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Showing posts from June, 2020

Cooking From the Garden

What makes a garden a success? For us, we know that our garden has been successful when we've eaten from it for most of our meals and when we've preserved food for the remainder of the year. By late June, we are able to harvest potatoes, cabbage, onion tops, carrots, herbs and many other veggies that can be used in all our meals.  For example, the other day I made potato salad with onion tops and potatoes from the garden along with hard boiled eggs from our hens.  I also made coleslaw using cabbage, shredded carrots and onion tops from the garden. Friends who planted in our garden dug up some of their purple potatoes and shared them with us.  I used them to make homemade french fries for serving with our hamburgers tonight.  The unusual purple-colored fries were absolutely delicious!  We also ate beet tops that I steamed and then sprinkled with Himalayan salt. Our family ate every bite! Home grown food is so fresh and delicious. I can't imagine a better way to eat!

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Have you ever seen a cuter sleeping dog? We never get tired of seeing Mojo curled up in the old recliner. She is the world's most pampered pooch. Only 12 more days to go in our photo series, "30 Days on the Farm."  We hope you are enjoying this peek into our country way of life.  If you have suggestions for future articles, please leave a comment...

When the Child is Old Enough to Drive

We're midway through the 30 days of photos and I was struggling to decide what to post.  Then I spotted our daughter and my husband in the golf cart.  Our daughter is old enough and very interested in learning to drive.  We figured a golf cart was a good way to ease her into it, and it's been fun seeing her driving her little "car". She's been practicing in our driveway and around the neighborhood. She's also driven on the golf course a bit. Worried mama stands outside waiting for her to make sure she does okay and gets back safely.  Sometimes one of us goes along for the ride.

Learning About Herbs: Borage

This is the first year that we've grown borage.  The leaves and flowers of the borage plant can be used to make tea, which is known for helping reduce fever, cough and depression.  The fresh leaves can also be enjoyed in salads and used in iced tea; their taste is very similar to cucumber.  In fact, there are an amazing number of uses for this versatile plant once you start reading about it. I was just reading that the leaves should be harvested before the flowers on the plant have opened. After the flower opens, the leaves become bitter.  While most of our borage plants do have flower buds forming on them now, only a couple of the flowers have opened.  I tasted one of the leaves this morning and it still tastes tender and like cucumber.  So I quickly got busy picking most of the leaves off the plants. Borage is an unusual plant.  The leaves and flowers are very prickly. There are tiny hairs all over the plants including the outside of the flower buds. The prickly borage plant does

My Secret to Proofing Dough Faster

One of the greatest challenges I've had in baking with sourdough starter or commercial yeast is getting the dough to rise enough, especially in our chilly house.  Even in the summertime our house is on the cool side thanks to the insulation provided by our thick knotty pine walls.  One day as I was putting away a seedling heat mat after having started some garden plants indoors, it occurred to me that such a heat mat could have other purposes. How would it work on bread dough? We bought an extra seedling heat mat for using in the kitchen.  A few weeks ago I wrapped the mat around a bowl that had sourdough bread rising in it. The results were amazing.  I ended up with a beautiful loaf that had risen perfectly. The seedling heat mat works wonders on cinnamon rolls, too. I wrapped the mat around the bowl of dough during the proofing phase, and then once the rolls were in the pan I put the seedling heat mat under the pan as well.  Both times, I covered the dough with saran wrap and a t

Whose House is This, Anyway?

They sit in our chairs and sleep on our beds. Too softhearted to make the dog and cat move, we'll settle for less comfortable spots to avoid disturbing them. Our Springer Spaniel  says "I love you" to get a bite of human food. Does this happen in your home, too? I think the animals believe they are people.

The Never-Ending Woodpile

I didn't think we would ever finish splitting and stacking firewood after Paul and Brian worked together to bring home 68,000 pounds of free wood from felled hazard trees. A year later and we are almost done.  Eventually this summer we will need to place a ginormous tarp over the whole thing to keep the split wood dry.  Perhaps a brown or green tarp would blend in better than the bright blue tarps we've been using so far? It sure would be nice to clean up this firewood mess on the side of the house. A few more hours of stacking today and we just might be caught up.

Elizabeth's Art

Every morning I go through the house to straighten up. This morning as I was making my way to the laundry room, straightening pillows on the couch in the Corral along the way, I noticed a painting Elizabeth has been working on.  It's amazing what happens when young people are provided with art supplies. Her skill is improving all the time and we are so proud of her.  Here we are on Day 12 of the 30 days of photos on the farm. What an inspiring way to start the day.

Early Summer Garden Tour

"Organized chaos" is how I would describe our garden this year. We planted seeds in neat and tidy rows and then Mother Nature had other ideas, sending up veggies and flowers from prior years in a willy-nilly fashion, as can happen wherever stray seeds that were already in the soil take root, perhaps scattered there by birds or because we tilled the soil and the seeds from rotted fruit left behind from the prior harvest were spread around.  These are Mother Nature's gifts and they are intermixed everywhere.   Some of the surprise plants are even coming up in the aisles.  We've let them be, these little extra treasures because eventually they will become part of our bounty. Thus the garden that was once organized has become a riot of overgrown vegetables and flowers.  And I have to remind myself that this is just the beginning.  Flowers aren't yet blooming, but when they do there will be bees buzzing around making it difficult to go into the crowded aisles between e

Thank You, Dad!

A shout-out to all the amazing dads on Father's Day!

How to Make Perfect Farm-Fresh Hard Boiled Eggs

If you are cooking with farm-fresh eggs, you know how much of a challenge it is to peel them when they have been hard boiled.  The shells stick to the egg whites. We've tried many tricks to see what works, and found that steaming them didn't work, nor did putting baking soda in the water.  Finally, the perfect solution came along: using a pressure cooker, AKA the Instant Pot. After trying different amounts of time cooking hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot, we've settled on the 5-5-5 method for perfect hard boiled eggs every time.  This method uses 5 minutes under pressure, 5 minutes in natural release, and 5 minutes in ice water. Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot, place the round rack inside, add the eggs in a single layer (don't crowd too much to avoid breakage), and then put the lid into place with the vent closed.  Press the Manual button and set it for 5 minutes.  Once the 5 minutes have counted down, let the pot release naturally for 5 minutes, and then at th

The Room with the Porthole

Now that we've turned this into a guest room instead of a storage space, this is one of my favorite rooms in the house.  Ship rope runs along the edges of the wood paneled walls. The porthole that former owners installed in here adds to the tone of the room. You'll feel like you're inside an old sailing ship when you sleep in here. In the porthole room, the knotty pine wood paneling runs horizontal like ship lap rather than the vertical pattern seen in the rest of our house.  Also, the ceilings are a bit lower in this room. I'm not sure why a lower ceiling was necessary but there must be a hidden structural reason for it. We believe that our early 1940s house was added onto in the late 1950s.  This is the first room upstairs that begins the addition.  Perhaps in joining the old with the new they had to adjust structurally in some way. When going into this room, you also have to take a step down. The room is a bit odd not only for the porthole, ship rope and lap siding,

Homemade Pantry Foods

Homemade is better. Homemade foods are healthier, more economical and taste better than any processed grocery store food that you can buy. By making foods at home, we are consuming simple, natural ingredients while also reducing the sodium and fat in our diets.  One of my favorite books that helps with replacing processed pantry foods with homemade versions is  The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making ,  by Alana Chernila. Alana's book covers all the basic food categories, including: Dairy Cereals and snacks Canned fruits, vegetables and beans Condiments, spices and spreads Soups Baking mixes Frozen foods Pasta and sauce Breads and crackers Drinks Candy and sweets Enjoyable to thumb through, Alana's book is filled with engaging photos of her family as they prepare favorite recipes.  It's a lovely book that inspires the reader to get started making homemade versions of such staples as corn tortillas, hummus, sauerkraut, fish sticks, veggie burger

The Happiest Little Flowers

Aren't Johnny Jump Ups the happiest little flowers in the world? We recently started these flowers from seeds in the house.  I transplanted the little starts outside a couple weeks ago and just noticed that they are now blooming.  What a cheerful surprise! Johnny Jump Ups are an edible heirloom annual flower also known as wild pansies or violas.  They are hardy and super easy to grow.

Replacing Our Formal Entry Ceiling Light

A few weeks ago, I painted the ceiling in our formal entry and then over the weekend we installed a new ceiling light fixture. The light that was here was not original to the house; it was an inexpensive eyesore of a light fixture that was seriously losing its luster.  We thought a more formal Tiffany-style light would go well in this space and would complement other light fixtures throughout the house. With the wood of our knotty pine walls, isn't the green ceiling light reminiscent of tree leaves? This room makes me feel like we live in a forest. The last step to finish off this room will be to find a different area rug for placing in front of the door.  Perhaps something with green to go with the light?  This House with Knotty Pine See many more photos of our house with its wood walls in our e-book,  This House with Knotty Pine .  Click to download your copy  from the Amazon bookshelf (for reading on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC using the  free Kindle app ).  In the book, which you

Views of Morse Creek Trail

After many days of rain, there's a break in the weather and we are eager to be outdoors. Let's put on our boots and take a quick walk along the trail that follows Morse Creek.  The creek is swollen and flowing swiftly with muddy water due to all the rain we've had recently. Below, deer paths can be seen in the brush along the creek. The end of the path opens up into a field that is our yard. As we exit the trail, we see our massive burn pile...the remnants of a Laurel hedge that we took down last summer.  Birds, bees and small animals have taken up residence in it.

Out for a Sunday Drive

Crabbing season is coming up and so we've been working on getting the boat ready. Even though it was raining, we wanted to get away from the house and so we thought we'd go for a drive and take a look at the boat docks at Lake Sutherland and Lake Crescent and get a sense of what these beautiful lakes looked like for boating.  During our drive, Elizabeth took a few photos from the back seat of the car. We're looking forward to sharing photos when we go out for our first boating trip here in the Olympic Peninsula!