Wednesday

Wire Garden Orb

I have an older wire orb on a stick I've had for years.  It started out painted a pretty lime green color I believe but all the paint has faded and now it’s just a drab rusted looking orb.

I am in love with Alliums, which is a perennial bulb that comes up in the spring and has a huge purplish or pinkish round flower.

Allium is the onion genus and comprises flowering plants and includes the onion, garlic, chives, scallion, shallot, and the leek as well as hundreds of wild species.
The majority of Allium species are mostly native to Asia but a few are native to Africa and Central and South America

The Allium I have in my flower gardens and that are most commonly used as ornamental flowers include A. cristophii and A. giganteum.   These are used as border plants because of their beautiful orb shape flowers.


Allium in bloom

 I decided to paint my wire orb to resemble my purplish Allium flower.

I purchased two different shades of purple, light and dark in a Rustoleum metal paint.

Metal paint and glitter

I taped off the stake that holds the wire orb so I wouldn’t get any over-spray on it.



Tape off the stake

First I painted the wire orb with the lighter purple spray paint.

1st coat of paint: lite purple

Then I randomly spot painted the orb with the darker purple paint.   

Spot painted with a darker purple

Last I added a few dots of silver glitter to make it sparkle when sunlight hits it.

Dots of glitter to reflex the sun and sparkle

Making a Wire Orb:
Making the wire orb is relatively easy.  Wad up a ball of newspaper or if you’re careful and won’t burst it, you can use a small balloon.

Wrap regular or copper wire around and around the newspaper ball or balloon.  Intertwine a wire or two through the rest of the wire to hold it all together.  You can also add beads to the wire as you wrap it.
When you have the desired thickness, remove the newspaper ball or balloon.  Wire the orb onto a stick then spray paint the desired color. 

Here is my wire orb repainted and back in the flower garden near the patio.

 

I have many summer projects lined up and garden structures and art I need to touch-up or re-paint completely.  The weather here has been ideal but the recent forecast is for rain and thunderstorms for the next 5 or 6 days. So sadly, I’ll be working indoors cleaning which has been neglected since warm weather hit.

Elizabeth

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Thursday

Cheesy Bacon Dip

Summer is nearly here along with endless barbecues, July 4th parties and family gatherings.  Looking for recipes to take along I thumbed through a cookbook my daughter Alexis gave me for Christmas last year.  

Trisha Yearwood’s cookbook Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood is full of really yummy recipes which were passed down through the years from Trisha’s mother, aunts, cousins and longtime friends.  I love those kind of recipes.
A few of my favorite recipes are the Lettuce Wedge with homemade Blue Cheese Dressing, Corn Salsa, Chicken Pizza and I really want to try her Magic Lemon Meringue Pie.   Included in the cookbook is this recipe for dip, which is easy to make and absolutely delicious.  It is one of those recipes you just can’t stop eating!

Trisha's 2nd cookbook
I have found only one problem with this recipe besides the fact that it is NOT low-cal; it seems to disappear in minutes!

In the cookbook Trisha says the hotel where she was staying left a beautiful gift basket in her room and a tray holding this dip with crackers.  Trisha calls the dip “Charleston Cheese Dip”, I call it amazing! 
I occasionally listen to music and sometimes country but am not really a huge fan of any one singer.  I didn’t know much about Trisha so I looked her up. 
She’s a country singer, author, and actress and is known for her songs about women from a female perspective that have been described as "strong" and "confident". I found I do like many of her songs, especially “She’s in Love With the Boy and How Do I Live” among others.   
Besides numerous awards, Trisha is a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2000. Also, she married Garth Brooks in 2005.


Cheesy Bacon Dip


Round Up The Supplies:

1/2 cup Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise
1 package (8 oz.) Philadelphia brand cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2  green onions, finely chopped
Dash cayenne pepper
8 Ritz butter crackers, crushed
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Crush the Ritz crackers

Mixing It Up: 

Preheat the oven to 350°.
In a medium bowl, mix the Hellmann's mayonnaise, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, green onions and cayenne pepper. 

Chop the onion and cut bacon into small pieces

Place ingredients into a mixing bowl

Mix ingredients well

Transfer mixture to a shallow baking dish, such as a 9-inch pie plate. Top the mixture with the cracker crumbs. 

Place in a baking dish and top with cracker crumbs

Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven and top with bacon. Top with additional chopped green onions if desired. 

Remove from oven and top with bacon bits (and additional green onions if desired)

Serve with Pita chips, corn chips, crackers or bagel chips.

PRINT RECIPE (coming soon)


 Tips and Suggestions: 
  • Use real Mayonnaise! 
  • Philadelphia brand cream cheese is so much better than off brand. 
  • Top with additional chopped green onions, yummy! 
  • Add different types of cheeses (use what's on hand)
  • Substitute Greek yogurt for the Mayo
  • Add a little more cayenne for a spicier dip
  • Prep it the night before, put in the fridge and then bake just before guests arrive. 
  • Put on toasted English muffins, oh so delicious! 
  • Substitute crab meat for the bacon and omit cracker crumbs. 
  • Add chopped jalapeƱo pepper.
  • This recipe can be doubled for larger groups!





My birthday is coming up soon, so I have been dropping hints that I want the first cookbook Trisha wrote called: Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen.

Elizabeth


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Sunday

The Birth Tree

My daughter Jami
The last time my daughter came to visit she had a surprise for us.  She asked if we would be willing to plant a memorial tree on our farm using the placenta from her last child’s birth to place under the new tree.
My grandson Dax was born in Texas, so the placenta had to be frozen until the planting ceremony.
Truthfully I had never heard of this before and it all happened so very quickly that I didn't have much time to prepare. 
Afterwards I did a little research and found out quite a lot. 
There are simple ceremonies, eloquent ceremonies and elaborate ceremonies preformed to honor the placenta all over the world. 

Many cultures, including the Navajo Indians and New Zealand's Maori, bury the placenta to symbolize the baby's link to the earth. 
The Navajo of the American Southwest customarily bury a child's placenta within the sacred Four Corners region to bind the child to its ancestral land and to its people. The Maoris of New Zealand bury the placenta in native soil for the same reason. They even applied their word for land to the placenta - "whenua."
In certain regions of Siberia, the buried placenta is thought to be ill or uncomfortable if the baby becomes sick. The gravesite is treated, and the placenta may be reburied in another spot in hopes of curing the child.  

The Parigi of the Celebes Islands also view the placenta as the older brother. It is carefully preserved in a special pot, wrapped in white cotton, and is ritually buried by the mother. Palm trees are then planted to honor the burial site. Similar beliefs can be found in Java and Bali.

My grandson Dax on a visit this May


Many world cultures have a tradition of planting the placenta under a young tree and that tree becomes the child’s tree, symbolizing life.  Trees planted this way tend to do well benefiting from the nutrients from the placenta. 
I loved the idea of having my grandson’s birth tree here on the farm.  They live so far away; it helps me to feel as if a part of my daughter is here with me.
 
My husband and son-in-law digging the hole
What is the Placenta?
The placenta grows with the baby from the very first cell divisions; it is even formed from the same cells as the baby.   The placenta is there to provide nourishment to the growing child and is the direct physical link between the mother and child.  It also cleans wastes that form throughout the pregnancy. 
The placenta is flat, and when in the womb, one side attaches firmly to the inside wall of the mother’s womb; the other side faces the baby and provides nourishment through the umbilical cord. 
 At the time of birth, the placenta maintains its connection to the womb as long as possible, to continue sustaining life until the baby's successful arrival into the world.
The placenta is also called the afterbirth but in the Old Testament it was thought to be the External Soul.

Keeping The Placenta
It is very important to tell your care provider or doctor and the hospital ahead of time that you are taking your placenta home with you.
You should plan on bringing a cooler to the hospital for care and ease of transport from hospital to home and directly into the freezer.
You can freeze your placenta for as long as you need to, some people even wait for the babies first birthday or other milestone.

This website,  Birth to Earth Tree Planting  is great for an entire package to go with the tree planting including an educational book and a copper tag to hang on the tree with the child’s name, date of birth and date of planting. 





The Tree Planting
The burial and tree planting can be a way to honor the experience of birth by taking the part of you that kept your baby alive in the womb and transferring it to a tree for continued nourishment and a dedication of future life, health and love. 
To make your tree planting more personal to you, have a poem ready to read, a declaration or promise you wish to make, or say a prayer or blessing for health and long life.
You can bury tokens along with the planting such as mementos of grandmothers or other family members to make it a group or family tree shared by generations.

Hole dug and placenta covered with dirt

For me it was a way to feel connected to my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. 
30 plus years ago my daughter Jami was connected to me with our own placenta and umbilical cord.  Now, even though they are miles away, I will be connected to my daughter and her children every time I look out at this beautiful tree. 

My husband and I have been planting a lot of trees since we purchased our farm, but had not been able to locate one tree in particular I really wanted, an American Sycamore. 
On that warm summer day in July, we were able to find just that tree at a nearby nursery and my husband Bill and son-in-law Donnie brought it home. 
We located a perfect spot that would provide shade but also a place where we could see the tree while either on the patio or from multiple windows in our house.  All year long we can look out and see the new spring leaves, set under the dark summer shade of the limbs, see the leaves turn golden in autumn or watch snow fall and land on each branch.  And each time I see the tree I am reminded of this wonderful gift my daughter gave to me. 
We hope someday to see the tree big enough for a swing for future grandkids.  

What Type of Tree?
Growing up we had a huge sycamore tree in our front yard my father had planted.  My father also installed a huge rope swing that I and my many siblings enjoyed for many many hours.  We also fought a lot over that darn swing!  My older sisters and brothers loved to climb to the top of the sycamore tree and could see for miles and miles and even watch the city’s July 4th fireworks display.  So because of the memories of that big wonderful tree, and as a way to remember my father, I have planted a sycamore tree in every one of our homes.

My grandson Dax, just a toddler at
the time of the tree planting, 2014

Choosing the right tree for your planting can have memories attached to it or just be one of your favorite types of trees. ( I also love sugar maple trees!) 
And bushes can be used for the planting such as lilac or forsythia. 

To find the meaning behind each tree you can go to this website: Tree meanings

Or go to this website for an American Indian Tree Symbols Chart. 

My husband Bill, son-in-law Donnie, granddaughter Maddie and grandson Dax,  tree planting weekend, July 2014 


I waited nearly a year to write this post.  I wanted to make sure our tree, my grandson Dax's tree and my daughter Jami’s tree, my tree, our family tree survived the cold winter here in Ohio.  
It did.


Elizabeth

Thursday

Blueberry Lemon Jam

Blueberry season is fast approaching! 
Blueberry-picking season depends on the geographical location of your blueberries, but most blueberries are ripe in June and July. Some years, depending on the weather, the season can start in late May or extend until early August.

I purchased my blueberries while on one of our trips to Michigan.  Once home I froze them until I could make blueberry jam and syrup, add to muffins or to mix up a batch of blueberry pancakes.  

Besides Michigan being a beautiful state, it is the leader in highbush blueberry production.  Michigan farms produce approximately 220,000 tons (490,000,000 lbs) of blueberries, accounting for 32% of all the blueberries eaten in the United States.


Picking blueberries and making jam always reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books “Blueberries For Sal” by Rovert McCloskey. “

Monday

Zombies and the Zombie Walk

With the popularity of the TV show The Walking Dead, more and more people are getting into zombie fandom.  But where did all this zombie love come from or what started it all?

First, What are Zombies? 
Zombies are fictional undead creatures, usually depicted as mindless, reanimated human corpses with a hunger for living human flesh. Zombies are most commonly found in horror and fantasy genre works.

The term Zombie comes from Haitian folklore:  The Haitian /French “zombie” and the Haitian / Creole “zonbi” is a dead body animated by magic. Modern depictions of zombies do not involve magic but invoke other methods such as a virus or illness.


Thursday

Toinette's Limoncello

I met Toinette, (Antoinette) through our friend Larry whom Toinette was dating.  Not only is she a great cook, but she’s fun to be around and a good conversationalist.  We used to meet for lunch once or twice a month. And oh, did I mention smart?  
She was a college professor at a local college here in central Ohio but took position in another state, so with our busy lives we don't get to see each other like we used too.  
I do have a few of Toinette’s recipes, like her Shrimp Salsa, (a fav) but I never got a chance to ask her for her Limoncello recipe.  Toinette makes beautiful little bottles of this delicious adult citrus beverage to give out as gifts during the Christmas holidays.

Recently because the weather is finally improving and summer is right around the corner, I started thinking of a drink we could enjoy on hot summer days after a hard sweaty day working in the garden and around our little farm.
Toinette’s Limoncello came to mind so I looked up a few recipes. I plan on mixing my Limoncello with lemonade and serve over ice. Maybe I’ll add a few frozen strawberries or raspberries!  Doesn't that just sound like a cool refreshing summer drink? This will also be nice to serve to dinner guests

Sunday

Building a Greenhouse (Part One)

A greenhouse has always been on my list of things I want to help with gardening.  
When we lived in the burgs (city) our house had a 3 seasons room (sometimes called a Florida Room in this area), which was the closest to owning a greenhouse I have been.  
Because of all those windows it was easier to get my seeds going in early spring.  Having an actual greenhouse will give me a head start on planting and will also extend my growing periods. 

How a greenhouse works is simple. Sun streams through the windows and warms the surfaces inside. The glass or glazed panels trap the heat, keeping the temperature inside the greenhouse warmer than outside. 

Because the sun is key, it is best to build the greenhouse on the south – southeast side of the house and away from the shadow of other structures or large trees.

Wednesday

Strawberry Jam (No Canning Required)

Strawberry Freezer Jam in 30 Minutes

My future daughter-in-law's mom Terri recently made a batch of strawberry jam and I can't wait for our berries to get ripe in our region! Strawberries are ripe here in central Ohio around the first week in June.  I originally posted a recipe on here when I first started my blog but thought it time I updated the recipe!

I started making Strawberry Freezer Jam in the early 1990’s after tasting my sister Kathy’s jam.  And now my kids will not eat (or even like) commercially produced jam. Every year we go to a “Pick Your Own” farm to pick the strawberries fresh. 

When choosing strawberries, home grown or farm fresh strawberries produce the best jam.  Store purchased lack the intense sweet strawberry flavor. 

I have taken photos every year of us, me and my kids in the strawberry patch picking berries.  My kids are all grown now, so the photos are like a time lapse.  A bitter sweet thing for me to look at, which sometimes brings me to tears and causes me to long for the days when they were still little.  I told them recently that I hope they take their children and their grandchildren berry picking long after I’m gone.

Tuesday

Chicken Spaghetti (Tetrazzini)

What ever you call it; Chicken Spaghetti, Chicken Tetrazzini or Chicken Noodle Casserole, it doesn't really matter, this stuff is delicious!

My husband’s family, (particularly his cousins) seem to have a lot of good recipes.  And although I only have a few of them, the ones I have are great like this super moist Banana Nut Bread
On one of our trips to visit my husband’s cousin Krista in Illinois, Krista made two big casseroles of this stuff and we were hooked. 

This recipe can be easily adjusted to your family’s tastes so here's a few tips before beginning:
  • I reduced the onion to half and added an additional stalk of celery. 
  • We love cheese, so I added a little extra.
  • Krista’s recipe called for cream of chicken soup, instead of chicken stock and flour to thicken the sauce.
  • You can add fresh sliced mushrooms, just cook with the celery and onions.  
  • I added thyme for more flavor.
  • You can add parsley for a nice splash of color.
  • For spicy add a little cayenne pepper.
  • I added a cheese and bread crumb topping. Yum!
  • If you're out of bread crumbs, just use mozzarella cheese as the topping.
  • Use turkey instead of chicken.
  • This recipe is even better with a fresh slow cooked chicken and homemade chicken stock!

Thursday

The Carnton Plantation and the Battle of Franklin

My husband and I like to tour Civil War historical sites and have been to quite a few. The Antietam Reenactment, with 13,000 re-enactors was the largest, most dramatic and the best one we have been too.  
Recently I picked up a book called The Widow of the South, written by Robert Hicks.  The book is part true story and fact with other parts created to fill in the gaps.  It’s a book about the Battle of Franklin and one family’s home being turned into a field hospital.  

“Mrs. McGavock - later to become known as the Widow of the South - is in mourning over the death of three of her children during a typhoid epidemic. She spends most of her time in bed letting Mariah, her Creole slave, (Mariah Reddick) run the household. But the days of mourning her children come to an abrupt end as she must come to grips with the death of 9,000 soldiers in a single day, and care for the wounded that blanket every square inch of her home and grounds.”

Driving home from a visit with my daughter and her family in Texas we stopped to tour the Carnton Plantation, the battle field and the Confederate Cemetery.  Nearly Spring, the day was chilly and raining off and on but it was still worth the stop.