Photo: Great grandparents at their farm in Blandinsville, IL, with five of their six children .. my grandpa was yet a twinkle in grandma's eye. Stable boy and governess also pictured. Hodges farm, circa 1903-4

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Because I Care ...

... I share.

Well, tonight I posted on Face Book a picture of a slice of homemade bread ... bearing a heart shape formed while it was rising.  Now .. if you will remember, my little granddaughter, Rowan, passed away just last month from a heart defect (HLHS) ... and whenever I see a heart in the clouds, or, yes, a loaf of bread, I am reminded of her. When asked if I ever eat store bought bread I replied ...  not since I found out that commercial dough conditioners contain a human protein made from hair swept off the floors of barber shops in China.  It's got a real eww/blec factor .. but go ahead and read.  You might just skip that soft loaf of 'Wonder' bread ... as now you won't 'wonder' what makes it so soft.

My very last visit with Rowan
(Rowan ... you have left a hole in my heart .. but have more than filled my life with wonderful memories of time spent with you.  See you on the other side.  Love, Grammy)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mid Summer Blooms

Favorite spot to relax

Here's a peak into the garden.  With the recent heat, everything has taken off.

Green beans, raspberries, lettuce, herbs, cabbage and peas are getting picked this week.

Next week more lettuce will get sowed.

The overwintered plants (geraniums, mint and rosemary) have bounced back in full bloom.
overwintered geraniums
overwintered mint
'Dune' geraniums .. overwintered

Busy weekend with a wedding and church outing.

What's blooming your neck of the woods?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Day In The Life

onion-dill hamburger buns
... of Mrs. Mac:

 7:00 AM    ~ It's Saturday so I slept in a bit.  Up after the birds this morning.  Got dressed and checked
                     email, FaceBook and my blog.  Said prayers for those needing prayer.

 8:00 AM    ~ Made breakfast for Nathan .... homemade French toast and country sausage patties, with
                      raspberry syrup .. milk, coffee

 9:00 AM    ~ Cleaned out the upright freezer in preparation for the summer 'marathon' of food to be stored.

10:00 AM   ~ Washed a gazillion dishes (just ask my Pop about how dishes multiply in our home;)
sourdough sandwich bread
11:00 AM   ~ Mixed the dough for onion/dill hamburger buns

12:00          ~ Mixed the dough for two loaves sourdough bread

 1:00 PM    ~ Picked herbs for drying, and sugar peas to blanch and freeze

 2:00 PM    ~ Baked hamburger buns

sugar snap peas
 3:00 PM    ~ Baked bread

 4:00 PM    ~ Prepped dinner:  made tossed salad from garden greens and homemade cherry vinaigrette

 5:00 PM    ~ started campfire to use for cooking dinner
Grandpa Jake's Campfire Cooker .. see link below

 6:00 PM    ~ Cooked chicken and baked beans outdoor

 7:00 PM    ~ Started washing up the dinner dishes. 

 8:00 PM    ~ A little computer time ... then I'm going to sit and knit a dishcloth.

If you think I lead an exciting life, you're wrong ;)    ... My life is very mundane ... but very fulfilling.  Working at home is satisfying and fills my day with meaning.  Taking care of my family is THEE most important job I've every had.

If you'd like to share what a 'day in the life of (YOU) is like, post about a typical day and leave a comment so others (including myself) can visit your blog and peek into your day.

Grandpa Jake's Campfire Cooker

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cherries .. (Not) For the Birds

In an attempt to thwart the birds from eating all of the sour cherries, I've gone to extreme (comical) measures.  One complete spool of thread has been tossed about-over/under .. tin foil streamers that make a crinkly sound at the slightest breeze .. and my not so scary scare crow has been positioned next to the tree.

I'll update you as to how well this works as the cherries are starting to ripen.

If you have any 'bird proof' ideas, please share.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Preserving Herbs

I know it's summer and you have lots of fun things planned, but if you have herbs growing in your garden, don't forget to pick some of them at their peak, bundle .. and then hang to dry.  You will be so glad come winter when you can have your own supply to use for soups and stews.  Today I picked lots of dill .. leaving the smaller growth and any seed heads intact to continue growing.  Dill will reseed itself each year.  Some of the seed heads will be picked later and used when making dill pickles.  I'm off to gather some thyme.  

Sunday, July 08, 2012

The Heat Is On

tomatoes grown from seed ... starting to take off
The garden is finally getting some much needed heat.  Today it's in the mid 90F's causing the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons and onions to grow.  This is the first week since last summer with hot temps.

garlic planted last fall

I know most of the country is sweltering ... and some people have lost their power due to storms.  It takes our area quite a long time to warm up, so we get a little excited.  My sympathies if you are suffering from the heatwave.
daisy ... reaching up to the sky

So far we are enjoying spring crops:  Lettuces, peas,strawberries, herbs and flowers.  That's about it.  What's growing in your garden?

Saturday, July 07, 2012

What's Cooking?

I don't follow elaborate meal planning schemes.  A recipe in my kitchen is only a guide.  Adaptation and substitution are my best friends.  Don't be stuck thinking you  have to follow a recipe exactly as printed.  If you don't have an ingredient, substitute .. for what you have on hand.  Keep your pantry stocked with the basics.  The less you have to run to the market, the more you save in time, energy and $$$.  Jot down on a list the items that are running low.  Rotate your shelf goods.  Learn to bake bread.  Learn about pesticide residue on produce.  You hold the key to better family health by the choices you make at the market.  Don't equate cheap/low cost with nutrition.  If you can't pronounce a listed ingredient in a store bought item, put it back on the shelf.  Teach yourself to cook by practicing.  Use good oils.  Buy fresh organic produce when possible.  The real cost of 'convenience' foods is the cumulative effect they have on your overall health ... years down the road; now how convenient is that?   Get to know what real food tastes like and everything else will taste inferior.  Use cookbooks prior to WWII ... they are full of slow food recipes.  Learn to make soups.  Mac & cheese doesn't need to come in a blue box.  Buy real cheese that is not tinted yellow.  Don't rely too much on coupon shopping for heavily processed food.  Most of the items are sold cheaply because of government subsidies ... and are highly addictive.  The government's ideas of food nutrition leaves a lot to be desired.  Just take a look at what they serve to our nation's school children.  Let's get cooking!