Friday, May 29, 2015

Farm Photo Friday (May 29, 2015)

tiny apples

Welcome to Farm Photo Friday!

A picture is worth a thousand words...

This week has been super busy...

turkeys have moved from brooder to outside

chickens have moved outside also

vegetable garden has been planted

Thank you for visiting!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

It Is Okay To Be Different (The Story Of Our Kitchen)


Why don't I have a white kitchen?

Lots of people have white kitchens.

...That statement is my answer.

Don't get me wrong...some white kitchens are beautiful.

But we didn't want what everyone else has...

we wanted to be...


That said, let me introduce you to our kitchen.

Handy Hubby and I put A LOT of time and energy into designing this kitchen.

I have to 'see' things, so he laid out the design with cardboard for me on the plywood floor before we made a final decision.
We ordered the cabinets through a little 'mom and pop' store and Handy Hubby installed them.

We chose a Rustic Birch cabinet in the color Saddle.
The cabinets have knots, dents, and dings that add such character.

The drawers pictured above are beside my double oven.
Pots, lids, and bake ware are so easy to access.

That's a lazy suzan cabinet in the corner.

My everyday dishes are displayed in the plate rack.
I love the contrast of the white and blue dishes against the dark cabinets.

To the right is a spice rack that pulls out.

We used a mixture of knobs and pulls with an old patina look.

The farmhouse sink was something I used to dream about.
It is functional and beautiful.

The faucet, soap dispenser and some other counter top accessories match the knobs and pulls.

The glass cabinet above the sink showcases family heirlooms.
(Sorry you can't tell because of the glare.  The kitchen gets flooded with natural light - a good thing, but bad for picture taking.)

To the right of the sink is the dishwasher...disguised as a cabinet.

Blue is a highlight color throughout.

See the sign under the plates?  It reads "I like hugs...I like kisses...but what I love is help with the dishes."

The island has the cook top and bar stools.
Notice the color of the bar stools match the knobs and accessories.

The girls eat breakfast there every morning.

The island is where I prep food.
We also installed an electrical outlet on the side of the island.

The layout is great for serving buffet style meals when we have friends and family over.

More often then not, it is a catch all...papers and bills seem to pile up there.

Above the island is a pot rack with lights.
See the rooster and wheat motifs...adds more farmhouse character.

We also chose black appliances, in contrast to many people choosing stainless.
Not just to be different, but because we like the look.
Yes, when the sun shines a certain way through the windows, it does show every dust particle, but...

We purchased most of our appliances at a scratch and dent brands and new, but because of a little scratch or dent the price was discounted.  It's amazing what a magnet can hide on a refrigerator ;-).

We didn't think granite was an option for our kitchen because of price.
A friend told us about a place that had great prices.
When we went to look they were having a sale!

Still to do...
I would like to add a white bead board back splash and crown molding.
And I am thinking about adding bead board to the island and painting it a white or blue color...what do you think?

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Vegetable Garden Is Planted

 We planted the vegetable garden over the weekend...
Inside our new GARDEN FENCE that we recently installed.

We measured spacing and used a string to help keep the rows straight.
See the orange string above the tape measure?
I can't draw a straight line even with a ruler (seriously).

Yellow are my favorite.
We planted different varieties of red to be used for slicing and canning.
We LOVE homemade salsa - fresh or canned from our garden.
We will be using a different approach to staking the tomatoes this year...will share later.

Bell Peppers
Green, yellow, and red were planted.
I love to freeze peppers and always have them available when cooking...even in the winter.

Last year was the first year I planted this.
I have a delicious recipe to share once the kohlrabi is harvested.

They spread and take up a lot of room.
They are planted closest to one end of the fence, yet far enough way to have room to spread.

Basic markers put in place for the seeds that were planted...
green onions
green beans

Grape Tomato 
Last year one plant took up a lot of space and crowded the other tomato plants.
(should have listened to my Dad)
This year I planted one plant in a galvanized tub.
I put rocks in the bottom and used potting soil.
Not sure where I'm going to put this yet.

Also in the garden...
banana pepper

And of course, my Mother's Day gift hangs proudly on the fence gate.

What is your favorite vegetable to plant?

Sharing with these awesome blog hops:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Easy Strawberry Poke Cake

It's strawberry season!

Strawberries are a favorite around here...
with sugar...
with sugar and milk...
with shortcakes...
ice cream...

You get my drift...we love strawberries.

Having our own strawberry patch is on our 'to do list'.

I must admit, I never made a poke cake until my blogging friend Dee from Meatloaf and Melodrama posted some pretty amazing versions.  Thanks Dee for opening my eyes!

Today, I want to share a super easy strawberry poke cake 'recipe'.

Making the cake. icing, and strawberry syrup from scratch would be delicious, but I just didn't have the time, so this is not really a 'recipe'.

I used a boxed white cake mix, strawberry syrup, and canned cream cheese frosting.

Make the cake mix according to the directions on the box, then let cool.
Once cooled, poke holes in the cake using a drinking straw - do as many or as few holes that you want.
Drizzle strawberry syrup over the cake, making sure it oozes down into the holes.
Spread your favorite icing on top.
Top with fresh strawberries (I added a few to each slice of cake).


That's it!  I told you it was easy.
But, look at it.  Doesn't it look beautiful with the pockets of strawberry syrup in the cake? 
No one will know it's not from scratch, unless you tell them...

What is your favorite way to eat strawberries?

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Herbs on the Porch

I grow herbs in containers on my porch for easy access when cooking.
I also have them for prettiness.  They are a great alternative to having only flowers on the porch.

This herb adds a wonderful flavor to chicken.
Planted in a small pot it also serves as an accessory for a small table.
It has a woodsy smell.

Fresh garden tomatoes, basil, salt, and pepper make a simple yet delicious salad.
It also has a wonderful smell.

I use this in so many dishes - casseroles, soups, meats, and salads.
It makes a pretty garnish also.

The basil and parsley serve as my 'everyday centerpiece' for the table.

And of course, a back rest for Marina. (smile)

This is a new herb that I am trying this year.
Did you know that peppermint is a natural way to help relieve headaches?
It is delicious in lemonade, tea, and ice water
Peppermint is also suppose to repel mosquitoes and spiders...we shall see.  (fingers crossed)

What is your favorite herb?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Farm Photo Friday (May 15, 2015) and a WINNER

Let's sit for a spell and listen to the bubbling creek...

Welcome to Farm Photo Friday.

A picture is worth a thousand words...

The chicks are now 5 weeks old.  This is a silver laced breed.

Rhubarb that was planted from a start of my parent's plant. 

The turkey house and fencing are almost done.

if you are unruly you pick weeds...
if you are ruly that's good too...
either way, Momma is happy!
(This was my Mother's day gift)


Thank you to everyone that entered the Baby Chick Card Give Away. 

The WINNER is Jes!

Please e-mail your information so I can mail you the cards.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Crockpot Pizza Pasta

Some evenings we all seem to be going in different directions.
At these times, my crockpot serves as my go to.

My girls love pizza, and this 'recipe' is something I can throw together fairly easy.
I love that this dish allows me to use two of my favorite herbs that I grow - basil and parsley.

It is so versatile that I have taken this to picnics, potlucks, and served it as supper to company.

Cook ground beef, then add garlic, basil, green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes and pasta sauce.
The colors are so bright and beautiful...a meal perfect for any time of the year.

Add the beef and tomato mixture with cooked and drained penne.

Put it in the crockpot and top with cheese and parsley.

Cook on low for 3 - 4 hours. 

(You could cook the ground beef the day before for added convenience of putting this together.)

Crockpot Pizza Pasta
I box penne pasta
1 pound ground beef
2 cloves garlic
3 basil leaves, chopped
handful of diced green peppers (always in my freezer)
1 jar mushrooms
1 package pepperoni
1 can diced tomatoes (or 3 fresh tomatoes from the garden in the summer)
1 jar pasta sauce
12 ounces shredded cheese (I like to use mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan)
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped

Cook the pasta according to package directions.  Drain.
Cook the ground beef (with salt and pepper) until browned and cooked through.
To the cooked ground beef, add garlic, basil, green peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, tomatoes and pasta sauce.
Stir together then combine it with the cooked and drained pasta.
Put mixture into crockpot and top with shredded cheese.
Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Landscaping The Cheap And FREE way

We have been living in our home for a little over two years, yet we are still landscaping.
Why?  Because it is expensive!

I have had to take the cheap and FREE way of landscaping.
And with this, I am learning more patience.

We did purchase (and had someone plant) evergreen white pines along our property for privacy.  We accomplished the staggering affect by doing it two years apart.
Spacing the cost over two years was a great help!  

For cheap landscaping, I decided to go with some smaller bushes.
I planted these boxwood wintergem bushes just a couple weeks ago, because the holly bushes (not cheap) that I planted two years ago did not survive the brutal winter that we just had.
We have also planted small lilac and forsythia bushes and a clamatis vine recently.
Buying smaller bushes are much cheaper than bushes that are larger in size.

Sunflower seeds are a great way to add height and color to new landscaping.
I purchased a few packets for less than $2 each.
The picture above is  two weeks after I planted the seeds.
I  have them planted here and there on our little homestead.


For FREE landscaping, I got some 'starts' from my Mom.
Wow, does she has a green thumb!
Actually I think she has a green eye - she just looks at something and it grows.

From her I have 'starts' to things that also have a story.
(You know I like things with a story attached to it.)

My Mom originally got a 'start' to her red bush from a friend.  She remembers this type of bush at her Grandparents' home place.  The picture above is a 'start' that I have planted from hers.

This is a picture of my Mom's red bush.
(If you know the correct name for this, please let me know.)

This lilac 'start' is also from my Mom.  She got her 'start' from a bush that was at the first house that I owned.  How's that for full circle?
Although very small, she insures me that it will grow into a lush lilac bush.

This is a picture of my Mom's lilac bush that I got a start from.

Lilacs look so pretty tucked in vases and make the house smell wonderful.

Hubby dug up this tree from our woods during the fall of our first year living here and planted it in the yard.
Last year it only had a couple leaves.  Positive thinking - at least it survived the transplant.
This year it is producing many leaves.  I am looking forward to seeing it fill out!

Do you get creative with your landscaping?

Happy Spring planting!
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