04 August 2014

Reason to celebrate



 On Saturday I went to an auction and came home with a stack of dishes and those pretty pink glasses. I had no intention to buy more dishes (I already have over 100 miss-matched china plates from our wedding) but I'm so glad I did. I admired them all this morning while I was washing them and just couldn't resist setting up the table to look at them. Fortunately I already had a few friends coming over this afternoon anyway, so we'll just make Monday afternoon on the 4th of August an occasion for celebration!
It's not a complete set; some are missing and some are chipped but that is exactly what makes them work in my house. I love to have even the simplest meals using dishes I love.
I really need a hutch and some bigger furniture to store things, like dishes and linens, but until I find the right one, I made do by stacking a bookcase on top of an old dresser I got from my mom's porch. I rearranged everything this morning to make room for these dishes and it's fun to see some new color in this little corner.
The arrow above is a sundial, another recent auction find that I really love. 
I've been making a big batch of blueberry muffins and Zucchini bread to have on hand for Airbnb guests that stay upstairs, and I'm just starting {slowly} into some canning. I've been enjoying the garden so much this year. It's still small and such a work in progress, but there is progress!
If all goes well perhaps I'll be back soon with a few photos of the garden. I'm off to make some cucumber sandwiches to serve on that china when the girls come over in a bit. :)
xoxo

13 March 2014

I do my best gardening in the wintertime.



"I get pleasure from simple things. 
Home baked bread, homegrown vegetables and making things from what I find around me." 
-Alys Fowler


I used to think neighbors chatting about gardening was merely small talk but I've changed my mind. The fact that a tiny seed goes into the ground and becomes a plant that becomes a tomato is a miracle every time. Gardening is transforming to the spirit. To talk about it is to diminish it's meaning, and yet, it's completely impossible not to talk about it. To garden is to dream, or as someone said, "to believe in tomorrow".


Gardening gets me excited to go from the [relative] quiet of winter into the first bursts of spring. I am so new at it that I'm still amazed when anything grows successfully but every year it gets better and I have a bigger perspective for what's possible. I learn by watching my neighbors, asking my mother-in-laws advice and keeping an eye on who is plowing and who is planting. 
Last year there are a few things especially that I'm excited to do more of this year. The photo above is the most delightful salad that makes an effortless lunch. When things started coming along nicely I would put some oil, balsamic vinegar, salt pepper, avocado into a bowl then go out to the garden and pluck whatever looks nice to add... micro-greens, herbs, cucumber, whatever seems inspiring.. then toss it all together and eat it right there in the garden under the warm sunshine. 

"Heaven is a homegrown cucumber". -Alys Fowler



This photo, a bowl of peach salsa with the ingredients that I used to make it written on it, reminds me that I'd like to do that more often this year. It's such an easy way to keep track of sporadic combinations that I stir together and would otherwise forget.   

Mulching heavily is so helpful and seems to be one key to success for me. Not only is it good for weed control but it keeps more moisture in and also adds nutrients to the soil. One day I hope to establish a garden with a Back to Eden method of layering and composting. Follow the link and watch the documentary, so beautiful and inspiring, full of spiritual analogies. It's hard not to get overambitious but I've also learned to start slowly and try to keep it small. Being completely overwhelmed with weeds or an overabundance of vegetables and the pressure that you need to can and preserve everything is a good way to burn out quickly and then miss the joy of growing things. I like to do it for the joy. Alys Fowler has a wonderful series called The Edible Garden. I love to watch it in the winter and dream about the coming year. Her enthusiasm is absolutely contagious and she has a beautiful way of letting her garden grow "wild". It should be productive and beautiful, she says, and I agree. What could be more wonderful.

23 January 2014


// Below zero temps gave the kids a few good days of ice skating on Granddad Eldon's pond
// Working cattle and tea on the fire
// Molly Wizenberg's recipe for rice pudding. I've made it twice in the past week. Best ever. Truly.
// Butchering a hog with a group of  friends is an annual ritual; breakfasts of fresh eggs from the coop and smoked sausage ever since. No sugar and no flour for me right now but sorghum and buckwheat pancakes are so good I don't miss it.
// Snowy days when the cows get out on the wrong side of the fence.
// Coming in from the snow to a warm house and cup of hot cocoa with maple syrup.

Winter is one of my favorite seasons, maybe because I grew up in Florida and haven't had enough cold and snow to get tired of it yet. Or it could be because it's a bit more quiet on the farm. Whatever the reasons, I think the cold makes me appreciate and look for warmth and it makes everything so cozy.
This year though I've noticed I'm a little more emotionally challenged. I didn't think about it being related to the weather at all until I was talking about it to a friend and she said calmly, "Oh you've got a winter mood."
Really?
That's a thing?
I've somehow previously been exempt it seems. It really helped to identify it like that but still I wondered,
"Why is there not a relentlessness about my joy?"
I'm listening to this sermon for the third time today. He says if there is anything good about this day it is because of grace. I didn't realize that I have had a pattern of thinking that things should be good.
Why shouldn't they be good!?
Things aught to go right!
No, it's just starting to sink in... "If anything's good it's because God works it together...
Things fall apart. 
The world is burdened down by evil and decay. It's the nature of things to fall apart.
So do relationships... so do families... things do not come together, they do not work together.
[Christians] get rid of the saccharine sentimental idea that things aught to go right, that things do go right, that that's the norm. Modern western people believe, if things have gone wrong, I'm gonna sue! Why? Because things aught to go right! Christian's say, if today my health is in tact, it's God holding it together. If someone loves me and somebody cares about me today at all... in spite of my flaws, in spite of my selfishness... it's God doing that, it's God holding it together. If anything goes good it's a miracle of Grace!"
... These are all quotes smashed together from the sermon I'm writing out to let it all sink in.
I don't know about you but that is news that transforms my way of thinking completely.
Understanding what the promise really is in Romans 8:28 means that I don't need to be shocked when bad things happen and it causes me to practice routine praise for the ordinary things that I now realize I had formerly seen as things I was entitled to.
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"God does not promise better life circumstances if you love Him, He promises you a better life... So that when you suffer, you become like Him". -Timothy Keller

10 December 2013

Kinfolk | Natural Home Holiday Workshop


|| Gather around a table filled with bundles of 
foraged greens, berries and natural elements to tie into festive holiday arrangements. 
 
|| Learn how to use nature's inspiration for wrapping gifts to give away. 

|| Come away with a little something to adorn your tree, a wreath to hang on your 
door and perhaps a garland or two that we created together during a continual flow 
of conversation, sweet treats and hot spiced cider. As the afternoon winds down, 
a spread of hearty savory offerings invite you to linger a little longer then planned...
________________________________________________
Partnering with Kinfolk events has been one of the highlights of this year! Our 3rd, and last (for the year) is coming up this Saturday and there is still room left for you to join us. Hosted here at the Mill, along with The Pinwheel Collective, The Lady Jane Shop, and Hope Helmuth.  
For tickets and event details go here.

 Head on over to The Pinwheel Collective to see Amelia and Katie's documentation of the August Camp Cooking and Grilling Workshop hosted at Hope's River House.

Hope your December is warm and cozy so far, and full of every good thing!

05 December 2013

Linger a bit.

Just beginning to transition into holiday mode this week. It's been a bit slow, but I'm ok with taking my time. I so enjoyed the warmth of autumn. November had lots of travel plans, lots of climate changes, good days of learning and stretching and time with family on all sides. Yesterday was our first day back to our semi-normal routine and it felt so good! There is something so wonderful about a normal day! Even so, too many normal days and I get a bit lost and confused, so a change was most welcome and has me coming back feeling refreshed. I love celebrating Thanksgiving, it's really incredible to have a holiday that celebrates gratitude... I love the change in the air this time of year... the cold outside, the warmth inside. I love the glow of the lamp in the window, and coming in from a long walk through our little village. I love December, a month for gatherings and making and cooking and being together. I don't want to rush it by always thinking of the next thing. I'm going to decide to like each obligation and have a coffee in the afternoon as often as I can, hopefully with a neighbor or maybe even a husband.
To smile... to be present, one thing at a time. It will all get done.
Right...? I say that with dishes in the sink, and dirty laundry and maybe 143 important things to do.
Oh that's right... a normal day! And another opportunity to enjoy it. So here I go, off to grab the bull by the horns, yet again!
Hope you're getting the best of anything you get to wrestle today.
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