Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Time To Plan A 2022 Summer Garden

 

I know. . .I know. . .Only a month ago I was dreaming of a White Christmas. . .But now my head is filled with dreams of fried green tomatoes. . .

field peas. . .green tomato relish. . .fried squash, sweet potatoes and onions. . .all free for the picking from my own farmhouse garden. . .Except for the cost of seeds and a little fertilizer, I ate fresh and healthy foods all summer long last year. . .and had enough to do some canning, too. . .




With the high cost of food these days. . .and stores experiencing food shortages. . .2022 is shaping up to be the year for growing some of your own food for the family table. . .And now is the time to begin planning your garden. . .

It doesn't have to be huge. . .just a small flower bed size will grow an abundance of fresh vegetables and salad greens. . .

I am the first to admit I have no green thumb when it comes to growing things. . .nothing like my Dad or Grandmother. . .but I have been able to grow enough for our needs and have found there is nothing like cooking and feasting on the fresh produce. . .







Now is the time to make a list and order your seeds. . .non-GMO, of course. . .I have not found any seed packs for sale locally so far, so I selected one of the sets available on Amazon. . .I like to start tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and others indoors to plant early. . .so I wanted to be certain I had plenty on hand.

I will also order heirloom, non-GMO organic seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed in Mansfield, Missouri. . .I just received the 2022 catalogue and can see hours of pouring over it in the coming days. . .making my choices. . .


Be sure to check out the WHAT'S COOKING recipes and SEASONED SOUTHERN STYLE at the DUNCAN FARMSTEAD. . .In fact, you might want to bookmark the site. . .This summer I plan to share more delicious country meals, as well as my easy recipes for canning the excess vegetables. . .It will be informative. . .fun. . .and delish. . .


But first. . .you HAVE to get that garden planned. . . .

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Christmas Is. . .

 

CHRISTMAS CHEER AND GLAD TIDINGS!

This has been some year, hasn't it? And who knows where the next one will take us? But sitting here on my newly arranged and decorated breezeway porch, I celebrate again the blessings that John and I do have in life and how we so treasure the family and friends we have had throughout the years. . .

When you have chalked up many years of life experiences, it is wonderful to look back and remember those who so richly touched our lives, as well as the traditions that have gone on over my lifetime. . .

. . .thoughts that inspired John and me to recently venture to the San Souci landing on the Mississippi River, where we spent a wonderful afternoon collecting driftwood, grapevine, and other naturals for holiday decorating. . . 

During my childhood, an annual visit to the river was a big part of our family's Christmas tradition. Sometime right after Thanksgiving, we put on our boots and heavy coats, piled into the old Chevy station wagon, and headed for Barfield landing. In those days, it was mostly wooded and filled with all kinds of useable finds for our Christmas decor. 

On the dirt roads that wound along the Mississippi, we gathered the possibilities. Evergreens for wreaths and indoor arrangements. Mistletoe to hang from the door facings. Osage oranges for spraying silver and gold. Walnuts to fill bowls and make ornaments. Grapevines and wild grasses. Holly and red berries. Odd-shaped branches. Nothing was overlooked. It was a grand time and fills my memories every year.


As I gaze out over the farmstead today, I realize those times have mostly come and gone. Christmas has changed much over the years for so many of us. . .and yet. . .it hasn't. . . .The hopes, dreams, and "reason for the season" can still be found in each and every one of our hearts. . .if we will just stop and take the time to embrace it. . .pause and count the blessings. . .

"DECK THE HALLS AND GIVE A CHEER. . .FOR ALL THE THINGS THAT CHRISTMAS IS THIS YEAR. . ."

John and I hope that you and your family will be filled with the true Spirit of Christmas this year and will find joy and hope and peace in your heart. . .just as it was that first Holy Night. . .

"CHRISTMAS. . .MERRY CHRISTMAS. . .MAY ALL YOUR WISHES COME TRUE. . ."




Sunday, December 12, 2021

Snowmen and Hot Chocolate Cookies


Christmas decorations and holiday cheer don't need to be expensive. . .It can be something as humble as dollar snowmen mugs. . .and a simple cookie and pudding recipe that adds up to WINTER FUN that brings smiles to the faces of young and old. . .I know because it sure brought a smile and a laugh from John. . .and he is well past his childhood. . .(grin)

It was because of these cute snowman mugs that I began noticing more SNOWMEN for decorating purposes this year. . .collecting a few at antique malls and thrift stores. . .They are easily found for a little pocket change these days. . .


Then I happened upon this SNOWMAN painted on a big pieces of corrugated rusty tin from someone's old barn roof at WHITE HOUSE CREATIONS. . .Now what could be more appropriate for our COUNTRY FARM HOME. . .especially since he favored those favorite mugs of ours. . .


I knew exactly where he would go, too. . .on the whitewashed barn wood door that hides our modern refrigerator from view. . .and I was right! . . .It fit perfectly. . .

I added the handmade broom, purchased years ago, thinking every snowman needed one. . .(For you DIYers, he would be easy to paint.)

Seeing him proudly displayed in our kitchen, my thoughts returned to earlier years, when I absolutely loved playing in the snow. . .including snowball fights with the next door cousins. . .Building several snowmen in our yards usually started the fight. . .It was all in fun. . .


I might be freezing. . .and unable to feel my toes or stop my teeth from chattering. . .but I never gave up and only went inside when Mom insisted. . .She often bribed me with the promise of HOT CHOCOLATE and COOKIES once I got all the cold wet clothes off and changed into something warm. . .Sitting in the big living room window, sipping the chocolate, I admired our snowmen creations and the white landscape all around them. . .secretly wanting to return outdoors because I knew here in the South, the snow wouldn't last long at all. . .


Unfortunately, I can no longer drink hot chocolate. . .or eat anything sweet or gluten. . .but John can and I have a tendency to spoil him with a dessert at every meal. . .He has such a sweet tooth. . .

The catch is. . .he often has to endure my endless stories like the winter experiences. . .(grin again). . .




It wasn't a big leap from gathering the snowman mugs and placing them on the baker's cabinet beside the painted snowman. . .to thinking about HOT CHOCOLATE COOKIES and chocolate fudge pudding to go with it. . .The recipe I based them on is below, straight from the Jet-Puffed Marshmallow website. . .but I changed it a little for my cookies. . .I had no milk chocolate chips but I did find half a bag of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, which could symbolize the lumps of coal on the snowmen faces. . .Of course the marshmallows were "snowballs". . .I added a few more than the recipe called for. . .They toasted well and the resulting cookie also reminds us of S'mores. . .


They were a hit and totally enjoyed with the chocolate fudge pudding. . .The cookie jar is full and should keep John out of the fruitcake that isn't to be eaten until Christmas. . .A little diversion always helps. . .


It is hard to believe Christmas is so close. . .This holiday season is flying by fast. . .I hope you are enjoying every minute of it. . .Such a special time of the year. . . 


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