Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Country Homemaker Hop- Week 5

Happy February!
It's that time of the week already... time to welcome all of you to link up your posts and join our little blog party.  It's already been four weeks since we started this little linky party and shared our first Country Homemaking posts.  Thank you for participating.
 Are YOU a Country Homemaker? 
Please join us each week and share your homemaking and homesteading ideas.  Pictures, recipes, tips, household wisdom, gardening ideas, barnyard stories, giveaways, and sewing/craft tutorials, just to name a few topics, they're all welcome.   Chime in about what's going on at your homestead.  Share as often as you like.  I love reading your great homemaking updates, stories, recipes, and tutorials so please, keep em coming!


I have a bit of exciting news this week.  Our little hop is growing. Thank you friends!  To help keep it growing, my good friend Michelle of the blog Michelle's Little Piece of Heaven has volunteered (code for I pulled her in) to co-host The Country Homemaker Hop sometimes too.
 We've been learning the ropes together since last summer, and she's ready to take the plunge, to host.  She's my dearest friend and the best cook I know, besides my Mom, and another blog chef phenom- Dolly of Dolly is Cooking .  I look forward to her contributions to our little homemaking community.  She is responsible for some of the best tasting recipes I've ever had.  She also happens to have a great sense of humor and is an amazing artist.  Please go by and check out her blog, if you haven't yet had the chance to do so.


Here's what I've been up to...

This last week was a bit dreary so I didn't get much done.  Instead, we took a mini-vacation to the warmer climate of the Kaweah River Valley. This is a picture I took from our campsite. It was so peaceful there.
I spent ALOT of time this weekend in the forest with Wi-Fi (after the sun went down), surrounded by the gentle roar of the river and a sleeping, snoring husband.  I got a chance to read quite a few of your posts.  I found several exciting recipes.  I am going to try a few of them this week.  In case you missed them, here they are again.  The names of the recipes are hot links so you an click on them to be taken to the recipe on the author's blog.


My plan for the week is to bake up a batch of Michelle's bread.  Doesn't it look fantastic!  So tall and fluffy.
 copyright Michelle's Little Piece of Heaven
Then, I am going to make myself one of Dolly's Mile High Chocolate Meringue Pies...  I will NOT be sharing this one...
copyright Dolly is Cooking 
  Next on my list are a few of Deana's Lemon Shortbread Cookies.  They look absolutely divine.
copyright Country Momma Cooks
I am going to get my Hubby to help me mix up a batch of Lisa's Homemade Herbal Salt Substitute and then I am going to try it on some chicken and rice.
I can hardly wait to see this week's posts.  Thank you all for your fantastic contributions.  I sure enjoy reading what you've been up to around your homestead.  Have a GREAT week.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Country Garden Showcase- Week 5


This week has been a mixed bag.  Cold, fog, rain, high winds, night time freezing.  Mother nature just couldn't seem to make up her mind this week.  Exhausted from fighting the winds while trying to set up my new compost containers, I gave up on trying to do anything of value outside this week and fled to the sunny, warm riverside of the Kaweah River at Three Rivers, California.  I have captured a few images that I hope you will enjoy.
 miner's lettuce below our campsite...
 THIS was our campsite...
 right along the Kaweah River
 I found a bit of mint growing along the bank...
a few blackberry vines too
 this pretty little creek ran through the park
 this orange grove greeted us as we left the campground to go to town
 This is the Shoshone Inn.  A man spent years building this beautiful oasis along the river. He even planted these palms as seedlings.  He opened his beautiful Spanish villa style retreat and closed it one month later, never to re-open again.  I wish I could have walked along the gardens inside the gate and taken pictures to share with you.  It is a really lovely place.
 That tiny speck of snow is up in the Sierras.  Inside the Sequoia National Forest.  It was the first snow of the winter.  
 Man-made, Kaweah Lake awaits all the river's water.  It's a mecca for boating and fishermen.
 Down this road lies the California Central Valley and the town of Lemon Cove.
 This cute little old gas station sits at the bottom of the hill in Lemon Cove.  My hubby loves it so I got a few pictures.
Orange groves below the Sierra foothills...

I hope you had better luck at your place this week, I am getting cabin fever BAD.  I'd love to see some happy sunny gardens...   Thanks for stopping by.

It's time to link up a post about what's been going on at your garden, farm, homestead or ranch this week.

Let's get to hopping!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop- #42

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Hello Farmgirls!

I am well.  We have been on vacation further up in the Sierra-Nevada mountains this week.  It's been cold, and we got our first rain in months, a whole inch in 24 hours.  We are still about 6 inches in deficit for the season.  Anyway, we had a blast hanging out at the Kaweah and Tule Rivers.  I got back just in time, to join the hop.  
Here's my little bit of farmgirl wisdom for the day...

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Have you been to Mary Jane's Farm- Farmgirl Connection yet?  If not, follow this LINK and go check it out.  You won't be disappointed.  On her site you'll find the Farmgirl chatroom with more than 15,000 members, you can JOIN the Farmgirl Sisterhood- and receive Mary Jane's newsletter, be able to earn merit badges, and sometimes you'll even get special offers from Mary Jane.   My favorite part of the website is the FARMGIRL BLOG section.  Incidentally, that's where you'll find the "BEACH FARMGIRL BLOG" a blog written by our own "Deb" of Deborah Jean's Dandelion House, the creator of the FARMGIRL FRIDAY BLOG HOP!

Now, let's get hopping!!!!

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Here are the rules for the Farmgirl Friday blog hop!
1.) Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals, quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!

2). Leave your entry in the Mr. Linky space to your Farmgirl Friday post.

3). Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends!

 Sowing Farmgirl Dreams 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Country Homemaker Hop- Week 4

The Country Homemaker Blog Party!

How time flies.  It's already been three weeks since we started this little linky party and when this one closes, it will have been a month since we shared our first Country Homemaking posts. 

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read, share, and comment on our link ups.  This is a talented group of women bloggers; some of you make me laugh regularly, and some of you make me cry.  I have learned so much from you.  As a group, we continue to help eachother; using our own unique gifts and experiences.  Each of you contribute something special to my week and I simply cannot express how much that means to me, but I am ever so grateful.
 Are YOU a Country Homemaker? 
Please join us each week to share your pictures, recipes, household wisdom, homemaking tips, crafts, ideas and stories with the country homemaking community. Chime in about what's going on at your homestead.  Please feel free to share as many relevant posts as you have for the week I love reading your great homemaking updates, stories, recipes, and tutorials so please, keep em coming!
This is a Blog Hop!Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Country Garden Showcase- Week 4


Things have been kinda slow around our little homestead this week.  The weather hasn't been too cooperative.  I'm not complaining, we NEED the rain.  I did manage to get a few small things done in the garden this week.  I planted  a few rows of cold season seed- carrot, mescluns, radish, and beet under 3 mil plastic in raised beds. I constructed two simple/cheap compost bins using 4' tall wire and t-posts.  I didn't get time to layer and fill them before it started to sprinkle, so I'll have to do that later on this week.


Since most of us are not getting much done in our gardens this week, I want to share a few helpful gardening links to help you get started this year and a few inspirational photos from my last garden.


Mother Earth News- Seed Starting Tips
When to plant herb seeds? 
DIY Easy newspaper pots
Mother Earth News- Resolve to Build a Hoophouse
UCANR- Pre-plant veggie garden fertilizer rates- organic & conventional


Have a GREAT week!


Thank You Farmgirls!

Thanks to Dolly of Hibiscus House and Dolly is Cooking for her "Dot's Coconut Pie" Recipe HERE and April of April's Homemaking for the crisco pie crust, my husband's birthday pies are DONE!  Here they are...
 I wanted to sneak a piece 
 but I dare not...
 I got to use my new rolling pin, which was a gift from my best friend Michelle. It's so nice to roll with. Thank you Michelle.
I ended the evening with a batch of my Hubby's favorite chocolate chip cookies (Mrs. Field's Pecan Supremes Recipe).
I made a little birthday card and set them all out on the counter together.  I think he'll get a BIG surprise in the morning.  I'll have a review for that pie crust and that amazing looking pie soon after.


UPDATE- The Hubby LOVED the pie and so do I, and I am NOT a coconut person.  Now, that's saying something.  Candy was right, this is a GREAT pie.  I am so glad I doubled the recipe and made two.  It's got such a nice flavor, it's not too sweet, not too salty, it goes with anything.  Today we had it for breakfast, tonight we'll have it with turkey noodle soup.  We're just gonna keep making excuses to eat it, til it's gone...  Thank you Dolly for sharing this really YUMMY recipe.  I give this recipe a perfect 10+++.

Thanks for stopping by.  

Happy Sunday Farmgirls.

Friday, January 20, 2012

FARMGIRL S.O.S.


CALLING ALL FARMGIRLS  

I have a late night kitchen emergency.

I am sending out an S.O.S. Help me please, if you can.  I am in dire need of a good flaky, tasty pie crust recipe to go with Dolly's yummy looking coconut pie for my hubby.  I told him I was going to make it for him tonight and I have a dilemma...

This is the actual image from Dolly's site of "Dot's Coconut Pie"  That is SOME pie~

I spent the morning organizing my recipe binder and somehow I lost my favorite flaky pie crust recipe.  If you have a recipe you're willing to share or know where (online) I can find one, please share.  I'll owe ya.

Thanks.
Happy Friday Night

Thursday, January 19, 2012

FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop #41

"I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world"
- George Washington

Let's begin this week's Farmgirl Hop with a BIG announcement from our favorite Farmgirl and founder of Farmgirl Friday, Deb!


" Howdy friends! Welcome back to your favorite Friday blog hop! Farmgirl Friday has been going strong for 40 homemaking, homesteading and urban farming farmgirl weeks!
This week is a very special week! I'm excited to introduce you to our first sponsor...

Who's farmMade? Here's what Patti Long, one of the talented team members of farmMade wants you to know!

"FarmMade is a handmade marketplace for Farmers. We promote all things FARM....from the food that they grow, to the life that they lead, to the wares that they make. We intend on helping to sustain existing farms and grow new ones! We celebrate the "new definition of the present day farmer" in recognizing the city farmer, rural farmer, rooftop csa, community gardens, back/front yard farming, container cultivation, etc. ANYONE who cultivates the land and/or owns livestock to feed themselves, sustain their families and connect to a healthier lifestyle is a HERO in our book."

You can visit FarmMade on facebook and follow the stories of the farmers they profile each week. Click their link in my sidebar under sponsors and sign up for email notification for when their online marketplace will open or if you are interested in selling your " farmMade goods"!
I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait! "

Welcome aboard FarmMade.

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HAPPY FRIDAY FARMGIRLS!!!
Another week comes and goes and I am again left wondering... where did the time go?

I'd like to do something new this week.  I'd like to share my week in pictures.  Here goes.  I hope you like it.


I had lots of fun in the kitchen this week


dehydrating berries and eating them too


In the garden, red leaf lettuce


purple cabbage


and garlic are enjoying the unseasonably warm and sunny weather


I attended my first Thimbleberries Club meeting of the year this week.  See our little Show n' Tell HERE! This quilt is my first quarter project. It' s called Love Me Tender. It's so pretty.  I am really excited about it. 

 I've been planting in four of my raised boxes this week. (A big risk, I know in January.)  I have taken the advice of a few of you ladies in blogland and started re-organizing my lower kitchen cabinets, the pantry, and even my fabrics.  Yikes!  How did I let storage get so out of control in the first place?  I also spent some time great quality time with friends and loved ones, neglecting our HOPS.  I have been running from sun up to sundown this week, but I WILL make the time this weekend to enjoy them all with a cup of hot cocoa.  

Until then, I'd like to direct everyone looking for worthy philanthropic sewing projects for January to please check out a post titled "January Craftivism Challenge & Sew Along Part I" by Ann of the Suburban Prairie Homestead's link up HERE!   Many of you know her blog well.  For newbies, Ann is a talented crafting Mom with a real talent for teaching her gifts to others.  What a big heart she has for children, that's obvious too.  You can find PART II linked to the UFO Roll Call January Challenge this month as well.  

This has been a wonderful week for me.  I had so much fun meeting new ladies at TB Club and I got to spend some great time with The Hubby and my BFF Michelle.  I ate a few too many blueberries.  We got our first rain and snow showers of the new year.  We made a little more progress around the house, in the kitchen, and in the garden.  My family is well and that's what really matters.  I hope YOURS was a GREAT week too.  Please link up and share!

Here are the rules for the Farmgirl Friday blog hop!
1.) Write a post about your farmgirl lifestyle and brag a little about your farmgirl talents while your at it! Share what being a farmgirl means to you. Include lots of photos of your farm, crafts, animals, quilts, home decor projects and thrifty make overs, your backyard garden, chicken coop, recipes, studio or workshop. You get the idea!

2). Leave your entry in the Mr. Linky space to your Farmgirl Friday post.

3). Please include the Farmgirl Friday button ( or link back here ) in your post and remember to share this hop with all of your blogging friends! 
 Sowing Farmgirl Dreams 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Country Homemaker Hop- Week 3


Hello! I hope you have been having a great week so far.  I sure have.  It's been busy and cold.  I have been running a steady fire in my fireplace for the last two evenings and we even managed a few hours of light snowfall yesterday.  It was our first real moisture since Thanksgiving week.  This week, I'd like to highlight a few really nice posts from last week's Country Homemaker Hop that you don't want to miss.


I don't know about you, but sewing is my first love outside of the garden and kitchen.  I love how sewing and quilting allow me to express my creative side while making something really useful.  Anne of the Suburban Prairie Homemaker is a kindred spirit.  Her last linky was for a fantastically cute and practical handbag made from a yard of fabric.  If you missed it, check it out HERE!  


Homemaking sister Lynnie of the blog Invited to the King's Table shared a great idea for the prettiest little fabric postcards HERE and a creative sewing solution for molting hens being pecked, chicken saddles! HERE!  Effective and adorable.


Kathleen of Rose Prairie Quilts and Farm shared one of the best machine needle turn applique tutorials I have ever seen.  She has an interesting technique that involves a glue stick, basting glue, and Ricky Tims Stable Stuff Poly sheets.  She gets the best points and smooth curves.  If you haven't had a chance to read this tutorial, please do HERE.


In the kitchen this week, we had several really nice recipes shared.  Candy of Lazy J Bar C Farm introduced us to her homemade vegetable beef soup recipe HERE.  It's times like this that I wish I had smellovision...

Dolly of The Hibiscus House, Dolly's Designs, and Dolly is Cooking blogs shared her yummy coconut pie HERE!  

Karen Lynn of The Lil' Suburban Homestead blog shared a wonderful post of her January greenhouse garden HERE and a link up to her cool Saturday Blog Hop- The Ole' Saturday Homesteading Trading Post HERE!
THANYOU LADIES!

 Are YOU a Country Homemaker? 
Please join us each week to share your pictures, recipes, household wisdom, homemaking tips, crafts, ideas and stories with the country homemaking community. Chime in about what's going on at your homestead.  You may share as many relevant posts as you have for the week,please try not to share the same post twice.  I love reading your great homemaking updates, stories, recipes, and tutorials so please, keep em coming!


Country Homemaker posts will open to link ups on Wednesdays at 12:01 am and will remain open to links all week long, through Tuesday night at 11:59 pm.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Country Garden Showcase Week 3

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into. ~Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts, 1858

Where does the time go?  Another week seems to have flown by.  Well, I got all my tilling done in my small fruit orchard.  My hubby even planted me a few new fruit trees including my first two cherry trees- a bing and a black tartarian for cross pollination.  He also surprised me by putting in a new underground sprinkler system to the new trees and a few older trees that didn't have one.  I am so happy.  This means no more time spent standing over my trees with the hose baking in the sun during those HOT summer days...

This is Oliver, our neighbor's cat for more than 17 years.  He has been living in my yard ever since they brought home a new beagle last fall.  The dog won't let any of their four cats into the barn to eat or sleep.  No worries.  He's wrapped my Hubby and I around his finger.  Did I say HE, we recently found out that Oliver is a SHE. Thanks to my BFF Michelle.  Anyway, she lives in my garden and my Hubby's barn now, her and the other three cats.  I have NO rodents because of these wonderful animals.  Thank goodness for hard working barn kitties.

Two weeks ago, I posted my January Garden Plan (re-posted below) and I am making nice progress.  The items lined through are completed.

January Garden Plans: 
prune fruit trees & grapes  
fertilize
spray copper fungicide
remove litter from base of trees to prevent overwintering of coddling moth
check watering system
chip Christmas tree, fruit tree prunings and leaves into compost pile
aerate and layer compost pile
improve soil in raised beds with mulch and till
make veggie garden plot diagram (almost done)
plant winter veggies (starting tomorrow)

That's what's been going on in my garden.  Please LINK UP below and SHARE what's been going on at YOUR place.  Be creative.  We'd all like to see posts about your garden, farm. yard, barnyard, coop, beehive, fresh produce inspired recipes, garden crafts and flowers, decorations, garden how-to advice, ANYTHING garden related.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Quilt Club Show n' Tell

Today I spent the morning at my favorite local quilt shop with a bunch of new friends and a few old friends too.  It was our first monthly meeting for this year's Thimbleberries Club.  Airhead that I am, I didn't think to ask my fellow clubmates for permission to show their faces or real names on my blog, so I am going to use letters for their names this time and I twisted their images.  I DID get their permission to take shots of a few quilts, so please enjoy our  little club's first Show n' Tell for the year... I hope it inspires you to make something new.

As you can see from this image, Debbie's Fabrics Etc. is a FUN place.  She spoils us each month at our meetings with all sorts of yummy baked treats and goodies.  Then she shows us lots of great time saving tools and gives great tips on how to make each project a little better.
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Debbie has been a friend of mine for about 20 years.  She encouraged me when I was a young housewife to learn how to sew and eventually quilt.  My skills were so minimal back then, she taught me how to fill bobbins and thread the machine.  I am so grateful to Debbie for her kindness and patience over the years.

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This is my new friend Lady D.  She is such a nice lady and a good quilter.  She's only been quilting a short time, but already her work looks fantastic.  The pattern for this Valentine's quilt she is working on can be downloaded from Moda's website for free.  They've always got free patterns online.  RJR does too.

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This quilt was made by another really fun NEW friend Lady G.  I can tell I am really going to enjoy her company.  She's so spunky and her smile is contagious.  I think she said this was the Disappearing 9 Patch quilt pattern.  My camera did not do this quilt justice. It is so pretty.  The thin green inside border is really vibrant and eye catching.

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I really like this black and hot pink quilt.  The quilter of this one is someone I have known and loved for years.  She was my high school gym teacher back in the 1980s (I know I am dating myself here) and my son's too, a few years ago.  She's a really special lady.  This is her first year in club. She recently retired from teaching after 38 years.

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Her black and pink quilt was quilted in red and the high contrast looks so cool.

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This nice lady is Lady M.  She's an elementary school teacher and someone I hope to get to know better too. She's an amazing quilter and she's such a gentle, sweet lady, you can just see it in her smile.  She completed 7 pillows, 2 pillow cases, and two adorable tops including the quilts above and below this text, all since last month's meeting... Wow!  Can we bottle her energy?

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Sorry it's so blurry. I almost fell over.  It really is an adorable kids quilt.  Like a kid, I got carried away with excitement looking at this bright quilt featuring tiny little chicks.

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Lady "K" is another amazing story.  She's a kindergarten teacher. This work of art is last year's club quilt, all twelve months complete.  What a beauty!  The amazing thing is that she quilted it herself, by machine, on her Bernina. I wish you could see how pretty her quilt designs are.  Every block was detail quilted.  "K" is a prolific quilter, and she wastes NOTHING! Last year people gave her their leftover scraps and she completed her quilt back entirely from scraps (image below).  It's as pretty on the back I think.  Waste not, want not!

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I can't stop thinking about how practical it was for her to use up all the scraps for the backing.  I am going to try this. I have SOOOOO many scraps.

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This nice lady is another NEW friend. I'll call her Lady N and she made the cutest little tablecloth.  The pattern is called Twisted Table Cloth and includes instructions to make this design in three different sizes.   It is so pretty.  I love red and green pairings.

Well, that's it.  I hope you enjoyed my little show.  I have been kinda naughty... I haven't completed any quilt projects in a while.  I am working on a few for this month's UFO Roll Call Sewing Challenge, so they'll be up on the 31st.  Here's the link to the CHALLENGE, in case you haven't had a chance to link up.

Remember to link up a project this month for a chance to win the GIVEAWAY prize!  I will draw the winner on February 1st.