  We had a lot of fun and fellowship with the Mullers and Eebee (a college friend from Mongolia) Sunday afternoon and evening.  We invited them to our home for lunch, and had pizza with them after the evening service.  This morning, on their way back to Chesterton, they picked up Lindsey, and we all said our goodbyes.  What a great last couple of weeks we had!  Maybe Andrea can tell a few more interesting stories in the near future…

Giving Thanks

665A0514Happy autumn to everyone!  I love fall, and the colors here in Pennsylvania are just about to peak!  My favorite are the reds since that is my favorite color.  And I love Thanksgiving.  It is a shame so many jump from Halloween to Christmas without thinking much about the Thanksgiving holiday in between.  What a blessing they miss!

Recently I was in a ladies’ class and was touched by a singular truth which was presented.  The lesson was about murmuring and complaining, a weakness which I am sure, all too many of us struggle against.  The teacher mentioned that usually, ‘the things we complain about are trivial things’…we could not go shopping as we planned; we were not able to buy that sweater we wanted; dinner did not turn out; or our family member dirted the freshly-cleaned floor.  She went on to explain however that, “We complain about the little things, when God has given us big things!”  The health to live, work, and even go shopping is an undeserved blessing itself.  We have a wonderful place to call home, and even more than that, A FAMILY; that must certainly be a gift from Heaven.  Beyond that, we have friends…a true friend is a precious thing.  We have our church family, and a pastor who cares for us and prays for us.  We have THE TRUTH of GOD’S WORD!  We could never comprehend what a blessing that is.  And through that precious book, the Bible, we have SALVATION!  Salvation from all our sin, from the punishment of sin, and from fear and eternal damnation.  Then, we have the ASSURANCE of that salvation from God’s Word (I John 5:13 –“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life,…”).  And we could go on forever about the BIG things God has given us while our small complaints pale in comparison!  So, this Thanksgiving, and all the year ’round, let us not “…complain about little things, when God has given us big things!”  Thanks be to God!665A0519

Psalm 111:2 –“The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.”

Upcoming Events This Fall

This is not necessarily a post about current things going on in our lives, or recent newlywed experiences–but of what you will be hearing about over the next several weeks. This week kind of starts a busy season off…
First off, everyone knows that Lindsey, Andrea’s sister, is coming out here to visit for two weeks. I can imagine you (or “yous” as they say in York County) will here a good deal about fun things that happen while she is with us. We will be seeing Lindsey in just an hour or so…believe me, Andrea is counting down the milliseconds!
This week also begins Mt. Zion’s missions conference. We will have at our church missionaries from the Arctic, Mexico, and South Africa. I want to write about that a few times also. We will be on our way to a staff luncheon with them in just an hour too. We pray that God will speak to our church as we seek God’s will about giving and service this week.

Around Thanksgiving time, my family will be here to visit for a few days. Black Friday is just after that, of course, too…

Then we are in the Christmas season all of the sudden. I guess my poor wife is the Grinch now, according to my sister-in-law and her blog post!  The Leslie side of the family will be making there way out to Pennsylvania to celebrate Christ’s birth with us.  May the time fly!