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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

August is a Memory; September Scurries By

~ at least 4 deer ~

Can you believe August is gone, school has started and Autumn is less than two weeks from today? whewwwww! Tempus Fugit, eh?

Last month I made jam, here, and today I made four more pints of peach vanilla and the slow cooker is full of Wolf River apples, known for making delicious apple butter, and what was purchased as a Granny Smith tree. The first couple of years the apples were bright, solid green and then changed to a mottled green. I'm not sure what they are other than really good tasting and add a depth of flavor to either apple butter, apple sauce or, for breakfast, fried apples atop buttered hot biscuits...with home churned butter of course.

~ Wolf River, top; Granny Smith, bottom ~

Wolf River and Summer Rambo are my favorite apples - crisp, large, and add lovely flavor to home pressed cider. It was growing as early as the late 1700's in his country and recorded in the 1500's in France. All three apples are heritage with Granny Smith being the newest, 1868. The most interesting fact regards Wolf can sometimes reproduce itself, true to variety, by seed.

Labor Day was spent visiting family and watching Steve, my brother, and Dad prep the bees for winter.

The lid is lifted off, the smoker uses a bit of burlap to pour smoke into the hive which calms the bees.

Daddy, using the smoker.

Each hive is checked for honey and if it has none, old honey is put into the hive to help the bees over winter. Duck tape is wrapped around where the hive sections meet, helping keep out the cold. Steve also closes up one half of the entrance which helps keep out the cold and snow.

Daddy smokes the last hive. Usually they don't wear bee gear but since Steve is allergic and Dad is still having mobility problems from his leg operation, it was decided veils were needed.

This cabin has a good start on firewood.

Tommy, my new "boyfriend", washing his ATV.

When I was a teenager, I had a mad crush on my cousins, Richard Lee and Eddie Dale. They were wild as March hares and lived more life than most do in ten. Eddie Dale is gone now but he and Richard Lee were car guys; knows 'em up down outside inside out. Next time we all meet up, I'm taking a tape recorder to save the stories of both his growing up, our family and cars...our family history.

He married his high school sweetheart, Loretta Lee...yes, they both have the same middle names!

Our family has been in West Virginia for more than a couple of hundred years and have a few famous members. One is Rimfire Hamrick; he and his younger brother posed for the statue on the Capital grounds in Charleston and Daddy is a direct descendant.

We come from a Irishman named Patrick who came here in 1654 through the Fredericksburg port, had a bunch of sons who had a bunch of sons get the drift. One of those sons served with George Washington at Valley Head and other places.

Tomorrow, it's finish the apple butter, start more apple butter, finish the peach vanilla jam...usual chores - move hay, sell hay, pay bills...I need a wife -grin-. I'm beginning to understand why, decades ago, women would let other women board with them. Not only did it provide company, it also provided a second pair of hands for the work.

Unfortunately, nowadays, people think work is a four letter word.

Blessings ~ apple butter ~ peach vanilla jam ~ the Hamrick family ~ Richard Lee and Loretta Lee ~ Steve, my brother ~ Daddy ~ honey ~


  1. I always love coming by here and reading of all your hard work and the many blessings you have. Hearing your family history was fun. Still praying for your house to sell. Sending you big hugs and lots of love.

  2. Hi Sandra, you always share such interesting history. My mother was born and raised in Morgantown, W.V. Love hearing about your family and seeing these great pics. The apple butter and peach vanilla jam sounds so delicious. Wishing you a wonderful start to fall. I am ready for cooler temps.
    Blessings and continued prayers the farm sells. Hugs, cm

  3. You look like you're having such a good time in these pictures, Sandra - I'm glad you are making time for something other than chores. I know how tough that can be :)

    Whenever people write or talk about keeping bees, I count my blessings...the more people who keep hives, the less chance I'll ever have to! I do my best to provide food for bees, and if I ever have enough land I would love to have a beekeeper place hives in exchange for a supply of honey, but now I'll just keep getting my honey from local beekeepers. And my maple syrup likewise. In fact, after 2 years of not being able to find Grade B syrup, I suddenly have TWO sources, right here in my own town, and one is the grandson of my local hay man! Hallelujah!!

  4. I love your smile! Could pick you out of a crowd at 40 paces just seeing that great grin! What a informative post. We have a great deal of apples in my neck of the woods too. Yes California has apples. In fact looking forward to the in a few weeks.This is such a busy time of year and the rest of Septembers Saturdays are booked. Love the family history lesson. Gracious you are quite solid in your roots. Good to see your Daddy up and bee keeping. Have a wonderful apple butter kind of weeks end.

  5. I have just finished bottling apple sauce along with many other bottlings, yesterday I was sorting out bee hives not ready yet to prepare the hives for winter another month or so here, I am sort of looking forward to winter a chance to rest up a bit :-)

  6. You certainly ae busy!
    I am starting on a basket of apples today, and will probably make apple jelly, a lovely clear jelly that you can eat with chicken, pork or even just on bread and butter.

  7. Reading about all that you do is amazing!

    Quite the illustrious family you have and to have settled into your area for so long.

    Your countryside is beautiful!

  8. Love that first photo . . .
    And the look of green, meandering stream and grazing deer . . .
    Plus I always enjoy your stories, history . . . some "smiles" too . . .
    Your new "boyfriend" is a handsome one . . . looks like a "worker" too!
    Happy September . . . as it flies by . . .our Maple trees are already showing some red and orange.
    By the way . . . Did you have time to go camping with that new "Michigan rig?"

  9. I always love hearing about life on the farm...the apples and the bees are so interesting to me. We are getting ready to harvest the apples here now. It is always good to keep the family history and stories...both my husband and I study our family. It is a fun hobby, too. The photo with the deer is beautiful!

  10. Hi Sandra! Yum! Apples! My grandpa had Wolf River trees at his farm. We loved to show off the HUGE apples, taking them to school for show and tell. They made excellent pie. Yum. Pie.
    Sending love your way, good smiley girl.

  11. No I can't believe how quickly this year is passing. I love the Fall weather but so not ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas! It all comes too fast. I can just imagine the amazing flavors from the apples. The bees are very interesting. Sounds like it was a busy summer. Have a lovely weekend.

  12. Sandra, I love seeing your goings on at the farm and with your family. What a cute boyfriend you have! It's great seeing your Dad with the hives. You've got a busy day coming up--Yummy jams and butter for the pantry!
    Your family came through the port of Fredericksburg--Wow--I'm only across the river from that port. Of course they'd have a hard time coming these days as the Rappahannock has so much silt in it you could walk across it at low tide! ♥

  13. Oh boy, we do love good apple butter here!
    For goodness sake, send me some seeds, those look wonderful!
    I did not know there were apples that would produce their own kind.
    We did that apple grafting workshop with the extension agents last year. One of the ten trees survived. No telling if it was what he wanted, a jonagold, or if it root stock survived. In that case, it will probably be a knotty crab apple. Time will tell I guess!.
    I'm going back and looking over your post again, I always enjoy your sharing.

  14. Apple butter making sounds like a perfect thing for this time of year! xx

  15. What a interesting post. I love reading about your family and your history. Those apples are just awesome.
    I had the meanest bees in the world. I couldn't even walk by without them wanting to fight.
    My Mom was a beekeeper and we would work with them all of the time. I never saw anything like my bees.
    Every thing looks so nice.

  16. Hallo, dear Sandra, the first photo is a wonder !!

    Greetings to your father and brother working so sensitive with the bee-friends.

    Good night, Irish Patricks!

  17. I always enjoy reading your posts...I learned something about apples and bees and the value of hard work. And I can't believe that fall is upon us already either.

  18. I bet that apple butter will be wonderful! I haven't attempted that yet but it's on my bucket list. I went to a fantastic week-long seminar in Asheville a few weeks back (Jenny McGruther from The Nourished Kitchen) and learned all about fermentation, canning, preserving, etc. It was really fun and I came home and started some sourdough starter, preserved lemons and limes, made apple chutney and sauerkraut. Big hugs!

  19. ...your title is so true...I can't believe the summer's over...

    ~Have a lovely day!

  20. Fun to see your fall preparations and hear about your canning. It's a good idea to get a record of family history while there are still some folks around who remember. :) Time sure is flying by!

  21. Learned where Granny Smith came from. I never heard of the others before. Thanks for the history lesson. Love your new boy friend, will you share him? You have such a interesting life.

  22. I, for one, am a huge fan of widowed/single ladies boarding together and sharing costs and labor to have a secure life and to have companionship. It's a shame women don't do this more, as so many really are in need of it.

    I'm a WVa girl for generations too, and my family also is chock full of boys, lots and lots of generations of many sons and a few daughters. My ggdaddy fought for the Union and his brother fought for the Confederacy. THey never spoke after the war, and the Southern fellow died first. They had adjoining land at Kanawha Two-Mile, but put a buggy-wide strip of grass with a fence on each side of it, to separate them. Rather sad. It's a proud heritage of people who worked very hard on difficult land to make a poor living. I'm proud of it too :)

  23. Apple and pumpkin butter and apple cider are some of my Fall favorites. A friend here makes apple cider all the time so I get my share when I see her. So interesting to know one's family history. My uncle did so much research and had a whole book written about my dad's side of the family but when he passed away 5 years ago, his daughters donated it to a museum. Sure wish I could get my hands on that book. We had a Kuwaiti neighbor who kept bees but sadly he passed away a couple of years ago from cancer. We miss getting his garden goodies. He was such a kind, giving man. Looks like you enjoyed nice family time. Have a wonderful Sunday.

  24. We have those same green apples with the black spots. I made apple butter, apple sauce, and apple pie filling this year.

  25. LOVED this post and a peek into your family history, which turns out to be a bit of our country's history too !


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