My college girl was home this weekend. I made a big pot of chicken and dumplings on Sunday and we ended up having a nice family dinner. My sister joined us and my other daughter came with her baby and husband. Everybody stopped along the way at Farmer’s markets and Fall festivals and brought donuts, apple cider and pumpkin cakes, adding to the feast.
The weather had been continuously dry and hot. The hibiscus went onto a second bloom. Overnight, rain came and a cold snap with it. Now, the leaves are suddenly turning and daytime temperatures have dropped 30 degrees. The outside plants have been brought in, cut back and repotted and Fall cleaning has begun. I guess that’s sort of a nesting instinct… getting things clean and snug and organized for the long, cold stretch ahead. Curtains, walls, floors, pillows and windows washed. Area rugs dragged outside and damp mopped with soap and water,front and back, spot cleaned and dried in the sun. Winter blankets pulled out of storage, washed and dried on the clothesline. Summer clothes put away. All the cleaning agents I use are natural..vinegar infused with orange peels, borax, essential oils, homemade soap. Soon my little old farmhouse will be sweet and sparkling.
It was a beautiful day for a ride. We went through a covered bridge in Connecticut, drove up along the Hudson River and detoured for a few minutes to gawk at one of the Vanderbilt mansions.
In Rhinebeck we saw an interesting looking tavern, the Liberty Public House
where we stopped for lunch. The bar was gorgeous. The decor was old Americana. Some of it was a little creepy… as was the trip up to the bathroom, lol.
The people there were fun and friendly and the food was good. I got a salmon burger that was the best I’ve ever had.. lots of fresh salmon, seasoned and cooked perfectly with a hint of dill and dressed with tzatziki.
So thankful to wake up to sunshine, flowers and WATER! Our water was restored yesterday. Early in the morning until late afternoon.. all weekend long, this small business owner worked to replace our water pump and tank. The pump was 200 feet down into the ground! I am so thankful to him. He went above and beyond what I expected. There are still business owners that care, do excellent work and have a lot of integrity.
The flowering trees are still blooming, the currant bushes are in blossom too. The funny fritillaries didn’t seem to help my mole problem but I like the whimsical note they bring.
Asparagus is coming in. There’s nothing like it….freshly picked from the garden, blanched in boiling water just until the color turns very bright so it is tender yet slightly crisp. I melt a little butter on it and add a sprinkle of sea salt. I had it first thing this morning, out in the garden with some coffee and cream.
I planted the apple trees this weekend. A few years ago, my cousin in South Carolina gave me an odd tip; when planting fruit trees, she adds a handful or 2 of dry dog food into the hole. I’ve done it ever since. I wonder if that is a common thing?
We were snowed in again yesterday. At this point, it really doesn’t matter. I think I ‘ve gotten used to it. I spread my projects out on the dining room table and spent the day meandering through them all. It’s too early to plant up the seeds but a few pots here and there give me something to look forward to. It’s exciting to see the little sprouts coming through and to check them each morning. March 1 st came in like a lion so you know what that means!
Last night my daughters came over for dinner and a game of Mexican Train Dominoes. With temperatures in the negative digits, 2 feet of snow on the ground and a forecast predicting more snow for 3 straight days, I needed some fun. Plus, I got to to send care packages home with my girls.
We had escalloped potatoes with ham and a big salad with homemade dressing and some side fixings. Instead of mixing all the salad ingredients together, I put everything on the table like a salad bar. Mixed lettuce, tomatoes and celery went together in a big bowl and then onions, blue cheese, dried cranberries, nuts, avocado, peppers were in their own smaller bowls. Everyone added what they liked to their own salads. I made a basic creamy garlic salad dressing by mixing these ingredients together in a jar:
- 1 small, raw garlic clove, mashed (sprinkle a little sea salt on the garlic before you mash it up to pull the juices out of it)
- 4 Tablespoons sour cream
- 2 Tablespoons mayonaise
- 1 tablespoon vinegar ( I used apple cider vinegar but white wine vinegar is good too)
- 1/4- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- salt and pepper to taste
This tastes better if it’s made a few hours ahead and even better made the night before. It will stay about a week in the fridge. Shake the jar before serving.
For dessert I made vanilla cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting.
I’m ready for the snow.
One foot so far and still counting!