Rhododendron

Greetings from the farm! There is a lot going on right now as this is the start of the growing season-probably my favorite time of year. Our rhododendron is in full bloom and the bees are just having a party on it.

Here is a closer look on video:

 

The pollinators are hard at work.  Very important work.  What’s blooming in your garden?

Wendy

 

 

 

“Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Tree!”

(Gotta throw in a little Rock-and-Roll once in awhile)

Lo and behold!  There are a few things in flower at the Country Mouse House!  One appears to be a cherry tree.  A couple of years ago, we spotted cherries on it, but it’s so close to a bunch of other trees, we never could remember which one it was.  Last year, our tree fruit was sparse at best, and I don’t think this tree went into flower at all.  Well, just look at it now!

From a distance:

Up close and personal:

Those are cherry blossoms, yes?  I sure hope so!  Although, with the bird and other wildlife sightings these days, we might not get to taste any.  We’ll have to see.

Here is our little “grove” of cherry plums:

Farmer Joel discovered these quite by accident a couple of years back.  They were the tiniest plums I’ve ever seen, but very tasty.  The only not-so-great thing is that the pit is almost the size of the fruit itself, so it’s a lot of work for a little fruit.  If we get a good harvest this year, I’ll try to can something with them.  Maybe jelly.

And now for some other spring blossoms:

I love my daffodils and narcissus!

  

Anything blooming in your garden yet?

Wendy

Friday With Finn

Happy Friday to everyone!  It’s beautiful here in the country today!  On my walk with my trusty companion, I happened upon a couple of plants with very similar leaves: Gooseberry and Viburnum.  Can you tell which is which?

Which one is Viburnum? Which one is Gooseberry?

Hmmmm……the one on the left is the Viburnum.  This gets enormous and is a bird habitat.  The flowers look like snowballs.  In fact, some people call it the “Snowball Bush.”  The gooseberries can get out of control if I don’t prune them.  They produce a tart berry that is great in pies or jam.  One of my Grandmothers LOVED Gooseberry pie!  Birds love these, too, and have been responsible for planting several baby gooseberries all over our little farm.  Often I find them springing up underneath apple trees.

Right now, there are only leaves, but soon there will be buds.  Looking forward to that.

Here’s what my buddy loves to do on a day like today:

Have a wonderful weekend!  Blessings to you all.

Wendy

Garden in Spring

Hello friends!  Welcome to Springtime!  I don’t miss the snow very much.  It snowed through this month.  I HOPE it is finished.  I’m ready to garden!  I’ve already begun pruning, and we put some Northern Pecan trees, as well as a couple of more Carpathian Walnut trees in the ground.  We also added Blueberries, Black raspberries, Nanking cherries, a Butterfly bush, and some various plants to attract pollinators.  These include Comfrey, Bergamot, Yarrow, Hyssop, Russian sage, and Baptisia.

Here is a short video of an early Garden “Tour.”

I hope you are enjoying this time of year wherever you are!  Wishing you all a beautiful day.

Wendy

Guest Blogging!

Exciting stuff!  My daughter, Erin, is a Blogger over at Fit 4 All.  She is passionate about health, fitness, and helping others.  I’m very proud of her and of the good work she does.

Her contributions to the Fit 4 All blog primarily center around healthy, thrifty food, or “Affordable Fuel.”  She asked me to contribute our favorite chili recipe!  And although this was posted last week(I’m a bit behind), I am so thrilled for this happy honor.😃

Without further delay, here it is:

Mom’s Chili (based on recipe for “Pantry Raid Chili” in “Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker” by Robin Robertson(See link below)

Notes – I’ve made this in the slow cooker or atop the stove.  It can take 30 minutes on the stove top, or up to 6 hours on a low setting in the slow cooker.  I do not cook with salt for health reasons, but you can add salt if that is your preference.

1 (24-oz) jar tomato salsa – any kind, I like the chunkier varieties best

2 Tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

½ teaspoon ground cumin

1 Cup (or a little more) water

3 cups cooked beans, or 2(15-oz) cans beans, rinsed and drained.  I mix and match.  I find that black beans plus kidney or pinto beans are an especially nice combination.

1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos

Freshly ground black pepper

Optional seasonings – salt, a dash of cayenne and/or red pepper flakes(depending on your spiciness preference)

2 Cups frozen corn kernels

Garnishes – avocado, onion, (vegan)sour cream, (vegan) shredded cheese, fresh cilantro

-Combine salsa, chili powder, marjoram, cumin, and water in the slow cooker or soup pot.  Stir to combine.  Add beans and soy sauce, season to taste with pepper and optional seasonings, if using.  Cover – if slow cooking, set on low for 4-6 hours; if stove top, medium/simmer for ½ hour, stirring often.

-The original recipe says to thaw the corn kernels and add to the pot and cook for 10 more minutes.  I’ve done it this way, or just added them frozen at the beginning with the other ingredients and had equally excellent results.  Serve hot, garnish to your liking.  This freezes well and is a wonderful go-to meal all year round.  Add your favorite salad plus some cornbread or tortilla chips for a very satisfying meal.

You can read the full post here.  If you are interested in the cookbook from which my inspiration was derived, you can find it here.  And, find out ways you can help support Fit 4 All here.

It’s snowy up here in the Northeast.  Keep your long johns on!  I’m knitting a blanket right now.  That keeps my lap warm.

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Dreaming of summertime and the GARDEN!

Wendy

 

 

The Steps and Knitting

Remember all the painting that’s been going on?  I finally got to the steps.  Here is the before, with the lovely green shade:

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And here is the AFTER:

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It may be tough to tell, as it is hard to get the light just right in the stairwell, but they are now black.  The walls just got a fresh coat of White Dove (Benjamin Moore) paint to freshen them up.

Knitting update – I almost finished a scarf for one of my children (shhhh!), as well as a little eyeglass case because my glasses tend to get broken in my purse.  I can’t use a case from the store as those tend to be too big for my bag.

Here is the scarf(fringe to be added):

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Here is the eyeglass case:

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I did not use a pattern for either one.  The scarf is straight knitting and nothing else – easy peasy.  The eyeglass case is a rectangle in stockinette that I just folded over and sewed up two of the edges, leaving the top open.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  We traveled to be with one of our children who lives far away.  It was absolutely wonderful.

Enjoy this wonderful season!

Wendy

 

 

 

Friday Without Finn

Last week I ventured South to visit my siblings, siblings-in-law, nieces, nephews, grand-nephew, and my dear, old friend.  Finn stayed behind up North with Farmer Joel.  It was wonderful to see everyone!  One of my loved ones fell ill, so I was happy I was there to pitch in and do what I could to help.  I had loads of fun with my grand-nephew!

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Ok, so now come on, you have to admit that he’s about the cutest little pumpkin you’ve ever seen, yes?  (I’m not biased in the least, ha ha!).

He says things like, “Ka-boo” for “Peek-a-boo,” and has quite an otherwise extensive vocabulary.  He’ll be 2 in February.  It was delightful to play with him.  He was a little shy with me at first since I don’t see him very often, but by Day Three, he was holding out his arms for his Aunt “Winnie.” Melt my heart!     ❤

I miss this little guy so much already!

 

I also got to see my niece, and she allowed me some time with her doggie since I couldn’t be with my Finn.

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I’m so glad I got to have that visit.  I wish we all lived closer to one another.  At least we’re in the same time zone!  Now that I’m back up in the cold, shivery North, I think about my recent trip and feel a lot warmer.

Oh, and since this summer, with the help of Heidi, Elaine, and Emer, I am now knitting again.  My mother taught me to knit many years ago(as well as crochet, sew, embroider, needlepoint, cook, bake, garden, play piano, etc…..), but I lost interest very quickly.  I’ve since picked it up again, and I’m working on two scarves, plus a blanket square.  A shout-out goes to Tina from Mountain Yarns, who has been patiently coaching me.  If you haven’t tried knitting, I highly recommend it.  It is a very peaceful, relaxing hobby. (except when you have to rip out 20 rows of stitches…)

Have a lovely day and a wonderful weekend!

Wendy