In my ponderings over my garden plans this spring, I've decided I'd like to grow a bit of fruit. My issue is that I have a small area to work with and most of the plantings I have in the front garden will be potted. I would love to plant a small grapevine, however I need advice.
My first thought took me back to when I was a child growing up on our farm. Our grape trellis was lovely, but large, and if the grapevine I was to plant did as well as the one we had in our orchard, it would resemble more the Sci-Fi movie "The Day Of The Triffids" than a quaint little cottage grapevine in our front garden.
Have any of you grown grapes in large pots? Is there a certain dwarf variety I should seek out that would fare well for a small area? I have read that container grown grapes do well as long as you provide a trellis of some sort. How large a trellis does one need for a container grown grape?
Are there any grape experts out there in blogland? Please do grace me with your knowledge!
Freshening up your cottage and doing some painting this spring? This tip will save you taping around your windows and it's quick and easy.
Simply cut a piece of newspaper to fit the window you will be painting around. Wet the newspaper by spritzing with water and place on glass! It adheres on it's own and comes right off with no messy cleanup. What could be easier?
Low fat Blueberry Scones! I have to admit, as much as I love my new Hungry Girl Cookbooks, it was with much skepticism that I decided to give their low calorie blueberry scone recipe a try. I am an admitted scone snob, and as much as I'm up for the low calorie makeovers for many recipes, scones are the one thing that I have issues with if they do not meet up to my expectations. These were wonderful! If you love scones you may want to give this recipe a try. They are a bit more "fragile" than the usual scone, but my blueberries were quite large, which I believe made for their want to crumble a bit if not carefully handled. As for taste, I don't think you will be disappointed!
Ingredients: 2/3 cup regular oats (not instant) 1/3 cup Bisquick Heart Smart baking mix 3/4 cup light vanilla soy milk 1 tablespoon brown sugar (not packed) 2 tsp light whipped butter or butter spread (I use I Can't Believe It's Not Butter) 1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients with butter and mix well. Add soy milk and stir. Fold berries into the batter. (I like to add my berries frozen so they do not smash down and color the batter. I do with this raspberries as well)
On a baking sheet with nonstick spray (or parchment paper) divide batter into mounds. Leave room between them as they expand. I prefer to cut my scones into triangles so I put a bit of wheat flour on the cutting board and patted the batter into a round shape. Then I cut into triangles and put on baking sheet. Bake for approx. 10-15 minutes or until light brown.
If You're Keeping Watch: Serving is 1 Scone 125 calories, 2.5g fat, 181 mg sodium, 23g carbs, 2g fiber, 6g sugar, 4g protein
Dishwashing liquid! Today will find me tidying up the cottage and as I was planning my attack on the dust, it came to mind to share a recipe with you. I like to use homemade and organic cleaners as much as possible and have been making my own for quite sometime. If you check my archives I'm certain you will find one or two to your liking. They are safe around pets and children and when you know what is going in to your cleaners, you feel better using them.
This recipe is one I came across just recently. It is for making your own dishwashing liquid and I'm going to give it a go. Recently I have been reading the hazards of using antibacterials, and antibacterial dishwashing liquid is one thing I have been using. I have high hopes for this recipe and if it proves it's worth, it will take it's place next to the cottage sink for years to come.
I came across this recipe on a blog I'm certain you'll love! It's called Hazel Tree Farm and you can visit it here: I'm sure you'll agree it's quite a lovely blog with many helpful tips and recipes! I am now a loyal follower. She has lovely photos accompanying her recipe for this soap, so if you fancy a few pictures before you give it a try, do give her a visit.
She states that this recipe makes just under a half a gallon of general purpose liquid soap and is best made in the evening, as it will need to cool overnight before blending (the final stage).
Ingredients: 1 cup soap flakes or grated bar soap. 1.5 litres (1 1/2 quarts) water. 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
You will need: A large saucepan. A measuring cup, and measuring spoons. A sealable glass jar, or an assortment of cleaned hand pumps or old squeeze-pack shampoo containers. A stick blender, food processor or hand-held egg beater.
Method: Mix the ingredients together in a large saucepan over a low heat.
Keep stirring occasionally until the soap flakes have dissolved and the mixture is smooth in texture.
Let cool overnight until room temperature. The mixture will be slightly thick and milky-looking, with a jellylike texture.
Blend with a stick blender, food processor or egg beater until smooth.
Store in a sealable glass jar, or decant directly into containers.
If you choose to make a thinner (runnier) recipe, just add more water.
She notes: Making a thinner recipe will also make it more economical. A thinner version might be a good idea for a hand pump for a child's bathroom, for example.
Do you have a favorite vase or teapot that has started to leak and seep a bit? Don't toss them in the recycle bin just yet. You can stop leaks in their tracks by pouring melted paraffin (or candle wax) over the leaky spots and letting it harden. You can then reuse your vases and teapots to house your lovely spring and summer bouquets.
These rules for healthful eating were taken from The Every Day Cook Book and Encyclopedia of Practical Recipes For Family Use - Miss E. Neill (circa 1890).
I find them amusing, yet I agree that it is nice to have a peaceful meal with no negative antics present. What do you think?
1. Never sit down to table with an anxious or disturbed mind; better a hundred times intermit that meal, for there will then be that much more food in the world for hungrier stomachs than yours; and besides, eating under such circumstances can only, and will always, prolong and aggravate the condition of things.
2. Never sit down to a meal after any intense mental effort, for physical and mental injury are inevitable, and no one has a right to deliberately injure body, mind, or estate.
3. Never go to a full table during bodily exhaustion–designated by some as being worn out, tired to death, used up, over done, and the like. The wisest thing to be done under such circumstances is to take a cracker and a cup of warm tea, either black or green, and no more. In ten minutes you will feel a degree of refreshment and liveliness which will be pleasantly surprising to you; not of the transient kind which a glass of liquor affords, but permanent; the tea gives present stimulus and a little strength, and before it subsides, nutriment begins to draw from the sugar, and cream, and bread, thus allowing the body gradually, and by safe degrees, to regain its usual vigor. Then, in a couple of hours, a full meal may be taken, provided that it does not bring it later than two hours before sundown; if later, then take nothing for that day in addition to the cracker and tea, and the next day you will feel a freshness and vigor not recently known.
No lady will require to be advised a second time, who will conform to the above rules; while it is a fact of no unusual observation among intelligent physicians, that eating heartily and under bodily exhaustion, is not unfrequently the cause of alarming and painful illness, and sometimes sudden death. These things being so, let every family make it a point to assemble around the table with kindly feelings, with a cheerful humor, and a courteous spirit; and let that member of it be sent from it in disgrace who presumes to mar the reunion by sullen silence, or impatient look, or angry tone, or complaining tongue.. Eat ever in thankful gladness, or away with you to the kitchen, you "ill-tempered thing, that you are."
There was good philosophy in the old-time custom of having a buffoon or music at the dinner-table.
2 new cookbooks to my collection and they are wonderful! I highly recommend the Taste of Home Guilt Free cookbook sets. I've blogged about one in the past and now I have 2 more to enjoy. They take favorite recipes and make them lowfat and healthy. You can still have your comfort foods and eat healthy while losing weight at the same time!
Here is an example of a great little tea time treat that is only 78 calories. I can't wait to make them.
A natural insect destroyer! Keep this in mind if you have access to potato plants this upcoming gardening season. Did you know the juice of the potato plant is said to be of great value for killing insects? Boil the leaves and stems in water, and when the liquid is cold, sprinkle it over plants attacked with insects. It will help to rid them of caterpillars, black and green flies, gnats, and other enemies to vegetables, and in no way impairs the growth of your plants. A peculiar odor remains which prevents insects from returning to dine on your plants.
The name Beryl is from the ancient Greek, beryllos, meaning "precious blue green color". Pure beryl is colorless, but it also occurs in a variety of colors including green, yellow, greenish yellow, blue to blue green, red, colorless and pink when tinted by impurities. The pink variety is known as Morganite, red is very rare and known as Bixbite, Goshenite is the colorless form. Golden beryl is a yellow green and called Heliodor. You may think you haven't seen one, but actually aquamarines and emeralds are variety of beryl. Beryls are some of the most valuable of all the colored gemstones. The dark blue stones that are available today are light colored beryls treated with radiation, much in the same manner as blue topaz.
Legend has it that Beryl was used to ward off demons and evil spirits. Ancient literature notes that Pliny used powdered beryl to cure eye injuries. It is said to protect travelers from danger and to treat disorders of the heart and spine.
Other legends about Beryl indicate it was used to promote cheerfulness and marital love, to retard laziness, and maintain youthfulness. Golden beryl is said to make one sympathetic and increase sincerity.
Beryl assists it's possessor in learning how to filter out distractions and unnecessary stimulation. It's a good stone for relieving stress and calming the mind. This stone works with the particular color in relation to each Chakra center and is known to stimulate communication (blue), acceptance and healing (green), reawaken the love of married people (pink), support spiritual growth (gold and white) and give us strength and power (yellow).
Beryl has been used for centuries to help stomach, intestines, ulcers, nausea and eating disorders. It works with the mental body for exhaustion, depression and stimulates the mind, nervous system, spine and bones. It's said to be beneficial for elimination organs such as the kidneys, liver, and intestines. It also helps strengthen the circulatory and pulmonary systems, making them more resistant to toxins and pollutants. Also helpful to the eyes, throat and easing a stressed mental state and has often been used as a sedative.
Beryl stones are used in the Center area for harmony, balance and spiritual growth, in the North area for personal journey and in the Southwest area for relationships of any kind.
Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour. John Boswell
January is the quietest month in my garden. I am enjoying the time away from weeding, yet I am longing to have my hands in the soil. Yes, where I reside, people can garden all year, but I don't. It is nice to have a little rest, plan little changes to the small space I have, decide on the potted flowers I will grow. This year I have decided on a 3 color theme. I will go with pinks, whites and light blue/purple. Of course if I waver from that and plant bits of yellow it could only enhance my small space, wouldn't you agree?
If you love Victorian flower themes as I do, and you love planting pots and pots of them, here is a list that takes as well to pots as the ground.
Acacia, aster, begonia, bluebell, calendula, chrysanthemum, dusty miller, fuschia, geranium, marigold, morning glory, nasturtium, petunia and zinnia. Of course there are more but these are usually my staples.
Are you dreaming of your spring garden? What are you planting? Do tell!
I first posted this in February of last year, but with the recent blizzards throughout the country, I thought a repost was in order! This tip is sure to help those buried in the snow this week.
To clear your driveway or walk areas fast, use a paper towel to apply 1/4 cup butter to your shovel! The fat molecules in the spread form a water resistant barrier that keeps flurries from building on the shovel and weighing you down. The snow will slide right off each scoop, and you can get the job done twice as fast.
For the man sound in body and serene of mind there is no such thing as bad weather; every day has its beauty, and storms which whip the blood do but make it pulse more vigorously. ~George Gissing, "Winter," The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903
Vacuuming today? To add a nice scent to your cottage, add a cottonball soaked with a few drops of aromatherapy oil, such as geranium or lavender, into your vacuum cleaner bag. You will add a beautiful scent as you go through your rooms.
Chocolate? If your New Year's Resolution is to lose weight, or just eat healthier, you may be suffering from cravings about now! Read on!
It's not often that I am obsessed with something enough to blog about it numerous times, but I am again directing your attention to The Hungry Girl cookbooks! I will be the first to admit, I'm obsessed with eating. It's one of my favorite things to do, which is why I love baking. Secondly, because I'm always watching what I eat for health reasons, I'm always hungry! These cookbooks are perfect! They have "makeovers" for almost anything I want to eat and I'm certain that you would agree if you took a peek at their website. Check it here.
As I was browsing through one of my Hungry Girl Recipe books this morning, I came upon a recipe that looks wonderful for us chocolate lovers! I'm going to make it as soon as I gather the ingredients from the market. I thought I'd share it with you and give you a "taste" of how great their recipe makeovers can be! This makes 1 serving so you won't be tempted with leftover cake. At 130 calories you can afford to have your chocolate fix!
In a small dish, stir together the cool whip and half of the chocolate syrup. Place chocolatey whipped topping in the freezer to firm up while you prepare the rest of your dessert.
In a very small microwave safe dish (think ramekin), combine cake mix and yogurt. Stir until smooth and blended. (It will puff up as it cooks so don't be depressed by the appearance of such a small serving.)
Microwave for 1 minute. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove chocolatey whipped topping from the freezer and spoon it over your cake. Drizzle the remaining chocolate syrup on top and enjoy!!
As you are working about your cottage, you are bound to get a scrape or sprain sooner or later. Keep squares of gauze or cheesecloth on hand to make compresses. Use comfrey, witch hazel, or arnica for sprains; St. John's Wort for deep cuts; comfrey, witch hazel or aloe for burns.
If you find the inside of your teapot lacking the lustre it once had, these 2 cleaning tips will help bring back it's beauty.
This is my favorite and I have also replaced the salt with baking soda.
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar 1 1/4 cups cool tap water 3 tablespoons of table salt
Bring ingredients to a boil and then place all ingredients into the teapot. Allow the mixture to remain for about 10 hours (overnight) and rinse well with cool tap water. (Note: I use this on my porcelain teapots, I'm not sure how it would work on electric ones, I would use straight vinegar on those).
My second favorite is using alka selzter or denture tablets. You just fill your teapot with hot water, throw in a tablet and let it soak for an hour or so. Rinse well and your teapot should be sparkling!
You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there. ~Casare Pavese
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Welcome! Please pour yourself a cup of tea and settle in and relax with me awhile. As you'll notice, I am captivated by ancient times, a soul misplaced in this modern day. I have a love for my ancestry and I believe people who grow up without a sense of how yesterday has affected today, are unlikely to have a strong sense of how today affects tomorrow.