Friday, November 21, 2014

An Ordinary Day


The early morning sunshine streams in
as I sip my morning coffee.


Those first beautiful rays bring the promise of
a brand new day.


I am enjoying the morning sun
as we are expecting heavy rain and wind
later in the day.


Weekdays find me packing my Ramblin' Man's lunch,
ironing his clothes, and sharing some early morning chatter
about our day.


I kiss him goodbye, then it's time to feed the pets,
tidy up, and do a bit of laundry.


Maggie and Ling Ling get comfy after breakfast.


My sweet Maggie is 15 years old now and spends
her days finding the most comfortable place
 in the house to survey her kingdom.


Ling Ling prefers to be in front of the fire, and settles herself down
as I do a bit of crocheting while I watch my favorite soap opera.

*My one guilty pleasure*
(besides chocolate :)


I've been tidying up the deck for the winter season
the last few days.

I've taken down hanging baskets that have succumbed to our
recent freeze, and thrown pots of annuals into the compost.


I've put away my ceramic birdbath
and replaced it with my birdcage.


I can see her from my kitchen...


Even with the flowers gone,
I still have a bit of color.

I will look for potted ivy and tiny evergreens
at the nursery
to carry through until spring.


Having fun with my new camera here....
taken through the chair back.


Who needs flowers?


Whitey Bear is bored with all this fussing
around with plants.

The baker's rack holds herbs
and the smaller plant stand
holds winter pansies.
They will sporadically bloom
all winter, then put on a show in early spring.


Some pots of rosemary.


My empty pots are waiting for bulbs.
I am late in planting my bulbs
due to a delayed shipment and freezing
weather that kept me inside.

The Japanese Maple is putting on a show
before shedding her leaves.

My youngest son gifted me with all the turquoise
pots over the years, for various occasions such
as Mother's Day and my birthday.

<3


I will pot up my smallest bulbs and bury them in leaves
under the cedar tree where they can stay warm and
dry until spring.

My poor angels need a good cleaning and so I have
put them here to remind me.

The window is one of 30 that my sweet Ramblin' Man
found for me on one his business travels.


They were skylights in an old warehouse and the workmen
were just throwing them down from the roof and smashing them!
He convinced them to let him have them
and he hired a U-haul to take them home to me <3.

Someday they will be a greenhouse.

I thought I could hang one in my window, but it was
 too big, so it waits to be put away.
It is heavier than it looks and I can't lift it.


This time of year, we can stand here on a clear night
and see the Big and Little Dippers:)

A bonus of isolation....
Sometimes it feels a little too isolated.
xo
The rain has held off, and the deck is tidy,
so now I need to rake leaves,
especially out of the drainage ditch.


I have my work cut out for me!
I have been waiting for all the leaves to fall....

I did manage to plant 100 Camassia
and 75 fragrant Narcissi in my front garden.

Something to look forward to this spring.


The sedum are still adding a bit of color here.


So many leaves!


Champ supervises....
He loves to play in my neatly raked up piles!
You can see the drainage ditch behind him.
When it rains heavy, we have a little burbling brook.


I work until the rain starts.
I love working out in the fresh air, listening
to the birds.
We have a pygmy owl that whistles in the trees,
and we've seen a large grey owl in the evening
when we go out to get firewood.

We had a coyote trapped inside our fenced 5 acres
for several days before we figured it out and
left the gate open so it could leave.
The downside to fences :(

I knew something was lurking due to the behavior
 of my dogs and cats.
Even the wild birds were sounding the alarm.
It wasn't until the poor coyote cried in distress
for two hours one night that I figured it out.
All is well now.


Just an ordinary day.


Tiny crab-apples hang on.


Raindrops on cabbage.


Time to go inside and catch up on some housework.

xoxo

Thanks for coming along on my ordinary day,
Dear Friends.

I hope you are having an extraordinary, ordinary day.

xoxo

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Peppermint Candy Bark


As we approach Christmas, I want to share with you a very quick and simple treat. This takes 3 ingredients and is quick to prepare, yielding a delicious and very pretty treat for last minute gift giving or to serve after Christmas dinner.

Peppermint Candy Bark
makes  2-1/4 lbs

You will need a double boiler, or a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
Or if you are using a product that can be microwaved, follow the pkg. directions.

You will also need a parchment paper lined 11"x17"baking sheet and a gallon sized plastic storage bag to crush candy canes.

Ingredients

2 lbs White Chocolate or White 'Almond Bark'
12 Candy Canes
1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract


Chop the White Chocolate into small pieces with a large knife and place in top of double boiler. Meanwhile, fill bottom of double boiler with water so it just hits the the top section or bottom of heat proof bowl. Bring to boil. Lower heat slightly to keep water at low boil.


The candy will melt slowly. As it starts to melt, stir frequently.


Unwrap and crush candy canes inside a large plastic bag with a meat cleaver or rubber mallet. I crushed the pieces very small, but this is a matter of personal preference.


Once all of the White Chocolate is melted, remove from double boiler and place onto a folded up towel. Wipe all condensation off bottom of pan to keep it from dripping when you pour.

Next add the crushed up Candy Canes and the 1/2 tsp Peppermint Extract and stir thoroughly.



Immediately pour the melted candy onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread evenly.

Chill until firm


Break into pieces. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Or place in cellophane bags and decorate with tinsel garland and tiny ornaments for gift giving.

What could be easier? Candy is the universal gift and at this time of year, peppermint candy is the all time favorite.


Just don't forget to save a little for yourself!

Today I am linking with : M's Art Impressions: Friday Chocolate 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

An Apple a Day


This fall we had a bumper crop of tiny apples 
from my two dwarf Macoun apple trees.


Whitey Bear supervises the harvest. 


I filled my vintage bushel basket with these delicious little apples. 


We are not the only ones who enjoyed the apple harvest -
here a Red-breasted Sapsucker dines on the apples left behind. 


He was quite tame and vocal - calling with a one-note
shrill cry in between bites of apple. 


Here he is giving me a quick glance to make sure I don't 
get too close. 

It was a thrill to see this colorful little apple thief. 


With my bounty I have been trying new apple recipes. 

Here is a delicious recipe for Apple Bread. 
It is very moist and deliciously spicy. 

Apple Bread

Beat 3/4 cup vegetable oil with 1 cup white or brown sugar and 2 eggs. 
Stir in 1-1/2 cups chopped, unpeeled organic apples, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, 
and 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, if you like. 
Sift together 1-1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 
1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 
Add to apple mixture. Do not over-mix. 
Pour into a 9"x5" loaf pan. 
Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 50 minutes 
or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. 

Let cool completely before removing from pan and wrapping. 
Will keep in refrigerator for several days
or freeze for holiday gift giving. 


My Ramblin' Man gave this recipe two thumbs up! 


Coffee filters make rustic presentations. 


My vintage nut chopper came in handy
for this recipe. 


This was something my Grandmother would have used. 
It has a plunger with razor blades for the chopping. 

The bottom is fitted with a small, round, removable wooden disk
and the jar is a measuring cup. 

So low-tech, but very effective! 


Cut the apples into small dice for this recipe. 


My vintage spice rack gets a work-out this time of year. 
I keep my glass rolling pin on the top shelf 
along with my favorite shortbread mold.


*I made the Tea-dyed Tags
It was one of the first crafts I made for the blog.* 

Another, smaller shortbread mold hangs on the wall
with a nutmeg grater, loose tea holder, heart cookie cutters
favorite serving spatula, and hand knitted, fair-trade
I use mine as a hot-pad. 

Check out the link to help women in developing countries. 

Has anyone noticed how expensive spices are recently? 

Here is an excellent source of organic, low cost 
bulk spices and herbs:


My sweet little apples inspired me to add a simple
still life to my sketch pad.


I moved my enamel-topped kitchen desk in front of my hutch,
and set it up with my art supplies.


A feather brushes away eraser crumbs.


A simple remembrance of a sweet scene.

I love to draw - just for fun.

I want to develop my drawing skills a bit further
and need to practice.

With every creative endeavor, you must be 'in the mood'. :)

xoxo

I hope I have inspired you, Dear Friends, to enjoy an apple today!

xoxo
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