Sunday, August 26, 2012
Sunday, July 15, 2012
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
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
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
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!
Thursday, August 25, 2011
However one November day several years back I had a monumental ~ colossal ~ memorable ~ messy ~ stinky ~ unforgettable out and out dismal failure! So much so it is still recalled at favorite times of the year, like holidays or a family get-together, when I am about to present food to an army of people...... It starts with "OH and do you recall the day Marla tried to burn up the kitchen" or.... "Do you remember the time the kitchen smelled like burnt molasses for a month"....
The story goes like this......
Friday, July 29, 2011
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!
Friday, June 17, 2011
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 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
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 28, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
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!
THE LOGGER'S LUNCH BOX COOKIES
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
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
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.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Hot Cocoa Supreme
Friday, December 31, 2010
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!
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
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
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
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 ~
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The recipe has been around since the late 1930's. It was
Sunday, August 9, 2009
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
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
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.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
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.
PLANT A SEED AND SEE WHERE IT CAN LEAD YOU!
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.