Category Archives: on the farm

{Follow along!}

instagram

 

 

Hello friends!

 

With the arrival of the sun and with it the warmer weather of spring I am not often on my computer.  Thus, posting seems to all but disappear sometimes.  However, if you want to follow along on our adventures on the farm or our travel to wonderful places around the globe, you can easily to so on Instagram! http://instagram.com/kimberlytaylorimages  It’s quick and easy, not to mention visual- of which I am totally in love with.

 

Happy Tuesday!

x

 

{growing things}

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First of all, thank you so very much for your kind and thoughtful comments on my last post.  I don’t tend to want to get personal in a negative way on this site as it is meant to be a happy inspiring place.  However, when I do, you are such an amazing supportive and caring group and for that I am so grateful.

 

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So, aside from getting teary lately  :)  I have been really enjoying planting indoor plants.  I used to have quite a few of them but then my focus became the gardens and growing things outdoors, and I found that the indoor plants took too much of my time and focus- making sure they were all properly cared for.  However, this second half of winter I have been really looking forward to spring.  There is something comforting and earthy about having plants growing indoors.  Add to that the fact that the nurseries have so many gorgeous and fun things to choose from- and I have become a bit obsessed…

 

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One thing my Grampy used to grow when I was younger were Tillies.  Tillandsia is a species of plant from the family Bromeliaceae which grow naturally in forests, deserts and mountains of Central and South America. They require no soil- just a good watering, either mist or submersion depending on the plant- and a nice place to sit.  They are so fun to buy as there is a wide range of looks and colors.  I have been making clay Tilly holders that I will be listing the next time I open the shop.  Check your local nurseries as I am guessing you will find some there~

 

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I am also enjoying putting little terrariums together.  I have wanted to do a workshop forever as I think they are so fun to mix up and make little scenes in them.  That is on my spring agenda- as wouldn’t it be fun to clear off our large farmhouse table and cover it will all sorts of plants, soil, rocks, sand and glass vessels and have a terrarium party?

 

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Planning meals and gardens and sharing some {beautiful cards}

wildflower design_courtney khail for kim

 

Hello friends,

Today I would like to enlist your help as I am working on a few projects.  One involves food- planning healthy tasty meals for my boys.  I am doing a bit of an overhaul around here as we have removed wheat from one diet, excess wheat from the rest of us, and lowering our dairy intake.  Thus there are days when I feel as if I am in a bit of a meal-planning rut.  To that end, I would love for you to answer any or all of the following questions.  I think that many of you may also be interested and inspired by the answers (as it is no secret that I have amazing, creative, generous and inspiring readers!).

1.  What 12 items would you keep on hand at all times to help prepare  your favorite meals?  Some of my current staples are rice, good canned tomatoes, grated cheese, eggs, onions, potatoes and homemade stock (chicken and vegetable).

2.  What are your favorite bean or grain recipes?  (I have far too much quinoa , farro, and a gorgeous variety of beans in my pantry with absolutely no idea what to best do with them…)

3.  Do you pack your children’s lunch- or yours?  If so, what do you like to put in it so that it is interesting and appetizing?  Right now we do a lot of fruit leathers, cheese sticks, nacho chips, apple slices, mandarines, and dried fruit.

4.  If you live in France and continually post amazing photos of creative stews, soups and meals- would you please share your recipes?  Okay fine- that was specifically meant for a dear friend whom I bug daily to send inspiration.  However, if you enjoy hearty stews or slow-cook meals, what are your favorites?

 

honeycomb design_courtney khail for kim

 

5.  I am in the process of planning our gardens for the coming season.  Currently we are adding blueberry bushes (which will bring our count up to 7) and moving raspberries to a sunnier spot.  I plan to do a large teepee to grow beans up where #4 can play.  We have expanded our rhubarb as it is something I use a lot of.  We have espalier asian pears as well as some really old apple trees.  One of these days we will plant a proper orchard.  We always grow a lot of peas – shelling and sweet.  How do you trellis yours? We also grow a number of rows of carrots- do you have a favorite? Tomatoes can be tough because while I always get a lot, they often don’t ripen in time to beat the cold of autumn.  Any suggestions on types that ripen early that you like?  I am adding asparagus this year, and plan to grow them in a box with jerusalem artichokes.  Thoughts?

6.  We are also adding some baby chicks in about a month.  We have had such an awful run with the coyote as of late so I am planning ahead and getting a few more chicks than I normally will so that come Autumn I won’t have to go buy pullets for a ridiculous price.  We really love eggs around here and #s 2 & 3 have gotten pretty proficient at making themselves some pretty tasty egg dishes.  Do you have a recipe that you love- frittata?  baked eggs?  fabulous scrambles?

If you have any thoughts, answers to my questions or input, please leave it in the comment section for all to share.  I love the idea of sharing knowledge and feel a bit more like we are sitting around over coffee talking about our plans together~

 

peony design_courtney khail for kim

 

I also want to share a new project my friend Courtney has recently released.  Courtney is an incredible watercolor artist whose paintings are now available on cards!  Now this isn’t a new thing- Courtney has had cards for some time- but they used to be hand-painted.  The problem was people wouldn’t send them!  Seriously- they would hoard them as pieces of art.  So she decided it was time to make them less precious, in hopes that people would then send them out.  However, Courtney being Courtney, she had to make even having printing her cards difficult!  Because she wanted them to have a rich high-quality feel she found a process where the watercolors would be vibrant and the ink would be bold and raised.  Thus, each card is printed TWICE.  Trust me, these cards are wonderful.  If you are looking for some really special cards to send to those you love, these would be perfect.  You can read more about them from Courtney herself here.  But visit her shop – you will see for yourself~

 

garden rose design_courtney khail for kim

 

Finally, I wanted to make sure you have had a chance to visit my new site which will be where you find all the information and latest updates on my new non-profit, The Grow Hope Foundation, which I am SO EXCITED ABOUT!!  I hope you will visit, and, if you are so inclined there is a donation button at the bottom of the main page.  I am heading back to Uganda this summer and I hope to raise enough funds to bring as many supplies as possible when I go.  I would be so grateful if you were able to help in that goal~
Have a fabulous week friends,
x

 

 

{2013} a year in photographs

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{another year} goes by

 

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Tomorrow I will celebrate. Another year will have passed, filled with so many blessings, laughter, happiness, and love that I can barely comprehend it. Of course there have been sad moments, difficult times and challenges – but that is what helps us to grow, don’t you agree? Without those times, how would we appreciate the good ones? I am thankful for both, and the balance they bring.

This past year has given me much to think about. New paths were discovered and my focus was altered once again. I re-connected with my love of being home, creating a space that feels both nurturing and welcoming. I spent time in the gardens, working on long neglected projects as well as beginning new ones. I cooked more, baked more and relaxed more. And yet my passion for travel and humanitarian efforts grew tenfold. I made connections with people who share my love of women and children and community and education. I saw my own world in a new, more appreciative light. My heart grew.

Here on the farm I have enjoyed slowing down with my own five boys. While one is no longer living on the farm, he has returned from his year living out of the country and I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to have him close by again. The ability to meet him for lunch or have him home for dinner is fantastic and yet I love that he has his own home to return to. It seems to be the perfect balance. His little brothers love having him close by and spending time with him- and he in turn (I’m fairly certain) loves being closer to his childhood home.

In the coming year, I hope to keep on keepin’ on. I want to continue to travel, to see new places and visit familiar ones. I want to spend time with friends who inspire me and give me wings. (I feel so incredibly blessed by the friends I have by the way- I must have done something incredible in a past life to end up surrounded by such greatness) I also want to (yet again) attempt to slow down a bit- don’t ask me how. I wish that I could just “be”- especially here at home. I want to get outside more, hike and explore with my boys, and notice more of what is right here in front of us.

I posted my “life list” nearly two years ago.  Thankfully I am still incredibly young as it is going rather slowly… That being said, it is good to go back to it from time to time and remember the things that I wanted to do back then.  Some things have changed – some I no longer am all that interested in.  Maybe I will replace a few things – change it up a bit.  Who knows.  Do you keep a list of things you dream of doing?

Have an amazing rest of your week~

x

 

birthday-2

 

{autumn} has arrived

autumn drive

 

Autumn has arrived, and with it the incredible colors that she brings.  We have had a beautiful last week or so and I am enjoying every moment of it.  We wake to thick fog covering the farm making it difficult to see from one end to the other.  It often burns away during the day, leaving us with brisk sunshine- my very favorite weather.  I have noticed that it begins to move in again as the sun is setting – creating this misty dream-like haze over the gardens.

I am enjoying time in the kitchen when the weather is cold.  I love cooking things that take a long time and make the house smell delicious.  I always find myself nesting this time of year- thinking of the coming holidays, making mental meal plans and this year, opting for small and quiet rather than big and boisterous. As my husband says, it is early and things could change but, for now, I think I would prefer to keep it low-key and peaceful this season.

We have a number of things we have been working on lately which has kept me from doing much blogging. We recently purchased a little house in North Seattle that is in the process of being painted and getting ready to rent.  She is a sweet little 1947 bungalow and we call her Wedgewood House.  I can’t wait to share more when she is ready and if you know someone looking for a rental in the Seattle area, send them our way!

As soon as Wedgewood house is completed we will finally break ground and get our deck and doors off the kitchen underway.  I am SO excited about this project as it will be a space that I imagine I will use every day. With it being off the kitchen and partially covered it should be a place that we can use much of the year.  I know that come spring we will eat most of our meals there when the weather permits~

I am also excited to open the shop for a three day pop-up in the next two weeks.  It is long overdue but I am hoping you enjoy the new items and are able to find your old favorites as well!  Stay tuned as I will announce the dates here on the blog a few days before she goes live!

There is something about foraging that appeals to me on a deep level.

A sweet Autumn post with a recipe that looks delish!

This treat would be very popular at our house!

Homemade candybars?  What’s not to love?

a walk in the {woods}

nature walk montage

Because sometimes, when you should be doing homework and getting dinner ready, the sun shines and you need to go walking in the woods.

{hello} October

 

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In my mind October sounds like Autumn.  September still rings with the sound of warm afternoons, sunshine and those last few weeks of summer.  But October.  October tends to be associated with words like blustery and cozy and nesting and soup.  In October I tend to take stock of things- I make lists.  I clean out and tidy up.  I part with things no longer useful to us and stock up on things we may need for the coming months. Maybe it is a part of our nature, preparing for those long cold winter months where the weather isn’t welcoming and the idea of going out in it isn’t all that appealing.  There is something wonderful about sending people off to school or work for the day and then having the house to yourself, to put things in order, plan meals and feel productive.  Add to that a great playlist in the background, a few gorgeous candles burning and a fire going and you have what I would consider the perfect Autumn day~

I made THIS delicious soup last week.

I love a SIMPLE LOAF filled with spices.

I will be making THIS chai today- as chai is one of my favorites.

Have a wonderful October mes amies!

x

 

the {patio} project

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{found} 

Hello friends and happy {rainy} Saturday!

We are in the process of beginning a project here on the farm that I have been dreaming of for the past five or six years.  It has been something that I have wanted to do but other things seem to keep coming up instead. However, we are now past the planning stage and beginning the actual installation of a gorgeous set of French doors off the kitchen that will lead to a partially covered two-level deck and patio.  As I LOVE being outdoors as much as possible whenever the weather allows, this addition to the farm will enable us to dine outdoors much easier.  And I can’t tell you how excited I am to begin mornings sitting outdoors enjoying my coffee, tucked under a blanket in the cooler weather, my feet in the sun when it shines.

deck wall

 

Some of you may remember this photo of the south side of our home- a wall that is high and flat and has no interest.  It is the perfect spot to add an outdoor living space being just off the kitchen, with southern exposure and yet shady in the summer when it warms up.

 

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{found}

Our home has flat roofs but I wanted to add a slight pitch to the covered patio for interest and drainage.  I have always loved metal roofs- our barn has one section of them- and so I was excited to add a bit to our home.  This is what we hope to use.

 

 

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{found}

We have opted to use a decking material that will be easier to maintain.  We are going with a light gray which should look nice with the white accents.

 

 

lights

 {found}

 I am considering using these sweet rustic lights instead of a larger light feature in the covered area.  I haven’t decided yet but as we would rarely use proper light in this area (opting for candles and light from the fireplace instead) I am thinking I may prefer the ambiance of these lights.

 

 

fireplace

{found}

Finally, in phase two we will be adding a patio adjacent to the deck with a fireplace.  I like the height of this one as well as these paving stones.

 

 

I’m so excited to have a project like this to focus on as the dark wet months approach.  Come springtime it should be ready to enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you a {happy} weekend

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The weekend has arrived- the first since the boys went back to school this week.  I’m pretty sure I am more tired than they are, but why that is I don’t have a clue.  So far everyone is doing well, adjusting back into the routine known as “our lives” and coming home happy.  It feels good.  We are looking forward to a quiet few days around here- not a lot to do and the weather that invites relaxation, movies and warm food. Mr. Taylor and I will be celebrating our anniversary this weekend- most likely just hanging out together, seeing as we really do like each other quite a lot.  He makes me laugh, and he’s smart and such a great husband and father.

I hope that whatever you are planning this weekend, whatever your weather may be like, whether summer has decided to stick around for a while, autumn is attempting to push it’s way in or spring has sprung- that your weekend is wonderful.

x

A {Poppy} exchange

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Hello friends and happy Saturday~

 

As some of you know, I love poppies.  I tend to snap photos of different varieties of them when I am out and about.  I have grown them in our gardens for a number of years now, and am not even sure where my first seeds came from.  Over time they have begun to cross and combine and I  now have a nice little collection of pink/lavender/fuscia singles and doubles that I harvest every year.

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When I was in France visiting a dear friend this month we came across one perfect little poppy growing along her pasture fence- a new addition for them.  It was similar to mine, and yet a different color all together.  I was excited and asked if she would exchange seeds when she had enough to share.  I would love to send her some of mine and add her little Normandy poppy to my collection!

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{I added these little gems this summer}

This morning while making coffee and emptying my dry poppy pods it occurred to me.  I have occasionally sent out seeds to friends who have been kind enough to share photos of them growing in their gardens (my friend Alexis had hers grow to nearly 7 feet in San Diego!!).  But how great would it be to do a poppy seed exchange?  I would be happy to send a little package of my seeds in exchange for any poppy seeds you have harvested.  You can see the variety I have in my gardens here, and if you grow them and harvest your seeds it would be wonderful to exchange a few.  What do you think?

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Have a wonderful weekend and for those of us who haven’t yet started school, enjoy these last few days~

x

 

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my {love} language

Hello dear readers~

I am afraid I have been rather absent again, and while I feel a bit sad about it, mostly I feel so incredibly inspired by the things I have been doing instead of blogging.  Hopefully these things will in turn become wonderful things on which to share- I’m quite certain they will.

 

7

 

I have been reading the book “7-an experimental mutiny against excess” by Jen Hatmaker (she wrote this little gem that was my first indication I would be soon head over heels for this girl) and honestly, it has been life changing.  Life. Changing.  In the two days that I have been reading it I have:

~looked around at what we have, really “seen” how much that is, and begun to really consider where it is we want to go from here

~pulled 7 bags from our home to bring to our local charity this week

~gotten creative about meals and using what we already have rather than my usual impulse buying at the grocery

~looked at what we are eating- not the healthy balanced dinners we eat together, but the rest of it – school lunches (packaging waste, processed foods), breakfasts (cereals that sound healthy until you read the ingredients) and nearly everything we eat out when we are in a hurry

~stopped my car by the side of the road to approach a man who was on the sidewalk, most likely homeless, barely conscious, likely having had a bit too much of the bottle and clearly in need of help

~looked at how much time I spend in front a screen- namely this computer and my iPhone and decided that isn’t the place I want to spend the precious hours I have

And the best part, the part that gave me the boost I needed to do a post today?  I have gone through things that I had been saving for, well, for what?  A rainy day?  The day I started doing crafts?  I have no idea as honestly, these things have been here for some time now.  But not for much longer!  Today I clearly saw that my “love language” (which, by the way, I am just throwing out as a reference word- I have never read “the book” on love languages, but I’m pretty sure my love language is a registered language…  you know, from “the book”…) is gifting.  I LOVE giving- love love love.  I find so much more joy in giving than receiving- seriously.  I love seeing something that I know someone I care about would love and I can never wait until an appropriate time to give it to them.  This is probably the reason that in our home birthdays and Christmas don’t hold a lot of value in the “gift” department.  For us, those days are about family and gathering and food and love.  The gifts are so secondary.  But not the rest of the year- as I take every opportunity I have to gift away!

I am trying to find ways to gift things from the farm.  I used to give away eggs all summer long, but as we have far fewer girls these days, there are also fewer eggs.  Lately I have been giving away poppy seeds as I really love the poppies that I have harvested from so far.  Case in point:

poppies

 

Poppy seeds are easy to harvest, easy to share, easy to store and the best part is that they are something we grew, right here on our little farm.  Herbs are another thing that is easy to harvest and share- I dry oregano (I gathered my first three bunches to dry today and they are already hanging in the kitchen) every year and then label little plastic envelopes as it seals in the flavor when it is airtight.  Lavender- that is another easy giftable growable option.  Not to mention your parcel smells wonderful when it arrives.  This year we began keeping bees in hopes of adding honey to our list of gift options.  Oh, and jam- I LOVE making jam with fresh fruit, so that is definitely another idea.

What about you?  Do you have things you love to give?  Things that perhaps you made, or grew, or baked?  How to you package it?  I really would love to know~

I hope you had a wonderful weekend- I hope you got out and did something wonderful, or adventurous or relaxing or exciting.  I hope you ate great food, saw a bit of the sun, and stopped to see how many wonderful things you have in your life.  Sometimes when life gets busy or hectic or stressful it is difficult to find the good parts, but if you take the time to stop and really notice, you will see that the good really does outweigh the bad.

Have a fabulous week my friends,

x

 

She clearly gets how one can really fall for a good read

I’m a bit more than envious of her new life in the french countryside

This girl knows how to write and inspire in the process

An easy and absolutely delicious summer meal

And as I am a huge fan of citrus- a lime tart sounds divine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{blooming}

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Lately {on the farm}

I feel like I’m not really posting as much as I have in the past and I am trying to figure out why.  Part of it is that we are in a pretty major transition around here, Mr. Taylor is traveling a crazy amount lately, and we are trying to get our heads around it all.  It promises to be exciting and wonderful but right now, it is just a bit like living in limbo.

I am trying to be okay with limbo, and it is a growing experience for me I think.  I have spent a lot of time reassessing my priorities, how I spend my time and where I want to go from here.  I have found that I am drawn lately to staying close to home and close to family.  I am also dreaming of traveling far and wide- quite the opposites, no?  I feel like right now my drive to “accomplish” to “be seen” to “go somewhere” has diminished and my desire to live in this moment right here, fully embrace the life right in front of me and make the most of it is at the top of my priority list.  I am looking forward to summer on the farm with those I love doing the things I love.  I have spent more time than I normally do in the gardens this spring, staying on top of the planting and the weeding and the maintenance and looking forward to my Dad’s visit a week from today, planning projects to work on with him.  Where I once got excited about “working” on my photography I am now excited about simply documenting our wonderful simple life with my camera.  Life is filled with unexpected and amazing changes, don’t you think?

I thought I would share a bit of what we have been doing this spring.

 

 

hummingbird

The hummingbirds have returned and I never tire of seeing them visit the feeder throughout the day.  They seem to visit often while we are eating dinner and I’m sure the boys have already tired of finding me gazing out the window over the dining table during our meal…  I believe our hummingbirds are Rufus hummingbirds and it seems we have three- one male and two females.

 

 

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{the hive sits in the upper pasture by the blackberries}

 

We have also added a bee hive to the farm this spring!  Bees are something I have wanted to add for quite some time, but was nervous about not knowing what I was doing, thus killing the bees.  I took the plunge after seeing a few fabulous friends doing it and knowing that I have endless resources if I need help.  I worked with the Beez Neez in Snohomish, WA and honestly they have been absolutely wonderful.  They are so helpful and there whenever I have a question.  I am surprised at how comfortable I am with the girls and how much I love just watching them come and go.

 

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{I waxed the frames before putting them in the hive}

 

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{the girls seem happy here}

 

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{yes, I look a bit silly, but feel much safer- I like my eyes just as they are}

 

I also want to share a recipe with you- although calling it a recipe really doesn’t seem right, seeing that it was really just a throwing of things I had on-hand into a pot and slow cooking it for the day.  That being said, it was really good and the boys loved it- so that should count for something, right?

pasta

 

The following is what I did- you can alter it to whatever you have on hand.  While I don’t always have fresh tomatoes, I always have canned so those would work as well.

 

5-6 vine ripened tomatoes, coarsely  chopped

5 cloves of garlic, diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup water

1 tsp salt

 

Put it all in a pot and simmer for the afternoon.

 

I fire-roasted a yellow and a red pepper on the stove (see this post) and then chopped them up and added them to the tomato mix.

 

If you want to add meat, which I did:

1 large onion, chopped

1 lb.  ground beef

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp dried basil

1 Tbsp dried thyme

1 tsp garlic salt

salt and pepper

An hour before you want to serve it, brown one chopped onion with 1 lb ground beef.  When the beef is partially cooked, add the spices and mix well.  Finish browning the beef and then add it all to the simmering sauce.

 

Cook your pasta just before you want to eat, toss it together with your sauce, top with lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese and serve!  We add a salad and a baguette and call it dinner~

 

 

 

this week {on the farm}

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This week on the farm I am feeling like I have died and gone to heaven. It truly is spectacular- the weather is absolutely stunning! The gardens are beginning to really bloom and it smells amazing all day long.  I have been planting seeds (lima beans for the first time, peas, beans, radishes, tomatoes) and filling pots and barrels with color. I have added three new clematises- two different varieties and I am crossing everything that they are happy and thrive (because my track record in this arena is not a winning one…). There are buds everywhere- on the climbing rose on the chicken coop, the espalier asian pear tree, the grape vines and the peonies. Meanwhile the lilacs are in FULL BLOOM- and they are my very favorite spring flower. They are GORGEOUS this year and I am loving cutting baskets full and bringing them indoors. They have grown so much since last year and are filled with huge bunches of flowers.  We have a number of different varieties and I love each and every one.  The herb garden is coming along nicely with all of the older plants and new editions. I grow oregano, chives, thyme, mint, french tarragon, parsley, cilantro, rosemary and strawberries in the herb garden, as well as poppies, peonies, fairy roses and cosmos. That is one garden that really shines in the summertime. I have been pruning things that tend to get unruly this time of year and weeding in an attempt (most likely futile) to stay on top of the barrage of weeds that tend to be present come July.

One thing that I have been doing more of lately is stopping (even when I don’t want to) to sit in the gardens and enjoy something to eat and/or drink. I tend to eat lunch outdoors and I have been making sun tea to enjoy while I am outside as well. I have also been playing with simple syrups and right now I am absolutely loving rhubarb syrup! The rhubarb is still doing really well and I want to take advantage of it while it is here.

I would like to say that the one downfall to this glorious weather and productivity in the gardens is that I feel like I am completely and utterly neglecting those that I love but tend to communicate with online. I simply don’t spend much time at all on the computer, thus find that days go by before I realize I have talked to NO ONE outside of my family. I honestly feel badly about this and hope and pray that those dear friends whom I have not talked to for far too long will forgive me in my absence. I am secretly hoping they are as busy as I have been and haven’t even noticed!

Happy week mes amies.
x

a new {inspiration} sign

new sign

 

Not long ago I reconnected with a friend from high school.  Facebook has a way of making that happen.  It just so happens that this friend is incredibly talented and makes THE. BEST. SIGNS.  ever.  Our arrived yesterday and I can’t begin to tell you how much I love it.  Now only do I love the look and feel of it, but I adore what it says.  It really does define how life is lived here on the farm.

 

If you have a saying that you love and want to display in your own home, visit Janie at her shop- blue eyed girl.

 

x

wonderful napkins added to {tiggy & grace}

After living with a set of these darker linen napkins for a few months I am so excited to be able to share them with you!  Available now~

https://tiggygrace.bigcartel.com

 

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more {life on film}

I want to share some photos that I took recently on film.  I have to say I am totally completely smitten with the results.

 

It is the only camera I took with me when spending three magical days with four amazing girls in the California sunshine~

 

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{oh how this city captures my heart and imagination}

 

 

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 {this gorgeous girlfriend greeted us with blood orange mimosas upon arrival}

 

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The images from the gardens make me love our little farm on the hill even more~

 

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And capturing moments in our home in a way that brings me back to my own childhood~

 

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{the light leak makes this photo even more dreamy}

 

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this week {on the farm}

Good morning!

I would like to say that with spring upon us all sorts of things are getting done on the farm.  Oh, you have no idea how much I would like to say that…  However, with how wet it has been (read: frequent torrential downpours) it is difficult to get much done.  And there is a LOT to get done.  The weeds are winning the war, seeds should be in the ground, as should the beginning of the privacy hedge I want to add.  Mabel needs a clean out and air out, benches need painting, not to mention the chicken coop and playhouse.  Thank goodness my dad is coming next month and he pretty much rocks the to-do list.  (can I get a round of applause for daddy?  I’m pretty sure he is SO excited to come out!)

I have gotten a few things done in between cloud bursts- a bit of tidying up, a bit of herb planting, and at least the peas and kale are in the ground.  While out there I have noticed signs that while it may not feel like spring, it is definitely coming.  The rhubarb is nearly ready to be used, the espalier pear tree is completely filled with blooms and the earliest flowers are making an appearance.  We have a gorgeous evergreen clematis that smells divine and fills one of the pasture fences with white this time of year.  The peonies are up and bigger than ever this year, promising some beautiful flowers in the next few months.  As they are one of my very favorite flowers I always get excited to see their red stems coming out of the ground.

 

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spring, chili and a {sick pup}

Spring seems to be coming to the farm in fits and starts.  One weekend is filled with sunshine, warmth and hours in the gardens, the next, a cold rain keeps us indoors.  I am so ready for spring this year- excited to get the vegetable gardens planted, the lawns cleaned up and the hammock hung.  I am looking forward to hanging laundry on the line and bringing it in at the end of the day smelling of sunshine and fresh air.  I will tell you that I have been enjoying the longer days- waking to the sun rising, watching the sun set after dinner. The one saving grace on these rainy days is that the sun will occasionally make an appearance at the very end of the day- just in time to cast it’s warm rosy orange glow into our windows.  It is such a beautiful way to wrap up a day~

Yesterday was one of those dark wet days that normally cause me to sigh when opening the windows in the morning.  However yesterday it felt appropriate.  M. Louis was admitted to the animal hospital two nights ago with an intestinal obstruction.  He hadn’t been feeling well for the past week and had definitely lost his spunk these past few days.  He took a notable turn two days ago and I felt that worry that a mama feels when her intuition knows something isn’t right.  So yesterday they did surgery on him to remove the blockage, which turned out to be a dog toy that he had swallowed.  Poor little buggy.  He is still at the hospital enjoying his morphine drip and they are keeping a close eye on him.  We are hoping that he may come home tonight and I have a feeling there is going to be a pretty spoiled little French Bulldog in this house.  (and when I say little- I mean LITTLE! he lost a fair bit of weight and he was only 17 lbs to begin with)

So, with the cool weather I decided that chili sounded right.  I didn’t have any peppers but always keep canned tomatoes and tomato paste as well as dry beans on hand, so I simply grabbed some ground beef, onions and garlic as well as some spices and chili it was!  Topped with a dollop of greek yogurt (or sour cream) and you are golden~

chili

 

Chili

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 lb ground beef (I use low fat content so I don’t have to drain it)

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

I large can of diced tomatoes

1 small can of fire roasted tomatoes

1 really small can of tomato paste

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

3 cups kidney beans

 

In a soup pot saute onions and olive oil over medium high heat.  When the onions are slightly translucent add ground beef and brown.  When it is nearly brown add garlic, chili powder and red pepper flakes.  Finish browning the beef, stirring occasionally.  Once beef is completely browned add the three cans of tomatoes and mix well, reducing the heat to medium.  Add cocoa powder and cook for about five minutes, stirring to completely incorporate cocoa.  Add beans- I use dry and soak them the night before, then cook them the morning I plan to make chili.  Canned work just fine as well.

Simmer chili for at least an hour on low heat.  Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.  Also divine with corn bread~

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