Saturday, April 7, 2012

Spring events.

The Spring air is now saturated with the fragrance of honeysuckle and wisteria.
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 Inspired, I quickly get a small basket and make my way across the pathway, toward the vines that creep up the old hardwood trees.
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No matter how many times we repair it, our screen-door squeaks and creaks as it always has :) Hearing that familiar sound, I quickly open the door for my sister as she brings in the eggs from the hen-house.
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When we added compost to the garden, little did we know that volunteer Tomato plants would sprout! It's fun to have mystery plants...I wonder what variety they'll turn out to be?
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The seedlings are now over 6" tall, and we're beginning to transplant them into other areas.
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We've had days where we get quite a harvest of leafy greens--broccoli, various lettuces, kale, mustard & turnip greens, and of course collards ;)
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We divided and planted the strawberries a few weeks ago, and so far we've been harvesting a good handful daily. I freeze the berries for now, so that we can have strawberry preserves later!
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The beauty of peach & pear blossoms.
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One hazy afternoon, I began to pull up old collards to freeze for later...
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And later that evening we drove down to visit a neighbor--and we were greeted by her goat, Chocolate Chip! I had a good laugh when I heard the name :)
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Our town recently had a plant sale, where local residents could come and bring their plants form the backyard, and either swap or sell! We attended bright n' early, so that we wouldn't miss anything!
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My Mother picked up a hydrangea right away :)
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What a great way to meet new neighbors and learn about different varieties of plants. I made sure to get an Aloe Vera plant--there's nothing like fresh aloe in the garden!
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We often use Mason jars to display flowers from the garden.
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Homegrown Broccoli salad for lunch...yum!
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Here's a basic recipe:
1 bunch of broccoli (about 6 cups of florets)
1/4 cup yellow onion
1/4 cup raisins
(chopped pecans are optional)
1/4 cup chopped bacon
*up to 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
Dressing: 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 TBsp red wine vinegar. Mix this dressing separate before adding to the broccoli mixture.
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What a delight to come across these delicate wildflowers... I enjoy the wonder of discovering new types of plants at the beginning of the season :) You never know what will decide to bloom here at the cottage!
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It's nice to be able to take a moment to get some last-minute mending done. I finally had enough time to sit down and sew a 'new' button onto my linen blouse. The button is handmade from gourd--I love it!
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It's early in the morning, and after traveling miles through rural backroads, we stop at a local eatery for breakfast. Across the way, acres of farmland were highlighted by the warmth of the sun; and it was simply inspiring to see a landscape so unaltered.
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I had an opportunity to go on an adventure :)
With our carpet bags packed, and hat boxes tucked in, I would say our group is ready for a trip!
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Dressed in 19th century attire, we gather up our things at the station. In the distance, we could hear the whistle of the train begin to get closer to the station.
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Soon enough, a vintage steam locomotive makes its way towards us. I held tightly to my carpet bag, and made sure we had everything we needed--Ticket in hand, I climb aboard.
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As we traveled through mill towns & scenic countryside, it was lovely to be able to greet and wave to spectators who came out to see the train.
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The rhythmic 'clickity clack' of the train certainly added to the nostalgia, and soon we were engaging in activities to pass the time. One was a game of Draughts, but we soon realized we didn't have a board.
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So one young woman decided to make one, and ended up sewing the checkerboard, using a spare cloth. It worked wonderfully well.
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As we walked down one of the narrow corridors, I enjoy glancing out the window as the train travels over high bridges. Many of us brought our own 19th century plates, drinking vessels and such, which was used during meal time.
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The next day, anticipation increased as we neared the station. Traveling by railway had many amazing moments and opportunities for various scenarios. New friendships were formed & many memories made along the way. When we did reach our destination, we began to prepare for a busy week ahead...
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We were set up at the living history event as a working camp--meaning that we had to feed all the wagoners and refugees. Every morning at 5 am, we awoke to the crows of 'Drumstick' the rooster ;)
He caused a little mischief, but it added to the fun of having animals around.
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Washing and hanging up the laundry is a daily task.
And with all the rain and mud, it was much needed!
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Everyday the wagoners and men on horseback came into camp weary from their travels. I enjoyed hearing their stories about the events that would go on during the day.
What a magnificent sight to see so many mules, horses and oxen hitched onto authentic wagons.
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We probably hauled water about twice a day, filling up as many buckets as we could. To get to a water supply, we crossed a large field, until we made it to the corner of the woods.
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One morning, it decided to downpour in rain. That was the day the wagoners needed rations for their journey, which meant 40 loaves of bread! We were certainly determined, and were able to keep a hot fire going, even though it was still drizzling steadily.
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I learned quickly how to keep the heat on the dutch ovens consistant, and I think we ended up making about 35 loaves that day...we were worn out and soaked with rain!
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Before I headed into town, I was able to participate a few scenarios,
and camped under this shelter for a while. :)
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It was so nice to be able to go through the various shops, and purchase needful things. I was able to finally get a good set of original 19th century cutlery for meals.
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The peach pastries were fairly simple to make..filled with pickled spiced peaches, brown sugar and cinnamon, & baked over the fire.
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 This darling young girl stopped by with her mother to visit us in camp.
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After each meal, we washed everyone's individual dishes...
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...And more dishes! There were many original crocks, red ware, etc. And even though they were antiques, I was encouraged that we were able to use them freely, just as they were intended :)
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(This wagon was hand built by one of the wagoners to use with his team of oxen)
I'm thankful for all the cooking I've learned at home, because at events like this, those skills certainly come in handy :)
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One of my favorite challenges was in preparing a Chocolate cake from scratch using an 1840s German recipe. Although I had to triple the recipe, luckily it turned out quite well and I think the camp enjoyed it.
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Here's a peek of my tintype. My portrait was taken right before we traveled back home.
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It's nice to be home and finally be able to share with you about my adventures for the week :) I had a delightful time, but I count it a blessing to return to such a peaceful little spot out in the country.
Everything has grown so much-- I look forward to updating you on the various vegetables in the garden, and our homesteading endeavors!


~Mia