Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cottage Notes

*~*Inspired to dress Victorian*~*
The wild roses are in full bloom!
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We discovered ornamental plum trees that are surrounded by the climbing roses.
The fruit is small (about 1") and tart if not completely ripe.
But hey, since it's edible I harvest as many as I can!
It really is quite beautiful, although the many thorns and briers keep it interesting...lol
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The thing about these roses is that they bloom ALL at once, then perish all together in a week or two. I usually bring some inside to dry, & my sister has been pressing them for keepsakes. However, I'm always on the lookout for more recipes/crafts that use roses!
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Red potato blossom...

~Fresh eggs

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Our dear friends came to visit us at the Cottage today!
It was a blessing to spend time with them, and much laughter and many stories were shared together as we ate on the front porch! It was a full day, we had a delightful time :)
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"The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee; but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory."
Isaiah 60:19
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Adding a boost of flavor to Sweet Tea...
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My Mother started saving the fruit juice (from canned fruit) and freezing it into ice cubes!
We use these fruity cubes in our Sweet Tea, and it adds so much flavor!
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ps) I've been using White or Green Tea (instead of regular black tea)
and we all really enjoy it!

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Quote to ponder on...

My "Narrow Road" photo from 2008
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This testimony has been a blessing and encouragement to me,
and I thought I'd share it with you!
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"I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The dye has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won't look back, let up, slow down, or back away.
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My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap giving and dwarfed goals.
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I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognised, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk with patience, live by prayer and labor with power.
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My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my guide is reliable, my mission is clear. I can not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed.
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I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
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I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, spoken for the case of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me.
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My banner is clear. I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed."
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--A final testimony by an African Christian just before he was martyred for his faith.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Honeysuckle Rose Jelly

As a Mothers Day gift, I thought it would be nice to 'capture' the floral fragrance around the cottage, so I decided to use a lovely combination of Honeysuckle blossoms and Rose petals.
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I used 2 cups rose petals, and 1 cup of Honeysuckle blossoms.
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I poured 2 cups boiling water over the flowers
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This is what it looked like immediately after the boiling water.
I then placed a heavy plate over it to keep in the heat whilst it pressed the flowers.
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I let the infusion "steep" for 6 hours.
(By this time it's late at night...remember I'm keeping this a secret from my Mother..lol everyone's in bed and I'm in the kitchen...)
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I was *so* glad the infusion came out naturally pink! Perfect :)
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Pour the infusion in saucepan with 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 tsp calcium water. Then bring to a boil.

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I recently found out about Pomona's Universal Pectin which allows you to make low sugar, honey, & fruit juice sweetened jellies and jams! I *really* dislike all the sugar required for more traditional recipes, so this was the perfect alternative!
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I mixed 2 tsp pectin into 1/2 cup raw honey
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After bringing the infusion mixture to a boil, I poured in the honey/pectin, then brought that to a boil, then removed from heat.
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I then poured the "jelly" into 3 sterilized jars, and screwed on the hot lids.
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I put the jars in a rolling-boil water bath for 10 mins.
Then you're done! I put the jars in my room for safe-keeping.
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The petals and blossoms could all fit in my hand by the time they were strained :)
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The day before Mothers Day we traveled on the back roads through all the small towns on our way to SC to visit my Grandmother. The scenery makes the trip so much more interesting! We were able to pick up a few
vintage finds along the way.
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My Mother was so surprised that I was able to make jelly from our very own flowers at the Cottage! The taste is very delicate and fragrant--we all enjoyed it!

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Here's my Mother relaxing outside with a cup of tea, an issue of MaryJane's Farm, and crackers garnished w/ cream cheese and Honeysuckle rose jelly.
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On our way home, we were able to visit our dear friends that we hadn't seen in a while! Their Homestead is beautiful, and it's always a treat to be able to fellowship with them :)
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Mothers in the garden

Ladies at the strawberry bed...

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Ah, the Garden.

It was so nice to talk to kindred spirits about the blessings of staying at home and learning new skills as we endeavor to self-sufficiency!

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In the kitchen...

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As families began to arrive at their home, I was sharing w/ the ladies about my desire to have an Edwardian Bathing dress for the summer! I found a dress to fix up, but I really wanted puff sleeves for the antique look. As we talked of sewing, one lady drew me a pattern, and explained the best way to take out and cut the existing sleeves. It was alot of fun, and I'm looking forward to showing y'all how it works out!

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Before we left, we were given 5 laying hens!

Inspired by the BBC movies, "Cranford" and "Bleak House"2005) the ladies are: Miss Mattie, Miss Pole, Lady Ludlow, Mademoiselle Hortense, & Mrs. Forrester

Ah, it's so nice to have chickens again!

We're enjoying gathering the eggs everyday :)
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I'm an admirer of native grasses and flowers, so as the Dewberry vines grow, it's been a delight to discover all the different varieties of plants that come up as well. So although the back of the property looks untamed and wild..I love it. The thorn-filled vines that would've been mowed (for cosmetic reasons) can now thrive--plus provide us with beneficial fruit!
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"Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens,
and eat the fruit of them." Jeremiah 29:5


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What we've been up to...


Thanks to many of my readers' interest, we're going to try and have the 2010 Old fashioned Picnic on Saturday October 2nd!! It will be held in the same location, click here for last years details.

If you're planning on attending, please email me with the following info:

Family name, number of individuals, and where you're from. Within the next week or two I will personally email you the invitation w/ more detailed info.
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My sister had been crocheting the hexagon shapes as a side project, and when she had enough to use, it took about two weeks to put this bag together.

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She lined the tote using her worn denim skirt, which I thought was a fun idea! She used the pattern in the Crochet Today Mar/April 2009 magazine.
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My Mother in the parlour sewing curtains...

I have so many projects going on (and not enough time!!) but I'm attempting to sew a skirt that will not easily snag when berry picking. I'm using a beige heavy denim.
My sister is also working on a skirt..her own pattern though :)
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Perfect weather for doing lessons outside! As of late, my sister has been giving piano lessons to my brother-- so that's been a fun, new challenge for him!
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Our latest Living History event was located in a small town...My goodness, the surrounding meadows and historic homes were beautiful!!
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I assisted Mr. and Mrs. Greene at the Mercantile...
this original building dates back to 1811!

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Down the lane, my sister helped out the ladies inside...
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She prepared and wrapped bandages...
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We had a delightful time, and it was a treat to fellowship with some of the re-enactors and meet new friends!
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What I've been doing....

I have two 30 ft. rows of red potatoes--during this overcast weather we've had, I've been "earthing up" around them. All my family members have their own plants/gardens they're taking care of, so we've been busy! We keep saying "Why not?" everytime we find a packet of seeds, lol! Goodness, to say we'll have variety at the end of the season may be an understatement!

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Talk to you soon :)