Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I am someone who tries to enjoy each season that is here and not jump too far into the future, but just a second ago staring out my window at the currently green Blue Ridge Appalachian Mountains that make up our home, I got a longing for Autumn to come. I was able to see the trees last year, but the hubby didn't come until after the leaves had mostly fallen. The pics are a taste of what is to come.


even failure can be a good thing...Joe likes the weirdly deflated french bread...who woulda thunk it??

Monday, July 28, 2008

failure, success and the near future

OK, first the failure. Did you see the picture of what was supposed to be french bread? Well, something certainly went wrong. The hubby wanted me to try less salt, so I cut it in half - maybe that was it. I'll try it again soon...maybe need a different recipe, but the other from website all worked well. Oh well, at least the next item worked...

Success on the apple sauce. The yield was 5 delicious pints. I have never made apple sauce let alone can it before, but it is tasty. I just boiled the apples down with a little water, added sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. mmmm... Also, I discovered these awesome canning jar lids which keep the food fresh after you open it. Yeah!

And I willing shortly be stepping outside of the ol' Amber box and getting certified to be a soccer referee...can you believe it? We could use some extra cash to purchase the items needed for our farm, and I thought it would be fun do something totally different, so this is it! The clinic to get certified is weekend after next and my uniform came in today. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weekend Stuff

So, today we went and saw Batman, the Dark Night. I had won free movie passes at work and that was what we decided to see. Pretty gosh darn good, but maybe not quite as fantastic as all of the hype. After that (9am showing and it lasted until noon!), we picked up a few items in town so I can make some crab apple hot pepper jelly soon, but first...we did some more blackberry picking today. I am freezing them for when the girls come over next weekend. There will be more ready by then as well. I also took a few photos of some of the flowers we have in bloom. It amazes me how as soon as one fades another pops up that tops it. We have had wood violets, daffodils, purple clover, foxgloves, daisies, yellow and purple iris, rhododendron, day lilies, tiger lilies, and many other wild flowers.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"The scent of apples: I am drowsing off"

I love the poem by Robert Frost, After Apple Picking, and now I got to see what really happens after apple picking. The hubby picked me me a bucket of apples the other day, and tonight I canned Apple Pie filling. From the bucket full of apples Joe picked, we got 6 quarts (6 apple pies) worth of filling. This was a first as well, and the apple peeling and slicing took WAY longer than expected...2 hours! But it was worth it in the end to know that I have 6 apple pies worth of filling all ready at a moments notice and made from farm fresh apples!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I tried a new bread today - honey spice bread...very yummy!

growing veggies

I went around and took a few photos of our growing veggies. We certainly have a lot to learn, and this year was an experiment. We did no soil amendments and did not have much to work with as far as equipment, but we have made huge strides and are hoping to have a much larger more productive garden next year. We have saved and been able to buy a rototiller and a lot of other items which make large scale gardening more practical. The biggest step has been the hubby clearing off the land though. So, here are a few veggie pics for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, July 21, 2008


My first pie came out fairly tasty if not the best I have ever had. The filling was great but the apples could have broken down a bit more. All in all a success though.

To top it all off...I made my first loaf of yeast bread in my new bread maker. Well, new to me. Joe picked it up for $6 for me down at the ram's rack thrift store and it works perfectly! Thanks, honey! I made some Italian herb bread for the hubby who couldn't stop licking his chops. Whew! I really wanted to start making my own bread and to have some light ones made from yeast but was dreading kneading and waiting hours for the dough to rise. I know we are trying to be as independent of the consumer cycle as possible, but the bread maker is a really great invention. I won't be buying any of those prepackaged mixes as they are a rip off, but there are plenty of great recipes online for bread makers.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hey blackberry, how you taste so sweet

Well, the girls are planning on coming over in a few weeks to make some blackberry jam and other assorted blackberry treats once the berries come into full swing, so I decided to practice making some jam. Here are the pics of that experience. Only got 4 jars full but they all set and sealed properly. Yippee!

I am also modeling the Emmeline Apron spoken of in a previous post. The kitchen as you see is ALL white and black which I can't stand. Soon, like in the next year, I will have some color...probably a deep red...we'll see.

After the jam, I went on to try to make my very first pie from scratch. The dough is currently chilling in the fridge for an apple and blackberry filling. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

weekend projects

So, I spent a considerable part of this weekend working on a surprise for my sissy, Naph and her husband Anthony. It is the second part of their wedding present, so no pics or hints at this time, but once I finish and send the gift off, I will post more (probably a few weeks from now).

We also made an annoying and unfruitful trip to Charlotte, but my sweet husband suggested doing some blackberry picking after we returned which made the day much better. We spent about an hour picking berries, looking for the ripe ones amidst those still pink. We were able to gather about 2 and a half pints of deliciousness. Now, what to do with it? I am thinking this!

Also, we are lucky enough to have a super nice neighbor who gave us some broccoli and squash fresh picked form his garden. Cooking the squash up now using this recipe. My hubby has hated squash up until now, but is trying to acquire a taste for it, so we will be trying LOTS of recipes until we hit on a good one. Squash is so easy to grow and stores so well, we will definitely be eating a it often.

I apologize for the lack of photos, but we need to get a new camera battery.

Have a great day!

Friday, July 11, 2008

fireflies and satelites

Lucky me. On my drive home tonight it felt like I was floating through a current of fireflies, slowing blink blinking at me, saying isn't this a beautiful night? On top of that, I was listening to the new Counting Crows album, Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings. I felt like I was in this VW commercial that I used to love so much.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

little things

Just a quick note to express my appreciation for my husband; he is so supportive of any of my endeavors whether they be successful or not. I only hope I can always do the same for him. Lucky woman.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

aprons and things

I had put my sewing aside for about a week and half and took a break from being very productive, but got back on the wagon this morning. I was asked to make an apron like I had made for the 4th of July silent auction at work for charity 2 weeks ago. The person who asked me to make it wants it to be unisex so both his mother and father can use it though, so I will not be using the same pattern of Emmeline Apron I had used before. This time I am going to do a simple butcher style apron but make it reversible - one side stars and strips and the other side will be a Marine military theme.

I also have been inspired to make a quilted clutch from reading Lululollylegs and seeing the pic above - very cute! I want to applique an owl instead of a heart. I am absolutely going to make the owl my logo, I think. I love sloths more, but I don't think they are quite as physically appealing as my other favorite, the owl. I just want to make my own owl design and not just steal someone else's...hm, drawing is certainly not my greatest area of talent but I will see what I can come up with.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Honeymoon Pics

Ok, for those of you who have been asking, we did not take ANY pics at the wedding as our camera battery died, but here are some pics of the honeymoon...Colonial Williamsburg (the best!), Bear Island, and Crowder's Mountain State Park.

well, hello world

I have been meaning to do this for awhile, but my lovely sister, Naphtali, was the one who lit the proverbial fire. You will find her new blog to probably update a bit more than mine as she is much better about keeping people in the know about everything.

My new husband and I have recently moved to the Appalachian Mountains of NC. I had applied for a transfer/promotion with my company and was lucky enough to get it. We had wanted to move here as we were fed up with city life and really wanted to be a bit more natural. For us, this entailed having a little land (3 acres) and growing our own food. Now, we are not vegetarians, so comes the idea of meat. After learning too much about how today's CAFOs operate and what we are really eating, we decided we needed to change how we get our meat. So, over the next few years, our plans to clear the 2 acres we have of the invasive but delicious black berry bushes, start an acre organic garden for eating and preserving, raise our own chickens, rabbits, goats (for milk), possibly sheep (yeah, yarn!) and a pig. We also plan on having an orchard for fruit and nuts...what else could a girl want?

After moving to the mountains, we found the job market here to have much to be desired, and after a few months of searching, my husband and I decided that I would be the one to bring home the cash and he would raise the so called bacon. So far, he has cleared off the black berry bushes, cut down about 20 trees to make room for our orchard and has been working on various other projects...the most recent is restoring an iron fireplace insert which will keep us toasty this winter.

I have been learning to sew, reupholster, cook, preserve food, and garden. The sewing is coming along slowly but surely. Reupholstering my first project, a love seat, now - wish me luck. Cooking and baking has been fun and challenging on a tight budget. Once we are producing our own food, I will be in hog heaven. The small garden has mostly been successful this first year, but has had a few bumps in the road. The potatoes are pretty small as I didn't "hill" them properly but the grapes, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, beans, lettuce, carrots and various herbs are coming along swimmingly.

OK, well, I am droning on, but that is our background - two city kids, who don't know a lick about farming or most anything having to do with real life other than earning money and buying stuff, trying to learn how to take care of ourselves and the land we care for. Wish us luck!