Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter's Eve

My sister bringing in pine, nandena leaves & berries
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For the past few years, the way we celebrate this holiday season has really become more homespun, centered around simplicity, and giving honor to the Lord in our everyday living. So we decided to spend a special Winter's Eve by sharing stories, exchanging gifts, and feasting on a humble meal together by candlelight.
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I picked Collards to add to "Cottage Pie"
(a lighter version of Shepherds Pie)
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Handmade clothespin dolls

Given to us by a dear friend, these sweet dolls are even complete with petticoats! One is holding the Word, and the other is spinning wool ;)

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Mother creating a serene atmosphere

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Fresh vegetables & barley for the Cottage Pie
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Candid shot of Mother preparing to re-arrange...
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Fabric, Ribbons & lace.
Brown paper & cotton string...
these are our wrapping materials
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A dear reader sent us wool from her recently shorn sheep!
So far my sister has spun a few skeins of wool with the drop spindle, & hopefully we'll get carders as well...so some fun projects are coming soon :)
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We each received a handwritten letter from my Dad...
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My sister reading through her 'new' antique books
While we finished our spiced chai tea and ginger cookies, poems and scriptures were read aloud.

And as this year gently comes to a close, all I can feel is gratitude and anticipation, as I truly feel that every year just gets better and better. Just being aware that this life is a journey, a gift really! And making a decision to enjoy every bend and turn along the path, as I content myself in Christ and desire to grow spiritually. Never losing sight of His faithfulness & beautiful gift of salvation :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A reflective week.


On the bookshelf...
The chilly weather has inspired a marathon of warm sweaters, soups, tea & books. Quiet activities fill our days...the record player is always in use--the vintage melodies brightening our afternoons.
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A corner of the parlour...
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I take delight in the simple things.
Morning light shining through the parlour window.
Interior surroundings--cozy chairs, warm blankets, good books.
The texture of the cottage walls.
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Frost covered Garlic sprouts
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A feather light sprinkling of ice crystals, being warmed by the morning sun.
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A border of wild grasses leading up the path...

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"God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December."
-J. M. Barrie
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Making my way back down to the Cottage...
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*.*The frost-covered driveway*.*
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"Then, no matter how plain, simple or old-fashioned your home may be, the sacred friendships beneath its roof will transfigure it all." J.R. Miller

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I'm so thankful for the dear, dear friendship I have with my sister. We're constantly making each other laugh!!Our family has gone through alot of transition in the past 2 years, and it truly has drawn us all closer together as a household.

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Wild Petunias against the porch

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We've been feeding the chickens raw oats lately (mixed in with household scraps/mash) and it has boosted their egg production! I can't understand why that is, but we're enjoying the benefits :)

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~Rosemary~

I love this evergreen herb! I use it for so many things:

Fresh in cooking, As a hair oil {for hair growth}, steeped as a hair rinse {gives shine to dark hair}, repelling Mosquito's {from yard area}, Steam treatment {to open up/relieve common symptoms of cold/flu/bronchitis}
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Feeding Chickens at Tuskegee University
"We must not only become reliable, progressive, skillful and intelligent, but we must keep the idea constantly before our youths that all forms of labor, whether with the hand or head, are honorable."

~Booker T. Washington

With every generation, it seems a few more old-fashioned skills are slowly becoming obsolete. I'm so glad I'm not trying to go with the flow of society anymore! There's so much freedom being able to step back and pursue what you really want to do, no matter how "outdated" it may seem to some.

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Students taking courses in Home Economics

I've volunteered to teach classes on canning next year for the ladies & girls in our church. I'm not an expert, but I'd just love to share this joy with others, especially younger girls. I feel this is just one (of many) rewarding avenues of home productivity.

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Our refrigerator recently stopped cooling! So for a few days we were able to make do without it-- I just baked more (breads, muffins, crackers etc) and we ate soups, root vegetables, fresh greens & homemade canned goods. It really wasn't too different from our normal menu, however, it was a good lesson not to rely/take for granted our appliances ;)

(And for my brother to start digging the root cellar!)

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"Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things." ~Elise Boulding
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::A day of re-enacting::

Yesterday I traveled down to the coast for an event. It was a rainy & chilly day, so the ladies stayed inside the farmhouse... It was fun to be able to get to know everyone better, since we weren't in strict first person/character roles.
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The fresh-churned butter turned out so light and delicious!

I brought homemade bread, so we were able to have a nice snack while the stew cooked over the fire...

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Knitting and sewing as we talked.
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What a lovely combination: A rocking chair, dress & apron.
~ Near the hearth, preparation of the evening meal begins
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Learning the art of basket weaving
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That evening, all the re-enactors gathered at the farmhouse to partake in the meal.
It was a nice event, and as always, a rewarding experience.
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Hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Living a quiet Life

"That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving,
and tell of all thy wondrous works." Psalm 26:7
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My brother baking his first Apple pie for Thanksgiving...
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Never Fail Flaky Pie Crust
*3 cups flour, *1.5 cups butter/margerine, *1/2 tsp salt, *5 TBsp cold water, *1 egg, *1 TBsp vinegar.
Combine flour, butter & salt. Mix well. Combine water, vinegar and egg. Mix all ingredients together w/ fork. Add flour if necessary. Divide dough into 2 balls, one for crust, other for cutting into strips for the top of pie.
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Deep Dish Apple Pie
I used my cast iron skillet as the 'pie pan'.
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored and sliced
1 TBsp Cinnamon
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Melt butter in a sauce pan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add sugars and water; bring to a boil.
Reduce temperature, and simmer 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Coat apples with cinnamon. Fill until mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work of crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over all the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 to 40 minutes.
It was Delicious. Fantastic. Spectacular. lol!!
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Chopping up fresh picked collard greens
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I hope everyone had a lovely Holiday!
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The simplicity of a chilly morning
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Having fun in the Garden
My Dad brought home two bundles of local sweet Vidalia onion sets!
I couldn't wait to get them in the ground, so I spent all day yesterday planting them :)
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The night before, I soaked them in water (for a head start) and spaced them 4" apart, with 12" between the rows. Doing this for almost 250 onions got a little tedious, lol!!
We have dry sandy soil, so incorporating compost into the beds (and covering w/ leaves) has really improved the soil...although we still have a long way to go :)
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Hopefully I'll be able to plant more before it gets too cold!
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Cottage Schooling
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My brother was reading his McGuffey reader in a crazy accent,
so there was alot of laughing going on :)
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Rainy day art projects...
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The beauty of Spinning
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My sister has found a new interest in Spinning,
and so using our own cotton (we just collect it as it blows into the road from next-door)..
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She hand-spun it using a homemade drop spindle!
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She got really creative with it, using a long crochet needle, an old CD & gauze (to hold it in place). She's getting better at it everyday...apparently cotton fibers are short, so it's a bit harder than spinning wool.
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The view of our little Cottage from the back...
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It was very windy today!

The crunch and rustle of the leaves instantly makes a simple walk outdoors a pleasant experience.
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Turnip greens...
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Kale
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Collard greens amongst the fallen leaves...
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Save the Dishes!
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Instead of throwing away cracked/unusable china, why not re-use them outside?
For years, my Mother has saved a few dishes to use as a nice border in the grass. This one is in front of our porch...
~ Tucked away, and off the path they're a fun touch :) Behind roses, against a fence...
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Mother and our loveable dog Ol' Yeller
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Looking up at the leaves...
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We still have small pears on our tree, and they're beautiful as natural decor! I was wearing my new linen dress (please excuse the oversize sleeves!)
~ The leaves of Autumn...the golden hues of the season. ~ On the porch, we have an antique container that we fill with pear branches and other decor inside.
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Take time to relax and enjoy the simple joys of today :)
Often we can spend entirely too much time on the details, and not enough on what really matters!
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