Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Thursday, July 29

"dream on!"

My sweet hubby brought these home...
to celebrate an exciting email I received!

For those of you who know me well, you know that in a past life
I was the Sr. Book Editor and Manager of Licensed Books for a cookbook publishing company.

Times being what they are, last October the company made deep cuts in the staff. Unfortunately, I was one of those, along with a great group of creative people, who found themselves looking for a fresh start. During my 13 years at that job, I was blessed to be able to work from home, while still being here for our children. Those types of jobs are few and far between.

But, as we say, "Life is good." With my new "free" time, I began chasing my writing dream. With so many wonderful blogs out there, I felt it was time to begin one...it would be the first baby step to the writing I eventually wanted to do.

Like so many of you, I'm a fan of The Farm Chicks, and I dropped Serena a quick note to compliment her on her fun blog and to thank her for all the terrific and clever ideas she shares. Her story was an inspiration to me...someone simply doing what she loved. She returned my note, and graciously said, "I'm thinking of you while you follow your dreams. Dream on!"

Well, this September, I hope to be able to let you know that
an article I wrote will be in the October/November issue of a country lifestyle & farmgirl magazine! As of now, my article
is set for placement. I got a sneak peek at the pdf file for proofing...it looked terrific!

As we know, however; there is always the possibility articles set for publication can be delayed at the last minute to accommodate the layout. So, when I have the magazine in my hands, and see my name in print, I'll post the happy news!

Yes, life is good...dreams can come true.

Tuesday, July 27

ribbon report!

Yay, the county fair was great fun!

We enjoyed eating the tasty food, seeing the adorable Nubian goats, (I really "need" some of those!) and watching the kids laugh as they rode the rides. A county fair is a simple country pleasure I never tire of.

The official ribbon report is...
(drum roll, please)

6, 1st place blue ribbons
7, 2nd place red ribbons

Sweet Girl took 1st place for her artwork and a vintage apron her Grammy gave her...she was so happy! And both she and Little Man received 2nd place ribbons for their baked goodies.

I submitted photos, canned and baked goods, along with a
Knotwork Nine-Patch quilt. The quilt is over 90 years old and was given to us many years ago by my mother-in-law. She was so tickled to hear it took first place in the heritage quilts class!

We all had a terrific time and by night's end, we were worn out. This weekend we'll bring home our entries, ribbons, and checks...the kids are already plotting and planning on how to spend their prize money.

Now, lest you be too impressed with our winnings, remember,
this is a small county fair...
First place will get you $3.00, and second place $2.00,  
but hey, when you're young, that's enough to stir up
some excitement!

Monday, July 26

fair competition...

Our county fair has started and this morning we've been up since the break of day baking, decorating, and making sure our jars of canned vegetables sparkle...we're getting ready to deliver our entries to the fairgrounds! It's a wonderfully cool morning, with temperatures in the 50's. What a welcome relief from the hot & humid air almost 25 degrees warmer that has greeted me each morning as I head to the garden to weed and till.

I took a moment to sit in a porch rocker to enjoy the cool air.
As I looked around, it was obvious the spiders were busy in the nightttime, as these delicate webs were everywhere. A kitten hopped into my lap and we took a few minutes together enjoying the quiet and coolness.

However, it's time to deliver our entries...judging begins at
10 a.m. sharp! Tonight we'll go to the fair and enjoy the
yummy food, rides, and farm animals, then we'll wander
(nope, run!) over to the grandstand to see if we were lucky enough to win a ribbon! Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 22

old-fashioned buttermilk doughnuts...

As a part of our pioneer celebration this week, we made buttermilk doughnuts. The recipe was so easy, and they were delicious warm with a glass of ice cold milk! Even if you've never made doughnuts before, try this recipe...handed down,
it's stood the test of time.

Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Doughnuts

5-1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1-1/2 t. cinnamon or ground nutmeg
2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/4 c. sugar
6 T. butter, melted
oil for deep frying
Garnish: cinnamon-sugar or powdered sugar

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon or nutmeg; stir well to blend. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk,
eggs, and sugar; stir in melted butter. Add to flour mixture, blending well. Dough will be sticky. Set aside to rest 5 minutes. Add 4-inches of oil to a deep, heavy pan; heat to 375 degrees.

On a floured surface, roll dough out until 1/4-inch thick. Cut with doughnut cutter. Add 2 or 3 doughnuts to hot oil and cook until golden; turn and cook second side. Drain on paper towels. While warm, toss doughnuts with cinnamon-sugar or powdered sugar. Makes approximately 30 doughnuts.

Monday, July 19

pioneer day celebration...

Our family loves history, and so this week we'll be celebrating Pioneer Day! While Pioneer Day is officially July 24, we like to spend the week leading up to it doing something fun each day. We'll play pioneer games, listen to music of the time, and cook recipes over the tripod outside or in the tin kitchen by the fireplace. I'll definitely wear my pioneer dress and pinafore
apron to get into the spirit!

It's a good time to reflect on what our ancestors sacrificed and left behind, talk with our children about the unknown road that was ahead of the pioneers...the joys, along with the dangers and sadness they experienced. They have left us an example to follow, and we are grateful for that. Amid all the fun, it's the faith, courage, and strength of the pioneers that we hope to teach our children as we celebrate this week.

Monday, July 12

sun-drenched July...

Here in the Midwest we are in the absolute heat of summer with temperatures in the mid 90's. Although hot and humid, we find we can survive the heat because our windowsills are filled with garden-fresh tomatoes and our gathering baskets overflow with new potatoes, green beans, and onions.

The growing season has been good, and the rich farmland
 around us has produced field corn 8 to 9 feet tall
(forget the old saying, "Knee high by the 4th of July!")

Saturday's farmers' market was bursting with the bounty of the season. I stared like a kid in a candy store at stands filled with baskets of plump blueberries and sweet cherries. Next were bunches of carrots, radishes and beets arranged neatly together alongside rows of large candy onions. I lingered as I passed all varieties of mouth-watering pies, fresh bread and rolls, and the season's first sweet corn. I found some just-baked Amish Fry Pies (some people call them hand pies) and those were definitely coming home with me!

Our county fair will be soon, and for us, it's one of the biggest joys of living in a small town! We love seeing all the animals, riding the rides, sampling the food, and joining in a friendly competition to see who really bakes the best apple pie. We're small town, and we like it that way. Folks know each other by name...it's one of the joys of living here with so many nice people.

July is rich from start to finish. The breezes are warm, but cooled by delphinium blue skies. There is much to do, but much to enjoy...yes, life is good.

Tuesday, July 6

summer vacation...

We've just come back from a wonderful drive that took us north into Wisconsin and Minnesota for a wedding. The heat-wave
was behind us and the temperatures were 20 degrees cooler...
that made it so nice for stopping along the way to see the sights.

From beautiful farms that lined the roads for most of our journey, to lovely brick farmhouses, and acres of corn and soybeans, it was such a  pretty drive.

We stopped along the way to visit children's museums,
Navy Pier in Chicago, and the Mall of America in Minneapolis
(oh my...how many malls have roller coasters in them?!)
This dinosaur is made of Legos...we couldn't believe the
amazing creations!

 Of course we had to sample Wisconsin cheese (and bring home lots to share!) and we spent a night in one of our favorite spots...
a train car in Union Station.

However, the best reason for our travel north was the wedding of this sweet couple. Congratulations to Joanna and Ben...
we wish you happy forevering!

They were radiant and all smiles. It was such a blessing to be invited to share in their special day and to spend time together (the bride's parents are dear friends.)

And there were new little people to meet...just look at these sweet faces!

Our vacation was over quickly, and before we knew it we were back home. But it won't be forgotten soon...it was a terrific trip filled with laughter and so much fun.
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