Archive for March, 2012

Mowing and Gratitude

MTD Yard Machines Lawn Mower 4.5HP Tecumseh En...

MTD Yard Machines Lawn Mower 4.5HP Tecumseh Engine / 22" Cutting Deck / Adjustable Wheel Height (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today it’s raining and it makes me think of the expression, “when it rains, it pours.”  I’ll fill you in, in case you have never heard this one before.  It basically means when something bad happens, more of it just keeps happening.  Ah, the story of my life for the past several years.  Well, not really trying to sound like one of those half empty glass people.  In fact I’m working on being one of those the glass is half full people and trying to see the silver linings of things.

Here is one of those silver lining moments.  Of course spring has sprung and brought all the yard duties of cutting grass, but unfortunately the riding mower is not working nor the weed eater.  Well, we were very blessed to have a friend offer to lend us their push mower on Thursday.  It was hard work and took hours, but I thought of many positives :

1. push mowing is good exercise
2. my health is good enough to push a push mower
3. good dose of sunshine for some healthy vitamin D
4. we have a yard to cut
5. we have a good friend willing to lend us a mower
6. we were able to get the grass cut

There was something I read a while back, which was very helpful.  It basically said to think of the blessings in your life even during mundane tasks.  For example, when you are folding clothes be grateful you have clothes to fold.  Another expression I have heard is, “have an attitude of gratitude.”

These are all things I’m hanging on to as I try to think more positively about things.  It is much too easy to get sad and have a pity party when things are going badly.  The more productive thing to do is focus on the positives and be grateful for the blessings in our lives.

Share.  Are you a half empty or half full glass kind of person?  What do you find helpful to stay in the positive of life?

No Fail Fruit Cobbler

Last night I saw a bag of blackberries I had frozen a while back, so decided to take them out to defrost for this morning.  This morning I turned them into a lovely blackberry cobbler.  Sorry, didn’t think to take a picture till after we had dug in for breakfast.

This is a cobbler recipe I have been using for years and is so easy I have it memorized.  It really is no fail.  Just use two cups of your favorite fruit to make whatever kind of cobbler you like.  Best to use fresh fruit or frozen fruit you have defrosted, though you probably could use canned fruit.  I have used this recipe to make blackberry, blueberry, and peach cobblers.  It is so easy!

First melt a stick of butter and put in the bottom of your square pan.  If you like you could do my shortcut, just put a stick of butter in a glass pan and put it in the microwave to melt the butter(only takes a minute in my microwave).  Stir 1 cup of sugar into the butter.  Next add 1 cup milk and 1 cup self rising flour in the pan.  Stir all ingredients well.  Put the fruit right on top of the batter and do not stir.  Place the pan in a preheated oven and cook for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

About 5-10 minutes before the cobbler is due to be done, I will sometimes lightly sprinkle the top with a little sugar.  If I am making a peach cobbler I will also sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.  I like my cobbler a little on the not so done side, so many times I will pull it out about 5-10 minutes before the timer is up.  Hope you enjoy and be forewarned this cobbler is so tasty it disappears quickly!

 

Rainy Day, Gardening Updates, and a Spring Poem

Forsythia.

Forsythia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It has been rainy since early this morning and it still continues.  Pitter patter of unending rain, but at least content in the thought the new seeds will get the rain they need.  Yesterday, I reseeded the lettuce and onions in the bed as some of the older seed had failed to come up.  However, the dwarf snow peas were doing well and already about 2 inches tall.  I planted some nasturtiums along the edge of another square, so they can grow up along the fence.

Guess no outside gardening today.  It looks like today will be one of those piddle around in the house days.  This morning has mainly been computer time as I have added a few items to the etsy shop, wrote blog posts, and checked email.  The seedlings in the window sill have continued to grow amazingly well and I love the tomatoes have finally got their true leaves.  I love the smell of tomato plants.  Also, grateful spring is officially here.  Well, off to do chores and guess the only gardening today will be planting more seeds indoors, but here’s a spring poem(a haiku) for you to enjoy :

Golden Blooms

Blooming Forsythia
Bold color signaling spring
Golden yellow burst

Almost Scratch Apple Pie

Apple Pie

There were some apples needing used up beckoning on the kitchen table, so an apple pie was just the thing today.  I call this an almost from scratch pie, because everything was made from scratch except the bottom pie shell.  Making pie crust is not my favorite thing and usually results in a mess, so I used a frozen pie shell.

For the filling I peeled and sliced three granny smith apples, then squeezed the juice from half a lemon over them.  In another bowl I combined a little over 1/4 c. sugar, a little over 1/4 c. brown sugar, 3 T. all purpose flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp. ginger.  On the sugars I say a little over 1/4 c., which ended up combined amount was 3/4 c. sugars.  Mix all the dry ingredients together and stir in apple slices.

Once mixed well, the pie filling was poured into the shell.  I did cave and made homemade pie crust for the top shell.  Wish I could share a recipe, but all I really did was mix about 1 T. shortening and some cold water till it felt about dough consistency.  I rolled the dough out on some wax paper and used a small metal heart cookie cutter for the cut outs.

After managing to put the rolled out dough on top of the pie, I used a sharp knife to trim the excess from the edge of the pie.  Using a fork I pressed all along the edges to seal the two crusts together and put the dough heart cut outs on the top overlapping the cut out openings.  Pop in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 minutes and delicious yummy almost scratch apple pie.

Seed Crazed

There are two things I have trouble restraining myself from buying too much of :  seeds and baskets.  I am doing really well with my self imposed ban on basket buying, but this time of year have trouble with the seeds.  I had to go to town to run errands this morning and could not resist the urge to go to the local farm supply store.

It was a drizzly rainy day, but it still didn’t stop me from looking at the plants outside of the store.  I only found one beautiful thyme plant I couldn’t resist.  Inside was another matter, but I did find a good sale.  There were some seed packets from last year, which were marked 1/2 off.  Seed will usually last more than one year and the seedlings I already have growing came up from seeds at least a couple of years old.

Another weakness of mine, but I do know how to say no…is soft fluffy baby chicks.  I stood and looked a few moments, but headed to checkout.  The only seeds I ended up getting were some cherry tomatoes, collards, lettuce salad blend, and kentucky wonder pole beans.  I figure I didn’t do to bad, as my sum total was only about $10.  There was enough seed that some will be leftover for next year’s crop too.

Here is an updated photo of some of my seedlings in the kitchen window (Cucumbers are on the right.  The labels got a little mixed up, so the ones on the left are either cauliflower or watermelon, time will tell.) :

Seedlings

After getting home, I went ahead and planted the thyme plant in the herb garden.  It is in one of the squares with some of the chives, which are coming up nicely.  I’m looking forward to the herb fest coming up in Wake Forest next month, so I can find some of the herb plants I would like, but can’t find easily at the local stores.

Herb Garden

Herb Garden

Gardening and Starting a New Sewing Project

Another beautiful day outside today.  A few more seedlings have sprung up and made an appearance.  A few seedlings failed to start, probably due to the seeds not being the freshest.  Oh, well.  It was worth a try.  So far have some broccoli, tomato, cucumber, and basil seedlings.  This morning I planted some roma tomato seeds indoors, then went outdoors to tackle the herb beds.

The chives are growing beautifully in the herb beds.  I have decided though, to plant a few vegetables in the herb beds since the dirt is better.  Along the side of one square I planted some dwarf sugar peas, which are only supposed to get about 2 1/2 ft. tall and can grow up the side of the fence.  They will be sharing a square with a clump of chives.  In another square I planted some bunching onions along the back of the square, then broadcast some lettuce seed and interplanted some carrot seeds.

Hopefully all of my grand garden experimenting will go well.  Trying out some ideas from things I’ve been reading up about gardening.  Found out today a neighbor will be able to till up our big garden spot next week.  I can’t wait!  I’ve got a loosely done drawing of what I want to plant in it.  I’m gonna try to do some companion planting this year.

I’ll try to share some photos of the herb garden bed another day.  Maybe as some of the seeds start to sprout.  Other than cleaning, gardening, and writing….I got in a spurt to start another sewing project.  I didn’t get any actual sewing done on it today, but I cut out fabric for a sundress from a pattern I picked up a few weeks ago.  Don’t know that you can tell by the photo, since the backside of the fabric is showing.  It’s a pretty bright pink fabric with little flowers in different shades of pink.  Now to decide…ruffle or no ruffle on the dress hem?

Sundress Pattern Pieces

Spring Gardening Bug

It is beautiful outdoors today.  In fact, the next three days it’s supposed to be about 70 degree weather.  I love this time of year.  The fruit trees and other trees are starting to bloom.  Bursts of color start to appear everywhere.

As do a lot of other people, I start to get bit by the gardening bug this time of year.  The herb bed has been weeded and has empty spots ready for planting.  The chives are growing back nicely and the oregano has returned, but I think it’s time to dig the oregano up and plant another as it seems to lose its flavor over time.  I am looking forward to picking up a few new herb plants at the Herb Fest in Wake Forest, NC in April.

The top of my dryer near the back door has turned into my little gardening nursery.  I planted vegetable and flower seeds, which I am now waiting to sprout.  I learned broccoli sprouts amazingly quick and the seedlings are already about 3 inches tall.  They are so tall I had to take them out from under the plastic cover and they are now in the kitchen windowsill.

Broccoli

This week I plan to go ahead and plant some lettuce outside.  I may use one of the squares in my herb bed since the dirt is better there as the main garden spot is a mixture of carolina clay.  I am working on planning out the main garden and hope to get it going soon.