blueberry

Favorite colors are a big deal when you are little.  I mean a really big deal.  My Miles has professed a love for purple so unwavering that he actually has disdain for all the other colors of the rainbow.  And for so long cheery yellow was his number one, and then just like that; on to purple.  He casually mentioned to me on a walk home from the beach earlier this summer that “purple is just sort of magical isn’t it?” and I had to agree.  Sometimes, with a dreamy look in his eyes he will mumble that purple reminds him of fairies or that he can not believe that he and his girl isabelle both love purple (I mean what are the odds!).  When he see’s even the tiniest sliver of that majestic hue he races to me gasping for breath, pointing out the glorious color.  A stripe on a towel, a cover of a book, a crunchy cabbage.  He loves them all.  If its purple, it’s his.

Me, I have always been a lover of blue.  Today I will make it official though, if you were to ask me what my favorite color is I would tell you all the shades of a blueberry.  From the first speckles of chlorophyl on white to the easter egg pink to the sunset purple and finally that deep chalky soft blue.   I love them all.  Blueberry is by far my favorite.

IMG_4362 IMG_4365 IMG_4370 IMG_4372

strawberry season at last!

Guess what we are doing today?

IMG_3951

That’s right!  Processing those ruby red juicy berries from our days work at Cedar Circle Farm yesterday!  Vanilla bean strawberry jam from this blogger’s awesome book is on the agenda today… and only about 20 pounds more to go!  Phew…  I have some sunflower seed sourdough rising.  I think the combination will be just the thing for this foggy, humid, rainy day.

i like bread and butter

With a bundle of rhubarb stalks in my fridge I have been thinking up interesting ideas to place the ruby slices into our diets.  This pucker your lips sweet veggie turns out to be versatile beyond belief!  Of course the leaves are as toxic as the stalks are delicious so beware…

IMG_3098

Of course sweet carb loving me opted for rhubarb bread thinking this would be just the thing to wrap our week smothered in home-made maple butter.  If you havent tried your hand at butter making yet, you really should.  Just look at all the goods we were able to produce with one pint of cream, and with some to spare for tomorrow mornings coffee none the less!  It really is a simple process.  Place the cream in a jar with a lid screwed on nice and tight and shake.  Shake.

IMG_3099

And shake some more.  

Soon it will start to get frothy, then it will feel like you are not able to shake it anymore, both because your arms are burning like they would be in an intense Pilates class, and also because the cream has become so thick it feels like it’s hardly moving.  Press on.  Not long after this it will start to be a thick clump sloshing about and the sides of the jar will appear clean and clear.  Shake it a bit more and the buttermilk will start to appear as well.  Drain the liquid into a cup saving it for some pancakes or something along that line.  Then “wash” the butter with cold water until the water runs clear.  Sprinkle in a little salt and your laughing.  Add a touch of maple syrup and stir vigorously for some serious enjoyment or like in the other jar pictured below stir in some chopped sage.  This should be just the thing for some pork chops, corn on the cob, rice, beans, you name it.

IMG_3115

Oh butter, and sweet yummy bread.  The combination couldn’t be sweeter.  

 

a tradition to ground us

This past week, an absence in this space meant a presence of some very missed loved ones on a visit from far away.  Coming to our tiny home in the middle of nowhere must be quite the shock for most city folk.  The lack of television and convenience could be a bit disappointing I would imagine.  My hopes are always that it is a welcome calm in the midst of busy noisy days.  I think there is a good chance that just this happened for our lovely visitors.

And of course the littlest among us were beyond thrilled to spend every waking moment with their Duke and Dutchie.  

And those moment where one of the other was sleeping were surely spent dreaming up the next adventure they would ensue.

For we did have a few of them.

With family in town, and some oh so sweet moments stored snugly in our memories, the house is now quiet and quite honestly peaceful.  Of course family in town means help around the house, shared meals and laughs, adventures and sight-seeing, and playing and pretending galore.  But, at the same time it also means two little boys who are overwhelmed with love, sleep deprived and well… out of their element.

The first days back to normal can be so very sobering.  But not this time around.

This time, I thought perhaps a nice grounding tradition would be the way to bring things back together; To encourage our schedule to creep back up around us, to get use to the calm corners of creativity and play, to bring our feet back to the ground and begin our days as a threesome and sometimes (on the best of days) a foursome family.

The third annual apple smashing and the many annual cat pumpkin moonshine carving started this windy brisk day off right.  A few toasted seeds and a steaming bowl of apple sauce were just the remedies for the coming back to normalcy we needed.  I hope your autumn traditions are bringing you peace and comfort these days too.

bottoms up!

Making vanilla extract is fantastically simple!

Scrape 25 vanilla beans (purchased in bulk online for very little), into 750 ml of cheap vodka, stuff in empty bean pods and voila!  

Place in a cool dark place for 4-6 months until you have a syrupy cocktail of baking goodness.  What is that you say?  You want to drink it with soda water?  I say why not!  I mean its vanilla!

While you are at it, stuff a few in your sugar jar.

Or perhaps place some in a jar of sea salt.  While I have not tried this, I have heard things about this concoction.  Strangely delicious good things.

So, bottoms up everyone!  I will meet up with you in six months for an uncorking update!