Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Hello Summer


On this first day of summer I am taking a moment to appreciate the gifts my small garden has to offer.

~ Flowers for cutting

~ Fresh blueberries 

~ A wide variety of herbs

I am learning that you don't have to a have a huge garden to still enjoy a steady stream of bouquets for the house.  I think it's more about making careful selections with what you plant.

While it would be lovely to have enough blueberries to add some to the freezer, I am content to be picking a handful here and there to add to my breakfast cereal and overnight oats.  Perhaps as the years go by, the harvest will increase.

As I continue to learn about the many health benefits herbs have to offer, I am making a better effort to use them daily.  Above is one of two jars of dried oregano.  In the early spring, it was apparent that the plant was out of control.  Rather than toss the excess, I dried most of it.  I gifted my sister-in-law with the other jar.  She has been enjoying it in her spaghetti sauce and homemade pizzas.


~ Spring Oregano Harvest ~


~  Deviled Eggs with Herbs ~

The deviled eggs we had for Easter tasted so good with dill and chives sprinkled on top.

As I'm finishing this post, Brett has just come in with 3 more tomatoes.  That makes 7 so far.  Not bad for two plants on the patio and plenty for the two of us.

Is there anything thriving in your garden on this first day of summer?

🌞🌞🌞




  
 

Friday, June 10, 2022

Treat Night


With only two of us in the house, I find I don't bake cookies nearly as often as I once did.  Consequently, when I do bake them it seems like a lot more work than it once was.  Which is probably a good thing as we both have trouble with willpower when it comes to freshly baked cookies.
The other day Brett mentioned that he could really go for a chocolate chip cookie.  Sounded like a good idea to me so, I got to work in the kitchen.


When I was in elementary school, my mom deemed Friday night as treat night.  She would bake a special treat to signal the start to the weekend.  I think back then we would share it while watching tv together as a family.  While baking my cookies, I thought back to that little tradition.  A simple idea that soon became a much anticipated event.  


At this age I'm not sure it would be a good idea to make treat night a weekly event, but once in a while it might be rather nice.
All those years ago the tv shows I looked forward to the most were That Girl and Bewitched.  Now we're binge watching our way through Grantchester and enjoying it immensely.

It's a beautiful morning here today.  I plan to spend as much time outdoors as possible.  Next week we are heading into the 90s with a couple of days predicted at 97.  Ugh!  Way too hot.  I won't think of it today.  Instead I'll enjoy the fresh, cooler air knowing at the end of the day treat night awaits.

Are you looking forward to anything as the weekend draws near?



                                                                  

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Down Memory Lane On This 14 Year Blogaversary



14 years ago today this photo and a few sentences gave birth to 
Happy@Home.
Do you remember that feeling of hitting the publish button the first time and waiting to see if anybody would find you out there in blogland?
That first post brought in one comment and I still remember the thrill of making that connection.  Heidi in the Netherlands had welcomed me to the blogging world and I found it fascinating to think that someone that far away had found my little blog.
It was fun to get to know Heidi a bit through her blog.  It seems she hasn't been blogging for several years, but I will always remember her encouragement in those early days.


Were you blogging in the award days?
If not, the idea was that a fellow blogger would award you (example above).  You, in turn, were supposed to award other blogs.
I still remember the first time I was "awarded" I had no idea how to share a link.  All these years later I remember it was Karen who taught me that little trick.
While it was kind of fun at the time, I was kind of glad when the whole award thing fell by the wayside.



Norma, Kim & Mom
~ an old photo (hello permanent waves) ~

My blog began at a time when my Mom was well into her journey with Alzheimer's.  I was preparing to move her into an assisted living facility near us.  It was a sad time.  Blogging stepped in as a wonderful deviation.  I met several fellow bloggers who were also on this journey with spouses or parents.  In many ways it was a support group to me at the time as this was all uncharted territory.
A year after moving her here my Mom went to her heavenly home.
Four months prior my sister, Norma, had a massive stroke.  
When I shared that on my blog at the time, the comments were so touching and the prayers were so appreciated.  I remember printing them all and taking them with me to the hospital when I visited Norma the first time.  I read them to her and hung them on the wall with hopes that she would find a measure of comfort in just seeing them.
It will soon be 13 years since the stroke.  
Norma never ceases to amaze me with her determination and strength in the face of all that she has gone through.  Although aphasia has drastically changed the way in which she can communicate, she never misses sending cards and gifts for birthdays and Christmas.  The best news of all is that she will become a first time grandmother in August and she is very excited for that.  I am so happy for her!


Butchart Gardens - 2013

One thing that has always appealed to me about blogging is the opportunity to learn more about everyday life in various parts of the country/world.
Not too long after venturing into blogland, I began to formulate a bit of a travel bucket list.
After reading Lorrie's blog I longed to see the Butchart Gardens in person.  When a wedding in Seattle brought us so close, it was decided to extend the trip and make the dream a reality.



That trip also included a few days in Vancouver, BC.
I have the Mennonite Girls to thank for inspiring me to add this part of the world to my travel bucket list.  In fact, they have inspired me in many, many ways through the years.  I remember following Lovella's blog when she came up with the idea for forming the Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  It was a pleasure to follow their story and blog.  I regularly consult one of the two cookbooks I own or visit the blog when I need a new recipe to try.  Just last week I made Charlotte's Cole Slaw which has a vinegar based dressing.  We liked it so much that it will now be our go to recipe for cole slaw.

On the topic of cookbooks and recipes I will leave you with one last blogging observation and, perhaps, a question.  Let's start with the question:

In your time as a blogger do you have one post that stands out from the rest in your mind?

For me that would be the following:


About half way through my blogging years I published this post.
At the time I was just sharing a cookbook author who had a great influence on me.  As I recall, most of you were not familiar with him or his books.
Three years later, when I was in the throes of getting ready to move, I received an email from a dear friend of John's.  He told me that he had found my post in a Google search.  He informed me of John's death the previous year.  In preparing the memorial service he came across my humble little post.  He shared many things about John with me which made me admire him even more than I already did.  He told me that he wished he had come across my post before John's death as "he would have been very humbled and happy to read it."
What??  Really?  I was flattered.
As I read along he closed with the following:

"A young pastor that interned at our church was John's choice for the person to speak at his memorial service, and he will be reading your letter to John.  What you wrote has moved us very much, and we want to share it with our wider community.  Thank you for expressing yourself and your thoughts about our beloved friend.  See?  You never know who you will influence that you don't even know."

To think that my words would play a part in John's memorial service were and are amazing to me.  When I wrote it I never could have imagined such a thing.  I am honored.
Since that time I have received comments and emails from some of his fans and family members.  Earlier this year I heard from a great nephew which touched me that he would take the time to comment and reminded me again how well-loved dear John was.

***

If you have stayed with me this long, bless you :).
As long as I am reminiscing I think I'll touch on another relic from the past.  The Giveaway.  Remember when they were so popular.  Like the awards, they seem to have fallen by the wayside.
Unlike the awards, I thought they were rather fun.
So, in the spirit of celebration, I will be giving away one copy of John's cookbook Down Home.  If you want to know more about it, feel free to read my aforementioned post.  While there you may want to read the comments too.

I don't know if anybody is interested in giveaways any more, but if you are, let me know in comments.  At the end of the month we'll drop the names in the hat and choose the winner.

My blog posting and commenting have dwindled through the years yet I'd hate to lose touch with all of you who have become friends.
You have all influenced me in one way or another and I am thankful for that.

Love,


                                                                                    

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Happiness is a Hydrangea or Two . . . or Nine


~ Summer Crush Hydrangea ~

One of my favorite garden moments has arrived.
After watching the buds form, watering when the temperatures were soaring and picking off yellowed leaves and dead wooden stems,  I am being rewarded with beautiful hydrangeas.


Oh Happy, Happy Day!!



~ Echo Mini Penny Hydrangea ~

Yesterday it rained
and rained
and rained.
All.Day.Long

After the lawn dried a bit this morning I went to check on the welfare of my beloved hydrangeas.
They responded very well to all of that rain.

Hip Hip Hooray!!


~ Little Lime Hydrangea ~

In my last garden I grew several of the Limelight variety.
I adore them, but they grow very BIG.  Way too big for this garden.
In order to still enjoy limelights we recently planted two of the Little Lime variety.  They are supposed to grow to a height of 3-5 feet which is much better suited to our current needs.  They are just starting to form little buds so I shall try to remain patient while waiting to welcome them into the world.



~ Annabelle Hydrangea ~

The Annabelle hydrangea is getting ready to put on it's spectacular show.  It never disappoints.  It is a bit large for it's location, but I don't mind one single bit as it sits right outside my office window.  It is such a beautiful sight to gaze at while doing my work.

We added five new hydrangeas to the garden this year.
Now nine of these beauties mingle with the existing hollies to make a pretty hedge along the side of the house.
With our hot summers, most hydrangeas prefer morning sun with a chance to cool off during the afternoon (sounds a bit like me).
They should be very content in their new home.


There are so many reasons that I love them.
One of my favorite is that it only takes a few blossoms to make a pretty bouquet.  Cut, strip the leaves and plop in the vase.  
My kind of flower arranging.

Do you grow hydrangeas too?


                                                                                

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Patio Time




Hello from the Patio

Late last year we had part of the patio screened in.
Now it feels like another room  of the house.
Our old table had seen better days and was on the small side when guests are over.  We've got a new one on order.  It has already been delayed until June.  While waiting for it's arrival I've been moving things around and sprucing up a bit.



I've moved some of my houseplants out here for a little vacation.
I'm planning to follow those PATIO RULES to a tee.
I've already tested out that RELAX suggestion.


After sprucing I went into RELAX mode.
The sky is so blue and our weather has been absolutely delightful.
As I sat gazing at the BBQ grill it occurred to me that maybe Brett would like to join me in working on the PATIO RULES.  I think I'll suggest that he start with GRILL EVERYTHING while I work on
TAKE A NAP
;-)

See any rules you'd like to try out this season?





Friday, April 1, 2022

Spring Snippets





When the tulips and grape hyacinths join the fall planted pansies . . .


When redbud trees slowly begin to dot the landscape with their beautiful flowers. . .


When the winter chill begins to fade away and the sun shines a little brighter, the turtles are content to take it all in.


Mister Robin is busy searching for an earthworm or two, which can only mean one thing...

Spring Has Sprung!!

Hooray!!!



Watching Mister Robin enjoying the spring sunshine prompted me to go home and create a little display with one of my vintage children's books.




Which led to adding a few Spring related items to the table in my entryway.  It won't be long until Mr. and Mrs. Robin begin building their nests.  I haven't seen any yet, but we have been watching Mr. and Mrs. Squirrel running up and down the trees and hopping into their nests.  Quite the acrobats they are providing good entertainment for us while we enjoy the fresh air on the patio.




When we're not being entertained by the squirrel families, the garden beckons.  Lettuce, arugula and parsley seeds were planted a few weeks ago and will soon be making their way into spring salads.



This week we went to the first farmer's market of the season.
The opening event included live music and a few food trucks.
While enjoying the music and eating our dinner, we were joined by some of the resident roosters.  One hopped up on the bench we were sitting on to get a closer look at our dinner offerings.  That was an unexpected surprise, but provided a good laugh : D.
We did enjoy a breakfast of farm fresh eggs and toast with homemade raspberry jam this morning courtesy of the farmer's market.


While I am reveling in the joys of spring here, I realize that it is slow to come in many areas and the waiting can be a challenge.  Just when you see the first sign of spring a snowstorm hits.  Ugh!


I am here to offer a bit of encouragement.


Perhaps where you live winter seems like it will never end.
Like the little boy in this vintage storybook you may be tired of it.
If that is you, I hope that seeing spring's return, as it is happening here in the southeast United States, will offer hope for what's yet to come in your area.  It may not happen as soon as we might like, but it's on it's way.  NO FOOLING :).


A little bouquet of spring cheer from me to you.

Happy April ~ Happy Spring!!







Thursday, January 20, 2022

It Snowed




That snow I was talking about in my last post came to fruition.
Sunday morning we woke up to a beautiful blanket of snowy white.
Looking out the back windows, it appeared that the wildlife were busy making tracks in the early morning hours.




Even the birdies were leaving their tracks in the snow.
So cute!





As the day progressed the snow gave way to sleet.
Clearly we were not leaving the house so I did something that I haven't done in many years.  Stayed in my pj's all day and read.  I've been working my way through Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles mystery series.  If you've not read this series, each book finds ex-lawyer turned herb shop owner, China Bayles, solving a mystery while also tossing in a lot of facts and sometimes recipes about various herbs.


Having just finished Rosemary Remembered, I came across this sweet potato recipe that I had torn from a Cooking Light magazine.
It is basically mashed sweet potatoes with salt, pepper and minced fresh rosemary added.  The topping was an interesting mix of finely sliced shallots caramelized with a bit of brown sugar.  It added a nice pop of flavor to them and the shallots got slightly crispy which was an added bonus.
I tend to tear recipes out of magazines with good intentions for trying them.  Once I try them they either get tossed or earn a place of honor in my recipe binder.  This one is now in the binder along with a few other sweet potato recipes.
We eat sweet potatoes often and it's nice to have a few different methods to prepare them.


Now, on Thursday, there is still some snow lingering and rain is falling.  The weatherman is tossing around the snow word again.  If we get it, I don't think it will amount to anything.
In the garden my chives are partially buried in snow.  No doubt wondering what the heck is going on.  Tonight I've got potato soup on the menu.  Not sure if it's worth stomping through the soggy snow to clip a few to garnish the soup.