bookmark_borderPhotos and Updates

I suppose the early 2000’s were the days of the weekly updated family blog sites… much less so today! And we only get updates here every few months or so. Oh well! Here are some of our pics and happenings. 😛

Love this scene of mutli-generational baking. These young ladies are learning from the master!
Here is our dinner that we processed ourselves – rabbit! Just roasted it up, and later made Rabbit Pot Pie. Delish!
Ben and Alice worked hard tending to the hides and tanning them.
Wandering around Wayside Inn
And fleeing! I can only get candids of these guys… 😛
Awesome date in the tavern

bookmark_borderOlive Oil Lamp

I love the idea of oil lamps because they run forever and don’t have to be replaced continually, like candles. In the past I’ve tried the paraffin lamps, but then you have to keep a supply of expensive/flammable/poisonous paraffin wax or kerosene around.

I learned that the Orthodox use these lamps a lot for shrine/votary/church type applications, and now I know why. Olive oil burns very clean and doesn’t leave stains on your ceiling, it’s safe and fairly cheap.

So lately I’ve been intrigued with burning olive oil and have made several different lamps of my own. Some were leaky or hard to fill without spilling (I hate drops of oil getting everywhere). Others don’t burn as long as I want.

You can’t just buy a normal oil lamp either. Olive oil is thick and will not wick very well. Because of this, you have to keep the oil very close (within an inch or so) to the burning wick. Fortunately this isn’t dangerous. Olive oil doesn’t easily catch on fire, in fact you can put out the lamp by dipping it in the remaining oil! One downside is that a soaked wick can take about 20 seconds (or a few matches) to light.

After a bunch of testing and fiddling I have made a lamp that I really like. It’s cheap, easy to make, and runs for 6-8 hours before I have to refill it, depending on the height of the flame. I can refill it while it’s burning, and it doesn’t spill! It’s open on top but less susceptible to getting knocked over than a tall candle. Adjusting the wick and lighting it is very easy.

All you need is a jar, some cotton wick about 1cm thick, a coat hanger, and some olive oil:

Brilliant, huh? Doesn’t get cheaper than that. I got a whole meter of wick for about $3 shipped. The jar is a plain old jam jar. The piece of coat hanger was bent into shape with some pliers. It hangs on the side of the jar and holds the wick.

The burny part sits off to the side of the jar, but that’s ok because it makes it easier to fill while it’s burning. This is the lamp equivalent of pumping gas with the engine running! Here’s a video of it burning. Goes all day like this. The water in the bottom lets me see when to refill it.

bookmark_borderThe Hobbit

One of our favorite family books. I read it to Jill on our honeymoon and multiple times to Alice (along with the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy). For years we would finish one book and move right on to the next, repeating those four books in series – and by Alice’s request!

Last year or so Jill requested that I do my own recorded version of the Hobbit. I finished it recently! You can listen here. It’s over nine hours of audio and took me a long time to finish, editing mistakes out as I went, and mastering the whole thing at the end (with a few fun effects).

If you get some use out of it, feel free to donate me some moneys. Since I don’t have any way to accept it electronically, it’ll have to be in person, or a mailed check or something. But no pressure, I am just glad this masterpiece of fiction lives on.

bookmark_borderFun with Cheap Vodka

I never realized what you could do with the stuff! Here is my latest projects with it:

Vanilla extract! You get the beans and use them for stuff like homemade ice cream. It makes those little tiny black specs and tastes really good – especially with my homemade butterscotch sauce. Then you put the used beans in vodka! After a couple weeks it’s vanilla extract – the expensive kind! A tiny bottle costs around $20, and the picture above is 10+ bottles. It tastes wonderful. The fudge Jill made with it had a delicious, distinct flavor. No, there isn’t anymore left.

Following on the heels of the extract theme, I decided to pick some mint leaves from our tiny garden and use them the same way. This makes a drink very similar to a mint julep – just add some sugar syrup and ice. Jill loves it, and it functions pretty much the same as it did in 1952.

On the left is my first attempt at limoncello. It’s the zest of two lemons. After this picture was taken, I then filtered out the zest and combined with sugar syrup to taste. It’s about the same process as the mint julep, and also tastes amazing. Very lemony.

All of these projects out of one $18 bottle of vodka!

bookmark_borderJust Photos

Some photos from the collection, including, but not limited to, double batch cinnamon rolls, cinnamon roll BREAD, cooking on the tiny cast iron stove, a picnic feast for a tiny one. 😀

And Little Mushrooms photo shoot. Just this cutie growing out back amid the moss. Photography by Ben. 🙂

bookmark_borderTens and Twenties

I enjoy looking back through the photo collection 🙂 What was happening 10 years ago mid-Sepbember? How about 20 years ago? And the winners are….

Pop and Alice with a smiley snuggle.

This lovely portrait of the Murphy family, by Alice.

And Pumpkin Nate, with side-pistol, admiring Finny the Fish! 😛

bookmark_borderA Prayer for Mothers

As Any Mother to the Savior

Poem mentioned in ‘The Shaping of the Christian Family’ by Elisabeth Elliot. She mentions the possible source to be Martha Snell Nicholson, but it came to E.E in a card from her mother, that she would later memorize

As Thou didst walk the lanes of Galilee,

So, loving Savior , walk with her for me.

For since the years have passed and she is grown,

I cannot follow; she must walk alone.

Be Thou my feet that I have had to stay,

For Thou canst comrade her on every way;

Be Thou my voice when sinful things allure,

Pleading with her to choose those which endure

Be Thou my hand that would keep hers in mine,

And all things else that mothers must resign.

When she was little, I could walk and guide,

But now I pray that Thou be at her side.

And as Thy blessed mother folded Thee,

So, loving Saviour, fold my girl for me.

I know some of you have daughters who have moved on from being directly under your care and supervision. Perhaps they have married, moved away, etc. I hope this will encourage you to entrust they to the care of our Heavenly Father.

You do your best to equip them, and then when they are off on their own pray that they put on the full armor of God! 😛 And that you don’t get pulverized for posting their dress-up photos. 😛