Monday, February 27, 2012

Anticipation...

Soon... Gertrude will look like this...

This morning, I see teeny weeny little shoots of new growth on her... I can hardly wait... she truly is the beauty of my gardens... (photo from last years garden... Miss "Gertrude Jekyll")... Spring is on it's way!... xoxo...


Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen" in Centerville, Utah...

How's that for a title?... I have posted before about some of my very favorite vintage cookbooks, and some of my favorite recipes from them... I also have a number of favorite newer cookbooks... One of those is "Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen" by country music star Trisha Yearwood... (Mrs. Garth Brooks)... I have always liked her... she is so pretty, down to earth and such a talented singer... she is also a fabulous cook... so when her cookbook came out in 2008, I knew I would love it...

Her book is chock full of down~home recipes from her roots in Georgia... she lives in Oklahoma now with Garth... this delightful cookbook is full of oh~so yummy family favorite dishes!... so, c'mon inside my own kitchen and I'll show you what I am making today...

I love to cook and bake from scratch, and I love really easy recipes that are no~fail... I also love "comfort food" and what is more comforting than homemade macaroni and cheese?... when I make things from scratch, I know there are no yucky ingredients in them... you know, those nasty preservatives and such that you can't even say, let alone spell... and homemade just tastes the best!... plus, cooking from scratch is fun!... I fix a homecooked meal every night of the week for Jack and I... once in a blue moon we go out to eat, but rarely... it is so nice and peaceful eating at home... Jack and I both crave peace and quiet... and the pleasure of enjoying a tasty meal together at our own kitchen table... (with a cute little doggie sitting close by of course!)... Jack constantly raves about my home~cooking, which of course makes me so happy, and want to cook for him even more... I think the word "comfort food" came from just that... the comfort you enjoy while sharing it with those you love...

There is just a certain satisfaction from getting all of your own ingredients ready and starting from scratch...

So, here's the recipe... first off, start your macaroni noodles boiling... use a one pound bag of elbow macaroni and boil until tender approx 12 minutes...

Drain well...

Make the sauce while the macaroni is cooking... Melt 4T butter in a 1 qt saucepan. Using a wire whisk, stir in 4T all~purpose flour and 1 tsp salt, stirring and cooking over medium heat until the roux bubbles and the flour turns pale brown, about 3 minutes... remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in 1 cup of milk. Return the pan to the heat and whisk in 1 more cup of milk. Continue to cook stirring constantly until the sauce thickens... Add 2 cups grated cheese (I use medium cheddar) and stir until it melts...

Add the drained macaroni to the cheese sauce and mix thoroughly...

In a small bowl, stir 1/2 cup bread crumbs together with 1/4 cup melted butter until the crumbs are moistened... I use organic croutons that I have crushed with a rolling pin to make the crumbs...


Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a buttered 2 qt casserole dish, top with the buttered breadcrumbs and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until the dish bubbles around the edges...

Just plain good old home~cookin'... our favorite... yum!... xoxo...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Old Garden Tools...

I am a keeper... well, I don't mean me... although I do hope Jack thinks so... I kinda think he does after 35 years together... anyway, I meant I am a keeper of things... I have always taken really good care of anything I own, and so does Jack... we don't buy new things just to buy them if the old ones are still working... (***disclaimer here!... purses are the exception!)... so I was amused to read in my newest copy of "Flea Market Gardens" magazine that one of the hottest new collectibles is vintage garden hose nozzles... I had to laugh to myself... I never thought of my hose nozzles as collectibles before... they are just my old nozzles... had them for years... use them all the time when I am watering... they are the only nozzles I own... we are strictly on untreated irrigation water for gardens here in my little town so the tips get a bit of a buildup on them... I like how they look... it tells me how hard they have worked over the years... I would never part with them...

Here is the article from "Flea Market Gardens"... it says that most collectible nozzles are still in working condition... I can attest to that!... it also said most were made out of heavy brass and either made in Europe or the USA... mine are really heavy brass... and made in the good old US of A...

The only difference is, mine will not be on display on a shelf like in the magazine... mine will be out on a hose in my gardens... I posted previously that I water all of my gardens by hand... there is a certain feeling of serenity that comes with leisurely watering my gardens... the old~fashioned way... not with a sprinkler system... my "sprinkler system" is the old silver sprinkler in the front of the nozzles...

My garden claws and trowels and such are all old too... mostly metal with wooden handles... here are just a few of my favorites...

Working their little hearts out in my gardens... year after year... we have spent many a Summers day together over the years...

And I love that they were made in the USA...

That still means alot to me... xoxo...


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be Mine...

Wishing you a beautiful day filled with everything your heart desires...

Happy Valentines Day... xoxo...



Saturday, February 11, 2012

One Can Never Have Too Many...

Beautiful wire baskets full of vintage doilies... or fruit jars prettied up with vintage lace...

Or birdnests with teeny little eggs nestled inside... and shabby old tins...

That are just the right size for a new miniature rose...

Or too many wishes for warmer days to arrive... Spring... where are you?... xoxo...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"Nothin' Says Lovin"...

"Like somethin' from the oven"... I love to bake from scratch... that way, I know that what we eat is healthy and good for us... no yucky preservatives or chemicals... no icky additives or artificial anything that you can't even pronounce the names of... plus, homebaked just tastes sooo much better too!...

I always grab my favorite apron... a vintage Layton Sugar Company sugar sack turned into a beautiful apron by my friend Kelly at Farmstead Lifestyle I ordered last year... Kelly bought the old, old sacks at a flea market back east some years ago where she lives and decided they would make cute aprons... when I saw it on her blog, I had to have one, as the old Layton Sugar Company was just a mere ten minutes drive to the north of me... I did some research for Kelly about the company and it turns out the sugar beet seeds and heavy equipment arrived by riverboat in Leavenworth, Kansas... the same little town she had a cafe in at the time, then carried by 52 ox teams across the plains to Utah... I love what Kelly had to say about this, that my little sugar sack, now a beautiful apron, had come full circle!... below is a photo of the old sugar company circa 1936... so sad, no longer standing... (photo graciously sent to me by the Utah State Historical Society)...


Just like most everything else I love, I cherish my old family cookbooks...

The one I reach for most often is the very same one my mama did her entire life, the old blue "Joy of Cooking"... I have the newer versions as well... but my heart always leads me to the old tattered one... the one with little notes handwritten in it here and there... and pages stained with perchance a drop of vanilla or a bit of butter many many years ago... making it all the more priceless to me...

Today, I am baking my favorite muffins, plain and simple but oh!... so delicious!... especially with some Prairie honey on them, or my homemade black raspberry jam from last Summer... there are many variations you can make from the basic recipe, but today the rich goodness of a plain muffin sounds delightful... my favorite vintage muffin tin and I am ready to go!...

Here's the recipe exactly as it was written so many years ago:

Sift before measuring:
2 cups cake flour or 1 3/4 cups bread flour
Resift with:
3/4 teaspoon tartrate or phosphate baking powder
Beat in a separate bowl:
2 eggs
Combine and add:
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 cup milk
Stir the liquid quickly into the dry ingredients, taking only 15 to 20 seconds in which to do it. Make no attempt to stir or beat out the lumps. Ignore them. Unnecessary handling of the batter results in tough muffins. Pour the batter at once into greased tins or paper baking cups. Fill them to about 1/3 full. Bake the muffins from 15 to 20 minutes in a hot oven 425 degrees. Remove them at once from the tins. Makes about 24 two inch muffins.

Now, go bake some lovin' from the oven and have a most beautiful day!... xoxo...



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Are You Confused About What Steps to Take With Your Followers???...

There is sooo much confusion and mis~information out there about Blogger Followers going away... it is NOT... please visit my previous post and wish sweet Tessy a Happy Birthday today, and I have also attached some info right from Blogger regarding the changes...

I think it will clear things up... also, I have attached "Linky" on my sidebar for those who do not use Blogger, ie, Typepad, etc, to follow me on... it seems to be the easiest, simplest and most user~friendly... and you don't have to lose your Blogger Followers by adding Linky... you can follow through both... it also does not post your personal info all over the blogosphere...where you will if you change to Google+ ...the previous post pretty much answers all questions... xoxo...


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Planting a Flower~Fairy Garden...

Wherever I have lived, I have always had a fairy garden... even as a little girl, my sister and I knew without a doubt that the flower~fairies dwelt amidst mama's gardens, frolicking beneath the roses and snapdragons... and dancing amongst the larkspurs and delphiniums... mama believed they did too... and planted special flowers just for them... I always love planning what I want to add to my own fairy garden each Spring...

"A dream is a wish your heart makes"... I shall dream of the flower~fairies as I post in my garden journal my wish~list of flowers I will plant this Spring... especially for them... I post often about the flower~fairies... if you wish to be spirited away to those posts, just enter "flower fairies" in the search box on the top of my blog... and they will take you there...

The word fairy is derived from the old French word "faie" which described the folklore and romance of these wee folk... it is also spelled "faerie" or "feerie", but I have always spelled it "fairy" as Cicely Mary Barker did, who I have found to be the ultimate authority on flower~fairies... The flower~fairies are elusive little creatures... and they love to tease!... oft times, you will find a special little treasure they have left for you... a token of their affection... today, I received just such a treasure... a beautiful flower~fairy, made especially for me by my dear friend Dawn... and surely spirited here to me by the flower~fairies themselves... Merci Dawn!... and you too precious little flower~fairies!...

My home is filled with the enchantment as well... I collect books about these adorable little sprites... many of which were written by Cicely Mary Barker, my favorite...

How fun to read the beautiful stories and poems she wrote so very long ago... to know what flowers are their favorites, and the meanings behind them...
Planting a fairy garden is really quite simple... there is just one thing you simply must do...

Remember, you do not need to see them to believe in them... you need to BELIEVE in them to see them... I believe... do you?... xoxo...

"Where are the fairies?
Where can we find them?
We've seen the fairy~rings
They leave behind them!

When they have danced all night,
Where do they go?
Lark, in the sky above,
Say, do you know?

Is it a secret
No one is telling?
Why, in your garden
Surely they're dwelling!

No need for journeying,
Seeking afar,
Where there are flowers,
There fairies are!" ~Cicely Mary Barker



Friday, February 3, 2012

Seasons...

Soon my favorite barn down the lane and around the bend will go from looking like this...

To this...

As Spring approaches our beautiful countryside and Mother Nature paints the landscape in the freshness of the earths renewal... I can hardly wait!... xoxo...



Thursday, February 2, 2012

My Calling in Life...

In less than a week, it will have been one whole year since our precious Tessy came into our lives... lost and abandoned, running the streets... I truly believe she was Heaven sent... meant to find us... and her forever home... we celebrate that day as her birthday and she can't wait for her party next week!... today on our Nature walk, Jack and I found another little soul... lost... running the streets... almost getting hit... it took alot of coaxing, but he finally came to me... I held onto him tight and hugged him... talking to him quietly and reassuringly... I told him I would let no harm come to him... I have no fear of animals of any kind...and will do whatever it takes to rescue them... I do believe I have a way with them... a very wise man once told me animals and Nature love me... the feeling is mutual... I have rescued literally hundreds of God's precious little creatures throughout my life... dogs, cats, birds, squirrels... even a coyote one time... no brag, just fact... in just a few minutes, this little guy and I had bonded and he put his trust in me... I gently stroked his head until he let me look at the tags on his collar... thank goodness there was a phone number!... I excitedly called the number but no answer... you can guess where the story goes from there... me, Jack and "Bones" began walking back to my home... a feeling of deja vu came over me... was "Bones" meant to find us... like Tessy did?... I always want to find the owners... unless they are jerks like Tessy's were and don't pass my interrogation process... then I don't give them back... my cell phone rang... when I answered a breathless woman at the other end asked if I had just called her... yes I told her... and asked if she was missing her dog... she was frantic and had been looking for him for hours... he had escaped from her backyard where a portion of fence had fallen down... I told her we would wait right where we were, and she arrived quickly... Bones jumped up and down in excitement when he saw her... no need for interrogation this time... her love for him was obvious... and she was in tears... I will sleep well tonight knowing Bones will too... Tessy "almost" had a brother... is that a face you just want to kiss???... (Bones, not mine!... and Bones' head is not really that big (and neither is mine)... it's a funny angle Jack took the photo from as I was crouching down with this sweet pup)...

After Bones left with his mama. "Charlie" the kitty came running over to see us... we call Charlie a "time~share" cat, as he actually has a home, but spends alot of his time inside another house with the neighbors close to his own... Charlie was lost and abandoned once as well... down in the fields on a trail by some train tracks, hungry and skinny and scared... until the nice lady who he owns now found him on her walk on that trail and took him home... we chat with her often... she has two other "saves" as well... I love people who rescue animals...

And I love stories that end "and they all lived happily ever after"... don't you?... xoxo...



The Real "Scoop" About Groundhog Day and Spring...

I first posted this on Groundhog Day in 2010... after reading it again last night, I thought it was kind of cute, so I am posting it once more... yes, I do get a little silly at times, interviewing critters and such, but hey!... I have fun!... okay... here you have it... the real scoop about Groundhog Day and Spring!... (not sure why my text changed colors in the middle... oh well...)...

This just in...Not happy with the outcome predicted by Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day Tuesday, (six more weeks of winter!), I set up an appointment that day to interview Bebe Squirrel for her side of the story... When we went on our Nature walk Tuesday, Bebe was waiting for us on the fence by her home when we got there...I asked Bebe what she thought of Phil's prediction and she said... "Phooey!"...

Bebe said she had never met a Groundhog she could trust to correctly predict Spring's arrival... since inquiring minds want to know, I asked Bebe for her prediction... Bebe told me that she knows exactly how many acorns to store in the fall for the winter months... when they are gone, Spring will arrive... she showed me her jar full of nothing but acorn caps... and once again declared "that Groundhog is nuts!"..."Spring is on it's way!"... Not wanting to get sued for slander, I reminded Bebe that we do not even have Groundhogs here in Utah... she immediately retracted her statement and said "maybe it wasn't a Groundhog I met, maybe it was a Gopher, yes, that's what I meant to say"...
After waiting patiently by Gritty Gopher's hole... he poked his nose out... this reporter had to use Gritty Gopher's photos from last fall when I tried to interview him for my "Do All Gophers Use GPS (Gopher Positioning System) When Tunnelling" article, as he refused to let me photo him on Tuesday and tried to throw dirt in my face!...(Bebe Squirrel was kind enough to pose for her photos on Tuesday!)...

Not only did he try to throw dirt in my face, when I tried to ask him when Spring was coming, he ran back into his hole and refused to comment...


Me... I am putting my faith in Bebe Squirrel!!! How about you???... xoxo