Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Garden: Mid-August

I headed outside tonight around eight o'clock when Kyle said, "Mom!  Come look outside!  Everything is orange!"

 He was right.  The sun setting reflected on the clouds gave an orange glow to the evening.

I decided to take some photos of the garden here in mid to late August.

First, this metal sign I found for outside the kitchen door may have been prophetic.   We have recently discovered that we have not two roosters, but four!  Can you believe it?  They are starting to get a bit fussy with each other, so three of them need to go.  We may try to sell them.

 It also means less hens.  I was looking forward to having twelve laying hens but it looks as if we will only have ten.  They don't all lay everyday so we will only get about 8 eggs a day.  That seems like a lot until you realize that it's not enough to make scrambled eggs for 6 people or a quintuple batch of pancakes on a Sunday night. I may have to start buying eggs again from the Amish farm that is GMO free on the grains they feed to their chickens.

 This is Obedient Plant or as some call it, Disobedient Plant as it can be invasive.  During the day these flowers are covered with pollinators.  The color in the sky is casting a weird glow in my photos!

 Aren't they lovely close up?  They are an August blooming plant.  Down the driveway toward the front walkway, and the garden looks a bit peaked.  We have had wonderful weather and no drought conditions, it is just the time of year.  The Echinacea has been pollinated and they are now making seed.  I leave them, bedraggled though they are, because the finches love the seed heads!

 See how amazing my hydrangea is on the right?  That is all new growth, so next year the flowers should be amazing.  I have learned my lesson that if Winter is anything like last year, this plant will be wrapped well!

 Do you see that empty spot on the right here in the photo above?  Look at the photo below.

I came home the other day and saw a lot of dirt on my walkway.  I immediately thought the chickens had been in the garden again, but on further investigation it was Rachel's dog, Sadie.  Naughty dog!  She's been laying out here.

We've had a few tomatoes finally ripen, but we've had something eating the tomatoes.  Tim thought it was the chickens but I haven't seen them down there for a while.  Well, it's always something, and we learn something new every year.

How are your gardens growing this August?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cottage Cooking: Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Today we started back with our home economics class, we began working on knitting, and our friends were staying to dinner because we needed to plan our trip to Williamsburg.

With my niece Kaitlin here and our friend Denny, I needed to feed 13 people and so I planned to make this dish, though I had never made it before.

To make things a bit easier, my friend Jen brought store bought biscuits to use as the dumplings.

I have no photos but here is what I did.

Boil chicken breasts until done.  I put them in my KitchenAid mixer to shred them, then took steamed mixed veggies and tossed both in the crockpot, or in this case two crock pots.  I then made homemade cream of chicken soup using a rue and milk, and I add Better Than Bouillon organic chicken soup base as flavoring.  

When it thickened I added it to the chicken and veggies, and Jen added the biscuits into the mixture and we turned on the crock pots and put the lids on.  The biscuits were done when we were ready to eat.  

It was easy and delicious!  This could easily be made and instead of serving with dumplings, you could serve it over rice, or noodles.  I love these kinds of crowd pleasing meals.  They are healthy and satisfying.

I hope you enjoy this meal.  Let me know if you make it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Special Weekend

Saturday was the memorial service for Joseph's younger brother Tommy.  He lived with his family for over a year, and packed a lifetime of living into that year.  When he was in the orphanage he basically lived in a crib.  Tommy was 17 years old and this photo was taken this summer.  

Sunday was a going away party for Emma, at our church.
 She will be attending weddings the next two Sundays before heading on vacation then school, so this was the only Sunday to do it.
 Aren't they beauties?  Fun, precious girls who look awfully cute in their glasses!

It was very precious to have some of the men and women of the church pray for Emma.  She knows that she is dearly loved and appreciated.  

She'll be missed.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Home Keeping: Open Windows

The weather is delightful for August.   We turned the air conditioner off and are enjoying the fresh air blowing through our windows.

 At night it has been chilly and when I got up this morning the outside temperature was 64 degrees.  Perfect sleeping weather!

Usually we are in the Dog Days of Summer, with the air conditioner blasting, but not this year.  The last two evenings have found me, ME, out playing badminton, instead of hiding inside the house.

I hope this weather lasts for months!

Friday, August 15, 2014

From One Book Lover To Another

We have these delightful friends, Tim and Barbara, that are missionaries in Ireland.  They are home right now, for at least a year, while he works on his Master's degree.  The only sad part is they will be in Louisville, KY for this, so we won't see them at church weekly, but hey, it's about a 9 hour drive!

We invited their family to dinner the other evening, so that we could squeeze in a visit before they head to Kentucky, and it worked out for the older kids to go to their weekly Ultimate Frisbee game.

Barbara brought me a hostess gift.  If you love books you're going to be jealous.

 She also brought me an Irish tea towel, Dark Orange Marmalade, a wee silver spoon, and some Irish tea.  She knows me well!

 It was given as a prize to a Thomas Rushford for proficiency in English on May 8, 1879.

 The first book is Silent Tom.  It also says An American Prize Tale.  This is a link to what I could find out about the book.  Another link said it was a Temperance book from 1875.

 Now we are going to have to make scones.

She also brought me this book.
Written by Kathleen M. Macleod, Barbara thought I might like it because it takes place in Scotland.

I'm very blessed in my friends, am I not?

Do you collect books?  Do you read old books?  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Leaves They Are A Changin'

I'm sure I'm not the only one experiencing this.  

As I drive along the roads here in beautiful Lancaster County I am seeing changes.  Already.  In August.  The sumac and other trees and bushes that change color in September,  are changing already.  

It's happening in my own backyard.

 I took these photos while I was mowing yesterday.

My burning bushes are turning red

 Our Black Walnut trees which always are the first to change and drop leaves are changing now.

The weather has been warm and sunny during the days and cooler at night.  I think the poor trees are confused.  They think it's time.

The weather is forecasted to stay in the mid 70's to low 80's with perhaps a day or to of hotter weather.  The last several years we have had high humidity and scorching temperatures all summer, and August is historically a hot month here.  I'm not sure we'll make it to swim at Camp Geezer this summer.  They had pool issues which required a new liner, then a new pump, but truthfully it hasn't been that hot to swim.  The water is too cold to swim, unless your a crazy person like Lindsay who, along with Joseph, headed over last week just after the fire tanker filled my Dad's pool with water from the spring feed reservoir.  

Mind you, I am not complaining.  We have the air conditioning off, the lovely breeze blowing through the house, sunshine…what more could we ask for?  I love this kind of weather!

We sat on the deck after dinner last night with our guests and drank coffee and tea, and watched the kids play.  It was lovely.  If this keeps up I'll be able to enjoy the outdoors, usually I hibernate in the summer and come back to outdoor life in the Autumn!

Oh, one more thing!  I want to show you this interesting frog I found yesterday in the grass by our fire pit.

He was very coppery, and he had started to move out from this area and then decided to move back a bit and wait for me to stop going around and around this space!  Smart froggy!  We have lots of toads and frogs due to our creek but I've not seen one this color before.  

I saw a forecast for winter and they were saying that it will be colder than normal and more snow than normal, so it sounds as if they are thinking it will be like last year.  I'm thinking we better store up as much sunshine in our bones as we can!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Home Keeping: Tweaking My Schedule

Anyone who has visited my blog for any length of time, while likely recognize that I am not a scheduler.  I don't have a set time for things during my day.  I know when we have appointments and that kind of thing, but a regular daily schedule, not so much.
With the school year underway, I need to spend less time on the computer, and so the need to tweak.

I have a home to keep and I have lots of projects still to accomplish, one being the painting of my bedroom.  If I can't get help with it soon, I will just tackle it by myself!  I have begun to work on some homemade gifts for Christmas (there I said it out loud!).  They will never get done, unless I work on them now!  We are tweaking how we do gift giving this year too, as we do not need a mountain of new things each, but that is a post for another time!

So as to the actual tweaking - it basically means that I am trying to only be on the computer in the mornings, and late afternoons/evening.  There is so much we can accomplish around here, if I am not focused online.  

I have chickens to tend

 Gardens to weed

Peaches to eat

Relationships to foster

In about three weeks we will be heading to Williamsburg on our vacation, and at the end of that week, we will be dropping this girl off at her Bible School.  Then we will head home without her.  It's an exciting time, and Kyle is already looking forward to Thanksgiving break when she'll come home for a visit!

This tweaking has been good because I feel as if I have things to share with you all as well,  like how I cleaned mold off my bathroom wall/ceiling with Apple Cider Vinegar.  

Until tomorrow….have a great day!