Summer Vacation – Day 6

This may be a good day for reading.  It’s 10:30 in the morning and already 77 degrees out.

I made buttermilk biscuits and country gravy for the boys this morning.  We add fresh rosemary to both the biscuits and the gravy and they all seem to love it.

buscuits and gravy The biscuits are great on their own too. With a little clotted cream and some hedgerow jelly.

Buttermilk Biscuits
     Combine and blendbiscuits

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1.5 t baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • .75 t baking soda

Cut in 1.5 cups cold butter the add 1 – 1.25 cups buttermilk (no buttermilk, no problem, just add a T or so of lemon juice to regular milk).  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

I’ve been trying to tackle small. manageable jobs this summer during the heat.  This morning I worked on the side entrance that leads into the dog run behind the garage.  There was a bunch of cedar chips, leaves and dirt all over the sidewalk, the fig tree was attacking everyone that tried to pass by and the bike rack and old water barrel that we never use was just piled up (for two years).  I moved out the junk, built a support for the floppy fig branches, swept up , weeded and put the recycling and waste bins in their places.



Posted in 2015, Baking, June 2015 | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation – Day 5

This morning we headed out early to pick up a new baby goat.  He is a 3-month old Nigerian Dwarf wether currently named Chopper (his dad was Harley) but we are trying on new names.  The current favorite is Frodo (yes, he’s a dwarf, not a hobbit, but close). He is a lovely little guy, about 8 pounds, bright white with horns of two different colors.


Capricorn is not too sure about him.  When we first introduced them, Capricorn just looked horrified as Frodo chased him around the pen.  They seem to have settled in together – not quite friends yet, but we have high hopes.  DH has been working on the goat pen most of the day until the heat (97 degrees) chased him back down toward the house.  The goats have plenty of shade and water and we’re checking on them regularly.


I hid inside a little sooner than DH.  After Having DS2 help me pick up limbs from winter, rake up twigs, and repair a section of fence this morning, we retreated to watch a couple of episodes of Dr. Who.  I potted up a few more geranium and a new fern this afternoon for the front stoop and the screen porch – both are, thankfully, in the shade.

stoop flowersWe’ve started irrigating the front yard.  I decided to take a photo at the beginning of the summer, the place is a bit of an unruly, bushy, overgrown mess.  Hopefully, the end of summer photo will be a little more orderly.

front June 2015

Yesterday I stopped by the thrift shop in town and found these lovely little herb pots.  The corks were disgusting – sticky, fuzzy, greasy – but DH suggested a little Dawn detergent.  I smeared it on, left it for 15 minutes, rinsed and scrubbed with hot water and a brush and they are beautiful.  I adore handmade items for my kitchen and dining room – pottery dishes and cookware, hand-made wooden bowls and plates and great old wood spoons.

herb pots

Posted in 2015, June 2015 | Leave a comment

Summer Vacation – Day 3

Today started with a lovely German Pancake

IMG_0744Blend together 8 eggs, 1 cup flour, 1 cup cream, and a pinch of salt.
Preheat a large cast iron skillet to 425 degree oven, add 6 T of butter and then follow quickly with the blended mixture.  Bake for 25 minutes and serve with lemon juice and icing sugar.

I cleaned up the old caulking in the guest bad and repaired the plaster.

…Made some quick curtains for the back door using vintage towels / tablecloths.


…Pulled out the bolted spinach from the vegetable garden.

…Hung some muslin on the upper deck for a bit of shade.


…Planted a few geranium into the screen porch before the coming hot snap (106 degrees?).

IMG_0746….Wash some of the linens and put them on the clothesline to dry in the breeze.



Posted in 2015, Brunch Favorites, June 2015 | Leave a comment

Clotted Cream



We had quite a bit of cream piling up and I ran into a wonderful new cookbook at the thrift store so I decided to combine the two and try my hand at clotted cream.  The book is called Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen

img_9535-300x300The process of making clotted cream was time consuming (about 12 hours) but really easy.

  • I skimmed the cream layer off the top of the milk and put it into a heat proof casserole.
  • Then covered that with a layer of aluminum foil.
  • Next I popped it into a very cool (175 degree) oven for about 11 hours.
  • Before bed I took it out to cool a bit and then transferred it into the refrigerator overnight.
  • The next morning I scraped off the top layer that formed and popped it into the mixer for a quick whip up.
  • The liquid portion left behind was used to make some lovely scones.
Posted in 2015, Brunch Favorites, March 2015 | Leave a comment

Spring is Springing (Even though it’s still Winter)

IMG_3135This has been an uncommonly warm winter.  We ended the fall with some cold weather, but once solstice hit, the weather has been warm and very wet.  A couple of lovely warm, dry periods in February has brought out buds and the garlic has jumped up to almost 6″ already.


Last weekend , we picked up some kale, spinach and broccoli starts from the farm store ($2.39 per 6-pack), a new rhubarb plant, and three bales of pine shavings for the blueberry bed. The veg gardens had begun…..


This week we added a Culinary Bay ($12.99), Mint, Oregano, Sage ($1.99 each), a couple of artichokes ($1.88) Pak Joi, and Rainbow Chard ($2.39 each) to the gardens.  I also picked up a packet of Nasturtium seeds ($0.79) another of Dill ($0.79) to plant a little later.


Posted in 2015, March 2015 | Leave a comment

Goals for 53 (a.k.a. 2015)

My goals this year are a little late so I’ve decided to refer to them as “goals 53″ as I just turned 53.  I have been fighting so kind of bronchitis since the winter solstice and finally have enough oomph to think about directing my life to do better things than sit on the couch and blow my nose.  Yeah!!!

1.  Read one book each month.

I’m a librarian that’s been watching too much hulu and netflix.  I’ve got to get back to my reading again.  I did pretty well in November, finishing the available “Throne of Glass” books – loved them, and the “Cinder” series (again those available) – again, loved them.

Now I’m going to start “Grasshopper Jungle” by Andrew Smith.


2.  Needlework

I’m going to try to finish one project each month.  I have several things from holiday gifts to make – a scarf, mittens, a beaded scarf… and a small table loom that I found at Goodwill that I’d like to learn to use.  I also need to learn to use my spinning wheel and my treadle sewing machine.

Project one is sock #2.  I finished one sock, but need to get the other one finished soon.sock

3.  Declutter

I’m giving  the items I don’t love to the thrift shop, friends that might like them or selling them on Craigslist.

4.  The Garden

Simple here really – Plan and Do Better!

Posted in 2015, January 2015 | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving 2014 – Pie Crust

Pie Crust

2 1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1/8 t chai tea spices
1 cup lard
up to 5 T ice water

  1. mix the dry ingredients by pulsing in a food processor bowl
  2. add the lard and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal
  3. incorporate the water until the mixture just comes together into a ball
  4. flatten between food wrap and chill until needed.
Posted in 2014, Baking, November 2014, Thanksgiving Recipes | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving 2014 – Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 sugar pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  1. cut in half
  2. scoop out seeds and slime
  3. add 1/4 cup brown sugar to each half
  4. wrap in foil
  5. bake at 350 degrees until soft (about two hours)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 t dried ginger
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 6 beaten eggs

6. Combine the following – I use the food processor

  • Scoop out pumpkin fresh while still hot (pour off and retain liquid) – you’ll need 3 cups
  • mix in cream cheese
  • add in other ingredients

7.  Pour into pie shells and bake at 350 degrees about 50 minutes or until the center in set (barely jiggles)


Posted in 2014, Baking, November 2014, Thanksgiving Recipes | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving 2014 – Apple Pie

Apple Pie Filling:

  • 2 pounds Granny Smith apples (4 medium)
  • 2 pounds Newton Pippen apples (4 medium) 5 medium
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar to finish
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from 1 medium lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. Peel, core and cut the apples the into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices
  3. Toss the apples with the 3/4 cup of sugar, lemon juice and zest, salt, cinnamon and allspice.
  4. Pour the mixture, along with the juices, into a chilled pie shell, mounding the apples in the center.
  5. Roll out another dough for the top of the pie.
  6. Trimming and tucking this dough underneath so that the folded edge is even with the edge of the pie pan. Crimp the edging or press with fork to seal.
  7. Cut vents in the dough top.
  8. Brush egg white onto top of the crust and sprinkle evenly with the reserved sugar.
  9. Bake at 425 degrees until the top crust is light golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  10. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees  and continue baking until the juices bubble and the crust is a deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes longer.
  11. Transfer the pie to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Posted in Baking, November 2014, Thanksgiving Recipes | Leave a comment

Finally Back to “Normal”

We’ve finally finish most of the repairs to the house.  We just need to fix the apron on the master bath and pant the hall upstairs.



The pantry has bright new paneling and hooks for coats and hats.  This was pretty easy to install and the hooks are much more sturdy than they were when we had them installed into the sheetrock with wall anchors.

kitchenIn the kitchen and dining room, the wood floors are beautiful, even holding up well with a large, rambunctious yellow matador.  The new stove from the salvage yard is great many thanks to the man that was able to restore the propane orifices. We also installed new faucets for both of the kitchen sinks, painted and found a great hand-forged pot rack on Craigslist.  If you look carefully at the kitchen ceiling, you can see another project to finish – note the dangly light fixture that the sheet-rock guys lost the bracket for.

pantryThis is not the best picture of the pantry, but I do love this antique cupboard we found on Craigslist.  In this room, we also installed the board and batten paneling topped with a beautiful blue paint.  The little black hooks that we ran along the top rail of the paneling are great for everything from butter paddles to feather dusters.

bathI think the guest bathroom is my favorite.  We continued the white paneling from the entry into this room and topped it with the most beautiful blue-green paint.  It was al of the samples of greens and blues that we had tried, mixed together into one bucket.  We added more black hooks and used an antique iron sewing machine base with a vessel sink to replace the old, rickety, white pedestal sink.  We also continued the wood flooring through the entry and into the guest bath, changing the direction of the boards at the sliding barn door that separates the entry from the dining room.

This “forced remodel” as we called it was really stressful on everyone.  It took about 5 months to have everything torn out, mold removed, re-plumbed, rebuilt, repainted and spiffed up.  We lived with tents, blowers, dehumidifiers, dust, debris, furniture in piles and weeks without a kitchen.  We had truly fantastic men and women helping us every step along the way.  Kind and honest and caring people and without them, I think I may have gone mad.  In the end, with their help, we have beautiful new Oregon White Oak floors finished with hard wax-oil, all of the floors and seven rooms have been freshly painted (still have a few to go), we have the softest carpet imaginable in the living room – made from recycled soda bottles, board and batten panelling in the pantry, entry and guest bath, a new (used) stove that preheats every time and all of the burners light, new kitchen faucets that don’t leak and everything seems clean and shiny. Maybe the most important part is that we have wonderful, new PEC plumbing and don’t sit around wondering when the next pipe will burst.


Posted in 2014, November 2014 | Leave a comment