Wednesday

~ Sweet Summer things ~

 Hello friends.
This has been a sweet summer!
In the meadow, the elk are grazing.
Look at those huge antlers on them this year!
Just a few days ago, I could hear a few of the elk bugling.  It is amazing to hear them bugle !
In a few weeks, the rut will begin, and then we will hear plenty more elk bugles.
 Our youngest son, Spencer, bought a small lathe {second hand}.
He's always loved working with his hands, and he wants to make pens, birdhouses, boxes, and bowls etc..
{He got that from my dad! My dad used to turn the most beautiful projects on his lathes.}
So Spencer turned on the lathe and grabbed a piece of left~ over fence post and turned a rustic candle holder.  It was difficult wood to work with. It was a piece of pressure treated and stained pine. Not the best wood for turning.
 Still, I LOVE the finished project!
I think this little rustic candle holder is the sweetest thing.
Spencer was going to throw it away!  He really didn't like the way that it turned out.
I on the other hand, think it's wonderful, and I am happy to have it!
 All the sweet sunflowers.
They are growing madly, and happily blossoming.
Out of the 10 varieties that we planted, about 7 different varieties have blossomed so far.
That's pretty good!

 Isn't it sweet when sunflowers just begin to open?!
The petals unfurl one at a time.
 The red variety is stunning!
I hope that they keep on blossoming, so I can have a big ole vase full of them.
 This one is a 'new to us' variety.
It was supposed to be purple.
It kind~of is, I suppose.
Although, it really is more of a burgundy color.
In the entire seed packet that was planted, only about 3 seeds germinated.  So, we'll save some seeds this year to plant next spring, but I think we need to plan on a low germination rate for this variety.
 I even love the sunflowers after the petals have withered, and all that is left is the seed head.
They are still beautiful to me.
I found this picture on Pinterest.
Such a cute way to display those sunflower seed heads, and very Fall~ish too.

Wishing you a sweet summer week.

~ Attitude of gratitude
~ Feeling grateful for the box of hot chocolate mix stuck in the back of the pantry.
It was down right nippy this morning! Just 51 degrees. We slept with the windows open, and I woke up chilled. That cup of hot cocoa really hit the spot.
~ Feeling so grateful that our daughter got a promotion with her company.
~ Feeling grateful for projects, and lists of projects. I look forward to each new morning and being able to work on something creative, or doing a bit of canning, etc..
   What a blessing life is!!

Tuesday

Newsflash * Raisins are not substitutes for chocolate chips!!

                                                                {source}

Hi there, friends.
By now, everyone has buckets and buckets of garden zucchini.
You know the old saying.." never leave your car unlocked in the summer, while at church".
Around here, the same could be said for leaving your car unlocked at the store, bank, or post office.
It's not that it isn't safe to leave your car unlocked in the summer time, it's just that you may get a few bags of zucchini deposited on your front seat~!

Anyway..... I've frozen zucchini, I've cooked with zucchini, and I've baked with zucchini.
This recipe has been a new favorite of mine, this summer.
The image is from the site, as our cookies didn't last long enough to snap any pictures of them.

The other day, when I mixed up a batch of these cookies, I found that I only had a cup of so of chocolate chips left.
Being the genius I am, I decided to mix in a cup or so of raisins.
I told our daughter about running out of chocolate chips and the reason that I mixed in raisins too.
She proclaimed , " Raisins are not substitutes for chocolate chips!" " Just call Martha and ask her!"

Duly noted.

     ~ Chocolate Oat Zucchini Cookies `
Zucchini-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Yield: About 2 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini (from about 1 - 1 1/2 medium)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt for 20 seconds, set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Add zucchini and with mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture. Stir in oats, walnuts and chocolate chips (I reserved 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips to press into the tops of dough balls before baking, just for looks which is totally optional).
  • Shape dough into balls, 2 Tbsp each, then transfer to a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 11 - 14 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
  • Recipe Source: adapted with slight changes from Nestle

~ 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.~~