Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!


Thursday, April 1

April dreams...

Stepping outside today I'm greeted with the smell of freshly turned earth from the fields around the old farmhouse. It's a rich fragrance, and when paired with the sweet-scent of pine needles and damp leaves, it lets me know that spring is here. A time for planting seeds, making plans and tidying up. 




Under the April sky, I can hear hear a cardinal in the distance, and a friendly mockingbird perches on the dinner bell by our back door...a springtime ritual I look forward to each year. I like to think Molly (as I've named her) has come to wish me happy spring, but I have a feeling her true motive is to sneak a little cat food that's sitting close by!




We're preparing for Easter; there's a lemon cakepop candle burning, colorful eggs drying, hyacinths dressing up the table, and favorite recipes being prepared.  If you're still planning Easter dinner, here's a salad recipe I love...it was given to me when I started my first job. We'd had a company potluck and I just couldn't get enough of this!

Broccoli Salad

1 head broccoli, chopped
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1 red onion, diced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
6-8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar

Combine first 5 salad ingredients together; set aside. Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar; drizzle over salad. Toss to blend; serve.

You can definitely make this your own...add more, or less of the salad ingredients, toss in some dried cranberries or raisins, even some slivered almonds or walnuts.






Last week I passed an old home in a nearby small town...the front and side yards were filled to overflowing with the most lovely blue Forget-Me-Not blooms. I couldn't help but find a spot to park and take pictures. A neighbor, sitting on a nearby porch, commented: "Aren't they beautiful...I know spring is coming." Then went on to tell me the owners of the home are in their 90's and that the flowers have been blooming for decades. 

I think I'll scatter some seeds around this old house. The blooms will have faded before it's time to mow and it would be so pretty...yes, plans for next spring.

Last night a soft, rosy glow with a touch of purple streaked across the sky as the sun was setting...a perfect springtime sky. Wherever you are, wishing you a happy spring, Easter, and time to savor the beauty of each day.







Wednesday, March 17

March...

The sounds of March are special...the chattering of birds at the feeders, the snap of sheets on the clothesline, the roaring of tractors clearing fields, and the singing of peepers in the creek. 

Not that long ago, we were sweeping snow off steps, breaking ice, and clearing walking paths. Bailey would be romping through the snow drifts moving so quickly, it was impossible to get her to stop and pose!



After a long run outside, she'd come in and curl up with her favorite blanket.

Yep, I'm biased, but I have to say it...



Best.

Dog. 

Ever.


March has also brought us the prettiest sunrises, each different and fleeting.







The days are getting longer, what a blessing each one is. I try to remind myself to take time and stop, listen, and look around...

a dog barks
birds flit in and out of trees
an old tree creaks in the wind
an eagle flies overhead


While I loved winter, I do believe it is past, and in the gentle, warm sunlight, or even the cool, starry night, let's take time. 

Time to savor the beauty of, and be thankful for, each day.


Saturday, February 27

SOMMARSKÖRD...memories of summer, saved up in a jar

It's been a winter to remember...knee-deep snow drifts and temperatures far below zero have found us wearing our warmest clothes and pulling on boots, hats, and gloves whenever we venture outside. In preparation for whatever Mother Nature brings our way, we've kept wood stacked by the kitchen door, double-checked the pantry for necessities, and have the generator handy should we lose power. 


snow-covered skep house


frost-covered farmhouse windows


But even with the snow and ice, February brings so many pleasures...still, quiet days when the slightest sound seems to carry for miles across the fields, icy paths that crunch underfoot, and animal tracks crossing one another creating a winter tapestry. 


beautiful sunrises

and breath-taking sunsets

When it's this blustery and cold outside, I want to settle into nesting...kneading bread and keeping a pot of soup simmering in the slow cooker, baking cookies, cleaning out a pantry, closet, or drawer. I'm such a homebody...most mornings I get up, look out the window to check the weather, take care of animals, then come inside to clean things or cook. I feel such gratitude we are all together in these "uncertain, difficult, unprecedented times." 

Today I took a little time to work on a cupboard I was gifted with...here's the original:





I didn't want to strip through several layers of paint and the crackle finish, but I did want it to look more as it used to (you know I LOVE old things!) On the back was a light layer of paint, my guess is one of the earlier layers. So I took a sample to my handy-dandy paint store and had them match it. When I'm done, I'll show you the finished project, but for a quick peek, here's the "white" paint on the back:



here's my attempt to match the finish.


It'll take a little more time to cover up the dark green and then paint the inside, too. When I'm done, I think it'll be ideal for storing jars of jam, jelly, and honey when the milkhouse shop is open! 

And if you're wondering about my title, SOMMARSKÖRD...memories of summer, saved up in a jar, it's because I can't get enough of this recipe for Cowboy Candy...you can find out how to make it here.

Next summer, when you have oodles of peppers in your garden, give this recipe a a try...hot, sweet, and delicious spooned on cream cheese then served with crackers. I'm pretty sure I went through a jar (yes, by myself) in two days!









Thursday, February 11

Egentid...

Another 2-hour delay for schools today...yay!  It's a treat to have a couple of extra hours in the morning to sleep, and then putter around a quiet farmhouse before the sun rises. 

The icy winds are blowing and the snow-covered ground is so frozen it squeaks as I walk across it. However; a good down vest and a heavy farm coat keep me warm as I move from feeding goats and chickens, to filling bird feeders. In this chill, I step briskly while enjoying the peaceful morning and invigorating air.


trees dusted with frost,


as well as wind chimes and a boot scraper, 

 

and a very frozen rain chain.


Back inside, it's time for some herbal tea...a fruity blend called Berry Jam. I'll sip it from an old Blue Willow teacup that belonged to my mother-in-law, while remembering the Swedish word, Egentid...meaning, time on my own.  




I think I'll invite a couple of friends to "join" me...often we'll set up a day & time to have tea...while not together, we each know the others are joining us in spirit.

Wishing each of you time for Egentid today.


Thursday, January 28

holidays, hearts & homespun recipes

On days when the wind is howling and snowflakes are falling, it's blissfully cozy to be inside sitting by a fire. It feels safe in the warmth of an old farmhouse, and it's the perfect time to plan & dream.




Have you noticed that cheery Christmas lights on homes and sparkling trees in front windows are staying around much longer than usual? Maybe it's the craziness of 2020 that's made us all want to hang onto the magic of the holidays a bit longer...and that's just fine by me. 

Truly, is there anyone who enjoys taking down the Christmas tree? I always find it a bit sad tucking away sentimental and favorite decorations...

made by little hands,


and given by good friends.



However; this little Santa never gets packed away, I keep him out to help remind me to try and hold onto the spirit of Christmas every day.  

See that little heart-shaped rock by his boots?



My son had put it on a tiny snowman last month, and there was no way I was
going to let it get away, so inside it came!


Soon I began noticing more hearts...

in a parking lot, 


and in a driveway.


Maybe a little reminder that Christmas isn't the only time for open hearts.




This month I've been busy doing my "Not" Spring cleaning, "Not" because we all know that if we wait until it's really Spring, it's much too late to deep clean. By then it's time to weed, till, prune, plant, paint, mulch & mow...our lives shift to soaking up the sun and jumping into outdoor chores that need doing.

During all my cleaning, I sorted through oodles of cookbooks I'd collected over the years...some I donated, but some were just too sweet to let go:

along with a recipe box that belonged to my mother-in-law...what a treasure to have her handwritten favorites.


There is also a recipe book that was sold blank to be filled with a homemaker's tried & true recipes...



take a look inside and you'll see recipes like Snowflake Cake and Tomato Relish making this book a keeper, too. There's no date written in it, but there is a tiny newspaper clipping dated 1949 tucked between the pages.



So with all of these vintage recipes, I began thinking I just had to give them a try, and they deserve a chance to be prepared in Mae, our 1950 stove! And because people ask, yes, she's doing great. She runs a little on the warm side, so I adjust recipes, but she's still cute to me...

with her little salt & pepper shaker,

  

and colorful "talking" buttons.





















Now, with my old cookbooks in hand, my plan is to whip up one of their recipes every week or two and share the results with you...who knows, maybe we'll all rediscover a recipe our families will love!






Saturday, January 16

delicious multi-grain, seeded bread recipe...


A short & sweet post today - if you’re looking for a new bread recipe,
put this one on your must-try list. It came together so quickly & easily,
and baked up beautifully.

Because I didn't have oat groats or amaranth, I tossed in pepitas, oats, and 
sunflower kernels...not a problem; it came out great.

Ready to bake? Just visit this link!

Thursday, December 31

happy new year!

This morning we woke up to find the windows frosted, snow drifted against the barns, and the wind whistling as if it's celebrating and welcoming in the New Year. Although brisk, it was a great way to begin the day. Bailey was bouncing through the snow, goats were anxious for their morning treats, and chickens seemed ready to explore outside the coop, only to come back quickly and have a little breakfast before committing to the snowy morning. 


 

We were blessed with a beautiful white Christmas...almost as if by magic, snow began falling Christmas Eve and continued giving us 4 inches. It felt like the perfect Christmas for this unforgettable year...we were all together, sneaking off to finish wrapping secret surprises, a fire was crackling, Christmas music in the background, and Bailey was curled up...all was well.

Today, as always, our New Year's Eve is filled with traditions...there will be a movie marathon during the day and everyone's favorite snacks to munch on. At midnight, we'll grab pots, pans, & spoons, step outside and bang loudly as we greet the new year. (it's a good thing our nearest neighbors aren't too close!)

As we launch into a new year, dinner is always pork and sauerkraut, two foods said to assure good fortune in the coming year, we'll be determined and make resolutions, and be sure to take quiet time and think about this past year...how fortunate we are to be healthy and to be together. In a world that seems to sometimes spin faster than we can keep up with, I'm grateful for a quiet life in the country and it's steady pace. 

As we jump into 2021, the unknown is ahead of us, just waiting to be filled with whatever we dream of...may we all have a new year filled with blessings, good health, and love.


Ending 2020 with a few snapshots of our winter on the farm...


looking out the front doors at the Christmas Eve snow...



someone asked me how Mae was doing 
(our 1950 Hotpoint stove), 
she's doing great and baking all our favorites!



The kids couldn't resist building mini snowmen on the car hood!



This made me laugh...a local ag store had "Rudolph" pulling a spreader.



A new delivery of hay...always a good feeling going into winter,



along with cozy fires,


glowing candles,


and curling up for a long winter's nap. 



And me? Well, I'm dreaming!




 
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