My summertime creative muses…… a.k.a. a walk through my gardens. If you were ever to visit my gardens you might see weeds and bramble or you might see flowers and vines……you might see icky bugs or butterflies ….. you might see work to be done or buried treasures……. I hope if you were ever to visit my gardens you would find the magic they hold. Life is how you decide to see it! Enjoy!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Fall is a busy time of year for us here on the farm with Harvest beginning late August and running through October if we’re lucky enough to have all of the crops in by then.
And, with October comes time to batten down the hatches for winter; raking leaves, cleaning up the gardens, stowing away garden tools, yard decorations, porch furniture…..(although I must admit I wasn’t real good about all of that this year).
Followed by November which arrived with unexpected early snow showers. And then there’s the beginning preparations for the upcoming holidays.
December arrives with joyous celebrations, family get togethers, last minute shopping, decorating, baking cookies, cooking, cleaning, visiting guests and parties; pure joy mixed in with maybe a little stress?
January, 2019 has come and almost gone. Time really does fly. Trust me, I’ve witnessed it! It’s been cold this month……very cold…..extremely cold……bitterly cold! We’ve had some snow……..a lot of snow……with a generous topping of ice.
My husband has done a fine job of keeping us “dug out” much to my dismay. Me? I wanted to stay cocooned in the soft blanket of white serenity and beauty that was surrounding us……..until the spring thaw! If you live in an area with snow, you may understand; or, you may not. But, if you do get to experience a snowy day or two and haven’t done so already take a moment to find the joy, it will take your breath away will all of its beauty. Bundle up, go outside, breathe in the scent of the icy air and snow covered ground, listen to the quiet, see the sparkles of light on the icy surfaces. It truly is a winter wonderland………
If you don’t “HAVE” to get out in it. I understand, too, the potential dangers this beautiful, snowy world can harbor.
For those of you who do not care for winter……..Think Spring! It is just around the corner…..
Now January is coming to an end along with a lot of New Year’s Resolutions I would imagine. I don’t do the New Year’s Resolution thing but I do have good intentions. And, one of my good intentions this year is to post here a little more often. Posting gives me a little time to reflect on events that have come and gone, times cherished, things I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done. It’s a place to explore and share my creative spirit, some dreams, thoughts, ideas. Just a little place to store a few memories and to share a bit of myself with those of you who may be interested in knowing a little bit more about the person behind JudysTreehouse.
So there you have it. A few reasons (excuses) for my brief absence here along with my good intentions moving forward.
Do you journal or blog? If so, isn’t it rewarding….both during and after? If not, maybe give it a try…….you never know where your past journeys may take you moving forward.
The summer days are ticking by. Beautiful sounds, changing scenery, gorgeous colors, earthy scents!
I love summertime…………
And, I love taking walks. I’ve started this quest to walk 500 miles…….just a few miles at a time mind you…..I’m not Wonder Woman……although, aren’t we all full of wonder! Yes, we are. Sometimes we just have to dig deep down inside to reminder ourselves. I find walking is a great way to find peace of mind and gratitude for all of the beauty and greatness this life has to offer.
https://www.facebook.com/judystreehouse (“Like” and “Follow” JudysTreehouse on Facebook. From time to time I’ll post items I have in the works, new items, fashion ideas, and just plain cool “shares” of things I find beautiful and interesting.”
Yesterday I was washing out my old truck. It’s a 2007 Chevy Avalanche. We bought it brand spanking new. Today it’s showing very obvious signs of age; rust, peeling paint, a few dings and dents here and there, wear and tear on the interior, dirt so worn in it will never come clean. My initial thought was I need a new truck; this thing looks like crap, people will think we’re yokels (well, maybe they think that anyway but I don’t really care because I like who we are)…….but, then my thoughts began to change; this truck has been so dependable, it still gets us to places we need and/or want to go; we don’t have to spend money on something we don’t really “need” at the moment; we’ve created memories with this truck; road trips, vacations, trips to the “big city” when our grandbabies were born, bamboozlers were born in this truck, up the hills and around the farm watching the stars come out at night. I’ve always wanted an old farm truck. And now I realize I have one; created and maintained with our very own loving hands and memories made right here on the farm! I love my old truck with all of it’s perfect imperfections!
Harvest has started a bit late this year. Little rain and cooler temps over the summer months delayed grain readiness (I know, probably incorrect terminology but you get it). And now that soybeans and corn are ready to be cut and picked the rain has started……sigh! But, we will persevere and with God’s help we’ll get this harvest picked, cut, stored or to market before it’s time to plant next year’s crops 🙂 Safety first!
Here are some pics from my “tractor cam” so far this season! Enjoy!
Harvest Love! Thank God I’m a Country Girl! Blessed!
For years I have been trying to bake the perfect loaf of bread or the best pan of rolls. G’ma Ida’s recipe is good. Sometimes they come out perfect, sometimes they go flat…..whooomp, whooomp, whooomp…..(I think it’s all in the mindset and the touch…..think happy thoughts and use a light hand!)
Then, there’s a roll recipe I found in “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice” by Peter Reinhart, page 266-267 which is awesome and I’ve been successful in creating soft, fluffy rolls using this recipe.
And, finally……be still my heart! A recent recipe I found for Artisan Rolls. Crusty on the outside, great texture on the inside, and oh so delicious! But, could it be so simple to make these most awesome doughy delights???? Absolutely!
I found the super easy and delicious artisan roll recipe here:
And here’s Grandma Ida’s “No-Kneading Bread Rolls” recipe
1 cake Fleishman’s yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in a cup of lukewarm water. Place sugar, shortening and salt in a large bowl and add boiling water. Stir until ingredients are dissolved. When lukewarm add yeast (yeast water mixture in step one). Stir in flour.
“I (G’ma Ida) start with 3 cup flour. It will take more flour. Stir enough flour to make a soft dough. You will have to add enough flour so you can handle the dough. You will have to knead them a little. Put in a large bowl. Let rise until double then make in rolls. Mine are better in rolls than in a loaf. I don’t use the egg. I think they are better without the egg. They should be in a warm place and be covered. If you want them to raise fast set in the oven and put a pan of boiling water under them. The steam make them raise fast. Hope you have good luck. Grandma”
Don’t be afraid! Give these a try. Nothing beats the smell of fresh baked bread or the taste of a fresh hot roll with melting butter (and maybe some apiary honey from “Earls Apiary, Rushville, IL” or some homemade jam/jelly shared by a sweet neighbor or friend).
The weather here in Central Illinois has been almost fall like the past few weeks.
The A.C. has been turned off!
Open windows tease and tantalize all of my senses; a cool breeze, fluttering curtains, fresh air, scents from my gardens, sunshine on my hardwood floors, shadow art, crickets, locust, and frog bands warming up for the night, dinner on the front porch with veggies and herbs from my garden…….. A few of life’s simple pleasures bring me such joy……..
Being outside on my porch. Seeing the peaceful beauty of butterflies, bugs and hummingbirds (to name a few) as they flutter and fuss around my front yard garden.
Watching my chicks and fancy rooster waddle and cluck around the yard. They are such a hoot!
My gardens! Ever changing and preparing for fall. Mums, Indian Corn, Sunflowers, Gourds, and Pumpkins! And my zinnias…….a must have every year! Bursts of bright colors and the butterflies love them!
Amazing and intricate architecture in nature! Like this little birds nest I found on the ground and cool (albeit creepy) spider webs!
Magazines in the mail advertising cool stuff! Especially for Halloween and Christmas! Two favorites for decorating!
Shadow art and other eye catching creations from the sun streaming through my windows
Dinner Al Fresco! With someone I love!
Enjoying the fruits of my labor!
These are a few of my favorite things!
Every day we are blessed with the abundance that God has created for all of us to enjoy! Life is full of simple pleasures!
It’s amazing what a little rain will do. Friday I just found a few little guys out in the garden. Now it’s Monday and Wowzer! I picked a peck to pickle! And blooms galore! Some of these guys got almost too big. But not to worry, they will find their way into one of my pickle jars.
We have a few favorite recipes and I’ll share the links below but today I am making Claussen Copycat Pickles! It’s one of our favorites and an every year must make!
And, another bonus! I am totally thrilled. My dill came in just as my cucumbers started producing! Yea! In years past, my dill patch, which I continue to struggle with every year trying to get an abundance, was usually ready before my cucumbers resulting in…….sigh……having to use dried dill weed or dill seed. But, not this year! This year I will have these pretty little dill heads to showcase in my pickle jars. Flavor and a lovely, earthy presentation!
And, while I’m on the subject of pretty and presentation; while picking cucumbers this morning I noticed that one plant was producing funky shaped cukes! Not that I mind but I was curious as to causation.
This year I planted late. (and, whoa is me because I didn’t start a garden journal this year as I usually do so I don’t have specifics at my fingertips to help me analyze…..note to self, next year, document!)
I planted four hills with three seeds each. (Those are my cucumber plants on the right along the fencing. I planted my rows north to south. Last year, this area had tomatillo plants. I rotate my crops every year).
The first planting didn’t take except for one small plant at the north end of the fence. I left that plant and replanted more on that hill and the other three hills.
This area of the garden gets the same amount of sun throughout the day. The same amount of water when I water (which was twice this year with a sprinkler. And, of course, when (if) it rains, the plants get the same amount of rainwater.
The seeds were old seeds (two or three years old). Same variety from the same package. (Boston Pickling Cucumbers are usually what I plant…..again with the lack of journaling…….smacks forehead here!)
Anyway, just found it interesting that all of the cucumbers from the three hills on the south have pretty, straight cucumbers. That one hill to the north has more curved and a funky one or two. Not that looks matter, mind you; the taste is still delish. Just an interesting observation this morning.
Enough about cucumbers and gardens for now. Back to the good stuff!
Here are some recipes I’ve come across over the years. I did not create these recipes; I take no credit; I am merely sharing.
These are just some of our favorites. Of course when preserving and canning make sure you follow the proper guidelines.
Claussen Copycat Pickles! Our most favorite. These stay crunchy because they aren’t processed. They are crisp and sour and salty perfection. They keep for a long, long time. We are still eating some from last year; over a year in the fridge (Yep, we have more than one refrigerator. It’s a home garden/farm necessity here). I pretty much follow the recipe exactly except I add a few peppercorns to the jars. Cut the cucumbers however you like; sometimes I do slices (thick and thin), spears, chunks, halves, and small whole.
This is a recipe for sweet pickle relish. Makes me want to fix hotdogs for dinner every night! It is very similar (if not exactly the same) as the one I use. Mine is from a “Ball” cookbook (my cookbook is definitely showing signs of wear and tear; I’ve had it for ages). Sometimes I add jalapenos to my recipe for a little sweet heat!
This recipe is for Sweet Lime Pickles. This is Greg’s favorite; “like Grandma Ida used to make”. These are a must have for Greg each year. The lime makes them super crunchy and these pickles are super, super sweet, almost like candy.
This recipe for refrigerator pickles I’ve had for years. I don’t know where I found it or who gave it to me so I can’t give credit where credit is due. There are similar recipes out there but I couldn’t find this exact one so I’m just going to jot it down here for you.
These are sweet but not overly so. I make them in a big glass jar (looks pretty). Good all on their own as a side salad. I don’t make these with the intention of preserving them. Just make a batch and eat ’em till they’re gone.
7 cups sliced cucumbers
1 cup sliced onions
1 green pepper cut into thin strips
2 TBSP salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 tsp mustard seed (I’m a freak for mustard seed; I always add more)
1 tsp celery seed
Mix together the cucumbers, onions, green pepper, and salt. Let them stand for one hour. Do NOT, do not, do not drain off the liquid that forms.
Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a boil to dissolve sugar. Let cool. Pour over cucumber mix. Let stand in fridge for 24 hours. Enjoy.
Make someone’s day! A gift from your garden or something homemade from your kitchen is an unexpected delight! Share the joy of gardening and abundance!
Have a terrific day!
Here is the first batch today!
Ended up with 5 quarts of Claussen Copycat Pickles, one batch of refrigerator pickles, and of course some munching along the way!