Saturday, November 24, 2012

A glimpse into everyday life.

The months have passed by rapidly, my dear friends!
As I've observed the neighboring fields grow white with cotton ready to harvest, and wild grass growing higher by the day, I realize that I've gone an entire season without journaling!
I do appreciate your patience--please know that I've missed sharing my thoughts with you ;)
The pear trees did well this year! It's always a delight to go into the orchard to harvest a few.
 We had an abundance of late cucumbers, so I made about a dozen pints of sweet pickles. I'm so excited about them--So if you happen to stop by the cottage, I'll be sure to give you a jar of course :)
The cottage has been under-construction!
For the past few weeks, we've been taking down our old walls in order to create an open space. What a joy it has been to see it slowly change..Now we'll have more room for guests!
Lately, I've had wonderful opportunities to help out at several state parks.
I enjoy spending time in the old cabins--demonstrating open hearth cooking, bringing to life the abandoned garden, or just sharing about rural 19th century living---ah, I love it!
The hedge of blueberry bushes.
The leaves are vibrant with a bright showing of crimson, browns, and golds..
They seem to exclaim, "Tis Autumn, tis Autumn!"
And I couldn't agree more.
Inside the garden gate..
The leafy greens are still young, but make a fantastic side dish--especially when it's sauteed with homegrown garlic. It's nice to pick collards right before supper--lovely flavor!
 I recently traveled up to the mountains to go Apple picking!
What a delight to learn about the different fruit varieties.. 
Walking down the well-traveled paths,
you could almost get lost in the seemingly endless rows of fruit trees. 
 My dear friend brought her darling baby to the grove..
It was so sweet to watch the little one reach for the apples with such wonder!
Before we left the orchard, I met the owner of this year 1930 automobile.
We had traveled behind it for a good distance, so it was fascinating to learn more about it!
 The sounds of crunching leaves under my worn boots.
The warmth of the afternoon sun.
The occasional pecan being thrown at me by a squirrel. :)
I love the autumn season.
In the living room, my brother finishes up school lessons
 Down at the neighboring farm..
I'm greeted at the gate by a curious friend.
"A true home should be the container for reviving real hospitality...."
--John Seymour, author of The Self Sufficient Life and how to live it
Thanksgiving Day
 I gathered the last remaining rose blossoms to make homemade rosewater--
a needed ingredient for old-fashioned Turkish delight candies!
 The heirloom dishes are carefully taken out,
 and hand washed before setting the picnic table for the afternoon meal.
As we work in the kitchen, the record player cheerfully fills the room w/ big band music,
While the air is fragranced with cinnamon and mulled spices.
My brother begins to make his 'famous' Apple pie..
It's become a tradition to bake it in our cast-iron skillet!
Thanksgiving Supper Menu:
Wild greens Salad w/ pecans, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette
Greenbean Casserole w/ portobello mushrooms
Mashed Potatoes with Turkey gravy
Fresh creamed corn
Traditional baked macaroni and cheese
Slow cooked Lemon Pepper Turkey (stuffed with fresh lemons)
Homemade spiced Cranberry sauce w/ pears and apples
Apple-glazed baked ham
Banana Bread
3 layer Spiced Cake w/ Pumpkin Buttercream frosting
Southern Apple Pie
'Three Kings' homemade bread
Sweet Tea
Perfect weather for a Picnic.
We set up our table underneath the shade of the old pecan tree,
And enjoyed pleasant conversation...
Soon enough, the apple pie was brought to the table.
 My dear sister prepared a fantastic cake!!
 Holiday Spice Cake with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting
3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup Buttermilk, 4 eggs, 2 sticks of softened butter, 2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each : Baking soda, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger
1/2 tsp each: ground cloves and sea salt.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour 3 (8 inch round) cake pans
In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cream butter, sugar and salt...then add in eggs.
Beat in dry ingredients with buttermilk, alternating one at a time, ending with dry.
When batter is smooth, divide it among the 3 pans and bake about 25 mins (or until golden).
Let cool completely before removing from pans...then frost with your favorite icing! Enjoy :)
"...Preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving,
and for every breath a song." --K.V. Gesner
After our meal, my sister and I sang the hymn: 'For the Beauty of the Earth.'
What a delight it was to lift our voices in humble gratitude of life's many blessings.
At the end of the day, I put together a simple meat stock (Nothing goes to waste, right?) Nicely seasoned with herbs, fresh garlic, onions and celery. This will make quite a few quarts of flavorful broth, perfect for winter stews!
Hope you all have a blessed weekend!