Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Last of Summer


















The last of summer seems to be here.
Carefree days, canning, impromptu swims in the river with cousins.
The long days stretching into late nights playing baseball outside and late night walks with the steers.
A summer birthday with a cake they dream of each year.
Frosting made in whipped clouds of chocolate bliss.
Front porch snuggles with the dog, wagon rides for the littlest cousins.
Filling the farm stand with the last of the produce and enjoying the vibrant sunflowers in wild bouquets.
Oh...and jars of peach and strawberry jams.
The good things in life are moments like these.
Although simple, the memories I hold so dear to my heart are not the ones that cost oodles of money to attain.
Rather the perfect rhythm of days filled with summering outside, chores, gardening, long walks and bike rides, searching the canal for crawdads {my kids could do that for hours} .
Busy days...I could leave them behind.

How about you?
Finishing up summer?

~Julia


Friday, August 28, 2015

Today

This recipe.

It is oh so delicious and the balsamic vinegar just brings out the crisp strawberry flavor.
The black pepper complements the acidity.
Who would have guessed such a combination wold excite the palette.
A little portion of summer wrapped in sweet red goodness.
This jar is going to the Fair...against some tough competition.
We have some amazing ladies here in our town that can everything you can imagine!

How are you wrapping up the summer season?

~Julia

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How to Scar Pumpkins


Welcome to the pumpkin patch!

Some of my gourds and pumpkins are ready to etch, or scar.
I love the look of a sweet pumpkin with a welcoming word... bumpy and raised on the front.
They make the perfect Fall decoration!


The process is super simple, so I thought I would share my how-to with you.

I searched Pinterest for ideas.
Love that place for inspiration!
After coming up with a few ideas for lettering style and wording, I start to look for pumpkins/ gourds that are almost ready.
You don't want to start with a really small pumpkin because as it grows, the lettering will grow a little with it.

Find a pumpkin that is almost full size. 
It is totally OK if it is still green.
Scarring time needs to be about 4 weeks, so late August is a great time to start this project.

I have 2 tools that I use: a pen or fine marker, and a very tiny {1/4 inch} flat head screw driver.
That's it!

Using your ball point pen, or fine marker, draw out your design onto the best face of the pumpkin.
Be sure to leave it on the vine.
It is crucial that the pumpkin is still maturing.



This Blue Hubbard squash has very tender skin, so the ball point pen makes more of an indentation.
It is easier to write on harder shelled  pumpkins.

Using your little screw driver, trace over the lines.
Make sure that you are taking off a layer of rind. The deeper you go, the more raised the scarring will be.
I like to make my indentation about 1/4 inch. 



It gets a little messy, and you will need to wipe the surface clean, clean pulp off the screw driver and then continue on.



Make sure that you have exposed the flesh of the gourd.
Sometimes this means going over a line a few times to get a clean cut,





If you want really heavy scarring, just etch a little deeper.
I can "eye-ball" the drawing, but if you need a template, you can just print the lettering into paper.
Place the paper on the pumpkin and press over the wording lines onto the pumpkin for a rough pattern.

In about 4 weeks you will have a beautiful gourd to display for Fall!

What are you doing to prepare for the next season ahead?


~Julia


Monday, August 3, 2015

Showing the Steers


























It was his first cattle show and little sister also tried her hand in the show ring, too.
She is his "right hand" helper, and little brother is following suit.
The days were hot.
Sweltering 105 degree days where Mama had to just find a shady spot to stay upright.
Heat and I don't get along!
But Dad and the kids just plowed through.
Grooming and clipping.
Getting in the ring with the steers.
In the end, one of the steers decided he was done, and refused to cooperate.
I was so proud of my kids for sticking with it and finishing with a smile.
Because sometimes, that's the way it goes.
You have trials, you stick with it, and in the end you make it through with integrity and you are better for it.

Summer is flying by.
A fleeting run of sunshine and memories.
A part of me is ready for cooler weather and the Autumn colors.
How about you?

Wishing you a lovely day!

~Julia
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Recycling Flowers


I have been stocking my little stand now every weekend, and have made a little.
Mostly, I just enjoy the creating and sharing of what flowers I have blooming in the garden.
Flowers just evoke happy thoughts, memories, and cheer people's hearts.
They bring me joy, and the recipient joy.

One dilema I have run into is what to do with the bouquets that don't sell.
It breaks my heart to just throw them away.


I have had a plan to start bringing mini bouquets to the nursing home on a regular basis once I had enough to share.
After finding THIS site, I am just going to bring what I have left in the stand and share even a couple of flower arrangements with the residents.

This idea...oh it warms my heart.
I would seriously like to take on a project like this in the future.
Just watch this video...

                 


What do you think? 
Doesn't it just inspire you to take a few blooms, even from your yard, to someone who is hurting, or recovering?

Flowers have such a presence and capacity to ease burdens, bring a little happiness, evoke joyful memories.
I will definitely be recycling and sharing the love :)

Hope your weekend is a lovely one!

~Julia

Monday, July 6, 2015

At the Lake

 














A late afternoon dip in the cool waters.
Just the thing to break the monotony of a scorching heat wave that has not let up.
Days that have required a little siesta in the afternoons to renew energy levels.
The gift of water, refreshing and cold.
Laughter with cousins and friends was the perfect thing for our 4th of July.
No fireworks required, we made our own sparks of entertainment well into the early evening.
Topping things off with giant oatmeal cookies and laughter all the way home.

Hope you are having a great start to your week and that your 4th of July was a safe one!

~Julia



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