Thursday, May 28, 2015

One Simple Thing-Kitchen Drawer Liners

I like lined drawers and shelves.
It not only adds color to the kitchen,
it gives a more finished look and makes cleaning a breeze.
The older I get, the more I look for 
easier ways to keep the house clean.
After all, I'd rather be gardening, reading or sewing.
With the house on the market, it just makes sense
to keep everything neat and tidy.
Here's our simple solution to messy drawers. 

I found these brown cloth napkins for a steal at a thrift store.
It's one of those things that I keep my eye out for,
as they have so many uses.
Here we used them to line our kitchen drawers.
I don't like using the vinyl liners with adhesive
because I think the glue attracts bugs.

Not all of our drawers are the same size,
so the napkins were just folded over to fit.
Custom for a fraction of the cost!

With a dozen in the set, there were enough to fill every drawer
in our kitchen, which has generous storage.

When they get crumby or dirty,
we just take them out, shake them off,
or launder if necessary.
 Our drawers never looked so good!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Maple Hill Hop 82

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

It's hotter than the dickens out there!
With temperatures feeling more like summer,
there's been less time spent in the garden.
We have managed to get a few things done
in the early morning or early evening hours.

The green beans are doing well.
This is the Slenderette variety that my garden coach Lynn uses.
They are stringless, tender and oh-so-good!

 Looks like we'll be able to harvest these yummy morsels in a day or two.

The broccoli is on its way out.
It's just too dang hot, even in the shady spot it is placed.
We will enjoy tips as long as we can
and make room for something else.
When you eat seasonally, it just goes with the territory.

The rest of the spent broccs are being left in place
to act as a trap plant.
The bugs eat these, and leave the string beans alone.

 The Canary Melon is starting to blossom.
We've never grown these before,
so we're looking forward to comparing them to other melons.
This one shouldn't mind the heat.

The dill has started to take off!
It's also attracting black swallowtail caterpillars.
There are a ton of eggs on the leaves,
as well as the cats I bring home from Faye & Lynn's.
Go forth and prosper lil' guys!

The passionflower vine is seeing more of these visitors as well.
The gulf fritillary caterpillars transform into a
beautiful orange and black butterfly.
We never tire of witnessing the magic of nature.

 The beautyberry is coming back into flower.
This weekend we noticed a lot of bees enjoying these blossoms.
Soon the flowers make way for gorgeous magenta globes,
which the birds readily savor.

 This is the beautyberry I transplanted a few weeks ago.
I am thrilled that it is coming back big time.
We've had enough rain in the past couple of weeks
and I think it really nurtured it.
There's just nothing like a good rainstorm.

 On Friday night, we had a whopper!
We got over 5 inches of rain and had hail 
for only the second time in the 10 years that we've lived here.
It was something to see.
Our backyard neighbors' lamppost was struck by lightening,
and knocked out their irrigation system.
Thankfully, no one was injured.
It was a real toad-strangler!

These crape myrtles keep popping up all over the yard.
I think I'm gonna pot 'em up and sell them.
Might as well make the garden work for us!

 This time of year is difficult for me
because I love being outside
and that's just not possible much of the day.
I'm thankful that I can enjoy beautiful blooms
and delicious home-grown food from the garden.

What's happening outside where you are?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Modern Farmstead Magazine

Are you looking for a place where folks enjoy the simpler things in life?
A spot where you can glean ideas about the homemade lifestyle, ponder your life's work,
and maybe find some fantastic "real food" recipes to add to your repertoire?
We've got just the place!

If you're familiar with Staci, over at
Life at Cobble Hill Farm,
you know that you're in for a treat.
She's the homesteading maven who has created her own company,
Cobble Hill Farm Apothecary,
where you can find luscious lotions, soaps, balms and other personal care products.

Adirondack Forest Goats Milk Soap

 Her newest venture is an online magazine called
Modern Farmstead Magazine.

This wonderful new resource will be exploring all things homesteading such as
gardening, handmade living, homemade bath & body, raising animals, recipes, simplicity and so much more.
It's chocked full of great ideas and inspiration.
I was honored to be asked to contribute to the premier issue.

This is from the website:
"Published quarterly, this free e-mag celebrates cooking from scratch, treasuring the simple things in life, growing a bountiful garden and embracing all things homemade and handcrafted.

In short, we celebrate  

You'll be so glad you did!

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Maple Hill Hop 81

Maple Hill Hop

Welcome to 
The Maple Hill Hop.
This is a hop for folks who love the outdoors.
Feel free to post about anything that's going on
in your neck of the woods,
no matter the season.
(Please share only outdoor posts.)
*Grab the button to link back to Maple Hill 101.*

It's been a busy few days around here.
Here's what we've been up to lately at Maple Hill.

With all the veggie beds planted,
we're concentrating on turning this former veggie bed
into a flower bed.
The last of the broccoli is holding its own, but will soon succumb to the heat and be pulled.
Two canary melon plants have been started
and I need to fashion a tipi to grow it vertically.
We've also added a few butterfly plants like native milkweed
and nectar plants like the yellow lantana. 
I guess it'll be our hodge-podge garden.
It's got a long way to filling in,
but I'm looking forward to the transformation.

The order from Sow True Seed arrived, much to my delight.
We hosted a giveaway a few weeks ago,
and I was so impressed with this company
that I placed my own order.

We ordered one type of pepper, a couple of varieties of lettuce 
that are supposed to be able to withstand warmer climates,
and an unusual melon

 that actually looks like a cucumber.

We also ordered several flower seed packets.
They have a fantastic selection of heirloom and organic seeds.

This was the giveaway item that Sue won.
I went ahead and ordered a tin for our garden.

So cute!

How much do I love that Sow True Seed 
includes empty seed jackets so that the seed can be saved?!

I've read about Calendula on many gardening blogs,
and I couldn't wait to try it out.
Two days after planting, it came up.
This seed company has a lifelong customer.

Over at Faye & Lynn's container garden,
the black-eyed peas are going gangbusters!
They are enjoying the hot, humid days
as they savor every bit of shade.
It's a transition time there,
as beets, Swiss chard and broccoli are all showing signs 
of slowing down, bug damage and wilting in the heat.
No worries though.
We are planting okra, lettuce, scallions, and radishes galore!

Fortunately, Faye saw this critter before it saw her!

On Saturday, I took a short trip to Clermont,
about an hour from our house to meet a good friend for lunch.
She took me on a tour of her daughter's homestead, 
newly purchased and right up my alley.
Look at this inviting pathway to the back part of the property.

The three-stall barn is a lovely sight from the backyard.
The soaring pines make a beautiful fence line.

The barn also includes a tack room,
so it's ready to go for the next lil' rider.
I just love the smell of a good barn.

Another area boasts what looks like a chicken coop.
This homestead is perfect for those who enjoy rural living,
and yet, it's not far from all the amenities.

With 9 acres to explore,
this family will be able to create some marvelous memories for years to come.
It makes me feel good to know that others have realized a dream.
It means 
Sometimes, that's all we have.

That's what's happening where we are.
How 'bout you?
Let's HOP!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Easy Sproutin'!

I've posted before about making your own sprouts.
It's pretty easy,
all you need is a jar, some beans and water.
You can read about that here and here.

This gizmo was given to me by my farmer friends, Faye & Lynn.
It's one of those vintage items that's been in their on-site storage for a while.
I'm not even sure they are made anymore.
They asked me if I wanted to try it out.
Always game for a new food adventure, I agreed.

It comes with a base, three clear tiers and a top (left/front) cover.
You can use one or all of the tiers,
depending on how many folks eat sprouts in your household.
It's nice to have a variety of sprouts too.
 My order of alfalfa is expected soon,
and I'll be trying them out as well.

These little gadgets are the secret.
They fit on every level (except the base) and allow water to trickle down.

I used dried lentils that I had in the pantry.
I just filled up the bottom vessel.

After adding the top container over the beans,
 about 2 cups of water was added.

See the water trickling down?

The water is changed just once daily.
Simply remove the top tier,
and reuse the water in the base to water house or patio plants.
This is how they looked after three days.

You just know they're gonna be delicious!

Here's what happened after 5 days.
It made me wonder if it would also work
for sprouting hard-shelled seeds for sowing.

Am I the only one who thinks this is fascinating?
Those dried beans just want to grow
and give us something fresh to eat!
What a great lesson for kids to see how God is always providing.

The sprouts were dumped into a colander and rinsed.

They were drained for a bit,
but you could also spin them in a salad spinner.

What a wonderful addition to any salad or sandwich.
However you decide to do it,
get your sprouts on!

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