Sunday, September 30, 2012

honeysuckle jelly

We have been attempting to utilize our place more.  Growing more fruit, berries - having herbs and veggie gardens - planting succession crops, are ideas and actions that have been on my mind a lot lately.  One goal I made for myself, was that I didn't want to go out and  buy much produce for putting up.  I do a lot of gleaning from generous friends and family, and combining this with what I am producing really helps stock the shelves and keeps the cost very minimal - besides being fresh, organic, and tasty!

When I learn about being able to use plants that are already growing at our place for preserving - well, I get very excited.  I recently found out that you can make jelly out of honeysuckle flowers.  And, I have a huge honeysuckle bush that has been loaded with flowers all summer.  I tried it out, and it is a wonderfully mild jelly with a bit of honey flavor.  

I'm thrilled to try out another type of jelly, and am tickled that it turned out so well!

Friday, September 28, 2012


Do you remember me talking about the dahlias that I got from my aunt, who got them from a neighbor last year, and how anxious I was to find out what they look like. Well, they bloomed magnificently for me this year!  I am giddy with dahlia goodness!

This was the only that bloomed before winter last year.  Now, I have two plants producing these huge, gorgeous purple blooms.  And another plant is similar, expect the flowers are white (no pic for some reason!).

I love the streaked petals of this dahlia.  

This little fellow is so cheerful to look at! Not adequately captured in the photo is the contrast between the very bright yellow center and the cherry red petals.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

breakfast time

I have been trying to make breakfast time more interesting.  We all are somewhat tired of yogurt/fruit, toast, oatmeal, and even pancakes/waffles (and don't even get me started on egg dishes - we are totally egged out).  So, for this breakfast, I dusted off my Grand Central Cookbook, and made their scone recipe (as usual, mixing 1/2 and 1/2 whole wheat flour with regular flour).  It was delectable!  Since we have tomatoes coming out of our ears, I served them as an odd side with the scones.  Add a hot cup of tea - a perfect start to the day!

I hope to explore more recipes, and with a little luck, I'll find some new ideas that are as easy and tasty as this one turned out!

Monday, September 24, 2012

soccer in full swing

A. is enjoying another year of soccer, and is especially pleased to be on his team from last year.  The kids are great, the coach is great, and that makes the entire experience fantastic.  At this last game, A. scored his first goal! The head coach specifically told him to put one in the while they were coming out of the first half.  A. responded by doing so in less than 2 minutes.  It was a difficult shot coming at a sharp angle, and with the goalie occupying a fairly large area.  He managed to tuck it by, much to his surprise and delight.  After much after game fussing over his accomplishments, A. stated that he hopes to get another goal in.  We are all rooting for him.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

a few pretty things

These pictures are random, but I thought I'd share them with you.  I took these during late July/early August, and they depict a few things happening at out place.  Simple things, but very pleasurable.

cherries freshly picked

drying lavender for winter time

mint for tea

a quick visit

Friday, September 21, 2012

another skirt

J. and A. were invited to a friend's birthday last weekend.  Her favorite colors are purple and pink, so after some scrounging through my fabric boxes, I assembled the prerequisite colors into the skirt you see above.  I still love this pattern, and I'll probably wear it out with my plans for making many more skirts from it.  Do you think any girls will mind getting inundated with skirts?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

a new school year

The boys are growing so fast, and I am amazed that another school year has began for us.  We started last week with some gentle, easing-into assignments, and have picked up the pace this week.  Spirits are relaxed and happy - and keeping them as such is one of my personal goals for the year.  Here are our back to school photos:

A: 6th grade

J: 8th grade

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

the redwoods

At the end of summer, we did the classic family road trip and headed for the redwoods.  It was a great vacation!  Lots of camping, hiking, lounging, card/board games, and plenty of sight seeing.  When we came back, we all felt restored, and curious to explore more areas sometime in the future.  Funny how going to a place makes you want to check out everything else around it.

At the campground, big J. fixed breakfast every morning, and had plenty of supervision while doing so.  In this picture, he is busy making beer pancakes.  Yuuumm!

While exploring Jedediah Smith State Park, J. and A. got to crawl in a few big trees.

And, I do mean big trees!

Chilling by the river.

The boys added to the rock statues people made along the shore.

At the Lady Bird Grove, J. got this amazing picture while standing inside a redwood.

A. relaxing on a knoll of a tree.

A fun house built out of a redwood stump.