Welcome to our 1864 farmhouse…life is good!

Tuesday, August 31

glimpses of the farmers' market...

golden honey
colorful flowers and fresh sweet corn
homebaked pies, breads, cakes, and cinnamon rolls
Indian corn
(for those of us anxiously awaiting fall!)
just-picked apples
It was still cool in the early morning and the square was bustling with activity. However, through all the chatting neighbors, laughing kids, and tail-wagging dogs, one little sign caught my eye...it simply read:

and Mattie, who was all of about 6 years old,
has been growing flowers all summer to sell at the market.
I just couldn't resist, so I asked her pick out her favorite colors for me, and I came home with a sweet bouquet
I promptly tucked into a Mason jar.

The farmers' market...what's not to love?!

Wednesday, August 25

putting things by...

I've had this photo for ages and it's always made me smile.
This young lady's been working hard alongside Mom and is rightfully proud of her efforts!

That's the goal for our pantry...and while it may not end up looking exactly like this one, the temperatures are 20 degrees cooler this week making it perfect for "putting things by"
as Grandma would say. I'm canning pizza and spaghetti sauces, pickles, beans, and peppers. The onions are ready to braid and hang, and herbs are ready to dry. Before we know it, we'll be digging potatoes.

Isn't it interesting that we all seem to get spring fever, but so many of us also have a fever in early fall? I once heard this described as a season between earnest nesting and flagrant wanderlust. It's that need be plan ahead for the frosty days sure to come, but to also enjoy the lingering summer days.

Hmmm, today I'm prudent...
next week I may just take a jaunt to Amish country!

So, how are you spending these days that are teetering somewhere between summer and fall?

Tuesday, August 24

first day of school...

and so the cycle continues...
day-to-day, month-to-month, year-to-year.

The first sight of school buses is gentle reminder that one season is slipping into the next. Summer's light takes on a coppery glow, and every now and then, we catch a gentle, cooling breeze from the north.

There is one county fair left to enjoy...it has a huge train layout that Little Man circles for what seems like hours. We'll laugh on the rides, enjoy the food, linger over the blue ribbon entries,
and come home exhausted. We'll savor it all...the winding down
of summer and preparing for autumn.

And so, on this first day the house is quiet...close to absolute, broken only by the chirping crickets heard through the
screen doors.

I'm sure in time my "worker-bee" agenda will kick in and
I'll be cleaning closets, drawers, and barns.

But for today, I'm baking their favorite cookies
and waiting for 3 o'clock.

Tuesday, August 17

time for school?

Saturday Grandma took us shopping for school clothes...
Monday we bought school supplies...
Today is one week from the beginning of school,

and I find myself trying to pack as many special memories as I can into summer vacation's remaining days.

This year Little Man begins what I describe as "real school" otherwise known as 1st grade. He'll be gone all day, every day. And while I have a to-do list a mile long and often wish for some quiet time, I don't think I'll quite know what to do with myself next Tuesday. Over the years we've had our special routine...
drop Sissy off at school, then it's "You and me time...
I love you and me time!" he would always say.

Sweet Girl moves upstairs in the elementary school this year...
a big deal for 4th graders. A big deal indeed...it almost feels like the beginning of a separation, and I'm not comfortable with that. Not ready for that. Not happy with that.

So today's post has "drivel" as The Coop Keeper calls it.
The dictionary defines that as "silly and irrelevant talk." True...irrelevant to most, but none-the-less a part of our world this week.

I want to find a way to slow down time. I want to hold onto each happy moment, to erase the unhappy ones, and to keep our kids little...just a bit longer.

As corny as it sounds, I often find myself thinking back to the lines from one of our favorite movies, Hook. At one point
Moira says to Peter,

"Your children love you, they want to play with you.
How long do you think that lasts?
We have a few special years with our children,
when they're the ones that want us around.
After that you're going to be running after them
for a bit of attention.
It's so fast...it's a few years, and it's over.
And you are not being careful. And you are missing it."

I recall sitting in a ladies church meeting and the question was asked, "What do you wish you could have changed about raising your children?" I was eager to learn from these ladies who had already raised their children...what insights could I gain?
I was amazed that every lady who raised her hand said,
"I wish I would have played with them more." It hit me hard. These ladies couldn't go back and change that...they had teary eyes and heartfelt regrets. I learned a valuable lesson that day.
And now, it's about time...
time for the sound of feet running down the stairs.
So I'll be signing off...I don't want want to "miss it!"

Tuesday, August 10

beat the heat!

When the sweltering heat descends on us, we make homemade
ice cream. What a summertime delight! If you love chocolate, this recipe is an ideal way to beat the heat. It's easy to make and oh-so good!

Triple Chocolate Ice Cream

2 c. whipping cream, divided
2, 1-oz. sqs. semisweet baking chocolate
2, 1-oz. sqs. unsweetened baking chocolate
2 c. half-and-half
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. baking cocoa
8 egg yolks
4 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt

Combine in a saucepan 1/2 cup whipping cream with semisweet and unsweetened chocolate squares. Heat over medium-low until chocolate melts; stir frequently. When squares have melted, remove from heat; set aside. Pour half-and-half into a saucepan; heat until hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat; set aside.

Stir together sugar and baking cocoa; set aside. Whisk together egg yolks until well blended. Gradually beat sugar mixture into egg yolks with an electric mixer at medium-low speed; blend well. Slowly add chocolate mixture, then half-and-half; mix until smooth.

Return mixture to saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot, but not boiling. Transfer to a bowl; stir in remaining whipping cream, vanilla, and salt. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Pour into an ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Makes 1/2 gallon.

(Jenean, you'd asked about a Peach Ice Cream recipe. I have it on good authority that this recipe is absolutely delicious! My friend Diana passed it along to me...her daughter Jennifer makes it for her family.)

Peach Ice Cream

4 peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
juice of 1 lemon
1-1/4 c. whipping cream

Combine peaches, milk, and lemon juice in a food processor. Process until smooth; set aside. Beat cream in a chilled bowl until stiff peaks form; fold into peach mixture. Place into an ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
Makes 1/2 gallon.

Friday, August 6

the dog days of summer...

Here in the Midwest, our mornings are hot and muggy.
Each day we wake to find a haze has settled over the fields, only to be burned off by the heat of the morning sun. Somewhere in the distance are rumblings of thunder, but the much-needed rain  passes us by. There’s a constant hum of cicadas, and although there is much to be done, we seem to move in slow motion.

Yet, however sweltering August may be, it is also rich in garden bounty…tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, cucumbers, green beans, peaches, cherries, and new potatoes. A trip to the farmers’ market last Saturday found me coming home with an overflowing bag of pickling cucumbers. Now, at day’s end,
faint traces of ginger, cloves, vinegar, and garlic linger in the kitchen from the morning’s canning.

As evening approaches, we’re ready to settle in…there’s the sound of thunder moving closer, and the doves are cooing softly.

I think we’ll make homemade ice cream tomorrow…a simple summertime pleasure we look forward to. I want us to enjoy every minute of every day, because although these summer days can seem endless, there’s a sense that they are numbered.
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