Saturday, May 18, 2013

To my readers.

(I found a quiet area to read, on a warm May morning..)
 
My dear friends, I wanted to take time to thank you all for your wonderful support of my blog! It has been such a beautiful journey to document the blessings of being a stay at home daughter, and share with you so many glimpses and moments of our home life.
As I find myself busy with new projects and ventures, my time journaling online has not been as frequent--So I have decided to quietly conclude this chapter of blogging.
I didn't think it fair to continue on so infrequently, so I thought it best to come to a close.
~
This blog is dedicated to all my faithful readers whom have celebrated the beauty of everyday life along with me.
You've been an encouragement and have blessed me in more ways than you will ever know...
To my fellow kindred spirits, who still believe in good, old fashioned living...and know that there are Aspiring Homemakers out there, who willingly choose this narrow path.
 
Thank you!
 
~Mia
 
 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A curiously warm winter.

 
It's been a little while! I've been keeping busy with fun projects, but have managed to capture a few moments of  what we've been up to lately.  :)
~

 My brother sawed, painted, and labeled quite a few signs from our scrap wood.
They look great out in the garden!
~
The sugar-snap peas are beginning to make an appearance..
Their smooth leaves are such a contrast to the sandy, gritty earth below.
~
 
February is the perfect time for pruning roses and also staking up the climbing varieties. Many of these are wild roses that I transplanted last year...I had discovered them in the woods :)
~

 
Recently we visited our dear friends for a weekend spent on their farm.
There's nothing quite like good fellowship, music, and an abundance of laughs-- as memories are made and shared in the company of kindred spirits.
~
A glimpse of old fashioned femininity...
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Fresh picked apples complimented our meal as we gathered around the sturdy, antique table for breakfast.
~
A few of us decided to take a stroll through the garden..
I received some great tips about planting in raised beds.
~
The tender blossoms of the broccoli were a familiar sight..
However, I never grow tired of observing the bees as they hover around the delicate flowers--I watch as they gently sway in the wind...
~
We decided to take a walk down the lane, and soon our conversation turned to farming, family, and holding to important values. The restless breeze teased our hair, as we paused to greet a curious calf along the way.
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At home, we've had many days of rain lately. It's the perfect excuse to pull old books off the shelf to read-- and soon enough, become filled with inspiration.
~
 A neighbor of ours invited us to tour his property one afternoon...
~
Old cabins he has re-built are tucked in the valley,
Quite a serene sight to behold. 
~
There was such a quietness about walking through the woods--It's landscape so un-touched, so un-altered. As I crossed over streams, took delight in the wild Spanish moss, and even collected leaves...I felt that these woods were clothed in such a radiance that it made it hard to leave.
~
From the porch of one of the cabins, It's easy to imagine homesteaders coming to 'stake their claim', dreaming of a self-sufficient life on their own piece of land. 
 ~
 
Inside one of the dwellings, the door's paint has begun to crack and peel from age...
Yet it's made of a heavy oak that will stand the test of time for years to come.
~
"He turns a wilderness into pools of water,
And dry land into watersprings." Psalm 107:35
~
Before we left, I took one more glance inside the cozy cabin, admiring the one room home--convinced that it's not the size of a cottage that matters, but the abundance of love found therein.
~
In our front garden, my Mother gathers tender greens for dinner.
~
Recently my brother decided to build a stove...
So he gathered old stones and crushed them, then mixed in clay to form its structure.
It works amazingly well, and he plans to put a door on it soon.
~
 I traveled to a state park for the weekend, and spent a lovely time camping with friends!
~
One morning, I was asked to sing for the site,
so I sang a medley of "Down to the river to pray/Amazing Grace"
Everyone seemed to really enjoy it  :)
 ~
Afterwards, a dear friend surprised me with a tea party she had planned!
So we sat in her canvas tent, and had a wonderful time. I was deeply moved as she encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. There's nothing like edifying fellowship.
~
 
"Let your conversation be always full of grace..." Colossians 4:6
 
 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Natural Elements of Home

We enjoy our outdoor laundry room...
Dashing back and forth, with warm, fresh clothes in hand--
~
Hearing the familiar sounds of family conversation and laughter...
'tis the everyday comforts of home.
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The warm tones and textures of well-loved baskets.
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In the kitchen, preparations begin for a hearty stew for dinner...
~
Near the woods, my mother gathers wild pear leaves.
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 We couldn't forget about the pinecones!
They're for the wreath we'll make soon.
~
I walked with my mother as we gathered up decorations, and glanced back at the cottage-- it's view surrounded by the beautiful colors and plants of the season.
~
Soon enough, the basket was full to overflowing with berries, leaves, & branches.
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On the front porch, cheerful blossoms greet us at the door.
~
This week I had prepared a 19th century gingerbread recipe,
and so my sister took out the batter today, and began to bake!
~
Many of these cookies we'll be giving to relatives as we go visiting soon.
~
Taking an afternoon break on the porch.
~
The dining room table is filled with fragrant pine needles and greenery-- waiting to be arranged and displayed around the hearth and home :)
~
I'm so thankful for the beauty of this season, 
All praises go to our Creator--the true artist.
 
 
 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A glimpse into everyday life.

 
The months have passed by rapidly, my dear friends!
As I've observed the neighboring fields grow white with cotton ready to harvest, and wild grass growing higher by the day, I realize that I've gone an entire season without journaling!
~
I do appreciate your patience--please know that I've missed sharing my thoughts with you ;)
~
The pear trees did well this year! It's always a delight to go into the orchard to harvest a few.
~ 
 We had an abundance of late cucumbers, so I made about a dozen pints of sweet pickles. I'm so excited about them--So if you happen to stop by the cottage, I'll be sure to give you a jar of course :)
~
The cottage has been under-construction!
For the past few weeks, we've been taking down our old walls in order to create an open space. What a joy it has been to see it slowly change..Now we'll have more room for guests!
~
Lately, I've had wonderful opportunities to help out at several state parks.
~
I enjoy spending time in the old cabins--demonstrating open hearth cooking, bringing to life the abandoned garden, or just sharing about rural 19th century living---ah, I love it!
 ~
 
The hedge of blueberry bushes.
The leaves are vibrant with a bright showing of crimson, browns, and golds..
They seem to exclaim, "Tis Autumn, tis Autumn!"
And I couldn't agree more.
~
Inside the garden gate..
~
The leafy greens are still young, but make a fantastic side dish--especially when it's sauteed with homegrown garlic. It's nice to pick collards right before supper--lovely flavor!
~
 I recently traveled up to the mountains to go Apple picking!
What a delight to learn about the different fruit varieties.. 
~
Walking down the well-traveled paths,
you could almost get lost in the seemingly endless rows of fruit trees. 
 ~
 My dear friend brought her darling baby to the grove..
It was so sweet to watch the little one reach for the apples with such wonder!
~
Before we left the orchard, I met the owner of this year 1930 automobile.
We had traveled behind it for a good distance, so it was fascinating to learn more about it!
~
 The sounds of crunching leaves under my worn boots.
The warmth of the afternoon sun.
The occasional pecan being thrown at me by a squirrel. :)
I love the autumn season.
~
In the living room, my brother finishes up school lessons
~
 Down at the neighboring farm..
I'm greeted at the gate by a curious friend.
 ~ 
"A true home should be the container for reviving real hospitality...."
--John Seymour, author of The Self Sufficient Life and how to live it
*~*
Thanksgiving Day
~
 I gathered the last remaining rose blossoms to make homemade rosewater--
a needed ingredient for old-fashioned Turkish delight candies!
~
 The heirloom dishes are carefully taken out,
 and hand washed before setting the picnic table for the afternoon meal.
~
As we work in the kitchen, the record player cheerfully fills the room w/ big band music,
While the air is fragranced with cinnamon and mulled spices.
~
My brother begins to make his 'famous' Apple pie..
It's become a tradition to bake it in our cast-iron skillet!
~
Thanksgiving Supper Menu:
~
Wild greens Salad w/ pecans, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette
Greenbean Casserole w/ portobello mushrooms
Mashed Potatoes with Turkey gravy
Fresh creamed corn
Traditional baked macaroni and cheese
Slow cooked Lemon Pepper Turkey (stuffed with fresh lemons)
Homemade spiced Cranberry sauce w/ pears and apples
Apple-glazed baked ham
Banana Bread
3 layer Spiced Cake w/ Pumpkin Buttercream frosting
Southern Apple Pie
'Three Kings' homemade bread
Sweet Tea
~
Perfect weather for a Picnic.
We set up our table underneath the shade of the old pecan tree,
*~*
And enjoyed pleasant conversation...
Soon enough, the apple pie was brought to the table.
~
 My dear sister prepared a fantastic cake!!
 Holiday Spice Cake with Pumpkin Buttercream Frosting
 
3 cups flour, 2 cups sugar, 1 cup Buttermilk, 4 eggs, 2 sticks of softened butter, 2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp each : Baking soda, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger
1/2 tsp each: ground cloves and sea salt.
~
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour 3 (8 inch round) cake pans
In a small bowl, combine dry ingredients. Cream butter, sugar and salt...then add in eggs.
Beat in dry ingredients with buttermilk, alternating one at a time, ending with dry.
When batter is smooth, divide it among the 3 pans and bake about 25 mins (or until golden).
Let cool completely before removing from pans...then frost with your favorite icing! Enjoy :)
~
"...Preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving,
and for every breath a song." --K.V. Gesner
~
After our meal, my sister and I sang the hymn: 'For the Beauty of the Earth.'
What a delight it was to lift our voices in humble gratitude of life's many blessings.
 ~
At the end of the day, I put together a simple meat stock (Nothing goes to waste, right?) Nicely seasoned with herbs, fresh garlic, onions and celery. This will make quite a few quarts of flavorful broth, perfect for winter stews!
~
Hope you all have a blessed weekend!