How long should an engagement be?

Engagement Ring (c)2014 Brandon L. Blankenship Birmngham Hoover Pelham Attorney Lawyer Writer

The Bible does not provide for a specific length of time for an engagement to marry. We can, however, draw some inferences from scripture and historical cultural references.

Families were very involved with bringing the couple together. Traditionally, the intended bride would ultimately have to agree. Today, the engagement period is a good time to introduce the families to each other. Blending two families can be a real blessing that everyone benefits from. Of course, there are some families that cannot be blended. To the degree it is possible to blend them, create opportunities such as dinners, planned activities and games to give blending a chance.

The engagement time is an excellent time to evaluate your own heart toward others. Remember that one of the characteristics of Isaac’s intended wife was her willingness to serve beyond what was ask of her. Marriages where both husband and wife have this heart of service are wildly successful. Make a list of what you are actually doing to evidence a service heart. If your list is short or empty, take the engagement time to exercise your servant heart. Re-evaluate in a couple months. Make sure your list is longer.

“No man had relations with” Isaac’s intended wife, speaking of her sexual purity. She was a virgin. Commit to sexual purity during the engagement period. If you have already been sexually active, forgive and repent and make a new commitment to sexual purity during the engagement period. Be mindful of creeping expectations.

For couples that had not been married before a traditionally engagement would last one year. During this time, the intended husband would prepare the home for his intended wife. This was also a time that the intended husband would give his intended bride gifts. She would also receive gifts from her intended husband’s friends.

Taking one year for an engagement seems to be further supported when you consider that under the law, new husbands were excused from military service and business for one year after the actual marriage. In the alternative, the husband was charged with making his wife happy during this time.

Now this is not to say that marriages with shorter engagement periods are doomed. To the contrary, there are many notable marriages that had short engagement periods. Also, Paul warns that it is better to have a short engagement if you cannot remain committed to sexual purity. Even so, it is hard to argue that any new venture, even marriage, does not benefit from a year of self-examination, planning, preparing and making provisions.

brandon blankenship (c) 2014

References:
Gen. 24. Also see Judges 14:2 -7 for interplay between intended husband and his parents.

Gen. 24: 16 Scripture taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Ketv. 2; Shulh.an ‘Aruk, Eben ha-‘Ezer, 56.

Deuteronomy 24:5

One Honorable Mention Muscadine

One Lone Muscadine (c)2014 Brandon L. Blankenship Pelham Hoover Birmingham Attorney Lawyer

This year, our entire muscadine crop consisted of one grape.  All the pruning, all the composting, all the watering and … one grape.  We overlooked one thing:  ph.  The vine won’t fruit if the soil is too acidic.  This year we will start applying granular lime in the winter and we will apply hydrated lime during the growing season.

(c)2013 Brandon Blankenship

October Farm Schedule

Oct2013 Peppers Crop
The work schedule in cooler months makes Spring and Summer work pleasurable. For me, this schedule starts when the night temperatures drop into the 50s. In most of Alabama, Ryegrass (Lolium) will germinate once night temperatures are consistently in the 50s. If you are not in Alabama, wait for a 20 degree temperature spread from day to night. Over seeding with Ryegrass keeps our grass green through the cooler months and the deer keep it mowed for us.

This also starts the most successful time of year for transplanting trees and bushes. Winter vegetable plantings should be in by now.

This is also a good time for preventative equipment maintenance. Consider:

Replace oil, fuel and air filters.
Change and properly dispose of used oil.
Check fluid levels and add when necessary.
Inspect or replace spark plugs (and adjust gap).
Lube grease fittings.
Where possible, hand turn bearings and spindles and replace when necessary.
Check belts and replace where necessary.
Check blades and sharpen or replace as necessary.
Check tire pressure (do this after every major temperature change).
Replace broken items discovered during these inspections.
Add items from your unique user manuals.

Pauper Pear Jelly 2013

pauperpearjelly2013

Each year our compost gets better and better because as we do more canning, the fruit and vegetable scraps are dumped in the compost. These scraps break down into dark rich soil. While Mom was visiting recently, she offhandedly mentioned that when she was growing up they would cook the peels down to get the juice out of them. I grew up around canning, but apparently missed a lot. In part, I took Mom to mean that we were not well off enough to throw out perfectly good food. So, I gave it a try.

Since we were making pear jam and pear honey, I decided to cook down the peels and the cores and give a try to Pauper Pear Jelly. Here is the recipe:

Put the scraps from pealing pears in a large pot. Add two cups of water, bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat back, cover and let it simmer. Once the fruit pulp has cooked down, pour the liquid off, let cool and strain. Repeat the strain or filter the liquid until it has the clarity you want. For a jelly, it should be clear. For jam, preservative, etc., it can have more pulp. Discard the cooked down pulp (that is, everything left over) into the compost.

For the jelly:

5 cups juice
7 cups sugar
2 pouches Certo pectin

In another pot (large enough to hold 11 cups or more), pour in juice and bring to a rolling boil. You can add water if you are short on juice. I prefer to add apple juice (which naturally contains pectin or white grape juice which is naturally sweet).

Add sugar one cup at the time and stir until a rolling boil returns. Repeat until all the sugar is added.

At this point, turn the heat back to a simmer and skim any foam or white film that rises to the top. Some people add a little butter to stop the foaming. I prefer not to do this as I am uncertain of the impact it has on shelf life. Also, I want my ingredient list as short as possible.

Return to a rolling boil and add the pectin. Bring back to a rolling boil and let the boil roll for at least one minute. Turn off heat and skim the foam off again.

Ladle quickly into prepared jars and follow canning instructions.

Wait 24 hours, bake some buttered biscuits and heap some Pauper Pear Jelly on the biscuit. Enjoy!

Note: You may be tempted to cut back on the pectin because you are dealing with pears. Don’t. Since we are effectively steaming the pear juice out of the peal and core, the juice is weaker.