So Tempted

Sometimes when I post pictures for my Etsy shop, I’m soooo tempted to post the ones that look like this.

But in the end, I chicken out. Maybe someday. For now, you can see more of these pictures in the shop.

My favorite aspect of this dress is the tiny, stuffed American flag in the pocket…just right for fingering all day long.

Sabbath Rest

Lilacs in bloom on the west side of the house.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. - Eclesiastes 3:11

Cheesemaking - Goat Cheese

Cheesemaking was happening in the kitchen today.

It's really just a simple goat cheese recipe.  It's quick and easy.  We used a half-gallon of raw goat's milk from Nubian goats, which we purchased from a local farm.  We heated it to 180 degrees.

While it was busy heating, Colette juiced lemons until we had a 1/2 cup of lemon juice.  This is a simple recipe, so the lemon juice is taking the place of rennet.

She poured the lemon juice into the hot goat's milk and stirred.  The reaction was almost instantaneous.  The curds and whey (translation: milk fat solids and liquid) separated almost immediately.

Colette ladeled it into a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a 2-qt. bowl.  We used four layers of cheesecloth, because this is a simple recipe and we were using simple items (hence no cheesemaker's cheesecloth).

The cheesecloth allowed the whey to run through to the bowl below, while capturing the curds.

When most of the whey had run through, we bundled the cheesecloth up and tied it with a string.  We hung the other end of the string from a kitchen cupboard knob and suspended the hanging ball of cheese and cheesecloth over a bowl, to catch the dripping whey for the next hour.

Then we scraped out all the cheese and mixed in some chopped garlic and some dill and a little cheese salt (well..okay...that's not simple, but you can use regular salt too!).  We had a bowl of delicious, albeit crumbly (this is a simple recipe, afterall) goat cheese.

The flavor is delicious.  So good just topping a cracker!  Next time we'll try it with rennet and see if we can get a creamier texture.  But this was simple and good.

Colette Finishes

Today, Colette finished high school! She is thrilled! A celebration dinner at the Cheesecake Factory will be forthcoming! She has plans to continue her baking and farmers’ market booth, take classes in her areas of interest, and work on her homekeeping skills with me. We are so proud of her!

(That dress she’s wearing?…well, it was once made and worn by her Grandma! It’s ivory wool. The workmanship is exquisite!)

Life's Delicious Pleasures

Yesterday, we headed to the coastline to treat my in-laws to some sunny weather.

They've been here for a week and this was the first prolonged sun sighting we'd had.  They come from a sunny place and were feeling a bit lacking in vitamin D.  And a trip to the coast is a great opportunity to scout out an, as of yet unknown to us, ice cream stand.

This place boasts of 78 flavors of ice cream!  Decisions, decisions...

"Death by Chocolate", we were told, contains chocolate in seven different ways: ice cream, fudge sauce, brownie, etc.

Colette found it amazing!

Childhood Memories Become a Beach Bag

One of the many fond memories I have of going to the beach with my grandparents when I was a child, is of their HUGE, HEAVY, beach umbrella. My grandpa would tease me and try to make me carry it. Ugh. I felt like I would sink into the sand under its weight. So, I took those sweet memories and created a beach bag, utilizing some of the fabric I bought in L.A., which just happened to have the same colors that I recalled from that umbrella. The pattern is my own design. It’s in the shop.

Summer Books

Summer is just around the corner, and I always try to have some books to read on hand.  Thus far, this is what I've gathered for education, inspiration, and practical use:

The Kitchen Gardener's Handbook - A book full of kitchen garden delights, landscaping inspiration, and tasty, seasonal recipes.
Your Kitchen Garden - an older book that was a real find at a local antique store.  Planning on researching some tips on growing produce I don't normally grow.
Fruitless Fall - a book long on my "must read" list on the topic of colony colapse.
Simply in Season - a book simply chock full of seasonal recipes.  I must confess to not enjoying cookbooks without beautiful photography.  However, this one has me completely enthralled with its amazing sounding recipes!  Hope to do lots of cooking from this book this summer.

Now I must find an old, British novel, and I think I'll be all set for long summer afternoons by the lake.

Sabbath Rest

It's lilac time!

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world.  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. - Hebrews 1:1-3


With rich colors reminiscent of a Vermeer painting, the last of this season's tulips graced the dining room table this week.

Fishing Season Has Begun

The weather was warmer. The days are longer. And sporting new fishing equipment from Grandpa and Grandma (gifts from Christmas and his birthday), Max took to the woods last week. Wandering to the shores of the pond, he spent the late afternoon fishing, only to emerge from the woods disappointed and empty handed…but just in time for dinner!

But a few days later I took him to the lake in a neighboring town, and he caught a 14″ catfish!

Open for the Season

To our great delight, we frequently have houseguests...friends and family from all over the country.  Our "unofficial" B&B opened for the season with the arrival of my in-laws this week.  More guests are expected in the coming months. The guest room was prepared with chocolates and New England-themed books: a book called Yankee Talk (that helps you interpret terms like "wicked" and "nor'easter"), a book by Eric Sloane (helps you identify some of the outbuildings and barns you see in the area), Over Their Dead Bodies (a book full of epitahs from New England graveyards), a book on the history of our town, and a CD of Shaker music.

We're still trying to figure out why our visitors only arrive April through October.  No one comes in the winter.  Must have fair-weather friends.


Sometimes the vibrant greens God wroughts in our woods on a cloudy, spring day just take my breath away!

Sabbath Rest

Ranunculus at a bridal shower I attended.
"Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we." — G.K. Chesterton

Laundry Central

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful,
or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

I've loved this quote for years.  But if something can be both beautiful and useful, it's even better.  My laundry tray is just that.

The wicker tray has a piece of glass on the bottom, covering a blue toile print fabric.  There are two tall bottles, one contains liquid laundry detergent and the other lavender-vanilla scented fabric softener.  The white tray in the foreground holds a brown transferware measuring cup, which I use for measuring the liquids in the bottles.  And the glass cannister has a bunch of loose lavender and a bunch of lavender drying sachets from Trader Joe’s.  I use the lavender-vanilla fabric softener and dryer sachets for towels and sheets only.  Heavenly!  There are few things that make me feel more pampered than sinking into clean, lavender-scented sheets at the end of a long day!

Oh…and the piggy bank?  That holds any money I find while searching through people’s pockets before I launder their pants.  In twenty more years, I’ll finally have enough to buy myself a tall drink from Starbucks!  It also functions as an incentive for my family to clean out their pockets, and that's even better!

A Day at the Cape and Plimoth Plantation

Meeting a friend who is vacationing at Cape Cod, we headed to Plimoth Plantation for the day.  Plimoth Plantation is a living history museum recreating the Pilgrim settlement in Massachusetts. The reenactors who work there portray, most excellently, those who traveled aboard the Mayflower and subsequent ships.

The weather was just as the weatherman had predicted “…in the low-60′s, but feeling like the low-50′s”.  I was glad for my scarf and boiled wool jacket.  It was cold and cloudy and the wind was howling so constantly, that Colette asked me, “Is that sound the wind, or the ocean?”  But the backdrop of the stormy clouds made the new, spring grass seem all the greener.

Some scenes from the Pilgrim settlement:

I had a nice chat with one of the Plantation's seamstresses.  She was doing some handstitching on a garment in the hands-on craft demonstration center.  She is one of only two seamstresses who do all the sewing for 60 reenactors.  Whew!  She told me that the inner seams are sewn on a sewing machine, but any stitching that would show from the outside is stitched by hand.

After a delightful dinner and warm hugs goodbye, we parted from our dear friend.  Leaving, we passed this beautiful scene of the sun setting in the west and a cranberry bog in the foreground (to the left of the barn).


A Mother's Day Stroll

We're actually celebrating Mother's Day this Thursday, but on Sunday we went for a lovely stroll around a coastal town.  Here's a glimpse at what we saw as we strolled.

It was a lovely day!

Sabbath Rest

Sun-kissed tulips seen on our Mother's Day walk.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.
--Proverbs 31:28-31

Fresh and Local Lunch

For science this year, Colette's been studying "food science".  She just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  To keep it all fresh on her tongue mind, I took her out to lunch at a local restaurant that features a fresh, local, and seasonal menu.  A chalkboard in the entry noted the local farms from whom they get their food...for produce, cheeses, pasta, and more.

Cuttings from my favorite bulbs were on the table.

The menu was quite extensive and everything sounded soooo tempting.  In the end, Colette chose a caesar salad with all natural chicken.  Vintage Vera scarf?  Gift from a dear friend who knew Colette would be just the girl to appreciate it.

And I chose the Apple Salad with: baby spinach, local apples, roasted apples, candied walnuts, cranberries, and goat cheese, served with Poached Apple Dressing.  Wow!  Delicious!

We’re definitely going back to that restaurant!

Enchiladas for Dinner

Neither my son-in-law, Walter, nor I realized that it would be Cinco de Mayo today, when he requested enchiladas for dinner several days ago.  But enchiladas it was!  I love the Pioneer Woman’s enchilada recipe, although I alter it somewhat.  But that’s the beauty of enchiladas!  You can put in them whatever you please.  Her recipe can be found here.

Fresh cilantro is essential.

And I poached and shredded chicken for mine.  I then also chopped half of  a white onion.  And instead of sauteeing it, I steamed the chopped onion in the microwave for two minutes.  This softens it and seems to make it just perfect for enchiladas.  I added the steamed onion to the shredded chicken and tossed in about 2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro.  This is my filling version of the Pioneer Woman’s enchiladas.

I follow her directions for everything else, except I mix about 2 tablespoons more cilantro into the sauce before I pour it over the filled enchiladas.

I had a very happy enchilada- loving son-in-law.
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