30 April 2012

Not Bad at All

I did it! 
I mean, WE did it.
Prom dinner turned out to be all kinds of fun!
I'm sure it was because I had so much help.

One dad suprised the kids by valet parking.
(worked great with our circle drive)
Another is a professional photographer and so
took shots as they arrived and in groups.  He also
walked around and took pics during dinner and
of the "kitchen help" in action.  I'll get a disc soon
but these are just a few that I snapped quickly.

Dinner was a breeze with so much help.
I ran the kitchen and arranged the plates,
complete with garnishes,
(fresh herbs from garden!)
while the parents took care of serving the courses,
topping off drinks and removing empty dishes.
My husband did a superb job at the grill.
We were all a well-oiled machine!

Candles and freshly-cut roses adorned the tables;
Latin music was playing in the background.

(my daughter)

Our menu:

Tossed Salad
(Kids and parents loved it.  Check it out!)
Rice Pilaf (a parent brought from Chilis restaurant)
Garlic Bread (provided by another parent) 
Choice of cheesecake:
Almond Joy
(oreo & toasted coconut crust; toasted almond & coconut
 in cheesecake, topped with chocolate glaze--sinful!) 

One young man even said it was the best meal
he'd ever had.  I'm sure he was just being
complementary, but these words fell quite
sweetly on Chef's (using that term loosely!) ears!

I got to use my new dinnerware! Had to run to Pier 1 and grab the dessert
plates.  My set is now complete--and I still just love them!

I now have a real appreciation for what
a chef must do to coordinate a meal from
the kitchen.  I've done holiday meals but never
a meal where we've actually served up the
courses for the guests.
True, I kept it very simple but, with a few sous
chefs, I really think I could do this more often! 
What fun!  Who wants to come to dinner?

Moms of teens: 
Do not shy from this adventure! 
It was a total blast!

24 April 2012

My Late Earth Day Post

Earth Day.
Every single tangible thing that we have
comes from the earth.
And that got me thinking:
What is it that our own little 3 acres of earth
give to us? 

How about in alphabetical form?
No, seriously--don't roll your eyes at me!
I think it makes you think harder to find things
you just might overlook and the whole point of this
exercise is to realize how much we've been given.
Try it.

Here's mine:
Apples, asparagus, Anaheim peppers, acorn squash, apricots

Brussel sprouts, broccoli, bell peppers, butternut squash, blackberries, basil

Carrots, clematis, chickens, cantalope, curry,
cucumbers, cilantro, currants, chamomile, cannas, chrysanthemums, crepe myrtles, catnip
Daffodils, dill
Eggplant, eggs

Green beans, gerbera daisies, grapes, gourds,
Hydrangeas, hyacinths, hibiscus, hostas, hollyhocks

Irises, ivy
Jalapeno peppers
[knowledge:  first-hand]

Lettuce, lavendar, lilies, lilacs
Mesclun, mint, marigolds
Onions, okra, oregano

Peas, potatoes, petunias, pumpkins, pears, peaches, parsley, pecans, peonies, pink ladies

Radishes, roses, rosemary
Spinach, spaghetti squash, Swiss chard, strawberries,
sage, stevia, snap dragons
Tulips, thyme, tomatoes

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever."
Unbelievable beauty
Wisteria, walnuts, well water, weeds (just being honest here!)
X-tra special everything (give me a break on this one!)
Yellow squash

23 April 2012

Taking Part in the Hen House Hop


Today I'm taking part in Deborah Jean's Hen House Hop
and the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways link party.
This post is sure to be long as I'm going to go waaaay back to the beginning.

I grew up on a big farm but, being the youngest of 7, I caught it
kind of toward the end, you might say.  When I entered my teen years, 
the city was creeping closer.   My dad had fought a hard battle with cancer
and won--temporarily.  My siblings had all moved away and no one was left
to take over a farm that had been in my family for 100+ years.
It was just getting time to cut back.

Today, I'm glad my dad isn't here to see the houses move in on
his ground.  He never could handle trespassers!  And he hated to see good 
ground being trampled and hardened, making it less-suitable for growing.

What I do wish my dad could see is what we have done
with the few little acres that my husband and I purchased--
keeping it in the family for at least one more generation. 

We don't have wheat, milo or soybeans.  We did keep the orchard
and have a decent garden.  No tractors or combines, no cows or pigs,
not even the barn remains.  But we do have chickens!

About 8 years ago, I made the decision to raise laying hens.
 I'd read so much about the eggs; of all the amazing health benefits, it
was the omega fats that really caught my attention.  As someone
who really strives, and enjoys, to cook and bake with fresh ingredients, 
I already knew what a "real" egg can do in the kitchen.  
And I remembered from my farm girl days the benefits of having
little "garbage disposals" and "fertilizer factories".  
Overall, chickens seemed to be a perfect fit for the healthy, natural
and stewardship ways of living we were working toward.

To fill in anything I didn't know, I picked up Storey's Guide to
Raising Chickens and read it cover to cover.  It still sits on my book
shelves today and I recommend it to anyone thinking of raising chickens.

(inside the coop after it was moved  recently--chicken run under construction)

My talented dh designed and built our coop and, other than
some mishaps with coyotes, inconsiderate neighbors' loose dogs
 and other critters, we've been enjoying fresh eggs ever since.

We've always had Reds but this year, I ordered 5 Barred Rocks and
5 Buff Orpingtons.  They're growing strong and should be laying by fall.

(prepping for the move--digging away the years)
Another change around here:  we've moved the coop
about 30 feet to the other side of my garden.  It's insanely heavy
so it was a very big deal but so worth it. 

Now my girls finally
have a chicken run!  I've added some shrubberies to help
with the north wind when the winters hit.

The run is working out very well for transitioning to new hens.
Right now the little ones are in the "upper" inside coop
 with a heat lamp at night.

The bigger ones stay down below but have perches up inside. 
(I've closed off the door to the inside to keep everyone seperate)
Please ignore my crazy temporary "redneck chicken nesting box."
Because they'd been "kicked out", I had to give the ladies 
something...and this is what I found.   A lovely old drawer. 

Again, it's temporary!  They don't seem to mind at all--
and we've all enjoyed a good laugh.

For now, they get seperate "recesses" out in the run.  We're trying
to have fresh eggs as long as possible.  But when the chicks are
just too...er...cooped up, they'll have to be given the rest of the coop.
And then, I'm afraid....

Poor Hepzibah.  She just can't figure out what this stump is for.
I'm sure you farm girls out there know!

Thank you for stopping in and allowing me to share our hen house
and its story!

 Also linked to: 

Winter Stitching List "Fess-Up"

Well, it's time to " 'fess up."
I admit that I'm disappointed that I didn't complete 
everything on my list but I do think that I got
more done by having a Winter Stitching List
than I would have without one!
Most of these were on my list, some were not.

FairyFace Designs

Thank you to Fairy Face Designs for hosting!
I know this has been a big help and inspiration
for a lot of crafty bloggers out there.
I'm looking forward to creating a summer list!

13 Owl Pincushions

Table Runner

5 scrappy doll blankets for charity

Halloween Quilt

Three scarves for gifts 

I learned how to knit socks. Completed these first booties.
Have a great pair of socks currently on needles.

Completely scrappy quilt.  A second set of coins cut and ready to go.

Learned to knit in the round.  Made 3 hats for gifts.

Yay!  Finished A Very Merry!

Learned how to knit gloves.   I don't have a current pic of this but I do have some
fingers completed.  Things got busy and I set it aside....and now I don't remember
what the directions mean!  Need to make a trip into the yarn shop!
I am so excited with how these are looking!

Twelve completely scrappy star blocks complete. 
Need to set and quilt.

Latest quilting project I'm working on with the "Flora" fabric line
We'll move this to the summer list!

I've made 2 of these as lunch totes (gifts) & 9 for knitting totes.

Made about 8 business card holders, 10 cel phone holders,
at least 12 cozies.  Most of these have been gifts.

Now, I whipped this list out in a real hurry
so I'm sure I'm forgetting something...?

Here is a really rare thing for me to say but,
"Bring on summer!" as in,
"Bring on that Summer Stitching List!"

Monday Morning Coffee Break

Coffee Break!
It's a gorgeous 60' out, sunny and barely
a breeze!  I've already gotten so much done today
and am heading to the sewing room soon--
(can I stay indoors when it's so nice out??)
well-deserved after a busy, productive weekend!

How was your weekend?

I cleaned our two decks and gave them both a
new coat of paint.  The adirondak chairs that my 
talented dh made about 8 years ago got a
new coat of wood preserve, along with the
siding on the chicken coop.
I aslo worked a little more in the garden
(we're enjoying fresh lettuce and asparagus!)
while my dh finished the chicken run.  Yay!

We now have some very happy chickens!
I hope it's still in time to participate in
the second hen house hop!

I need to get updated pics on how the geese
are doing but I'm having fun--with what
little time I get to spend with them, anyway.

Flora Fat Quarter Bundle Lauren & Jessi Jung for Moda Fabrics
Wow, am I enjoying these colors!

I just finished making my 6th batch of yogurt--
we're going through it like crazy, just eating it
with fresh strawberries and in smoothies.
So much to post about this week!
I'm also going to be busy with a prom dinner
for my daughter and about 14 of her friends.
What exactly did I commit to there???
Fortunately, my dh will be at the grill that night
so that takes some pressure off of me.
What's on your schedule for the week?
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