Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Senses of the Seasons

With shoulders bent and bundled, we trudged though a weary winter. Gradually winter eased its grip, and the ice and snow began to ebb away. But it seemed the days only reluctantly became longer, refusing to usher in the warm breath of spring. Cold, wet days plagued April and May. We were teased with short bursts of sunshine. Gardens were planted once, then twice, and sometimes a third time. It rained June in and summer was a fleeting wish. It rained in July, cold drenching rain.
But Mother Nature kicked in and she rocked the earth with hot weather!
Beans and carrots and beets and peas exploded from their trice planted rows in furious growth. Raspberries produced a bumper crop, and the the plum trees became laden with fruit.

And seemingly before it all began ~ the end of August arrived requiring long sleeves to ward off the chill of early morning and late evening.

The intensity of  a short summer has begun a descent to the fleeting and fragile beauty of autumn. We are beset with the spontaneity of seasons and they manifest in our senses.

Inhale  it ~ Drink it in ~ Feel it against your skin ~
Take it into your heart ~ Be Thankful.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Gift of Green

 An offhad comment has turned into one of the most wonderful gifts imaginable! "We should build you a greenhouse" my husband said more than a few years ago.

But like all small projects, it takes time. This was not to be a kit greenhouse purchased from the hardware or big box store. We had excess building material, windows, (vintage and otherwise), we had corrigated greenhouse roofing, a sink, and big ideas! The construction started about Mothers Day. Before the windows were all added or the door was on, I had planted a variety of veggies! This has become my playhouse! We have created this exclusively from recycled, reclaimed and repurposed material. It is vented, has running water and we can monitor the tempurature from inside the house. We only have to add a heating system early this spring.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


My last blog post, September 2, 2011 seems like eons ago.
The garden, in comparison to other years, struggled but still produced for us an abundance of food. With juggling full time work and the rest of my life, it seemed like I scrambled to get it all put up.
At the end of the season with the quiet slumber of winter looming, I had time to wonder and reflect about the balance in people's lives, in our lives. The question became how to fit work, family, cleaning, day to day tasks, recreation and rest into a day that demands so much attention and time. Time management at work is essential, but at home it is often sponatious and chaotic! 
In the winter, we languish with hot pots of soup cooking merrily away, bread rising, friend showing up.  But there is something about spring with the soft breezes, sunshine and longer days that seems to give us restoration, summer gives us energy, and autumn gives us our nesting tendancy.
I have found my husband and I are seasonal people
and that in itself is our balance.

Friday, September 2, 2011


The crisp air in the morning stands as a reminder the season to stock up, and put away is upon us. The art of canning has seen a resurgence in the last few years; a need has risen to conserve, preserve, and economize. Community gardens have sprung up in small town America and people seem to have a desire to reconnect to the ways that shaped our families, our lives, our way of eating. For a child not to know the flavor burst of a fresh strawberry or the juice that drips down your chin with the first bite of a tomato warm from the garden is distressing to me.

Such musings float through my mind, as I snap beans.
I can imagine some people think ~ 'snapping beans?' ~'who the heck snaps beans?' ~ 'WHAT is snapping beans anyway? ~
Snapping beans is the action you perform on green beans by 'snapping' them in uniform pieces in preparation for home canning. It usually consists of a large pan of whole green beans sitting on your lap with a small bowl at your side for collecting end pieces and strings to be discarded. This task of SNAPPING GREEN BEANS should be an undertaking with a favorite female friend, sister or Mom.
Mom and Grandma had an edge over anyone I know when it came to snapping beans. Multi tasking was not in their vocabulary, but these two women invented the concept. They could snap beans, cook dinner, smack a smart mouthed child, discuss the neighborhood gossip, and clean house all at the same time. They were amazing women. They accomplished more in one day than most people can think about in a week. But while they were snapping beans there was something that came over them as they methodically broke those little beans in segments. They seemed at peace, happy, and relaxed. They let the worries that plagued them drop away, and for the hour or so they sat on the porch preparing the beans for canning, I sat at their feet and learned that snapping beans was more than snapping beans. It became an opportunity to breath deeply, appreciate your loved ones, be grateful for all you have received and reflect over the wonder that such a small thing as snapping beans can transform your life and bring tears to your eyes.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Liebster Blog Award

Blog Award

I am honored to receive this award!
I was surprised to receive this award!
And now I have an opportunity to share my voice about some of the creative, innovative women that write and share their lives on the airwaves.
But what exactly is a ‘Liebster Blog’ award? The word  'liebster' is German in origin.
It means ‘favourite’ or ‘dearest’ in English. I searched to find the origin of this award but have only found that it is handed out by its initial recipient to 3 to 5 other blogs the recipient deems to be worthy of it, provided the ones chosen have less than two hundred followers.
Paying it forward in the true sense of the word!

The rules are as follows:

1. Show your gratitude to the blogger who gave you the award and link back to the person who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all – have fun with this and spread the love!

And so without further adieu, my first task as a Liebster recipient is to shout out a hearty
THANK YOU! to Jennifer at Cedar House Soap
She is an amazing young woman, wife and mother, grounded firmly in family, with a wonderful sense of design and creativity. I love the chats we have about everything from the quality of compost we have in the garden, chickens, chicken soup, kids and everything in between. And I am flattered that you think we have a lot in common! Thank You !

It is my pleasure to pass this award to 3 recipients:
Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Her blog is refreshing and fun with recipes, banter and photos!

Out My Window I felt an instant connection to the woman that writes this blog. Being caught between the world of technology and the basic ways of a life gone by, I had to nominate her blog. Unfortunately I am unable to connect with her blog. But I urge you to take a look at it. I promise to keep trying!

Post Road Vintage If you love farmhouse meets shabby this blog is for you. It is bright and airy and has some great ideas for decorating! 

Thanks again to Jennifer at Cedar House soaps!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Gopher Buzz

Happily they have moved from the garden.
My defenses have not won the war, but the enemy has retreated to other parts of our yard.
Not what I had hoped for, but one I can live with.
The stuff that smells like garlic and caster oil has been applied 3 times, and just for good measure we have added an additional chatter thingy to beef up the noise. My collateral damage has been small, two thyme plants and surprisingly my chive plants. AND... I don't have a problem with rabbits...unlike my frustrated neighbor that lost all her zucchinis!
Honestly .... a GOPHER with onion breath??

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Weapons of WAR!

We have all seen them.... the mounds of finely ground dirt pushed up in the middle of our lawns that makes us wish our rototiller could be competent enough to make the soil in our gardens that loose and airy. But there is a price to pay when you see this phenomenon... little creatures of the dark have colonized underground to make a gardeners life unbearable.
My newly planted tomato plants have been literally pulled underground, hostas have been eaten from the roots up, once flourishing cone flower plants have wilted and fallen over sideways. Hours of research on the Internet have only given me a penny's worth of hope...
The product in the picture (or one like it) was endorsed by a gardening guy on television, after a $1,000.00 dollar loss with his newly planted hosta beds. HOPE LOOMED!

The ingredients promising: Castor oil, garlic oil, and with a healthy dash of cinnamon ~ nicely infused on granules of fullers earth. Safe for garden application, (a big plus with those of us that use organic principals of gardening) and while it was $17.00 for this jug, it covers 7,000 square feet. Broadcast it and water for at lease 30 minutes....
The smell alone ran me out of my own garden, surely it would work on gophers!

Fast forward a week ~  the decision was made to boost the application of smelly stuff ... and ADD a device that chatters like a distress signal the gophers make... "proven to work".... Hummmm
"Proven to work"?? Not so much... Now my husband is in on this war and WAR HE HAS WAGED!

War can be pricey and I have a new appreciation for guerrilla warfare. Defined by Wikipedia as: "a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants (that would be my husband and me) use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and less-mobile traditional army" (that would be the gophers).

We have become acutely aware, we are definitely amateurs!

So this morning while the husband was surveying the garden and he spied the elusive dirt movement... with the .22 in hand he snuck to the garden gate. The dog knew what was up and hid under the bed....
But they are wily little rodents and while you can sneak quietly... you are never quite quiet enough....... The mission now is ~ WALK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIGGER GUN!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Spring Arrives

It has been awhile... 

The new border is in progress ~ the old Columbia River stump, carved and smoothed with years of weather, sand and water has a new home with hostas, echinacea, and an old wheelbarrow filled with color.

 The snows have receded, the river is flowing at flood stage, and from the many things planted this year, a few are pushing their way through the ground. Our spring weather has been disappointing but the in spite of the cool wet June, the garden's makeover has continued and the lawn and vegetable garden have shaped up nicely. The "service gates" have been installed and the daily walk abouts  in the garden commences, with ever vigilance to weeding, gophers, watering and growth.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Believe That April Showers Bring May Flowers!

  Butter Cup Squash, San Marzano Tomatoes and my favorite, the Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes wait and patiently grow in my window sill.  The garden shed, seen through the window, has been cleaned of its winter accumulation and just wants the sun to shine again.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


From the time my Dad came home from WWII he kept a garden, and worked in the woods, and for the years before I was born, Dad and  Mom worked in the logging camps in North Idaho. 
About the time I was born, the camps had closed and had given way to travel to and from the wood in the 'crummys', a term that evolved from the bedrolls logger's kept at camp to the transportation to and from the job site.
It was then  Dad started carrying a lunch pail and thermos, generously packed with fat sandwiches, cookies, a  small jar of home canned fruit, or fresh fruit and whatever else was good and seemed right for snacks. And ALWAYS when Dad's work day was over and he came home there was treat left in the lunch pail for me! I loved opening that lunch pail to see what was left.

Mom's tried and true cookie recipes will never be changed.  But I am adventurous baker ever searching for new recipes, ideas and flavors.
This recipe was born from and idea, a can of soda and a tribute to a proud group of men that worked hard, played hard and ate heartily!


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 oranges
1 cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2  large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups quick oats
1 cup coconut
1 cup dried cranberries

Zest both oranges, being careful not to zest the 'pith' or white part of the peel.
Juice both oranges and put in small sauce pan. Add the cranberries and simmer over low heat until cranberries are plump. Drain and cool for 10-15 minutes.
Creme the shortening, sugars and vanilla until mixture looks like wet sand.
Add eggs one at a time until well blended.
Add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the all purpose flour, oat flour, salt, baking powder and soda. Rough sift to combine.
Add to wet ingredients and mix well.
Add oatmeal, coconut, and cranberries and mix to combine.
Add orange zest and stir.

Drop by walnut sized balls on lightly greased cookies sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes until light brown. Do not overbake.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


When I was growing up this wonderful old stove kept the kitchen warm in winter during long cold days.

Something was always cooking on this stove, and more often than not it was cooked in cast iron. Long before I moved into my childhood home, I began collecting pieces of this coveted cookware.

I have learned, that to cook with cast iron and get superior results, you must cook ON cast iron, or use a cast heat diffuser on gas burners or electric elements.

Cast iron requires even heat, and that can only be obtained by using it on a surface that heats evenly ~ as in a cast iron surface.

Using the old Griswold and Wagner pieces requires care and a process known as seasoning. Gently heat the pan, and wipe the interior evenly with oil. Leave it in the oven for a few hours on low and re-oil before putting it away. I don't scrub my cast iron in soapy water, but you can rinse it in hot water, dry it well and re-season with oil. If you have food that has cooked on and is stubborn, use a generous spoon full of salt and a little oil and rub vigorous in a circular motion to loosen the debris. Rinse well and re-season... again! Before you know it you will have a pan that will perform better than non stick cookware!

These old fry pans, roasters and dutch ovens have been revered for years. Just check the prices in antique stores for a testament to the collectibles' worth and availability. Specialty pieces are becoming rare, like the waffle irons and ebilskiver  pans.

I use my old black heavy
fry pans almost daily. I can't imagine being without them. Whether sauteing or baking their performance is consistent and dependable and provides the satisfaction of knowing they have years of experience doing their job well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Spring is coming... Spring is Coming.... Spring is coming??

I am impatient... antsy....anxious...ready for spring....ready for green grass to to plant....flower beds to weed...

Sunday, January 23, 2011


This is one of the first cookies I learned to bake.
The good ol', all American peanut butter cookie!
I remember the anticipation while waiting, as Mom rolled the little balls of cookie dough between her hands and placed it on the cookie sheet.
I couldn't wait to take a fork and press the crisscross pattern in the cookie. This design makes peanut butter cookies distinctive and the cookie can be identified by sight from across the kitchen!
I have tried several recipes, but I have found that time and again this simple set of ingredients make a great cookie and that after 50 or 60 years of untold batches baked, this recipe has withstood the test of taste and time.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup shortening (I use butter flavored Crisco)

2 eggs

1 cup peanut butter (I use Jif)

2 1/2 cups all purpose four

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Cream together brown sugar, white sugar, shortening. Add eggs separately beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Add peanut butter and blend well.

Measure flour into a separate bowl. Add soda and salt and sift once to blend.

Add by spoonfuls to the wet batter, mixing well after each addition.

With about a tablespoon of dough, roll into a ball and place on cookie sheet. With a fork dampened with water, dip into 1/4 cup of sugar and press into cookie, making a crisscross pattern. Bake 9-11 minutes. Don't over bake! You want this cookie crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside!

Cool on a cookie sheet or get yourself a tall glass of milk and dunk away while still warm!

Sunday, January 16, 2011


There are times when I pull the old worn recipe box off the shelf and thumb through the various notes and recipe cards, choose what I want to bake and be on with my day.

Then there are days, like today, when it is cold, with snow covering the ground and the skys are steel grey, when nostalgia overtakes me and each recipe I pick up and read, brings back misty memories of baking and cooking at my Mother's side.

The Sugar Cookie Recipe she used all the time, simply listed the ingredients with no directions. The amounts overlapped each other on a no-line recipe card, the ink so faded out there were places on the card that could barely be read.
The first time I baked them I miss read the amounts of one ingredient and the cookies where so fragile they went "POOF" when you bit them! The look on my husband's face was priceless! The cookie simply disintegrated! I can see my Mom laughing as if she were beside me in the kitchen!
Her Pie Crust recipe and her Peanut Butter Cookie will never be substituted in my kitchen. These recipes are like a trusted friends, well received and counted on time after time.
I have kept the original scraps of paper and cards. I love the stains, creases, and scribbled notes. The handwritting is as familiar as the methods of cooking and baking. To re-write them on crisp clean cutesy recipe cards would somehow deface the integrity of her way in the kitchen. I just can't imagine her cakes would taste the same mixed and baked from anything but that time worn recipe.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Supreme Hot Cocoa Mix

This recipe was developed out of a simple need. On cold days when I have my four active grandsons outside playing and they need something hot to warm them up, the little packages of cocoa mix just were too expensive, and came up short on flavor.
I researched many recipes and tryed a number combinations with disappointing results.
This recipe is a culmination of a winter worth of experiments. It has been given a thumbs up by family members and is requested often.

Hot Cocoa Supreme
2 cups dry milk
3/4 to 1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup non-dairy creamer
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2.5 ounce package instant chocolate pudding mix

Blend all together in a large bowl
This will fit into a quart jar.
Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup to 10 ounces boiling water.

Stir to mix and enjoy!

Friday, December 31, 2010



The Winter Garden

Quietly the garden rests under the fold of snow and cold.

The seed catalogs are arriving and that old familiar stir of creating, growing and reaping is working the frost of winter from my bones.

I have taken a sabbatical from this blog. A full work schedule and busy summer put writing on hold.
But as the summer and autumn diminished and winter arrived, I realized the pull to get back to the garden has been intensifying with each catalog that has arrived!

Dirt under my fingernails is my kinship with the basic needs of life.

Friday, September 17, 2010


With vegatable gardening being such a disappointment this summer, bits and pieces of my world were saved with touches of color and a freshness to the eye!

My farmhouse flowers have been gleaned from throw aways, trades, giveaways, and salvage from my Mom and Mother-in-Law.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Not only are we battling the elements in North Idaho, but adding insult to injury ~ our garden has been beset with quail. They snipped the chard, the radishes have been planted twice and are a delight to the appetites they have for fresh spicey greenery. They have clipped it to the ground leaving only the pathetic stems for evidence they have feasted! They have re-distributed seeds with the rounded out fluffing holes in which they dust themselves. Our garden is their haven, spa, cafe and home away from home.
And after an early morning stroll through the garden we also discovered by chance our resident red squirrel has planted a garden of sunflowers for himself. We have found caches of the little seeds "squirreled" away in little holes that have been carefully excavated and filled with cheekfuls of stollen treasures. Ten or twelve sprouts will pop through the soil and look like a bouquet getting started. I weed more sunflowers than weeds! Maybe that is a good thing!
Gardening for me is always done with the intent to share ~ but I had in mind the basketful of goodies to the nieghbor, or the extra tomatoes or squash to the food bank. Sharing space with the residents that do not recognize fence lines, boundaries or straight row gardening can be challenging, but we take it with tongue in cheek and do what we can. Row covers are being crafted to keep the quail from our efforts. But stopping a squirrel from emulating what he sees ~ well what can I say... I will just have sunflowers growing here and there!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fickle Weather and Frustrated Gardners

Being tucked into the mountains of North Idaho gives those of us that love to garden a challenge of growing our gardens in just a short 90 days. Planning is essential and starting seeds indoors is a must. The snow has melted from Gisborn, and even with the mild winter we experienced, this small micro-climate we live in had Spring giving us a taste at how frustrating getting started can be. After being lulled into thinking we could plant in April, May came in with an attitude that had many gardeners trooping back to the nursery to replenish veggies that had their noses nipped beyond salvage. My potatoes have been planted and some are through the ground, the lettuce is up, as are the radishes.
Our apple trees are happily blooming along. I hope the last blast of cold weather is behind us. The poor tomato plants have been in the house ~ out of the house ~ in the house ~ out of the house! The new and enlarged addition to the garden should be ready to plant in a few days. Now if it just stops raining!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses. ~Hanna Rion

I love winter, the cold, the snow, the time to retreat into the warmth and comfort of home. I love the weekend nights sharing suppers with family and friends after shoveling snow, packing wood on the fire, watching the kids play in the snow and coming in with red noses and cold hands. I love the holiday season, cooking with family and friends and eating til you're stuffed.Then I love it when we see the first hint that spring is on its way and the winter hiatus has ended and the snows have ebbed from all but the mountain tops. Spring has arrived early this year and the lust for getting the garden in shape and growing is like an a magnet that pulls at my desires to dig in the earth and plant.The garden is being enlarged this year! Not much, but just enough to add the bed for winter squash and cabbage.
Along with the extra square footage of garden space, we added 3 apple trees to the surrounding yard. Semi-dwarf Honey Crisp, Macintosh and Cameo apples trees grace the East side of our yard. The uncertainties of these times calls for measures that can renew belief in our selves and our way of life. Gardening provides the avenue to meet these needs, providing nourishment for our families and creating a positive impact on the earth. It is like a gift that keeps on giving.I can already feel my senses calming. The process of gardening restores in me what begins to diminish through the winter months.As soon as the first green shoots appear the
excitment begins!

Pickles in Winter

With the preserves and pickles on the pantry selves dwindling at the end of the winter, getting creative to satisfy the taste of something summer is a must.
While shopping at Costco in January, I came across baby English cucumbers. A baggies of these little jewels came home with me. I did not intend on making pickles, but after eating them sliced with salt, pepper and a dash of vinegar, I realized what I really wanted was refrigerator pickles!
Three more bags of cucumbers came home with me the following week, and wallah ~ we had ~

Winter Pickles

Slice as thinly as possible (I use a mandolin) about 4-5 pounds baby cukes, and 2 sweet onions.

Toss to mix well and pack firmly into 4 quart jars, washed and rinsed with boiling water.

Heat in heavy sauce pan, bringing to a boil.
4 cups sugar
4 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1/4 cup canning salt

Ladel over the cucumbers and onions in the jars.
Seal and let cool. Store in the refrigerator.
These are ready to eat as soon as they have chilled through.

Friday, October 30, 2009


I grew up sandwiched between the lives of these two women. My Mom on the right was a scratch baker, rarely a recipe in front of her, and if there was one, it was hastily written on any scrap of paper that was handy. My Aunt Frances, (Grandma to me), with the cakes in her hands, kept accurate records in beautiful penmanship on little note cards ~ all on file in a little recipe box neatly organized. Their kitchens were as different as their style of cooking, but the end result was amazing none the less. They lived next door to each other for their entire lives, and shared a life time of family, home, and food.
My Mom insisted that I learn the secret of her pie crust... and had me making pie crust cookies at 7 or 8 years old. Her 'recipe' was more method than measurements. I have spent 40 years making her crust and finally feel like I have hit my stride with pies! Her recipe has been committed to memory. Crisp, dry days in the fall and winter are the best times to bake. She used lard or rendered bear fat, but gave way eventually to Crisco. I have baked with all three and the rendered bear fat produces the most unbelievable light flaky crust. a A French pastry chef had nothing on Mom when it came to her pie crust!
Then there was Grandma's cakes and the chocolate, fudgy frosting that topped them. Dessert at her house was called "toppings" and not much could top off a meal like one of her chocolate cakes. I miss these wonderful women, the kitchens they cooked in and the banter, gossip and love that was ever present.

Friday, October 23, 2009


This ugly roll of black plastic behind the tomato plants gained us enough insulation to extend the tomato harvest. We tented clear plastic over the top for a green-house effect.
It looked terrible, and with the threat of 19 degrees at night, but sunny daytime temps in mid September, it did the trick. This wrap method bought us almost 3 weeks of extended garden time and another 40 - 50 pounds of tomatoes.

Saturday, September 19, 2009



My husband and I live in the house where I grew up, and the old Majestic wood range my Mom cooked and canned on is still in kitchen, providing for us, warmth and good food, baked and simmered all winter long. This was my Mom's stove, and she used it faithfully everyday when I was a child. I can remember her canning on this in the summer, fans going, hotter than heck, cooking greenbeans in a waterbath canner for 2 1/2 hours.

She baked pies, cakes, fried chicken, pork chops, venison, and vegies and potatoes, or what ever was on the menu for the night. She canned on this old stove for years, until she bought a small apartment sized electric stove. Dad installed it right beside the Majestic. She then moved the summer canning activities to the modern era of electricity! She never bought a pressure cooker to can in, but always relied on the old method of waterbath and open kettle. We all lived through it, and ate well because of it, but now it is not acceptable to preserve many foods with those methods.


I have a lot of respect for the way our Moms, Grandmas, and Aunties strived to put up the food for their families, working in a sweltering kitchen for hours to put the treasures of jams, jellies, tomatoes, green beans and pickles on the pantry shelves for winter. It was a labor of love, dedication to family, and an ever mindful eye to thrifty living.

There are lessons to be learned from the ways our mothers ran a household. There was no excess to their lifestyles, needs were met before wants were granted and you made do or did without. My life has been crafted by my Mother and the women I was closest to when I was growing up. Their influence runs deep in my veins and I have worked to pass this on to my daughter. And as she so eloquently puts it... sometimes the old ways are best...

Friday, September 4, 2009


My husband had the opportunity to help with wheat harvest on Century Farm in Genesee, Idaho. This is a 4th generation farm owned by my brother in law and sister in law, Kurt and Sharon Blume.
They are part of the Shepard's Grain group of farmers that are promoting sustainable farming practices and direct seeding, a practice for protecting soil for the future.
Kurt is in the combine and Rog is running the red quad tract, pulling the bank-out wagon.
Thanks goes to the Blume's for letting Rog be a small part of this great opportunity!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kentucky Wonder pole beans mixed with Yellow Bush Beans
make a great combo. Throw a chilled jar into a salad and dress
with Tuscan Italian Dressing.... top with fresh grated Parmesan
Cheese....serve with toasted bagettes... there is not a better meal anywhere.

Huckleberry jam on a shelf of it's own. Excellent with everything!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Pickled Beets are a staple for us
and we like them heated through
and served like a side dish instead
of a garnish for salad.

My Aunty Beatrice's recipe for BREAD & BUTTER PICKLES
The recipe has been around since the late 1930's. It was
passed to me when
I started gardening and canning.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


The evenings are getting shorter. At 8:30 last night the realization of summer's wane floated over me with the evening breeze. It was a melancholy feeling that left me with a reluctance that I didn't want the gardening to be over, that in spite of the hard work, sore knees and back, I was going to miss the peace and contentment and the sense of accomplishment that growing our food gives me. With the clank of the latch, catching when it closes, the vintage gate that old Sol hangs on, provides me with protection from the outside world and all the while teaching me the patience, tolerance, compassion and ability to leave the world, even if it is just my world, a little better. Keeping a garden teaches us to be kinder to the earth. Nourish it, and it will in turn, nourish us.
I have learned, to give is to receive.

We buy seed, work and water the ground and plant. But we don't often think of the miracle that God has given us when the first sprout of seedlings stretches through the soil. The Bible speaks of planting and sowing and reaping, and while a good share of this is metaphor, I would like to think it is also a literal command. To feed our body, keeping this miracle in our heart, is to feed our soul. Whether we farm on a large scale or garden in containers, the process is the same. A seed is planted and a sprout is formed and grows. Our tables are blessed and bountiful.
I am thankful.

There are a few green beans left to mature, cucumbers are still producing, tomatoes are ripening, my zucchini, while grumbled with a slow start, has produced a respectable crop and continues to shovel fruit at us at an astounding rate.

The bully of the garden has had his tendrils clipped but didn't seem to mind the pruning. The squash he is growing are beautiful.

There is still canning and preserving to be done, and the faint feelings that indicate summer is changing, will soon give way to crisper days and cool nights. I am reminded that the preservation of food gives way to the cooking and baking of what has been put up.
These are the gifts of the garden and it's only expectation is for us to receive it.
I am greatful.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


My winter squash is a bit of a bully. Pushing his way in front of the cucumbers, through the rows of beets, across the carrots and beans to see if the other side of the garden is greener!
One of my poles of green beans fancy the nearest tomato plant and my plum tree sees fit to pepper the cabbage with little green plums. My garden seems to have a sense of humor and displays a bit of a cheeky personality.
I am drawn to this small plot of ground that seems to have a soul of its own. It is giving up its harvest in small increments right now. A colander of raspberries, a salad a day, beets coming on, beans in bloom as are the tomatoes, with all 12 plants producing. My zucchini seems to be the only slacker in the patch.....

Saturday, July 4, 2009





Look whats in the garden! I think if I watch quietly and with determination....I will see them grow!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


My favorite peony adds a feast for the eyes just outside my kitchen window.

Every Gardner Knows That Under the Cloak of Winter Lies a Miracle

I am always surprised and delighted when the rows of seeds emerge and in such a short time, the shape of the garden has been created. Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans are reaching up to take hold of the supports, the squash are racing the cucumbers for space, and the beets, radishes and onions are ready.


Step through my garden gate.
You will always be welcome here!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Shepard's Grain

I have used Stone-Buhr flour for many years. Then my sister-in-law gave me 2, one gallon sized bags of Shepard's Grain flour. I was hooked and haven't looked back. When it finally hit the stores in my home town, needless to say, I was more than happy!
Check out the best buy date on your next bag and log on to Find the Farmer. The home page has the window to upload the date of your bag flour, enter the date and hit submit. The date is the key to the location where the grain was havested. A map will show farms that are noted by a red push pin icon. Click on the push pin and it will tell you the name and location of the farmer that grew the grain that was milled on the stamped date. Explore the web site...I am sure you will like what you find.
Be sure and check out the link I have provided. Just click the title of this post "Shepard's Grain" and it will take you to the proper page. I am proud to let you know that Kurt and Sharon Blume are my brother and sister in law, and are part of a group of multi-generational farmers that are changing the face of large scale farming practices of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Listen to the video and learn a bit about the farmers, Shepard's Grain, and get closer to where and how such a common commodity like flour is produced.


Thursday, May 28, 2009


The fence surrounding the garden and the arbor have been completed. The only goal, for design in mind when we started, was to complement the old plum tree. My husband gleaned and saved twisted and gnarly limbs and trees from various jobs, with the thought they would be used one day for some project in the yard. His imagination and creative ability with the chainsaw came to life and he has outdone himself with this wonderful gift! It turned into a family affair with the much appreciated help from my step-son.

The dimensions, once the tilling commenced, quickly changed from it's conservative beginnings, to truly being a garden. We dedicated two days to hauling compost in by the dump-truck load. The garden was enriched and tilled once again before final planting began.

But, as they say... the best laid plans go astray! Still working from the original grid plan, we ended up with extra space and room for rows.

I stuck to basics this year, with my intent to preserve what we eat the most. Green beans, variety of pickles from the cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes, and no garden would be complete without zucchini squash.

So now that the radishes are through the ground and the beans have germinated, I am called upon my patience to wait. Wait until I can put the first canner load of green beans in the cold pantry. Wait until I can make the first batch of my Auntie Beatrice's Bread and Butter Pickles. Wait until the tomatoes are cooking into the tantalizing aroma of Italian Spaghetti Sauce with Zucchini, Sweet Red Bell Peppers and the Greek Oregano that grows wild in the garden. Alas ~ Wait, Wait, Wait....

Saturday, May 9, 2009

BeBop a Rebop Rhubarb Pie!

Nothing makes my mouth water more than the first fresh pie of the spring season.
Raspberry-Rhubarb Lattice Pie is a winner.
1 1/2 to 2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
4 cups rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 cups granulated sugar (or you may want it sweeter so you can add more)
1/3 cup flour
1 Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons cold butter in 1/2 inch diced pieces
Crust for 11 inch Double crust pie... chilled.

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Separate 1/3 of the pastry and refridgerate it until ready for use.
Roll out remaining pastry and place as the bottom crust in you pie dish.
Put the raspberries and rhubarb in large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the sugar, flour and lemon juice. Toss to combine, but be careful not to break up the raspberries.
Spoon the filling into the bottom crust and dot with the butter.
Roll the remaining pastry into thin rectangle. Cut strips into 1/2 inch strips and start the lattice on your pie by forming an 'X'. Weave the remaining strips in an over - under fashion to form the lattice. Crimp the edge of the pie with a fork or your fingers.
Bake the pie on a large parchment covered baking sheet for 1 1/2 hours or until the pastry is golden and the juices are bubbly and thick. Let cool completely before serving.
(If you use frozen rhubarb let it thaw and drain completely before baking)