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

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 New Year 2016

May 2016 bring you health and joy.  In spite of all my good intentions, I didn’t post nearly as much as I would have liked last year.  We were in the thick of a very massive renovation at Country Mouse House, and we moved Town Mouse House TWICE!

All things considered, we are holding up well.  I’m still vegan.  Our Holiday season was joyful.  All of my children were home for Christmas, and I don’t think there is much else in this world that makes me happier than having everyone home and together.  It was relaxing and so much fun.

A significant thing that Farmer Joel and I did last year – we both became Certified Permaculture Designers.  We took a course and met some pretty cool people.  We received our certificates upon completion.  We are hoping to use our knowledge to create a more efficient and beautiful farm.  I will expand on that more in a future post.  Meanwhile, some photos:

If you’ll recall, last year, this is what the back of the Country Mouse House looked like:

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Then, it began its transformation:

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And now, nearing completion, from a different angle:

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Finally, with a back porch:

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Here’s some winter beauty for you:

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I also wanted to share some seemingly random things.  It’s been so long since I’ve shared anything that I feel the need to catch up a little bit.  Here is Finn in a new sweater:

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This is Rocket, my “Grand-dog,” dressed as a reindeer for Christmas:

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An edible wreath for a New Year’s Day party over at Lisa’s(I added the vegan ranch dressing when I got there):

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Now, for the gardening portion of our program…..It’s time to start pruning.  I have a wisteria, and it’s a little out of control.  I found out the times of year to prune are January-February AND July-August.  I will be pruning soon!  Meanwhile, here is what it looks like right now:

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The roses shall be pruned when the forsythia blooms.  The weather is so unpredictable, I’m not sure when that will be.  Here are the roses:

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A little wild and crazy, yes?

I wasn’t wearing the proper footwear when I was taking pictures:

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Oh well.  May you stay warm, safe, and dry this weekend.  Avoid going out if there are heavy snows in your area.  Enjoy!

Wendy

Friday with Finn

Happy Friday!  It’s almost Valentine’s Day!  Woo hoo!  In addition to Joel, I love to give Valentines to my kids and my doggie.  Speaking of said doggie, I was trying to get artistic as the sunlight was pouring in today:

FullSizeRender (3)Here is a close-up which keeps the sunlight from altering the photo too much:

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And now for a final, “artistic” photo of my beloved Finn(note his messy toys in the background):

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I may just have to come up with a heart-shaped dog treat for him!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all!  Enjoy your weekend, and do something loving for yourself as well as for others.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Wendy

Friday with Finn

Happy Friday!  To send you all off for the weekend with little heads’ up about what Mr. Finn is doing:

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It looks like he’s half in/half out of his little bed.  When I can’t find him elsewhere in the house, I can usually find him here.  Once he caught a glimpse of me, he returned to his relaxed position:

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Oh, to be a dog…..(sigh)

I love my dog.  Do you have a pet that is wrapped around your heart?

Have a wonderful weekend filled with love!

Wendy

Pretty Primroses

Happy  Day!!

During a trip to Winterthur, in Delaware two years ago, I was able to pick up one of these primrose plants:

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Little did I know that it would multiply to this extent in but a mere two years!  Here they are a little bit closer:

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I absolutely love primroses!  I haven’t been able to grow a whole lot of different varieties of them, but there are so many.  One of the gardeners I’ve most admired throughout time is Tasha Tudor.  She was a primrose lover, too, so much so that I believe she was a member of the American Primrose Society.

Look up more about Tasha Tudor.  If you love gardens of any kind, and if you love old-fashioned ways, you will love learning about her.  A gifted artist, she wrote and illustrated numerous books.   I have a few that she wrote, but one of my favorite books is a book about her with gorgeous photographs of her gardens:

If you are looking for a book for summer, think about this one.   It is absolutely beautiful.
In blessed memory of  Tasha Tudor.
Wendyy

T. G. I. R.

Thank God It’s Rhubarb!

We made a Vegan Rhubarb Cobbler:

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It really was very good.  The way to “Vegan-ize” something (quickly and easily) is to first check to see if there are any animal-derived ingredients.  This would include milk/dairy, eggs, butter, meat, animal fats, gelatin, etc.  My recipe called for eggs, so we did our chia-seed egg subsitute.  Per egg equivalent, mix one tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons water, let sit a bit.  It gets gooey and egg-like in its consistency.  For milk, we used almond milk.  For butter, we just used vegetable oil.  You could use coconut oil or a vegan margarine if you want.   We are not all vegans, but one of my children IS a vegan, and yet another goes without dairy.

Onward to the canning…….

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I loved using the blue jars!  They make the contents look even yummier!  I ended up making a Rhubarb-Cherry Topping, which I used on my French toast this morning.  If I do say so myself, it was delicious.  I tried using a jam recipe, but I had more rhubarb than the recipe called for.  I didn’t have quite enough pectin, and I had some cherry preserves in my stash…hence….it didn’t gel up enough to spread.  It pours easily, though, and I have no fear that it will get gobbled up quickly.

Last week, I tried my hand at homemade laundry detergent.  It also came out rather nicely.  The reason I did this is that the cost of laundry soap seems to rise as the size of the container seems to decrease.  This cost about 50 cents a gallon to make.  You can check out a how-to video here.

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I got to playing around with these Martha Stewart labels I found in Staples, along with a “chalk pen,” which I hadn’t heard of before.  That was in the craft store next door.  The painting in the background is of my front porch at Country Mouse House, by a local artist.   Note the blooming flowers?   (Sigh……)

Time to head outside and smell the lilacs!

Have a beautiful weekend!

Wendy