Friday, September 12, 2014

The Fruit Flies Have Met Their Demise

 For the past week we've been noticing fruit flies in the kitchen.
They seem to multiply by the hour.
Last night I stumbled upon a home remedy for this problem on the internet.
I figured I had nothing to lose by trying it, so I poured the ingredients into a glass, set it on the counter and went to bed.

 The ingredient list was simple:
  • Fill a glass 1/3 full with apple cider vinegar.
  • Add 2-3 drops of Dawn dish detergent. 

In the morning I was pleasantly surprised to see that this simple idea was a success.

 Just thought I'd share in case you, too, are facing the fruit fly battle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gifts from Nature

 My little collection of bird's eggs were scattered here and there.  Some tucked into drawers, some inside flower pots, a few were in a vintage birdie nest that I was putting away for the season.
Through the years I have found them on the ground or left behind in the nest boxes.  All but one are empty which makes them very fragile. 
Today I decided to find a better home for them.
Somewhere that I could appreciate their beauty and they would be safe from being broken.

This wee cloche seemed like just what I had in mind.
 It occurs to me that some people might not get the whole bird egg collecting thing.
So, as long as I'm admitting to that, I'll also admit to finding a little bird feather collection in one of my drawers.  Only four of them and they are all blue.  I considered tossing them, but decided to add them to my vignette instead.

I guess it's no secret that I am a bit of a bird lover :-).
I also like to incorporate a few touches of nature into the decor.
Pretty and the price can't be beat.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Slowly Slipping into Fall

Hello There Friends

 The daily temperature reminds me that technically it is still summer.  
However, those subtle little changes are in the air telling us that a new season is right around the corner.
In the garden all of my mums are in full bloom, the Autumn Joy Sedum is getting ready to put on it's show and the Swamp Sunflowers are loaded with buds just waiting for their turn to shine.

 Last night I was surprised to notice that it was starting to get dark and it was just past 7:30.  Another sure sign that fall is on it's way.
While I'm not sure how I feel about the days seeming shorter, I am looking forward to lighting candles and small lamps here and there to cozy up the house.

Not feeling quite ready to succumb to completely decorating my nest for fall, I opted to gather a few things together.

A vintage tablecloth, mums from the garden, a couple candles and a few salt dough scatters I made several years agoSimple touches, but just enough to keep up with that subtle shift of the seasons that seems to be in the air now.
Wishing you all a wonderful late summer/almost fall weekend.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

In The Late Summer Kitchen

It all began with the onions.
One step into the pantry and it became clear that something was a little off.  Usually it's one of two things:  the onions or the potatoes.
On this day it was the onions.  Even though I had just purchased the bag and they all appeared to be fine when I looked them over at the grocery store, a few of them were starting to become soft... just soft enough to leave their less than desirable scent  in the pantry.

 Before things went from bad to worse, I decided to salvage what I could of the offenders.

Now I'll be ahead of the game.
Into the freezer with these.
How thankful I will be the next time I'm preparing soup or one of the many other recipes requiring chopped onions.

Once that was done I checked in on the garlic chives I had drying on the kitchen counter.
This was the first time I'd grown them and wasn't quite sure how to use them.  I watched a few YouTube videos to learn more.
I watched an Asian chef instruct me to snip them up with scissors and let them sit on the counter for a few days.  It worked beautifully.  It seems they are used extensively in Asian cooking and have been grown in China for thousands and thousands of years.  He suggested using them in soups throughout the winter.
I also watched a farmer pointing out how they grow and drop seeds in the garden, thus making new little plants.  The farmer suggested they are good anyplace you'd like a mild garlic taste.  He suggested using them fresh on top of pizza or in potato soup.  Mmmm... sounds good to me.
Do you use them?  If so, what is your favorite way to use them?

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Once the garlic chives were tucked into my spice drawer, it was on to dealing with the zucchini that needed to be used.  I wish I could tell you that it came from my garden.  I may be the only person who can't grow zucchini.  Tried twice. Failed twice.  Won't be trying it again.
I have found that the zucchini from the grocery store works just fine in my favorite summertime cake.

Into the oven.
The countdown begins.

By now I'm getting tired of being in the kitchen and everywhere I look is a mess waiting to be dealt with.
Yikes, I'm getting out of here.

 I'm escaping into the living (reading) room with my healthy summertime coffee drink.

My large and rather diverse selection of books awaits.
I'm thinking The Enchanted Barn by Grace Livingston Hill might be the one or maybe I'll just sip my coffee and gaze at Vintage Cottages.  Either way I'm not coming out til the timer goes off.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Fish, Two Fish

 One of the first questions people ask us about the new backyard pond is "Are you going to put fish in it?"
The answer:  "Yes"
As of yesterday six little goldfish have found a new home.

 We were advised to let them float around in their little bag for about 20 minutes to get acclimated.  

When the time was up, Brett released them into their new Home Sweet Home where we hope they will be very happy.
This is all new to us so we are learning as we go.
We've been doing a bit of research on caring for the little guys and found interesting information on their care and feeding (or lack of) here.  
I'll keep you posted on their progress.
For now I feel like a new mother who is constantly checking on their well-being.  Right now they are very small for the pond and it seems they must be hiding as I never see them.  On the bright side, I don't see them floating on the top belly up.  I hope this just means they are happily munching away on the underwater vegetation.

On another note, here we are in September.
I'm looking forward to cooler temperatures so that we can sit outside more often.  We tried it early last evening and nearly melted.  Our temps here have been in the mid 90s.  Coupled with the humidity it feels more like the upper 90s.  
So tell me, are you enjoying the cooler, crisper early fall temperatures yet?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chasing Summer

It seems it wouldn't be summer if I didn't chase a butterfly around the garden at least once.  With all the construction going on out there this year,  I haven't wanted to run around with my camera for fear of looking a bit... well you know, don't you?

Sadly one of our butterfly bushes had to be removed to make way for the new landscaping.  However, the one right outside the kitchen window remains.  Often when I am sitting here I see them gently gliding amongst the purple blossoms. 

Flying Flowers
Beautiful, Graceful Works of Nature

They oftentimes fly off just when I'm about to snap the picture.
So I usually just snap~snap~snap away hoping for a good shot.

 While waiting for my next opportunity to snap I couldn't help but notice this.  One lone leaf already sporting it's fall finery.  Uh Oh, can the rest be far behind?

Guess we better keep chasing summer while we still can.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Patio Before & Afters

 You may remember this from an earlier post.
Our patio had developed large cracks along the foundation and along the top surface, seemingly due to poor workmanship when it was originally built.  It seems the patio was constructed right on top of all of the trash and debris left at the work site.  Over time water was seeping into the cracks making them larger and putting the patio at risk for eventually caving in.

After receiving several estimates, it was decided that the best solution was to demolish the existing patio and start from scratch.
As long as we were going to start over, it was also decided to enlarge and reconfigure the shape.  The previous patio was ample, but our yard space provided for a more spacious patio, so that is the way we chose to go.
It was very satisfying to watch the work being done step by step.
In the photo above you can see the patio was in the process of being filled in.  Once it was completely filled, they used a small (noisey:) machine to "tamp" down the surface.  Best of all, no trash or building materials buried under there.  

When the decision was made to have the patio re-built, we also decided to go forward with something we have been dreaming and talking about for years.
It involved a large pile of rocks.

Some of them were very pretty inside.

The beginnings of this project were a bit on the muddy side.

Soon enough the mud was a distant memory.

As was the crumbling patio.