Even though it is officially summer and the strawberries are in season, I had oranges on my counter that we weren’t eating and it was a rainy Saturday. Thus, orange marmalade seemed like a good idea. I’m not sure why orange marmalade seems to have such a bad rap. You say marmalade and people always seem to wrinkle up their noses. Personally, I love the tangy, chewy and sweet sticky goodness that makes up a marmalade. Orange isn’t everyone’s favorite flavor, but I find it to be the perfect thing on toast and even to pair with peanut butter on a sandwich.
A friend of mine that also makes her own jellies and jams said she never tried making marmalades because they seem like too much work and they seem fussy. I feel the same way about jellies – all that cooking, stirring and straining! Marmalades may take time in slicing the fruit, but they are quicker to me than Read More…
I’ve never been one for fads or crazes. There is something about everyone going gaga over something that puts me off. I don’t know if it’s because I tend to not follow the crowd or I get sick of hearing about it or having people tell me I’ll love it and I just “have to” try it. Take Harry Potter for example. It took me ages to finally pick up the book and read the first one. It was everywhere and I think I just got turned off because of the intense hype. I’m pretty sure it took a few years before I read it, as in the third or even fourth book was out. Of course then I was completely hooked and couldn’t get enough of that series, and joined the pinning fans as we waited for the rest of the books, and then movies, to be released.
And so it seems I had the same reaction to mug cakes. They have been a big deal for a while now. I’ve just seen that Betty Read More…
I don’t know about you, but I have multiple signs of spring. We wait to hear the sound of geese flying back north. I love watching the different song birds at our feeder. Recently we saw an Evening Grosbeak! Mud season is of course a dead ringer for spring. And, a big one, maple week. Maple week means the trees are sensing something deep in their roots all the way to the tips of their branches. Spring is coming and the days are warmer. The nights might still be dipping down into the freezing temperatures, but at least the days are making us feel like we are on our way to spring.
This unfortunately doesn’t mean we are in the clear. We’ve recently had proof of that with a big storm that blew through New England and from what the weather folks are saying, we have another potential Nor’easter on the way. BUT, maple week is officially here in Vermont and that means we are all doing a small victory dance that we made it this far through winter!
Driving around the area, one finds sap buckets nailed to trees, bigger totes or collection tanks along the roads with blue, white and black tubing snaking it’s way through the trees, and steam billowing out from the tops of sugar houses. Sometimes, driving along the back roads, you can just about smell Read More…
I have always struggled to keep my rosemary plants alive over the winter months. Basically it seems a lost cause to continue to try to winter over that particular plant in the house. I can’t tell if I over-water or they just don’t get the sunlight they need. In the past I’m pretty sure they died due to over-watering. All my other plants seem to enjoy moist soil. Most herbs don’t like to keep their feet wet, but they survive with some even thriving. Rosemary, however, is a very unhappy winter visitor to my home. This year, I kept the water to the minimum. Maybe keeping them a bit too dry?
The plant dried up looking like I left it in the desert. I had been doing so well with it too! This year was “the year” I thought. I usually don’t get this far, with my rosemary plants dying before Christmas. This time, we made it to February. Everything looked okay. Then, the other day I glanced at the plant Read More…
I know, I know, Valentine’s Day is just another “Hallmark” holiday, one that is just there for commercial purposes instead of having any real
significance. In fact, it seems the legend behind the whole Valentine’s Day is murky and filled with speculation of it originating from Catholic saints to pagan fertility festivals. Interestingly, the idea of a “Valentine’s card” goes all the way back to the middle ages. Even with all this shadowed past and profitable present, I still love Valentine’s Day simply because that means making so many cute crafts and yummy food creations!
We are a household that doesn’t save saying “I love you” for just the one day a year. We do however get a little cute and creative for this holiday because, why not? Why not make a funny card or bake a fabulous cake to celebrate?
One of my all-time favorite Valentine’s Day recipes is our cute-as-a-button heart-hand pies! These are so fun to make as a family and are a delicious way to celebrate!
Another over-the-top Valentine’s Day recipe that we have baked for the past three years is our cranberry pound cake – a great treat with it’s sweet yet sour component. The tart cranberries in the super moist, super buttery pound cake is a huge hit and I am always asked for the Read More…
I had joked that towards the beginning of October that it was so warm that in typical fashion, the
weather would turn just in time for all the kids to have to wear their parkas on Halloween. Sure enough, the day before you could have walked around in shorts but the night of trick-or-treating, a cold wind swept through that meant bundling up in layers underneath costumes. We still had a blast with my two nieces that night and the youngest one “got” Halloween for the first time and was excited to knock on doors and say “trick-or-treat!” She had originally planned to be a unicorn but was too shy as we had all exclaimed how adorable she was in that costume. Instead she rocked the “old movie star” look, complete with pearls and a fake fur coat. Not sure where she got that style but she sure looked adorable (but we didn’t mention it for fear she would ditch that costume too!).
We threw an impromptu Halloween party for some friends and family that same weekend and had a good time catching up with people we hadn’t seen since before we moved to Maine. The highlight of the party was my homemade pumpkin puke platter…..all I did was carve a cute little pumpkin and place on a tray with dip and pretzels. Super cute, super easy!
A few days after Halloween, we were back to the mid-60’s and I used it to my advantage on the first weekend to clean up the garden. The only thing left is the kale and brussel sprouts but I don’t think I’ll Read More…
This last week flew right by and here it is already Sunday afternoon. A balmy 71 degrees October 15th Sunday afternoon. I’m sitting on my porch listening to the chipmunks chirp and the chickens cluck wearing a t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops. This seems a bit odd considering this time last year we were wearing multiple layers. It all makes me wonder what is going to happen when the snow starts
coming down. My favorite time of year is fall so I hope we get some of that weather soon! Until then, I’m keeping my summer clothes in the closet.
Saturday was a busy day for us and was lots of fun! I started my morning frosting a cake I had baked Friday night after work. I can do pretty decent boarders and some swirls but one thing I would really like to learn is to do frosting flowers. Roses in particular, but any real frosting flower would be terrific to learn how to do along with realistic looking leaves. I watched a few how-to videos online but after fighting with the frosting for a good while, I gave up and resorted to my usual star-like flowers and Read More…
It’s been a few crazy months here on the farm. July and August were all about playing catch-up on the farm. Fixing up the garden with new dirt, new fencing, weeding, planting, and keeping it all growing. For having started the garden so late in the season, with the extreme warm September and October weather, the growing season was extended enough that we’ve been enjoying fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, kale, basil and peppers right up to today.
While the garden and chickens have been happy and healthy, we have been a bit stressed coming back to everything and rushing to catch up. Both of us found jobs over the summer (well, I had moved back knowing I had an offer and started a few weeks after our return) and have been working hard. Unfortunately, we are working hard at things neither of us enjoy, which has lead to a bit of frustration. We keep reminding ourselves that we moved back to Vermont for a reason. Jobs are few and far between in this area but we have kept looking and will continue to do so until we find jobs in our fields. Until then, strong coffee, pep-talks, wine on the porch, and chicken hugs keep us going.
Moving back to be near family has been lovely. Our nieces love having us closer and we enjoying being back to a steady part of their lives. The oldest who turns six this month did her first sleep over with us and it was a great success. She is a girl after my own heart and enjoys gardening and chicken tending as much as I do. She spent almost all her time with the “girls” and they received more treats than usual that day. While she claimed that she Read More…
This past weekend we decided to take a long day trip and see some of the sights I remembered as a kid vacationing to Maine. With a cooler packed with sandwiches, water and pretzels, we set off.
First stop was to visit Tenant’s Harbor. A lovely little town where my parents lived for 12 years back in the 1970’s.
We even found the house they owned and stopped to snap a photo.
If you continue to drive past Tenant’s Harbor to the end of the peninsula in Port Cylde, there is the historic and rather famous Marshall Point Lighthouse where Tom Hanks concluded his cross- Read More…
Lately I have been reading and rereading one of my favorite cozy mystery series, Tea Shop Mysteries, by Laura Childs. She is one of my favorite writers and I adore her Tea Shop books that bring me back to my visits to Charleston, South Carolina. Set in the old part of town, the main character owns the “Indigo Tea Shop” and always seems to stumble upon dead bodies. With the help of her tea shop employees and good friends, no murderer gets away! Her tea menus always have me drooling over not only the amazing teas she serves but the food and desserts served to her patrons. The latest book I read was her Tea Shop Mystery #12 Scones & Bones that had me thinking of delicious scones the whole time.
Contrary to popular belief, scones do NOT have to be dry, crumbly bricks that have no taste! Scones can be light, fluffy pillows of perfection with sweet or savory ingredients. They are perfect with a cup of tea, as a breakfast, lunch, snack, or dessert treat and very easy to make.
Since this book had me drooling over scones, I decided to make a batch this weekend. My pantry was in short supply and I didn’t want
a traditional sweet scone, so into the fridge I went. We had a leftover package of sliced deli ham as well as half a bag of shredded cheddar cheese. PERFECT!