Monday, April 26, 2010

Harvesting Edible blossoms

For lunch, I thought it would be nice to incorporate flowers in the meal...So I went out to the garden and harvested a few of the blossoms from our Collard greens.

We're allowing the Collards to go on ahead and bloom so that we can save the seeds and re-plant them later! However, I didn't expect the "bolting" to be so pleasant, the yellow color really is a nice sight. The blossoms have a sweet fragrance, and mild/green flavor.

I've been able to harvest a handful of Strawberries everyday, and to use these up I thought I'd incorporate the berries into the floral salad.

Strawberry Dressing
1 cup of Oil (light oils are best)
3 TBsp red wine vinegar & 3 TBsp balsamic vinegar

3 TBsp Strawberry jam, 1 TBsp sugar

Fresh strawberries...
I crush the berries in a separate bowl...
It measured out to 1 cup of crushed Strawberries,
add this to mixture.
Whisk until combined!
It's quite a tangy dressing, and it makes approx. 2 cups
(organic Rose petals are also edible, so I sprinkled petals
with the collard blossoms over the salad leaves)
Pour the dressing over the greens (I had some fresh fruit salad on the side)

We all ate lunch on the front porch; I sat on the steps to enjoy the "tastes" of Spring! ps) I was wearing a bonnet while outside, so that's the dark blue fabric you see :)

A few more photo's:

Mother's climbing "Cecile Brunner" rose is filled with tiny, perfect blooms!


My brother showing Mother his Pumpkin patch...

"All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs; under its branches all the beasts of the field gave birth to their young, and under its shadow lived all great nations." Ezekiel 31:6

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lady of the house pt.2/Coming Home

Since I have returned home to the Cottage, I have been remiss in posting my second update! Thank you all for your encouraging comments, prayers and advice--it was very much appreciated!
Goodness, little ones are so active! My Mother just laughed when I told her how tired I was by the end of the day, but eventually I just got used to the late nights and early mornings!
I do have to say that I really enjoyed cooking everyday! I make large sized meals, and the leftovers and baked goods always seem to come in handy! Also, I made sure to have a hot meal/casserole ready for the parents when they arrived.

On Monday, we had Messy French Muffins for breakfast {w/ yogurt and apple slices} The Muffins were soo good, y'all! Have you tried the recipe yet? :)


After lunch, I thought it would be fun to take a nature walk outdoors....

My theme verse was 1 Thessalonians 3:5--
"Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ."

"Mirror Reflections"

I took this photo as the youngest and I were on the floor talking & playing in front of the mirror before I departed for home :)

Returning to the Cottage

It's wonderful to be back home! As you could probably tell from my lack of posting, :) I haven't been inside as much...I've been enjoying the outdoors.

Everything is so green.

My view from the garden...

Heirloom Tomatoes

So far we have a few varieties: Rutgers, Cherokee Purple, Yellow pear, Striped German and Red Beefsteak. I also have a few more that aren't heirloom :) In my upcoming post, I'll be sharing about our other fruits/veggies that are growing!


Using Newspaper as Mulch

To control weeds, for the past few days I've been laying down newspaper next to the plants, then covering that w/ a thick layer of wood mulch. I'm just going to continue to add more mulch to block all sunlight that those weeds are getting! So far it's working!


While we were all working on our various projects, my sister made a beautiful bouquet from a few of our blooming roses! Ah, lovely.

Well, if you're looking for me, I'll be outside--wearing my hat n' apron, planting seeds, and just enjoying the outdoors!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lady of the house pt.1

The past two days have been really full!
I'm *so* thankful for the advice you graciously shared {via the comment section}. I decided not to have a detailed schedule, and just focus on my tasks--to run the household smoothly, and give every attention to my 'young charges'. :)
Friday Meals:
Breakfast: Homemade Pancakes, Homemade syrup, freshly whipped cream & strawberries for garnish. Also, scrambled eggs.
Lunch: Make-your-own "Sub" sandwiches, chips & Fruit salad
Snacks: I made homemade chocolate-covered granola bars (enough to last until Monday!) and popcorn.
Dinner: Homemade Pizza ^above picture^. It's basically vegetarian w/ a bit of turkey meat.
"Miaaaa! Will you paint with me??"
For many months now, I've been able to meet and be in the company of some inspirational young women who delight, well, THRIVE in their role as wife and mother. It's been a joy to observe and marvel at the patience they show with their blessings..and the testimony of grace really softened my heart and my thinking on the subject of childcare. Because, dear readers, it's one thing to read/hear all about it, but it's another thing to SEE it. Genuinely lived out daily.
With all that being said, I determined to have that attitude during this weekend! Not that I am looking for a formula, but it was just an encouragement for me in that area. I don't desire to put on a "50's homemaker smile", I want to be genuine in my spirit, and have a heartfelt love for the Blessings that the Lord has allowed me to care for--and smile at THAT thought.
^The eldest woke this morning with a stomach-ache, so I quickly made some hot tea sweetened with raw honey and put in a slice of fresh ginger. ^
It's been so freeing to know that we have nothing planned on the agenda...all I have to do is just be available.

Saturday Meals

Breakfast: Whole grain cereal w/ Milk. Fresh fruit.

Lunch: Homemade French Fries ^above picture^ and leftovers

Snack: The granola bars...everyone really enjoys them!

Dinner: Asian style Orange Chicken and vegetables w/ Jasmine rice

The youngest watering the Vegetables...

It's been fun to cook in the kitchen w/ the youngest.. When searching for ingredients, I'm sweetly asked, "Mia? What do we need? I'll help you!" and that just melts my heart!
I hope you enjoyed this little update!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

An Update

We recently returned from a 4-day family conference here in GA...It was very inspiring to meet w/ other individuals from all over the country, and I even met more blog readers, which was a delight, as always!

It was absolutely refreshing to be surrounded w/ young men and women proudly living a Christ-centered lifestyle! The comaraderie of knowing "you're not alone in this" was amazing. On the last day I even had a chance to bring out my guitar and sing before we parted. I look forward to sharing my thoughts/notes soon :)

We're continuing to work on projects around the Cottage--
replacing old doors, painting the trim etc.
Ah, don't you just love this warm weather ?
Getting out into the garden before the "heat of the day" has been challenging. I've been sowing seeds, and preparing beds. The weeding can be so tedious!
Whenever someone walks by and asks what I'm doing, I reply dryly, "Picking grass...blade by blade." lol! I told my dad we should just get into the sod business :)
Don't worry, I've got the solution to all these weeds (heh.) I need more layers of Mulch!
hmm, easier said than done.
"Ode to Organic Gardening..."
Red potatoes
Well, I dug a few rows, mixed in wood ash, then planted my seed potato pieces. I planted almost all Red potatoes, and a few Russet. They seem to be doing well :)
My Pole beans and Okra are finally coming up!
I planted them directly outside last week.
After we finished working outside, and it was time for Dinner, we spontaneously decided to eat up at the top of the property, to "catch the Sunset".
Mother grabbed her pot of soup, My dad & brother brought the blankets, My sister and I brought up the drinks, dishes & silverware. And we started running up to the back-- we didn't want to miss it!

It was lovely to eat out-of-doors, as the sun was setting.
The animals (Dog and cats) followed us, and entertained us with their antics! When dinner was finished, we walked around the property before going inside. Ah, nothing beats eating together outside on a warm evening :)

Today my Mother started her Spring/Summer menu planning. During the warmer months, we try to keep meals simple and fresh, and baking is minimal. (Our stove *heats up* our kitchen!) We had wonderful conversation about eating organic/local foods. All year we've used local raw honey on a daily basis, and I believe it's really prevented many potential sick days or serious allergy flare-ups :)
Floral pathway at the entrance of the Woods...
New Project

My dear readers, I'm going to be "running a household" for the next four days. I'll be caring for four children, planning & cooking all the meals, cleaning, wearing aprons and all that good stuff :) This will be a new experience for me, as her youngest is under 3 and I'll be doing all this myself!

I'll try to update every evening. Although the next few days may be challenging, I'm looking forward to it, because THIS is what I hope to be and do one day. There are some areas in homemaking I feel I need to grow in, so this should get interesting. :)
Any tips or advice?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Thoughts, Vintage Living

"He is not here; for he has risen, as he said." Matthew 28:6a

I hope everyone had a blessed Resurrection weekend! We had friends from the Atlanta area {that we haven't seen in years} stay at the Cottage for the weekend! It was a good time of "catching up", productively working on outdoor projects together, and sharing about our homesteading vision.

Lately I've really been in a "reflective state of mind" thinking about:

*The Death, Burial, and Resurrection of our Lord (!!!)

*My responsibility as a daughter, sister, friend, light for Christ

*Using this time (while I'm unmarried) to be as productive/industrious as I can. Now that I've graduated, I have alot more extra time and many resources.

*Growing in my knowledge of scripture...not just head knowledge, but applying it to my daily walk, and hiding/memorizing verses in my heart.

Apron in the making....

I purchased 2 yards of gingham checked fabric, and am attempting to hand sew a 19th century apron. I'm using this free pattern HERE for directions. My project is half done, but I'm enjoying the outdoors so much, that I've been neglecting it. I'll bring it into the woods w/ me tomorrow and stitch there.

Speaking of the woods, now you know about my favorite hiding place :)

The dappled light, whispering winds, sounds/antics of surrounding birds and nature is the perfect atmosphere for prayer and thoughts.....and photography :)


By the by, I was wondering if anyone of you can identify this flowering tree. It stands out in a lovely shade of fragrance-free purple blossoms, with delicate green foliage. If I can find a smaller tree, I may try transplanting it nearer to the Cottage :)


My Mother has been working diligently on the front porch and her Herb garden area :)

"But a wife's ministry of mercy reaches outside her own doors. Every true home is an influence of beauty in the community where it stands." J.R. Miller 'Homemaking' 1882

As we've been working on fixing up the Cottage this past year, it's been encouraging to see the positive {and curious!} response from our neighbors! This morning as my Mother and I were working outside, an older woman stopped by just to encourage us; and invited us to come fish 'over yonder' at her pond anytime :) Which is exciting to me, because I love to go fishing when I get an opportunity!

Getting to know our neighbors/gaining their trust is really important to us, especially since we're in a moderately rural area.

My strawberries have multiplied! I haven't separated the runners though, so now they've become established. I'll just see what they do, and I may transplant later. maybe.

"God grant that I may live upon this earth
And face the tasks which every morning brings
And never lose the glory and the worth
Of humble service and the simple things."
Edgar A. Guest

Today my sister and I dressed 1950's style...

We discovered some Carolina Jasmine vines near the woods, so I tucked a few sprigs into my hair, and turned on the record player to enjoy the vintage melodies indoors.


My sister coming inside to join me...
We took some antique books with us outside to read in the shade of the Oak tree

I so enjoy the bursts of color of these vibrant flowers as I walk up to the back of the property.
Spring is officially here!!