Monday, April 30, 2012

A New Experience

   Our farmboy had taken up with shooting sports this year; a new experience for us. This weekend our county hosted a competitive shoot for the young shooters.
   Despite the heat and wind, we had a wonderful time watching the various shooting endeavors. Skeet, trap, five stand and sporting clays were all great opportunities for the youth to show their amazing skills.
   These guys are amazing and running a shooting event, well that is just plain hard work. Me, I think I will stick to sitting on the sidelines during this new experience.

Congratulations to all the shooters and a great big thank you to all the volunteers from this past weekend; you make the day wonderful!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Preserving the Harvest: Herbs

   A variety of herbs are essential to a kitchen garden; such flavor and fragrance they bring to our table. I am often found roaming about my herb garden, cup of coffee in hand, gathering snippettes and pinches from lovely plants- all to be used in the kitchen that day. Knowing that pest and elements can reek havoc on the garden at any time, preserving these fragrant delights is a must.
   Once the herbs have been in the ground for a few weeks, I like to start pinching out bits here and there to encourage growth and fullness. As the plant expands, a nice 'haircut' is in order to keep the plant active and out of bloom. These lovely cuttings then need put up for later use- for those days when the fresh ones are no longer at my finger tips.
   My favorite method of preservation for herbs is open air drying. Their delicate leaf retains its oils and aromas best, in my opinion, when handled the least before use. 
   Open air drying is, to me, the simplest form of preservation; string, labels and a place to hang them is all you need.
I start by cutting a length of cotton thread (or any other natural fiber scrap such as cotton yarn) into lengths approximately twelve inches long. I wrap it around the gathered stems of my herbs making a loop on one loose end.
A label is slipped over the loop...
before they are hung..away from direct sunlight.

For those little snips that are gathered here and there.....
I place them at random, plenty of space between the leaves, on a mesh liner from my dehydrator (or a paper towel, flour sack towel, or cooling rack). Labels are placed near the herb...
and they are placed either in the oven (not turned on- just empty) or on the book shelf out of the way.

Once the herbs are completely dry I tuck them into canning jars for safe keeping.

garden link up

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Psalm 30 (King James Version)

 1I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
 2O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me.
 3O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
 4Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
 5For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.
 6And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved.
 7LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled.
 8I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication.
 9What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
 10Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper.
 11Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness;
 12To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sewing Room Saturday: Early Instruction

   In the beginning of my children's sewing instruction the use of a sewing machine was a rather daunting thing. Speed and fabric control are skills even a seasoned adult can admit to struggling with- I do. When tackling this lesson with my kiddos, we placed a piece of lined tablet paper in the machine with an old (or dull) needle. This gave a plain pattern to follow while they focused on controlling the speed of the machine.
   After comfort was gained with straight lines, curvy, wavy and zigzag lines were drawn on paper with a dark marker for continued practice in maneuvering the paper under the needle while maintaining control of the speed. These early days of practice and patience gave way to confidence for the task of cutting and piecing those early projects.   

Thursday, April 26, 2012

New Shop Listings

   Two new items are listed in our shop today.
A playful pink Dresden plate quilt top....
as well as a warm fall Dresden plate quilt top.

For more handmade items from Simply Scaife Handmade please visit us on Etsy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Oh, How She Grows...

   The spring has been short lived; weather here tops in the upper eighties. Already dry soil begs for rain causing daily watering to be necessary. In faith we wait and watch; before our eyes she grows.

Sweet Juliette grape tomatoes just starting to blush in the sunshine,
While plump Beafsteaks are taking their time.
Daylillies in bloom;
Little squash stretches for more room.
Just look at those peppers!

   Despite the warmth and the dry wind tiny seeds sprout, stems strengthen, and blossoms burst forth. In faith, yes faith, we exclaim, "Oh, how she grows!"
 garden link up

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Dose Of Cute

Benny and Joon! Our sweet babies of the Lil Nips herd. Proud Mama Genesis has been taking good care of them. They love to snuggle and play! I hope these pictures of my two little ones have helped to brighten your day.
 Simply Jen

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Herbal Garden: Mint

   When it comes to herbs in the garden my number one top thought is mint. Efficient, economical and down right easy to grow, mints are fail proof and completely useful. One tiny start will spread and expand into a large and lovely bush full of fragrance. Deep green leaves lend their refreshing aroma as fingers softly brush over them. Placed in water, gently bruising the leaves releases their essence giving abundant flavor. I add leaves to salads, smoothies and vinaigrette for a wonderful flavor boost. In vinegar the leaves become a base for cleaning solutions..steeped in witch hazel, mint makes for a cooling facial toner or antiseptic cleanser.

   In our herbal garden several varieties of mint are taking root and growing wild; chocolate mint, orange mint, apple mint, orange mint even spearmint. Each one holding the strong invigorating mint properties with subtle hinds of fruity zest. The chocolate mint, with it's tantalizing peppermint patty scent, is absolutely wonderful when added to fruits and teas.

 Cooling Mint "Tea"

one handful mint, stalks and leaves
handful of stevia leaves, optional
one quart water

Rinse the herbs gently. Place the water and herbs in a large bowl. Using you hands crush, tear and bruise the leaves; the water will start to color a green hue. Give it a taste- for more mint taste crush the leave more, for less add water. When finished, strain the 'tea' and enjoy. 
This can be added to any beverage for a minty flavor: lemonade, green tea, fruit teas.

   Mint is one of the most harvested herbs here in our garden. Daily infusions of mint 'tea' is consumed with a hint of honey. This delightful drink cools and refreshes..especially after a morning of garden chores!