Apple Planting Day

Fulfilling a dream, we planted our own mini-orchard of apple trees yesterday!  Just four trees: two Stayman Winesaps, one Honeycrisp, and one crabapple (as a pollinator).  It will be several years before they bear fruit, but I am already anticipating such joy from these!  I look forward to pressing, drinking, and freezing our own cider some day.  I look forward to the beauty of their apple blossoms in the springtime.  I look forward to watching the grandkids pick apples.  And then there’s pie!
Here’s the planting operation in full swing.
Max did 98% of the digging.  One hole turned out to be mostly large field stones, much to his chagrin.  Two shovels, a 6-ft. long pry bar, and two people were needed to get some of them out of the hole.

The instructions that came with them said to get them in the ground before they leaf out.  For the crabapple, we were just in time.
I like the idea of keeping all our food at one end of the cleared area of our property (leaving the remainder for other purposes…games, entertaining, etc.), so we sited the mini-orchard near the garden and the new raspberry trellis.  If you look closely, you can see the green deer fencing that surrounds the garden plot.  The raspberry trellis is above the apple trees.  The new garden shed’s site is just beyond that trellis.
This view is looking down at the apple trees from the deck.  I staggered them, so each tree can be seen.  I also didn’t want them to block our view of the hammock, which (in warmer weather) hangs between two trees (only one is visible in this photo).
And today, my new apple growing book arrived.  I feel SO responsible.  Like I suddenly have four new babies to care for.   I read just a bit of the book today.  In it, the orchard owner (shown there on the cover) has a picture of himself digging holes for new trees with his own golden retriever standing nearby.  He captioned it something like, "Make sure your holes are deep enough according to your dog supervisor."  Whew!  At least we got that right!  Feeling overwhelmed.  Must study!

Busy Sewing

I’ve been busy sewing new items for both of my shops this week.
Listed in Jiggety Pig is this large marketing bag.  I love its Tuscan-inspired colors and watercolor print! Click here to go see it.

And for Wonderful Life Farm, I made a purse/small tote with a woodland print of ferns on one side and camp stripes on the inside.  Best thing about it…it’s completely reversible!  Click here to view it.

The Great Closet Clean Out

The time had come.  Too many clothes.  With determination and a free afternoon, I tackled the Great Closet Clean Out.  I was feeling ruthless.  Wrong size — out.  Stained — out.  Dreadfully out of style — out.  Worn — out.  Still wearing the dry cleaner bag from California — definitely out.  Three hours later, my bedroom floor was covered in empty hangers.

It was very freeing!  It felt wonderful to rid myself of the extra “stuff”.  Mostly it felt wonderful.  But now I’m starting to wonder how this is going to work.  My available spring/summer tops fit in a single foot of closet space now.

Hmm…seems a bit sparse.  I have one pair of shorts and three pairs of capris.  Can I make it through the summer like this?  In some ways, it’s been a bit fun, because I’m pairing things together that I’ve never paired before.  So that creativity is a bit rewarding.  And then there are these fun, new beauties.

Onward and upward with the spring cleaning!

Easter Celebration

We hope you had a joyous Easter!  We started our day with worship…a good sermon, joyful hymns!  Then we scurried home to get the ham in the oven, hide eggs, and set the table.

Then it was egg hunting time!  Theo, being a very mature three years old, got the idea right away.  Basket in hand, he scampered about collecting eggs like a pro.

Melissa was very excited to find her first egg.

But she wanted nothing to do with her Easter basket.  She preferred to carry them all in her arms and tucked under her chin.  Inevitably, one would fall, and in trying to pick it up, another would fall.  I’d offer to help her out, by picking it up and putting it in her basket.  She would immediately say, “No, no, no!”  She was very certain that the basket should not hold the eggs.  Too cute!

Theo always sits beside me for meals.  I like that because we have good conversations.

- Dinner Menu -
spiral-sliced brown sugar glazed ham
roasted carrots and asparagus
mashed potatoes and gravy
hard-boiled eggs
dinner rolls
fruit salad

– Dessert Made by Colette -
Chocolate-Raspberry Cheesecake

Resurrection Day!

A very joyous Easter from our family to yours!  Praising God for the gift of eternal life in Christ!

New in the Shop

Just listed in the shop today...a Revolutionary War Soldier Costume for boys!  Just right for the little patriot in your life!  Click here to see more photos!

Flowering Inside

It’s nearly Easter Sunday, and even if we have no blooming flowers outside and even if some patches of snow still remain in the shady parts of the yard, everything’s blooming indoors…with a little help from Trader Joe’s.  Can’t wait to see how it all looks with the table set on Sunday!

Not Over Yet

Just when we thought winter was over, (especially with Monday’s temperatures being near 80 degrees!), we awakened to at least an inch of snow coating everything this morning!  While the grass had disappeared beneath it, on the front walk it left an interesting pattern.

The daffodils and tulips were just sprouting.  I’m hoping that the effect on them will be minimal.  Time will tell.

t’s how springtime looks in the Granite State!


The days are slowly getting warmer, and the local hens are busy laying eggs.  Mmm…the freshness!  Around the corner from our home, there’s a lady who sells her free-range chicken eggs.  Whenever I see her cooler sitting below her mailbox, I pull over and buy some eggs, depositing my money in the canning jar inside.  Nothing beats the taste of a fresh chicken egg!  Tomorrow morning’s breakfast plan…scrambled eggs and a big bowl of cantaloupe.

Sunday Dinner

I made my new go-to meal for dinner Sunday.  It’s simple, delicious, and very minimal work.  Here’s my simple, made-up recipe:
Simply Delicious Chicken (serves 4)
4 chicken breasts (bone in, skin on)
a drizzle of olive oil for each chicken breast
2 cloves of garlic, minced
herb infused salt
freshly cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rinse chicken breasts and place on rimmed baking sheet, or in a 9 x 13″ pan.
Drizzle each chicken breast with olive oil and brush with a pastry brush to spread it.  (The oil will make your chicken skin crispy.)  Sprinkle over each breast  1/2 clove minced garlic and a generous amount of herb-infused salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Bake for 45 – 60 minutes.  When done, juices should run clear.
Normally, I serve this chicken with two vegetables (typically roasted butternut squash and broccoli), but this time it was Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains and roasted asparagus.
Bon appetit!

New Discovery

Whenever Colette and I go to Boston, we stop in at L.A. Burdick Chocolates for a cup of their decadently delicious hot cocoa.  And even though we’re utterly charmed by their Boston store, we had yet to visit their main store in Walpole, New Hampshire.  But a couple of weeks ago I was in need of some chocolates as birthday gifts for cherished friends, so we headed west to Walpole.

By the time we arrived we were ravenously hungry.  And much to our delight, we discovered that this L.A. Burdick, unlike its Boston counterpart that is solely a beverage and bakery stop, this location has an actual restaurant.

We both ordered the french onion soup.  This was a first for Colette.  Up until that moment, I’d been the only one in our family to like french onion soup.  Consequently, I don’t make it for the family, but I order it in restaurants every chance I get.  And I must say that this french onion soup is about the second best I’ve ever had.  SO delicious!

We did, however, admire the cheese tray ordered by the 5-year old at the next table and might just order that next time. Their selection of local artisinal cheese is impressive.

No trip to L.A. Burdick would be complete without some cocoa and a little treat.  Colette tried their white chocolate hot chocolate topped with nutmeg.  And we shared a slice of chocolate-raspberry cake.

This has definitely become my favorite lunch spot in New Hampshire!

Pantry Cleaning

I have a love-hate relationship with cleaning my pantry.  I love how tidy it looks when it’s all clean and organized.  I hate how a room so tiny can consume half my day with the cleaning of it.  And it really needs a complete cleaning two or three times a year to keep from creeping completely out of control.  But I do so love my walk-in pantry!

Here it is at the end of the day, all fresh again!

When we remodeled the kitchen in our former house, I had two larger cabinets with pull-out shelves for my pantry.  At that time, I converted all my food storage over to glass jars, crocks with lids, and baskets.  I love how it looks and the ease with which I can find and see everything.
Baskets are good for holding: potatoes, garlic, onions, misc. packets of dip mixes, little things (birthday cake candles, sprinkles, food coloring bottles, bottles of extracts, canning supplies, and more.  The large one on the shelf on the back wall holds all our stainless steel and glass water bottles…just a nice way to keep them contained.
Crocks with lids are useful for: coffee grounds, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, raisins, currants, etc.
Glass jars are the best!  Mine hold: crackers, marshmallows, pasta, flax seed, rices (converted, basmati, wild), quinoa, oatmeal, meusli, coconut, chocolate chips, dried fruit, sugars (white, brown, dark brown, powdered, and raw), cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, etc.
Large staples that I buy in bulk (flour, sugar, oatmeal) are stored in tubs with gamma lids on the floor.  A lazy susan holds peanut butter, honey, agave syrup, and Nutella.  And pretty much everything else sits on the shelves.

Behind the door hang our aprons.

A small separate shelf (an antique store find) holds specialty spices, jars of herbs from the garden that have been dried, cheesemaking supplies, and my mortar and pestle.  Our hand-dipped candles hang from the side.

All clean and tidy…for another six months.
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