Monday, July 30, 2012

Is It Monday Again? Newsy News

What a summer it has been!  
And yet...

I started out shortly after Luke got out of school by going south to get my daughter and the grandbabies to bring them back here for a two week visit.  I stayed a week when I went, stayed a week when I took her back, and in between we put 4000 miles on the Suburban and it was a month later when I got back home again!

But what fun!  I had a whole month with the babies and enjoyed all of it.  :-) 

Earlier this spring Lem had surgery and we've had a few follow-up appointments with that, too.  One last week, another this week for the results of yet another MRI.

The neurosurgeon says that pituitary tumors can grow back so we are glad he's keeping an eye on it for us.

And I had my turn at surgery last week.  I had a couple issues going on and needed a D&C and a removal of a uterine polyp.  

Pathology will be back and I go in on Friday for a follow-up on that.

I hope we'll get a little vacation in sometime during August. :-)

I can hardly believe July is about to be over.  I love July.  It's such a good month, the more carefree days of for those of us in the northern states.  The garden is in and already growing, but it's not quite yet time to can tomatoes or corn...

Best of all, the fireflies are flitting about in the you have fireflies where you live?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Moss Roses

Moss Roses...

They love heat, and they can take it dry...

And this has been the perfect summer for my moss roses...

They help me remember my grandpa...he always had moss roses growing by his front sidewalk and they always intrigued me with their bright and happy colors.

Monday, July 23, 2012

You CAN Do It! Sun Dill Slices!

Happpppy is what ZINNNNNNIA'S make me!!

My zinnias are gnarly and stubby and this drought hasn't been too easy on them, but I still like to cut a few every now and then!

I have some good news for you!  

For those of you who have made 

You can also make sun dill SLICES with the same recipe that you use for whole sun dills!

The recipe is the same, except, I've found a solution for those of you who do not have grape leaves for this recipe that calls for them, you can substitute powdered alum instead for crispness...

The pickles on the left have cured and been refrigerated and now many have been eaten on hamburgers and with sandwiches.  The only difference between sliced sun dills and the whole ones is that the sliced pickles only need a few days to cure in the sunshine. 

Also, this is such a great way to use those picklers that got left on the plant a little too long!  

I know on those hot days, you can find a giant pickle, where just last night sat a tiny one, they can become large in just twenty four hours! 

Sun Dill Pickles
Spears or slices:  2-3 days in the sun to cure
Whole dills:  Up to a week in the sun to cure

Two half-gallon jars or a one-gallon jar with screw-on lid
Wash pickles, cut out bad spots and leave whole
Grape leaves:  2-3 for each layer, washed OR see below if you don't have access to grape leaves
Fresh dill, washed (use generously!)
fresh garlic cloves
About forty-fifty pickling cucumbers, or enough to fill a gallon jar, packed tightly

In the bottom of the jar start with a layer of 
Heads of DILL,
1-2 garlic cloves,
Then PICKLES (I use small to medium picklers for this, NEVER large ones.)
Take the pickles halfway up the jar and then start over again with the grape leaves, dill, garlic, and end with the grape leaves on top, under the lid.

Then add this solution to the jar when it's stuffed with the pickles, dill, grape leaves and garlic cloves: 

6-1/2 cups water
3-1/4 cups white vinegar
1/2 c. Kosher salt
***IF NO GRAPE LEAVES ARE AVAILABLE, instead you may use
1/8 teaspoon alum
*stir to dissolve salt and pour over and then seal the jar and set out in the sun for a week (or 2-3 days for slices and spears!), turning the jar once daily for even "curing".  

Refrigerate when done and ENJOY!

**PLEASE NOTE:  the whole garlic cloves turn a blue-ish color in the sun.  This is fine, and the garlic is fine to keep in the jar while you use up the pickles.  No worries!

Use a canning jar with a screw-on lid, this recipe is for a gallon.  I used these half-gallon jars, bought for me by my husband at the hardware store.  I like the wide opening at the top, I can get my hand down in there to pack the pickles in very easily.

A half-dozen of these jars are priced under ten dollars. They work out well, because the half-gallon jars fit into our fridge much more easily.  I'll just put them back into the cardboard case when I'm done and use them again next summer.

Hope your pickles do well!

Please leave any questions you have in the comments section or EMAIL me at 
old centennial farmhouse at g mail dot com.

What are YOU getting from your garden and preserving these days?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Vintage Finds: An Old Yam Jar

I went antiquing with a friend the other day.

I found a couple things, and this is one. 
I thought you might like to see it.  

So cute!
(I thought so anyway!)

When I find something like this that is in such perfect pristine condition, 
I just want to know, 
HOW did it get so old and yet stay so perfect?

Someone took really good care of this jar.
Did she keep her change in it, in the closet?
Was it set aside with some yarn in her sewing room?

For years it sat somewhere and it waited for me.

And then, it came to a store, and I got to buy it.

I paid $3. 

I like old jars with painted tin lids.
And this label is just too adorable.

(And did you notice, it says USA over in the corner?)

Now it's up overhead in the kitchen keeping watch over the chickens and the little yeller windmill.  

It's all the right colors and it's cheerful and reminds me so much of my friend Alabama friend, and fellow blogger, Sandie.  

 Go take a look: she's the MASTER at putting together beautiful little displays in her home with found items like this.  (She needs to come to Michigan and set my house right!)  

This post is of something she found while her, and her friend Angie and I were antiquing in Alabama a couple of weeks ago!  Love this little special find she got!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Back Road Beauty: At The End of the Day

"Take the back roads instead of highways."
- Minnie Pearl

At the end of the day, you glance west and see something extra gorgeous, and you just have to jump in the truck and take a ride.

I especially like it when my driver (my husband of 31 years today!) wants to go and then I can just roll down the window and shoot.

Not too far from me sits an old pair of gigantic abandoned barns.  They're so lonesome looking they break my heart. Their house is gone, and their family long gone, but the land is still farmed.  

One day I'm going to drive by only to discover they've been blown down in some of the gigantic winds we get out here.  

But while they're here, I photograph them in any season, because they're just something else.

And they've never looked better than lately, when they appear in front of a dazzling sunset.

And the silhouette that pleases the eye, is sweetly scented with the smells of evening, of the earth, of the crops that are growing, and...

The freshly cut wheat fields nearby...

And you realize that time changes some things, because it must.

But if I concentrate on too much of what was...

I might not see, hear, or smell...

What IS...

At the end of the day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Simplicity in the Summer

The boys LOVE burger night.

And so do I!  Love cooking them on the grill, stacking the bun and using these little diner baskets.  

Quick and easy and cleanup is simple and back to the things that make summer great! 


Stay cool today, almost 100 expected here today, and much of our state is in a drought.  Everything looks tired, worn out, and dried out. The grass crunches under my feet, everything is dusty outside, and we need rain really bad!  It's hard to keep the gardens going when you can't water any of it enough.

It hate wishing summer away, because we look so forward to it all winter, but fall is looking better every day!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Simple Sundays: Country Beauties

Some country beauty...seen on our neighbor's farm here is our neighbor girl Sumer riding at sunset.  I asked her to stop when I saw the sunbeams lighting up her horse.  Sumer is a beautiful girl and she rides Mac, what a pair!

Thanks, Sumer, for letting me take your picture!

The sunsets lately where I live have been remarkable!  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Audrey & Zinnias

Had a little bit 'o fun with Audrey last night right at sunset.  

You grab those sweet moments while you can.  

She's nine months today!  

Man, time sure does fly.

And sweet little gal was wearing a dress that coordinated with her mama's zinnias perfectly.

But pretty soon, she'd had enough of the hat.

(Sometimes, this is the sort of photo that turns out to be my favorite.  Look at that expression!  Melts my heart!)  

I went along with her self-determination.

How could I not?  

Enjoy your Tuesday.

(Hey, I turned 51 yesterday, and it's not half-bad.  Hehe!)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Vintage Finds: Embroidery Work on Gingham

In the vintage enamelware bowl: a pitcher from TJ Maxx for around $10 and some artificial lemons.  

I found this beauty a year or so ago at a garage sale.

I absolutely adore the daisy embroidery done on a piece of gingham.

Someone thought outside the box!

It's done in just my colors...and are so cheery and bright, such fine needlework, too.  Perfect for summer.  Farmhouse style, for sure!  Another piece rescued and saved.  

I am ALWAYS amazed at the happiness I can find on a dusty table or an old box, for a dollar, or even a quarter, if I'm willing to dig.

What do you enjoy searching for when you're out treasure hunting at a garage sale?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Just Roll With It! How Hot!?

Is it HOT enough for ya?

Now I know you guys have been sweatin' this summer out.

Hotter than a firecracker, that's what it is...

We done had August in June!  

Michigan isn't supposed to swelter like this.  
We aren't made for it!  Not weeks of it, anyway!

Last night my quilt was on the line, and once again it was sunset and what a pretty picture it might have been.

Except for the condensation that formed on my lens the minute I walked out the door.  I waited a few minutes, but the sunset wasn't going to I shot anyhow.

I guess the seventies inside the air-conditioning (smartest thing we ever did with a tax return!) didn't like to meet the high nineties in the outdoors.

I just roll with it.  I shot anyway.

This is what I had to work with, and like I've always told you, extreme weather can sometimes make some of the prettiest darn pictures you ever did see!

Take it easy in this heat.  I love a Popsicle every now and about you?

Now just how red-hot is it where you're at? 

Near a hundred here for days now for us...