Saturday, April 30, 2011

Strawberry Season Is Here

April and May are strawberry season around here so we made our annual trip to a local strawberry farm. The children helped pick three buckets of berries which we brought home and made into jam and jelly.
To make both jam and jelly, I just follow the recipes in a box of pectin. You start by washing the berries and removing the stem and leaves. I usually cut them up a bit before crushing the fruit. Then, strain them through a jelly bag or cheesecloth. I use the strained juice for jelly and the leftover pulp for jam.

And now, we can enjoy those strawberries all winter. Mmm...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sew for Yourself Challenge

A group of online friends started a Sew for Yourself challenge recently. We are all people who sew, for family, friends or business, but rarely find time to sew for us! So, someone said, "Hey, we should give ourselves permission to make something just for ourselves."

People made different things, clothes, totes, lounge wear--often a project that had been sitting around for a while waiting to be finished.

Here's my project:
It's a large tote bag, with a zip top and two side pockets. One side pocket has a zipper, one is open.

Have you done any projects for yourself lately?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornado Outbreak

The above report is from Associated Press on YouTube. The tornado outbreak in the southeast over the past couple of days is one of the worst in US history, with over 100 deaths reported so far and countless others left injured or homeless.

In the past, I would have seen reports on television or heard them on the radio, probably said a few prayers for the people involved, and then gotten on with my day. Gotten on with my day because it would have seemed far away, and assuming I didn't know anyone there, it would have remained a distant news story. A tragic story to be sure, but not one that would affect me personally.

With the internet, however, the world seems much smaller. I was online last night following the story and constantly checking in with people I've never met in person--people I probably will never meet in person, but people I nevertheless consider friends.

My first thoughts on waking to the sounds of thunder this morning, were of my friends in other parts of the country and of those who spent last night frantically trying to reach relatives in hard hit areas. As quickly as I could get online, I looked for good news, and found some, but found that others were still looking for loved ones.

Sometimes I hear people say that the internet is impersonal, that you can't have real friends that you've never met. I disagree. The internet has introduced me to people all over the world and my concern for them, in both joy and tragedy, is very real.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those picking up the pieces of their lives this morning.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Miscellaneous Goings On

The above birdbath was created by my daughter at spring break camp. She loved putting it in our butterfly garden, where we've planted loads of flowers that butterflies and hummingbirds like--such as lantana, butterfly bush and clematis. The birdbath is decorated with a flower (not a dragonfly-don't ask me how I know that).

The vegetable garden is tilled and ready to plant, if we can just find the time to get the seeds in the ground. That's probably a project for my son and me later this week.

And, this time of year, Frodo the Wonder Yorkie becomes Frodo the Mighty Lizard Hunter. He's hot on the trail of ...something.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Weekend

We had a busy weekend. My husband and a friend spent part of Friday and much of Saturday working on the fencing for the goats. So far, they have an area for Abby the Ginormous Dog and a bit for the goats.

We also had an Easter sunrise service, with our home church group, at the top of the hill near our house. My husband sang and did a brief message on the meaning of the day. After that, we all headed back to the house for breakfast.

The children colored eggs and had an egg hunt (not the same eggs, in case you were worried).

Nothing quite like a little girl hunting eggs in a homemade dress and rubber boots.

Finally, we went to visit family for a late afternoon meal. My brother-in-law makes the best ham (pun intended). When we got home, the chickens had been busy making eggs. And they colored them nicely too.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The mudroom is getting so close to being done, I can hardly stand it. The light fixture is up and the trim is almost finished. Trouble is, the big saw is outside and it rained like crazy yesterday, so no more work got done.

Frodo the Wonder Yorkie was in desperate need of a haircut. He could hardly wait to get in his carrier for the trip to the groomer.

Ah, much better now.

Finally, the chickens are starting to lay again. They seem to have taken the past six weeks off, laying only one or two eggs a day. Well, this week they have picked up the pace. Yesterday, there were seven eggs!

Here are the day's eggs, washed and ready to be put into a carton. Many people who have a home flock do not wash eggs until they are ready to eat them. A freshly laid egg has on it's surface something called bloom, which forms a sort of protective coating and helps keep the egg fresh longer. However, when we share eggs with others, they are not usually so thrilled with the, um, "residue" which is often on them. So, we give the eggs a quick rinse.

How's your weekend so far?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mudroom Tile and New Bags in the Bede Sisters shop

The tile in the mudroom is grouted and I'm getting anxious to get the room decorated!

I also added two new bags to the Bede Sisters etsy shop. They are gorgeous cotton prints from Michael Miller. The bags have a generous 14 pockets, including eight outside pockets and six inside pockets. There are also elastic holders inside for sippy cups or water bottles. Both bags come with a coordinating wristlet key chain.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mudroom Is Almost Done

The mudroom is getting close to being finished. The tile is in place, it just needs grout and sealant. After that, the door needs trim and the light fixture will go up. I can hardly wait to start using the space!

Some beautiful flowers are in bloom right now. The bearded irises are stunning.

This is a pink clematis that is doing well this year:

And the purple clematis is getting to be a reliable spring bloomer:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday--The Fiddler's Gun

The Fiddler's Gun by A. S. Peterson "Fin jumped and held the hammer up as if she was ready to throw it. She was kneeling in the grass beside the front door of the chapel and had managed to work the first of the three front steps loose. When she realized it was only Peter, she smiled and motioned for him to be quiet."

This is another recommendation from the-cousin-who-shall-not-be-named. Don't worry, Cuz, I'm not breaking the spine or folding the cover back.

What's your current read?

Monday, April 18, 2011

New projects

I went to an estate sale the other day and came home with some great finds. I bought two quilts to use as material for totes and Christmas stockings. (Relax, they are beautiful, nicely made quilts, but they are NOT grandma's heirlooms. I could tell where the tag had been.)

I also found some vintage table linens, some still in the original packaging. They are a tablecloth and 12 matching napkins from a collection based on art by Princess Grace of Monaco. The other is a tablecloth with a green border and flower illustrations. The green will almost certainly become pillows or totes, but the matching set may be sold as vintage. What do you think?

My other finds will have to remain a secret. They will become gifts for business partner Lori. Let's just say, they involve fish.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

What's for Supper?

We tried kale last night. My son is very interested in farming and growing our own food and kale is one of the things we'd like to try. So, before we devote garden space to it, I thought we should try it. I bought a "bunch" or "bundle" or whatever you call it, at the grocery store and prepared it Friday night. I gathered fresh onions and herbs from our garden and chopped them up. To a big pot, I added olive oil and sauteed the onions and herbs. Then, I put in the kale and cooked until it was bright green and tender.

It was delicious.

What's on the menu at your place?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Look, Mom! Shiny teeth!

We headed into the city today for an appointment with the dentist. The children and I all had our teeth cleaned and (drum roll, please) cavities! Yay!

The mudroom is getting close to the finishing touches. The trim work is almost done and the floors still need tile, but that's about it. I can hardly wait!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Visitor in our yard Wednesday

This handsome guy strolled through our yard yesterday morning. I had gone into the kitchen for a second cup of coffee and looked out the window to see this huge turkey standing just at the edge of the driveway. He walked slowly along the edge of the drive and down the other side. As he turned a corner, I noticed a female a little way ahead. Well, it is spring.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Abby the Ginormous Dog's New Doghouse

Abby is our ginormous new dog. She's been staying in the house with us or on the front porch for the last few weeks. But, as we get the goat fencing ready and eventually add actual goats to the homestead, Abby will need a place to call her own out there.

So, we had a friend build a doghouse big enough for her. And for any husband who happens to misbehave.

P.S. My poison oak fingers are much better today. Thanks for the sympathy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Remind me next year...

Okay, readers, will you remind me next year not to pull the poison oak with my bare hands? I seem to do it every spring and only realize my mistake when my hand feels like it's going to burst into flames.
I was in my yard last evening, watering some of the new plants that I put in this year and thought I'd pull a few weeds. And, as I habitually do, I was going along pulling weed after weed and,without paying attention, grabbed the poison oak.

So, next year around the end of March, please remind me to be careful. Please?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another Busy Saturday

We kept busy, pretty much all day yesterday. The morning started with a trip to town for goat fencing supplies and a light fixture for the new mudroom. The girls stayed home and I got to join my boys for the trip. I think they just wanted a girl along while they were riding in the Tinkerbell truck (it's nicknamed that because our college-girl drives it to school and has Tinkerbell accessories.)

So, while the boys worked on getting the fence started (above), I dug up a few hostas to share with neighbors.
And the mudroom got closer to being finished.

How was your Saturday?