Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Weekend

SMALL portion of the nearly 30 pounds of pears "artfully" arranged prior to the great canning adventure.

Tuesday evening my pastor called and one of the things he asked was if I could use some pears.  His tree was loaded down, the branches touching the ground, and his wife had put up all the pears she wanted.  Of course I said yes!  My pastor brought over two large plastic grocery bags filled with pears.  So pretty...but if I didn't do something with them, they would spoil before my guys and I could eat them.  Over the years I have done some canning and preserving with one of my grandmothers and so I thought I could do it on my own.   

Pears in the process.  You can tell I was already into the project...

Of course I used the Internet to research recipes for pear preserves. I found one or two in some old recipe books, but was searching for other ideas.  One of the ideas was for gingered pear preserves,which called for crystallized ginger.  Which means I had to find a recipe for that, as well.   

Amazingly Winn Dixie had a sale on sugar last week, and for some reason Monday night I purchased two bags for nearly the price of one.  Guess that was God's timing because pears came to my house Tuesday night, and canning and preserving takes LOTS of sugar!

Friday evening I made a trip down to the country (my parents' and grandmother's place) and picked up canning jars and advice.  Then it was off to Wal-Mart to purchase lids for the jars.  And fresh ginger.  

The finished product.  Covers nearly the entire stove top.

After many, many hours of work, I was well pleased with the fruits of my labor!  I have enough gingered pear preserves, regular pear preserves and pears in light syrup to last my little family for a while.  Can't wait to share with the extended family.  And yes, I've already eaten some of those preserves with hot biscuits and melted butter...oh, and over pound cake, too.  Pure heaven!!  

I am not the Proverbs 31 woman, but I sure felt a little like her this weekend.  Now, what can I find at the farmers' market?


Thursday, August 2, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: House of Mercy


By Erin Healy
Published by:  Thomas Nelson, 
Publication date: August 7, 2012

Beth Borzoi is a young, gifted woman with a love for her family and animals, who is also an aspiring veterinarian.  Unfortunately, family dynamics in the Borzoi house are tinged with jealousy.  Jealousy between Beth and her older brother; between Beth and her mother.  Good natured teasing goes on between Beth and her youngest brother, Danny.  Her father is her hero and she feels secure in his steadfastness and love.  She and her family own the Blazing B ranch where they raise cattle, and where they also give a home and jobs to men who have fallen on hard times.  Her father has become a hero to some of these men, for standing in the gap between society and the lives they are trying to make right.

Unfortunately Beth has a problem, and she takes the matter into her own hands by stealing a good friend's unused, forgotten saddle to use as payment for another friend's veterinary bill.  Beth's theft leads to a chain of events that includes the loss of an expensive piece of property and consequently the loss of her personal freedoms.  Death comes, and Beth believes it is because of her misdeeds.  She leaves the ranch in a desperate search for answers, only to find much more than she bargained for.  And has she been given a supernatural gift from God?  Will He forgive her for all the trouble she has caused?  Some things cannot be changed, but can Beth accept mercy and forgiveness, and even offer the same to others?

I hate to be so vague, but this is one story you are just going to have to read for yourself.  Read with an open, non-critical mind.  Don't pass it off as being too mystical.  And even though I do not believe that God works today in the manner that happens in this story, remember that all things are possible with God, and He can choose to reach and use His children in any manner He chooses (remember the talking donkey in the Old Testament?).  This is  a work of fiction, where anything goes to teach a point.  Didn't Jesus employ these same traights Himself when He tried to teach those around Him?

In my opinion, Erin Healy has done an excellent job in using uncommon "characters" and events to heighten the suspense of House of Mercy.  If you would like to learn more about Ms. Healy, check out her website where you can download free samples of this book.  If you like suspense and a little bit of the unknown, with a strong sense of God's guiding and Word, I think you just might like this author.
In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of  the Booksneeze program.