Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Thoughts of Decorating and ..gasp..tomatoes!

Thought I'd take a break from canning...its tomatoes again today.....I like to do two types of decorating...I like both primitive and cottage....our house is a mismash of sorts, like most we've inherited and collected things we love.......the below blogs reflect that.....

I like Ms Bingles Vintage Christmas for her "bling"..her decorating style and her creations remind me of the 50s and my own sweet mama.....even the music she's selected reflect the laid back elegance...shabby chic...visiting her blog makes me feel sitting in my mama's kitchen for tea, served as she always did in a pretty tea pot.

Another blog Sweet Magnolia's Farm 
has some of the same sweet cottage feel.....this lady is so talented with her shabby chic creations..and she's a local! She lives right her in our own fact, if  you visit her blog today, you'll see a lake out her window...that's the lake my son works at as a lake monitor.......

A third in this same venue is Paint Me White ..this lady, who is in Australia paints most of her furniture white and somehow it works......with 4 men in the house, wouldn't work for me but she does it and its wonderful..

For Shabby country....Amy's Vintage Cottage is to junk, junk to live..she can take a dumpster diving find and make it beautiful....amazing!

well..back to reality...tomatoes away!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

canning and figs

......I canned alot yesterday...8 more quarts of peaches and 1 quart of figs..first time for figs so we will see how well they can...I do have several recipes for spiced figs......

This recipe is from "Freezing and Canning Cookbook" by the food editors of the Farm Journal...published in 1964..

Fig-Citrus Conserve

5 lbs. figs
10 c. sugar
2 lemons, coarsely ground
4 oranges, coarsely ground
2 t. ground ginger

Cover figs with a small quantity of water and boil until liquid is tan. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the liquid. Mix with the sugar to make a heavy syrup. Combine figs, sugar syrup, lemon and orange pulp. simmer gently about 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently. Skim off any foam foam from time to time.
Add ginger, mixing well. Pour into hot jars, seal. Makes 5 can add finely chopped nuts when you add the ginger....
I haven't made this as it take so much sugar and my husband is diabetic..but I know I've had questions as far as fig recipes goes so am sharing this....
here is one more which I may try to have for gifts on the holidays.
Pickled Figs

6 qts. figs, (about 8 lbs)
salt water
8 c. brown sugar
1 qt. vinegar
7 (3") sticks cinnamon
1 to 2 t. whole cloves

Cover figs with salt water (1 T. salt to 1 gallon water): bring to a boil, simmer 15 minutes.
Combine sugar and vinegar: bring to a boil and add the spices. Drain the figs andadd to the boiling syrup. simmer one hour.
Pack in hot, sterilized jars.. make sure figs are completely covered with syrup. Seal at once. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes (water bath canner). Makes 7 to 8 pints.
this recipe comes from the same cookbook....I just love old cookbooks and have several that I cherish....the photos alone are fun to look at.....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Canning still and Stitchery renew

rather amazing..for in just a few hours..the above gets transformed into this

I thought I'd rounded up all the ripe tomatoes...but then last night, Alan went out into the garden and found enough to do at least another 10 the figs are coming in now as well. He bought a box of peaches (on sale, only 78 cents a lb) too that have been getting ripe...He came home today with 3 boxes of jars so I took that as a hint that we'll be doing more canning! Its amazing how much food one can grow in an average yard...
we discovered about 4 nice little cantaloupes growing amidst the corn..forgotten we'd planted melons...they are not ready yet but will be a welcome addition...not to preserve but to enjoy now....
some other good news yesterday..we got the loss list from the preservation company...went over it last night so we can submit it to the insurance checks yet from insurance though....hope soon so they can complete the garage....

Since we don't have any TV...we watch videos at night.and listen to the radio during the day....have the internet of course...I like to do something while watching a movie...right now we're watching Miss Marpel mysteries...I thought I'd get back into stitching again and made these little primitive tags....what do you think? I stained them prim style..and let them dry in the shade outside....its so warm..I think they got gently sun baked...I haven't stitched anything in a few months and it felt good to pick up the needle.....

I am also working slowly on my other blog...The China Lake Shop...please take a look

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Canning and a Surrey!

Nancy, Huggins Haven is selling this wonderful little surrey ......if you are interested, please check it out
This is so cute and restored would be a real treasure....I didn't know these things even existed until this morning...I read that Art Linkletter promoted them in the cute! as a kid, I would have loved this...
Here is a photo of one fully restored..

Here is the second part of the canning series, explaining the two types of canners...right now I just have the water bath one which we bought at Walmart to replace the one that was lost in the fire.....we haven't replaced the pressure canner, I am not sure if it was ruined or not..the seal is probably compromised.....not all Walmarts carry water bath canners...we had to go to 3 before we found one...alot of the employees didn't know what we were talking about.....
the new pressure canners are not as scary as the old can do so much with them and once you understand how they work, its not difficult.....its nice to can homemade meat spaghetti sauce which is nice for not only spaghetti but chili fact, you can store  your own homemade chili this way too!
I am going to can more tomatoes today..have about 4 gallons but they cook down...tomatoes use the waterbath canning method and you add a little acid to each jar with the tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar..modern tomatoes are not as acid as the older varieties and need the acid to keep them fresh and the color good....protects the tomatoes against spoilage.....its nice to add your favorite herbs to the jars too..basil is nice and a few garlic cloves.
canned (or bottled if you are English) food lasts indefinitely...but is better used within a year or kids asked me if the jars would last as long as the peaches did in the movie, "Holes" ...its questionable..I wouldn't want to eat 100 year old jars of peaches, would you? but they did and called it "Smoosh"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thoughts on Canning and Urban gardening

here is a canning series for those that are interested ..this series explains it much better than I can....I was surprised to see how many vegetable gardening and canning videos there are!
this one below is one of the more interesting for those of us who live in a town or city...

we can have 4 hens roosters.but haven't gone that far yet....the duck gives us eggs, of course, which are good for cooking and baking..none of us care just to eat them as they are a bit rubbery when fried....we can't have goats or any other farm animals...I don't know too many cities that allow that...
we still have some lawn in the back...where I have the clothes line...seriously thinking of making it all into garden..or just some raised beds and get rid of the drinks up alot of water and doesn't give back. Our water bill last month was huge, almost $150 and most of that was outside....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Early Harvest

I got 4 qts. of pureed tomatoes, and one qt. of tomato juice done yesterday..the first of our tomato canning......
plus froze 3 quarts of corn...the corn is small but very sweet and good....this has been a good year for the garden.....
the figs are starting to ripen also...I found 2 fig jam type recipes in my old book...Fig-Citrus Jam and a Fig Lemon Conserve with preserved ginger...they both sound the book tell how to can them so its a good to go as soon as enough ripen..the tree is loaded!
All the peaches are gone...safely canned and put away for later...right now I have to just put them in boxes as the garage isn't done...nowhere else to store them..7 qts. and 7 pints...we did have a large cabinet for our canned items....Alan's been talking about getting a small shed for our canning and food storage....I remember my grandmas...she had a larder in the basement of their house...shelves lined with wonderful canned things.....and in the floor, a trap door for cold storage....

if you are canning and need some labels for your is a site with free vintage labels on a pdf can fill in your titles too...vintage handcrafted product labels
you just print these out using label paper.....another site has a few free labels with a more country design
free country labels

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Today Alan is going on a long road trip down to the US/Mexico border...for a re keying job...I would usually go with him but last night we picked a bucket of tomatoes..I will be making tomato sauce today and canning it....don't want all our hard work to go to waste....our garden looks sad but still plenty of green tomatoes left for future canning..I also need to freeze a large container of sweet corn that we my work is cut out for me well as his....
still no insurance check or word..been two weeks....I have a little prim sign in the kitchen that says "Have Faith" serves to remind me that God is in control...

I got the HillBilly news and found this poem...if you haven't signed up for the newsletter...its a keeper

                                                        The Simple Things
  ~Edgar A. Guest~

I would not be too wise-so very wise
That I must sneer at simple songs and creeds,
And let the glare of wisdom blind my eyes
To humble people and their humble needs.

I would not care to climb so high that I
Could never hear the children at their play,
Could only see the people passing by,
And never hear the cheering words they say.

I would not know too much-too much to smile
At trivial errors of the heart and hand,
Nor be too proud to play the friend the while
Nor cease to help and know and understand.

I would not care to sit upon a throne,
Or build my house upon a mountain-top,
Where I must dwell in glory all alone
And never friend come in or poor man stop.

God grant that I may live upon this earth
And face the tasks which every morning brings
And never lose the glory and the worth
Of humble service and the simple things. 

The above photo was taken on our trip to Ramona...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sunflowers, Ducks and Lindy Ann

Alan is so proud of his sunflowers! He wanted you to see how tall they were this year...he is over 6 ft and they tower over him.....he figures they are about 9 or so ft high....

This one plant has over 7 blooms..last year, his flowers did poorly so he is so delighted this all depends on the weather, I think..we had a cool summer last year..and are in a scorcher now.....evidently they like the heat......amazing, aren't they?

                       Why is Mrs. stretching her neck out so far ?

                                         A good scratch of course!
She just loves Alan so much..follows him (and me too) around the yard....wanted attention and scratching....the heat has bothers her quite a bit..we mist her as much as possible and have a large container to swim in.....
As I said before, this is a warm summer...been about 100+ for the last two weeks..the garden has really suffered as we can't use water like we'd like to..just too expensive......we dug up all the spent peas and beans..getting the bed ready for fall planting......I have quite a bit frozen, thankfully.....

I also wanted to share a wonderful new pattern that Oh Sew Dollin 
is featuring right now.....if you haven't seen her wonderful doll are in for a treat.....they are so eye candy and bring out the little girl in all of us ladies....I ordered one..couldn't Lindy Ann...isn't she sweet? I don't have any grandchildren yet but this doll is so nice...she is jointed and dress-able so you can make outfits for different seasons...I just love her hair...

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I've mentioned before that we live right by a large field..full of boulders and such...its where we walk our son's dog.....
yesterday, I took Kingston out for a early morning stroll and spied something a little out of the ordinary...

 These two birds seem to be nesting amongst the rocks...there was a small hole she was guarding above.

This is the male...I had him centered in the photo when Kingston pulled my arm away....still  you can see the bird fairly clearly

I can't quite tell if these is are owls or not...I am leaning in that they can move their heads almost completely around..when they took off, there wasn't a sound....they are not much bigger than a crow..and probably hunt for lizards and such...there are lots of bunnies and ground squirrels in the field too.....they are not very afraid and let me get fairly close.....

I have a bird book..just unpacked it so will have to do some research to find out the name of these guys but thought you'd enjoy seeing some of our "wildlife"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I've been really working, getting the house reorganized...didn't realize how much stuff we have accumulated in the last 5 have 3 boxes put aside for a garage sale...this afternoon is a hot one..around 100...I do have sheets and such to bring in from the line but am taking a break.....seems like I get alot more work done now then when we had the TV going..what a time waster!

While I am relaxing with my iced tea..I wanted to let you know about Nancy's fabulous sale she is running to help finance their move...she makes the nicest handmade soaps, primitive items, market bags and more..every week she is running a special..this week its her handmade loofah citrus soap...3 different citrus cents, wrapped for gift giving in a pretty cellophane bag for only $5.00 + shipping..these would make wonderful little gifts or a special something for yourself....please check  and see if I'm right at Huggins Haven

Please check out her handmade pin cushions..I have several which I use often.....this is one of my favorites..

I also like these candle holders...

I hope to be soon doing some crafting......don't feel I can until the rest of the boxes are unpacked but they are whittling down...I hope the contractor can get started repairing the garage...waiting on the insurance money to come in..should be any day.....

I was browsing the other day and discovered the guys at Vintage Images  Craft
have really changed their website..its absolutely fabulous with so many good things to explore......I have put their badge on the left sidebar..
I also found through Facebook a British site with the best you tube videos on card making I've ever run across...its called Crafts to Print...if you sign up, they send you a link with 4 free downloads.......with the video links....I like to actually see how something is made when possible..and the videos are very  helpful....

Monday, July 12, 2010


A neighbor gave us some amaryllis bulbs a few months ago and they have been blooming....she had to split hers up as she had so I didn't know what they would look like, just took about 4 of I wish I had gotten more but these will spread, I know.....

We've had  humid weather and yesterday some sprinkles...a tropical storm..thankfully, the humidity has broken now..don't know  how  you in the more humid areas can take have my admiration...
we worked most of the weekend, it whittled down to about 1/3 of what it was....we are taking the time to reorganize also....and have sorted through things for a garage sale later.....

Alan brought home two boxes of peaches to can...there was a sale he couldn't pass up...he also brought me 3 cases of canning we just need a water bath canner, and rack....our peach tree has quite a few too but we are enjoying just picking and eating those...our youngest son discovered how good they were yesterday..they are so juicy and sweet...our older son is interested in the canning process..I guess its been awhile since we canned as he is 22....he wants to help...I found my tried and true canning books..I use two....
"Stocking up" by Rodale press, circa 1975 and "Canning and Freezing" by the Farm Journal, 1963. Its so nice to have the freezer too....this one is a size larger than our last one...but not the biggest....its on our patio right now as the garage isn't available......
so now to find a water bath canner........the latest Lowe's magazine featured canning in an article so while we were there ordering the freezer, we asked...the clerks looked at us curiously and wanted to know what canning was? and had never heard of it.....evidently Lowe's only stock canning supplies in the Midwest.
As more and more are growing urban gardens, canning will become more common at least water bath canning.... great for fruit and tomatoes....

Friday, July 9, 2010

Just a short note today..we got word the rest of our household furniture and items are coming this we ordered a new deep freeze to replace the one that was ruined in the will be coming also...we are going to put the freezer on our covered patio until the garage is done....
The casserole was delicious.....very good indeed so hope you will try it...just be sure to drain the zucchini well!
I am so looking forward to getting the rest of my embroidery and craft things....can't wait to start some redwork!

Thursday, July 8, 2010


We came back to our garden overflowing with squash and beans...the tomatoes are just starting to ripen..I've been searching for zucchini recipes as this is just one days bounty...we've given alot away....I think we overdid it "just  a little"...

I did find one recipe that was my mom's.....and I am sharing it here...planning on making it after I I have some hamburger that badly needs to be used....its a casserole dish and sounds good..

Zucchini Casserole
1 1/2 lb. zucchini, sliced into 1/4" strips
1 lb. hamburger
1 med. onion, chopped (I am using dried onions..Alan has problems with fresh ones)
1 cup instant rice
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. oregano
2 cups cottage cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sharp cheese, grated
Cook zucchini until tender and drain. Brown meat with onion, add rice + seasonings, place half of the zucchini mixture in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Cover with beef mixture and spoon cottage cheese over. Add rest of zucchini and cover with soup. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes until bubbly....She doesn't have a oven temperature but I think a medium oven at 350 or so would be good....
I am making a fruit salad to go with it......and perhaps some of our yellow wax beans....
We've been enjoying the yellow crook neck squash, sliced, browned in butter in the iron frying pan and eggs scrambled into them about every morning....haven't gotten tired of them yet.....
I also have 4 loaves of zucchini bread in the freezer....and have the makings for a zucchini cake...with crushed pineapple and cream cheese frosting..yummy!
Do you have any good recipes for zucchini? I'd love to have more...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One of our road trips...Santa Ysabel and Ramona

Thought I would fill you in on some of the trips we've taken..this one was especially nice..we got a call to re key a condo in Ramona, Ca...a new owner was moving it was a happy job. as this area is one of our favorites, we decided to make it a fun drive...Santa Ysabel is a small mountain town, not too far from Ramona, Ca and is one of the Mission towns....driving up into the hills is very pretty..lots of orange and avocado groves, Indian reservations, and country roads..

On the weekends, this two lane road is VERY busy...its also a popular drive with the motorcycle crowd.but as we went during the week..traffic was very fact, we saw few cars...made it a pleasant trip...

In Santa Ysabel..we stopped at the Julian Pie apple pies we've ever had (except homemade of course) and Alan bought me a cute denim apron ..its there on the says..American as Apple Pie..I just love it...

then we went next door to the Apple Country Restaurant for lunch..

If you are hankering for a fresh apple can order Julian pies through their website....they have several types...regular apple,Dutch apple, natural apple (no sugar..its what we get),  many sugar free varieties and more.....Julian Pie Company
Alan ordered a slice at the Apple Country restaurant..

and no, I don't get anything for advertising the pies...I just like to share when I find something so good and tasty....

we sometimes get them frozen and ready to cook....other times, we can't wait and get the fresh cooked ones....

It took us a time to find the condo..the Tom Tom told us a odd way to go which involved switch backs, and a round about way to get there so after a short time, we decided to go with our Google map instead.....which led us to the right place...the condo was a older one but very cute...upstairs with mountains views and quiet....would be a wonderful hideaway place for the weekends or so we are a few photos of the inside
we both liked the spiral staircase
and the living room was great, with a large window  with a balcony next to the fireplace, open rafters and 3 bedrooms upstairs..every room had mountain views..

it was a fun day and we hope to get back up there soon....its about a hour drive from the fall, Julian has a Apple Days festival which is always very neither of us like crowds, we tend to go in the off season.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Home Again!!!!!!

We got back home this last good to sleep in your own our internet up and running today....hope to be blogging and visit other bloggers very soon.....thanks for all the kind comments during the ordeal. We have lots of boxes go to through as everything was all packed up, cleaned and ozoned.....this is as bad as moving! maybe worse but I am thankful...the garage still has to be repaired but the house is just about smoke detectors were installed today..and the worker came to get the floor in the laundry room tiled......our laundry room leads out into the garage so it got the worst of the smoke and was entirely repainted, including the cabinets...with a new floor it will be nice...
I do have photos which I will share soon....thanks for all the kind words and prayers......