Katie’s Cat Nap

 

 

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It’s an afternoon at home…I’ve already tended to my garden and now it’s about time for a light lunch. In my kitchen window lies a roly poly kitty named Katie.She’s a gray tiger cat with cool black marking stripes. She’s lived 13 years this month, hailing from one of our neighbor’s litters. Once a tiny fragile kitten, now she’s grown into a pudgy cat with an extremely soft coat of hair and a magnificent striped tail. So lovable and a dear, she’s an important member of our family!

 

 

 

 

What a beautiful cat she is! I think I better snap some photos to remember this moment! She relaxes and naps in the sill, feeling the wonderful cool breeze. The hummingbirds frequent the feeder just outside the screen. A warm sun covers the yard with an uplifting gold light… but that breeze! How comfortable and inviting!

 

 

 

 

 

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Oops! I think my Ipad disturbed her nap! A little voice inside me warns me to let her be. Tiptoe away softly so she can resume her napping. Time to go out and read a book in this heaven. I hope that you get to enjoy sunshine in your neck of the woods, read a summer novel or take a cat nap.

 

Oh…the joys of summer in New Hampshire!🌞🌞🌞😎

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

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A Few Days Away

 

 

 

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EEK! Facebook, email, messaging! Recently I needed a tech break, just a couple of days to let it go. Sometimes in our lives we experience overload from too much information, especially with technology in this age. The reason why I chose to unplug from my iPad was that the minute I got up in the morning to the time I go to sleep, it was an important player in my day and this scares the heck out of me!

 

 

While I was away I watched a mother deer slowly lead her young twins across our road, all the while I held my breath hoping a car wouldn’t race towards them. The mother moved confidently and with a proud stature, while her babies swayed to and fro with new naive life. The fawns’ spotted coats stood out in the morning sun and their little white tails flickered behind them as they dutifully followed mom. I could smell fresh morning air and feel a refreshing coolness tingle my skin. All this was a blessing.

 

 

 

 

I worked and walked in my garden, watching a pair of goldfinches twittering in a nearby bush. Chirping birds of all sorts were my morning song. This is peace, I thought. Forget email and messages and the drama of Facebook. Forget bills and worries, I thought.

 

 

 

The next afternoon ( still under a tech break), I spotted something long and chestnut brown beyond our pond. It moved slowly with slick movements. It paused behind lush vegetation, with a rustle of branches. Suddenly a stunning deer showed itself and looked at me. This creature had a long smooth body and a twitchy whitetail with an endearing head with bright thoughtful eyes. She gawked at me, as if I didn’t belong here. At this moment we shared space, air and the yard’s tranquility. We both were  meant to be here, together, staring at each other in vast silence.It felt like hours of gazing but it was just a minute or two, just enough to feel it’s peace and beauty. Then it was over, as sudden as her magical appearance. I held my breath as she gracefully glided across the road and followed the game trail into the thick woods.

 

 

All these moments remind me of why I took the break. I needed to reconnect with the simplicity of nature and to soak in all of its peacefulness. There’s a profound need to heal my wounds from the past year, to mend things and recharge for fall. Some people take long summer vacations and do this. We don’t…we never have gone on vacation for more than a couple of days, since my husband has so much work this time of year. A part of me mourns this and secretly wishes there could be a get- away for us. Years ago it was his care taking job in the way and now it’s all his summer landscaping jobs. Don’t misunderstand me, I know those jobs pay the bills! Yet, I worry that Tom doesn’t truly get a break and we don’t get to relax like we should. Even though I’m depressed about this, I look forward to a few day trips and a few weekends away in the fall, when it’s quieter and he’s able to do it.

 

 

 

If there comes a time when you need peace and quiet in your corner of the world, unplug. Forget the cell phone, iPad and email messages. Take a walk in nature. Get out and watch wildlife, birds, deer, and whatever is in your backyard. Breathe deeply and take a moment for peace. I did and I feel great and may just do this again on the weekend.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Farmer From Long Ago

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Digging in the same soil as a hundred years ago

a distant apparition of a lone farmer invades my thoughts.

While picking weeds and swatting away at hungry insects

I wonder if the farmer did the very same thing in the early 1900’s

Perhaps our gardening hopes and dreams are the same

The only thing that divides us

is a passage of time of over a century.

Long ago this farmer planted his crops here

maybe in the same spot or yards away in a different acre.

I wonder if he grew squash, potatoes and corn?

Did he fight the deer and woodchucks for his food with a resolve as I do?

Did he toil everyday in the dirt

and feel the sastifaction that he provided food on the table?

Did his wife and children work away between rows while busily chattering?

With distant thoughts and dreams,

I diligently tend to my garden

and feel this long ago connection.

The soil holds secrets of lost times

as earthy green plants continue to thrive.

I think of the farmer long ago

and of his distant story.

Did he love what he did with a driving passion

that showed in his demeanor

or was there a painful hate for this simple life with an eagerness to flee?

This land holds many stories of long ago

ancient tales that are locked away

and I will never know all of this

just that we shared this land!

It’s pretty amazing that this garden connects us, despite the passage of time.

Someday another soul will tend the plot

perhaps listening to my whispers in the wind.

 

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

A Thread of Hope

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My daily ritual is reading fellow blogs and learning all about different interesting things. One common topic lately is the state the world is in and peoples’ feelings tied to it. Whenever my husband and I watch the news( which is less and less now) there is always war, chaos,shooting  violence within our country, tension and injustice. This is the reason I’ve boycotted being informed and go about my life without news. Critical stories will pop up on my Facebook feed but other than that I’m out of the loop.

 

 

 

 

Just a half hour ago and yet another violent attack  in Nice, France. I’m not sure if this killer was a terrorist, but either way he wreaked havoc on a celebration, killing many people, including innocent children. Everyday something horrific happens and it’s easy to become discouraged.

 

 

 

 

Despite an untamed and turbulent world we live in, we need to stay hopeful. It seems as if we all are holding on a thread of hope. Hope that terrorists cease to hurt and kill others and that they are defeated in their tracks. Hope that people of our world live peacefully in goodness and that  they can reach out to others to help  to spread kindness. Hope that we start hearing and seeing all the good that unfortunately gets overshadowed by evil. Hope that the media will show this good news as well as the bad.

 

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As I age and reflect on the changes in the world, I am going to consciously work on strengthening this thread of hope. How can we focus on good? You can make a difference in your little corner of the world by being peaceful and helpful in your family, community, state and country. Live in such a peaceful manner, that others will follow your lead. If everyone in our communities and neighborhoods lived in positive way, wouldn’t it have to make a difference? Maybe I’m a dreamer… that we can fix this but it’s worth a try! I can do this with my profound faith in God and firm belief in peace.

 

Let’s not give up on hope in our world but spread peace and kindness, with good overcoming evil! I pray that in my lifetime I see less shootings on the news and terrorist attacks that are trying to frighten us into submission. I pray that my sons and their future families live in a world reigned by peace. My personal solution is to live in pure peace, without fear. I’m enveloping my home with warm and fuzzy kindness, spreading it through my neighborhood and small town. You can do this too, say no to fear, anger, hate and violence.

 

 

That’s all I can wish for, for peace.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

Your Best Friend, the Crockpot

Its easy and quick and with a little morning or evening prep time, your crockpot can be your best friend . Basically it involves planning, prep time and it finishes the rest of the job for you. If you browse the Internet or Pinterest, you will discover hundreds of possible recipes to make for your family.

 

 

 

 

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In our little corner of the world, summer is upon us. Not only do I love cooking with the outside grill but use the trusty crockpot too. This way dinner cooks for you and you don’t heat your kitchen up as much by putting the oven on. Crockpot cooking is useful any time of the year!

 

 

Did you know that you can not only cook but bake a cake in your trusty crockpot? Yesterday I happened to stumble upon a chocolate peanut butter cake on Facebook. I apologize for no picture…it was so good we didn’t stop to snap a photo! The ingredients are simple,

Mix the following ingredients.

yellow cake mix

3 eggs

1 cup water

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/3 cup butter, softened

Once it’s smooth and creamy, take 2/3 cup batter and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Grease crockpot. Put yellow batter in, followed by chocolate batter.

This recipe says to cook on high for four hours. My crockpot cooked it on high for two. You may have to experiment to see.

Next cool cake. While cooling, make frosting

3 Tbsp butter, softened

3 Tbsp milk,( I recently found out that I’m lactose intolerant. I substituted milk with almond milk and it turned out well. My husband and son couldn’t even tell the difference.

1 cup powdered sugar

Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, optional to top the frosting. I skipped this step and it was even wonderful without it.

Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup, to drizzle over frosting

Blend ingredients for frosting. Spread upon cake. Drizzle chocolate syrup.

This was a quick weekly night dessert. I found no need to pop the cake out into a serving platter. I simply sliced the cake out of the pot and served.

 

Although we love cold summer desserts such as fresh fruit salad and ice cream, our family relishes in cake as well.This recipe met favorable reviews and the best part was that I didn’t need to heat up our kitchen. It’s been about 70 to 80 here so I limit my baking when it’s hot. Try it one night, you’ll be surprised at the great results!

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Succulent Squash

 

 

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A host of succulent squashes, a  couple of weeks ago.

 

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This mornings view, making progress from a few weeks ago!

Welcome to squash street, a place in my garden where leaves sprout forth and long snake like vines stretch across the lane! Gorgeous green leaves, bigger than dinner plates that adorn the table, spread with natures goodness. If you look close enough you may notice the different unique shapes. The zucchini plant leaves resemble oversized oak leaves.They reach to the heavens for the purpose of soaking up the sun. Butternut squash leaves resemble big hearts, extending upon the vine, winding to and fro through the dirt plot. These blossoms are yet to emerge but this dedicated gardener awaits their springing forth!

 

 

 

Every year my sons scoff at the plentiful heap of zucchini on my counter, in the fridge, and  growing  non-stop in the patch . It’s a family joke that they always tell, that this will be the year to destroy those overbearing plants and rid us of the haunted zucchini! Despite the boys’ dislike of this mild mannered veggie, my husband and I enjoy having zucchini as a side dish or as a staple in chocolate zucchini bundt cake.( That’s another blog recipe I’ll share sometime)  The surplus has led me to befriend Pinterest to gather many special recipes using it.

 

 

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As my little troll sleeps among the squashes, they grow with vim and vigor.
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My promising pumpkin patch

 

This year I couldn’t find zucchini at the greenhouse. Could this be a sign? A changing year? With no zucchini in sight, I picked up a single plant of a different variety called gold zucchini. At this time in July, the leaves are full and lush as a few gold fingers poke out. I wonder what it will taste like, will it be similar to one of my favorites, summer squash? Whatever I find I’ll share with you.

 

 

Last year we had acorn squash, zucchini, summer squash, and many spaghetti squashes. I like a variety to cook with in different ways. This year I cut back and grew the one gold zucchini plant, summer squash, butternut squash and pumpkins. As I tenderly grow these succulent squashes,I envision mouth watering side dishes resting on my table.This season I’ve picked two small summer squashes, one to share with my niece Ella and one for us. I cooked it up in olive oil and herbs and it was delicious! Butternut squash is one of my favorite winter squashes so I excitedly look forward to tasting that first dish, while visions of summer squash stirfry and breaded fried squash entice me as well!

 

 

 

 

Lastly, our pumpkin patch, yet another squash, grows tremendously, with vines trailing out of its borders and on to the green grass lawn. I realize I didn’t plan enough room for the patch, but will cut it back soon, enough to keep at least 8 or 10 pumpkins. I may use a couple for pies and the rest of the lot will be October yard decorations and presents for my niece and son and his girlfriend’s apartment.

 

 

 

Looking ahead to next planting season, I’ve already decided this smaller garden will proudly house my herbs. It will be a convenient location, just a few feet away from our outside table and my kitchen. If I plant pumpkins again, it’s a possibility that they can grow near our compost pile bordering the woods. They definitely require more space than this tiny plot has.

 

 

 

Do you grow different varieties of squash? Does your family have a zucchini tradition or a long lasting joke?

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

 Hello Readers,

I came across this post that I posted last summer and want to share it with you again. This Blueberry Lemon Bundt cake was beyond delicious! Moist, full of plump blueberries and served as dessert and we even treated ourselves to a piece for breakfast one day! Who said you couldn’t have cake for breakfast…why not indulge in this scrumptious treat? I’m going to make it again real soon and look forward to seeing Tom’s face when he tastes it.

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My Blueberry Lemon Bundt cake, much more delicious than its picture! Taken from Chew Out Loud.com, found on Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

This particular day I decided to make a recipe I found on Pinterest for Blueberry Lemon bundt cake. This recipe came from Chew Out Loud.com. The author comments that it could easily serve for breakfast, a snack or dessert. I agree with her  whole heartedly, as we had it for dessert but enjoyed it’s rich flavor for breakfast a couple of mornings.

 

 

 

I had planned to buy two pints of blueberries and two fresh lemons at the local fruit/ vegetable stand. All the other ingredients seem to be items bakers usually have on hand. I was ready to create this fantastic cake!

 

2 3/4 cup all purpose-flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking  powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup butter

1 cup buttermilk, I substituted almond milk for this because I’m lactose intolerant and you never would know the difference!

2 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

zest of one lemon

4 tbsp lemon juice

4 large eggs

 

For Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

zest of  one lemon

2 Tbsp milk, I used Almond milk

 

 

 

Preheat oven to 350 F and make sure oven rack is in the lowest position. Grease and flour a large bundt pan. In a bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until combined. Beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure to beat until blended. Add lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract. Add buttermilk ( or almond milk if you’re lactose intolerant) to mixture. Fold in flour mixture until combined well. Do not over mix! Fold in blueberries gently. Pour cake mix into bundt pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes and insert sharp knife along pan edge to loosen cake.

While cake is cooling, make the lemon icing. Once the cake is cooled and popped out of pan, drizzle glaze on cake.

 

It’s that easy! A few minutes of your time equals a scrumptious fruity cake for all to enjoy! 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️