What is This?

Does anyone know what this rusty object could be? A few weeks ago I was weeding around a stump in our front yard. I planted flowers there and wanted to clean it up. As I pulled grasses and weeds, I pulled on this object that was immersed in the core of the rotting  stump. At first I guessed that it was a type of bottle opener but the more I study it, it doesn’t seem to be. It was made in Taiwan and almost looks like the narrow end was broken off of something. Perhaps this object was part of a machine but how did it get in a rotted stump?

 

 

 

 

I love a good mystery that’s why I enjoy ancestry immensely! It’s fascinating to wonder about what people did long ago,  especially in our house that was built around 1890. Once I found a few pieces of old China dishes buried underneath my garden. Long ago families dug trenches on their property to dump discarded items and apparently there are several on our property. Last summer Tom found a site where he was building his garage. Coincidentally the old barn stood on the same spot and when it was torn down, many objects were buried there. Tom found old chains, tires, milking instruments, animal bones and a rusted jewelry box to name a few.

 

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I’m keeping this piece of history, even if I may never know. It’s a curiosity that will rest in my garden, keeping me wondering and connected somehow to the past. Let me know what your guess is.

 

An update…I just googled ” old bottle opener” and found this image. Could this be the same?

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

Delicious Apple Carrot Zucchini Muffins

 

Pour a second cup of coffee with these yummy muffins!

 

Every year I bake zucchini muffins for my family. They are easy to put together and my family loves them. Just yesterday I was browsing zucchini recipes on Pinterest and found a new muffin recipe that sounded good, so I had to try it.

This Apple carrot and zucchini muffin recipe is borrowed from the blog at wineandglue.com. Lisa is a mom “ with a glue gun in one hand and a glass of wine in the other”. That’s my kind of mom, honest with a sense of humor! Check out her blog.

Apple Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Yield: About 18 muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup shredded zucchini (about half a medium zucchini)
1 cup shredded carrot (about two carrots)
1 cup shredded apple (about one apple)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray with Pam.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and oil.

3. In another large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. The batter will be very thick.

5. Mix in the zucchini, apple, and carrot.

6. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full.

7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Enjoy! My family ate these for a snack or breakfast. Either way they are moist and delicious!

 

I want to share with you all how I store muffins, cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods. About six years ago I saw these snap it plastic storage containers on QVC. They were selling a set of two and I don’t remember what I paid for them but they are handy and convenient to own. I have a handy deep one with a traveling handle and a shallow one without the handle. I’ve also seen similar containers at T.J. Maxx.

They keep baked goods fresh for me. I also store veggies like lettuce and beet greens in the refrigerator in them. Look them up if you need great storage containers for your kitchen.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

The Early Days of August

A front view of our home this summer

 

 

It’s hard to believe that here we are, emerged in August! June and July have hurried by and left behind much rain. Summer days  of indulging in iced tea and watching flowers grow have commenced. August brings  steamy yet comfortable temperatures in the 80’s and relaxing breezes in our humble town. Flowers have bloomed and brought vivid colors to yards. The rich green grass is soft to my barefeet and cool to the touch.

 

 

It’s been awhile since I updated you all on our renovation and building projects. Some of you may remember my post last summer of my husband building his beautiful garage/barn. It’s pretty much finished besides pouring a cement floor and we need to purchase two industrial sized doors. We feel very proud of this structure and by chance it’s foundation is built where the old barn stood many years ago. This was done by  accident, for we didn’t know, but what a wonderful coincidence, don’t you think?

 

A look at the garage last summer. Isn’t it spectacular?

 

 

This summer Tom has started siding our house with cedar shingles. This is where we tore down an attached shed, leaving original clapboard ( not in the best shape) and unfinished work and insulation from many years ago before we were owners. I feel like I should help but I’m not too confident of using the nailgun. I hand him the shingles, alternating between fat sturdy pieces and the thinner shingles and of course I gab the whole time to keep him company. Tom was smart enough to keep the awning up to keep him out of the sun and rain. Eventually we can enjoy that side of the house with light brown shingles and a new window installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer is the one of the best times to create new gardens. Tom helped me dig out a space in the corner of our house facing the diningroom and the kitchen. I planted little purple coneflowers which hopefully will rise towards the sun in magnificent height. To compliment that color, I included coreopsis with a warm yellow glow. While it’s pretty much done, I have a few finishing touches like the gorgeous bird bath my niece made and wait until you see what it’s made from! But that post will come later so be looking for it in a week or two.

 

 

 

August not only brings warm pleasant temperatures, but family! Tom’s mother, Theo, has visited all the long way from Lake Wales, Florida. She arrived last week with Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim. After a long tedious day of traveling, I served my chili for dinner. It was a little different than what I usually concoct because at the last minute I added garden zucchini and I think that was a great decision!

 

We’ve spent the week talking, eating wonderful meals and  enjoying the outside with walks(one walk through our town took 4 hours and about 6 miles). We also visited Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris last weekend in Easthampton, Massachusetts. It was a great drive down on 91 and the trip was a little under three hours. Bev and Chris are immersed in a challenging renovation project, a huge three story home on a quaint small town street. They are restoring it to its original state, which takes time and patience. They reside upstairs and eventually they will rent the bottom half to responsible renters. I look forward to seeing their progress the next time we visit.

 

During our weekend we explored the bike path on that area, walking in shady and sunny parts and met the nicest people. Bev pointed out how many dads walk their children there and we saw families taking advantage of the trail. Bev served us scrumptious scallops and a lovely hearty breakfast of blueberry oat pancakes. It was special spending time with Bev, Chris ( I love how he laughs at my jokes, one of the few), my niece Michele and of course Theo. It was a magical weekend and I didn’t want to say goodbye but I was itching to hit the road and make the trip up 91 to home.

 

As August has started, the summer clock is ticking away and I glance now and then at the calendar. I believe that I have to be back at school in three weeks. But as the clock continues to tick outrageously fast, I intend to savor the rest of the summer and welcome what happens in those days.

Theo, my mother in law and my husband Tom, after a long day of work for him.

Theo and I are camping in a cabin at a campground north of us for about five days. In that time I won’t be posting or responding to comments but I will rejoin you all when I get back home. I’ll be sure to jot down notes and take pictures of my adventures. Blessings to you all and your families.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

A Garden in July

 

 

 

 

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I’ve allowed a lot of space this year so I’m hoping it grows in some. From left to right eggplant, carrots, broccoi with cauliflower in the back, swiss chard, thyme and basil, squashes to the right.

 

 

 

When I think of summer weather, my thoughts focus on my vegetable garden. My blogger friend Rhonda asked if I ever post my garden’s progress so this post was born. Thanks, Rhonda! I believe that my last garden post was last month in the beginning of its birth. Since then all the vegetables have sprung up.

 

 

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It’s been crazy weather here in northern New Hampshire! We’ve had beaucoup amounts of rain to the point of affecting some back roads. Tom knows all about that,  as he works as an assistant road agent and has been drastically trying to bandage the town roads. About 2 weeks ago a powerful rain storm reaped havoc on our region, similar to hurricane weather and we even had a rare tornado warning. My husband heard that in our area we had 2-4 inches of rain in an hour! Since then we’ve had copious amounts of rain! At times my garden soil has resembled a pit of clay but after a few sun baked days, it dries out again until the next rainfall.

 

I can’t help wonder where summer is hiding, behind the clouds? Despite that and on a positive note, we have had some gleaming sun shining as well, just not enough for people to be completely satisfied.

 

 

 

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My scant rows of corn, cucumber plants next (ready to be staked tepee style, I’ll post that update when it’s done), eggplants, carrots.

 

 

 

Today has been a bright sunshine filled day, lovely growing weather for my babies! As they shoot up full and reach to the sky, I’ll post their progress! Until then if you’re a gardener, enjoy your labors, breathe the fresh air and absorb the God given sunlight.

 

All My  Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

A Lovely tomato plant

 

My Top Ten Summer Ideas

My Top Ten Summer Ideas….

 

These are just a few things you can do this summer ( in no specific order, just try them all)

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1. Have your morning coffee on your deck or outside table! Here in New Hampshire the evenings and mornings are mostly cool. The refreshing air wakes you up and of course that delicious cup of Joe tastes delicious outside! Listen to all the summer birds sing their morning song and be grateful for it. I’ve indulged in this tranquil time twice and intend to do it more this summer.

 

 

2. Go for walks before or after work. I find lately I really enjoy walking in the morning while there are less cars and more wildlife. I bring my camera for that sudden photo opportunity and have a little bell to ring to scare off bears. Truth be told I think most bears are more scared of us but the thought of a protective mama bear and her cubs crosses my mind now and then. 

 

 

 

3. Add fruit to your lemonade or iced tea pitcher. I was planning on doing this anyway but I was surprised one day when I caught my son Branden making it. His first pitcher was an experiment and the lemonade tasted primarily of watermelon. Since then he’s abandoned the watermelon idea and instead added a small amount of raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. It’s super easy…wash them good, cut the ends off the strawberries and pick the little stems from the blueberries. Blend well in your blender and then add to iced tea or lemonade! If you don’t have fresh fruit but you have a lemon or lime, slices of that make the drink special too! Don’t forget to add lots of ice to the pitcher!

 

 

 

 

 

4. Fire up the grill and smoker! Marinate beef, chicken, pork, shrimp…you get the idea and grill while you sip a glass of wine. Sit out at your outside table while grilling and enjoy it. Grill corn on the cob or veggies. Sometimes I use foil for potatoes or veggies to grill or I have a grilling pan meant for the high heat to cook sides dishes. It works great and cleans up well.

 

 

 

5.Visit your local ice cream stand! I am lactose intolerant but found that a soft serve cone doesn’t bother me. Yummy! Enjoy that juicy watermelon, sweet strawberries and blueberries, crisp corn on the cob and fresh garden veggies picked from the soil. I know what you’re thinking, that some of my favorite summer things are definitely  foods but how can you truly enjoy summer without relishing in it’s cuisine?

 

 

 

 

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Lovely Pearl Lake in Lisbon, New Hampshire

 

6. Go to the lake. Go fishing (only if you have a license), take a boat ride and snap photos and  swim in the fresh water. Watch the trout jump and the ducks dive for bugs and relish in the goodness of it all. Bask in the sun and be thankful for the quiet moments away from work and the stresses of everyday life.

 

 

7. Visit new places, especially ones that are just open this season. I’ve lived in the north country all my life and I’m just minutes from Mount Washington but I’ve never been up it. This summer Tom and I may ride the Cog Railroad up the Mountain. A hot July day can be cool or even snowy so bring a jacket and take in the amazing views! I’ll keep you posted if we go on this adventure!

 

 

8. Read books! Compile a wishlist…I do this on Pinterest and record the books I read every summer. So far I’ve read Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman. I just picked up The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and look forward to it. She is such a great writer and when I read her books, it flows. A great book sucks you in and you don’t want to put it down. If you’re making yourself read  a book just to finish it but you don’t ENJOY it, discard it! Reading is for enjoyment so choose something that excites and fascinates you.

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9.  Do you have a green thumb? Then start a Garden! In our neck of the woods it’s a short growing season but a beautiful way to become one with nature and feel peace in your heart. Perhaps you want to grow a small garden…if so, plant seeds that grow fast like lettuce, spinach, and radishes. You could always garden in containers, with already grown plants, flowers or herbs. I make it a point to browse through my gardens everyday but if you work then try to tend to it a few times a week. If these ideas aren’t possibilities, definitely seek local farmer’s markets. They sell all home grown vegetables and fruits, honey, have cut flowers, hand made crafts, and many other goods.

 

10.Last but not least spend valuable time with the people you love. Recently a dear co-worker and friend of mine passed away from cancer at the young age of 54. This wake up call further instills the importance of making memories and time count. So far this summer I’ve seen my three siblings at my nephew’s high school graduation, saw my dad and will visit him and Corinne next Friday, my mom, and my friends Laurie and Michelle. My mother-in-law Theo will be visiting in a few weeks and we’ll see Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim.  I’ll also get to spend some time with Tom’s sister Bev, who I always look forward to seeing. Although I have summers off, I  have much to do and garden around home. Even so, I make it a point to see my family and friends who I love because time is precious and I know that making time for loved ones builds relationships.

 

My favorite photo of my sister and I taken a few years back and Alexis (my son Dylan’s girlfriend who is part of our family now) and Tom and I in Maine.

 

 

 

Have fun this summer and make sure that you try new things..taste different foods, visit new places and learn more about the world around you. Share with me experiences you’ve pursued this summer. I would love to hear from you.

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤️

 

Planting Our Garden

 

Two weeks ago my husband and I planted  our annual vegetable garden. It was quite a project and took longer than we expected. As the sun warmed the earth, there was that sticky change in the air. It was the distinct sign of rain, as bugs went crazy in our face and nibbled at our exposed ears.  Although our bout with the annoying insects drove us crazy and tried our patience, we still persevered at our gardening task with a farmer’s steadfast determination. 

 

 

 

 

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A tilled sandy garden plot from the very beginning of the season.

 

 

 

 

My husband and I  are quite a team because we work together in tandem like a well oiled machine, but we should, as we have been doing this for a few years now. It’s our fourth year planting here at our home overlooking our pond. Before that we worked and enjoyed a vegetable plot for sixteen years. It’s just what we do in June with persistent faith in what will grow. Tom raked the rows and I planted the seeds and plants. After it all was planted and marked, we watered the rows for the first time. 

 

 

 

Here we are immersed in the June season…a time to start anew and plant in hopes of mother nature’s cooperation. It’s a rush to plant because if you wait until now  it may be too late. The growing season is so short lived here that time is of the essence. I always start the first weekend of June for I fear the weather will have a frost or my delicate saplings won’t make the cold weather. So we plant  hurriedly in hopes of a harvest in July, August and September depending on what vegetables they are.

 

 

 

 

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A little view of our planted product in the early stages!

 

 

 

A New England tip for gardener’s is to not only sow seeds but buy or start plants for a head start. I don’t have a sun room or anything ideal to start seeds in February, although a greenhouse would be nice someday! Buying started vegetable plants boosts your garden and you will harvest much quicker than if you started planting seeds. Some veggies grow super fast, so those you can sow seeds and it’s fine. They are green beans, carrots, spinach and lettuce, herbs, and radishes to name a few. I always choose tomato, squash, cucumber and eggplant plants so that I can harvest in June for the cukes and August and September for the rest.

 

 

 

 

In previous years my dad always has his ground seeds planted by mid May while my plot hasn’t even been tilled yet! The amazing thing is that he lives even more north of me and has different weather but it seems to always work out for him. I have to remember that he’s retired as well and has more time on his hands than me! This year he has a little greenhouse with shelves in it to grow veggies in containers and then he’s placing the containers outside where his garden was. I wish him well with his new system and there will be less weeds doing it this way.

 

 

 

 

 

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my spooky owl that hopefully will scare little critters from our harvest.

 

 

This year we had a deluge of rain, raining just about every day and as that happened, our brook bordering our woods was churning and bubbling fast because of all the water rush. I hoped that our seeds wouldn’t rot in all the muck but with  wishful thinking and the warm sun pulling its weight now,  it all will be fine.

 

 

 

 

Gardening takes lots of patience…patience for it to happen on it’s terms and not yours. Here it’s been two weeks since I planted and little has changed with the plants, although most planted seeds have sprouted from the earth.  I can continuously check every day like an anxious elementary child who has sown her bean seed in a little cup. Even so, if I constantly watch for some growth, it’s definitely not going to speed up it’s progress.

 

 

 

 

This year our vegetable garden includes corn, green beans, carrots, two kinds of cucumbers ( straight 8’s and pickling), beets, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, basil, thyme, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, buttercup squash, zucchini and summer squash, tomatoes ( cherry and early girl), and marigolds lined up as soldiers to ward off the pests.

 

 

 

Have you planted your garden yet? What did you plant for your family and friends? I wish you many harvested goodies from your countless hours of gardening! The pure gift of sunshine and freshly fallen rain helps a bunch and a never ending faith of what will be.

 

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

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My little row of carrots, broccoli, and Swiss chard. Oops! A footprint!