Tuesday

~ Soaking up Summer ~

 Hello friends,
It's been a wonderful summer.
My sweet husband took some time off, and we spent the time doing projects, and we threw in time for fun too.
We went to visit our oldest son and his wife. This adorable cottage is in a little town, near where they live.
Isn't it just precious~!
 Thanks to everyone for their well wishes, and for their tips on getting our sunflowers to grow again, after we had to dig them all up.
The above picture was taken shortly after we transplanted them back into the ground.
 And now, they are thriving.
I think that the shock of being up-rooted, stunted their growth a bit, but they are putting on quite a show, and surviving!~
 We planted about 10 different varieties.
So far, we think about 6 of the varieties have survived.
 These red ones are really stunning.
I am so happy that they survived, and I'll be saving seeds from these to plant en~mass next spring.
  
 A new flower to our gardens, is this Green Eyed Susan.
Isn't it wonderful~?!
I do hope that it takes hold, and next spring takes off!  I hope to have enough next spring to divide and put in several places in the borders.
 One of the things that we did while my sweet husband was off, is work on the fence. We now have one side completely done...~~ Yay!
We also bought new perennials and planted them in the borders.  This variety of cone flower, as well as a yellow variety, another variety of lavender, and we put in 4 trees! Two of the trees are maples, and one tree is an apple tree, and the other is an ornamental pear tree.
With the other variegated maple and the two plum trees we put in this spring, our yard will have beauty, shade, wind protection and fruit. It's a wonderful thing~!
 It's always nice to have fresh flowers in the summertime.
Cosmos are growing ~ seeds from a friend. Goldenrod ~ plant starts from a friend. Daisies, they were here when we moved into this house, and the Black Eyed Susans, I planted last spring, along with some tick seed.
 And, yes.. some of our beautiful survivor sunflowers are gracing our kitchen island.
The gladiolus are some that the stem snapped on, after a rain storm. I generally do not cut them, for I like them in the borders, more than I like them in a vase ~~ still, they are gorgeous! We planted them in the early, early spring this year.
 We bought a flat of raspberries.  Seven plus pounds.
We made the most delicious raspberry jam~!
My sweet husband helped me.... he is a wonderful pot stirrer.... in the best way~! He generally helps me with the canning, if he's home.
We made 3 batches of raspberry jam.
 We also bought some gorgeous, giant apricots at the farm stand. You can just see one peeking out of the yellow bowl.
I made 4 batches of apricot ~ pineapple jam.
I had to stir the pot all by myself though, as my sweet husband was at work.
He thinks I'm a great pot stirrer too ~~~ smile.
The jam turned out wonderful, sweet, and delicious~!
By the way........ have you ever had a pan fried potatoes and onions and topped it off with a dollop of apricot ~ pineapple jam??
It is a taste of heaven~ really!
Another project that we worked on, was to make a shed overhang roof for the ATV's.
We planned to add a shed overhang roof to the back side of the garden shed, when we first ordered it in the spring.
Once the shed was delivered, and we painted it, we knew the next order of business was to get the shed overhang roof built, before winter and snows descend on us.
My sweet husband, and our youngest son worked together to get the shed overhang roof done.
There is plenty of room for our ATV's, plus there is still enough room left over to stack wood next to the roof.
Just disregard the totes {they still need to be put in the garage} and the garden wagon {full of tools and supplies for the fence} and the birdhouse {still needs to find a home in one of the borders} and the charcoal grill { we only use it once in a while, and generally use our gas grill}.
I still need to get the stuff put away, and finish the posts, etc.  I'm debating if I want to stain them to look old, or paint them to match the garden shed.
The roof is old tin that was recycled from our son's old garage.
Hmmm..... guess I'd better decide soon, and get it finished.
When summer began, we had one hummingbird feeder, and one faithful little hummingbird.
We now have 2 hummingbird feeders, and we are filling them 2 x a day.
Last night as we sat watching them, as close as we could count... we now have over a dozen little hummingbirds.
I think they are trying to soak up summer too ~!
In one of our previous houses, we had 3 feeders and filled them multiple times a day.. we could count more than 20 hummers.
So, for now, we haven't set a hummingbird record.
Still, there is a bit of summer left, so one never knows.
Another fun thing we've been doing to soak up summer, is to go up to the lake.
This lake is just five miles from our house.
My sweet husband catches the biggest lake trout, and we've had some delicious dinners of lake trout with grilled veggies.
Tastes of summer.......
Can you spy that little town? That's our little town.
The winding road takes you up the canyon to the lake.
As you can see, we are blessed to live in a beautiful valley.
Mountains surround us, and fields make a beautiful patchwork like quilt in the valley.

I'm off to soak up some more summer.
Before you know it, it will be Autumn.


~Attitude of gratitude
~ Feeling blessed to have fresh jam on the shelves in the store room
~Feeling grateful to have packages of shredded zucchini in the freezer... enough to last throughout the winter, and to make cookies, breads, soups and chili's with.
~Thankful that we've been able to travel safely to our destinations, and back home again. What a blessing!
~Feeling thankful for great books and magazines that I've found at bargain prices this summer. I'm all stocked up for Fall and Winter reading, and for just a few dollars!
~I am so grateful for my life! I have a wonderful life, and I am completely humbled by how blessed I am. I feel favored by the Lord...

Thursday

* Mission Possible : Sunflower rescue mission 2015

 Hello friends.
How are you doing?
Summer is just speeding by, isn't it.
It's hard to believe it, but July is half over.

Here at Mill Hill Meadow, we planted sunflowers in June.
 We waited a bit longer than usual because of our really rainy spring.
 We planted sunflowers at the edge of our property and the meadow.
Not only for their beauty, but also to give us a bit of a wind break.
The sunflowers were doing great!  We planted lots of different kinds of sunflowers, and some varieties had grown about 3 feet high already.
That is, until now.
You see that big orange reel of cable?
Well... that is fiber optics cable that a local phone co. is installing in the area.
Our subdivision is getting that cable all around it, and all the way through the subdivision to each house.
Except ours.
I politely declined to have our yard and sprinklers dug up, so that someday, sometime, when the company actually offers the service, that we could subscribe.
Currently, we DO NOT subscribe to this phone company's internet service.
 Today: The trenches are dug.
We spent time last night, digging up the most mature and healthiest of sunflowers in the hopes of rescuing them from the Ditch Witch.
 Two, out of the four sides of our house, have trenches running through them for the new fiber optic line.
 We rescued 12 large totes full of sunflowers.
We dug them up as carefully as we could, and filled the totes with water.
So far, so good.
Today, the co. is done with putting the cable in around our house, and the trench is filled back in.
Tonight, and tomorrow, and maybe over the weekend, we will transplant the sunflowers back into the ground.
I sure hope that they make it!
It would be great if at least 50% of them survive.
~Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that this rescue mission will be a success.

~ Attitude of gratitude:
~ Feeling thankful for a wonderful family that is always supportive and helpful in all of my endeavors. Even something as trivial as rescuing sunflowers, they are right there doing what needs to be done.
~I'm feeling thankful for flip-flop weather. Sweet, calm mornings when I can sit on the porch and read or journal.

Tuesday

~ June: Junking and Jaunts ~

Hello friends.
Boy, oh boy.. it's another month that has just sped by, and tomorrow July will begin anew.
We've crammed a lot into June.
We've been to yard sales, and garage sales, estate sales.... we've been junking.

The above shelf was a yard sale find. Also the Quaker oats cans.. love them! I gave the shelf a little make over with some paint, and a bit of sanding.

I always find something great when I go junking.
Above junking finds: Shelf {gave it a make over with some black paint} bottles, plant, and the pig with the goose... affectionately referred to as "Petals" the pig, and "Gertie" the goose.
 Delightful mirror. 
We snagged it at a yard sale, only it wasn't actually displayed at the lady's yard sale.
She had it in her house, and they have been renovating their old house.
She asked me if I was interested in a really big mirror. She showed it to me, and the price couldn't be beat. I bought it on the spot.
 It also received a make-over {painted}. There is some hazing, and speckling on the mirror, but I honestly like the aged look of it. 
Isn't the scalloped edge on the mirror sweet?!
I imagine in it's former life, it was part of a mirror and dresser set.
 I painted our mantle white, and had been looking for a large mirror for the mantle.
 This mirror fits the mantle perfectly.
We took a jaunt to Park City.
It's always fun to take a trip to Park City.
We went to lunch and did a bit of shopping. 


 We managed to squeeze in a trip to the zoo in also.
 One of those summer activities that is always a lot of fun.
Lastly, our 'grand~dog' turned one year old.
Her name is Luna, and she loves water! Our oldest son and his wife live by a river, and they take Luna down to the river to swim, fetch and play.
Honestly, I was surprised that they got her to stand still enough to snap this picture!

So, what ever you're doing to soak up summer, I hope you're having fun!

Attitude of gratitude :
~ Feeling grateful for this day! I've been asking in my prayers for our Heavenly Father to help me find ways to serve.
Just this morning, I made a batch of naan, and took some over to my neighbors. It's not a big deal, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to foster goodwill, and show kindness.
Honestly, I am a home~body,and because I'm not out and about, and also because we live in a teeny tiny town, opportunities to serve just don't present themselves every day.
Of course, I always feel blessed to serve my family, but I am looking for service opportunities around me elsewhere as well.
A few days ago, traveling along the highway, we saw 2 elderly men trying to push a pick-up. We stopped gave them some help, and they went on their way. They were so grateful! Just for a teeny bit of help, and they thanked us profusely.
Yes.. I am feeling grateful for this new day, and for each new opportunity to serve.

Monday

~ All Around The Cottage , and naan revisited

 All around the cottage.... flowers on the kitchen table....
 sun shining through the windows.
It's a beautiful day here at Mill Hill Meadow.
We had a gorgeous, summer-y weekend, baking and rain showers, and putting in new plants.
 Do any of you long time readers remember my kitchen at the Cottage on Main?
Filled with lots of red, and gingham, and farmhouse touches.
 My kitchen {in any house that we've ever lived in}, is a place I love to spend time in.
 I love to be in my kitchen baking and cooking, with my family gathering.

The first time that I made naan, it was in the kitchen at Cottage on Main.
We love naan!
I've been making batches of naan here in the kitchen at Mill Hill Meadow.
 The recipe I am using now, is different than the recipe that I used at Cottage on Main.
That older recipe used yogurt, and this newer recipe does not.
Here's the new recipe for naan.....

Simple Naan :
1C. warm water
1/4 C. sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 T.  milk
2 t. salt
3 1/2 Cups flour
1 T. dry yeast
* Add ingredients in order listed above to bread making machine. When dough cycle is finished, divide dough into 12 equal balls and roll out into rounds.
Preheat oven to 500* degrees. Place large cookie sheet in oven, as the oven is preheating.
Place naan on preheated cookie sheet, in preheated oven, and bake naan on each side for about 3 minutes or so, or until done.
* Edited : I forgot to mention that when you bake the naan, your oven rack should be placed in the highest position in your oven. I make naan so frequently, that it is just something I do automatically, but if you've never made naan before, you might need to know this :)
I've modified the recipe to be made in my bread machine, but the recipe could also easily be made in a kitchen mixer, or by hand.  It is a really good recipe!
I've also made garlic/rosemary naan simply by adding granulated garlic and rosemary to the flour before adding all the other ingredients.
I've also made Maple Cinnamon naan, by replacing the sugar with 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, and decreasing the milk to 1 T. and adding 1 T. of ground cinnamon to the flour before mixing.
Maple Cinnamon naan is delicious warmed in the microwave then a smear of whipped cream cheese on top.
* Edited.. also, when making Maple ~ Cinnamon naan, cook naan at 475* degrees, instead of *500 degrees, because the maple syrup caramelizes at a lower temperature than sugar. Also keep a close eye on the baking process... it may not take as long as regular naan.

Attitude of gratitude:
~Feeling thankful for a cozy home. Feeling thankful for a home that is filled with family and good conversation, and good food.
~I'm grateful for the rain that we've been receiving. All of our new little shrubs, perennials, and annuals are doing so well this summer, and we are trying to establish new borders along the new fence so the rain is really a blessing.
~I'm SO grateful that our son, Spencer was with me this past week; I had a tire blow out and he was able to change the tire for me. Then, the spare started going flat as well..... it hadn't been used in years and so the bead on the tire wasn't sealed. I was able to get off the highway, and he aired up the spare and we continued home. Two new tires will be put on our Tahoe this week! I feel so blessed that we were safe and sound, and that we didn't wreck.

~ All around the cottage ~

 All around the cottage, it's been blooms, birds and building fences.
All good things ~ all things that make my heart smile.
The hostas are thriving this summer. They were all gifts to me, from a gardening friend in Spring City.
Daisies and yellow buttercup, all abloom.
How I love the cheerful, sunny yellow buttercups.
We've had quite a few visitors to the bird feeder.
That little guy that the arrow is pointing to, we only saw once.  Does anyone know what kind of bird he is? His chest was such a dark rusty color, contrasting with the very blue of his head. I'd love to know what he is called.
Cute robin sitting on the shepherds hook.
My sweet husband just took down the feeder this past weekend. Now that the meadow is green and growing again, it will be good for the birds to forage for bugs. When it turns cold again, we'll put the feeder back out.

Not everyone thinks magpies are cute, but I kind~a do. I don't mind sharing a bit of bird seed with the magpies and the black birds.

 We've had storm, after storm. Rain showers almost daily.
You can see the mountain tops cloaked in a rainy mist.
I really can't explain why Mr. Farmer insists on running the wheel lines 24-7?! {the farm to the East of us}
Around Mill Hill Meadow, we've shut off the sprinkler system. The Lord has provided enough rain to water our lawns and gardens.
One thing that the rain has sort~a helped out with, is the ground has been softened and it makes digging fence posts much easier.
My sweet husband has gotten a big section of the fencing done.
It's turning out awesome, and the fence will be a perfect backdrop for future plant, shrubs, flowers, and herbs. I would like to grow some Virginia creeper along a few sections of fence as well.

 Something the rainy weather didn't help out with; the painting of the garden shed.
However, in between storms, the garden shed finally got done.
It turned out so cute!
Don't you just love that old Maytag?! Yep~~ that's the 1939 beaut. that my sweet husband rescued from the landfill. Poor thing.. it was destined to be smashed and left to rust. 
Happy to have it here at Mill Hill Meadow now!
 I could not love the sweet 1940's style shutters any more!!
My sweet husband built them for the garden shed.
Not a necessary feature, but one I simply adore, and I am so over the moon with how darling they are.
Simply darling.

~ Attitude of gratitude:
~ I am feeling thankful for everyday sweet and tender mercies.
A smile, a kind word, sunshine {when it's not raining} flowers blooming, a sit on the front porch.
Quiet reflective prayer, and thanksgiving for all my blessings.
~Grateful for Mill Hill Meadow.  This month marks 13 months since we moved here.
At the homestead, I was completely over ~whelmed. With all the property and outbuildings, there was never a spare minute. Lists, lists, and more lists, and demands on our time.
Here at Mill Hill Meadow, I am once again enjoying sweet summer time. I'm enjoying reading, and baking, taking long walks daily, crafting, decorating, organizing and keeping home.
Most of all, I am grateful to be happy.
                                ~~ A little summer~time wreath I made for the garden shed.~~

Thursday

~ April Mash Up.. aka... stuff keeping me busy this spring ~

 Goodness.
Now that warmer weather is here, we have been super busy.
You know, that old adage.. "make hay while the sun shines"?
Well.. we've been making hay!
Catching up on our 'to-do' list, and getting projects squared away.
We've thrown in a lot of fun too.
Yard sales, trips, anniversary celebration {the reason we took a trip}.
All, great stuff.
 Snagged the above dishes at a yard sale.
Both sets of dishes for just a few dollars.
Neither set is complete, but that's really ok with me.  I really love the design on the dishes and there are so many great pieces, that it really doesn't matter if the sets are complete.
Both sets of dishes, from what I've researched, are from the 1930's and 1940's.
 I've been busy painting.
Inside and outside {as you will see, later on in the post}
Inside, I re-painted this old buffet table.  Believe it or not, I've had this buffet for about 10-12 years. Found on the side of the road.....literally.
I repainted it with a soft yellow paint, and dry brushed some white glaze over it, and replaced the knobs with giant glass knobs. This buffet has had many a transformation, and has been used as storage in many a room in our house.
I'm digging it in it's current finish, and in it's current location: as a entry way table.
I also snagged the mirror from our youngest son. He had it in a closet and wasn't using it.
So, a coat or two of white chalk paint later, and a marriage to the buffet, and presto- change... a great combination for the entry.
Oh, and I spray painted the buffet lamps a brushed nickel color, and white chalk painted the lamp shades also.
 On one of our yard sale buying jags, I bought the above oak framed artwork for just 25 cents a frame. After scrubbing the frames, and taking out the dated art work, and painting the mat boards with black chalk paint, and the frames with white chalk paint.......
 presto - change... some cute and simple art work.
I hung the daisy-like pictures in our master bedroom.
Love the simple graphic flowers, and the 'shabby chic' frames now.  All for a dollar, and little creativity and elbow grease.
That's what I call a win!
 We've been having a lot of rain storms.
So far this week, it rained on Mon., Tues., and Wednesday.
Finally, the clouds have cleared a bit and today should be a warmer and dryer day.
For all those folks that have had little faith, I say, "Have Faith"!
In this time of drought, the Lord will provide!!
Heavenly Father has blessed us with lots of wonderful rain!

 My sweet husband and I just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary!!
Yippee!! I've been wed to my very best friend for 28 years now!!
We celebrated by getting away on a little anniversary trip.
We went to sunny St. George.
We had so much fun!! We shopped and shopped.
We shopped all the thrift stores, and antique stores, etc.
I found the above treasures at a thrift store, and right away I knew just what I would do with each item.
 Previously, I had a small picture on the right side of my dining room hutch.
I've really been digging French Farmhouse d├ęcor, and wanted to add some copper accents and baskets in our dining area/ kitchen.
 Ta-da!
After giving the large platter basket a coat of gray paint, then a dry brush coat of white chalk paint, I now have just the look I wanted in that space!
Oh, I just adore that old copper fish.
Those old copper molds were all the rage in the 1970's.  I loved them then, and I love them now..... although I am partial to the fish shaped molds.
And, who doesn't love a great basket?!!
 Ok... so back to the painting.
Remember how I mentioned that I had been painting indoors, and out?
The above picture is of our youngest son's house : Dunravin , it's the name of his house, and it has needed to be painted for a long time.
He has been the owner of Dunravin for about 16 months.
All of the electrical has been replaced, the plumbing, the insulation, inside painting, etc.. etc..
On the outside, we were waiting for good weather this spring to give the house a make-over.
Boy did it ever need it!
I'm not really sure what color it was.  Our son called it baby poo yellow/green.  Yeah.. that's about right.
 Now: Yay!! A fresh coat of paint has done wonders for Dunravin!!
A soft gray color : Gray Mist by Behr. 
The body of the house is done, but we are steadily working on getting the trim done.
Of course on an old house, it's much easier said than done.
Windows have to be caulked, scraped, some wood filler used, and then painted. Trim work is hard work because it is so high off the ground, and there is so much of it.
One of our biggest challenges, has been the weather. We'll have a few hours of sunshine, and then the rain begins.
I have a newer picture than the one above {taken last Sunday}, we have made progress and I'll have to post those pictures one of these next times.
Finally, a rainbow!
After a few days of rain, across the meadow was this beautiful rainbow. It was actually a double rainbow... if you look to the left upper hand corner, you can just see a faint double arch.

Yes.. this is a busy time of year.
All of us are busy, busy. Yard work to do, renovation projects for some of us, etc.
We also have a fence to build here at Mill Hill Meadow this summer.  So, if I am absent for a bit, you'll all know that somewhere I'm working my fingers to the bone ****giggle**.
Miss you all, and I hope to catch up on what you've been up to, very soon.
Smiles, and hugs... ~~~ Kerin

Attitude of gratitude:
~Grateful for my wonderful family! I couldn't get half the stuff done with out all the help that they give me!
~ Feeling grateful for the rain that we've been blessed with! Although, I seriously want to wring the neck of the farmer just East of us. He's had his wheel lines going night and day, even though it's been pouring rain for 3 days. What gives??
~I'm so thankful for good health!! We all caught the cold that is making the rounds, but thankfully, in just a day or two, we all felt great again. We are blessed not to have had the cold hang on, and not to have had that horrible cough that others have had. Whew!
~I'm thankful that the drive-in movie is open again!! We've had a blast on the past few date nights; going to the drive in!! Cup of chili, drive in movie, and my sweetheart = a great beginning to the summer!!