Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Apple Picking Time

Autumn is here!!!

I think that the leaves are turning a week or so early, this year, because of the drought. However, finally, we've had two lovely days of soaking rain. It was glorious! The grass is starting to be green and glowing again.

A week ago, my sister came by to pick some apples to make apple chutney for Rose Arbour. We had a lovely time picking and I thought that perhaps it's time for me to share the recipe for apple cheddar quiche.

(Suzy took this photo with my camera =])

Apple Cheddar Quiche

- 3 cooking apples (peeled, cored and cut into chunks) and 3 Tb butter to saute them with
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar (grated)

- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup half and half
- 4 eggs, 2 yolks
(all lightly whisked together)

- cinnamon sugar and salt

- pie crust (I like Pillsbury's refrigerated dough for ease but there is a gorgeous whole wheat recipe in the Silver Palate cookbook if you're lucky enough to own it)

1)  Saute apples in 3 TB butter until softened but still firm (about 5 minutes)

2)  Put pie crust in pie or tart dish

3)  layer apples, grated cheddar and egg mixture.

4)  shake some salt over all and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar

Bake at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes or so. The center should be definitely set but not cooked all the way through. Let stand for 15 minutes to finish cooking and to firm up.


By the way, can you peel an apple all in one go without breaking the skin? You could if you'd done it as many times as I have when I was working at Rose Arbour! hee hee!

One of my absolutely favorite smells is the aroma of apples cooking in butter.


How does one blog a smell?

     Speaking of quiche...... perhaps this is a good time to tell you about the fate of the mammoth egg. Well, I kept it, I couldn't bear to harm it - it was such a work of art. After a short while, however, it began to occur to me that this had the potential of being a wretched idea. I began to have dreams of photographing it on a silk pillow or under glass before I cooked it. Then, one of our hens laid a tiny egg and, of course,  I just had to photograph them together. However, one day, I came into the kitchen a moment too late. Mammoth was scrambled and the little one cracked in the trash. I guess that Tom had a right to eat it. After all, he really is the chicken farmer around here! Oh, well! He reports that it was indeed a double yolk; so, for those of you who were wondering about the fate of our incredible egg, that was it!

I must say, though, there is nothing like a quiche made with your own super fresh eggs!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tom has a mom.

She is mostly known as "Grandma".

Grandma has a house - a house that is right "next door" to ours.

I have a young friend!

My friend was having dinner with us when I realized that the sun was setting and it was time for me to take pictures.

She asked to come along, my friend did.

We huffed and puffed! (I did more than my young friend!)

Grandma's door is up a steep hill.

Her garden is even farther beyond that!

There are all sorts of things in mom's garden.

It's a magical place!

For example, there are soon to be Jack-o-lanterns.

There are, also, soaring sunflowers and long tunnel-like alleys between them and the corn.

My friend and I had fun with Grandma in her garden.

My friend helped harvest ....

.... and I took pictures.


Any place where there's a harvest has an air of magic about it.

How else does it all grow, if not by magic???


Yes, there's surely magic in a garden - especially after sunset!

 We felt it!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Two weeks ago, the word prompt for "The Sunday Creative" was timeworn.

What a conundrum! I live in Vermont!

I looked out the window at our 5 crumbling barns - too obvious!


Too obvious!

old cars?

Too obvious!

Tom quipped, "take a picture of me!"

Too obvious!

Oops! No, I didn't mean that!

I was really in a sticky situation! Everywhere I looked there was something that was timeworn; so, I decided to give it some time and think about it.

What a beautiful word timeworn is!

At first it could seem sad. Something that is worn away - decaying, even. Everything gets older. Instead of being worn away, some things seem to just have "worn" time.

Well, a few days later, I had to go shopping. I took my camera with me as I was still thinking and the day was fine and I thought that I might be able to finally get a picture of one of my favorite old colonial houses. (Look at what my commute to Wal-mart is!!!!)


It was when I took this photo that I realized it was not only tangible things around me that are timeworn but, also, the impalpable. Unsubstantial and abstract things like "the year" are, also, timeworn. Summer has just about finished her life. The woods are old - not new like they were in June. Most of us have worn summer's flamboyant fun and, now, it's old to us. We're craving establishment and the old and familiar to renew us.

Timeworn is a beautiful word! It speaks of depth and maturity and life lived - wisdom, gentleness, mellowness and mildness. It is a word that seems very well rounded - full of joy and beauty if not a little bittersweet.

Now, I am no longer confounded by the plethora of timeworn that is around me.

Vermont - autumn - old fashioned - vintage - quaint - historic - well-weathered -

absolutely lovely!

There are:

The woods

The People

Their homes that have seen generations before them!

The artifacts .... clues and evidence to what has gone before.

There are the barns!

Now I know why I loved the sight of them, in the spring, with the buds from the ancient crabapple tree reaching towards them. It's like the whiff of a gentlewoman's worn and faded scent of lilac. Old fashioned and fresh - sweetness itself!

.... "as old as the hills" ....

Vermont must be where this saying began!

As I went out the door to take a stroll around the barn and through the woods with my camera, I glanced at my bible. As I walked on I thought, "IT is definitely timeworn!" =] and this verse came to me.

"The grass withers and the flowers fade
but, the Word of God lasts forever."

Perfect! =]

Now, just in case I sound a little melancholy to you, just remember that us "Marianne Dashwoods" are never fully happy without a little bit of romantic sighing. The weather has been glorious - even the splashing rain (so long waited for and so seriously needed)! Things are going along well (except for the fact that there are more and more ripening tomatoes) and we're going to light our first fire in the stove tonight. Add to that the fact that the next "Sunday Creative" word that I'm behind on is comfort and you have one happy girl, here! Wonderful!

(I think that I will share a recipe and have a party first, though.)

I wish you all were here!


Katy Noelle xxo

The Sunday Creative

P.S. There are two more photos - one of the silver teething cup and one of the broken child's cup and saucer - on my photo journal.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mad Dogs, Englishmen and Tom!

I am infamous!

I don't know how many people realize it but, all the same, I am!  

I am infamous because, since the beginning of this blog, I have told you about my special projects that I am working on AND I have promised to show you photos when I am done.

I haven't.

tsk! tsk! tsk!!!

Now, what would you say (you, who have been following my little saga for a while, now) if I told you that: all of this time, I have had a garden?

Yes, all summer long, I have had a garden!

Perfectionist that I am, I haven't felt it worthy for you to see.

Well! I promise: I am going to endeavor to do better!!!
Do you want to see my garden?


 My Garden!

I call it my palette garden (or however you spell the silly word.)

 You see, the joy of having a fixer upper and blogging is that the 'before and afters' are so dramatic.

The down side of this situation is that it is taking a long time to get to the 'after' part.

It causes me to take a lot of close up shots!

Anyway, here's a better view of it.

(Notice, a growing Chubbers puppy looking through the fence.)

(Dad, this is sooooooooo easy that, I really think that it may replace foot by foot gardening)
notice, it's mobile! I can have Tom move my garden anywhere I want with his tractor!!!

Since last fall, I have been buying plants on super sale and squirreling them away. I've been getting delphiniums and hostas, irises and all sorts of assorted goodies for wonderful deals because the nurseries are trying to get rid of as much of their stock as they can in anticipation of winter.

In this same spirit, I am going to show you the work in progress, on our stone wall and garden.

 Tom began, early in the Spring, working on rebuilding the stone wall. The yard had been torn up, the previous Autumn, with hubungous trenches in the landscape, so that we could add electricity in the barn, reroute a spring in our driveway and, most importantly, put in a new septic system - the last two of these, required digging up, almost, the entire yard. We called it, "The Year of the Dirt"!

However, we are very familiar with what our plans are and how big projects actually go.
The wall took longer than expected. In the meantime, my husband fenced and put in a huge vegetable garden on the hill, moved and rebuilt the childrens' play structure at church, put in flooring in great grandma's apartment (next door), helped a young man (who needed A LOT of help) get his Eagle Scout requirements finished, before he was eighteen, oh, and, the list goes on and on.

He worked on the wall in every spare moment that he could grasp. He did all of this through a brutally hot and humid summer that has been the driest on record since they began keeping track.

Yes, it has been "Mad Dogs, Englishmen and Tom, who go out in the noonday sun"!

Well, here is a "before" picture of the yard, in the spring.

Bleak is the word, I think!


 Here is the just newly finished wall, a few weeks ago.


Then, last week, I started moving my plants from the parsonage where they had been left to fend for themselves for 3 whole summers. The poor things, they were almost dead from thirst!!!
First, however, I had to double dig the garden.

The first dig (in the lower garden) brought up all of these stones. (I will not even try to tell you how many stones came out of the bed that we've dug on the upper level! Ack!!! We hired a young man from church who went at it with a pick axe for SIX hours. This is gardening in Vermont!)

This particular chipmunk is very friendly and helpful. He thinks that we should plant sunflower seeds! A few of his have come up again. He kept popping out of holes in the wall to inspect my work!

After digging up all of the appropriate plants, I had to put them in quickly. Most of them were close to dead and the dirt - dry as dust - just crumbled away from the roots! I finished the race to put them in, dusted my hands, turned around, and noticed that I'd forgotten the wagon with some of the plants from my palette garden. sigh! They went in the next morning!

I am excited about this garden. I think that the plants and flowers will be beautiful against the stone!

So! That's my garden - so far!

(This week, I am working on the upper level.)

Next project (after the wood is in) is transforming the little hidden milk house into a garden bothy (or, potting shed, as it is sometimes known)! A greenhouse will be attached, made out of windows found in our barn.

In the meantime......
the one thing the drought seems to have helped is everyone's tomatoes!!!

Tom has a lot of tomatoes!

He's already canned these....

He's ready to do more ....

.... and, there's more out there, ripening on the vine!

It's harvest time!

 There is lots....

 .... and lots....

 of warm, tomatoey goodness!


Katy Noelle

P.S. I have several posts in the making - September is my favorite month. Most importantly, however, is that I have been getting ready for a blog party, which will include a gift to be given away. Stay posted, please! You are all invited!