Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas once again!

Here we are, snowed in once again at holiday time and before I go out and brave the weather and do some shoveling I thought I'd share some of our Christmas decorations this year with everyone.

Handmade grapevine garland strung along the front window.

Vintage pasteboard Santa underneath the Christmas tree.

Colonial Christmas doll (George) guarding the Christmas cards.

Close up picture of the tree and some of it's antique glass and vintage ornaments.

Our little tabletop tree, sitting on my late Victorian pedestal table,
and skirted in a vintage Christmas tablecloth.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Just a little nudge to all my fellow Canadians out here in the great white north. Today is election day, the fella and I went out and checked our boxes- make sure you do too!

Vote for today, tomorrow and your children's tomorrow.

Don't vote in fear, vote with hope.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Summer's Swan Song

I know it's been ages- days and weeks have skipped by without a wave or a wink, but I'm still here. August managed to fly by no matter how lazy its days claim to be and September has barely introduced itself and yet here we find ourselves in the middle of the month already. I've been gardening, getting eaten by monster mosquitoes, thinking about building an ark, canning like tomatoes are going out of style, and then canning some more when I discover I still have another bushel or something getting progressively riper by the minute in the sunroom. I've been getting a job, helping run a business (and getting woefully behind), reading like a mad fiend, jaunting off to Pennsylvania, gone to see a lovely brass band, and all together having a rather good time.

Summer Bounty. For a garden that I pretty much gave up on,
it still yielded enough to make me pleasantly surprised. Anyone want some zucchini???

But as summer wanes, I find myself trying to get back into things. Back into being a good blogger, and housewife. Distractions abound in the summer, always tempting me to do other things, but now I'm getting things properly sorted. I hope.

I've made a good start today. I have Mary Jane's Crackly Pear Cake cooling off on the stove. Milk setting into cheese on the counter, and bread dough in the fridge for baking a baguette tomorrow. Pork chops, rice and whatever veg (probably zukes and tomatoes) I find in the garden for supper. Might make up a nice gravy to go with.

The Cottonwood Brass Band. Just a beautiful country afternoon.

Have you been busy canning? This is my first real year getting serious about it, and it feels good to get things tucked away to eat when it gets a bit colder out. The Dervaes over at Path to Freedom, are encouraging everyone to be Harvest Keepers, like in the old days. You should check out Anais' pantry! *whistles* It's a beaut!

A summer feast; greens from the garden, fresh strawberries, vinaigrette, homemade fried queso blanco, prosciutto, and bread right from the oven.

Here's my bounty tucked away so far:

Strawberry Freezer Jam
Strawberry Banana Freezer Jam
Peach Freezer Jam
Apricot Jam
Pear Jam
Freezer Salsa
Chopped Frozen Green Peppers
Frozen Hot Chili Peppers
Strings of Dried Hot Chili Peppers
Dill Pickles
Chili Sauce
Freezer Peach Pie Filling
Frozen Tomatoes
Tomato Sauce
Frozen Shredded and Chopped Zucchini

Still to come - Canned Pears, Canned Apple Pie Filling, Apple Butter, Frozen Slice Apples and Pears, Frozen Pumpkin guts, Frozen Pumpkin Butter.

I think I've got my work cut out for me, but I know I'll be really happy in the winter when I don't have to buy a lot of fruit and veg, and I can whip up a pie in a trice :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


The first of many batches of jam this season!

I've made strawberry and strawberry banana freezer jam so far. Though it's already starting to dwindle as I use it on my oatmeal and the Fella loves pb&j for lunches. Mum and I are having a pickling day on Monday- got to discover the secret to her Dills.. and apricot and peach are not too far off. The summer sure does sneak up you doesn't it? One minute you're eying the seedlings and saying "Hurry up, grow!" and the next you're buried in weeds and wondering where the strawberry season went to. I've got a big long list of things I'd like to 'put up' this year, if I get even half of it done I'll be happy as a clam. I've got to fill up those dusty shelves in the root cellar quick as can be. I'd rather be the ant than the grasshopper!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sensibility Hat Fair

When in Doubt - Wear a Hat!

As part of this month's Hat Fair, started by the ladies over at S&S and run by Janel over at Pearls, we're all blogging our best about hats! Yes indeedy, those wonderful accessories that have been in decline since the beehive hairdo buzzed by. It's a shame that after centuries of never being seen out of doors without a chapeau, that they disappeared so quickly. However, they pop up now and then, in summer you might see a big broad brimmed straw, or in winter a saucy beret in an eye popping colour. It's no surprise to any of my blog readers, I've a little bit of a thing for hats. Oh, all right, a lot of a thing for hats, and I've been blessed with a head that can wear a great deal of them (though not those very large affairs; they just about swallow me up!) You may remember my custom-welded wall-mounted hat rack that featured in a post ages ago. My hats have been accumulating since then, and I'm afraid I've lost count. My favourite styles are cloche hats, though they can be hard to find and very dear to the pocketbook I'm afraid.

Goodness! I need to run off and start supper, so I hope you like my favourite hat picture posted above. It was taken in Williamsburg where one can almost reach historical hat heaven. I walked away with two that day- a lovely shallow crown fine straw hat that is still aching for decoration, and a felt tricorn that is one of the most fun hats I own!

"The right hat may also enliven our imagination of the old-fashioned cloche, a picture hat, or a toque trimmed with a pouf of polka-dotted veiling is just enough to make us feel as if we were living in another, romantic age."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Strawberry Social

A classy, country afternoon spent with my grandparents listening to an orchestra beside Cottonwood Mansion, a beautiful historic manor.

After the music everyone enjoyed bowls of berries, cream, and cake on the porch!

Wreck and Ruin

Exploring and old barn out in the countryside.
You could almost imagine the stone foundation as ruined battlements.

Fantastic leaning wall.

It's such a shame these old barns are left to fall to pieces out on over grown fields and far back from roadsides. They have been replaced by serviceable sheet metal and concrete but little built today can compare with the beauty and artistry of the fieldstone, brick, and beams that made up these old barns. If you look closely you can even see the hand adze marks on the big beams.
And to think it was all for a small herd of dairy cows...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Married by Mandi

"I give you this ring.. as a symbol of my eternal love... I love you for who you are... and for who I am when we’re together... I honour you with all that I am... and all that I have to give... for as long as we both shall live."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vintage Wedding Weekend cont'd!

Just a few last shots of the handsome fella and his new missus.

Plum tuckered out.

Vintage Wedding Weekend cont'd!

Saturday was the reception for friends and family. We had it in our backyard amongst the pear trees. It was another hot day though! 35C+!

Everything getting set up. We had a 20x20 tent for shade, and six round tables with vintage cloths and baskets of country flowers.

Letting the ladies join the party..

A little croquet on the lawn - we played bocce too!

Vintage Wedding Weekend!

Here's a sneaky peek at our whirlwind weekend. The fella will post everything on the web soon! (Oh and the professional photos were on film so they will take awhile! These are just our snaps.)


Friday, getting married on the front lawn on my Grandpa's 1830 farm with just us 'kids'.

Gram and my best girl, Tiff.

After the ceremony at Hewitt's Dairy Bar waiting for our milkshakes. It was 38C degrees with the humidity outside!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Almost here..

Tomorrow the Fella and I are getting married...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Chicken Gardeners

My chickens must think I'm another chicken because I like doing the same thing they like (scratching around in the dirt!) and they always want to be around me whenever I let them out of their run. They even help me weed the garden! Here they are 'helping'. :-)

Petit Dejeuner

Home-grown breakfast; eggs fresh from the ladies at the bottom of the garden, and bread from the oven yesterday. A perfect breakfast in the conservatory.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Apron Round-Up

Well, my cheeks are rosy! My homespun kitchen apron holder (which lives beside my fancy fruit crate shelves pictured above) is featured over at BudgetCasa today. Take a look! It's a great round-up of apron ideas. One of my favourite blogs is mentioned too! It's Anna's over at Pleasant View Schoolhouse. Be sure to check out her thrifted linen dress into a long apron tutorial, so chic :)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Getting Stuck In

Some days area just days when you have to get stuck in. The oven's hot, the flour's everywhere, and the floor is a bit slippery right there but magic seems to happen and wonderful smells float around the kitchen. One day's baking means treats for the week ahead.

I've made eggy buns for the delicious sausages I got from the butcher at the farmer's market. Rhubarb tarts were created from the monstrous plants in the backyard and the short crust pastry recipe snitched from Jamie Oliver's website. The cookies are my favourite spicy gingerbread from the Raleigh Tavern Bakery Cookbook from historical Williamsburg. And last, but certainly not least, an orange sunshine cake from an old 1950's cake recipe book.

Orange Sunshine Cake
(a variation from "250 classic Cake Recipes" 1954)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

2 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice (just juice the orange you zested)

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in one bowl. In another bowl, cream together shortening, zest, and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, and beat thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and orange juice alternatively to creamed mixture and beat well. Pour into a greased pan (I use a pretty bundt pan) Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until done. Ice according to taste, but it's great without icing too! Enjoy!

Friday, May 09, 2008

WIFD Friday!

It's friday for the Week in Feminine dress and I was out and about to the shops- the fella snapped these pics when we got home.

I'm wearing: cranberry skirt, pink tank top, blue polka dot blouse,
black cardigan, and cranberry hat with my trusty brown maryjanes.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

WIFD Thursday!

Today was housework and sewing, and off to the farmer's market.
I'm wearing my favourite stripy skirt, white tank, flowery blouse,
and beige jacket. Accessories include pearl earrings, brown mary janes, and white hat!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

WIFD Tuesday & Wednesday

Well, I missed posting on Monday - the Fella was out with the camera on a very special mission: getting my new car! You'll see it in today's picture :-)

Wednesday: Green linen skirt and green check blouse, H&M
Magenta tank top, beige jacket, and brown mary jane's.

Standing beside my new ride - a 1965 Volvo Amazon Wagon. Gorgeous!
(Finally, a reason to get my driver's license!)

Tuesday: Dark Denim Skirt, white blouse, yellow t-shirt,
mauve sweater, and vintage apron.
Action Shot! Busy cooking stir fry for supper. Yesterday I also planted potatoes,
weeded, and chased the chickens in my skirt :-)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

WIFD Spring!

Here we go again!
Air out your pretty frocks and shine your shoes, once again it's time for Sensibility's week in feminine dress. I'll be blogging along this time- and luckily the weather is supposed to be bee-u-tea-ful this week so I won't be shivering in my skirts! We're going from Sunday to Sunday to squeeze in Mother's Day next week-
Today: Long Eddie Bauer Linen skirt, blue tank top, white blouse, brown knit sweater, and blue wellies! Today I've been baking, doing the wash, and gardening- all quite successfully in my long skirt :)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Something Crafty

With the Farmgirl Blog-a-thon rollin' along, this week it's time for something crafty. Here is my apron holder I made from my collection of vintage half aprons. Some I've collected myself, other's have been gifts and the best have been passed on from my favourite little old ladies that just know that I would use these aprons that used to wrap snugly around their hips in kitchens past. It's made from a small strip of wood from the kindling pile that been painted the same as the wall colour and we screwed old wooden clothespegs to hold all the aprons. I tied string around the ends and hung from a nail in the wall.

If you're feelin' crafty, just head on over to MaryJanesFarm for lots of great ideas and crafts to try!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Th' smell o' good clean earth

Time sure flies when you're blogging along, doesn't it? Week Four of the Farmgirl blog-a-thon is upon us and this week we've got our green fingers in the garden. Here is one of my favourite passages from The Secret Garden, a very inspiring book-

"Why!" he cried, pointing to the grass a few feet away. "Who did that there?"

It was one of Mary's own little clearings round the pale green points.

"I did it," said Mary.

"Why, I thought tha' didn't know nothin' about gardenin'," he exclaimed.

"I don't," she answered, "but they were so little, and the grass was so thick and strong, and they looked as if they had no room to breathe. So I made a place for them. I don't even know what they are."

Dickon went and knelt down by them, smiling his wide smile.

"Tha' was right," he said. "A gardener couldn't have told thee better. They'll grow now like Jack's bean-stalk. They're crocuses an' snowdrops, an' these here is narcissuses," turning to another patch, "an here's daffydowndillys. Eh! they will be a sight."

He ran from one clearing to another.

"Tha' has done a lot o' work for such a little wench," he said, looking her over.

"I'm growing fatter," said Mary, "and I'm growing stronger. I used always to be tired. When I dig I'm not tired at all. I like to smell the earth when it's turned up."

*If you want to know more about growing things, meet us at the Garden Gate over at MaryJanesFarm

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Plentiful Post

I am such a lucky girl - not only did my organic heirloom vegetable seeds come today in the mail from the nice folks over at The Cottage Gardener, but so did my new Victoria magazine. Just reading the names of the veg make me happy - mammoth melting sugar pea, royal burgundy bean, small shining light watermelon, five-colour silverbeet, blue-podded pea... And this month's Victoria is the Blue&White issue - I peeked and saw a stunning layout of blue and white china!


Finding Bliss in the Kitchen

It's not too hard to find bliss in our kitchen. After renovating it this past winter, the kitchen is my favourite room in the house. I've always loved being in the kitchen and creating wonderful yummy things to share with my family (and for me to eat too!). I'm terrible at writing down recipes, I just jot down notes to myself that must seem like ancient Egyptian to anyone else looking at them! So I will spare you that ;) Instead, for this week's blog-a-thon post I'll post some pictures of yummy things that have come from my kitchen.

Strawberry Raspberry Pie

Tea Time! Kentish Rarebit and Lemon Scones with Clotted Cream and Jam

Hot Cross Buns

Italian Bread

If you're looking for bliss in the kitchen sashay on over to MaryjanesFarm and discover her aprons, organic food, bakeovers (yum!) and a whole forum full of Farmgirls and their recipes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Lo and behold - An Egg!
No more threats of chicken dinners for these ladies-

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Three Brown Hens

My Three Rhode Island Red Pullets

Presenting the lovely ladies who have just taken up residence in the Palais de Poulets out back. They've been in the sun room for a week while we readied their abode. Introducing Hermione, the lightest coloured one- also a Miss Bossy Boots, Harriet who is the darkest brown of the three, and sadly Ron - who is reddish brown and is a tad.. er.. slow. I hate to speak ill of any of them, but I fed them a piece cucumber and instead of going for it, Ron started eating the pine shavings instead.

No eggs yet at twenty weeks old. Hurry up girls and earn your keep!