Red Delicious By the Lake

Red Delicious By the Lake

A brief interlude to celebrate the apple harvest occurs in early September.  Friends come to pick our harvest, sharing in the bounty of organic apples.  Most are not perfect but they are delicious.  This season, the Yellow Delicious and Jonathan trees in our back yard have a good amount.  In their honor I baked two cider/apple pies.  Yum.

Fallen apples litter the garden causing the Canada geese to visit for nibbling and sending an aroma of cider into the air.

Unfortunately two of the apple trees in the chapel garden are not doing well.  Our son Dirk is planting new trees to take their place, probably the dwarf varieties which produce so well.  The Red Delicious above is a dwarf that was an anniversary gift from my mother over 15 years ago.  The fruit is a seasonal reminder of heritage.

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Faux’ Chickens

Concrete Chickens Around the Sheep Shed

Concrete Chickens Around the Sheep Shed

My grandmother raised chickens on a long, narrow city lot.  They were a natural  outcome for a farm girl transplanted to town.  Fresh eggs were a significant part of my grandparents’ diet and that self-sufficiency appeals to me.  But animals–pet or livestock– are not a commitment this retired couple is ready to make.  So, the concrete chickens I found at a country auction will do just fine.

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A Day in the Garden

July 7, 2016 in the garden — a morning rain followed by 83 degrees of extremely high humidity and an overcast sky threatening more showers.

Bird Bath on the Patio

Bird Bath on the Patio

  • After a rain is the best time to pull weeds.  I cleaned a small sweet pea bed that had already been harvested and re-planted it with Porcelain Doll pumpkin sprouts thinned from the pumpkin tubs.  I have a hard time throwing away any viable sprout, even though I have already planted thinned sprouts in two other places.  But then I love pumpkins and can never have too many around the barn in autumn.
  • The perennial bed includes wild flowers such as golden rod, bergamot/bee balm with a bloom like a lavender firework, and Queen Ann’s lace–the doily of the garden.
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  • I picked 8 cucumbers.  By next week I will have enough to make Bread & Butter pickles
  • The watermelon plants in one of my hay bales are being joined by butternut squash vines from a bordering bed.
  • Watermelon Starts

    Watermelon Starts

  • The two zucchini plants are blooming in the second bale.
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  • I checked to see if more early apples fell in the storm and picked up about 6 more = fresh apple sauce for Sunday dinner.
  • While I was in the orchard, I noticed one of the peach trees was dropping fruit.  Unfortunately I saw top fruit being attacked by Japanese beadles–they are back.  If they go for my roses again, the traps will go up.  Meanwhile we picked the peaches to allow them to ripen slowly inside in the basement fruit cellar…otherwise, they would be riddled by the bugs.
  • One day’s organic harvest from the garden.
  • Cucumbers, early apples and peaches

    Cucumbers, early apples and peaches


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Fourth of July Front Porch



The front porch of our 100-year-old-barn is newly painted letting red, white & blue pop!



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The Iconic Picket Fence

Front Picket Fence

Front Picket Fence

Be it barn or cottage, the scope of my world is defined by the white picket fence.  It represents home, family and security within its tidy confines.  But then, it does demand attention.  A white picket fence must be painted.  Another summer project done and done!


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Rhubarb Season

4 Cups Sliced Rhubarb

4 Cups Sliced Rhubarb

In memory of my grandmother, I enjoy baking rhubarb pie in spring.

Rhubarb is a tough perennial vegetable that is used like a fruit in the early spring garden.  Those who do not care for rhubarb make the case that because of its tartness, this veggie-fruit takes a lot of sugar.  Yup.  It does–but then so do lemons and limes.  Personally I love sweet/tart desserts.  But if rhubarb pie isn’t your favorite, try substituting 1 cup of ripe strawberries for the rhubarb in this pie recipe.

  • 4 c. [1″] sliced rhubarb
  • 1 2/3 c. sugar
  • 1/3 c. all-purpose unbleached flour
  • Dash of salt
  • Pastry for 2-crust 9″ pie  [I like the recipe for plain pastry in the red plaid Better Homes & Garden Cookbook.]
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine rhubarb, sugar, flour and salt; let stand 15 minutes. Stir to blend filling.
  3. Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry.  Fill with rhubarb mixture.  Dot with 2 tablespoons butter.  Adjust top crust, cutting slits for escape of steam.  Seal and flute edges.  Sprinkle with sugar.
  4. Bake pie for 50 minutes or until thickened juices bubble through slits.  Cover pie with aluminum foil during last 10 minutes of baking if crust is becoming too brown on the edges.  Remove pies from oven when juice begins to bubble through slits in top crust.
One for now--One for later.

One for now–One for later.

When I bake pies I usually bake them two-at-a-time.  One is for now–the other goes into the freezer for whenever I need a quick dessert.

Ah, the taste of spring!



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