Monday, May 31, 2010

Guest Blogger

Today I'm turning my blog over to Bronwyn, our youngest daughter and resident wood elf. She'll be sharing with you highlights from a delightful day with like-minded fair maidens.

1. Last Saturday was the best time ever. You see, I was invited to a French Medieval dinner, hosted by Meg, the one wearing the red vested gown. I might add she made that gown herself, out of a pair of Ikea curtains! How clever! Scarlet O'Hara would be so proud!

2. What really amazed me was how the girls really went all out with their costumes and hair! Not everyone wore Medieval clothes, but all were in period dress and looked absolutely beautiful.

3. Meg's mom, Mrs. L, set a beautiful table where we would sit and eat a yummy 7 course meal. Haha, one girl was joking that pretty soon we'd probably be holding all the food for this photo!

4. A few of us were meeting each other for the first time; being shy, I was slightly nervous. But because everyone was so friendly I felt immediately at ease. Our common interests resulted in some great conversations. Notice the gown worn by the girl sitting on the foot stool. That was sewn by my friend Fiona. It was gorgeous! You are going to help me finish my Narnia gown, right Fiona?

5. Two younger sisters were supposed to play the part of servants, but I think they had more fun playing imstead ;)

6. The youngest among us volunteered to be jesters. They told us some very funny jokes during dinner; one even played the guitar!

7. Mrs. L showed us how to make tussy-mussies and she also taught us the language of flowers. For instance, white roses meant "Enternal love" while scented geraniums meant "Preference". It's a very memorable keepsake for such a nice evening. Thanks, Meg!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thank you for our freedom

holy experience

In remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price in service of our country. We remember their valor and honor them this day. Because of the sacrifices they made, we and our children can continue to count our blessings.

Counting blessings

165 - family history - the clipping featured my great-grandfather who was one of the oldest surviving Civil War veterans in Pennsylvania. The article states that "at 95, he was able to relate with remarkable detail the incidents of Antietam and Gettysburg, where many of his comrades fell".

166 - my favorite colonial work jacket...just putting it on makes me happy

167&168 - double dating

169 - window box surprise

170 - pocket planters

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey...

This is the wake-up jingle I sing to my daughter every morning, which annoys her to no end because (1) she is not a morning person, and (2) there never is any "bakey". Not on weekdays, anyway. I'm too lazy busy to cook bacon. Anyhoo, since so many of you enjoyed the word "cackleberry", I thought I'd shamelessly capitalize on that and share with you a favorite breakfast recipe featuring "fresh from the hen" cackleberries.

You'll need a slice of bread, the center of which you've pinched a hole in; some butter, and extra virgin olive oil (MUST be extra virgin). Be more generous with the oil than the butter.

Heat the oil and butter at medium heat in a non-stick fry pan. Olive oil burns very easily--the butter keeps it from doing that. I don't understand all of the science, but it works.

Crack the egg so that it sits nicely in the "hole" in the bread. Let it fry for a few minutes.

Flip it over and let it fry on the other side.

It's really delicious--the bread is all toasty-crunchy, and the yolk of the egg is still soft. It's even better if you use large slices of Italian bread. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Count it all joy

holy experience

Counting blessings

I have this hazy memory of being very, very young and running through what seemed like an endlessly long back yard, with green grass and warm, yellow light. There was the excitement of being by myself--no adults anywhere. But I also remember the sensation of being lovingly watched over, feeling like I could run forever. I think that was my very first awareness of God, a more than ourselves moment. And I've come to learn that even in difficult and painful times, those moments can still be captured and appreciated if we keep our eyes open. Discovering His presence in the seemingly ordinary moments, and clapping our hands in thanksgiving.

158 - twirling around with your eyes closed

159 - pink peonies and tarnished silver

160 - the music of old wind chimes

161 - picking cackleberries

162 - still life

163 - gold

164 - wood elf

Thursday, May 20, 2010

An Experiment with Egg Tempera - Part II

Slowly but surely I'm making progress on my experiment with egg tempera painting, which I first talked about here. I still really don't know what I'm doing, but I'm having a lot of fun exploring, and it's sort of morphing into a mixed media work. By that I mean I am layering some paper I painted, sort of like a collage, plus I'm detailing with pen and ink. I don't know where it will lead or what I'll end up with. But the joy is in the journey.

By the way, what you're seeing is only a portion of the canvas. I'll show it all when I'm finished if I don't feel too shy.

From whence I take my inspiration. But I'm changing it up a bit to make it my own.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stepping back - the 1790's kitchen

In my previous "stepping back" post, my blogging friend Melissa asked if there was anything else I did at the living history museum besides candlemaking. The answer is yes. I teach hearth cooking. On this particular day I taught three groups of children how to make shortbread the 18th century way. While I didn't take any pictures of the class in session (too busy), I was able to take some photos of my prep before the students arrived.

This is my workmate Gail. She's on the lookout for the visitors.

My recipe book, or "receipt" book as it would have been called in the 18th century.

Setting up ingredients. Note the cone sugar in blue paper. This is how sugar was sold in colonial times.

Detail of the dresser with pewter spoons

All the modern conveniences!

See the board with ridges? That is known as "ye olde washing machine".

Pre-heating the dutch ovens. This is where we will bake the shortbread.

Hot smoky water to wash the dishes in...

...icy cold water to rinse.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thankful for days of quiet breathing

holy experience

Counting blessings

152 - two reasons not to make the bed

153 - my little herbal heaven outside the kitchen door

154 - green herbs in red sauce

155 - tranquil rooms

156 - afternoon naps

157 - 300 year old sycamores

158 - blue shadow, green light

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Green before it was keen

This vintage photo (oh my gosh, I'm VINTAGE) is my husband and I in our attempt at an American Gothic pose while proudly tending our first veggie garden, circa 1985.

We first got the gardening bug when we visited a great aunt and uncle who gave us a tour of their extensive garden. Along with great advice, they passed on to us an old black enamel canning pot and some Mason jars to "put up" what we grew. So with our Reader's Digest Back to Basics book and blissful ignorance, we plowed ahead.

Back in the day, my hubby and I grew our own veggies, baked our own bread, bought vintage clothes at thrift shops, and used cloth diapers. We already had two babies, and a third was soon to follow. All this while still in our twenties. So - were we eco-minded avant-garde recycling mavericks? Heck, no. We just didn't have any money. My sweetie was just starting out in the computer field, and I was a stay at home mom, which believe me in the eighties was not cool. Neither was wearing vintage aprons, which I did. It wasn't considered hip - it was considered weird. At least according to my babysitter, who told me that she didn't think so, but her mom did :)

So where am I going with this ramble? I have no idea. Old photos cause me to reminisce...

Our first tiny garden, on the side of our first tiny house. Keeping a vegetable and herb garden is still one of our favorite things to do together.

Each spring for the past several years, we have made a visit to King's Herb Nook, an organic plant and seed business run by a local Mennonite family.

For any of you locals who might be interested, this place is awesome and their prices are outstanding.

They are located at 1060 Compass Road (PA 10) in Honey Brook, PA

They also teach classes on growing and using edible and culinary weeds and medicinal herbs. I've taken one or two of these classes. They are very informative.

They have a small shop on the premises where they sell homemade soaps, teas, bread and grains - all organic.

The inside of this shop smells heavenly with all of the dried flowers, mints, and herbs

They also have a great selection of how-to books

Good soil!


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