Thursday, March 25, 2010

Buds and Blooms

Spring is here! Things are blooming and getting ready to bloom.
My mini daffodils, a grape hyacinth and and the bottom left lily of the valley leaves.

Some little buds on my new apple tree! Not sure if they are leaves or flowers. We'll find out soon.

The mahonia bloomed like crazy this year! I gave it a hard pruning last spring. Looks like it liked it.

My flowering quince is about to bloom like crazy! It too got a hard pruning this last spring when we cleaned up the backyard. I can't wait to see it in full bloom.

And my favorite old fashioned flower, the camelia. Other than daffodils it is my first sign that spring is not too far away. This is the first bloom for it this year. Yippee!! Soon They will be filling vases and jars all over the house. I love spring! What's blooming in your yard?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Making Yogurt

So I have been wanting to make yogurt at home for quite a while now. I got the guts to try my hand at it this past week. I have done quite a bit of reading on the subject. I bought extra milk from my favorite milk guy. It's non homogenized.  Super yummy! The milk that is.

For my first attempt at yogurt making I went by an article from Mother Earth News. Sure it is 30 years old, but when it comes to yogurt, not much has changed. I thought that maybe the warm setting on my crock-pot would do the job. I followed the instructions, placed my soon to be yogurt in a water bath in the crock-pot and went to bed. In the morning, I had cooked milk instead of yogurt. Bummer.

I didn't cry. I looked up a recipe to use the cooked milk. I found this. not only does it tell you how to make yogurt, but it also gives you tips and what to do with cooked milk. I haven't tried either one yet, but I did use some of my non-yogurt in some homemade dressing(think turkey and dressing not salad dressing, although yogurt is great in salad dressing and the cooked milk is a bit like butter milk....hmm, I might have to try salad dressing!) instead of milk. The result was yummy and super moist!

So on to attempt number two. This time I used the method that my friend Jo uses. It worked!! I halved the recipe and used greek yogurt for my starter. I like the taste. It isn't over powering. Add a touch of honey and yummy! Homemade yogurt is often thinner than store bought yogurt. It is more affordable and if you are like me and buy your milk from the milkman himself, it makes sense to do.

So, I have to see if Dave will like this, how it keeps and if I can keep up the process. There are some things to know. You have to have a starter to make yogurt this way. Not a big deal. Either buy some plain yogurt from the store or use some of the yogurt that you have made. You have to use it within a few days or the cultures die. No worries if you can't make yogurt right away- freeze some, thaw it for your next batch, and wala! You can make more yogurt.

I think this will be kind of like when I learned how to make bread. Try, try and try again. It will get better, it will get worse. Then you will get good at it. I will keep you posted on my progress!

Have any of you made yogurt? Do you have any tips that you would like to share?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh, How They Have Grown!

My girls have grown. I just had to show you how pretty and big they are. They woke me up this morning yelling about something. Maybe they were having church again. Oh well. I got up and let them out.

Pickle is my poser. As soon as you whip out the camera she wants to know what is going on. She is also a grown up now! Our baby is laying eggs!! Now everyone is laying. Not everyone lays an egg every day. When they do, we have six eggs! Boy howdy, are they pretty!! And delicious too. We'll see if they start laying a lot as the days get longer. If they do, I'll have some to share.

And here are the girls in one of their favorite spots. I love them so!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flowers of Friendship

Every summer I enjoy doing a Bible study with some of my best friends. We enjoy digging into God's word together and having an excuse to get together! Two summers ago Jennifer gave us all a little pot filled with a sprig of a pretty green plant. I have moved it indoors and outdoors over the seasons and it has found a nice sunny spot in my dining room.

A few weeks ago I noticed buds forming inside of the leaves. I was stunned. I didn't know that this plant would flower. Then one morning I found this beautiful bloom!

It is so lovely! The fragrance is amazing too. It was such a nice surprise. Isn't that how many friendships are? They start out small. We nurture them over time. Sometimes we give them more attention than others. They get a bit of fertilizer as we go through trials together. They grow and change as we look for the right spot where they fit into our lives. We share tea and friendship, marriage, births and deaths. 

Then one day we realize that the little friendship turned into a beautiful plant. We are blessed with these gorgeous blooms of love, trust, and devotion. Special moments that stick out in our memories of times shared. Years have passed and we have grown together.
I am so blessed by my friends and the deep kindredness that we share. We have grown in so many ways, yet still I am surprised when on occasion there is a beautiful bloom! Thanks friends for feeding and nurturing me and helping me bloom. And thank you for sharing literally your  flowers with me.

I have no clue what this plant is called. But now it is my Flower of Friendship. I hope that I too can pass some along and watch it bloom in someone else's home.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cool Weather Gardening

Cool weather gardening is some of my favorite all year. Not only because of the foods that grow, but because there aren't any mosquitoes to eat me alive!! Last weekend I got out into my winter vegetable bed. I weeded and sowed some seeds. Here is what it looks like at the moment. A bit pathetic, I know. I sowed seeds for beets, swiss chard, kale, and a few kinds of lettuce. Hopefully the massive rains that we have had didn't wash everything away. We should know in a week or so.

Here is some of the chard that I planted last fall. The roots survived the cold and now new leaves are coming up. I am looking forward to some yummy chard pizza!

Here is a bit of kale that survived the winter and the flood in the fall. I thought surely every seed got washed away. Then a little row of these guys popped up and surprised me. Come on and get some growth on you so I can eat you up!!

I opted to plant some real vegetables in my front flower bed instead of ornamental plants. They took the cold beautifully and we get to eat them! The key is to get them into the ground before a frost so that they can take the cold.  Here's my first shot at trying to grow broccoli. I planted around 9 plants and this is the biggest head so far. I think that I planted them a little late last year. I know that next year I need to plant them a little earlier to get some bigger heads. But I will try again!! Also, did you know that the leaves of broccoli and cauliflower are perfectly edible? They are delicious sauteed with a bit of garlic and oil.

More chard!! You can't have enough.

And some lovely cabbage that is just starting to get some size on it. I can't wait for it to get a bit bigger and land in my kitchen!

I really hope that my lettuce comes up in the garden! I have some big plans for it, not to mention it will be a really lovely sight to behold.

I am also waiting for some sugar snap peas to pop up out of the ground. Yum, yum! It is time to plant the early spring veggies! And of course plan your summer garden. Spring is around the corner. I can hardly wait! I am dreaming about tomatoes and cucumbers, okra, peppers and watermelon. And of course, the Marietta Farmer's Market!

Here's to spring...... just a few short days away!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Couch Surfing....

I caught a cold. I've been on the couch. I have watched more t.v. than I have in a long time. Actually, mostly on demand movies and shows on netflix. Dave got me the most delicious soup from our favorite Mexican restaurant. I wish I had more. I wonder if I will go through more than one box of tissues? Too much information? It's the cold talking.

Hopefully this cold will head out of the door soon.  At least I feel like typing today. Improvement.

What do you do or watch when you are sick? 

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Saturday our neighbor called and told me that she has left some goodies in our door. Here is what I found:

Delicious oatmeal raisin. I ate two. Dave ate the rest of the bag.

Later in the day she called out from her porch and said that she had something for me. 
Here they are!

Some lovely tulips! How nice. How thoughtful. I have been wanting some flowers but have been working hard to stick to our budget. God must have heard my heart. Then he nudged hers. Thanks God! Thanks Cathy!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blog Makeover!!!

Whew! I spent most of the weekend redesigning my blog. It took a few hours, but I am happy with the results. It is easier to add images, gadgets and pictures. I want to know what you all think. Please let me know!!

Monday, March 1, 2010

the Adventures of the Wood Stove: Part 3

Ok, so I have had the hardest time getting a picture of the wood stove in all of its glory. I need to take a photo at night I suppose. I also need to get a good photo of the stove pipe for you all. Oh yeah, and the huge pile of wood that I unloaded myself, thank you very much!

For now, this will have to do. I hope that you are warm and cosy by your fire!

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