For Dragonflies And Me

  (Snover, Michigan)
Enjoy the everyday life I love to live!
[ Member listing ]

Hybrid vs. Heirloom Seeds, Heirloom Varieties of Basic Garden Fair and some Yummy Root Storage Crop Recipes

You're probably wondering why I am talking about seed shopping and gardening in December... well I realize some of my readers live in areas where they have the luxury of year round planting. While others, like myself living in cold climates have green houses and hoop houses to play in. Yet other home gardeners in cool climates are trying to get through these next few months cheerfully! I say, "Who cares if the calender says December!"... now is the time when us gardeners yearn and long for the arrival of those beautiful seed catalogs! As they make their arrivals in our mailboxes we gather them together, cozy up with a cup of java, a fuzzy blanket on our favorite chair with a notebook... ready to start making our lists of 'new' varieties!  We flip and long for the life that spring and summer bring into our lives... we long even more for the first shoots of Rhubarb to appear and then all to soon the green stalks of Asparagus to spring forth... to touch the prickly cucumbers, dive into the scratchy leaves of that notorious zucchini plant, get our hands stained green from picking those luscious Heirloom tomatoes... Super Italian Paste for our homemade spaghetti sauces... Green Zebra, Pineapple, Paul Robeson and Yellow Brandywine to create a festive fresh salsa...oh my!  [Read More]
 
 

Fall Farm Clean Up Day at The Garden Gate Farm

We are thrilled to announce that we will be able to do our Annual ‘Spring’ Clean Up Day this Fall! Many of you who were planning on coming out this past Spring for our annual event were very disappointed, as were we, due to the Memorial Service for Neil’s mom. Well, we are planning the grand event for Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 from 10am to 4pm. As usual Neil will be roasting a hog and we will serve up all the fixen’s with it… a Farm to Table Dinner at the Farm! Of course we will serve my famous Vegetarian Lasagna for all our veggie lovin’ friends! As always everyone is welcome, both our CSA members along with our Farm Market Friends, to others know simply as ‘customer’s.  [Read More]
 
 

Market Day At The Garden Gate Farm, Plant Tags, Plant Growing File and more yummy Market Fresh Recipe's!


We have been busy... I thought today along with the normal fun stuff I like to share I would give a journal entry of "A Day In The Life..." at our farm on Friday while we get ready for market... so here it is... enjoy!

Here was our day last Friday...  it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees...
"We take so much care in what we do because we do it for you!" Jean Smith
  [Read More]
 
 

The Garden Gate Farm Newsletter

The Garden Gate Farms Monthly Newsletter and Thanksgiving Turkey Order Time!  [Read More]
 
 

Decorative Garden Journal, Gardener's First Aid Kit, Testing Old Seeds, Freezer Strawberry Jam and Yummy Heirloom Brushetta

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words." Lydia M. Child

I often talk about my love for journaling and awhile back I talked about a Cookbook Journal I had made for my daughter Taylor.  Well, I also have created several Gardening Journals to show the progress of my gardens as the years go by.  It is fun to put the photo's in along with magazine articles or pictures that inspired me to my newest creation.  As the years move forward seeing the growth and changes that naturally take place in a garden are both exciting and joyful.  This morning while I should have been busy harvesting, I just couldn't resist taking a few moments to weed the Pergola garden and walkway... it is so relaxing for me... the cool morning with the light fog across the fields is so inviting as I prepare for the heat of the day.  Yesterday Taylor took the boys swimming and I had some quiet time... in my gardens... Well here we are at the end of June and I haven't even given you a Strawberry Freezer Jam recipe... shame on me! Well they are still in season so here is my families favorite and if you were fortunate enough to be one of our Winter CSA members you got this in your shares... so here's the not-so-secret recipe! Enjoy!
       
  [Read More]
 
 

A Companionate Herbal for the Organic Garden and Yummy Herb Butters Recipe's!

Summer is here and we are in full swing! I am finding it harder and harder to get to this blog with all the responsibilities I have around on the farm.  I am constantly thinking of things to write about and share, but finding the 'thyme', or should I say making the 'thyme' is just taking more effort than I would actually like.  But here I am and of course I love being here.  Lets talk more on herbs shall we? I just can't seem to get enough of herbs, they are so versatile and useful in so many areas in life... the kitchen, bouquet and right into the personal care line! I love to go out to the gardens and pick them... as I brush against their leaves they just welcome me there with their lovely aroma's telling me to pick & enjoy!  I have often touched on companion planting and I recently came across a great list that I thought I would like to share with all of you. Today I am going to focus a bit on the personal care end with of course a few yummy recipes for Herb Butters! Thanks for coming... see you again soon!   [Read More]
 
 

More Garden Junque Ideas, Window Pane Mini Greenhouse, Seed Packet Calendar Box and Yummy Rhubarb Upside Down Treat

Ryan and I were transplanting more tomatoes in the green house yesterday... he enjoys playing in the dirt~ after all he is a boy.  He got 14 flats done and was quite pleased with himself, especially with him earning fifty cents a flat and it didn't even take him an hour!  Work is an ethic that needs to be taught when they are young and being able to earn a little bit on the side isn't all that bad either.  Afterward, I was watering in the hoop house and was just standing there looking at all the neat rows of lettuce and tomatoes and taking in the deep earthy smell... I love to be outside, in the gardens in the fresh air... how much better when it's with my children!  We'll talk on a bit more about how to utilize garden junque and cute-sifying your gardens today!   [Read More]
 
 

Easy Rose and Coleus Topiary's, Garden 'Junque' Decor, Potting Shed Door Organizer, Yummy Asparagus Bread

Right now garage & rummage sales are around every bend along with estate sales!  I don't always have time to go to these because I am typically at market on Saturdays and by the time we are on the way home, the last thing I feel like doing is 'saleing'.  Thrift shopping is another story though... I know I will find just about whatever I want at the ones we drive past in the city on our way home.  But good garden junque is not so easy to find this way.  Antique shoppes, flea markets and sales are better shopping opportunity for this kind of stuff.  I love to add elements into my beds that give a feeling of invitation... cool old chairs, stools and benches say 'come on in for a stay!', tin pails and buckets add height and dimension in the flower beds; ladders and bird cages can be incorporated as well!  I love to get lost in my flower beds and just relax... weed, water and rest... gardening, what could anyone want more?  [Read More]
 
 

Be Green Ideas, Nifty Bug Trap, Mailbox in the Garden and Yummy Spring Spinach Topped Tomatoes

Be Green Ideas, Nifty Bug Trap, Mailbox in the Garden and Yummy Spring Spinach Topped Tomatoes

Welcome me back!  Well I do apologize for being gone for awhile here at For Dragonflies... my computer was giving me some issues for a bit over a week and then we have been busy here planting all the good stuff that fills our farms CSA share boxes each week and provides the lovely spread at our market tables.  But this is one of my happy places and I am glad to return!  Right now at The Garden Gate we are very busy... raising piggies and chickens and getting the raised beds and field planted.  I love the busyness of this time of year... it is exhilarating for me... I feel refreshed and alive and cherish every moment I can be outdoors.  We just planted the raised beds outside the hoop house with chard & beets today... the cherry tomatoes, lettuces and basil are growing beautifully in the hoop house beds, the sausage garden raised beds are full and growing beautifully!  Green is good in more ways than one.  I will give you some fun ideas on how to be green that won't tax your time or wallet! 
  [Read More]
 
 

Kitchen Tips and Tricks, Cute Curtain Tie Back, Herb Garden Spritzer and Citrus Raspberry Tea


I spend a lot of time in the kitchen especially in the summer when we are busy with all the canning & freezing we do around our home.  I love to can as you will learn more this summer through my blogs I am sure!  Right now I am excited with spring and all the bounty she holds... rhubarb, asparagus, fresh greens, spinach, fresh garden tea... oh spring is delicious.  But I think all the seasons can be, especially with the season extensions that we have now with hoop houses and heated green houses at our farm.  With our Winter CSA they allow for fresh stuff all year!  Today I am kitchen mode so here are some fun ideas, tips, decorating ideas and yummy drinks to read about! Have a great day and wonderful weekend!
     
  [Read More]
 
 

Market Day At The Garden Gate Farm, Plant Tags, Plant Growing File and more yummy Market Fresh Recipe's!

Market Day At The Garden Gate Farm, Plant Tags, Plant Growing File & more yummy Market Fresh Recipe's!

We have been busy... I thought today along with the normal fun stuff I like to share I would give a journal entry of "A Day In The Life..." at our farm on Friday while we get ready for market... so here it is... enjoy!

Here was our day last Friday...  it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 103 degrees...
"We take so much care in what we do because we do it for you!" Jean Smith
  [Read More]
 
 

Bringing Children In The Garden and Yummy Veggies On The Grill!

"Any garden demands as much of its maker as he has to give.  but I do not need to tell you, if you are a gardener, that no other undertaking will give as great a return for the amount of effort put into it."  Elizabeth Lawrence, 1904-1985, Gardening For Love.

I absolutely cherish the moments that I get to be in the garden with our children.  It is quality time that I feel will make a lasting impression on their lives and hopefully create memories for them of special moments with mom teaching them about how God makes all this great stuff happen!  I love to see them planting seeds, transplanting a tomato plant in the garden, tilling up the good earth and feeling that soft, rich soil squish between their toes!  My children love to feel that they have their own little space in the garden, to grow the things that interest them, to experiment and to harvest what they tended.  It can be a challenge sometimes to include them.  It is often just easier to do it ourselves and just getting it done.  It will usually add on some minutes, well maybe even hours, with the little helpers involved! But what memories you will make, what happiness will beam in their eyes when they pull out that carrot from the seed 'they' planted. That smile, that gleam in the eye is worth more than all the saved minutes of just doing it our self.  I love everything about gardening... yes even the back wrenching weeding & hoeing, the sun burnt back of my neck and the stiff arms... I love gardening!  

Here are some fun ideas to incorporate your children into your gardening 'thyme'!
Gardening With Your Children~ 

*Be sure to have child size tools for the little folks. You can purchase such items at just about any store that sells gardening supplies.  Make them responsible for their tools- to put them back, keep them clean, and be careful when using. Add a name plaque where their tools belong in the potting shed or garage, make them feel special.
*Keeping them interested is another challenge, especially with the ones that aren't that interested.  Allow them to choose what they would like to grow.  Some suggestions would be giant sunflowers, pumpkins, decorative gourds or root crops. Radishes and lettuce are quick growers and can be 'encouraging' to the one that needs a little boost in interest. They are also available in multiple colors and sizes and can really encourage interest.   If you choose a root crop I would suggest using some fun Heirloom things.  Carrots for instance offer a multitude of shapes and colors, from Cosmic Purple to Lunar White and every shade of orange in between.  Potatoes are also a fun crop.  You can purchase red, white and even blue potatoes.  Watch their eyes light up when they dig those potatoes. 
*If you don't have a spot for a garden, let them Container Garden.  You can use anything~ some fun things for the little people would be a wagon planted with some pansies, an old shoe with some Hen's & Chicks or any type of pot. They can plant herbs, flowers or veggies.  Go back to my blog on Container Gardens in the archives to get more great ideas.
*Also in the archives you will find the blog with the Sunflower House so your child/ren can create a secret room or play house. 
*Plant a cucumber plant; once the plant starts to form flowers it will not take long for it to start changing into a cucumber; once the cucumber is still small enough to fit into the hole of a 20oz. or so plastic bottle, carefully insert the cucumber into the hole.  Make sure the bottle is clear; once the cucumber 'fills' the bottle, pluck it off the plant and carefully cut the bottle off! Presto, a bottle shaped cucumber.  This would work with many types of veggies, try out a few and use different containers to make multiple shapes.
*If you grow a pumpkin plant, once the pumpkin is about 6 inches across, carefully scratch the child's name and a silly face into the skin being careful not to puncture.  Over time as it grows, the drawing will grow right along with it!
*With a stick, trace the child's name into the soil in a planting area; sprinkle lettuce, radish or carrot seed in the name. Watch it grow! 
*Be sure to take tons of pictures of your child in the garden and even photograph the planting, growing and harvesting process so those precious memories will not be forgotten.

Veggies On The Grill


As I have mentioned often, we love to grill and it is grilling season.  I will probably be giving lots of grill time recipe's so if you don't have a grill, now's the time to get one!

4-6 large red skin potatoes from The Garden Gate Farm, washed & cut into chunks with skins on
1 yellow onion from Garden Gate, cut into slivers
1 clove of garlic from Garden Gate, minced
1 cup spinach leaves from Garden Gate, washed & trimmed into bite size pieces
1 cup of Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Garden Gate
1 medium yellow squash from Garden Gate, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tsp. Matt's Mix Seasoning Salt
1/4 cup fresh Thyme from The Garden Gate
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. butter, diced
piece of foil wrap large enough to hold all ingredients and be folded over and sealed on top and sides.

1. In foil place all veggies; sprinkle evenly over top with seasoning and herb; drizzle Olive oil over top; put dobs of butter evenly dispersed over all.
2. Fold over the foil across the top and sides so it doesn't leak.
3. Place on top rack of grill and let cook about 45minutes to an hour. 

This goes great with any type of meat, so grill some awesome T-bones from Garden Gate to go along with it, and let your taste buds be taken to an all new level!

Happy Day,
Jean
 
    
 
 

Decorative Garden Journal, Gardener's First Aid Kit, Testing Old Seeds, Freezer Strawberry Jam and Yummy Heirloom Brushetta

"Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words." Lydia M. Child

I often talk about my love for journaling and awhile back I talked about a Cookbook Journal I had made for my daughter Taylor.  Well, I also have created several Gardening Journals to show the progress of my gardens as the years go by.  It is fun to put the photo's in along with magazine articles or pictures that inspired me to my newest creation.  As the years move forward seeing the growth and changes that naturally take place in a garden are both exciting and joyful.  This morning while I should have been busy harvesting, I just couldn't resist taking a few moments to weed the Pergola garden and walkway... it is so relaxing for me... the cool morning with the light fog across the fields is so inviting as I prepare for the heat of the day.  Yesterday Taylor took the boys swimming and I had some quiet time... in my gardens... Well here we are at the end of June and I haven't even given you a Strawberry Freezer Jam recipe... shame on me! Well they are still in season so here is my families favorite and if you were fortunate enough to be one of our Winter CSA members you got this in your shares... so here's the not-so-secret recipe! Enjoy!

Gardening Journal's can be made from any type of book you want... you can even make a homemade one for that matter. Pre-made scrapbooks come in so many styles you are sure to be able to find one that suits your style- botanical, cottage, Victorian, English or shabby chic... the choices are endless.  Ordinary composition books work well and these can be easily personalized. You can design the covers to inspire their contents and your gardening style. A color photocopy of a any picture from a gardening book or magazine can be used; Just about any type of sturdy, decorative paper, including maps and wallpaper, can be used for the pages of your gardening journal if you decide to go homemade.
Here are the materials and instructions on how to create a home made journal using a composition book- (SEE ATTACHED PHOTO)
Tools and Materials that would be helpful in this endeavor:
Ruler
Blank composition book
Scissors
Patterned paper
Glue stick
Bone folder or wallpaper squeegee
Craft knife
2-inch-wide self-adhesive linen tape- be sure the color matches your theme- can purchase at any craft store.

Customized Journal How-To
1. With a ruler, measure the front cover of a blank composition book. Adding 1/2 inch to all sides, measure and cut two pieces of decorative paper to size.

2. Apply a thin layer of glue to the front cover of the composition book including the spine. Lay a piece of decorative paper patterned or a photocopy of one that you have chosen side down on a work surface, and carefully center the book's glued cover on the paper. Turn the book over, and use a bone folder or squeegee to smooth out any wrinkles; let dry. Carefully trim excess paper using a craft knife. Repeat process with book's back cover.

3. Cut a piece of adhesive linen tape slightly longer than the book's spine. Remove the tape backing, and carefully center the tape along the spine. Adhere the tape to the spine; use a bone folder to smooth out any wrinkles. Carefully trim excess tape using craft knife.

As gardener's we all should have a First Aid Kit handy in the potting shed or at least in the house.  Our garden's have many hazards all there own and we should take precautions to be safe.  It harbors insects that bite, thorns that scratch, and other potential nuisances that may require simple first aid.
~ A basic kit should include the following: alcohol for cleaning wounds, triple anti-biotic ointment, cotton balls, bandages of all sizes, gauze and tape, Epsom salt for soaking, tweezers for thorns and splinters, organic insect repellent and sunscreen, anti-itch cream for stinging nettles and poison ivy, Benedryl, and of course some wonderful organic hand cream to sooth and soften your dry skin at the end of the day.
*Be sure that if anyone in your home has KNOWN allergies to bee stings you have an epee pen on hand at all times when out of doors.  Be sure to check with your physician for info on this.

Testing Old Seeds
Many of us are still planting and adding things into the garden.  We come across a spot that we are sure could fit one more thing in and decide to plant... what shall it be as we sort through all the leftover seeds? Or we may have some seeds that germinated spotty in the garden so we want to fill in and get a full row. Succession planting keeps us busy seeding and planting right through into late fall. With this in mind you will want to be sure your seeds are viable~ especially if saved over from last year.  I save seeds for up to 3 years, some think that is foolish, but I always do a germination test and I have not had many disappointments.  This sounds much harder than it is, but anyone with water, paper towel, plastic baggie and seeds can do it~ really!  Seeds saved can be worth sowing -- but only if they pass this germination test:
* Fold 10 seeds in moist paper towel, place in resealable bag, mark with date put in and the date germination if viable should take place, as well as the type of seed.
*Be sure to read on the package instructions how many days the seed takes to germinate~ add a couple to be sure. *After the 'day's to germination' have safely passed by, open the paper towel to see how many of the seeds germinated. *Multiply that number by 10 to calculate the percent of germination. More than 70 percent is passing. If between 40 and 60 percent, sow thickly. Below 40 percent, it's best to buy fresh seed.
~Be sure to keep any seed you want to save for next year in the freezer in air tight freezer bags or plastic containers.  Also be sure to label any packages that may be tattered or where the labels may be faded.

Cute Personalized Herb Pots... make cute gifts or are a wonderful addition clustered together on your window sill or table top.  Personalizing them is so super easy, yet adds such a flare to the simplest pot!   Individually, they're portable and easy to handle: Bring the basil indoors, for example, when making pesto, instead of stooping in the garden. When you plant the herbs, label the rims with a permanent felt-tip marker, and use these pots year after year! (see attached photo)

Strawberries, strawberries... oh yummy strawberries!  Here is our families favorite Strawberry Freezer Jam recipe.  This is one of the few jams I don't can... Strawberry Jam frozen is like eating them fresh picked~ there is no comparison with canned!
Strawberry Freezer Jam
3/4 cup pectin - equivalent to 6oz. (like sure-jel)
1 1/4 cup water
4 cups whole strawberries (1 quart container)
4 cups organic raw sugar

*Following the instructions, especially with the amount of sugar is crucial to have proper set up!  DON'T SKIMP ON THE SUGAR!!!!
1. De-stem berries and then crush berries in a bowl; add sugar and stir for 3 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2.  Boil pectin and water for exactly one minute and 45 seconds!  Start timing when the mixture is at a rolling boil.
3. As soon as the time is up add the pectin mixture to the strawberry mixture slowly pouring in and continually stirring for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar completely!  It will be grainy if it is not stirred long enough.
4. Pour into either freezer containers or canning jars.  Leave 1 inch head space in either container.
5. Let set on your counter for 24 hours before freezing.
Super yummy!

Heirloom Tomatoes, fresh garlic and just picked basil... this all adds up to Brushetta at our home! Here is our families favorite recipe!
Brushetta
1 loaf Persian Bread from Sunflour Bakehaus or a loaf of fresh bread.
7-8 Roma tomatoes or 4 to 5 large ones, diced~from Garden Gate~ multi colored looks best!
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. sea salt or earth salt
1/2 cup olive oil from The Olive Oil Store, plus extra for brushing on bread
1/2 cup fresh snipped basil leaves from Garden Gate
Fresh Parmesan Cheese

1. In a 2 quart bowl put chopped tomatoes; sprinkle salt over top. Let set for about 10 minutes.
2. In the mean time snip basil finely; add basil, minced garlic and 1/2 cup olive oil to tomatoes; stir gently as not to mash the tomatoes. Place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving so flavors blend.
3. Just before serving, cut bread into 2-3 inch wide pieces, then slice diagonally; lay on a cookie sheet and brush olive oil onto one side, flip over and brush oil on other side; place in oven under low broiler and toast until golden, about 1-2 minutes; flip and brown other side.
4. Top bread with brushetta topping; grate fresh Parmesan over top.  Serve immediately.

Happy Day,
Jean

 
 

Plan A New Garden Now, Apple Orchard Strudel

Planning a new garden is always so much fun for me.  Each year I get to draw up field, garden and flower bed plot plans! This is one way that I spend my winter days!    If you start with a garden journal and jot down what your garden dreams are, add some pictures from magazines~ my personal favorite is Country Gardens~ then you will have a plan of action and goals to work toward.  Pre-planning your gardens on paper will give you an idea of space needed & quantity of plants required to have proper fill effect.  There will be plants you can start from seed and others that you will need to get from your local nursery.  Look in seed catalogs~ we are all getting loads of those and plan for Fall planting of bulbs for next Spring now!  You can always tweek things after you start, but having that plan of action will give you a visual aid that is sure to help in the long run.  For the next few entries I will be focusing on Garden Themes and helping you  plan ahead to get a beautiful and long lasting end result. 

Here are a few simpler Garden Themes with some choice plants for each, choose one or all.
*Butterfly Garden~ Purple Cornflowers, Butterfly Bush, Bee Balm, Shasta Daisy, Primrose, any kind of Phlox, Petunias, Cosmos, and single Marigolds.
*Hummingbird Garden~ Trumpet Vine, Wisteria bushes, Morning Glory, Lilac, Bee Balm, Hyssop, Petunias, Lavender, Salvia.  Any flower with a tubular flower will be much appreciated by our beautiful feathered friends!
*Bee Garden~ Hyssop, Bee Balm, Lavender, all of the Thymes, any mints, Lemon Balm, Roses, Geraniums.

Moon Garden~
At one of our first home's I planted a Moon Garden for the first time.  I had saw the idea in a magazine and thought it would be a neat idea, I had no idea how amazing it would be!  In the blackest of nights the garden simply glowed with life and the night insects it attracted was in itself so awesome!  Using all white flowers didn't seem that appealing to me at first, I am more of a Pink & Purple kind of girl with a splash of orange & yellow around to add interest- but white against the black night is simply gorgeous.  As the moonlight reflects off the flower petals it makes a spectacular silvery light that is breath taking.  My Moon Garden was planted directly in front of our living room window where it could be enjoyed either while inside or sitting outside.  Here are some flowers to be included as well as some night blooming ones!
*Silver Sage, Carnation, Angels Trumpet, Lambs Ear, Silver Tansy, Yarrow, Silver King & Queen Artemisia, Clary Sage, Horehound, Grey Sanolina, White Petunia's, White Cosmos, Mums, Tulips, Daffodils, Snow Drops and Hyacinths. If you have an arbor plant Sweet Autumn Clematis~ what a show stopper.
*Night Bloomers include Nicotiana, Stock, Roses, Veronica, Impatiens, Alyssium, Azalea and Jasmine.

Make a special day with some friends and go to your local greenhouses to get more ideas.  Remember when you are planning your garden's to look at plant blooming times, sun requirements and growth height & habits.  Try to choose a selection of plants that will give color starting in early spring through the late fall so you don't miss a beat!  The end result will be one you will never regret!

Here is a yummy way to use Cabbage in a not so everyday way!

Apple Orchard Strudel


4 cups cabbage from Garden Gate, finely chopped
1/4 cup onion from Garden Gate, chopped
1 1/2 cups apples from Kapnick Orchards, cored, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp mustard
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese from Grassfields Cheese
8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 stick butter, melted & divided

1.  Add cabbage and onion to a skillet coated with non stick vegetable spray.  Cook, covered, over medium heat for about 5 -7 minutes.
2  Mix cabbage mixture with apples in a large bowl, stirring in sour cream and mustard; add to cabbage mixture.
3,  Brush one sheet of dough with butter; layer on a second sheet.  Continue to brush each sheet of dough with butter and arrange on on top of the other.  spoon cabbage mixture down 1/3 of long side of dough. 
4. Top mixture with cheese.  Beginning with the long side, roll up jelly roll style.
5. Place on a 10"x15" jelly roll pan lightly coated with non stick vegetable spray. 
6.  Brush dough with remaining butter.  Make 1/4 inch deep cuts about 2 inches apart along the length of the dough.
7.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

Happy Day,

Jean


     

 
 

Nifty Bird Feeders, Homemade Hummingbird Nectar, A Lovely Garden Path and Taylor's Yummy Oatmeal Pancakes!

I was in the kitchen the other day leaning on the counter looking out one of the windows when a male & female Purple Finch landed on the feeder.  I quick called over baby Aaron and picked him up to watch them.  We were actually only about seven feet away so the view was quite charming.  Aaron got big eyed of course and started pointing and oohing over them.  The birds were quite relaxed due to the 'usual' noise coming out of the house- this was no big deal and continued to eat and enjoy the sunny day.  Soon another pair settled in and things were even more splendid. As I have mentioned in several of my entries, we are big bird watchers and we enjoy feeding them very much.   Although all the bird feed can get a bit expensive I do believe it is well worth the efforts and the rewards of being able to see one of Gods most intricate & beautiful creatures so closely. I have large climbing Sweet Autumn Clematis' growing on both my front arbor and my pergola and the birds just love them. They gather for shelter as well as nesting! Last week I put a bird house in the inside corner of my front arbor well in the vines and I am pleased to say I already have a pair of sparrows nesting in there! 

If you enjoy feeding the birds, here is a really easy bird feeder recipe that you and the children can make to stretch the seed out a 'little' bit longer .
*Nifty Bird Feeders~ General Recipe: Mix about a tablespoon of white corn syrup with approximately 1 cup of bird seed~  Make as much as you want and then using a rolling pin, roll out onto counter or table until about 1/2 inch think or so.  Using cookie cutters have the children cut out shapes; re-roll any remaining seed mix until you have used it all.  Using a thin dowel, no larger than a pencil make a hole about 3/4 of an inch below the top edge of the bird treat; using yarn, thin wire or twine make a loop about 12 inches or so long to hang it out with.  You can also form into suet size to put into your suet holders.
*To make suet cakes use smooth Peanut Butter mixed with a couple tablespoons flour and mix in bird seed of choice, form into cakes and fill your holders.  Keep these in shady areas because they will melt in the heat of August. You can store these in the freezer for up to 3 months, so have fun and make ahead when the peanut butter is on sale and you have time! 
*If you do purchase pre-made suet cakes, save a few of the plastic holders they come in so you have a form handy and they will be the right size.
*Hummingbird nectar is super easy to make without buying the expensive mixes.  Simply add to four cups hot water 1 cup of sugar; stir until sugar is completely dissolved then add  2 drops of red food coloring if you want to, but it is not necessary. Put in fridge to cool down and then fill your feeders- hang out and enjoy the flock that will come. 
*Be sure to plant a row of Mammoth or Giant Grey Striped Sunflowers in your veggie garden or some in your gardens, you will be entertained in the fall by many birds looking for food!
*If you don't have room for a large bird bath somewhere, you can use large Terra cotta or plastic plant saucers for them.  Put down on the ground next to a large shrub so they have somewhere to fly and be sure to keep clean water in it.

*A Pretty Cobblestone Walk ~ see attached photo
One of the first things I did when we purchased our home was plan all the 'future' gardens and then some. There was nothing here when we came except on overgrown apple tree, an ugly shrub next to the front porch steps, two lilac bushes, a hydrangea bush  and one big beautiful Maple in the back yard. Some might be saying, "Well that's not too bad."  Well maybe it's not to some and the ease of that would be just fine & dandy~ not so for me.  I want gardens that surround and abound, both veggie and flower.  In my opinion they go hand in hand~ you can't not have flowers in your veggie garden anymore than you can't have herbs and a few pretty chard or potato plants mixed in the flower beds.  So the planning started.  One thing I had to have was a cobble stone walk.  A good friend of mine, also a gardener, had a form, soooo I put Neil to work, of course I helped, after all someone had to tell him what to do :-) ! He is my muscles when I need certain hard scapeing done, so we got the neighbors cement mixer, bought several bags of  concrete and went to work.  First I dug up the sod from the planned walkway; next I put down black plastic ground cover to hold back the nasty grass that would surly want to rear it's ugly head up into my path; next we put down about four inches of sand. Now we have a gravel/sand pit right across the road from us, so this is free for the taking for township residents.  If you don't have access to free, then you need to buy enough to lay at least 4 to 6 inches of sand down for the stones to mold into. Now I needed my 'muscles' and as usual he came through beautifully. He mixed the concrete and filled the form on and on until the walk was complete.  I wanted it to be more special though so I had each of our children press their little patties (hands) gently into a stone, then I carefully printed their name and the date in another stone beside it.  I added marbles and made smiley faces with them in neighboring stones as well.  I also had Neil & I do the same and put our wedding date and a heart made with marbles in ours (see photo attached).  I wanted a bit more so I took some maple, fern and hosta leaves and pressed them into several of the other stones.  Now after several years they are all still perfectly visible and are a happy reminder of a hard days work. 

Pancakes can have so many variations, it's simply to the cooks imagination as what to add or not. Here is a yummy variation that goes over well at our house!
Taylor's Yummy Oatmeal Pancakes

1 Package of Taylor's Bake Shoppe 'Buttermilk Pancake Mix'~ follow package directions and then add to one batch recipe:
1/2 cup whole oats
1/4 cup more buttermilk
1 tbsp. Maple Syrup

Fry as you would and serve hot with Garden Gates Breakfast Sausage patties or links and a jug of Kapnick Orchards yummy Apple Cider! 

Happy Day,
Jean,
 
 
RSS feed for For Dragonflies And Me blog. Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader

Calendar


Search


Navigation


Topics


Feeds


BlogRoll