Sunday, July 31, 2011

1 Zucchini, 2 Zucchini, 3 Zucchini, 4.......

Ahhhhh....the illustrious zucchini.  The vegetable that is taking over all gardens at this time of year.  I tried to think ahead and have only two zucchini plants in my garden this year.  Those two plants are proving to be very hardy and providing this family with more than we can eat, bake, grill, etc......

So this afternoon I took a tried and true recipe and adjusted it a lot just a bit to include zucchini. 

My family asked me what was in the muffins and I didn't tell them, because I am crafty like that.  They ate them anyway and declared them to be quite good.  I hope you have the same luck. 

Zucchini Apple Muffins

1 cup sugar
2 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 shakes from a nutmeg container (my official measurement)
1 tart apple, finely chopped with the peel left on
2 cups shredded zucchini (squeeze out all liquid on paper towels)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla (make your own, it's better that way)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended.  Stir in oil, eggs, vanilla, and pecans.  Blend well and add zucchini and apples and mix until well combined.  Scoop batter into muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes. 

Serve warm with copious amounts of real butter.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Let's Check Our Speed

 We must check our speed. 
We bring up our children too fast
we work too fast

we dissipate too fast
we eat too fast

we live too fast, and, consequently, always 

ahead of our time, 
we die too fast.  

"How to Keep Well,
Harper's Monthly

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Do You Need a Pencil?

I love to read.  I love the total escapism that comes from delving into a book and not wanting to put it down.  The weight of a book in my hands and quite often the smell of old pages have entranced me many a time.  I now have the luxury of owning an electronic reading device and can have my choice of any reading selection in mere seconds.  But, not too long ago I was dependent upon our small town library. 

When I first moved to Smalltownland I was determined to get assimilated and one of my very first outings was to the local library.  It was quite close to the historic house we owned at the time and I trotted on over with a toddler in tow.  

And what a sight to behold when I walked into the front door.  The building was small with shelves around the walls of the room and maybe five free standing shelves.  Two ladies, with a dog mind you, were enjoying some iced tea at a table.  A handful of people were browsing the shelves and there were several ladies working at the counter.  I was immediately greeted and I didn't need to explain myself.  Everyone knew who I was....where I came from....who my parents were....the name of my son and that he had been born north of the Mason Dixon Line. 

One of the ladies graciously offered to read the tiny Deerslayer a story while I browsed.  Upon inquiring, I was told that I wouldn't need a library card....they all knew where I lived. 

After I had made my selections I actually had to fill out the cards in the back of the books.  Something I had not done since...high school maybe?  As I was filling out one of the cards the elderly lady asked me if I really liked, "that kind of book".  It happened to be a romance novel and I told her that yes, on occasion, I did read romance novels.  Well....she informed me that, if I wanted, I could fill out the card in my name could be erased later.  

I must have given her quite the puzzled look because she then explained that some of the town ladies didn't like for their names to be left...."in those kind of books".
I was brazen and wrote my name in pen.....for the whole town to see....and talk about later. 

And on my next trip to the library I used the back a real local. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Picture of the Month

There is nothing like a picture to explain an entire concept.  Living here....well it's different!  From the postmaster who leaves sticky notes on the post office door when she leaves to get a soda, ("Be right back"), to the neighbor....far down the road, who now has chickens in her dog kennel, this life has taken a bit getting used to.  

Imagine my surprise when Secret Agent Man and I stopped for gas at our community station and these fellas were catching a little time in the shade.  

Everything needs its own type of fuel every now and again, I suppose....

Friday, July 22, 2011

How I Spent My Friday Evening

I know things here on the farmette may seem glamorous to you.  With all of the high fashion farm equipment, manure, and is just a chick's paradise.  However, things move pretty slow around here.  Take tonight for example.  Not a party in sight, unless you count the one going on in the garden. 

I went outside and checked on the progress of the pear trees.  Have mercy.....there are a lot.  

Various melons are growing in the straw bales.  Including some pumpkins that I didn't get a shot of.  I have been having some trouble with squash stink bugs.  *sigh*  If it isn't one thing in nature, it is another.  I have been plucking the little suckers off of the plants and having them meet their death.  I'm tough like that. 

I have decided that this one zucchini plant is going to take over this straw bale. 

The sunflowers, which were planted a bit late, are finally starting to show their stuff. 

And then my little buddy and I decided to go inside, where it was much cooler. 

Stay cool my friends, wherever you might be. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


"Our lives are filled with doorways.  We call them transitions.  They each take us to a new adventure.  Some doorways appear to hold us back but when we later remember them, we find that they actually moved us forward...we just weren't aware of it at the time."
Mr. Prophet 

As our summer winds down, several of us here at the farmette are approaching doorways.  New opportunities and changes both at work and school are waiting for us. 
Exciting, nerve-wracking, new friend making, learning, and life changing experiences are right in front of us.  The type of experiences that move children toward adulthood and force the already adults to embrace new eventualities with grace....and sometimes not. 

I think it is sometimes hard to open that door....even when it is something you have been waiting for. 

And so as our summer winds down we are on the verge of a new doorway....just waiting to tug on the handle. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Hour of Twilight

Twilight is that magical time of day between sunset and nightfall.  When perfect light abounds and the lightening bugs come out to play on the farmette.   

Also known as dusk, gloaming, half-light, and crepuscle, it has become my favorite time of day. 

All dogs and children are wearing down for the day and our pastures are aglow with flashes of tiny lights.   Cows rustle around and owls hoot in the distance. 


Friday, July 15, 2011

A Million Pieces.....

I took the pieces you threw away

and put them together by night and day.

Washed by rain, dried by sun...

a million pieces all in one. 

Howard Finster
American Folk Artist

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thorny Scratches and Blackberry Sorbet

The heat.....the thorns....the purple stained fingers....oh, and let us not forget the bugs!!!  All of this means it is blackberry pickin' time here at the farmette.  We have plenty of wild blackberries all around our property.  Some of them are easily located and then again, some of them are not.  But, that is all a part of the experience and charm, is it not?! 

The June Bugs are wild about them and we have a bumper crop of the bugs.  I think they must get a little hot after eating the berries because I keep having to skim them out of the pool. 

 Blackberries are known to be rich in antioxidants and were used in Appalachia to treat minor stomach upsets.  So....if you eat as many as you pick, it will still turn out okay. 

This time I am getting adventurous and making some Blackberry Sorbet.  I can't wait to hear the chiclets enthusiastic response to something that looks like ice cream, but isn't really :) 

If you are feeling adventurous here is the recipe. 

Blackberry Sorbet

4 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons Chambord (optional)
2 tablespoons Limoncello (optional)

Rinse blackberries and allow to dry on paper towels.  Add berries, water, and sugar to blender and puree until smooth.  Pour this mixture through a chinois or fine sieve to remove the seeds.  You will have to work the berries through the sieve.  Stir lemon juice into mixture, along with Chambord and Limoncello, if you are adding them to the mix.  Using an ice bath lower the temperature of the mixture to 45 degrees and pour into an ice cream maker.  Freeze according to your maker's instructions. 

*If, like me, you do not have an ice cream maker you can place the mixture in the freezer and whisk it every hour until it freezes. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Mooove It

This weekend Secret Agent Man took the opportunity to move some cows over to a new pasture.  Quite frankly this is just not a favorite activity of mine.  A few years ago we had a herd that were....well, "drifters".  I think that is being kind.  They wouldn't stay in a fence and if we tried to move them, they were uncooperative. 

This time I made sure I had my trusty broomstick farming utensil and flip-flops muck boots at the ready. 

*The farming utensil is for guidance only, not actually for touching the animal.  However, if I could use it like a magic wand that would be helpful.* 

Here we can tell she is interested.  

She doesn't like having her picture taken either.  

Safe and secure on the hillside with fresh grass.   

"Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you are a thousand miles from a corn field."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Friday, July 8, 2011

Beach Bums

This past week the chiclets and I made our annual summer pilgrimage to The Babs and Mr. B's house.  Also known as Nana and Papa, they happen to live on the coast in the lovely, sweltering hot state of Florida. 

So we loaded up the family bus and headed south. 

And yes....that hula girl really resides on my dash....and she wiggles. 

A little time at the beach was in order for all of us.....

especially our own Toots. 


The Deerslayer enjoyed some time on the go-carts. 

And we all enjoyed the 4th with plenty of cousins.

Great memories were made and we are missing everyone already. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Yet, Another Straw Bale Gardening Update

Thus far most of the straw bale garden continues to grow. 

The tomatoes are growing well and there are actually tiny tomatoes on this plant.  And yes, those twisty poles are working....

These speckled leaves belong to a Moon and Stars watermelon. 

Our regular plot continues to grow as well. 

,I think the straw bale cucumbers are done for.  Don't know what happened, but they seem to be the only thing that hasn't really grown too well in the straw bale. 

I didn't get all of my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, but quite a bit of my garden is planted with them.  They are heirloom varieties and non-gmo seeds.  They produce an excellent, free catalog each year and are now taking orders for their December can go here to check out their website and get your own catalog...or I should say book because it is that big.  

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

And the Plants Grow On.....

After our strange wet weather earlier this year many things were planted late.  But, now they seem to be flourishing.  Cute little gourds are growing....

as are birdhouse gourds.

The pear trees have really taken off, as they always do.  Nothing gets in their way. 

We also might get a handful of peaches this year.  They are not as prolific as the pears.

The apples seem to be doing pretty well. 

Do any of you have fruit trees on your property or farms?  If so...what do you do with all of the bounty....besides making jam!