August 31, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

I came across a website showing all kinds of things to create for Labor Day picnics and celebrations...flower pot servers, flowerpot food covers, paper fruit pouches, bamboo candles, bandana napkins and crafts, planter beverage coolers, and hand made invitations.

It made me tired.

My goal this year is to get enough rest so I can start dreaming up new projects of my own!  Starting with bread. =)  I hear that a cloche stone bread maker makes a wonderful loaf with a "crackly, golden crust" and "a light crumb".

Good Labor Day wishes to you!





August 30, 2012

Just a Little Closer

I've got stickers to help me dream...



And a paper surprise bag...



...officially bringing me $1.93 closer to having coffee in front of the Eiffel Tower.  =)


August 29, 2012

Off to College

It's exciting and hard to see them all go.  Oh, we love the kids!


August 28, 2012

Boots On My Deck

Oh, those boots.  This time right by my lovely potted flowers.  I've got a man living here and after all these years, it still makes me laugh and shake my head.


August 24, 2012

Lavender

I keep welcoming Friday with flowers, and today is proving no different!  We cut and dried our first significant batch of lavender this year and the color is phenomenal.  

Have a wonderful weekend enjoying the last bit of summer!




August 23, 2012

Blueberry Hand Pies!

They.are.amazing.  I will be eating blueberry hand pies every day in heaven!    

Thanks to King Arthur Flour for the inspiration.  My technique will never match their beautiful works of art, but these deserve a blue ribbon in the county fair.  (That's my plan for next year, yes sir.)

The tricks include fresh blueberries, and letting the mixture cool long enough to thicken so it doesn't run all over the place.

Then add as much as possible to the dough that has been rolled, folded, rolled, folded, and rolled again.

It's the folding and rolling part that makes for the flaky, flaky pastry crust.  This was my first batch, and I tore out to the back deck to get a shot while there was still light.  And then they were gone, in a blink.  My shapes are now getting better and I have to say the crust is nearing perfection.  Delightful, delicious, wondrous, heavenly, exquisite, delectable.  I need more adjectives. =)

August 22, 2012

Chicks, Week 3

And so they are growing.   They're 3 weeks old and over half feathered, meaning it won't be long until they can be permanently housed in the big coop.  Just today I noticed that they are starting to grow feathers on their legs.  Good thing these gals don't have to shave - what a mess that would be. Bahahaha!

August 21, 2012

Honeysuckle Nights

As dusk approaches on these humid summer nights, the smell of honeysuckle is intoxicating.

Our bush that's growing up one side of the chicken coop is just about done blooming, but it's ending the season with a bang.  It's fragrance is just amazing!  Such intense sweetness.


August 20, 2012

Roasting a Chicken, Nancy Style

Roasted chicken is one of the easiest dinners in my (limited) repertoire, so it is frequently on our menu.  You just can't mess it up and it always tastes good!  It's also cheaper than buying it cut and packaged, there is enough meat left over for a second meal, and then the bones make great soup.  THREE meals.  Gotta love it.

Julia Child would not have been impressed.  Then again, she seemed pretty open-minded, and in the end I think this American version could stand up to a French version any day.  If anyone wants to challenge me on this one, I say let's hop on a plane to Paris and check it out.  =)

So here it is...

1.  Buy a good Dutch oven.  They can't be beat for even cooking and moisture retention.
2.  Throw in some carrots.

3.  Throw in some potatoes.

4.  Throw in the chicken, making sure the insides aren't inside any more.
5.  Throw in a couple of onion chunks for good measure.

6.  Make a paste of approximately 1 tsp sweet paprika, 2-3 tsp sea salt, and enough olive oil to make it spreadable.  Using the back of a spoon, smear it all over the chicken.

7.  Put the lid on and bake @ 375° for ~2-1/2 hrs.  Give or take. The skin will look roasted and the drumsticks will pull up (and almost off) easily.

As usual, there's no "after" picture.  Things go fast in this household.

And yes, I know those stripes on the tablecloth are quite obnoxious.  The good thing is that when you serve roasted chicken, no one notices things like that.

August 17, 2012

Posies for the Table

Clearly I will never make it as a florist, but nothing is as cheerful as a handful of color.  I refuse to let my lack of floral talent stand in the way of enjoyment.  =)

Happy Friday!

August 16, 2012

Hot Evening Sun

Today might be the scorcher of the season, and I say bring it on!  I can't get enough of the sun and heat.

And these days sure bring beautiful evenings, making the trees absolutely glow. Look carefully. =)


August 15, 2012

Blueberry Jungle

I was sent to a blueberry farm...

Large patch, organic, $1/lb, U-pick, put your money in the cut-out slot in the barn wall.

Who knew it's a jungle out there?!  I don't think those bushes have been pruned in nearly a decade. But my picking accomplished two things - a solid workout, crawling beneath the bushes and avoiding spiders as much as possible, and enough berries to make hand pies.  Not exactly what I had planned, but good enough!

More to come on the hand pies.  I think I discovered a bit of heaven. =)


August 13, 2012

The Games End

We watched the Olympic games almost every day and cheered on all the athletes.  Team USA, your 104 medals are amazing!  And we're just as proud of those who were fractions of a second behind - still  such greatness.  I hope all of the athletes feel good about what they accomplished.





August 10, 2012

Friday in the Field

It's blueberry time!  I'm headed off to pick enough blueberries to last us for the year (if that's possible).  Pictures to follow!

Happy Friday,
Nancy =)

August 9, 2012

Lunch at Bob's Red Mill

We had a date at Bob's Red Mill and as we sat enjoying our fresh cinnamon rolls next to the flowers and the grindstone fountain, we laughed and tried to imagine ourselves in a romantic little corner of France.  Ha!




This is the store where you can find any kind of flour imaginable.  I bought about 50 lbs of wheat and another 25 lbs of thick cut, organic oats.  Time to create my own cinnamon rolls , granola, cake, cookies...

Don't ever take away my gluten.

August 7, 2012

Baking Soda

Really?? 25 lbs?? Of soda??


August 6, 2012

A Hot Summer Day

There's so much to do on a hot sunny day when you're a chick! You get to leave your heat lamp, play outside in the grass, eat bugs, eat grass, grow some feathers, eat more bugs, try your wings, and run.  And then crawl back in your box and fall asleep, all cuddled up.

Sometimes they get so excited and play so hard that they fell asleep standing up.

August 3, 2012

Miss Elsie Meets the Chicks

And so my Elsie girl has met the chicks.  On a tight leash, with Sir Bradley holding back all 64 lbs of straining muscle attempting to jump right in to say hello.  The tail was wagging and the body became a wiggling mass of fur, ready to have a grand time!

Best to keep the hunting dog away for now. =)


August 2, 2012

A Quick Hello

It was a late sunny afternoon and I wasn't sure I could coax a friend over from her peaceful corner of the barn.  Could she be any more content??




Victory!  One of them got up and moseyed on over, so I got in a good pet.  She's smiling - see it? I thanked her profusely for sharing her milk and gave her a gentle scratch behind the ears.

Dogs' pupils are round.  Cats' pupils are vertical slits.  And goats?  Horizontal slits.  Fascinating.