Confessions: Marshmallows

Lately I’ve been having these silly little confessions that I’ve wanted to write about. They sound like a fun conversation. They are never very important, but I feel like they are still a part of me. I’ve had a lot of them lately, and decided it was time to actually write them on my blog instead of forgetting them in my head. I have MILLIONS of posts to write, but my garden is calling pretty loudly most days. And most days it’s a cry of desperate agony

“can you PLEASE come and move the water? we poor little tomato plants are so thirsty and the peas are swimming over there!”

“Help! Help! I am surrounded by ginormous bully weeds! Come save me! Please!”

Yeah… I’m doing great.

But anyway, back to confessions. It sounded fun. And gave me a good subject matter, which is the hardest part about blogging.

Today’s confession:

***Organic, corn-free marshmallows melt just as well – if not better – than their nasty-laden counterparts…***

especially if you may or may not have taken it to bed with you and didn’t plan on falling asleep just yet. And then you fall asleep anyway, still in your clothes and with your book falling to the floor. I woke up and I’m pretty sure I might have stuffed the sticky concoctions under my pillow, right next to my phone, because my phone came out from under the pillow white instead of gold. Did you know that shoving things under your pillow could become a reflex? It’s a pretty bad habit. I’ve tried to get into the habit of placing my phone on the night stand instead. Some nights it happens. Eventually I will take the next step and actually place my phone across the room or something.

But probably not for a while. It’s my alarm clock. And I’m not a morning person.  I tolerate my phone alarm – and only my phone alarm – as a wake up call. Everything else and this sleepy bear wakes up instead of me. It’s not the part of me I like my family to see.

Although I swear Ranger takes great pride in waking up that bear. He does NOT get the concept of sleep. He likes to average around 5 hours a night, and has his whole life. I need closer to 9. The fact that someone could need 9 hours of sleep is so foreign for him, that quiet is not in his morning routine. And it’s been FOUR years!

Here goes… again

By the time this post is published, most of it will be over and done. I’m not so comfortable with sharing things as they are happening. But I needed to get the feelings out.

I’m flying to another state. For fertility work. I drive 5 hours to the airport tonight (I told you I lived in the middle of nowhere), get on a plane tomorrow morning, fly to a different state, and then take a bus to my appointment. It’s only an ultrasound, but the entire rest of my plans depend (depends?) on that appointment. If I have good follicles that measure within an appropriate range, and if there are no more than 2, I will inject myself with a shot (correction: I ain’t touchin’ it! I’m gonna make the nurse or Ranger do it) and then in 12 hours, Ranger and I will head back to the doctor and see what happens from there. If I have too many follicles, they’ll call it off (I think that’s my biggest dread). If I don’t have any that measure the right size, we’ll schedule another ultrasound. If there just aren’t any at all then I’m back to square one. I’m sure hoping. And praying. I’m getting excited. And that makes me nervous. Getting my hopes up at all makes me nervous. We’ve been getting our hopes up for years! more than 3 years. And I kind of feel like this is it. Normally, I will realize about halfway through each cycle that there was something I cold have done better. And I’m sure that I’ll find something before this cycle’s over. But for now, I’ve gone all in and I’m praying for a good hand.

Our family doesn’t really know that much. And neither do most of our friends, though we’ve told a couple. It’s just so … opiniony. Everyone has something to say about it. Some of them mean well and I move on with my day. Others are purposefully hurtful. It’s harder to move on from those comments. The moral of the story is that if what I have to say is not safe with them, then they don’t hear what I have to say. Or how I feel. Or what I do with my day. Which is why most people don’t know. Plus, the conversation gets old after you’ve had it repeatedly for 3 years. And all I really want to hear is “we’ll pray for you.” Because I know that it’s God’s timing. And I’ve done everything I know how to do and the rest is His.

random thought of the day

So I’ve been killing time watching Chopped and I realized how much a mom’s job is like being a contestant on Chopped. You open the fridge and see what is in there to use for dinner. You have a time limit because your family will start a revolt. You present your dish before a panel of judges with picky (distinguished?) tastes. And if you don’t make it look good, you better believe they’re not going to touch it.

Yup. Still here.

Ever have one of those days (or weeks… or months…) where you just feel like you’ve got so much to do that it overwhelms you and you feel like doing none of it?

Shirt found on skreened.com. I don’t own it, but I wish I did.

This has been me lately. I have gotten things done, I can’t lie. I trudged through. But the blog… well I’m way behind on some things I really really want to share. Otherwise, I’d just say the past is the past (for some reason Rafiki always comes to my head in moments like that), but there are some pretty awesome events! The birth of my niece probably takes the cake. My life has been boring, too, though. It’s been really boring. And I like it that way. But that also causes conundrums. How do you post the boring “I cleaned the house in my pj’s today and I feel so accomplished!” days?

So I’ve been stuck in limbo. Again.

I think I just hate February. If you could see my track record, February doesn’t bode well. Dark times of winter and I.. we don’t get along. Plus I have this huge problem of trying to set goals in January; I set WAY too many, and then by February, I’m pretty burnt out. I think that’s what got me this year. I can’t complain about the weather, that’s for sure. It’s been the warmest, sunniest winter I can ever remember. Although I got barely any sunlight last year, so that might have something to do with it. Moving instead of planting a garden will do that to you.

Part of my quietude is that I’m trying to simplify. I’m starting to realize that God has one path for me. And I have 10 paths for myself. I’ve been trying to jump  between every path, and it’s just not working. The things I want to do are so plentiful, and I feel such anxiety about letting any of them go.  But I know they’re my to-do list, not God’s. When I watched last conference, the clearest message I received (not in what they were saying, but in what I was feeling) was that God needed me, but that he couldn’t use me because I was too tied up in other stuff. I know that sounds bigger than I mean it to, but I think it’s true of a lot of people. We tie up all of our time. We get into bondage with debt or commitments or addictions (why am I always on Facebook? I hate Facebook!). We fill our lives and our hearts. I’ve been running at max capacity for so long, it’s hard to de-junk;I need to de-junk my life, my responsibilities, and my to-do list. But I still don’t want to let anything go!  I want to design FHE lessons. I want to make a family cookbook. I want to start a school. I want to remodel this house. I want to spend time with my daughter. I want to make crafts. I want to make party printables. I want to quilt. I want to read. They’re all good desires. But they’re my desires.  I keep thinking to the scripture of the man who tells Christ that he’ll follow Him, if Christ will just let the man bury his father.

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. ~Luke 9:59-42

Yep. That about sums it up. “Father, I’ll do the work you want me to do, but first, let me do all this other stuff.” But it’s hard to let go! So, I’m making a last stitch effort to finish some almost finished projects. And I’m weeding out the rest.

I DID finish the Old Testament! I’ve been trying to study it completely for 5 years. And a month.

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Let me just say that this has become one intensely marked-up book!

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We’ve also been supporting our local library by listening to TONS of audiobooks. Most of them I’ve read before, but I’m sharing them with my kiddo now. She’s enjoying them. She’s especially enjoying that she can read according to her interest maturity instead of her reading maturity. (Still can’t get a school to test her for a reading “difference.” Don’t even get me started on her teacher. I’ll just say we have VERY different opinions on what it means to be a good teacher and what is an appropriate teaching style. Someone may love her as the teacher for their student. I don’t).

This is now FULL of stickers. The girly is actually pretty proud of herself. And she should be.

I only have 4 other things I’d love to get done, and some of them are big, some are necessary, and some… well I’m not sure.

  1. Family cookbook. I’ve only said I’d do it for about 7 years now… But every time I start, I’m not happy with it, so I set it aside and think I’ll come up with some clever way to finish it. and in the meantime, I (and my family) have discovered this great resource for recipes… the Internet. And now we have more favorites than when I started! But I’ve been working on meal-planning and this project has been helping me with it, so I’d like to re-tackle this (but perhaps just do it quickly and with less experimentation). I’d also like to come up with some way to have it be online, so that when I’m getting ready to go to the store, I don’t have to take my cookbook with me and I don’t have to try to remember what was on the list for the week.
  2. Scrapbooks. I’ve got some of the kiddo’s scrapbook done, and most of it is sitting either in disk format or in developed picture format in a box. The same holds true with our weddings scrapbook. In the center of my craftroom (why find a place to put it when I just want to get it done? faulty logic, faulty logic. Leaving it in the center of the floor makes me more frustrated and less likely to do it).
  3. lesson plans. I really really want to do lesson plans, for both family home evening and homeschooling. The problem is, I don’t even homeschool! But I LOVE making lesson plans. I would love to make the lesson plans to sell as a kit, like some other companies do, but I’m unsure of myself because I’ve only had about 1 month of personal experience. And I do intend to use them in the future, so I keep telling myself if I get them done now, while I’m still waiting to have children to homeschool, by the time I have them, I’ll be prepared. I know, not really a sound philosophy, but neither is having to send my kid to public school simply because a judge says so.
  4. Quotes. This wishlist item is probably the first to go. I’ve kept quotes I like for my entire life. Sometimes in books, sometimes on scraps of paper. I find myself in cool quotes, and I keep them. But they do no good in a box. Which is currently where they are. And I keep telling myself I’ll type them all up so that they’re in one place. Made a whole Tumblr feed for them, actually. But really, what makes this goal so important? I don’t think I’ll regret not having the quotes around. I’ll find others. But I’m not quite sure yet. Maybe I’ll go through the box quickly and find a few of my favorites.

My friendly bird

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This little birdie likes to sing to me from my window. I have a feeling that isn’t about to change.

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I’ve done my research, he’s a red-shafted northern flicker (here’s another link). Apparently only the males have the red on the face. and I know I shouldn’t be happy to have a woodpecker hanging out in my trees, but I don’t really care. Yet, anyway. I haven’t seen much damage from him. And it sounds like if I start to hear him pecking my trees instead of singing to me in the mornings, all I’ve gotta do is give him a man-made bird house and he’ll leave the trees alone. Why do all the work when your shelter becomes free? Otherwise, he’ll keep the bug problem down. We have tons of ants in the summertime (so far I haven’t seen any inside, but we moved in during the fall).

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I never really see him anywhere besides my front window and occasionally a tree out front. I’ve never seen or heard him peck anywhere, even when he is hanging out in a tree, so I’m not worried about him, too much.

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He’s kind of hard to spot in this picture. Do you see him?

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Anyway, until I decide he’s destroying anything, I’ll just listen to him crooning outside my window.

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The Downside To Country Life

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Mice! I hate mice. People tell me that being surrounded by fields means I’m stuck with these rodents, but I refuse to accept it. They’ve gone through a 50 lb bad of wheat! And we wont get into the amount of clothes they’ve destroyed. Why the clothes, I have no idea.

I’ve tried traps. They were really effective for a while. The picture above was the first day I had them out. There were 3 in the trap when I woke up. There were 4 by the time I went to bed. Dumb mice. If the rest of the clan is in there trapped, why on earth would you join them?

I’ve tried mint leaves and mint oil. It works for a while. But then they get used to it.

We’ve tried bait, as much as we’ve hated to. It’s helped us rid the house of a few more.

We’ve tried lavender oil. It did nothing.

We’ve tried steel wool in the holes we’ve found, but they’re just using other holes somewhere.

we were told to try aromatic ceder. We haven’t been able to get our hands on any of that yet.

The best thing to help us get rid of them so far? The cold. Too bad that this is the warmest January I can remember.

 

Anyone else have any suggestions? Please? And while you’re at it can you come find every nook and cranny they have so they can’t keep getting in?

Full of … it

[warning]warning. This post deals with bodily functions, or the lack thereof. If you can’t handle reading about things our bodies are supposed to do, skip this post.[/warning]

Lol, I might have to change the title if my kiddo ever finds out this post is about her. Our past 4 months have been filled with doctor visits and calls from the school nurse. It has been full of food leaving the body from the top and not from the end that normally handles it.

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She is already not a fan of needles. Or of throwing up. And she’s had a ton of both of those for about 4 months now. She rotates between vomiting and complaining of being backed up. The photo above is from one of the vomiting phases. She couldn’t keep anything down, so we had to connect her to an IV drip of fluids. Everyone’s theory? Her body wasn’t able to get food out the right end, so it improvises. She never has a fever, just vomit. Lots of it.

Her pediatrician sent us to a specialist last month, and the Rx is mirilax for 4 months. He says kids who get backed up for so long end up with stretched out intestines. Putting them on laxatives for a day or two is not enough. So, we had to give her seven times the usual dose (emphasis: SEVEN times) in a 3 hour window to flush her out (lol, no pun intended), and then keep her on it for 4 months.

He says some people are just born with an underactive colon; lazy colon, he called it. She is probably one of those people. Since she’s been this way since she was a baby (she was drinking apple juice before she was eating baby cereal), I’m pretty sure that his diagnosis is correct.  The only other possibility? Celiac’s disease. They’ve never called me back with the test results, so I’m hoping that means we’re in the clear, there. Fingers crossed.

At any rate, we haven’t had any vomit spells in a while. And we’ve gotta be the only house in the area with a chart in our bathroom that is NOT for brushing teeth (though you wouldn’t know it. It’s discreet). She’s even gone to a smaller daily dose, so things are looking promising.

Oh! and suddenly she’s gained 5 pounds. She’s weighed the same weight for 3 years. It has had me worried. But one month on laxatives and her body has figured out how to gain weight. Dr Grandma says it’s probably because her body can draw nutrients when it’s supposed to now instead of being so stressed and only getting old nutrient-dead stuff in her intestines for longer than it’s supposed to be there. I bet it’s also from the fact that suddenly she can feel hungry again. Her body would have known it was full, just not full of good fresh stuff. I wouldn’t be hungry either, if it was just going to sit in my stomach or come out the wrong end.

Aspirin

I’ve mentioned before that I’m supposed to take a daily dose of aspirin. I meet with my new doc again in a few days and I’ll discuss what I’m supposed to be doing then, but I’m guessing he’ll keep me on it.

But I’m a klutz.

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bruises. I have no idea where they came from.

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This is from my apple trees this fall.

 

 

This is what I look like on a regular basis.

My cousin just barely caught me with his fingernail (a short nail) and I bled. Scarred, too. And it wasn’t any big deal. I’ve always got some kind of purple and green and nasty bruise on my legs, either by my knees or on my shins. Just as I think I’m in the clear, I look down and there’s another one. My family will catch me staring at my leg and ask what I did to get the bruise, and I honestly have no idea!

Ranger thinks it’s funny. Mostly because it means I get erm… suction bruises easier. He leaves them on my arm. Just because he can. Seriously! It’s embarrassing. And I never think about it until it’s too late. By the way, when you’re googling “suction bruises,” you get lots of funny stories. In case you were curious.

It’s been a while

[warning]This is a fertility post. Possible triggers (though I don’t really think there are that many. I think you’ll be more excited by the outcome, but there is some sad things. There’s also much more that you might identify with than be triggered by). ALSO, there is semi-grownup content in this post. Nothing graphic (I’m not that kind of person), but if you’re too young to be talking about fertility, skip to the next article.[/warning]

It’s been a while. I don’t apologize for my absence. I needed it. We had another miscarriage and I just needed more time to heal. Didn’t want to write about it. Didn’t want to write anything else that wasn’t about it. Didn’t want to sit down at a computer. When you sit down at a computer, somehow you inevitably end up on Facebook with everyone announcing babies (seriously, is it just me or is the only thing Facebook is good for anymore is baby/wedding announcements made easy (and inappropriately so)). That and the occasional forwarded status that you’ve already seen 20 times and didn’t care the first time. I do get on Facebook to check information on corn allergies, and to learn more info from Norwex consultants, but otherwise, it only brings heartache. At least I’ve tweaked my Pinterest feed. When I see baby stuff now, it’s usually from a kindred spirit who posts infertility articles. Don’t know her, personally, but wish I did. I’d hug her and we could cry together and be mad as the fires Down South together.

The problem with reporting a loss is that everyone tries to send sympathy. But what I really want (at least after as many as I’ve had) is to just pick up the pieces and move on. I am done with hurting. It’s better to just let it go and look forward. But people try to help by bringing it up. Maybe to some it’s helpful, but to me, just let it go. Don’t make me keep having to live there. I’m not saying that you should pretend it never happened, but help me look forward instead. My ward was perfect about it! I’ve never felt so loved when I needed them and left to heal when I needed a break. They called and checked on me, they came and visited about everything and anything. They let me pick up the pieces when I was ready to move on. I’ve been so blessed to remember what a good ward is like. In all of those visits, I learned of a doctor that many of the women I associate with have turned to because they, like I, felt like all the other doctors in the area just ignored their pleas. In my opinion, the doctors in the area have enough healthy and easy babies to deliver, so they’re not so concerned for the woman who can’t have them, the woman who loses them, or any woman who has some other female-related problem. It is interesting to me that all these women gave the same doctor name! You would think that there would be options, choices. Apparently, there is not. Not if you actually want to be heard, anyway.

I met with the PA at the new clinic (I’ve already met with her twice, actually. And I have another appt with the main doc and the PA in about a week!) and I am SOOOO happy! I had collected all of my charts (from 5 other clinics where I’ve tried to be heard and wasn’t), all of my data and test results and on and on. We’re talking well over 300 papers. She went through all of them. Of that entire stack, she pulled out 2. She scanned the entire stack in, but felt that only 2 papers were relevant to actually have physical copies in my chart. Out of YEARS of paperwork, she only kept hard copies of 2! I think one was the most recent semen analysis and one was an x-ray of what my uterus looks like. Both give little to go off of, so maybe they’re just there to check off her list. (interesting note about my uterus, though: it’s crooked. It explains so much! Why my only child tried to make her own hole through my hip during birth, being the easiest to tell you. No one seems concerned, though, so it must not be a big deal.

After explaining a few things and answering a few of her questions, and after she looked through my charts, she looked me in the eye and as frankly as can be (I love people who tell it like it is! I’m so excited! Seriously. You wanna be my friend, talk truths to my ear. Don’t sugar coat it) she says, “Keira, you are an enigma. Your charts are all over the place. No one started from the beginning, and no one finished testing anything. We’re going to have to start from square one.” To me, she seemed to be saying that instead of any orchard masters going and picking an entire branch from a tree and moving to the next branch, they’d pick an apple here and an apple there. None of these doctors was in enough of a hurry or had enough forethought that they cleared the whole branch of apples to know that there was nothing wrong in that sector.

She was ticked that no one believed me about the Rh factor (I’m A-. In childbirth, especially in miscarriages, that’s a big deal. But all the docs just told me to stay home during my miscarriages. They argued that there wasn’t high enough HCG levels to warrant a RhoGam shot. Even when I did have high enough HCG levels, they still just told me to take it easy and my body would take care of itself). She was disgusted that no one had followed through on the blood-attacking-itself bit but just prescribing me aspirin and letting it go. She also was ticked that in “trying to find what was wrong with me,” they failed to keep up on the basic tests. Like yearly exams. I know I could have said something and pushed the issues, but I spent so much time (and money) there anyway, I wasn’t in a rush. Before I left her office, I’d had 13 vials of blood drawn and 2 more appointments scheduled.

The only problem was that one of those tests (the one that took 8 whole vials of blood) cost $3000! When I mentioned that I’d have insurance starting on the first of January, but that I would have to pay full price at the time, they said “Oh man! Well there’ll be such a difference in price, we’ll just throw away what we collected today and we’ll just recollect at your next appointment.”  What a loss! Is it silly that I almost would have rathered paying the $4000 (total) than throw away a piece of me? Anyway, because they’d just have to do the same draws in 2 weeks, they put me on a strict steak and iron pills diet. When I came back in to get my blood drawn again, the PA had decided to do another test, so there were even more vials this time (didn’t count. Kept my eyes focused on a little square sticker residue on the phlebotomy chair. The same person drew my blood each time, but the first time I hardly felt a thing, and the second time, she kept digging into my veins with each change of vials. I also took a much harder hit this time. I had to stop and take a break and grab a burrito before I could even think straight. I scarfed the entire thing down and then did NOT feel good! But I only knew I needed to eat! I probably shouldn’t have driven to the taco place. Anyway, the big test, the one that the PA is most anxious for, takes 2 weeks to get back to them, so I don’t expect to hear from them very soon. They said they’d call for all my other labs when they came in, but really it’s not going to make too much sense until all the labs are back together.

Before I left the office after my first visit, I asked the PA if she thought it would be possible to get pregnant right away (SOOO sick of waiting), and she said “For all we know, yes! You could just be extremely deficient in Folic Acid. I’ve seen that happen.” Part of me knows I’ll be pretty ticked if all of this waiting has been because of something silly like a vitamin deficiency. But the other half of me would love for the solution to be that easy (although a folic acid would be less easy than it sounds, since I’ve been taking folic acid supplements for YEARS. It would have to be more of an absorption issue).

At my appt in a few weeks, I intend to talk to them about why I feel so much better on Clomid. I’ve taken a few cycles off now and I’m back to feeling instant rage. When I called my old clinic about it, they said, well it means you weren’t ovulating (in a no-duh way) and I didn’t bother mentioning that I’ve had positive ovulation charts and bloodwork the entire time. I asked what I could do when I wasn’t taking Clomid. She said, “Well, there aren’t very many options. You could take anti-depressants [I didn’t say I was depressed, lady. I said that I wasn’t angry. That clearly says there’s something wrong hormonally and an anti-depressant is like a silly bandaid when what I have is a cold. Honestly! We won’t even get me started on the whole medication overload issue. There is a time and a place. This isn’t one of them], or you could just wait. Because anything else is going to counteract your efforts to conceive. You  can’t take Clomid for more than a few cycles.” Somehow that answer only caused anger (couldn’t tell, right?). I don’t think she heard anything I was saying. She didn’t listen, didn’t try to understand, and only showed her ignorance on the issue. The real question is WHY does Clomid fix something? And WHAT does it fix? If I’m ovulating anyway, why is Clomid fixing anything? I have a feeling my question will go completely different with this new doctor. And I can’t wait to get started.

Apple Juice

A few weeks ago, Ranger’s family and I finally had enough time to get together and make apple juice. His family has a big press; his uncle designed it. I think it’s pretty awesome. My apples weren’t the greatest for it, but I still got a ton of juice. His family makes about 100 batches every year. They had already done some a few weeks ago, then they did mine, and they actually did a neighbor’s apples last weekend. I bet they froze last weekend. But when we worked on my apples, we were still wearing short sleeves! Isn’t that crazy?

Anyway, the apples start in boxes and buckets in the yard. We pull out some card tables, and grab all of Grandma’s cutting boards, and we slice and de-yuck the apples (Mine were pretty full of yuck. I don’t think the guy we bought the house from did anything to keep them good. And I have a ton of birds that like to take a bite from each apple. I don’t think I can help that, though.

Then the apples go into a wash and rinse, where they are carried to this table:

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I’m pretty impressed by this ingenuity. They bought a garbage disposal in order to chop up all the apples. I spent my whole time at the cutting table, so I never saw how they actually chop the apples safely without destroying whatever tool they use to do it. The apples come out of the black tube at the bottom, and they form a slushy mushy mess. Then you take the apples and bring them to the press. they have a tray set on here, with plastic trays to divide each layer of juice. Then they hook a weight up to the springs, and use a jack to stretch the springs and press the juice. It kind of makes a pulp sandwich. Then the juice collects in a drip pan with a funnel-like hole on one end. that hole has a hose that runs into the buckets.

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The buckets then fill water jugs and old juice containers for the freezer. I got about 13 jugs. The rest stayed in 5-gallon buckets so I could bottle them. Freezing gives a much purer taste, but I have a small freezer.

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I filled 2 5-gallon buckets with about 4 gallons of juice (had to leave room to travel home safely. And I still spilled a little. Its a good thing my Ranger loves me, or I’d constantly be in trouble.

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My apples were ab it too thick, so the apple juice is pretty dense. Interestingly, when I bottled it, it thinned out and the thickness all collected into little jelly globs. They actually aren’t that bad to eat, but I don’t recommend shaking the bottle to mix them in. It leaves a funny texture throughout the juice. Next time, I’ll probably let the sediment stay in the buckets and use it as pectin. clearly it works, even if it is just a little. Processing time, for me, is 15 minutes. You can check your processing time here.

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