Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dreaming of Flowers

To say that this time of the year brings my anticipation of flowers to an all time high is an understatement.
The breeze in Ellensburg is drenched in the scent of lilacs, and I tend to inhale deeply, drinking in the scent.
Oh, it's lovely.

And on my kitchen table, they are even more lovely!
The variety I have in my yard is a mystery, but the plants came to Ellensburg with some of the first settlers.
They are old, and hardy, and slightly romantic :)

And peonies...
My heart is captivated by this old-time flower.
I have poured over books and the internet in hopes of growing them here.
36 out of my 38 roots made it through the winter and are doing fantastic.



My flower seeds are slowly making it into the ground.
Enough to fill my little farm stand with bouquets all summer long.
I am smitten with old fashioned flowers and heirloom varieties.
They tend to be easy to grow, tough enough to stand our inclement weather, and I love the fact that my Great Grandma had them in her garden.
Sometimes the old varieties get lost in all the new hybrids available today.




It's a family affair...the kids love to make bouquets and harvest veggies for the stand, too.





Occasionally, we have an extra little helper in the garden.
Last year, little bully found a way through the fence each morning into the raspberries and carrots.










{A bouquet from my SIL's flower farm, Earth's Gift.}
She is amazingly talented!


I am humming with ideas and dreams of which seeds to plant where, how to aesthetically lay out my garden.
Such fun this time of the year!

Looking for ideas and inspiration?
Are you an aspiring flower farmer...or maybe just want to grow blooms for your own use?
Here is a list of my favorite resources...

A wonderful blog chock full of planting tutorials.

An amazing book on growing cool weather flowers.

Wonderful seed company.

Another great source for seeds.




~Julia

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Today...


This Springtime weather has us outside and enjoying the sun!
Our little cousin was able to visit over Spring Break and what a fun time the kids had together. 
Cousin relationships are so special.
Almost like a brother or sister, yet a completely unique bond.


Lily had fun showing her cousin how to groom and care for her steers.
She caught right on!


Our neighbor's goats....lazing in the sun :)

Chippy was groomed and beautified for hours. He was in heaven.
 Then I decided to use his lawn mowing capabilities in the chicken run. It is quite large and my chicks are not keeping the grass down.
I think I need to clip their wings to keep them contained.

Have you planted your garden yet?
My spinach, kale, and lettuces are coming up...as well as peas. 
The rest of the garden {shown here} is ready for seeds!

Hiking is such a fun part of the Spring for us.
The girls and I decided to hike to the ridge of a very steep hill to see these iron horses.
How they got them up there, I will never know!

 And today....we are back outside. Planting potatoes, working steers, and maybe even taking a dip in the creek.
Cleaning a bit indoors, creating fresh spaces from willy nilly messes made all winter.
Oh this Spring time is pure joy!

Hope your Spring day is a lovely one!

~Julia

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Small Life...and {Clean Eating} Strawberry Brown Butter Betty Tarts

Sometimes my life seems ever so small compared to those around me.
With the world at our fingertips these days, it's easy to compare my life to others and feel like they are stretching so much farther.
Like everyone is living big, doing bigger things.
And I am living small.

But small is not insignificant.
It is in the smallest of moments that I feel thankful.
Thankful for the sweet hug from one of my children.
The smile from my husband, knowing what he is feeling without words.
The gratitude of a sink of dishes and bubbly warm water to wash them clean...the satisfaction that I have fed my family.
It is in the smallest of moments that I think God speaks.
Not in the noise and rush.
But the quiet few minutes when you can give Him your time.
And who is to say that a small life is not important?
The things we are doing for our families day in and day out are stepping stones...launching pads for our children into the world.
The talk with my teens, the time spent doing things they love, pushing them to be better, being there.
Serving others, serving your neighbors.
This is where the small things really add up to something big.


When I have had a busy, stretched- thin kind of day, I am happy to go back to my small life.
It can be meaningful, purposeful, finding the gratitude in the days that it seems like I am on repeat.
Those days that I think I can't wash another load, or clean another mess, I have learned to seek the moments of thankfulness.
The small moments...that add up to living big.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And speaking of living BIG....these Strawberry Brown Butter Betty Tarts will knock your socks off.
The recipe is simple, but the little tarts will add such a lovely surprise to your Easter table...or really any time you want a healthy dessert.

STRAWBERRY BROWN BUTTER BETTY TARTS


This recipe was adapted heavily from Smitten Kitchen :)

3/4 stick salted butter
1 tsp. coconut sugar set aside
8 slices gluten free bread of your choice {white works best}
1/4 + 1TBS coconut sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 cup + 2 TBS. almond flour
2 cups strawberries sliced
opt. whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in the middle.
In a small pan, melt the butter. Once it is melted, turn heat down to low and keep stirring.
The butter will develop a nutty smell and start to turn brown.
Do not take your eyes off of the butter during the process. The period between brown and burnt can be less than a minute.
Once it has browned, remove from heat.

Cut the crusts off of your bread and press them flat with a rolling pin.
Lightly butter 8 muffin tins with your brown butter and sprinkle the bottoms with the 1 tsp. coconut sugar set aside.
Lightly brush both side of the bread and press into each muffin tin.

Make the filling!
Stir together coconut sugar, zest, almond flour, then add strawberries to coat.
Stir in remaining brown butter and mix well.
Scoop the strawberry mixture into the tins, pressing gently.

Cover pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then uncover and bake about another 10 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes before serving.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.


Enjoy!

~Julia

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Red Angus Valentine Calves

Because I can't stop taking baby calf pictures and some people might start to block my personal Facebook page if I don't stop posting.....I thought I'd share a little Red Angus love here!
The babies all came around Valentine's Day- three bulls and a little heifer.
I you LOVE farm life photos, and {my personal obsession}- cow pictures, you are welcome to follow me on Instagram.



Just standing...

















Lily's show steers, Fizzy and Soda Pop. Jack loves to help her.




Fizzy has a problem with licking. Even with a salt block, he licks poor Lily until she is wet!

Feeding in the mist.


Enjoy your day!

~Julia

Monday, January 18, 2016

Sending Notes




There is nothing I enjoy more than receiving a letter.
My heart always skips a beat at the sight of a thoughtfully penned note.
In my 20's I did alot of letter writing.
This was pre-email, pre-smart phone, Facebook, Instagram, etc. etc. 
You get the picture.
You picked up the phone to call and chat...or you sent a letter.
Time was spent on words that blessed someone, made them happy, gave condolences, encouraged.
It is somewhat of a lost art these days.
Hand written notes tell someone you really thought about them and took a few minutes to send them a pretty card and thoughts.

It is so easy to find notecards.
Several of mine came from the local Dollar Store. 
I like to keep a small drawer full of pretty cards so I am ready at a moments notice to write.

I love, love this Etsy shop and all of their beautiful stationary.
Oh!
And how about a stamp to make sticking your address on the envelope that much more fun?
and what about stationary paper for those notes that might be a little longer?
The possibilities are endless and there are so many options available out there to find cards that refelect your sense of style.

Here is to a year filled with the chance to make someone's day with a simple note!


~Julia


Saturday, January 9, 2016

On Happiness....


This man. 
We have been together for almost 19 years now and I think I love him more today...if that's possible.
He'd be so embarrassed if he knew I was writing this....so I will keep things short and to the point :)
Has our marriage been perfect and easy all of time? 
Well...no. It wasn't supposed to be.
But he has made life easier for me with his constant forgiveness, his understanding, his guidance and protection over our family.
He puts our needs above his own. 
 Everyday.
Our thoughts and lives are so forever deeply intertwined that I find myself thinking of him throughout the day and anticipating seeing him again.
Even on a rough day.

Love is a multitude of emotions and experiences!

We have kids that are getting older, and I have found myself wanting to prepare them for the future.
I ran across this article and thought it was just so perfectly written.
Perhaps you have seen it?
I read it to all of my kids, because it is never too early to instill that kind of view towards God's intention of marriage and happiness.
More so, that happiness is there if you follow God's design.
Life is NOT perfect, marriage will never be perfect, because WE are not perfect.
But to try again.
To forgive, and encourage.
To bring the best out in our spouse and family.
To talk good about our family....to choose to love....that is where it's at.





Dear Children,
Should the Lord give you the good gift of a husband or wife, and I hope He does, there are a few things I want you to know. Things that you may not hear from anyone else, and certainly not on TV or other media. Sadly,… your church may not even tell you.
Marriage, sweet little people, is not for the purpose of your happiness. Happy as I want you to be and hope you will be, you must yet understand that marriage is God’s design and His purposes must be pursued in order for you to be truly happy. His end is holiness and He will use all things in a life devoted to Him to fulfill that end.
To my girls:
Marry a man whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, he is not hard to please. Admire him, cheer him on and show gratitude, and he will fall over himself trying to please you. Smile often, speak well of him always, and do whatever necessary to try and maintain a pleasant mood about you so that it transfers to your home, making it a place where he and your children love to be.
You’ll have bad days of course, crying days even, and that’s when you go to your bedroom, kneel on the floor and beg the Lord to carry you. Then get up, get a fresh perspective (crayons will come off the wall), and try again. Above all else, make a home.
To my boys:
Marry a woman whose first pursuit is Christ. After that, she may be hard to please only if you don’t know “the secret”. What is that? I’m glad you asked. The secret to pleasing your wife is to make her feel safe and treasured. You may have to move out of your comfort zone to do this at times. She won’t always readily translate the oil change to love, though it means that. But let me give you a “secret question”–a question you need to ask her often. It’s not just in the asking, though. Be sure to focus your eyes on hers, maybe even touch her shoulder or face, and then ask: “What’s on your mind these days? “ And then be ready to listen. She wants you to draw her out. She will perceive this as your protection over the matters of her heart. Tenderness, listening, protection. That’s what she wants.
To you all:
If your wife or husband does something really silly, forgive. If they do it again, forgive again. Forgiveness must be the propelling force in your lives each day. Dwell on the strengths, push out thoughts of their weaknesses. Take every thought captive–choose to love.
Here’s that part you are not going to hear often:
If you find yourself “not happy”, having lost attraction, disinterested, etc., you are not permitted to even think about a divorce. If you find yourselves arguing more and more, don’t think for a minute that “the children will be better off out of this”, because th
The vows you took on your wedding day were not suggestions. They were covenant vows, before a Holy God, family and friends, to stay with this person the rest of your life, even if you don’t feel like it. You swore a solemn oath and if you can’t live up to it, don’t get married. Decide up front that your marriage is irrevocable. There is far more motivation for getting along if your “marriage house” has no door.
Do not share intimate thoughts or feelings with anyone of the opposite sex. Do not find yourself alone for any length of time with such either.
Divorce is not a “private option”. It will affect multiple families for many generations. When you “separate what God has joined” you permanently injure far more than just yourself.
Guard your marriage as fiercely as you would guard your own life. Treat your spouse as an extension of your flesh, just as God sees you. Treat your spouse like other family members. You know, “you gotta love ‘em, they’re the only family you’ve got”.
I want you to be happy, I surely do. But I will pray for you to be holy.
Proverbs 19:14 – “Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.”
Proverbs 20:6-7 – “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.”
To those of you who are in a troubled marriage, and are reading this, know you are in my prayers.
My intent in posting this is to encourage, because I found the letter uplifting, but I know some of us are hurting.
I also know that I would NEVER encourage someone to stay in a marriage if there is danger to their life or their children's lives! This letter does not state this thought....rather to forgive silly mistakes. Abuse is never a silly mistake.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!
~Julia


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