Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Queen Anne's Lace For The Farmhouse

 

It's time to get on your walking shoes. . .grab a pair of hand clippers and a bucket of water. . .and find the nearest place to home for gathering Queen Anne's Lace wildflowers. . .Depending on your part of the country, this is the time of the year when it seems vacant fields and ditch banks are filled with an abundance of the dainty, fragile-looking flowers that can add so much to your farmhouse decor. . .And if you dry them, you can enjoy their beauty for many more months. . .

Some of the simplest farmhouse settings include the make-do items such as old soda bottles found around the farm. . .and the free wild flowers of Queen Anne's Lace. .

It's true. . .I have written about these flowers before. . .and shown you how to preserve their beauty. . .but it's been several years. . . and I thought it might be time for a refresher course. . .

Whether you plan to use the Queen Anne's Lace fresh or bring some home for drying, carrying a big jar or bucket of water is a must for immediately placing the stems after cutting. . .If you don't. . .by the time you get back to the farmhouse they will have drawn into a ball, and you'll never get them flattened out. . .I often allow a few to dry that way, though, for a little extra interest.

My technique for drying is very simple. . . .I use canning jars and newspaper!!! . . .I have found that empty pint canning jars are just heavy enough to keep the head from curling but not so heavy that they mash the bloom too flat. . .

Spread newspaper on a table in a warm place. . . .Then place a flower head upside down on the newspaper. . . .Add another head beside it, sharing a canning jar between them. . . .Support the stems between the jars. . .Allow to dry. . .Here in our hot, hot summer, it only takes a day or so. . .

Remove the jars. . .For added protection, you can spray the heads with hair spray or other clear spray. . .but not so close that you blow the tiny blooms away!

Now. . .wasn't that simple?

If you are interested in dying some Queen Anne's Lace, I have those links on Pinterest or try the Search box on the right hand column. . .

 


Saturday, May 22, 2021

. . .from my farmhouse to yours. . .


It's been almost ten years since I wrote my first post on this blog. . .I had no idea what I was doing. . .What I did know was that I wanted to share with you our very unique cotton farm as we brought Granddaddy's dream back to life. . .We had pretty much renovated most of the farm buildings and were already giving tours of the farm by appointment. . .School children enjoyed living history on their visits. . .Older groups reminisced. . .Donations were coming in by the dozens. . .All that had to be finished was our Country Farm Home. . .As with the cobblers children's shoes, we had saved our own needs for last. . .John and I decided it would be fun to document our progress with the Country Farm Home blog. . .and so. . .here we are ten years later. . .Our 1930s farm manager's home has been finished for several years. . .We have been so surprised at the response and interest in it. . .It has been featured in magazines, on Arkansas PBS, and other media. . .

But our home wasn't the only thing we shared with you. . .There were stories of my amazing cat Boo, who fought Addison's disease for many years and was on a special research project to find a cure. . .There were the rag rug looms that suddenly became a cottage industry--we sold them all over the world. . .There were holidays and lazy days and special days featured. . .Open hearth cooking. . .Numerous family recipes shared. . .We dressed in about every era costume from the 18th to the 20th centuries. . .We even had a wedding or two here. . .One blog became three. . .It just went on and on. . .Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think any of this would happen. . .My only wish from the beginning was to share our life on this Delta farm. . .I wanted you to come in and sit a while through my photos and writings. .  .to feel the warmth. . .the love. . .the history. . .family. . .maybe even inspiring you a little along the way. . .'from my farmhouse to yours. . .'

As with so many things in life, blessings mostly come unexpectedly. . .One such blessing that has meant the world to both of us, was in a surprise comment written in February on the GONE TO THE FARM post. . .I almost missed it and so glad I didn't. . .It brought tears. . .

 

Winnie, I hope you don't mind me sharing your heart-felt blessing to us. . .

Dru, I have been following your blogs for years but never really comment. I am also a subscriber to Country Rustic Magazine and have been loving all of the articles you provide! I want to thank-you for the many wonderful ideas, thoughts, recipes, bits of history and the details of what it is like to be the Farmer;s daughter of the Delta. I would be remiss if I also don't mention that your story of kitty, Boo, was near and dear to my heart, and when you lost him, I had recently loss my kitty Bump. Your story and memorial that you did on Boo was the dearest and most beautifully said tribute. I cried at every word that someone else knew how it felt to lose a special Kitty and you were able to put in words what my broken heart only felt and knew. Today, I rush to hear more about M. LaShay and his reign of your homes. He is a blessing to me because I get to hear about what moving on looks like and the joy that comes when a new furry friend takes over. So, thank-you again for your sharing of Kitties in your many articles posted on your blogs. This new post really tugged at my heartstrings because of it's simplicity. I am a lover of the American story from Jamestown(I was born and raised in Charlottesville, VA.) in 1607 through the next 400 years. Of particular interest lately has been from 1900-1970 since my parents were born 1902 and 1914. Their lives included huge changes in technology and difficulty. Both parents were raised on farms and carried forth those values of hard work, simple living, and just enough income to stay afloat. Your recounts of life on your Delta cotton farm rings bells in my head of life spent in summers on my Grandparent's Indiana farm. The lifestyle that was sometimes firmly back in the 1920s with what sort of technology was available, mixed with proximity to more modern machines and amenities that made life easier. Each decade saw newer and newer ways to farm, travel, and manage everyday homes. The fact that you had the chance to experience the transitions with your grandparents and parents , and then own the property is a story that is both wonderful and culturally important. You and your talented John have saved and created this slice of history for generations now and to come. All of your hard work is a testimony to the preservation of history and all of it's lessons and stories that deserve to be kept alive for future generations. Yes, who ever knows when the smallest and most unexpected thing will lead to a true blessing? Enjoy the safety of your farm as the nation works to end the pandemic. Soon, the time will come that green shoots will push upward and an entire new cycle of the year will unfold. I am thinking your farm must be quite beautiful when that change gets going!

Friends. . .that's why we do this. . .It's because of people like Winnie. . of people like you who have been so devoted to us all these years. . .From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you Winnie. . .and all of you. . .for boosting our spirits and sending so much love yourselves these last ten years. . .Let's see where the next ten take us. . .

 

I don't know if any of you noticed, but recently this blog has been down. . .labeled a 'high risk site' and not secure. . .Even I couldn't get into it! . . not until I found a backdoor. . .I am no tech, so it took me a while to figure it all out and get back up and safe. . .But we're cleared now as being secure and thank goodness, we can continue. . .although it may not be as often, since I spend most of the summer months in Missouri. . .John remains at the farm to mow and do repairs. . .I told him he could continue my writings and photos, but he passed. . .(grin). . .I will be back and forth some and will be sharing posts then. . .After all, I am really a Farmgirl at Heart. . .and I treasure the moments spent there. . .and with you. . .


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Spring Chickens And Daffodils II

Have you ever seen white daffodils? For over 17 years, these beauties have bloomed as a sign that winter is finally over and it is time to get out of the house for the pleasant weather and sunshine days. . .

I have numerous daffodils planted all over the farmstead, but these are my favorites because until this year the "cup" was yellow and the petals white. . .What a surprise when March came and they were ALL white! . . .Of course, they fit in well with the farmhouse decor. . .but what happened to the yellow? . .Does anyone know? . .Something missing in the soil, maybe? . .I need some info! 

 Actually, I do like them a lot. . .It's a change. . .

These were saved from the unusual freeze we had a couple of weeks ago. . .I wasn't home at the time but John knew how much I loved them, so he cut a canning jar full. . .I was certainly thrilled to see them. . .

You are probably wondering what all this has to do with chickens? . .Well. . .I posted a story several years ago that is as true today as then. . .About spring bringing not only daffodils but boxes of tiny chicks to my Grandmother's door. . .I knew when those little fluff balls arrived and the daffodils were blooming outside that spring had arrived. . .

SPRING CHICKENS AND DAFFODILS

I think of it every year. . .and hope you'll enjoy the story again. . .

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Eggless Chocolate Pecan Raisin Tomato Bread

Tomatoes in a sweet quick bread? Well...it is actually tomato soup. . .I have to be honest with you. . .When I originally found the recipe in one of my 1930s cookbooks, I wasn't quite sure of it. . .No eggs and tomato soup? What a combination!. . .As they say, though, "Don't knock it until you have tried it.". . .If you like spiced quick breads, you'll love this. . .

I was inspired to pull out the recipe and bake several yesterday when I was purging almost out-of-date canned goods that had gotten pushed to the back of the cabinet. . .Lately I have been doing a lot of clean-outs all over the house. . .It's been spring cleaning on steroids. . .When I found four cans of tomato soup, I decided to make bread. . .I know that it freezes well and will be a great treat for John during the summer. . .

 

EGGLESS CHOCOLATE PECAN RAISIN TOMATO BREAD

1 can tomato soup

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cocoa powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4-1/2 package raisins

 1 level teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water

1/2 cup chopped pecans

 Mix by hand the tomato soup, oil, and sugar until sugar is dissolved.

In a separate bowl, sift all dry ingredients together and add raisins.

Combine the tomato soup mixture with the dry ingredients.

 Stir in baking soda and water mixture. Do not over mix.

Pour into a greased loaf pan.

Sprinkle with chopped pecans, pushing them slightly into the batter.

Bake at 325 degrees until done.

Top with glaze while still warm.

GLAZE

1 cup confectioner's sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

SPOILER ALERT: 

This bread is so moist and delicious that you can't eat just one slice. . .(smile)

ENJOY!


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Gone To The Farm

It was sometime in the late 1990s that I had a huge task in front of me. . .We had just bought a 1910 Craftsman-style home in a small town in Arkansas. . .It had three floors, the third being a large room attic. . .And it was full. . .Full of old photos, papers, broken furniture, books. . .all the things a family had accumulated for at least 80 years. . .

It fell upon me to clear it all out. . .

While I did find many 'keepers'. . .I think my favorite was this simple note from one of the mothers who had raised their children in the huge old house. . ."Gone To The Farm. . .Ma". . .

I became attached to that note. . .and carried it with me over the years as my job opportunities took me to other states. . .Never realizing. . .nor desiring. . .that I would be returning to the farm one day. . .It was almost as if the note looked into my future. . .and knew what was to be.

So here we are today. . ."Gone to our own farm". . .and the note remains in my treasures. . .I am so thankful that we have been safe down on the farm during these days of the virus and lock-downs. . .It has become a haven and an even greater delight for us. 

One never knows when the smallest thing can become such a blessed one. . .



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