Sage Wreaths

All this crisp autumn air has me taking long walks and lingering outside on these last snowless days, before the cold nips too hard or the animals disappear into their homes. It also has me storing up veggies, herbs, and seeds for next year. So as I shook out seeds from the Black Eyed Susan’s […]

Toddler Fascinations and Moss Gardens

It hadn’t rained in two weeks until last night and the smell of wet dirt was heavy in the air. My toddler and I set off to explore our back woods and check on the little forts we’d been slowly constructing over the summer.

Her fascination with moss caught my eye.

We grabbed her pink beach pail and began hunting for all kinds of moss on rocks, under trees, and strewn below the leaves. We examined textures, we talked about colors, and collected samples.

I let her fill a shallow punch bowl with fresh dirt and we arranged our new collection adding in a few favorite pinecones. Our moss garden was born, perfect for our kitchen table which doesn’t get direct sunlight. We mixed up a combination of milk and vinegar making buttermilk to feed the moss and encourage it to grow up onto our special pinecones.

Take some time to explore your backyard, garden, or park with your toddler. Take an interest in what they notice and encourage interaction with the outdoor spaces around you. It’s a special time of wonder you don’t want to miss.

Happy Questing!

 

Raspberry Hedge How To

Earlier this spring an acquaintance advised they were removing an entire row of raspberries from their garden. At $10-$20 a plant at any nursery I grabbed my shovel and invited myself over on digging day. I’d stashed my toddlers kiddy pool in the trunk and within the hour I had it full of baby raspberry bushes. […]

Friendship Boot Planter DIY

Here is a great idea to celebrate a special friendship in your life. Find a pair of worn out boots and fill with your favorite flowers. One of the boots is for your friend while the other is for you. Friends are the flowers in the garden of life. Beginning with a seed of trust, nurtured […]

Flower Farm a Final Season

As we pulled up to the u-pick flower farm the stillness of the jeweled field of flowers was so calming. Alone except for the beetles, bees, and turkeys on the hedgerow. We helped ourselves to some snips and a basket, trekking through the morning dew and muddy lanes to find perfect stems.

My toddler chases butterfly’s while I fill the basket with more tones of red than I knew existed. Tones to bright and vivid to be found on any paint chip or computer screen.

Paying $3 for a fistful of flowers seems like robbery and I understood when I saw the sign posted above the little cash bucket. This would be the final season for u-cut flowers. A field full of blooms for as many years as I can remember was coming to a close. The end of the summer season seems frosty knowing this would be my last visit to a well loved garden.

Arranging flowers this beautiful wasn’t hard for me. I left them as wild as I could wanting to bring some of the garden into my kitchen and bedroom. If you want more info on how to arrange flowers check out my earlier post.

Creamy Tomato Soup Canning Recipe

A Country Garden Recipe

I gave up buying processed canned tomato soup a long time ago. The taste of making my own organic soup far surpasses processed soups from the grocery. The newly discovered fact that canned soups have toxic BPA in them should be a wake up call to all of us. So today I will share with you my recipe. It’s easy and makes about 10 quarts or 20 pints.

  • 1/2 Bushel Roma Tomatoes
  • 6 large onions
  • one bunch celery
  • 1 cup cane sugar or honey
  • 1/4 cup pickling salt
  • 1 cup real butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • lemon juice or citric acid

1.Wash all the vegetables. If they were sprayed with any chemicals soak them in vinegar water for 20 minutes to help remove toxins. Use 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water.

2. Chop the onions and celery. I use a food processor and chop them up small.

3. Add chopped onions and celery to a large kettle or stock pot with a cup of water to prevent them from burning.

4. While this simmers, cut the tomatoes. I use a food processor and chop them up small. Skins and all. Add to the kettle and cook all until tender.

5. Once soft place all through a strainer or a juicer. This removes the tomato skins and seeds and some pulp.

6. Return to kettle add the sugar and salt.

7. Cream the butter, flour and 2 cups of cool tomato juice. Blend until smooth. I use my blender for this. Avoid lumps.

8. Add mixture to tomato juice. Do this before it is too hot. Stir well.

9. Just before boiling ladle into clean jars.  Add one tablespoon lemon juice or 1 teaspoon citric acid to each jar.

10. Process 30 minutes for quarts or 20 minutes for pints.

Try this recipe once and you’ll never go back to the dull canned items from the store. Keeps canned jars in a cool, dry, and dark place for up to two years. I  label each jar with the contents and year on the top lid (you should never reuse lids). Let me know how your batch turned out.

Canning lids made with BPA? Yes it is TRUE. Look for Ball lids marked BPA free. Lids purchased in previous years may contain BPA or lids not made in the USA.IMG_20160916_100221143.jpg