Enjoy the everyday life I love to live![ Member listing ]
25 Jul · Wed 2012
Window box Gardening, Easy Jewelry Magnets, Make Pillows with Old Shirts, Honey, Almond & Oats Granola and Yummy Spring Potato Salad!
Spring is such an exciting time of year... I love all the flowering trees and shrubs... in my opinion if it doesn't bloom at some point, why bother having it! Although I do admit the beautiful colors of Autumn in the fall with all the maples and other trees bursting forth in spectacular hues of orange, red, yellow and bronze is stunning as well... I welcome spring with open arms, dream for summer and long for fall...
Tags: gardening pillows easy shirts with & window almond old box magnets salad! and honey oats yummy make spring granola potato jewelry
Posted by Neil & Jean @ 12:23 PM EDT
17 Apr · Tue 2012
Each Spring my children get pretty enthusiastic about planting 'their' own garden plots. Ryan, my soon to be 10year old is always right there ready to get going. Last year he gathered several old bricks he discovered and made small 'raised' beds. He dug around to loosen the dirt and proceeded to plant his tomato plants along side basil, nasturtiums & marigolds. He has learned the art of Companion Planting like a true gardener! Taylor & Kyle are usually in competition as to who's garden shall yield the greatest bounty and there-by collect the most funds from dad 'n' mom! The problem most often is that the thrill doesn't always last through till the harvest~ before the harvest is weeding & tending~ not such glamorous tasks as the planting! But they are learning and I believe will someday have beautiful flower & veggie gardens for me to walk through!
But in the meantime here are a few more Garden Themes to dream about & work toward!
The first is a lovely *Children's Garden~ Sunflower Houses~ A good friend of mine has a really neat book called Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy. It is a book all about different children's garden theme's. One that struck us most was a sunflower house. It is so fun & incredibly simple~ first find the perfect spot, a sunny corner in the far back of your veggie garden works well~ or in a flower bed if you have room~ figure about a 6'x6' area. You will need the Giant Grey Stripe or Mammoth Sunflower's or even better a combo of both. Using a stick for a marker, draw out the area in the dirt, any shape you want will do~ round, diamond, square, whatever~ then plant the seeds according to package directions. Be sure to leave enough of an opening for an entrance. Once the seeds start to sprout reseed where any didn't germinate so you have a complete 'wall'. After your sunflowers are about six inches high plant Morning Glory seeds at the base of some of the sunflowers~ about every six would be good. To make a roof over your hide away, take twine and go around the tops of the sunflowers to make criss~cross sections for the morning glories to climb over. Once your sunflowers and morning glories are full grown it will be the perfect spot for picnics, story time or playing house. Your children will love it!
other stuff for the Children to plant.... Children love to plant and if you give them something fun to grow it can even be more special! Let them plant some decorative gourds. There are more varieties than you can shake a stick at including Swan, Bottle, Snake, Apple and even a Dinosaur Gourd. Let them page the seed catalogs with you and have them pick what interests them. There are books that teach the art of Gourdology which can be found at your local library. The garden project can at harvest time become a craft project!
Are you a crafty type of person? Why not try growing your own Wreath Garden. With the cost of materials these days, a package of seeds will go a long way in the savings department. Try growing these easy plants and who knows you might even be able to start a little business with your craft!
*Flowers that work well for Wreath's include~ boxwood, sweet annie, yarrow, bay, statice, artemisias and gomphrena.
*Ditch Garden~ Do you have a ditch in front or alongside your home that just screams 'do something with me'? It is always an eye soar and you just don't really have the time to tend another garden? You want something but would like a maintainence free space that looks good without a lot of effort? I did, so last year I attacked the ditch that runs along the road in the front of our yard. My ditch is often fairly wet so my choice was a day lily patch. Here are two very quick & simple solutions if you have a similar dilemma. First & foremost determine how often and to what degree the area is wet. This will determine if you do a Wild Flower or Day Lily Garden. Next, if tilling is a possibility rotor~till up the section to be seeded/planted. If the area is not tillable due to moisture you will need to do a Day Lily garden. If this is the solution, dig holes about every two feet and plant a clump of day lilies. They can handle the early spring moisture and tolerate the dry & hot summer days that hit Michigan. If the area is not overly moist and tilling is an option, simply scatter Wild Flower seeds in it. After a couple years you will have a breathtaking, car slowing garden that will never be an eye soar again. Which ever you decide will best fit your space, be sure to check planting directions/requirements before you put all the work into it.
What are Butterfly Kisses you ask? These have been shared in my gardens for many years by me & all my children. They are the sweetest way to give that little person in your life a 'special' kiss & I love you. So here are step by step instructions for those who are interested!
*First, find one or more of your favorite children.
*Next, stand them close to you and get down to their level~ face to face!
*Getting right up close in their face, put your eye up against their eye and blink as quickly as you can! Be sure to tell the child to do the same! The child will of course giggle and ask for tons more and of course you will gladly oblige!
That's a Butterfly Kiss, and of course they are most fun in a garden!
Who says Apple Pie is just for desert? This yummy Apple Pie will surprise the ones you love around the table, give it a try!
Apple 'Breakfast' Pie
1 beaten Egg, from Garden Gate
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup Pancake Mix from Taylor's Bake Shoppe
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Vanilla Sugar 2 Granny Smith apples cored & wedged
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
2 Tbsp. butter
Add about 1/2 cup nuts is you would like!
Top it with some Whipped Cream or Ice Cream~ Yummy!
1. Beat the egg, oil & milk together and then add Pancake mix, 1/2 cup of sugar and nuts if using. Beat until smooth, but don't over beat.
2. Pour into a greased 10" pie plate.
3. Arrange the apples evenly over batter. Combine the 2 Tbsp. of sugar with cinnamon & nutmeg; sprinkle over the apples. Dot with butter.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 30- 35 minutes or until apples when poked feel tender. Serve warm with your choice of topping.
Posted by Neil & Jean @ 09:00 PM EDT
06 Apr · Fri 2012
I love to watch Kyle our oldest son take his little brother Evan's hand to go fill the bird feeders. It is so sweet and special! Kyle has always been my bird feeder and now Evan is too. We love to watch the boo-jays come to the giant sunflowers we planted for their fall 'fare' and see the finches devour the thistle seed in the ditch, then slowly change their bright summer yellow feathers for the drab brownish garb for winter. Birds provide such a wealth of entertainment not to mention relaxation.
Here are few 'Bird' Friendly ideas for both enthusiasts and wannabe's!
*Don't throw your hair away- or your pets for that matter! After you comb your hair or the pets, put the wads out in bushes or low branches of some trees. Watch and see as your feathered friends will take them to add to their next. Other things you can help them with is the lint from your dryers & scraps of yarn. It is so neat when you look up in the tree and see some of your red yarn up high in a nest!
*We always include a row of giant sunflowers at the one end of our small veggie garden. It's not just beautiful but it provides so much food for the birds in the fall. If you don't have a veggie garden plant them next to your kitchen window or some other visible spot so you can watch!
* Egg shells are loaded with calcium and birds need it to make strong egg shells. Rinse and crumble them up and scatter around under your bird feeders or on top of evergreen shrubs. If you have chickens by chance add to their feed, you're eggs will be much stronger and if you have little hands gathering, a bit less likely to 'crack' on the way up to the house :-) !
*Give a bird a break and free rent. The entertainment they provide will be worth the work! Put bird houses out in trees and other locations. You can get all kinds of info on what types of houses attract certain birds. If you want Blue Birds, start reading and preparing now! What a special treat to have a pair of these!
*Super easy bird feeders are right in your kitchen and yard! Here are a couple simple ones to make and are great fun for children to help with! First gather some pine cones, fill all the cracks with smooth peanut butter then roll in bird feed of your chose. Tie a bright piece of yarn around the center and hang where you will be able to enjoy. Another easy one is to take some corn syrup and mix loose bird seed into it until it is moldable and not drippy, gooey. You can roll flat & cut with cookie cutters into shapes or just make balls. Add a string then let dry. Hang, watch & enjoy!
*Keep a journal! I use to keep a journal of all the birds that would gather at my bird feeders. Just the first time. You can make it really special by using photo's you have taken or found or water colors of those birds and adding them in along with the sitings.
I am all about a Pretty Porch! I absolutely love to decorate my porch, (see photo's) and make it as welcoming as possible. Last year I painted the ceiling a sky blue and that added such charm! I have two rocking chairs on it, one for me and one for Neil. I love to sit out their in the early morning before everyone else gets up and do my devotions with a cup of coffee. I get to 'hear' the whizzing of the humming birds wing's, the buzzing bumble bee and the wood pecker tap tapping in the tree. I love the morning sounds on the porch, but the evening ones are equally interesting~ the swooping of the bats wings as they slide out from the chimney and pass by us very closely, the peepers in the pond across the road, the crackling wood in the fire pit we are all sitting around and the shrill scream of the Screech Owl in the woods. There are a few other 'sounds' around, like the laughter of busy boys, the vroom vroom of the tractors hauling my pea stone away from the patio area, the 'crack' of the ball hitting the baseball bat from the boys playing, the girly scream of the big sister as the 'flying bat' swoops a bit too low.... so you have to listen closely for the evening sounds!
A porch in my opinion has to say, 'Come set awhile'! So now is the time to start preparing! Go ahead & start shopping around at all the local thrift shops for 'porch' worthy items!
*Neat old chairs that will be a welcome seat for a pretty potted plant, bird houses.
*An Old window that you can hang on the wall and swag some grape vines over top.
*A neat old table that you can set potted plants on or use as a quaint little breakfast table.
*Rocking chairs of course!
The ideas are limitless, use your imagination and let your porch be beautiful!
Try these yummy & easy open faced sandwiches!
Market Square Open Faced Baguettes!
3 tbsp butter 1 tsp. dried Basil from A Pinch of Spice & More
1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms from Willowridge Farm 1/2 tsp. dried Garlic from A Pinch of Spice
1 cup thinly sliced Zucchini from Willowridge Farm 1/4 tsp. each Salt & Pepper from James Creek Sutlery
2 Tomatoes sliced from Springbrook Gardens 4 Baguettes, sliced from Golden Wheat
1/2 cup sliced and separated Red Onion from Garden Gate 1 Cup shredded Cheese from Grassfields
1. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Stir in all ingredients except baguettes, cheese and tomatoes.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Arrange baguettes on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over each half and bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and cheese is melted. Remove from oven; top each with one slice tomato. Spoon on veggie mix; top with remaining cheese. Continue baking 4 to 5 minutes longer, or until cheese is melted. Yummy!
Posted by Neil & Jean @ 09:30 PM EDT
03 Apr · Tue 2012
Starting Seeds, Easy Liquid Fertilizer, Deterring naughty critters from gardens, flower beds & keeping good ones-
Starting Seeds in doors is very easy and extremely rewarding! All you need is a few everyday household items~
Posted by Neil & Jean @ 10:52 PM EDT
02 Apr · Mon 2012
"He who plants a garden plants happiness." Old Chinese proverb.
Posted by Neil & Jean @ 09:28 AM EDT
31 Mar · Sat 2012
I love to give gifts, especially gifts for or from the garden! There is something special in a wild flower bouquet just because.... or a small start from a perennial plant for a special friend. I have several perennials in my gardens that are from friends and each time I venture through I think of them, and I do believe this is the point. Each Spring most local stores have the 10 for $1.00 seed packs, I like to stock up on them and include in gift baskets, birthday cards or any other little garden type gift. Store them in an air tight container and keep in the freezer, it will add to their longevity.
Have you ever had or been a Secret Pal? I have been on both the receiving and giving end, it is so much fun! Here are a few tips on how to be one!
Here is a really yummy Quiche for a special brunch you may be planning or just a really special breakfast...
1. Prebake unpricked pie crust on a preheated cookie sheet in a 450 degree oven for about 5-6 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees.
to see more about us go to our farms website at
Posted by Neil & Jean @ 07:25 PM EDT
30 Mar · Fri 2012
"We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts." William Hazlitt
Has Spring sprung? it surely does feel like it. I was talking to a friend this morning about the Robin spotting (other day's blog) and she said her Snow Drops were blooming. Come Spring come! This year I am putting in a new raised bed garden over by our barn hill that will be specifically for Neil's sausages! I am so excited about growing and drying all the herbs. Raised beds are such an easy way to go for anyone, especially if you don't have a large area. If you want to have a no fuss, no muss garden try raised beds, they require very little maintenance and can grow almost everything!
Raised Bed tips on how to make & grow!
Other nifty ideas for plant containers:
Here's a yummy recipe using Taylor's Cornmeal Pancake Mix!
1/4 cup diced bell pepper (any color
1 small carrot, peeled & sliced
1/2 tsp Taco Seasoning
1. Stir together all ingredients except oil.
Posted by Neil & Jean @ 09:42 AM EDT
29 Mar · Thu 2012
A few weeks ago our friends Kevin & wife Hilda spotted twenty-one Robins in their front yard! Kevin is the music teacher at our childrens school and he told the children how he and his wife gazed out their living room window in awe counting. Back in February when Neil & I were in Saugatuck we watched about seven fairly large flocks of Canadian Geese heading North. Well, many an old timer would say, 'The birds know..." I believe it.
Posted by Neil & Jean @ 11:29 AM EDT