Friday, July 31, 2009

Roses and Huckleberries

What could be more lovely than roses and huckleberries? These huckleberries are wild, handpicked on the lower slopes of beautiful Mt. Adams. I got them at our local health food store.

The only thing sweeter than wild huckleberries are wild huckleberries that you've picked yourself. We haven't picked huckleberries for a few summers now but it's so much fun to go off on a hike through the woods with a pail in hand.

I've washed them and have them sitting out on the kitchen counter to nibble on. They're so good for you, just as powerful as the blueberry with its rich antioxidants. It is my goal this summer to enjoy each fruit and vegetable that comes into season. It's something I crave all winter long and so I want to be sure to embrace it while it lasts.

Aren't they beautiful?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The House is Still

The house is still. It's another warm morning to what is supposed to be another hot summer day.

Windows are closed. Dog is quiet. Fans are blowing. It kind of feels like nap time.
Outside I have some sprinklers going. Watching the circular flight of water seems to cool me. Yesterday evening, still waiting for the heat to subside, I suggested to hubby that we spray each other down with the garden hose.

We turned the hose on Lucy instead. She was much obliged.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lovely Things

Look for a lovely thing
and you will find it.
Sara Teasdale

I love landscape oil paintings. It's what I'm always looking for when wandering through antique stores. I actually majored in Music and Art in college. I never did become an artist or a musician though. Instead, I began a career path in historic and environmental preservation, which to me is kind of the same thing. Like the arts, it's a passion for beauty in its most soulful, natural and creative forms.

I found this landscape painting a few weeks ago. It was exactly what I was looking for. Something lovely. I love those pink blue skies.

My little painting cost only $20. It comes without a frame and there are a few scratches here and there. But for me, the heart of whomever created this painting is very much still in tact. And that's what makes it so lovely.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Picket Fence

We are hoping to finish our picket fence this weekend. Building this picket fence has been more time consuming than we realized - like everything else. This is hubby cutting some spacers so that the pickets line up evenly.

Hubby is building us a beautiful fence ; ) Hopefully we'll have pictures by the end of the weekend!

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Blooming Orchid

One of my orchids is reblooming and it makes me very happy. After months of tender loving care, it is so rewarding to see one burst into blossoms. This happy occasion is in part thanks to the 'Orchid Lady' in town. She holds orchid workshops at our local nursery throughout the year.

I attended one of her workshops this past spring and learned a lot of the usual things such as the right light, frequent watering and the importance of fertilizer. But by far the best advice the Orchid Lady gave me was to talk to my orchids. She said that orchids are women and like all women, they thrive on conversation.

As you can imagine I was thrilled with this assignment as I was already in full blown conversation with dogs, horses, alpacas, birds and all non-biting insects. This would be for sure the easiest part of caring for my orchids.

And so began the conversations with our orchids. Our dog Lucy is no longer startled by salutations not directed towards her, nor is hubby the least bit surprised that I have yet to run out of anything to say. And so our orchids continue to blossom...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fresh Lavender

I clipped some lavender from one of our newly planted lavender plants last evening. I couldn't resist as the lavender smelled so much like summer.

I gathered it up with a ribbon and hung it from our bathtub faucet. We've been working day and night on our picket fence (by this weekend we should be done!) and a nice soothing bath is the perfect thing to look forward to at the end of the day.

I also love to put lavender sachets in our pillowcases. In aromatherapy, it's known to be a wonderful sleep aid, helping to provide a deep and restful sleep. It's also just a nice calming fragrance to go to sleep and wake up to.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Little Lamb Hydrangea

This morning I clipped a few blossoms from my Little Lamb hydrangea. It's a beautiful hydrangea that grows happily in full sun. The variety comes from Belgium and was named 'Little Lamb' because the grower thought the flower petals looked like little "dancing lambs." How sweet is that?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Beauty of Women

Today I am reminded of the generous heart of women. I am reminded of the women I've known in my life, whether in passing or in friendship, and how their warmth and tenderness have seen me through some of life's most difficult times.

When I was in my twenties, I was struck by the capacity of women's nurturing hearts for the first time. These women, they held out their hands and cradled me until I had mended. Women that were much older than me, women I did not know well. They held me anyway, with such love and compassion, it changed my life forever.

Now in my thirties, I have been again reminded of the generous heart of women. Again, they've laid their hands on me. Shed tears for me. Laughed with me. Held me. Carried me when I could not carry myself. Loved me when they sometimes could not even love themselves.

The beauty of women is their unyielding capacity to give, to care, to reach out and hold you without hesitation, without ever having to ask.

My heart is full as I offer my love and gratitude to the beauty of women. They are young and old. Simple and complicated. Close and distant. Gracious and reticent. We are different, but we are all women.

Image provided by Clipart

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Breakfast in the Fields

I love how an everyday meal at home can be transformed just by eating in a new location. Since our dining patio isn't quite done, we've been eating on the porch or out in the yard.

We're enjoying our first blueberries of the season. I picked them last week at a blueberry farm near town. Although a little early, there were still lots of ripe bushes to pick from. I'm looking forward to picking many more this summer.

Blueberries are becoming a popular crop in our valley as they grow easily and are naturally disease and insect resistant.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Market

We went to the Saturday Market this morning and I got three gorgeous bouquets of fresh cut flowers. I've become friends with the flower farmer as not only am I a loyal customer, but we're pretty much neighbors, as the crow flies that is.

Monday, July 6, 2009


As I write, I can hear the faint sound of the cherry canons off in the distance. The farmers around here use them to deter the birds from feasting on their deliciously ripe fruit. I like hearing the canons. They make me think of cherries, cherry pie and the sweetness that summer brings.

Last year a friend of mine gave me several pounds of organic cherries from her farm. She was trying to find a good cherry pie recipe to give to her customers at the farmer's market and asked me to do a little recipe testing for her.

It was the first time I had made a cherry pie, the first time I used a cherry pitter and the first cherry pie I think I really liked. Maybe it was because I had made it from scratch, or perhaps it was because I knew that each cherry had been lovingly grown by my friend. Either way, it was a darn good pie. Below is the recipe that won our taste test.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Favorite 9-inch double pie crust (for lattice top).

4 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 cups pitted organic cherries
1/4 teaspoon real almond extract
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients and let stand 15 minutes. Pour into pie dish, add lattice top and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown.

We believe the magic combination of both the almond and the vanilla extract made this recipe stand out from the rest. So yummy!

Happy Cherry Season!
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