Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things :-)

There is just something about getting away from modern technology and returning to the basics that will always inspire and make me feel good about life.  Mr. Z informed me the other day that when the zukes start producing that he wanted to see my zucchini casserole on the table A LOT.  While I was at my new favorite store :-p I see they have "fresh" zukes - big ones. They weren't the little itty bitty rubbery things at Aldi's - these were nice. And only .99! Why wait till ours are producing, I'll surprise Mr. Z. 
That mean't getting out my ziplock bag chock full of recipes that I've cut from magazines or jotted down. As I was sitting there with a cup of "caramel drizzle" coffee looking for my casserole recipe I found myself relaxing and being in no hurry. Pinterest has nothing on sitting down with recipes you can touch, see, and smell. Yes, I like the smell of paper. Its not uncommon for me to stick my nose in the pages of a book and take a good whiff. You should try it sometime :-)
I used to read cookbooks like others read novels. Then Pinterest came along and I got away from it. Strumming through my pile of recipes reminded me of what I'd been missing... They were like old friends... I think they even made my coffee taste better :-)
Warm, homemade bread and homemade jam are some of my favorite things. You won't ever find me using a bread machine. They are a convenience to a lot of women, but there is nothing like bread rising on the back of the stove like has been done for decades. The smell is out of this world. Can you tell my nose is a huge part of my life. Smells can be amazing, I love how they can transport you back to "long long ago..."  
The older I get the more I love this time of year. Everything is so fresh. The earth is beautiful with it's green grass, green leaves, flowers everywhere, and fresh food. We do not yet have our own strawberry patch, but give us time. Until then, I'll take advantage to all the fruit farms that surround us. 
Fresh, strawberry pie - SIGH!! It don't get much better than that. Especially, when made with fresh, locally grown berries. YUM!! I can't wait till tomorrow when I can dive right in. I'm going to go slow and savor every morsel. Yes, food is one of my love languages :-) That explains the cookbook reading.
Sadly, this property contained no roses when we moved here. It's a pitiful existence to live without roses. I mean seriously!! Take a moment to smell just one and you will want a yard full. So early this Spring we took the itty bitty garden that had apparently been used for tomatoes and we turned it into a rose garden with a few herbs. This is the first bud to open. 
This is the 2nd bud. I believe they are called Queen Elizabeth. Their smell is intoxicating - I love to stick my nose smack dab in the middle. It reminds me of my Katie girl. Her middle name is Rose and I sometimes refer to her as my little rosebud - sweet and tiny. 
A cozy bon-fire. I seriously have no recollection of these as a kid. So I love the fact that we are building memories with our kids doing this. Sitting around the fire roasting golden, melty marsh-mellows, seeing who can out tell the funnest joke, or the scariest story. It's one of the most relaxing things to sit and stare into the flames and feel it's warmth. You can almost feel yourself slipping into la-la land.  

I hope you will step away from the computer more often this summer and enjoy the simple pleasures life has to offer. Maybe it's a stroll on sandy beaches in your bare feet, casting a line into the water, having a watermelon contest with your kids and see who can spit seeds the farthest. Whatever you do leave the electronics behind for awhile and return to basic living. You will be amazed at how relaxed you find yourself.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tickled Blue and 14 Years

Since June 10, 2000 time has kept ticking. However, it is a day that is forever etched in my memory. Its a day in history that will never make school curriculum, but it changed my life forever. A lifetime of learning packed into 1 day. Within hours I went from being a carefree college student who was home on summer break to a full fledged adult flying down the Interstate at break neck speeds praying no cops were around and coaxing my Mom in breathing lessons all at the same time. I remember pulling nervously into the parking lot of a place I'd never before been and then watching as 2 big men could not hold Mom back from running to her baby. I remember standing back as they raced inside. I was too scared out of my mind to go inside for a did not want to face reality. I remember as I inched my way to the double doors a familiar face walked out and I asked is he really dead. Desperately wishing for a ray of hope. But I got none. 14 years ago today I walked through those doors alone and stood at the bedside of my childhood playmate and whispered goodbye. Today I promised myself I would not dwell on that day so I pushed it from my mind until I decided to write a post. It just didn't seem right to not remember...

Now on to what I originally was posting about...
This bush and several others just like it grow near the top corner of our garden. All Spring we've been trying to figure out what they were. Their bell-shaped flowers gave off a honeysuckle scent that was beautiful. 
Mr. Z was seriously considering getting rid of them because well who knows :-) Probably cause they are in the way of where he wants to start our blueberry patch.
Imagine my joyful, delight as I am mowing up close today and discover these beauties. Katie thought mommy was hilarious as I went squealing like a little school girl that we had blueberries :-p 
The bushes are huge!!
And loaded!!
We just couldn't believe our find. We had been wondering how we would have the money to buy some bushes. Guess what, God provided!! We are ticked blue :-)

Our garden this year. Looks like nothing but dirt huh. Well lets take a closer look ;-)
Brussels Sprouts
Except for the tomatoes everything else is too tiny to really see but it's all coming up and we are very excited. Now to deal with the deer...

When we first moved here this section (back of garage) was a trash bin for discarded drywall. The person who thought it was okay to put drywall out where rain, etc can reach it needs tared and feathered. I filled 3 contractor garbage bags full. This is my flower bed. I put in here whatever I want. Its a work in progress.
I love how its filled in rather quickly using a lot of transplants. Pardon the wall - it will get it's paint job later. 
Down in our small patch of woods is quite a few wild roses. I found 2 that were small enough to transplant and put them in my garden. They are doing great!
The Hosta and Ferns are also transplants. Love that the ferns are doing so well here. We couldn't grow them in New York. 
Astillbe - such a pretty plant amid all the shady greens.

More Hosta, Coral Bells, Prim Rose in container, and Bleeding Hearts behind.

I want to put more stuff in before I mulch. I've enjoyed digging in the dirt and seeing what I can design.

Well that's enough rambling for one night. Goodnight all!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Back In Business

Between a computer that doesn't want to work properly and keeps having to be sent back to HP and life situations, I've not had the ability nor desire to blog. But today's baking project had me pulling out my 
camera :-)  After all, who can resist such a colorful subject.

I like to shop "scratch-n-dent" stores. A few months ago I bought 3 or 4 bags of flour for .25 a bag.  I'd be silly not to pass that up right. Well!!! Sometimes the old saying "you get what you pay for" is true.  Took me several baking attempts to realize the flour was my problem. I seriously thought I was losing my ability in the kitchen. Not that I had much of one to begin with :-p. Once I narrowed the problem down to just flour I threw out what was left and bought the real stuff from good ole Aldi. 

Last night Mr. Z gave some pretty strong hints that he would like to see some cookies show up in the house. I had bought some pre-bakes over the weekend and they had wet his cookie appetite. Even though I was pretty sure the flour was my problem I hadn't any desire to waste more ingredients to find out. So today was my 1st attempt.  I did not have any chocolate chips in the house so a trip to the store was in order. A scratch-n-dent store just opened up 1/2 mile from my house (I'm tickled silly over that) so I made that my stop. They didn't have chocolate chips or any flavor of chips. Yikes! Now I'm going to have to pay full price. Low and behold in the candy isle was bags upon bags of M&Ms. HA! Who says one must use chocolate chips.

They turned out perfectly!! And pretty :-) Which makes me a happy baker. 

Summer break started the end of last week. I've been enjoying slower mornings. Coffee on the patio rather than in the van. I love the feeling of not being rushed :-) Last summer was crazy with selling a house and having no garden. I intend to enjoy every moment of summer this year - relaxing, gardening, canning, making fruit jam, shopping at yard sales, a little fishing, some golfing, walks through the woods, warm warm sun shine. Ah!! It don't get much better than that :-) All it needs is a tall, icy glass of mint tea.

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