Thursday, May 31, 2012

From our garden....

Here we are at May 31 already!  It seems as though the year is passing quickly!  Perhaps the way our warmer weather this spring has advanced the growing season has something to do with that.  At any rate, I am sharing more from our garden today.

Zucchini on Monday morning.
Another one on the vine.

Later on Monday morning, we harvested these zucchini, and I sliced and roasted them for lunch.  Each day has brought more.  This is the first year they have been ready before the yellow squash, and we are still waiting for them!

A full basket!

We have more than a dozen zucchini now, just waiting to be changed into something delectable.  I'll try to remember to photograph and let you see how we use them.

Also in the basket in the picture above is the largest beet we have ever seen!!  Somehow it was overlooked in the garden from last fall's planting.  Others have been harvested that were not near this size!  We enjoy Harvard Beets, made from a recipe in Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two from the late-sixties.

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1/3 cup liquid (beet juice plus water to make 1/3 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1 can (8 oz.) diced beets, drained (1 cup)

- Mix cornstarch, sugar, salt, and pepper in saucepan.  Combine beet liquid and vinegar; slowly blend into cornstarch mixture.  Place over medium heat and bring to boil; boil 1 minutes.  Add beets and heat through.  Two servings.

We, of course, didn't need to use canned beets.  We were able to use the liquid from our initial cooking of the beets, and that has worked very well for us.  In past years we have also made pickled beets.  I know beets are not popular with everyone, but perhaps some of you enjoy them.

Thank you so much for following along.  I really enjoy your comments.

Next post - King of our castle....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jousting and fairies....

If you have been following along for the past couple of days, you know that we recently attended the Renaissance Faire in Triune, TN.  Not only did we witness people in period dress, we also had an opportunity to observe some Renaissance-type activities.

Preparing for a jousting event.

In full regalia.

We actually watched the Royal Joust!  As I have mentioned before, the temperature on last Saturday in Middle Tennessee was very hot!  It was amazing to watch this event take place on the field in the sunshine, with the horses and riders dressed appropriately for the event.  This was the first time we have seen an event such as this, and we really enjoyed it.

Taking place in a more shaded location was a gathering of fairies.

Enjoying the shade.

They were eating a snack of apples and other fruit.

The Fairies of Covington Glen roamed about the festival grounds.  I found them most delightful!

Tuesday was a busy day, beginning first with a stop at the Weight Watchers center for my monthly weigh in.  By the skin of my teeth, I am still at goal making 4 1/2 years!  Then I headed for the Senior Center and some time playing bridge.  Today, my time is being spent with ordinary chores like laundry.:)

We are enjoying some things from the garden.  Come back for the next post, and I'll show you what we have.:)

Thank you for following along.  I enjoy reading your comments.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Renaissance Fair....

Before I proceed with this post, there is a bit of filling in of some details in the last one.

A Brit in Tennessee had mentioned the Renaissance Fair that was in progress in Triune, TN, near Arrington, located between Franklin and Murfreesboro.  We arranged a visit with City Girl who lives in the "big city," and made plans to head to Triune on Saturday. 

The Castle Gwynn is the result of a dream, in 1970, of a high school student.  As events proceeded, construction on the first tower began in 1980.  The second tower was begun in 1985.  Additional portions were constructed in 2004 and 2007.  Still a work in progress, the most recent work has been repair and resurfacing of damage caused by the construction of a new highway.

I should mention here that the tapestry exhibit, one picture which I showed yesterday, belongs to Imogene Stone.

This same highway construction forced the Tennessee Renaissance Festival to relocate to adjoining property across the road in 1997.  This was the 27th Annual Tennessee Renaissance Festival, an event that occurs on every week-end in May, plus Memorial Day.  So, if you didn't attend THIS year, you will have to wait until 2013!:-)

We did, along with many, many others, enjoy the Festival.  Hopefully the few pictures I am including will give you an idea of what the event encompasses.

Directions for Festival goers.

Rules of the Realm; hard to read, I know.

Fair program - map and events.

Renaissance attire.

More in period dress.

Continuing along the theme.

A very congenial pair.

Also true to the Renaissance period.

On this past Saturday, the temperatures in Middle Tennessee were very hot!   We were all amazed at how these participants wore this heavy clothing in the heat!

I have noticed new followers, and I really appreciate your following along.  I love reading  your comments.

Next post - Jousting - and fairies!

Monday, May 28, 2012

"For a man's house....

                                           his castle."
                                                                      Sir Edward Coke (1552-1634)

This castle is a man's home!

On the mention of A Brit in Tennessee, we decided to take a trip to investigate Castle Gwynn, built by an individual, and still not complete.  We toured the first floor of the interior, plus enjoyed the grounds.

                                  The gatehouse.  

There was a tapestry display on the first floor.  I took several pictures, but this one seems to be the clearest one.

I thought the unicorns most appropriate for a castle.

There were several unusual items of decoration in the castle.

Do you have one of these decorating your house?

Or one of these?

The grounds were lovely, with a garden and a waterfall.

Begonias in full bloom.

                         Cooling for a very hot day!
We were able to take City Girl along with us, so that added more fun to the trip.:-)

I have noticed new followers!  Thank you so much for coming along.  I truly enjoy your comments!

Next post - Renaissance Fair....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Not just veggies....

First, I will admit that most of our efforts are devoted to the vegetable garden.  However,  we do have some plants that bless us with just their beautiful blooms.

This hydrangea was very small when we set it out in this location almost eight years ago.  Its growth has been phenomenal, indicating this is probably where it is happiest.  We brought it from our former residence, where it had not been flourishing.  It is full of blooms at this point.

Mother's Day gift!

This Mother's Day gift of a potted geranium also has white snapdragons and a rose-colored petunia, not visible in this picture.  The geraniums look especially cheery now!

We also have begonias to set out along the sidewalk.  Perhaps that will be a project for Monday!:-)  That will definitely be something to share.:-)

I really appreciate those of you who are following along.  I enjoy reading your comments.

Next post - A man's home.....

Saturday, May 26, 2012


I have been following several blogs that virtually teem with creativity!  There are some wonderful crafts that some of you are featuring in your Etsy shops.  While I have done quite a bit of sewing in past years, the sewing machine presently is languishing from idleness, and craft projects have always seemed to wind up in a state of incompletion for me.  The last thing I sewed was a pair of Raggedy Ann pajamas - from "vintage" fabric - for Little Munchkin almost three years ago!

The example that follows is something that was really within possibility for me to accomplish.  However, I picked it up at a craft shop a number of years ago to take to display in my third grade classroom.  When I retired nine years ago, I brought it home.  Hopefully you will be able to see how it looked when I washed it.

Oh, dear! Something happened to my "fluff!"

Just not very soft and fluffy at all!

Are you able to tell any improvement?

The stuffing in the pillow lost its body when I washed and dried it the last time.   This past week, after waiting nine years, I removed the old stuffing and added new polyester fiberfill to plump it up.  Oh, dear!  That means some needlework to stitch up the opening!  After only one prick of the finger with the needle, the opening was stitched, and the pillow was plump once again. 

This is an appropriate way to honor those whose sacrifices of past years enable us to recite this Pledge of Allegiance! 

May you have a good holiday week-end!

Incidentally, the pillow became part of a "Happy Summer Vacation" gift package for the Munchkins.:-) 

New followers - welcome!  I appreciate those of you who are following along, and I love your comments!

Next post - Not just veggies....

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blooms at our place....

We  have been having some afternoon and evening showers this week, followed by a couple of mornings that have looked like this.....

Morning fog on Wednesday and Thursday.

This picture is taken from the back door and shows the garden, the back of our property, and on beyond.
It was later on Wednesday morning when I was able to take the following pictures....

Potatoes now in bloom.

If you look closely, there is a tiny yellow squash in there!

Green beans in bloom.

                        Cherry tomatoes are blooming, too!

 There are some other things planted in the garden as well - okra, sweet potatoes, lima beans, onions and you may have recognized the corn.   The garlic is beginning to show that it will be ready for harvest before too long. 

This garden is what The Husband works hard at keeping in order during this season.  We fertilize it with only our compost, and we use no pesticides.  It is truly an organic garden!   We are able to share our harvest with others, too.

I notice new followers!  Welcome, and I hope you enjoy coming along.  I really appreciate your comments.  One of my followers, Beth, forwarded others to my blog.  Hopefully you will head over to Day by Day with Beth Marie.  I predict you will enjoy it!

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Next post - Craft?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Have I mentioned that I love to go antiquing?  There is rarely a time that I go into an antique store that I don't bring something home with me, so I have to be careful with my shopping excursions.:-)  On a recent trip, however, I found the following dish.

                                      Isn't it lovely?
There was no special tag identifying the dish for a particular purpose.  Some time ago, Susan Branch had a giveaway of a banana dish on her blog, and I have been looking for something that might be similar ever since.  I have tried a couple of uses for this dish.

                                Cloth napkins fit it well.
In a move to be friendly to the environment, we have switched from paper napkins to cloth napkins at our house.  I leave fresh ones available all the time on the counter, so this would be a very attractive way to have them at our fingertips.

                           "Yes, we have no bananas...."
We always have bananas at our house.  One a day is a necessary part of my diet.  The bananas appear to fit into this dish very nicely!  So, I have found my purchase at the antique store to be a very serviceable one for us here. 

I will say that it is serving duty as a banana dish.  The bananas were previously in a basket, and that basket now holds the cloth napkins.  It seems to be a better fit all the way around.:-)

We have had a little rain here the past couple of days, so the garden is really happy.  Coming up next will be a post about our garden progress. 

Thank you so much for following along!  I really enjoy your comments!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunday's dessert....

As promised, I will share Sunday's dessert with  you in this post.  However, there is one "leftover" from the last post.  I have a picture of the Asparagus Quiche that I will post for you now.

                                 Nice and puffy!
I believe I mentioned that I omitted the saltine cracker crust.  The asparagus is really evident in the picture, too.  This is a very good, lowfat dish.:-)

Now, on to the best course - dessert!:-)  As we have been enjoying strawberry season, that was a logical choice for a dessert ingredient, and what better dessert than Strawberry Pie!  This recipe is one that I have had for many years, and I am not sure of the source.  It was probably printed in the newspaper at one point.

STRAWBERRY PIE (this is for one pie)

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 box (3-oz.) strawberry gelatin
2 cups whole strawberries, washed and caps removed
1 baked, cool pie shell

-Mix water, sugar, and cornstarch in saucepan; stir until smooth.  Bring to boil, stirring until it begins to thicken.  Add 1/2 box gelatin, stirring into mixture till thick.  Remove from  heat; cool.  Pour over strawberries that have been place in shell.  Chill one hour before serving. 
Servings - depends on the appetites of those who are being served!   The picture below shows what was left after serving only three!  (I didn't have any!)

                              Not many leftovers.:)
I have noticed new followers!  Welcome!  Thank you to each of you for reading.  I really enjoy your comments.

Next post - Antiquing!

Monday, May 21, 2012


When we purchased this property ten years ago, there was a small patch of wild asparagus.  When we had the growth on the property mowed down, of course - there went the asparagus!  Well, we have been here nearly eight years now, and that wild asparagus is having its best year ever!  Last year, we decided to set out some extra plants - 12 in all - and perhaps the extra attention that little patch received has made the difference.  Last year's plantings are not ready for any harvesting, but we are certainly enjoying what came with the property.  I may have posted a picture of some of it once.

As I mentioned earlier, we spent Mother's Day week-end with Munchomom and family, with Machoman and The Husband working in the kitchen to give all of us a treat.  One of the dishes we were served was this:

White and green asparagus!
The inspiration for this came from an issue of Everyday Food and involved toasted walnuts (oops - they have to be watched closely or they will burn!), with toasted almonds substituting nicely.:-)  Also, there was browned butter in which the asparagus was tossed after it had been cooked in the microwave.  It was very tasty!

With our own homegrown asparagus, I have baked another enjoyable dish.  It comes from a Weight Watchers paper from way back in 1993 or 1994.


2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter
24 unsalted saltines, crushed
1 1/2 cups evaporated skimmed milk
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sliced asparagus

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In medium saucepan, melt butter; add saltine crumbs, stirring to combine.  Using the back of a fork, press saltine mixture evenly over bottom and up the sides of a 10" pie pan.  Bake 5 minutes; set aside.  Leave oven on.
- In medium bowl, combine milk, eggs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg and pepper; stir in asparagus.
- Transfer asparagus mixture to prepared crust; bake 40 minutes, until set.  Serve warm
- Four servings.

I didn't use the saltine crust when I baked this recently.  I just sprayed my pie plate with non-stick spray.

I must tell you that I am awaiting a part for the computer that I usually use for posting on the blog, so I am at another computer.  While I entered the pictures I took of the Asparagus Quiche, now I am having a bit of difficulty finding them on the computer!:-)  I know they are somewhere here, and I will find them and post them another day.:-)

We had a lovely week-end and enjoyed a visit from our Country Girl and New Husband!  I will share the dessert I served them with you on the next post.

Thank you to all who are following.  I truly enjoy your comments.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

That pail of strawberries....

Do you remember that pail of strawberries from the last post?  Well, no, we didn't have that many berries from our few plants.  Wouldn't it be nice, though?:-)  Of course, they are a bit of work.  I bought those berries from the truck that comes to town from a farm a couple of hours or so away.  Our strawberry season isn't long here, and I think it is probably about over.:-(

These lovely berries....

.......have made another appearance here!
Do you remember the recipe I posted several days ago for Carole's Strawberry Dessert?  Well, I was never completely satisfied with that recipe, so I have attempted to create another one on the same order.  We will just call this one "Nellie's Strawberries.":-)


1/4 cup butter, melted (1/2 stick)
2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs

- Combine the above and press into the bottom (and up the sides if you have enough) of an oblong dish.

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened ( used 1/3 reduced fat)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup Cool Whip ( I used Free)

- Mix these three ingredients together and pour over the frozen vanilla wafer crust.

2 cups (or more) sliced strawberries

- Arrange the sliced strawberries over the cream cheese layer.

1 pkg. (small) instant pudding (I used vanilla, but chocolate would be good as well).
1 3/8 cup milk (I used skim)

- Mix and let stand 2 minutes.  Pour over the strawberries.  Spread Cool Whip over the pudding layer.
- Keep refrigerated.

I am better pleased with the results following the changes I made.  Many of you may recognize this basic recipe.  There are several variations out there, and similar recipes may be found in various places.

I really appreciate my followers!  Thank you for your comments.

Next post - Asparagus

Friday, May 18, 2012

Back to the kitchen....

Well, I certainly didn't think it would be this long before I would be posting again on the blog!  It has been a busy week here!  Those of you who have been following since the beginning know that one of my hobbies is playing bridge, and that takes care of Tuesday morning.:)  You also know that I sing in the chorus at the Senior Center.  We have had two events this week - one performing at the Senior Center on Wednesday, then another "recording session" on Thursday!  So - here I am, finally motivated to do something in the kitchen.:) 

This morning on our local television program, this recipe was demonstrated by a local baker who has been in a competition-type situation on TLC earlier in the year.  It is such a simple recipe that I thought I would just bake that today for the blog.  Since The Husband likes coconut, it was a winner, as you are able to see from the picture.

                                  One slice gone!
I very rarely buy a ready-made crust at the store, so this is my usual pastry.  Crimping a nice edge has never been my strength, but the pastry is good, regardless.:)


1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter, melted
1 can sweetened condensed milk (I used fat free)
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 bag (or slightly more, if desired) coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 9-inch pie crust, unbaked

- Mix first five ingredients together well.  Pour into unbaked pie crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, until firm and lightly brown on top.

Vanilla bean paste was used on TV, but I didn't have any of that.  Those of  you who may use it know that it is more concentrated and not as much is needed as if you were using vanilla.

To expand a bit on my last post regarding Spike and Pebbles, pets of Grandson Munchkin, he also has an anole named Greeny.  Guess what color it is!  Green!:)  He has had a couple of snakes through the years, but presently none reside in the house.:)  When he comes to visit here, he loves to look for critters in our patio area and sometimes finds something that might go home with him. 

I have noticed a new follower!  Thank you so much for coming along.  I really enjoy reading your comments.

Oh - next post - Will these be seen again?

Are these from our four little plants?

Monday, May 14, 2012


Wow!  We had quite a bit of rainfall here last night!  When The Husband checked the rain gauge this morning, it showed FOUR INCHES!  Our local official totals indicate that yesterday set a record for recorded rainfall for that date.  There was no working in the garden today, that's for sure.

As I mentioned in the last post, we were able to spend some time with the Munchkins this week-end.  Our grandson is 8 1/2, and he has quite an interest in wildlife.  So much so that he used his birthday money a couple of years ago to purchase a Bearded Dragon Lizard!

                               Introducing Spike!
 The light in Spike's cage is for warmth, and he enjoys this position most of the time.  He is quite alert to what is going on around him, and really responded to movement and our voices.  Munchkin will take him out of the cage and carry him around for a bit, and Spike seems to enjoy that. 

I hope you are able to see him in this picture.  My camera just doesn't do well when it is facing into that much light, but this was the only view I was able to photograph. 

Now, this is probably more than some of you may have wanted to know about reptiles.:-)  Spike is not the only "resident reptile," and the following picture will introduce you to another.

Introducing Pebbles!

Pebbles is a Leopard Gecko and was a gift a few years ago.  There is no light in his cage because he is nocturnal and sleeps during the day.  He wasn't very responsive during his sleeping time.:-)

Little Munchkin and I kept these pets company by playing with Barbies and building castles.:-)

Thank you so much for following along.  I enjoy reading your comments.

Next post - More from the kitchen.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

More from Grey Gables....

First, let me begin by saying that here in the United States, we have celebrated Mother's Day today.  I mention that because I know I have some followers in other parts of the world who may not be aware of that on this May 13th.:-)  So, I want to first take time to send along Happy Mother's Day wishes to all of you who are mothers!

Next, let's get to the next recipe from Grey Gables.  It has become one of The Husband's favorites!  Of course, he could eat cornbread at every meal.:-)  This is just a bit overdue since I baked it last Saturday, for Cinco de Mayo.  Leftovers are a "good thing," though, and he has been enjoying this cornbread all through the week.

Cheese and Chili Corn Bread on Villeroy and Boch Strawberries and Cream.

3 eggs
1 8-oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1 4-oz can green chilies, drained and chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chili powder

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.  In a large bowl beat the eggs slightly.  Add the corn, chilies, and green onion, mixing well.  Stir in the cornmeal, salt, baking powder, sour cream, butter, and Monterey Jack cheese.  Pour into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and chili powder and bake for 40 minutes.

I actually used my trusty iron skillet for this rather than the square baking pan, and I oiled it well with canola oil.  Once baked, I cut it into 12 servings, although the recipe indicates it makes 6-8 servings.
You will notice there is no sugar or flour in this recipe.  That is a prerequisite for cornbread around here - no sugar or flour!:-)  As I mentioned, this is from the same book as my last post, "The Table at Grey Gables."

I can say it has been a good Mother's Day.  We were able to go visit with Munchomom, Machoman, and the two Munchkins for part of the week-end.  That is always lots of fun.  Machoman and The Husband were quite the cooks, and Munchomom and I didn't have to lift a finger in the kitchen.:-)

Thank you so much for reading and following along.  I really appreciate  your comments.

Next post - Introducing Spike....:-)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fruits of our labors....

Happy Thursday evening to each of you!  How has your day been? 

Here we are enjoying some cooler temperatures for a few days.  Many years ago, I heard someone refer to this particular cooling as the "May 10th cold spell."  There would be no setting out of tomato plants until after this date in that location.  Here, we are pretty safe after mid-April to set out seedlings in the garden.

One vegetable that I really enjoy is spinach.  I will include it in omelets, use it for a base in baked eggs,
saute it with garlic, and eat it as a salad.  For some reason, we just don't have overwhelming success in growing spinach, so this year The Husband bought seedlings, hoping that would give us a jump start.
Well, I must confess that I cannot report on a good spinach crop.:-(  However, there has been enough to enjoy on occasion - if used sparingly.  So, earlier in the week, I had "stockpiled" enough to have for a salad at lunch. 

A fruit that I really enjoy is the strawberry!  Last year, we set out a very few plants (three or four), and we have been excited about the strawberries we are having this spring.  Now, there aren't many, but they surely are pretty.:-)

Our homegrown strawberries on top of our homegrown spinach!
I added a few strips of chicken to this salad, and it was a wonderful lunch!  Poppy Seed Dressing has always been a favorite of mine on a Spinach Strawberry Salad, and that is the recipe that I share with you in this post.  It is from a cookbook called The Table at Grey Gables (1998) compiled by Linda Jones.  Grey Gables is a Bed & Breakfast operated by Linda Jones and her husband in Rugby, Tennessee.


1 1/2 cups salad oil (I use canola)
1/2 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon poppy seed
1 Tablespoon onion, finely grated, including juice

- In a large bowl combine all of the dressing ingredients.  Mix well with a whisk.  The dressing may be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator. 

This dressing may be used on other green salads.

Thank you so much for reading.  I always enjoy your comments.

Next post - Another from Grey Gables.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The night sky....

This post is definitely a little late to be discussing the night sky.:-)  It was last Saturday that everyone was eager to see the moon - and what a beauty it was! 

Taken on Friday evening in the country. You are able to see that, even there, there was some ground light interference.

On Saturday night, stars in the western sky.

Saturday night, viewing the moon through the neighbor's trees.
We have heard that this was the closest the moon will be to Earth until 2029!  That is 17 years from now!

Cloudy skies have made it difficult to do much moon watching this week.  Some rain has been very good for the garden, though.

This has been a busy week thus far.  My Circle meeting was on Monday night, and the UMW General Meeting was Tuesday night.  The Husband has enjoyed playing golf two days, and I had a morning of playing bridge!  We slept an hour later this morning, so that makes this day seem shorter already.:-)

Thank you for reading.  Your comments are much appreciated!

Next post - Soon.:-)

Monday, May 7, 2012

From bagpipes to bluegrass....

The Husband and I recently journeyed to the small town where Country Girl lives for their Spring Festival.  There is also one scheduled in the Fall.   We have been several times, but this was the first time in a few years.  Country Girl has lived in that area for 15 years, so it is a familiar location.

The Pipes and Drums entertained in front of the Visitor's Center.

Another view.

The man on the right spoke about the instruments.

A bluegrass band performing on stage at the Heritage Center.
The Husband is a fan of bluegrass.  Me, not so much.:-)  Both of us, however, did enjoy hearing the Pipes and Drums play.  That was the first time we had been in close proximity with such a group as they performed.

Now, it is off to chores that await me today!  Already we have been to the garden this morning!

Thank you so much for reading.  I truly enjoy your comments.