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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

In The Good Ol' Summertime

What a summer!  I looked to the right...

 And then to the left, and June was gone before I knew it.  O.O

It must have been a blast as all I can tell you is it was full of blooms and warm, lol.

There's a new/old sewing machine in the house.  I'd been on the lookout to find this particular model for quite awhile.  She's a 1953 model 301a Singer, and she will sew lightweight leather and heavy-ish fabrics with no upsets.  I found her on Craigslist in a town nearly an hour away, but it was worth the drive, a good find.  The cabinet is handmade and very solid if not all that pretty. The first drawer held several treasures...

 It contained a buttonhole attachment with extra templates, a zigzagger, all manner of extra feet, bobbins and manuals for everything.  Someone had taken very good care of the machine and it's accessories, and I am thrilled to have it.

Any guesses what this might be?  I had no idea how to use it at first.

 It's a...

You just pull the ring shaped handles up and out to the sides and load a stocking or sock using the spring to hold it,  then place the whole thing under the sewing machine needle and sew up any holes. How it works is you just move it back and forth until the hole is filled with stitches.  I thought it was totally cool after I found out how to use it.

 Our second-year hydrangeas are growing beautifully. Coffee grounds are helping to keep the blooms blue.

 These little bugs were eating the leaves until I sprayed them ...

With a combination of 1/4 cup dish liquid and 16 ozs. water in a spray bottle.

Our Lavender Orpingtons are fully grown and producing chicks.  I've even sold some at a good profit.

This is Stubby; I thinks she's going to be a hen.

Our Buff Brahma hen is setting and very moody.  I'll just back out quietly...shh.

 I found this American Elderberry growing along the fence line and hope to transplant it to a more convenient spot in the fall.

  We had a birthday celebration on the Star of Knoxville Riverboat last month.

We lunched and enjoyed the ride up a stretch of the Tennessee River.

Hope you're all having a great summer.  :)
The little needle book from the fifties was also in a drawer of the machine cabinet. 
Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays, The HomeAcre Hop, Green Thumb Thursday, FarmGirl Friday, The BackYard Farming Connection

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Friends Church

Several miles from where we live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee side of the mountains) is a tiny town that was founded by a colony of Quakers from North Carolina in the 1790s.  

There is a school called Friendsville Academy, but as I am participating in the Inspired Sunday meme I wanted to share photos of just the church.

There's a graveyard behind the church with many headstones so old that the engravings no longer tell the story behind them.  

I like the fact that the town was named for the group of religious settlers and that the church is still standing and having regular services there.

Click to see other posts at inSpired Sunday

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lamb's Quarters, Wild and Free

Spring Greetings from the hills!
Have you ever heard of eating lamb's quarters?

I hadn't until last summer when a friend mentioned that she likes lamb's quarters added to a pot of spring greens such as mustard greens, dandelion greens, etc. Interesting!  So, I learned to identify it (Images and more info are here.) and did a little research on its nutritional value and was pleasantly surprised to find that it's another free. super. food. to add to our foraging routine. It's off the charts in vitamins and minerals, in fact, it's really better for you than spinach. In light of that, I find it amazing that it's not lauded in health food journals more than it is. And lo, it's found in most areas of the country. We mow most of our property regularly so I found only one plant last year which wasn't a lot. I tried it and found it to be of a very mild flavor. Another thing I discovered is that it doesn't get bitter as the plant gets bigger. The leaves stay tender no matter the size. After emptying and refilling a couple of our raised beds with mushroom compost last month we found that we have a free crop of lamb's quarters sprouting & growing alongside our lettuce, cabbages and strawberries.
I've been having to resist the urge to pluck it out of the beds as it seems out of place among the other plants, but I haven't touched it.  I intend to harvest it as well. The flavor is very mild, something like asparagus, which lends it well to adding uncooked to fresh salads, also. The above portion of this post was featured on:

Green Thumb Thursday

See these gorgeous cabbage plants? Do you notice any of the usual holes from cabbage moth larvae?
The reason there are no holes is that I've had them covered with an old sheer curtain since they were planted.  They still get plenty of sun and the rain passes right through the curtain to water them.

It's working. I can't remember the source of that wonderful tip, but I'm grateful for it.

Have you ever whipped up a batch of homemade crackers?  I've made a lot of things in my time but never crackers until recently.

Our youngest made them and told of their wonders, and that got me rolling with the idea. You just mix up the dough. Roll it out in the pan you want to bake them in and score with (ahem) a dressmaker's tracing wheel then bake.

 I used a combination of flax meal and unbleached flour for this batch..

But my favorite recipe is tastier and great for snacks. They're delicious.  (See recipe below.)  And if by chance you forget and leave the salt out of a batch just eat them with small slices of feta cheese.  The saltiness of the cheese will balance the lack of it in the crackers.  Don't ask how I found that out. o.O

Homemade Fennel Seed Crackers
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 cup freshly milled wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • In a medium bowl combine the flours, flax meal, salt, fennel seeds and baking powder.  Mix to combine the dry ingredients.  Add the olive oil and the water, and mix until a ball of dough has been formed. Do not knead the dough; just mix until the ingredients are well distributed.
    Divide the dough in half or thirds depending on how thick you want the crackers to be.  With a pizza dough roller roll out the dough directly on two or three ungreased cookie sheets.  At this point you should cut the dough with a knife or pizza wheel to the size you want the crackers to be. I used a dressmaker's tracing wheel because I like to score the dough instead of cutting it completely. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes until barely browned. Cool on a rack then store in a container with a tight-fitting lid to retain crispy freshness.
  •    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 One last thing before I go. For years there have been only cheap, small clothespins available to buy and use for hanging clothes out to dry until The Deliberate Agrarian recently took the situation in hand and made a supply like the one pictured below on the right. Read the story HERE.  I can tell you I was mighty tired of having my pins flip off the line after I had just pinned up clothes to dry. I'm really glad to have pins that are strong and American made by an actual person and his family instead of a conglomeration of money-grubbin'... well, you know what I'm talkin' about.

The new, stronger, larger ones are not cheap but they are reasonably priced especially after all the work involved in producing them.  Most families of four save $40 per month on their electric bill by hanging their clothes out to dry. That puts a different light on the price of these clothespins, methinks. I've had mine just a short while, and they're already paid for in electric savings. ;-)

Hope y'all are having a great, productive spring!
Linking with Homestead Barn Hop, The Backyard Farming Connection Hop, The HomeAcre Hop, Green Thumb Thursday, From the Farm Blog Hop, FarmGirl Friday Blog Hop, The Simple Saturday Blog Hop, The Art of Home Making Mondays