Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day & Cook- up with Dzintra

Memorial Day
May 31, 2010

To all of those who have served in the past,
and those who are serving now

We thank you for your selfless service to our country
We love you
We honor you today


Its been awhile since I've done a cook-up with Dzintra
but finally here it is

Short but sweet!

A few posts ago I (well ok, maybe more than a few)...
I think I was chatting about my broccoli being ready to harvest
when Susan, over at Miss Maddie's suggested that
it would make a great cook up with Dzintra.
I couldn't agree more!

Dzintra is from the Great Down Under,
and I from the Big Up Over
(don't you love those country titles? (:

We've so enjoyed sharing food ideas,
Dzintra's recent graduation from TAFE (Technical and Further Education)
and so many scrumptious recipes from a mutually loved
magazine by Donna Hay
What a blast we've had!

My subscription to the magazine ran out
and I've had a doozie of a time getting a new one
(a story which I won't bore you with!)
Anyway, long story short...
its now reinstated and I hope it gets here soon!
Dzintra informs me that the current issue
focuses on Maple Syrup from the Big Up Over state of Vermont!
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?

Back to today's cook-up

On this Memorial Day in the USA,
we usually have a big BBQ with all the trimmings,
but for circumstances beyond our control,
I'm on my own.

So I thought that today was a great time to do a cook-up with Dzintra!

Cream of Broccoli soup


Since my new magazine isn't here yet,
I went hunting for a Donna Hay recipe that would fit the bill,
Here it is~

Lemon and Broccoli Soup

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 broccoli, chopped
  • 4 cups (1 litre) vegetable stock
  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • 80g fresh ricotta cheese

Heat a deep, medium saucepan over high heat. Add the butter, leek and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the leek is tender. Add the broccoli and stock, bring to the boil and cook for 8–10 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Add the spinach and cook for a further 1–2 minutes. Use a hand-held blender to blend the soup until smooth. Stir in the cream, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with ricotta to serve. Serves 4.

I wandered out to the garden,
clippers in hand
and found this perfect broccoli head

and these perfect lemons
(grown just for me by our lovely Lemon tree outside our window)

And these tender sweet spinach leaves

Put them all together in the pot
along with one of my own additions to the recipe:

1 tsp of cayenne pepper (for a little zing)

And the indispensable glass of wine

...and voila...

Dinner alfresco!

Have a great week

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I have been feeling a bit sorry for myself lately
As winter slid into spring
the weather warmed,
though its been a rainier cooler year all round

...I had dreams of a leisurely spring
of planning out my garden,
days in the sun...

You know that dream?

Unfortunately this has remained just a dream.
The reality is that there's never enough time in the day
to accomplish the things I love to do,
let alone the things that have to be done.

The mad dash starts early each morning
and goes until late in the evening.

...the current job keeps money coming in,
but is demanding and time consuming

...the comings and goings of the household,

...the never-ending household up-keep,
laundry, cleaning, meals, dishes health and losses

I know I'm not alone here,
and really, this is not meant to be a grumble session in any way!

But its easy, when life's demands get hectic
to lose sight of what's real,
and of what brings happiness.

We have to look for those things in every moment of every day

I haven't had time to read my emails and peruse your blogs,
a thing I love doing!

I find myself wonder if anyone will actually remember me
when I do show up.

Then last evening afforded me a precious few moments
to reconnect, read emails and blogs...

I found an email from my friend Coty at Styling by Coty Farquar
She said she there was an award for me at her blog,
so I went to check it out, and here is what it said...

'This is an award is for those who are brave enough to expose

just enough to reach, touch, and possibly help someone

else to see something differently.

and I pass this award on to

Vicki at Vicki's bit of Earth

for being true to herself!

And just at a time when I was thinking to myself
that I was anything but "true to myself" right now.

Thank you Coty~
Suddenly I was reminded that every day
I must consciously remind myself to enjoy every breathing moment.

The job will end, having given me money to spend on my grandbabies!

The house will still need attention every day,
so take joy in the fact that I have the health to do it!

Be thankful for friends,
that encourage me to stay true to myself!

So today I've been fortunate enough to have a little time to myself
and here is what I've with the time...

And now I'm passing this lovely award on to

Dzintra at Queen of the Armchair
for her real and tireless devotion to her family
and to her blogging friends!

To Susan at Miss Maddie's
for her words of encouragement
and always showing the real beauty in all of life

Jaime at Rayne
for her amazing photos and thoughtful words about real life

June at Laughing With Angels

for touching us with her words and images of her beautiful life

Astrid at Grandma's Red Stitches
for sharing her beautiful work with fabric and thread

Shannon at Our World
for making me laugh and for being a loyal friend to those she loves

Alina at The Purple Caravan
for her honest and thoughtful words that never fail to lift my spirits
and provoke thoughts about life

There are so many more I could add to this list
of people I appreciate for being "Real"
Wish I could list you all!

Thank you all
for coming into my life~


The local small Flea Market

This little beauty is a covered vegetable bowl
by Homer Laughlin - Virginia Fluffy Rose design
Years ago my grandmother divided what was left of her
wedding china between me and my sister.
We each got 6 dinner plates, 6 salad plates and 2 cups

I've looked up replacement pieces, and all are fairly expensive,
so I've not really bought any...
until now!
This little lovely was only $3.00!
Don't you just love it when you find things like that?

Crock Pot & two screens
I've never made my own sauerkraut before,
and the cabbages are ready
so when I saw this lovely 5 gallon crock,
I nabbed it for $10.00!

And the screens...
I'm not even sure what they're called,
but I have an experiment going in the garden...
I'm experimenting with growing my own,
and according to the how-to's,
I will have to thresh the tiny seeds out of the seed heads...
I think these screens will do the job just fine!
And can't beat $3.00 each, right?

Here are the baby Cumin plants...
We'll see how they grown!

This morning the sun was sparkling on my garden
I just had to take a pic of it

I hung Chamomile up to dry...
I'm thinking tea for next winter!
Here its growing...

and here it hangs to dry

Raspberries are coming on!

Basil and Italian Flat leaf Parsley

The first tomatoes will be ready for harvest soon...
we're all watching intently,
and imagining that wonderful flavor!
There's nothing so good as home grown tomatoes!

The Topsy Turvey Tomatoes are doing great!
I love this little experiment so far...
in fact I may go get a few more of them.

Pickling Cucumbers and lettuce will be ready to plant out this week

Flowers will be ready to plant out soon too

And the flowers in front of the greenhouse are in full swing

Last, but not least.... bear with me here!

The girls are just too cute!
Hana and Putt-Putt are full grown,
and should be laying eggs soon...

They still think they are people (:

The little girls are about half grown

Funny thing...
I thought I'd be the only one who loves them,
but it appears that hubby loves them too.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Scenes of a busy life

The older I get,

the faster life goes.

Right now I'm dreaming of the day when I can

...putter in the garden allll day, every day

...sit and read a whole book in the sun

...walk down to the beach every single day

...go see my grandbabies any ol time I want

...sit for a whole half hour in a hot tub of water
and get all pruney.

but alas,
it seems these will remain a dream
at least for now.

I'll race off to work in the morning
back in the evening to make supper,
then grab a few minutes here and there
to complete mini-harvests from my garden...


I remain grateful for it all

Scenes from my Bit-o-Earth

~Today's Harvest~



And Oregano

This year's supply will be hung to dry
and stored is a glass jar
How about you?
Do you have time for all you wish to do?

Have a great weekend dear friends!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Busy Bit-O-Earth

Have you ever been so busy
that you don't know which end is up?

That's what its doing here at my bit-o-earth!

The chicken coop is finally done!
and the younger girls seem to like it

But the two older girls, (Hana and Putt-Putt)
get to wander around the yard.

I have to admit I'm pretty much of a softie with these two.
Since they were the only survivors of the dog attack,
they've enjoyed special treatment.

Everyone in the family is attached to them,
and their antics never fail to bring a smile,
or an all-out laugh!

Sometimes we have to race them to the back door
to get inside and shut the door before they get there...

I guess they haven't forgotten where they were raised,
or maybe they think their human!

(Hana does have a full leg here... she's just resting on it)

The garden is in full swing...

Peas for stir-fry

Baby Leeks

My Grandpa used to say that corn should be
"knee high by the 4th of July."
I think we're right on track here!

The tomato plants have reached the rafters of the greenhouse
where the garden chandelier hangs,
and we should have ripe tomatoes within a month
And my newest experiment,
the Topsy Turvy Tomato grower is doing great!
I may even get a few more of them.

The Bean Tipi has baby beans sprouting around the bottom.
In a few months the walls will grow
and hopefully fill the tipi with all colors of hanging beans!

Chamomile is ready to pick and dry for winter tea

California Poppies

and purple Flags

My favorite flower...
the Roses are in full bloom
I can't resist bringing in vases full of them!

So that's my spring so far...

How's yours?