New Bags in the Shop

Last weekend, while Colette was at her snowboarding camp, I had a very productive time holed up in our hotel room. Mostly I sewed. I completed four shopping bags, and wrote a three page letter, and finished a book.

This shopping bag is in the shop now:


Two of these will be there Monday. I love how this bag is like a fresh breath of spring!


And two of these will be there Tuesday. Yum! Pass the salt and pepper, and a fork! Makes me want to sit right down and have a sun-kissed tomato feast!



Spring Home Atmosphere

This is the second in a series of postings on how I think about the atmosphere of our home in a seasonal manner.  If you'd like to read the first posting, Winter Home Atmosphere, click here.



In my mind, each season has an atmosphere all its own, and that atmosphere spills over to: the kitchen, touches of beauty and comfort, and our activities. Here is how I am thinking about this spring:
Spring

Growth.  Bloom.  Color.  New.  Clean.

The Kitchen:
-fresh eggs
-quiche
-asparagus
-lemon desserts
-strawberries
-grilling

Touches of Beauty and Comfort:
-fresh flowers on the table
-open windows
-forsythia branches indoors
-lighten and brighten decorative touches
-fresh air

Activities:
-Easter!
-spring cleaning
-make soap
-creatively dye eggs
-lighten wardrobe
-clean out closets
-start seeds
-travel
-plant garden

Currently Reading



Currently, on my bedside table are the following books (from top of the stack to bottom):

-my sermon notes journal

-my journal

-Bible

-The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer (haven’t read this yet..but soon)

-Countryman’s Year by Haydn Pearson (a seasonal glimpse at old New England; published in the 1940′s and written by a man who grew up on a 120-yr. old dairy farm; just purchased this weekend – haven’t read yet)

-Second Person Rural and Third Person Rural (which are, of course, the sequels to First Person Rural) by Noel Perrin; highly recommend these wry essays of a former resident of NYC turned rural Vermont farmer.

-Householder’s Guide to the Universe by Harriet Fasenfest (Just finished reading this book. Found it encouraging and ridiculous. Encouraging, in that the author gardens just like I do, meaning that she plans her garden around the foods that can be preserved to feed her family all year. Ridiculous, in that the author seems to think she’s stumbled upon something new…keeping house, that is…and she’s named it “householding”. She lacks the intellectual honesty to admit that this new “economy” has actually been around for centuries, and the rest of us call it “home economics”, “homemaking”, “housekeeping”…once highly respected and even taught in schools before feminists (like herself) degraded it. So, the lack of intellectual honesty on the part of the author just had me laughing out loud and shaking my head. BUT she does know her gardening!)

-The Heirloom Life Gardener by Jere and Emilee Gettle (Part autobiography and part gardening manual. Just started reading. Great gardening advice for those of us who like heirlooms and organic.)

Off for the Weekend

She packed her snowboard.


And I packed my sewing supplies.


Colette and I are off for a weekend of fun!  I'm pretty sure that antiques and chocolate are part of it too!  Be back blogging Monday.

Turkeys

This morning, Max called out, “Turkeys in the backyard! Toms!” A sighting of hen turkeys in the yard is quite common, but we’ve never had toms before. Time to grab the camera! There were three hens and two toms.



I shot some pictures and then resumed my household tasks. Through the open windows wafted cool, morning breezes and the “gobble, gobble” of the turkeys. More than two hours later, the turkeys were still there. Apparently, they were enjoying the cool morning breezes too.

Turning ONE!

It seems hard to believe that a year has passed since Theo was born one snowy day last spring. What a delight to watch him grow and become part of our family! For his birthday, we all went over to Walter’s parents’ home for a celebration.

But first, Colette made him a spectacular cake covered with spots!


Presents were purchased and colorfully wrapped!


All because we love this little guy to pieces!!!!


He ate his cake with great gusto, much to everyone’s delight!


Happy Birthday, little guy!

Welcome Spring!


"A voice went thro' the emerald land
And "Wake, wake, Robin," cried;
A brook burst out in laughter sweet,
And straight the winter sighed."

--Ella Higginson


Menu for Company

Yesterday, we had guests for dinner.  It was warm, but we threw open a few windows to let the breezes waft through.  There was good conversation...about travels, and politics, and movies.  And there was food, of course.

Menu for Company

Appetizer

crackers with cream cheese and homemade jalapeno jelly

Dinner

cinnamon dusted pork tenderloin with raspberry-balsamic glaze
tiny red potatoes with smoked sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, and chives
steamed carrots (from last summer's garden)
Colette's baguettes with butter
Broadbent Malbec 2010

Dessert

vanilla bean ice cream with maple syrup and tasted walnuts

This Summer's Garden


My garden planning got off to a slow start this year. Mostly this was due to the lack of snow. I know that sounds like an excuse. And it is, I suppose. But garden planning is best done on a day when it’s simply dumping snow outside, with a steaming cup of hot cocoa or tea at my side. So I kept waiting for snow…and waiting. And finally I just gave up and planned on yet another sunny day. And then Technohubby broke his hip. And then we went to the wedding. And finally when we got back, I ordered seeds. I’ve never ordered seeds so late, so I was practically dancing with joy when all the seeds I wanted were in stock and available for immediate shipment!

This is what will be growing in the garden this year:

-Amish Snap Peas (growing on the trellis; wll pick whole and freeze whole; destined for quick sautes)

-Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans (growing on the trellis; will freeze most and eat the rest as soon after picking as possible)

-Quadrato Asti Giallo Bell Peppers (green bell peppers that “ripen very slowly to golden-yellow”, but are just as good when picked green; plan to freeze lots of these this year, because I’m tired of buying bell peppers at the store)

-Scarlet Nantes Carrots (our favorites; will freeze and/or bury in sand nearly the entire harvest)

-Yellow Onions (will purchase onion sets from the local nursery; some will be used in salsa; will braid most and hang them in the basement)

-Giant from Italy Parsley (will use fresh and also chop and freeze)

-Cilantro (will use in salsa to freeze; and will chop and freeze the rest)

-Genovese Basil (need to plant much more of this than I did last year; most of this will find its way into pesto for the freezer; will chop and freeze lots too)

-Waltham Butternut Squash (first year planting winter squash; said to be “an excellent keeper”, I plan to store these in the basement)

-Table Queen Acorn Squash (will store in the basement to keep the butternuts company)

-Green Oakleaf Lettuce (one of our favorites; dates from the 1880′s)

-Forellenschluss Lettuce (a.k.a. – Speckled Trout Back because its flecked with maroon spots; an Austrian heirloom)

-Mantilla Lettuce (a “large chartreuse butterhead”)

-Jalapeno, Traveler Strain (very reliable producer that we plant year after year for salsa to freeze)

-Brandywine Tomatoes (for eating morning, noon, and night!)

-Siberian Tomatoes (my favorite paste tomatoes; will use for salsa; and, if I plant enough, for spaghetti sauce too)

-Chinese Miniature Pumpkins (to grow on the trellis)

-Golden Zucchini (first year planting these; looking forward to them on the grill with a bit of olive oil and fresh herbs)

-Black Beauty Zucchini (our favorite year after year)

Yum! I can hardly wait…especially for the tomatoes!

Gardening Smocks 2012

I’ve been busy sewing gardening smocks ever since I got back from New York City with fresh linen in hand. There are eight of them going into the shop this season! The first two went in today. More will be listed over the next few days. Just perfect for this warming weather and the itch to dig and delve in the soil!

Here’s a sneak peak:











Taste of New England

It’s sugaring season here in New England. The sugar maples have been tapped for weeks now. The syrup producers have been busy over their wood-fired evaporators…boiling and boiling sap into syrup. For a taste of New England in March in your own home, here’s a simple dessert:

-good vanilla bean ice cream
-pure maple syrup (accept no substitutions, please!)
-toasted walnuts


Sweet. Simple. Delicious.

Useful

One of my favorite quotes is by William Morris, “Have nothing in your houses that you don’t know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” In the kitchen, I have found it useful (and a bit beautiful) to have a small, ceramic tray next to my sink in which to organize dish washing essesntials.


The tray houses: dishwashing soap, handsoap, hand lotion, a sponge, a scrubbing brush, and a pot scraper (not shown). By far my favorite item here is the tall glass bottle fitted with the dispensing spout. It’s filled with dishwashing soap…incredibly useful…easier to dispense than the bottle it came in. This little utility tray is one of the most useful organizing tools in my kitchen.

Sabbath Rest

near Elizabeth City, NC

"The LORD sits enthroned over the flood;
the LORD is enthroned as King forever.
The LORD gives strength to his people;
the LORD blesses his people with peace."

Psalm 29:10-11

A Wedding Get-Away

Having long anticipated a trip to North Carolina for a friend's wedding, we decided to forge ahead with our plans. Heeding doctor’s advice for Technohubby to get out and walk a bit every 1-2 hours to prevent blood clots, it took us a bit longer than it might have otherwise. But we’re really glad we went!

We left New England with 15″ of snow on the ground, but by the time we got to Connecticut, we had left any snow coverage behind. Just the four of us and the Rubber Chicken about to cross that bridge in the distance, the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River just outside New York City.



It was just a day’s drive to friends’ home in northern Virginia, where we enjoyed their gracious hospitality as overnight guests. It was such a blessing to reunite with old and dear friends!  Great conversation! A game of Stratego between the boys. Comfortable beds. Good food! It was a short, but wonderful visit!


The wedding was in North Carolina.


Pretty stained glass windows in the church.


And they were pronounced husband and wife!


There had been thunder and lightning the night before in Virginia. But all were grateful for just a slight sprinkling of showers the day of the wedding. Remember that green brocade and silk I purchased in New York City in January? Well…there it is in its finished form.


The reception was held at this historic inn. So pretty!




There was great rejoicing! Dancing! A harpist! And delicious food!



The next day, after a breakfast open house at the bride and groom’s home, we bid farewell to our friends and went off exploring. We headed for North Carolina’s Outer Banks. There we discovered the Wilbur and Orville Wright National Monument, which consists of a small museum (building to the right), recreations of the Wright Brothers cabins where they lived while conducting their experiments in flight (two wooden buildings to the left)…


…and at the top of the hill from which they launched the first flight, this monument to their accomplishement.



It was a great trip!

Cinnamon Rolls Finally!


We’ve had an almost snow-less winter. Well, we had the storm with 22″, but that was in October. We had just a bit the week of Thanksgiving. Just a dusting for Christmas. And very, very little ever since. I’ve been sulking about that a bit, I’m afraid. And then it started snowing on Leap Day and was still snowing the evening of March 1st. Snow means more than just…well..snow! Snow means cinnamon rolls!

Resurfacing

I think I’m finally starting to catch my breath. Life is slowly returning to its new normal. Settling into a new normal is always a bit taxing on everyone. By the time I sat down each night, for the first couple of weeks after Technohubby broke his hip, I had just enough energy left to…fall asleep. He is much improved. (Still on crutches, of course.) Today was his first full-day of work in nearly a month. Yay!

Mostly my days have been filled with the ordinary, plus helping Technohubby…needs assistance with normal daily tasks, fetching and carrying, going up and down stairs, chauffering to and from work, and more.

Once, while he was at work for a few hours, I went to a 2-hr. wool felting workshop. More on that later.

For George Washington's birthday, I made a cherry pie from cherry pie filling I made and froze last summer when cherries were in season.


It snowed…finally!


Our local library hosted a talk, given by a local maple syrup producer, on how to do maple syrup on the cheap in your own home kitchen. More on that to come.


And, like brave people (or crazy people), we went to a wedding!…in North Carolina! Much more on that later!

Now that the new normal has settled in for awhile, I do believe I shall have some energy left at the end of the day for blogging. Looking forward to that!
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