Friday, December 27, 2019

Garden Friday

What better use for a coffee can?

Welcome to Garden Friday!
It's officially winter here in the Piedmont,
although chilly temperatures have been a constant for the last few weeks.
It's been a challenge to get anything done out in the garden
(except for decorating with holiday lights),
but slowly, a few projects are coming along.

last year's daffs

I managed to get a few types of spring bulbs planted,
but not as many as I had hoped.
Ah well, there's always next season, right?
Adding a few more each spring and fall
will eventually have our garden stocked with blooms.

While it's not entirely impossible to have success planting this late in the season,
NC State Extension recommends doing so by mid-December.
Of course, the bulbs are better off planted than stuck in your fridge,
waiting for next autumn, so it's worth a shot if the ground hasn't yet frozen.

 Some of the lettuces that managed to survive my neglect
were transplanted into containers,

 while several were planted directly into the hugelkultur bed.
With a heavy blanket of mulched leaves,
I'm hoping they will be well insulated and cozy.

 This has been the perpetual scene at our place.
We work on raking the leaves,
but we have miles to go to corral them all.
Maybe we'll finally catch up,
now that most of the leaves have completed their exodus from branches.

To aid in this endeavor,
Big K found this leaf mulcher on a local online marketplace.
I'm stoked, I tell ya!
It makes it so easy to just wander around the property
and suck up every last leaf I can find.

It grinds them into just the right sized mulch
that I've been adding to flower beds, veggie beds and containers.
What a blessing.
No doubt we'll get plenty of use out of it every fall.
The bonus is that we were able to buy used,
our preferred method of staying green 
and saving money to boot.

Enjoy a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Happy Christmas!

Twas the day before Christmas and all through the home
Every creature was ready, yes, even our gnome.
 The lights in the garden, a new Christmas trend,
Welcomed casual visitors and each seasoned friend.

The cookies all baked and delivered on time
 Caused a profusion of smiles and feelings sublime.
The cards mailed early with love and affection,
Spread thoughts of good cheer and honest reflection.

Our Carolina Christmas will be perfectly quiet,
Without a concern for our usual diet.
Good food, company, and health all around,
Keep us counting the blessings that always abound.

The cool winter weather has aided us all
In fact, it seems that we almost missed Fall.
Our heaviest coats remain at the ready,
For snowfall we wish, be it slow and quite steady.

May your holiday be blissful and bright
Enjoy the merriment on this festive night.
And celebrate loved ones ever so dear
And the time spent together at this time of year.

"God bless us, everyone."
~Tiny Tim

Thursday, December 19, 2019

No Sugar Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are insanely good.
Believe it or not, no processed sugar is found in their midst.
Just chewy, chocolatey goodness
for those of us who would rather 
not do the sugar thang.
Easy to prepare, quick to fix, with minimal ingredients,
there is nothing not to love about these sweet treats.
There is no need to even turn on the oven!
I am working my way through the
marveling at the simplicity and wholesomeness
of all of Dana's well executed recipes.

One of the things I like best about these cookies
and many of the other recipes on the website,
is the flexibility in substituting ingredients.
If someone is sensitive to eggs, dairy, nuts or wheat,
there are usually alternatives offered.
Since peanuts are legumes, not tree nuts,
these cookies can be enjoyed by most everyone,
except those with a true peanut allergy.
The cookies pictured above are the ones I made,
using Sunbutter instead of peanut butter,
because it's what I had on hand.
The result?
Truly scrumptious!
The glaze will no doubt be used over and over,
as it keeps me sugar-free and chocolate happy!

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
(Minimalist Baker)

1 C gluten-free oats
1 pinch sea salt
3/4 C medjool dates
1/2 C peanut butter (or other nut butter)

Chocolate Glaze
3 T coconut oil
3 T cacao powder
1-2 t maple syrup
pinch salt
Add oats and salt to a processor and blend into a flour. 
Add dates and blend for 30 seconds more or until finely chopped. 
Add nut butter and blend until a dough forms.
Scoop out 2-Tbsp amounts of dough and carefully form into mounds. 
Place on a parchment-lined pan or tray. 
Mix ingredients for glaze in a bowl and whisk until smooth. 
Dip the cookies in (about halfway), let excess drip off, 
and place back on parchment-lined pan or tray. Freeze 10 minutes. 
Then dip again for extra thick shell. Chill again. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Going Local-ReSettlers Antique Mall

Over the weekend,
we made a trip up to Statesville
to visit a place Big K has been telling us about for a while.
We are a family of thrifters,
about the only type of shopping we really enjoy.
I guess because it's more like a treasure hunt,
rather than shopping.
ReSettlers Antique Mall didn't disappoint.

 This place is open seven days a week
and showcases treasures from all over North Carolina.
There was a great selection of vintage toys.

For the collector,
cameras I remember from my childhood were displayed.

 Classic radios and other electronics
made us feel like we had stepped back in time.

 These vintage fans have so much character, no?

 If this lantern had been complete,
(it's missing the glass in front),
it may have come home with me.

 Remember watching home movies 
with the help of something akin to this?

 An old parking meter was an unusual sight.
We loved how it was easy to see its inner workings.

C spotted this item.
It's a gas-powered fire alarm,
something that is quite rare.
He collects fire alarm paraphernalia.

Something that caught my eye
was this display of military clothing,

 including this World War II aviator's cap.
If only it could talk...

 Outside was a small selection of garden items
and building materials.

I could picture this whirly-gig flower stake in our garden.
Unfortunately, it was more than I wanted to pay.

 An array of furniture was for sale,
including this treadle sewing machine table.

 Just when we thought we'd seen it all,
Big K told us about 

 There were tools for all kinds of jobs.

 and outside.
I spotted a child's metal rake in this bin,
and now wished I had gotten it.
They come in handy for so many little jobs.

 This collection reminds me of Mimi.
She and my grandmother once had
a laundry in France and actually used these types of irons.

 This popcorn popper has seen some action!
Do kids today even know there is another way 
to pop popcorn besides microwaving it?

 Enamelware is dear to my heart.
I managed to resist bringing every pot home.

 Need a bottle or jar?
This is the place to take your pick!
I spied the old-fashioned coffee pots to the left of the shelves.

I remember that we had one of these in our house,
and I think someone used it as a hamper.
It would be fun to come up with other uses for these baskets,
like toy storage, keeping long-handled garden tools,
or turning it upside-down and placing a flowerpot on it.

We are so glad we finally got to ReSettlers.
They handle estate sales, offer booths for folks to sell their items,
and display others' belongings on consignment.
It's a wonderful service for those who are downsizing,
or needing to sell off a family members' belongings.
We'll get back there again, I'm sure.
With inventory changing all the time,
you never know what you might find.

Previous Going Local posts:

Dearness Gardens
Memory Lane Museum
Mike's Growers
Mundy House
Renfrow Hardware

Friday, December 13, 2019

Garden Friday

 Welcome to Garden Friday
from the frozen Piedmont!
Believe it or not,
these pansies are still hanging in there,
despite an unusually frigid autumn.
Yes, it's still officially fall,
although you wouldn't guess it from the thermometer!

Today's post is simply something I wanted to pass along.
As someone who still marvels at all there is to know in this world,
I've found something that is instrumental in expanding one's knowledge
of all things plant related.
It's an app called,
and it is something I use habitually.

Once the app is loaded onto your phone,
(there's a small annual fee),
it's simply a matter of taking a photograph of the subject,
waiting just a few seconds, et


Enlightenment descends, as it lavishes copious amounts 
of knowledge into your brain.
The information answers questions about plant varieties,
related species, favored conditions, seasonal characteristics,
and much, much more.
There's not a week that goes by that I don't use it.

There is nothing better than a library full of
fantastic gardening tomes.
The beauty of this app is that it travels with you,
so if you are out and about,
not only can you identify something you're not sure of,
but it stores the information for you,
so that it can be referred to again and again.
Okay, I'll admit, I was probably the last person on the planet
to get a fancy phone.
But this app has been so much fun to use,
it's been worth succumbing to the trend.

We lit up the garden this week,
and are we loving it!

 We used bamboo stakes to form a tepee,
or Christmas tree shape, then added lights.
Upside-down tomato cages do a great job as well.

lights on the loofah trellis

The arches look fairly amazing
when it's black as pitch outside.
I hope to have more lights next year.

Do you light up your garden for the holidays? 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Percolatin' Perks

Vintage runs in my blood.
Although I've always had an appreciation for older things,
somewhere in my 30's, I lost touch with my inner self.
Once rediscovered, I began thrifting and scouring yard sales and flea markets
for all things classic 
(read well made). 
Let's face it,
with very few exceptions,
things are just not made with the same pride and satisfaction
as in days past.
Thankfully, it's possible to appoint oneself with treasures from long ago,
that are utilitarian and built to last.

Take this percolator.
After searching for quite a while,
it was spotted at a local downtown merchant.
At $18, it was the bargain of a lifetime,
and it didn't hurt that it was in pristine condition.

Why do I love this percolator?
First of all, it makes an epic cup of coffee.
Don't ask me all of the specifics, because a barista, I am not.
All I know is that the flavor is crisp, fresh and just the strength I desire.

Other reasons to consider getting yourself one of these hot little numbers:

  ~It doesn't take up a lot of counter space like machine coffee makers.
~It is easy to clean-dishwasher safe or a quick rinse under warm water and you're ready to brew again!
~No need for electricity-even if we lose power I can have my joe.  
Simply place on a camp stove or fire pit and it's go-time!
~With no wires or electrical parts, there is nothing to wear out.
~This is a no-waste device.  With no filters to buy, there is no need to trash anything.
In fact, the used grounds make a wonderful addition to the garden or the worm bin.

I'm always working on creating less of a footprint in my day-to-day,
and this step back in time actually is the wave of the future.
It helps me keep the commitment to Mother Earth every time it's used.

Instead of buying one of those complicated machines
that do everything short of cleaning your house,
why not simplify with a gadget that has stood the test of time?

Here is my recipe for a marvelous cup of coffee.

~Place wire basket assembly into coffeepot.
~Measure out the number of cups of water needed
and pour directly on top of the basket
(this is supposed to keep grounds in the basket,
and out of your coffee).
~Fill the basket with measured coffee grounds
(I use 3 Tablespoons per 2 cups of water.)
~Replace lid of basket and percolator.
~Place on high heat until percolation begins.
~Turn down to a simmer and percolate 15-20 minutes.