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Showing posts from November, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving from Vintage Home and Farm

With Thanksgiving upon us, are you counting your blessings? While holiday activities draw everyone out and about, keeping us all busy with preparations and gatherings, it's nice to pause for a moment to ruminate on and share our blessings.  We've had ups and downs this past year, and have faced a number of challenges --  but even so, we have much to be thankful for!  I am thankful for my family and friends, who are a tremendous blessing to me. So, are you ready for Turkey Day?  Despite the holiday falling a bit later in the year, it's still been a mad rush to get everything done so that it will be ready for the table at the big feast.  Hopefully you won't have to travel far, as we hear the weather is promising to be frightful for the long weekend across most of the country.  Here at Vintage Home and Farm, our family has two celebrations -- one at my father-in-law's house on Thanksgiving Day, where we will be bringing two pumpkin pies, dinner rolls and cranberry

Old Fashioned Fruitcake Aged with Brandy

Dense, dark, rich and sweet, this fruitcake is as enjoyable to make as it is to eat. I didn't think I liked fruitcake all that well until I decided to try making one soaked in Brandy.  There's something fascinating about soaking a cake in spirits and then aging it. If you enjoy sampling Brandy and other spirits, then you will find that tending to a cake by pouring alcohol on it is quite fun. Oh sweet, wonderful fruitcake soaked in Brandy!  I gaze longingly at you for two long weeks, waiting for you to be aged to perfection. What intriguing, experimental loaves you are, sitting there aging on the counter this holiday season.  I can't wait to cut into you and sample your rich fruits and moist, spirited goodness. Once you've started aging the cake, you may want to pick up another bottle of Brandy.  That is, if you enjoy sampling Brandy while tending to your cake as I do. A great place to pick up the dried fruit is Trader Joe's.  Out of everywhere that I

Preserving Pumpkin and Using the Seeds

Hello friends! This morning I am baking a few of the sugar pie pumpkins that were grown here on our farm. What I love about this task is that there is minimal waste as the various parts of the pumpkin will go toward a variety of uses.  Let me show you: On the cookie sheet I've placed the cut and cleaned pumpkins.  The cookie sheet is lined with parchment paper to make clean-up easier.   The pumpkin pieces will bake at 400 degrees for 30-60 minutes (until fork-tender).  Then the pumpkin can be easily scooped from the skin and put into the food processor.  I'll then freeze it in one-cup portions to be used in a variety of recipes this fall and winter. When I was a little girl, my dad made a special serrated knife that I still use to cut pumpkin.  It's made from the drill bit of an old saw; he attached a handle to it.  You can find a similarly styled knife nowadays in a pumpkin carving kit. I love the little knife from my dad - I feel like a child carving a pumpkin

A Visit to Salt Creek Tide Pools

Not too long ago, we drove out to the Salt Creek tide pools that are along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The only tide pools I had ever explored prior to this were those you find in a science center or living history museum - the kind of place with "touch tanks" and dozens of little kids running around sticking their hands in the water to touch the sea stars. I had no idea such incredible marine life could be visited so easily out here near to home.  The best access point to the Salt Creek tide pools is through a campground.  We parked and hiked along a trail through the campground, then down a long set of concrete stairs to the shore.   Walking this shoreline is somewhat difficult as it is covered with rocks and shells.  Never had I seen so many shells along a shore.  The diversity of sea life here is incredible. My daughter and husband spent the past year volunteering with a local marine interpretive center, and so they could easily identify the

5 Benefits of Leaf Mold for the Garden

Over the weekend, my husband found a great deal on a zero-turn Kubota mower with a two-bin bagger, and due to the amount of yard that we need to mow and the fact that our old mower keeps breaking down, we decided to make the purchase. Now, you can imagine my husband's excitement over the fast and powerful mower -- at one point I heard him make a Tim the Tool Man style grunt as he quickly spun the mower around 180 degrees right in front of me and then sped back across our leaf-covered yard. Meanwhile, I was excitedly helping empty into the growing mulch pile the many bins of shredded leaves he had collected with the new mower. Garden mulch! I was giddy with joy as I realized what this will mean for next year's garden. After a while, my daughter joined the effort to empty the bins, making quick work of building up an enormous pile. The shredded leaves will break down more quickly and by next spring we should have what is known as leaf mold to put on the garden.