Tuesday, July 22, 2014

birthday girl :)

Another photo-heavy post to document Miss Charlotte's first b-day which was one month ago today. I sure do love this granddaughter of mine! :)

Hard to believe how quickly a year goes by. I thought they passed quickly watching my own kids grow up, but it seems the speed at which the months go by increases exponentially when it comes to grandbabies. Speaking of grandbabies, we are beyond excited that Charlotte is going to be a big sister sometime in February! Yes, the knitting ideas are rolling 'round my mind; I'll settle on projects and colors once J & Ch find out whether it's a he or a she. :)

I had the pleasure of baking a mini cake for Charlotte to enjoy! I used half of a layer cake recipe from my old Betty Crocker Cookbook and baked it in small round Pyrex dish coated with coconut oil (I lined the bottom with a small piece of parchment paper so the cake would come out more easily). It worked! And while I'm not a cake decorator, I think it turned out pretty cute anyway.

B-day gifts included then 'lil chick as well as the bunting, a plastic dinner plate with a farm theme, a shrug, and some books, too. The long-handled white spoon? That is a "whoa-shack." For whatever reason, my kids loved playing with utensils and called them whoa-shacks. Why? Who knows. But apparently, the enjoyment of playing with a whoa-shack lives on in the next generation. :)

Happy (belated) birthday to my first-born's first born. May the Lord bless you and keep you, and may His face shine upon you and give you peace. May you walk with Him all your days, baby girl. With love from your Baba. :)

With apologies for the somewhat out-of-focus photos,


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Saturday, July 19, 2014

around the homestead...

Welcome to my long-overdue, photo-heavy homestead update...

The first supermarket supposedly appeared
on the American landscape in 1946.
 That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food?
 Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests.
 It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides.
 It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.
~Joel Salatin

green beans a couple weeks ago:

and green beans today; no beans yet, but lots of promise :)

field flowers captured by AnnaLynn...

both our Polish turned out to be roosters...so disappointing :(  They begin crowing at 5 a.m. -- who needs an alarm clock? I don't mind them, but Dan thinks they need to go...

this spring's new hens have begun laying...

another artsy AnnaLynn picture...  our Shasta Daisies are in full bloom and are gorgeous!

home-raised eggs, leftover sausage gravy, and hot coffee...what a perfect way to start the day :)

lemon balm, cilantro, sage, oregano, basil, and chamomile...

I love the way herb bundles look drying in the window.

carrots a few weeks ago...

and carrots today...we grow them intermixed with our tomatoes which seems to be a good relationship. :)

the first of our meat birds to be cooked...I always have to wait at least a week or two after "processing" to cook one otherwise I get sorta creeped out. This one was cooked from frozen in the crockpot and was absolutely delicious :)

flowering peas...my favorite of all the vegetable flowers.

ready for harvest...I saved some for seed! Lord willing, they'll actually grow.

our apple trees were full of blossoms this spring, but these two are the only fruit we have to show for them. We're planning to pick them, slice each in half, and that way the four of us will each get to enjoy the first fruits from these trees. Looking forward to more next year, LW.

Romaine growing with onion... another good companion planting relationship.

raspberries ripe for picking!

our humble corn patch...


cukes are coming on...

French Crisp...our lettuces have done better this year than in any year previous. Loving fresh salads every. single. day.


moved our old bench under the tulip tree which was so tiny when we planted it during our first year here. One day it will be huge and it will bloom and it will be gorgeous!

Purple coneflower, aka Echinacea, which is ready for harvest. I've not made my own tincture before, but I'm excited to try (stay tuned).

basil...what a delicious fragrance!

and, finally, lavender. I have a few dried bundles from this year's harvest for sale in my shop, if you're interested. :)

A fresh batch of lavender soap is curing and lavender sachets are in the works, too; both of which should be available in the shop soon.

The greatest fine art of the future
 will be the making of a comfortable living
 from a small piece of land.
~Abraham Lincoln
Enjoying summer and the bounty of the garden! Praising God for His goodness and provision. :)

How are your gardens growing?


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

tending my yarn garden...

Recent yarn projects include the completion of my baby shrug pattern (the pink above) which is receiving final touches and should be available through KnitPicks and Ravelry soon!! :)  For Charlotte's b-day, I knit her a chicken since she enjoyed our layers and likes to cluck when asked what a chicken says -- soooo cute! I also crocheted a colorful bunting for the wall above her crib using yarn leftover from a poncho I crocheted for AnnaLynn a couple years ago. In other KPs news, I am working as fast as my fingers will allow to complete the patterns for this, and this, and this. :) 

While we were at the coast over the Independence Day weekend, I visited a LYS and picked up a couple skeins of yarn, (of course!). The green will be a baby beanie (special request) and the other, I'm just not sure yet. Any suggestions? It's a worsted weight linen/cotton blend.

I finally finished Willing To Die by John Muntean -- the inspiring true story about the Muntean family's experience living in Romania after the close of WWII which includes the impact of communism on their beloved country. Sharing how his faith in God enabled him to survive the difficulties of food shortages and life in a police state, Mr. Muntean ultimately was willing to die for his family's freedom. By the grace of God, they do, in fact, escape Romania for the United States, a move Mr. Muntean made to ensure religious freedom and a future for his children and grandchildren. The book closes with warnings for Americans from one who experienced the loss of freedom in Romania as well as an update on how his family has faired in the years since they arrived in the states (interestingly, one of his children makes their home not far from here in Portland, Oregon).

The Nazi Officer's Wife by Edith Hahn Beer is, so far, a book I'm having a hard time putting down. The true story of a young Jewish woman living in Austria as the Nazis come to power, Edith shares the day-to-day impact of a life turned upside down and how she survived. I'm almost halfway through and look forward each day to sneaking out to the comfortable shade of my front porch to read a few pages. I cannot imagine...

On the Way Home by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the diary Laura kept during her and Almonzo's move from Dakota to Missouri, is the last of my Little House reading, at least for now. I sure do wish I'd reread all Laura's books before visiting Rocky Ridge Farm last July.

What's on your needles? What have you been reading?
Joining Ginny  :)


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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

3 weeks...

It's been three weeks since I clicked "publish." Not that I haven't spent any time here. Not that I haven't peeked at your blogs to see what you've all been up to. Not that life has been dull here in and around Dole Valley. On the contrary, life has been full and busy with all my favorite things and people. It's just that every time I sat down and began working on a post, there was so much else going on to occupy my thoughts, and, honestly, I wasn't feeling very inspired. The words just didn't come. And since I'm not much of a writer, it was easier to not try. I kept telling myself that I'd eventually post again. And here I am.

A lot can happen in three weeks! We've "processed" our meat chickens, we've picked berries and made jam, we've baked, we've gone to the coast, we've begun a massive landscaping re-do, we've gardened, celebrated Charlotte's 1st b-day, and chopped wood for this fall. We finished lessons for the school year and have begun planning for September. The kids are still working on math which they are not happy about, and they're filling our house with music as they work on summer assignments on the piano and violin. If we're diligent, we sing hymns together in the morning after our devotions. :)  But sometimes the mornings get away from us, and that's ok.

I've been knitting and crocheting and reading (and if you come back tomorrow, you can see what I've been up to). A couple patterns I'm working on for KnitPicks have demanded my attention and are almost wrapped up! Ideas keep coming to mind, so I've begun a journal of sorts to keep track of them.

The garden is growing like crazy; we've been enjoying fresh green salads and peas and berries -- cukes are coming soon. Garlic is ready for harvest and cut herbs are hanging in bundles, drying for use throughout the fall and winter and spring. My echinacea plants are coming into bloom, so it's just about time to start making some tincture for cold and flu season.

Later today we're off to visit Charlotte and her sweet momma and take a dip in their pool; it's been hot here. And humid. And while Dan is at a Deacon meeting this evening, the kids and I are going to the theater to see this. Have you seen it?

'til tomorrow,


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Saturday, June 21, 2014

summer solstice...

Susan Ashton's Summer Solstice is one of my favorite songs. Her voice is gorgeous, and if I could sing, I'd want to sing just like her. Enjoy...

Lyrics are here. Welcome summer! :)


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