Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tasha Tudor, simple life...

 Happy Birthday Tasha Tudor!

I just love this picture of Tasha Tudor and some children picking berries.  It reminds me of her simple ways.  Above all things, she lived off the land and made use of everything she grew.  And wasn't it a beautiful life?  Sometimes I think the simplest, quietest, humblest things are the very best things.  Picking berries is an art in itself which probably ended in making jelly or jam, and what is better than homemade jam spooned onto a slice of hot buttered toast?  Simple, but good.

Today my daughter, G., and I worked in the kitchen all day making apple sauce and apple butter.  G's hubby picked the apples from their neighbor's tree, a Cortland Apple Tree, which I am in want of now. The Cortland produces the prettiest red blushed apples -- a cross between a Ben Davis and a McIntosh apple.  (I looked it up.)  The tree is beautiful.  I think it would be considered a semi-dwarf which makes it easy to pick and quite compact and loaded with fruit.  The apples are white fleshed and sweet.  We hardly added any sugar to our apple sauce and apple butter.  We could have probably made it totally without sugar, but we decided it added a little more depth of flavor with the addition of sugar.  The sauce is a creamy color and not as gold as the photo shows here.  The grandgirls enjoyed their small bowls of sauce as we had scrapings and left-over globs that did not round out our jars.  G. and I had a piece of hot toast with a sampling of the apple butter scraped out of the roaster at the end of its baking.  Oh, so good!  Even though we did not plan to celebrate Tasha Tudor's birthday with our apple saucing, we did it quite by coincidence, and we honor her just the same.  We honor all those who continue the simple arts of home making that Tasha held dear.


For the record, today we made 40 pints of apple sauce and apple butter combined.  More to come since we haven't totally picked the Cortland entirely.  Good for us!  What are your favorite homemaking arts?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nighttime Cricket Chorus...

Nighttime Cricket Chorus on Vimeo.

I stepped out the door this evening to go shut the chicken coop door and this is what I heard.  Sorry, but there's not much to video when it's dark except for the moon.  This is a listening video, not a watching video.  I hope you enjoy the Concert Chorus of the Crickets at my house.  I did.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Full Moon...

One of the names for the August Full Moon is called the Full Red Moon due to haze that can be in the air.  This picture doesn't look totally red, but it is, in real life, an orange-red due to the forest fires burning in and around our state.  The skies are gray and hazy almost every day and so our view of the moon reflects the colors of pink, red, orange and varied colors in between.

The moon always makes me think of people.  I imagine friends and family across the globe looking at the same moon that I do, and I give thanks for all of those special people.  It's a silent, thoughtful time for me, and a time that I worship God and praise Him for the beauty of the earth.  I sometimes think of all the people of history who went before us, all gazing at the same moon I see, all planning their days by the seasons of the same moon.  It makes me feel small and yet important --  that God placed me here too and has a plan for me.  The moon is a reminder that God is in control.  I have comfort in that.

What do you think of when you see the moon?

"See how nature -- trees, flower, grass -- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence....we need silence to be able to touch souls."
Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Monday, August 19, 2013

Grillin' chile...

 This was a first time experience for me -- grilling Hatch Green Chile.  I've heard about Hatch Chiles, but never had experienced eating them or preparing them.  Bountiful Baskets had Hatch Chiles on sale by the box, so I bought one and decided to roast and freeze them.  I grilled a few the night before, and we had them on burgers..  O man!  Give me a Bacon-Chile Cheeseburger any day!

 This was my morning work station.  I washed up the chiles first and then put them back in their box with a towel underneath and one over the top to keep the flies away.  I set up my ipod dock, turned on the James Taylor tunes, poured some lemony ice water and enjoyed my two hour chile-roasting in the hot sunshine.  (Getting my vitamin D you know!)

There's nothing like the aroma of chile roasting on the grill.  I turned them until the majority of the skins were blistered and a little charred.  Then they went into bowls.  I noticed something funny as I was roasting.  The flies buzzed all around the fresh chiles that I had covered up in the box, but they didn't go anywhere near the chile that was roasted and uncovered in the bowl. I wonder if it's the release of the capsaicin?

After all the chile was roasted, I seeded them and peeled most of them.  I figured if I didn't get all the peels off, I could do it after they were frozen and thawed for use.  There are plenty of little seeds in each chile so it was very time consuming work and I didn't really think about putting on gloves during this process.  (mistake)  I didn't have any burning until I was all done and was cleaning up.  The burning sensation didn't last too long.  I dipped my hands in milk, cold water, and put lemon juice on them.  All seemed to make the burning go away, then it would come back again.  Now my hot hands are much better, and I'm glad.  Perhaps medium-hot chiles aren't as stout as extra-hot might be?  Now I have about 20 pint bags of Hatch Green Chile all neatly tucked into my freezer at the ready for All Things Mexican.  Tomorrow I'm making enchiladas for the crew who will be here to pregnancy test 200 heifers.  I figure if I cook ahead, it won't matter when they decide to come in for supper.  You can bet that I'll have a nice Mont-Mex chile sauce ready to pour on the enchiladas.  Yum!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

If you pray....

....please pray for Coptic Christians in Egypt.

So far, seven Catholic Churches and fifteen Coptic Orthodox and Protestant churches were attacked in Upper Egypt and Cairo, and more churches all across Egypt have been attacked and/or burned.  Alexandria is the birthplace of the Coptic Christian Church, begun with John Mark's (author of the book of Mark in the Bible) missionary visit to Egypt way back around 65 AD.  Here are a couple of articles on the recent attacks:  Catholic Online   and Open Doors.  The violence in Egypt is horrendous, and I really do not know what we can do right now besides pray.  This is not the only case of persecuted Christians. All over the Middle East Christians are being pushed out and persecuted.  Will you join me and pray?

"Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door."
~Mark 13:29

Saturday, August 10, 2013


My Basket

 Today was Bountiful Baskets Day.  Since I had never volunteered, I decided today was the day.  I left home at 7:30 a.m. and arrived at 8:30 to help unload the truck.  There were about 10 other volunteers there.  Unloading the cases of fruit and veggies was the easy part.  Then came the sorting -- fruits in their baskets and veggies in their baskets, side by side.  A pair makes a Basket for each person who orders one.  We sorted any rotted fruit or veg out and left that in it's own box.  I spoke for throw-aways to feed my chickens, and they were glad to let me haul it away.  There wasn't much, but a nice assortment for the girls.  After that, we let the masses in.  We had prepared for 180 baskets along with add-ons and extra cases of apples, green beans, chilis, breads, coconut oil, and granola.  After all the baskets were sent out the door to the contributors, then came the clean up.  There were 360 baskets to wipe down, floors to sweep and mop, tables to clean, and boxes to break down and haul out.  It was a big day for us.  All of us were breaking a sweat by the end of the morning with all the chores we had to do.  We could have used a few more volunteers, but we did it.  The volunteers were hard-working, nice folks and the coordinators do a bang-up job.  If you've never tried Bountiful Baskets, I encourage you to give it a try.  It's the Best Buy Around -- just $16.50 for a basket of delicious fruits and veggies.  I'd say you will get around 25-30 pounds of produce per basket, and you'll get a great variety!  Check it out HERE. 

My garden is coming right along, but still not as bountiful as my Bountiful Baskets yet.  This is a giant pumpkin vine and it has a few babies setting on it right now.  

 There are zucchini, squash, cucumbers, carrots, new lettuce and tomato vines with marigolds in the background.  You can see a few zinnias peeking out from amongst the zucchini.  Poor dears, they have to fight for sunshine.  I planted a couple watermelon plants as an experiment.  I know they take a long time to produce, but I thought I'd try.

Green beans have been picked a couple times and the lettuce that was planted in spring was great.  There are just a couple heads left to eat so I replanted some more lettuce for fall picking.  The cucumbers are loaded with blossoms, but nary a cuke yet.  Rats!  Zucchini has been good and the squash vines are making some beautiful big acorn babies.  The peppers are really producing and I'm ready to pick a few green ones any day.  I sometimes let the peppers stay on the vine longer and get fully ripe -- red or orange.  They are so much sweeter that way.

Of course, I can't garden without a few towering sunflowers keeping watch over the garden.  Soon the goldfinches will be stuffing their beaks full of seeds.  Aren't these red & yellow sunflowers beautiful?  I love them.  Every now and then I just have to pick a couple and put them on my kitchen table.  I've still got a nice patch of rhubarb that I plan to pick.  I'm craving a pie!  What's growing in your garden?  Thank you for stopping by and saying hello.  I enjoy your visits.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Napkin trick...

This summer I've been having fun doing a napkin trick at my kitchen sink window.  I bought a package of varicolored napkins at Target a while ago -- two napkins of each color.  Every so often I change them out.   I love the look of cafe curtain rings and cheery colors right where I do my daily kitchen chores. 

I did the turquoise napkin trick first of all and then followed it up with yellow napkins (currently in the laundry), and now I'm sporting the 1970s orange look.  One thing I do that makes the napkins look more "curtainy" is to press them into quarters.  Then when they hang, they look crisp and neat and more like a curtain.  I first saw the brilliant idea at Flower Patch Farmgirl here.   I'm keeping an eye out for pretty napkins, and I'm thinking about making a few both to use and to hang at the window.  Do you use cloth napkins at home?  I especially like them, but paper napkins are sure handy, aren't they?

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Jump'n Jumpers...

These two were made for Bee and Rootie Tootie

Reverse them and you have new dresses!

This one is for Toodles.

Rootie Toot got this one too because the one at the top didn't fit her now.  It will next spring, but I wanted her to have something to wear for the now.  You know?

Miss Peach gets this one.
 It's made of the same fabrics as Rootie's.

I've had so much fun sewing these simple jumpers for my girlies.  
Now I'll have to think of a new project.  Actually, we'll be back to making hay again this coming week.  There's a little bit of second-cutting in the alfalfa fields.  The sheep will get some yummy little square bales for lambing time.


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