In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I went to lunch with my friend Marcia today. We used to work together, so we'd talk every day. We don't work together anymore, so when we get together for lunch, we eat and talk very fast, and sometimes all at the same time! Marcia and I used to go "sailing" together. We'd usually go on our lunch hour, and one time we even went on an afternoon break! (shh, don't tell Mike!) You are probably wondering how we would have time to go "sailing" on a lunch hour, or a break. Sailing is what we would call Garage Sailing. Some call it "junking," "thrifting," rummaging," etc. We used to go years ago, when it wasn't cool to go, before the whole "green thing" or "recycling" thing caught on. So today at lunch I told Marcia I went "sailing" on Saturday. She asked what I got. Because it was one of the five conversations we had going at once, I never got a chance to tell her. So I told her to check my blog and I'd post it there! Here are some of the things I got.

Embroidered pillow case. I'm a sucker for anything embroidered.

This material. I have no idea what I will make with it, but I thought it was so pretty. I'm guessing there are about five or six yards of it, but it's kind of a heavy fabric.

This adorable garden doll! Only $3.00!

This is a cotton dish towel. It matches a teapot I have, so I had to get it. Besides being a sucker for pretty material and embroidered things, I'm also a sucker for natural fibers.

I had to get my hubby a surprise, so he got this book, and some shirts.

Did you go sailing? What'd ya get?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Morning Glory Muffins

When my husband and I go on a vacation, I bake muffins or scones, or both, and we take them for breakfast, along with some fruit. It's one less meal to eat out, plus we get our day started off in a relaxed mode. This is one of our favorite muffin recipes. I hope you enjoy them. I usually make stuff to take ahead of time and freeze it, since I'm always frazzled with packing and last minute things to do right before a trip.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups finely shredded carrot
1 cup finely chopped apple
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped nuts
½ cup shredded coconut
3 eggs
¾ cup cooking oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 18 muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Then stir in the carrot, apple, raisins, nuts and coconut.

In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, cooking oil and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients all at once to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Do not over mix.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for five minutes.

This recipe came from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook titled “America’s Best-Loved Community Recipes” The note in the book about this recipe says….

“Ruth Matthew’s recipe for Morning Glory Muffins is an old family favoraite, given to her by her mother. Ruth tells us that she especially likes to serve the muffins around the holidays and to special visitors. We love this recipe just as it is, but if you’d like a different twist, try substituting shredded zucchini for all or part of the shredded carrot.”

Food & Rodents!

Did anyone watch Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution on Friday evening? It's such a great show. I learned how to make processed food from scratch! You just take the back, bones, skin, and anything else no one would want to eat from a chicken, throw it in a food processor and grind it up into mush. Then you push all that gunk through a colander, so as not to choke on a bone that didn't grind up well enough. Add a few powdered items so it'll stick together like pie dough, roll it out, and cut it into circular shapes with a cookie cutter. Then roll it in breading and fry it. Viola' you have chicken nuggets. I've always wondered what part of the chickens gave us those perfectly round shapes. OK - YES I AM BEING SARCASTIC! It really was a GREAT show. I know in America we have a huge weight problem, me included, and Jamie, bless his heart, is trying to help. The least we can do is take an hour out of our evening on Fridays and learn something! It's a weekly series. There was a family on the show that ate nothing but processed food and guess what folks....the overweight boy in the family is borderline diabetic. The Dr. informed them that if he doesn't change his eating habits and lose weight, it will take 30 - 40 years off of his life. Yes years. And yes I said "boy."

On another food note, our local Farmers Market starts this Saturday, April 3. I would like to throw out some challenges for everyone.

1. Grow at least one edible item this year, or buy local. By local I'm talking about from your local farmers, farmers market, etc. Not your local fast food chain.

2. Read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver (or get it on cd and listen to it)

3. Read "Harvest for Hope" by Jane Goodall

4. Watch "Food, Inc." (we rented it at our local video store)

Educate yourself on REAL food. Michael Pollan, another food author, says we have three votes a day, every time we pick up our fork. Let's all change our eating habits together!

Now, on a lighter note, I would like to introduce you to someone (thing) that I have known for years. Meet Stubby.

I know, Stubby is not a pretty name, but we called him/her (I think her) that because she has lost most of her tail. She has been in our neighborhood forever and she is not afraid of us. She is old. Very old. And becoming lazy as you can see by the photo. She laid down to eat one of my home-made dog biscuits. And no, we don't have a dog (yet!) but I made them for a craft show I had back in November. I've been feeding the leftovers to Stubby, along with a few peanuts. Stub wouldn't leave us alone at the craft show! It was on our front porch, and we had to close the door to the porch to make her go away. So cute....for a rodent.

PS - Tomorrow I'll post a good muffin recipe from scratch.

Friday, March 26, 2010

"It's so beautiful!" she said, a little breathless with her speed. "You never saw anything so beautiful! It has come! I thought it had come that other morning, but it was only coming. It is here now! It has come, the Spring!"
Frances Hodgson Burnett

Thursday, March 25, 2010

First Day of Spring

First of all, I'm a little late, but Happy Spring everybody! Last Saturday, March 20, was the first day of Spring, which is my favorite season. What did you do?

I finished a scarf I had been knitting. I love the colors, it reminds me of the ocean. As you can see it's made up of four different yarns and it's a plain garter stitch, but I used big needles. Using bigger needles than what is called for is a great way to make a light-weight, airy, scarf. And putting several yarns together adds texture, and helps use up some of the stash!

Then my husband and I went to a rummage sale. First one this year and a great way to start the spring season! I got a couple of shirts, a linen table cloth, an apron, some stuffing for sewing projects, a frame thing for some kind of lace, of which the name escapes me right now, (nor do I know how to use it) and a bundle of old dishtowels that will mostly be used for rags, but there was a pretty hanky in it and this.....

Does the year 1966 mean anything to anyone? And do you want this cloth calendar? I only have one, so let me know quickly! I was thinking, if you didn't want to hang it on the wall, you could make a bag of some sort out of it. (I'm a bag lady, as well as a bee lady!) Or maybe a pillow???
I also visited with some friends at a stitchery group that I belong to called the "Granny Bees", before coming home to finish packing for a trip. We left on Sunday and just returned in the wee hours this morning.

Can you guess where I went? Remember, pictures can be deceiving!
PS - I think it's called hairpin lace...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rock & Roses

Look what my darling hubby bought me this week. And they were for no reason at all, which is really the best reason to get flowers, wouldn't you agree?

Then, when we were at Hilltop farm (which really isn't a farm at all!) he picked this up off of the ground and handed it to me. He dug it up earlier, and thought of me when he saw it. Sweet.
I know, a rock? But do you see the heart shape?
And after examining the rock, I wondered if it might have been a 'tool' of some sort that a Native-American woman used for food preparation. It has a groove in it that fits the palm of my hand just perfect, and one side is completely flat. Maybe she ground some sort of grain with it. Maybe her darling husband gave it to her for a gift. Did he give it to her to grind grain, or because it was heart shaped?
We were told "Indians" lived on our land years and years ago. We can't help but think of them when we're at the farm.
Anyway, you have to be a real nature person to enjoy getting rocks as a gift. A friend of mine gave this rock to me last summer. As the two of us walked through the park, we looked up at some clouds, and this EXACT smily face was smiling back at us, made up of clouds! Amazing.

May the Lord smile on you this weekend!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Can you guess what these pictures have in common?

I'll give you a hint....think color.
I was wondering what ever happened to the leprechaun from Lucky Charm's cereal? Do they even sell Lucky Charm's anymore? Remember how they were magicially delicious? And is it just me, or did the Pillsbury Dough boy and the Lucky Charm's leprechaun sound like the same person?
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Home-made Laundry Soap

Yesterday I made some batches of home-made laundry soap. I've been using it for a few years now, and really like it. It's easy to make and best of all, it's VERY inexpensive. Give it a try.

Laundry soap recipe

1 - 5.5 ounce bar of Fels Naphtha
Washing Soda (not baking soda)
Borax Powder
1 tablespoon of essential oil (optional – I don’t add essential oil. The soap smells fresh as it is)
2 – gallon jugs – You can recycle gallon vinegar jugs, distilled water jugs, milk jugs, etc. (get six jugs if you want to use all of the fels naptha soap)

Grate 1/3 of the bar of soap and put it in a large saucepan with 6 cups of water over medium heat. Heat the mixture until the soap melts.

Add ½ cup of the washing soda, ½ cup of the borax, and 1 tablespoon of essential oil (if desired), stirring constantly until all has dissolved.
Let it sit for 5 minutes over the heat stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and let sit for another 5 minutes.
Using a funnel put half the mixture in each gallon jug.

Fill each jug halfway with hot water and shake well. Continue to fill the jug to the top with hot water. Shake again, and put aside for about 24 hours. This gels up and looks like egg whites.

Use ½ to 2/3 cup per load. This soap won’t suds up like most detergents and the clothes smell wonderful.

You can add ½ cup of white vinegar to soften the clothes.
All ingredients can be found in the laundry aisle of the grocery store, usually on the top shelf.
Stock up for yourself and give some as gifts.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Signs of spring in our back yard. Notice the honey bees on the crocuses!

If you've never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom. -Audra Foveo (Quote found in Mary Jane's Farm magazine April-May 2010 issue)

Signs of Spring

You know how when you're a kid and you go to the fair and you hear the music from the carnival atmosphere and you get all excited inside? Well, that's how I feel when I hear a robin singing for the first time each spring. Oh they're around in the winter months, but they don't sing. Last night, I was getting in the car to go to a meeting, and I heard a robin singing! I had to run back in the house and tell my husband. And this morning, I heard it again! I think spring has sprung....finally. It's been a long winter with snow on the ground since the end of November. Robin's singing make me happy!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New Beginnings

I've thought about opening a blog spot for a long time now, but always had an excuse for not doing so. Mainly, I'm on dial-up and it's so slow. But this is the year I've decided to try new things. I guess it took a new decade to get me motivated! Now realize trying new things for me would be crocheting granny squares, embroidery, joining a stitchery group of women who are way more talented than I am....stuff like that. But hey, it's a start. I hope you enjoy my blog spot, and I hope I do too! I hope I can offer encouragement, inspiration, and a few tips on gardening & crafts, and I hope I stick with it. So far so good!