October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat!

Oh, please, can someone help me??  The costume was not my idea.

Love,
Miss Elsie


October 26, 2012

No Pie Yet

And so I continue to work and work and work...

And there is no pie yet.

The little pie pumpkins have been moved from the front porch to the table.  We're getting closer to the goal.


October 25, 2012

Drying Pears

40 pounds of beautiful organic pears were carefully laid out to ripen.  At 98¢ a pound, we couldn't resist stocking up.

And then it happened.  The sea of pears all ripened on the same day.  Since then, it's been a frenzy of drying, baking, and eating pears.   Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Nothing beats a perfectly ripened, sweet, butter soft pear.

Rather than canning, we prefer drying as it is so much easier and the pears are then portable.  After trying several methods over the years, I found it quickest to halve the pears vertically, leaving the stem intact.  Taking a half, pull the stem down to remove part of the core.  Scoop out the rest of the core and stem in one quick scoop with a small spoon.  Turn over and cut in 3/8" slices.  

And into the food dehydrator they go.  These are about halfway there.  When they started they were completely touching all the way around.  This year the pears are so juicy that it's taking about 18 hours to dry.  

We now have a couple gallon bags of dried pears ready for hikes, snacks, lunches, and Christmas stocking treats.  We are rich!

October 24, 2012

Evening Fires

When the weather gets cold I never tire of watching a good fire.  And Sir Bradley is making some good ones these days.  =)  Hot, slow, and clean-burning, the flames move and roll in the most fascinating ways.  Best viewed in a dark room.

Miss Elsie is loving it, too.  Nothing like a good nap directly in front of the stove with your head on the warm bricks.  Those pheasant hunting expeditions are hard work and she has no problem enjoying complete and utter relaxation!


October 23, 2012

Turkish Tin

This is it, my favorite tin straight from Izmir, Turkey.  It originally came filled with dried figs, and now it holds my tea and treats at work.

Oh, what I'd give to book my tickets!


October 22, 2012

My Own Wellies

Sir Bradley has his muck boots and now it's my turn.  Time for cleaning the chicken coop in style - no brown boots for this girl!

Trying to lay on the ground to get a good shot involved a certain challenging, 4-legged creature.  Off, Elsie, off!  I managed to keep the lens clean at all costs.

The real question is, could I wear these wellies in England?


October 19, 2012

Friday Flowers

Today I bring you Friday "flowers" of autumn.  Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend!

October 17, 2012

Alive

It's every mother's nightmare, getting the text, "hurt pretty bad. on my way to hospital".

The ambulance crew hauled the bike along with him to the trauma center. Stitches, bruises, terrible abrasions, pain, but no broken bones or internal damage.  All body parts accounted for.

He is safe!  Tonight I am thankful for life and breath.


October 16, 2012

Them Thar's Big Apples!

Our trees finally produced a good crop of apples this year, and one of them grew monster apples so big and heavy that we had to stake up the branches.  Ah, but beauty (and size) can be deceiving!  Too bad those apples tasted terrible and cooked up even worse into the most gaggy, baby-foodish consistency you can imagine.  I've never experienced such bad apples in my life. Heavy sigh.

Fast forward three weeks, during which time those apples sat around because I was too busy to deal with them.  Magic!  They ripened a bit more and started to taste good.  Then they went into the dehydrator and they turned into something quite marvelous!  Wonders never cease.

Do you see the size of this thing?!



October 15, 2012

Welcome to My Cave

I have a beautiful office, but being devoid of any windows or natural light, it tends to be quite dark. Welcome to Office C, lovingly know as my Cave.

I love this clock!  If you listen, you can hear it faintly ticking.

The white and blue doily came from Norway, and little candle tea light holders have been repurposed for paperclips...

I covered 2 large IKEA magnetic boards with cloth, adding an iron-on picture of the Eiffel Tower. Because I can't stop dreaming.  =)

A Costco Renoir provides some color.


There are some real plants on top of the bookshelf that provide a sense of life and fresh air.  And there is a Turkish tin.  Ah, my shiny Turkish tin.  Imagine a beautiful container with important items like tea, napkins, mints, and Lara bars.  I don't often have time to access my secret treasures, but it makes me smile knowing they are there.

October 12, 2012

Friday Flowers

We dare to grow an orange tree, an exotic idea up here in the cold Northwest.  We almost lost it once, but it came back to life with the extended warm weather.  Today the heavy rains will come and it's finally time to move it inside, so I'm looking for the warmest room in the house.  Wish you could smell the blossoms - a sweet, fruity, citrus fragrance that doesn't smell anything like an orange.  I can't imagine what an entire orchard would be like.

Happy Friday!

October 11, 2012

Tea For a New Season

Our nights are getting colder and our mornings are getting foggier.  A torrential rainstorm is predicted in the days ahead, and we all know that once it arrives we will remain wet for many months to come. The transition from outside to inside begins.

I thought I already posted this picture, but I can't find it anywhere...but it's good enough that I hope you don't mind a possible second pass.  It's time to get the silver out and start dreaming of some cozy times inside, drinking tea, of course!


October 10, 2012

Shadows on the Curtains

The sun is with us for a few more days, and it's hard to describe the joy of that light and warmth if you haven't lived in a rainforest (of sorts).  Ha!


October 8, 2012

Little Pumpkins

Three little pumpkins escaped the deer.  My theory is that the tiny prickles on this variety saved the day.  Today they will grace our table at work during clinic, and then they will return to our front porch.  Funny how these little orange fruits bring so much cheer. (Yes, I had to look it up...pumpkins are not vegetables.  Go figure.)  One more week and then they will become pumpkin bread, bringing a whole different kind of delight!  I have a wonderful recipe that will be coming your way soon.  =)


October 5, 2012

Banana Cake with Chocolate Chip Frosting


It's this good.

If you want a piece, you'll need to work fast.  And if you know what's good for you, you'll eat your first piece and then hide one for later consumption.

Especially good with breakfast!!

Banana Cake with Chocolate Chip Frosting
2½ c. unbleached flour
1½ c. sugar
1¼ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
¾ c. canola oil
2/3 c. buttermilk
3 eggs
1¼ c. mashed, overly ripe bananas

Mix well.  Pour into 9 x 12" glass baking dish.  Bake @ 350° x 45 mins.  Let cool for 5 mins, then place 2-3 handfuls of semisweet chocolate chips over top of cake.  When chips have melted, spread carefully to make smooth layer of "icing".  Best served when cool and topping has hardened.

October 3, 2012

Sticks

There is nothing like a good stick, especially when it has been neatly stacked at the end of the woodpile.  It tastes better fresh, so after a few chews it's best to get another one.


If only we could be so easily satisfied!!

October 2, 2012

The Last of the Flowers

It's getting late in the season, and the flowers are just about gone.  Glad this little bee could find a few. 



October 1, 2012

Happy October

Good Monday morning to you!  Do you perchance have any bugs for me?