Thursday, June 28, 2018

Strawberry Season

Strawberry cake with strawberry and basil buttercream icing

Sadly, strawberry season is over.  I miss it already.   Even with the cool and rainy season that seemed as if it wouldn't ever end, we had a really wonderful crop of tiny berries.

We have a small patch of both everbearing and June bearing berries.  The everbearing will produce all summer but in "snack on" type of quantities, probably not enough to make a recipe that calls for a big batch.

While we had bunches coming out of the garden, we took advantage and made strawberry ice cream (wasn't my favorite recipe), a celebratory start to summer cake, and canned jam to use over the next year.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Kitchen Cabinets and a Hand Print

When we first started putting together ideas for our kitchen renovation, we knew that we wanted white cabinets with unlacquered brass hardware and marble countertops.  We want everything to patina and age in this house (though I will admit that Bryce does not love the "dots" that are coming first on the faucets).  The kitchen is suspiciously reminiscent of our last kitchen but we figured why reinvent the wheel if we already loved something?

We turned to a local cabinet maker to help with our design and build the cabinets, and we are thrilled with the final product.  My favorite thing of the whole process was getting to go and walk the workshop while our cabinets were in production.  I love having met the men and women who worked on our cabinets from start to finish!

Their facility is top notch.

As you can imagine, we are thrilled with our new kitchen but wouldn't you know that within months of them being installed, we noticed a faint, but most definitely there, red handprint on the refrigerator panel.  The culprit?  Harris.  Apparently, after working on homework with a red shading pencil he felt the need for a snack and had to use one hand to pull and the other to push!  We've tried everything to get it off but it won't budge.  The cabinet makers think it might need to be refinished!  I guess we got that patina earlier than expected :).

Hard to see but it's there!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Chicken Coop

Last fall, Al, my father-in-law, built me a chicken coop for our feathered ladies. I tell ya, that man can do anything!

He followed plans that I bought from Heather Bullard and I love how it fits right in with the rest of the garden.  We painted it the same shade as the shed and Bryce put a similar looking metal roof on it so that they would look cohesive.

We put them in the garden because we have a deer and critter fence around it and felt like that offered them one more line of defense against predators.  

The girls all seem to be flourishing though I'm still trying to learn how to best care for chickens.  The whole cleanliness of the coop is something I can't seem to wrap my mind around.  How often to clean?  What's the best floor for the coop?  Sand?  Dirt?  Straw?  Hopefully, some veteran chicken owners can help me out!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Two Salads with Garden Ingredients

Recently, I've made two salads that were both delicious and really beautiful.  The first one, I was able to use radishes and herbs from the garden.  I loosely used a delicious recipe from Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, by Joshua McFadden, one of my favorite seasonal cookbooks.  To amp up the pretty factor I sprinkled chive blossoms all over the salad and the color combination was so lovely.  I highly recommend using edible flowers in salads!

The second salad was from the cookbook Cook Beautiful, by Athena Calderone, and featured pickled rhubarb from our garden.  It would have been even prettier if my rhubarb was pink and not green.  I LOVED this salad.  It was the perfect combination of different textures and tastes.  I could eat it for every single lunch!

Monday, June 4, 2018


Our peony season is almost to a close and while I still don't have nearly as many blooms as I did at our last house, I certainly got more this year than last!  Those blooms that I do cut (it's best to wait three years after planting to cut extensively), I cut short stems for bouquets.

Last fall, I planted some alliums and I just adore how they float above the peony blooms!  Also, the allium blooms last much longer than the peonies!

This season, I have had an issue of some of the peony petals turning brown (it's happening much more with my roses) and my guess is that it is due to the high volume of rain and cloudy skies we've had. 

 These ruffles... perfection.

 If you are looking for a beautiful, informative book on Peonies this book is calling your name. 

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