It has been a very busy time for our family.  So much so, that I have been taking time away from writing.  How about that, I have been living life!  Not just documenting it!

I have to rewind several weeks.  It all started with a knock at the door.  I was folding the laundry and asked Molly to see who it was.  I was not expecting any visitors, so there was a curiosity that plagued our minds.

Molly comes running up the steps, “Mom, there is a little boy at the door.  He asked if you would like a deer.”  I responded, “YES!!!!”  I rushed down the steps and found this young boy at my doorstep.  He went on to explain that his family had enough deer this year, and after youth hunt, he was able to get a few more deer that they did not need.

With tears of joy welling up in my eyes, I was just gleaming with thankfulness, as I gave this dear boy a hug.  Think of all the meat, all the canning, all the steaks.  I truly felt rich.  This was like a gift from heaven.  Glorious meat!

They plopped the deer on our grass and drove away just as quick as they came.  I immediately called for reinforcements—Owen, our neighbor who is also lovingly called family to us.   He loves any opportunity to help butcher and smoke meat.

He actually used to work as a butcher, so he knows what he is doing.  That night he and the girls managed to string it up and skin it out.  Miles is planning to tan the hide.  He salted it that very night and put it in a place where animals could not disturb it.

The next morning, I picked Owen up early, he and Grandma Evie.  I set him up at the snack bar with all his gear: The knives, the grinder, the seasonings.  He started with the back straps and cut some beautiful steaks that he later marinated.  That night we ate like Kings.  I let the kids have seconds, and thirds of the steaks.  We enjoyed the feast.

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Then he sat there with Mikey cutting the roasts into little squares so that I could can them as chunks.  I put them in the jar, add a little fat, a little beef boullion (no MSG), and a little onion flakes.  About a tablespoon of each.  The rest of the meat was ground up for burger to can or freeze. 

We ended up canning 9 quarts of ground beef and 9 quarts of chunk meat.  I had been blessed by a very sweet family in Maine, the Dosties, with a HUGE All-American canner.  I mean, this canner is HUGE:  you can fit 18 quart jars in it!!!!  And that is just what we did.  What a blessing!  That is like my DREAM Canner!  
The following day, Owen came back for more!  He seasoned and ground up more meat for sausage.  He stuffed Polish sausage and Summer Sausage.  Then he smoked them all day!  Amazing.  He uses an old wooden chainsaw box that he made different shelf and dowel holders.  The smoker is just a little burner that he puts old dried out corncobs and acorns into a pot to smoke.  It is the old fashioned way!  Simple.  Easy.  And Delicious!  The sausage was so good and it took about 12 hours in the smoker.  Boy, that smokey smell is out of this world. 
That’s not all.  I filmed it all as it was happening.  After we process the 6 hogs we have on pasture this winter, I will have a video available for download.  Some people would rather not watch a video on processing meat, smoking, and canning it, while others would find it very informative.  Perhaps there are some of you out there that need to know how to do these skills.   
We spent Thanksgiving this year with all of our friends from church.  It was amazing!  They are amazing people.  We had a blast.  The kids were out playing football in the front yard.  An occasional wrestling match would break out, but there were many smiles and laughter!
I enjoyed playing cello and my friend played violin.  We had fun playing many hymns.  We were the background music. 

I had made most of the food the day before.  2 turkeys that were 22 pounds each.  5 pounds of stuffing, 4 pumpkin pies, 20 pounds of mashed potatoes, cranberries, and gravy.  The other ladies brought other wonderful things like fresh rolls, spring rolls, sweet potatoes, ham, apple crisp, to name a few.

We had company from Los Angeles visiting, a lovely family.  They were a treasured blessing.  Seems like we all smiled and laughed, and had such a great time together.  Thankful for all the Lord has given in our lives and families.  We truly have so much to Thank Him for!  It is even better to reflect each day on all that we have and all that we can be thankful for, all year round!

We did a Christmas Parade lately as a church body, handing out nearly 3000 tracks.  It was really fun.  We had the Grinch float and the Frozen Float in front of us.  But it was really neat to see the people grabbing for our million dollar bill tracks.  They found them to be very unique and fun to have.  I could not get over the positive response we had.  The message of the gospel got out there.

I think it was especially a good experience for our children.  They were able to pass out most of the tracts and know that there could be one person there that day that was seeking!  I can take more days like that.  Seeing the fruit of what we pour into our kids coming out on a day like that, where they enjoy spreading good seed. 

"I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and will call upon the name of the LORD."
Psalm 116:17

Just for a reminder…

Tea Time Talk Show Tuesday Upcoming Schedule:

Tuesday, May 1, 2018  at 10 am CST will feature Co-Host Owen Newman

  • The following Tuesday will be featuring Owen Newman from the hills of TN talking about homesteading and the simple life.  He has a lot of wisdom and experience living with less and making the most of each and every resource they are given.  If you have any specific questions, please leave a comment below or send us an email or message on facebook from the keeper of the homestead page.  

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10 thoughts on “Blessings and Thankfulness

  1. Thanks for posting this Erin, I think it’s wonderful! I would love to watch that video on the how to’s ~ we are a deer hunting family too and it’s always good to get other people’s ideas and methods. We took a trip to Idaho last year and the kids brought back 3 bucks!! Our freezer has been full 🙂 They did all the gutting and skinning, but we have never smoked any of our meat ~ would love to try that next time. I am curious about one thing ~ I’ve never canned my ground beef before. What would be the advantage of canning it instead of freezing it?

    • The only advantage for canning meat is that it will not spoil in the freezer if the power should go out. I like it because it lasts a lot longer, indefinitely long (years longer), than freezer meat, it is easy to whip a meal up. It literally only takes warming it up rather than thawing and cooking first when you are doing meal preps. I have a lot of meat canning lessons on my 3rd Homesteading for Beginners DVD. It is a lot of work the day you do it, but makes life easier after while.

      • Thanks Erin! I do have all of your videos ~ guess I should pull that one back out and watch it again, it’s been a while 🙂 That makes sense, and it would definitely be quicker to pull out a jar of meat to heat up instead of thawing and cooking.

  2. Sounds like you have had a full, productive several weeks! What a blessing to get that deer! Gatherings with family/friends are so fun. I wouldn’t have guessed, or maybe just don’t remember you writing, that you played the cello! That’s really neat! My sister and I played our violins with a new friend on the cello for a wedding a couple months ago. It was the first time I’d really heard one. It is such a lovely instrument!
    Your stories and thoughts are always enjoyable and edifying; thanks for sharing!

  3. Isn’t that marvelous!?! Thank you for sharing and posting pictures. I learned a lot from that. I have never seen meat being processed; I’ve only seen it in packages at the store. I enjoy your blog.

  4. Hi Erin! It was so good to read your post! Somehow I miss them and have to search for them! But as I read today, I missed being with you and your precious family! I found myself spotting all the places in your home and yard, with a “there’s the purple room, or that’s the living room”! So fun! We were blessed with a “road kill” deer that was still good the other day! Such a blessing! I would love to can some of it, but it’ll likely go in the freezer this time! 🙂 Hope to see ya’ll soon! Passing that way in February!

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