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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas from the Harper's!

Our annual Christmas Eve Family Home Evening was complete this year with everyone home. Six of the eight grandchildren acted out the Christmas Story as part of our evening.

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas in Nauvoo Ward Christmas party

Here's a video of the preparation pictures of our ward Christmas Party last week. Somehow we got busy and didn't get crowds this time! I'll post some short videos tomorrow!

Monday, December 7, 2009

No sugar apple pie

Over Thanksgiving, Pat made a wonderful French Apple Pie. I had to admit, I
had some of it even though I try not to eat sugar. But, I thought to myself,
I can make a sugar free version . . . and here it is! My crust is made with
almond flour, Splenda and butter. I sliced my apples and put some cinnamon
and sugar with them and then the top was made with some nuts, butter and
vanilla whey powder. It tasted wonderful!!!!

Roses in December

I went outside to pick some lettuce and looked over at our rose hedge which mostly looks like dead sticks but saw this. . . Roses blooming in December. There was not just one, but several on this plant. Wasn't there a movie by that name?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flip HD pocket video

With all of the family coming home this year for Christmas, I wanted to be able to record a lot of the memories since we never know when we'll all be together again. I gave this little HD video recorder to Kevin and Bonnie last year for Christmas and thought it would be wonderful to have one to keep handy when I'm playing with the children and all of the family are here over the holidays.

Here's my first try with Michael! I'm going to try it out tomorrow at our ward Christmas party!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Apple trees

One thing I need to do is get better with handling our orchard. We have several dwarf trees that we've gotten a little bit off fruit but we plan on expanding our fruit production.

So, we ordered four more apples trees, standard size! We have two Gala and two Anne. These apples are very sweet. We will have to probably wait a couple of years to see the fruits of our labors.

In other pictures you may have seen all of the 5 gallon buckets by the trees. We have attached a drain spout on the bottom and put them in the soil so we can water where the roots are.

In other news, we have some lines of water, electricity and natural gas going down to the greenhouse. I'm relieved that we didn't have to break down any of our concrete on our little driveway area that goes to the back of the house.

We are getting a lot of wonderful lettuce of various varieties right now. I hope the colder nights won't be too hard on it! We'll cover it up if we need to as our cold doesn't normally last right now.

Michael is so great to do so much work around the home. I'm so blessed to have a sweetie who has so many talents on building and fixing things. If he doesn't know how to do it, he works to learn it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

2009 Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has had a great Thanksgiving with a lot of great turkey!

Michael and I were able to make a quick trip down to Albertson, NC, where Michael was raised to see family there.

Pat and Him were at the old homeplace living there from Utah for a few months.

Pat did us all proud with a lot of wonderful food!

Their youngest daughter, Janelle came from Fayetteville with her two guys, Lane and Cole. Her husband is in Afghanistan but will get to visit at Christmas.

Eleanor had her boys over on Sunday for their big dinner as Alan had to work and the others went to in-laws so she came over for a great meal!

Janelle has a beautiful chocolate lab named Thunder! He lives up to his name but is a good dog, but really big!

Jim as always was a wonderful host and we had a lot of great visiting!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Circ de Soleil - Allegria!

Last week Michael and I had a fun night out going to see Circ de Soleil at the BiLo Center in Greenville. Michael was able to get discount tickets through the school and we took them up on it for a date night!
Their show was called Alegria - A baroque ode to the energy, grace and power
of youth.
After all of the years of watching them on TV, this year we got to see them in person TWICE! We saw their Beatles Love program in Las Vegas. This troupe was a lot smaller than that group but I think they may have done more acrobatics at this show.

It was wonderful and we sat spellbound for 2 1/2 hours. We were on the side, on the first row in the balcony so we are about even with those doing the high things and it was a neat perspective. What a fun night!

Canning turkey

When turkey is .40 a pound, it's time to stock up! This is the week to do
it. I was able to get two 23 pound turkeys. It's so easy to can turkey and
the meat is wonderfully moist and so tasty in casseroles or many dishes
calling for chicken. At .40 a pound, a pint costs me about .75!

Here is how:

You thaw the turkey.
Pressure can it whole for about an hour.
Let the canner cool and get out the turkey and debone it.
Fill the jars with turkey and use the broth for the liquid.
Add 1/2 t. salt for each jar.
Boil the lids and screw on the lids. Can for 75 minutes for pints of 90
minutes for quarts. Walla, you have canned turkey.

I had cooked up a bunch of collards from the garden on Saturday so I decided
to can those as well.

I love canning and seeing the fruits of the labor. I think it's beautiful.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New plants we are trying out in the fall garden

I thought I'd show how some of our fall plants are doing. Of course we still have other things but these are the new things we're trying out this fall! Here's how our carrots are coming along. This is the first carrot patch we've ever had so I'm excited. They should be ready in another month.

Another new plant we're growing is Brussel sprouts. I have about five plants and the sprouts are starting to form!

I'm shocked at how many collards are produced by about five plants!

We also planted a couple of Chinese cabbages.

and a purple cabbage.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


When we did our grading for our raised beds and the greenhouse, we had such a change in elevation that we put in a retaining wall. Michael had the wonderful idea of putting in a narrow raised bed and strawberries in it. That way, we can stand up and pick the berries! Since fall is the time to plant the berries, we stopped work on the greenhouse to build our raised beds.

We found a wonderful place to get mushroom compost to use along with some peat moss and vermiculite to make the soil. I love this stuff and plan to compost raised beds when we put them to bed for the winter.

Michael used his geometry to figure out how much from each bag of vermiculite and peat moss we needed to mix the soil. My job was to bring the buckets of mushroom compost from the truck to the wheelbarrow where Michael would mix it all.

I placed newspaper as a barrier to the ground to smother any grass. Here's the mix as we put it into the beds.

We used two wheelbarrow fulls of mixture for each bed and then we mixed up two other batches to make sure they were all full.

After I wet down the beds, I went and got some strawberry runners to transplant.

Now I have to finish cleaning out the rest of the strawberry beds. They are really prolific and it's a lot of work to clean them out.

Thank goodness the soil is very loose so I can pull them up pretty easy. It's hard to take all of these beautiful plants to the compost pile! I have given away some plants to anyone that wanted them.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Ida made a visit!

One thing about living in the upstate part of South Carolina, we don't get full impact of hurricanes that hit the coast, but we do get the rain. We can get rain from hurricanes either from the gulf or the Atlantic.

Ida is very late for a hurricane this time of year. It hit landfall in Alabama and then quickly came for a visit.

Because of another low, it kind of stalled and stayed with us longer than we were first told. In total, from Tuesday to Thursday morning, we got about 4 1/2" of rain. This pond does have a little dock but it's underwater.

By today, Thursday, the skies are starting to clear and the rain is stopping.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Spartanburg Trunk or Treat

Here is a compilation of our ward's goblins at the trunk or treat!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ethan is 7

It's amazing that our little Ethan is now 7!

He loves Legos so was excited to get some new ones. He also got some Transformers and Grandma Harper (Me) got him a spiderman watch.

Sydney love's parties! She is so cute!

Haily got into the birthday cake and frosting!

Sydney and Haily had to show off their new Halloween outfits that Grandma Fuller made them.

Rainy Saturday

Fall has definitely come to our little neck of the woods. It seems that our rains come on every Saturday. It sure would be nice to have a sunny one to work on the greenhouse! This look seems like I should be in Oregon right now.

I did notice this spider web which is neat with the rain on it. I wasn't sure how the picture would turn out but you can see it.

The rate of harvest has gone way down but we do have collards. Before a rainy Saturday, I ran out to pick some to cook up. I'm no Southern gal but Michael has some fond memories of his mom's collards so I'm trying!

I takes so many collards to cook down. The big bowl above cooked down to about 4 quarts of cooked collards. Michael liked them and said they were good. . . but I'm not sure they were better than his memories of his mom's!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A frosty morning

One of my favorite things about fall mornings is to be able to look out on the pond and see the steam rising. It is hard to capture is in a picture but it is so beautiful!

In this shot of the pond, you can see that we've done a lot of framing on the greenhouse. It's going a little slower than we anticipated since we've had a rainy fall.

Our first frost almost took me by surprised. Sunday night it was going to be in the 30s but I didn't realized it would be cold enough for frost. So. . . I was able to pick the rest of any tomatoes, peppers and eggplant but the plants didn't survive the cold. I will miss being able to just go and pick several times a week but we still have a lot of colder tolerant crops like my lettuces, broccoli, cabbage, collards, cauliflower, and carrots that are coming along well!

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's Time For Apples!

It's apple time! On Thursday, I had two RS classes on apples and applesauce. We are able to go up into Western North Carolina and get some good deals on some wonderful apples.

I bought 7 half bushel bags of apples and so we played with the apples. I have a Squeezo which helps makes applesauce very easy.

My old canner looks like it's had better days. It's probably 30 years old and I can't begin to count how many 100s of jars it's processed for me over the years.

Michael loves applesauce. Since I had some empty half gallon jars, I'm filling up them up with apples. Oh, the house smells sweet and the apples taste great!