Beautiful magnolia blooms

May 28, 2013 § 3 Comments

We were pleased this week to see that our magnolia tree is blooming.  Magnolias are the biggest, longest lasting blooms.  They start out white, and then gradually turn a little brown around the edges as the weeks and months pass.  We are fortunate to live in the South, where magnolias are very common.

05_28_2013As beautiful as these dinner-plate-sized blooms are, it doesn’t make sense to cut them and bring them indoors.  Our magnolia flowers have no scent, and they also last much longer on the tree than in a vase.  We much prefer having these outside, where we can look out a window and enjoy them for months on end.

Homegrown blackberries

May 24, 2013 § 3 Comments

We have blackberry bushes in the back pasture.  Dave says that when he was a kid, his family harvested enough blackberries every summer to make blackberry jam and more than a few pies.  This year, I’ve been eagerly waiting for blackberry picking season.  I was excited when Dave came in from mowing the pasture, and announced that the berries were ready for picking.  I selected a large bowl from the kitchen, worrying that it might not be big enough for the large harvest that I expected.

Half an hour later, I’d picked the bushes clean, and this is what I collected:

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Yep, it’s barely a handful of berries.  It not enough for a milkshake, let alone an entire pie.  Evidently last year’s drought, partnered with Dave’s overenthusiastic mowing of the pasture has killed off most of our blackberry bushes.  Maybe next year.  Meanwhile, I’m off to the market to buy some store-bought blackberries to make a pie.

Clover for the honey bees

April 17, 2013 § 4 Comments

Dave enjoys working in the fields, and hardly a weekend goes by where he isn’t out on the tractor.  This past weekend, he mowed the grass in the pastures and around the house.  He took care to leave the many clover patches untouched.  The clover provides sustenance for the bees, will also eventually be composted into our fields to provide nitrogen to our soil.

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Springtime flowers

March 20, 2013 § 2 Comments

My friend Cheryl recently repurposed some beautiful shot glasses into flower vases.

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They make much better vases than shot glasses, and are perfect for holding Cheryl’s spring blooms.   Cheryl has a beautiful garden, and there’s always something in bloom.

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She lives in a condominium at the water’s edge, and in front of her home, there’s a plot of land about 15 feet by 10 feet.  It’s always bursting with blooms, and whenever Dave and I go there to visit her, we marvel at her gardening skills.



Week in review: 02/15/2013

February 15, 2013 § 4 Comments

I took a walk with some friends at sunrise on Saturday morning.  We walked around a 40-acre lake a few miles away from the farmhouse.  Ages ago, I used to live in this community.

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I saw some pelicans sunning themselves on a dock.

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Dave has been using the back bedroom at the farmhouse as a sort of storeroom.  All of the boxes stacked everywhere, along with whatever else he occasionally felt like throwing in there, was driving me crazy.  So, one night while he was in class, I started clearing it out.  I intentionally waited to do this while he was out of the house, because he starts getting nervous when he sees me organizing his stuff.

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I was three hours into the task when he came home.  He was amazingly unfazed by the giant trash bags, and the general havoc, and even expressed gratitude that I was tackling something that he’d evidently been wanting to start for awhile.  I’m not finished yet, but feels so good to almost have a room.  When it is clear, I think I’m going to turn it into an office.  Meanwhile, the morning after starting the project, I woke up to this:

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I couldn’t figure out why my legs ached so much, and discovered I’d bruised them up pretty badly when I was moving boxes, television sets, and computers out of the room.  There’s more bruising to come, because we still have to load up the car, and haul all of the stuff off to Goodwill.

Dave and I finished welding the frame for the gate and did the installation.  Otis supervised.

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Now we can put boards onto the frame, and the fence and gate project will be complete.

We’re trying to stick to mostly low carb meals this week, although sometimes Dave slips up and eats cookies.  Here’s some chili we had for dinner on Wednesday:

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Chili always tastes better with some grated cheddar cheese and sour cream on top.

A trip to the hardware store had us purchasing some seeds for this year’s garden.

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Beautiful (stinky) narcissus

February 7, 2013 § 3 Comments

We’ve been at the farmhouse for well over a year, but it’s only recently that I really noticed the narcissus.

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Who knew that something so beautiful could be so STINKY?  I guess Dave’s mom planted these flowers for their beauty, because it certainly wasn’t for their “delightful” scent.  When they came up last week, I thought how beautiful they’d be in the kitchen, the dining room, the bedroom.  Oh, what a big mistake.  They are the smelliest flowers EVER.

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So, now they remain…in the yard, as landscaping foliage.  If you have these beautiful (but smelly) flowers growing in your own garden, RESIST the temptation to put their cuttings inside.  They smell only slightly less worse than the corpse flower.

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We have hundreds (maybe thousands?) of these.  Their smell is so strong that when I pull into the driveway at night, I kind of hold my breathe as I rush into the house.

Week in review: 02/01/2013

February 1, 2013 § 10 Comments

On one morning every weekend, we will go out to eat for breakfast.  Here’s what we had on Sunday.  It doesn’t look that “breakfasty,” because it was closer to lunchtime than breakfast time, so I opted for a grilled cheese, egg, and ham sandwich with a side of some sautéed spinach with bacon.

GPP_2_1_2013eI prepared porkchops one day this week.  It was so simple…I just dusted the porkchops lightly with a little flour and seasonings, then sauteed them in the cast iron frying pan.  When they were cooked through, I removed them from the pan, and added a few sliced mushrooms to the cooking juices in the pan.  We sauteed the mushrooms for a couple of minutes, and then arranged them on top of the chops.

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Fresh rosemary from our garden, being dried for Herbs de Provence.

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Dave requested a pumpkin pie for dessert one day this week, and I was happy to oblige.  I didn’t have time to make my own pastry this time, so I used a good quality premade pie shell from the grocery store.  The inside of the pie at least was homemade.  I’m surprised we still have some of the frozen pumpkin that I prepared at the end of December.

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With our crazy schedules and long days, we find ourselves cooking more and more of our meals in the slow-cooker.  This provides us with healthy meals, and it’s also convenient.  Here’s the crockpot prepped for the bratwurst with lentils and leeks that I made earlier in the week.

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I’ve been hard at work on my dissertation.  After work I sit at my desk in the back bedroom, and the dogs come in and keep me company.

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Usually they just relax on the floor, but occasionally Otis will get up and shove his head under my arm.  I can’t figure out if he needs comforting, or if he’s trying to comfort me.

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