{Time in the Kitchen}

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If you spend as much time in the kitchen as I do it is nice surrounding yourself with things you love.  This collection offers a linen apron to wear while cooking from the cookbook “Lunch in Provence”- a beautifully photographed and inspiring book about slowing down and eating with joy.  It also includes a linen market bag for shopping at the farmer’s market and my very favorite smoked salt in a small weck jar to use on everything from popcorn to steak to salted caramel!

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{Red Cross Necklace}

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This red cross necklace was designed by Donna Clement and donated by Liz Le Dorze of Komedal Road.   It is wonderfully simple and classic- a glimpse of the past, with a nod to the present.  This one of a kind piece is one you could wear every day- classic and simple.

{Original Vintage Washed Flannel Shirt}

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I absolutely LOVE these shirts- it is one of my favorite things to wear! Donated by Garrett Plantanitis of Farmstead in northern California, the shirt offered will be specifically chosen for you based on size and color preference.

Inspired by the broken- in shirts you love wearing as an added layer on a cold day – our vintage washed flannels have quickly become new old favorites.  Each shirt is treated by hand – resulting in a unique, one-of-a-kind discovery.

Farmstead is a vintage living and design inspiration source situated between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Historic Old Town Auburn, California. Specializing in one-of-a-kind vintage finds, interior design, and apparel, owner Garrett Platanitis incorporates a juxtaposition of both vintage and modern, creating a casual and rustic environment.

To learn more about us, including where to find Vintage Washed Flannels, please visit:
farmsteadhome.com or facebook.com/farmsteadhome

 

{A Taste of the Maritimes}

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I was so excited when my dear friend Lori offered to put together a collection of her favorite things from her home in the Maritimes of Canada!  As I have received a similar parcel in the mail from her, I can say from experience that it is a treat!  Lori can be found at http://nbwildflowers.blogspot.com

“A Taste of the Maritimes”
Candy:  Robertson’s Candy is the largest family owned hard-candy factory left in Nova Scotia and these hard candy treats are called ”Humbugs”.   A gourmet chocolate bar from Newfoundland Chocolate Company and a barley toy sucker in the shape of a lobster.
 
Spices:  ”Arnies” all purpose seasoning great for grilling anything.  Farmer John’s: Roasted Garlic Dip, Clam Chowder Mix & Maritime Seafood Chowder mix.  Summer Savory: is a traditional popular herb in Atlantic Canada, where it is used in the same way sage is elsewhere.
Maple:  This selection of maple is made locally and the owner is a family friend.  Maple candies and kisses along with a little bottle of maple syrup.  The maple coffee is from a New Brunswick business called Java Moose.

 

This item also includes a $25 gift certificate to The Rusted Chain- and I loved that the necklace below was so appropriate!

 

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{Handmade Grain Sack Pillow}

 

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This beautiful vintage pillow was hand made by Isabel of Maison Douce.  It measures 16″x24″ and is printed on an authentic French linen towel, from Isabel’s own collection.

 

A little bit about Isabel Lang.  Isabel was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, and married her prince charming in his dress blues 20 years ago.  Their nomadic military life took them to assignments in England and Morocco, after which they settled in Oregon. She is now a mother of 4, loves cooking, sewing and hunting for antique and vintage stuff. Out of her passion for the old emerged her business, Maison Douce, selling at antique malls, antique shows and online.

{Framed Magnolia Print}

 

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This beautiful  8×12 inch print is framed in a 11.5×15.5 rich espresso brown frame which nicely compliments the nearly monochromatic magnolia flower which blossoms front and center.
This piece of art was donated by Daria Schubert, an award-winning photographer, working in Puget Sound shooting flowers, food and portraits. She uses natural light and elicits spontaneous expressions to create genuine portraits. She’s a foodie, francophile and naturalist. She dreams of one day owning a gite/dive resort on the Cote d’Azur and offering photo classes and tours around France and the Mediterranean.  (She is also a fabulous website designer and I wouldn’t work with anyone else!)

 

{Vingage Linen Bag}

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This beautiful limited edition vintage linen bag with a red embossed strap and detailing was donated by Liz Le Dorze of Komedal Road. It was made especially for Komedal Road and is a perfect bag for summer living~  The inside is spacious with two pockets- one with a zipper.  The bag measures 15″ wide by 12″ tall.  The linen is sturdy and soft and with the durable bottom, it is easy to take anywhere!

 

 

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{Cork Wrap Bracelet}

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While in Napa this spring I was introduced to Cindy and Kay of Yount Street Glass.  These ladies recycle wine bottles into truly wonderful pieces of art.  They were so kind and open about sharing their studio and workspace with us, giving us a little tour and backstory.  They were also working on some new bracelets and were generous enough to give us each one!  I wear mine nearly every day.  They also gave me an extra so that I could include it in my auction.  It is made of cork  which is super flexible with a magnetic clasp which makes it easy to get on and off.  It is perfect for summer and definitely a limited edition at this point.

This bracelet isn’t available on their site but so many other fabulous pieces are.  However, if you want something really special that few others have, this bracelet is it!

 

 

It’s time for an {Auction for Africa}!!

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Hello friends,

My trip to Uganda is in just over a month and we have been working to collect the things that we will be bringing with us to the children.  We are allowed three large suitcases each, with the option to pay for two more.  I’m sure we could fill all ten between the two of us with supplies that simply aren’t available there- things that will be so valuable in a place where these things are desperately needed.  And while we don’t want to make this home completely westernized, we do want it to be a “home” for these children- the first real home most of them have ever had.  We want them to each have a place of their own and I am excited to put together a little “welcome home” parcel for each of them.

When we arrive we will be assessing the house and seeing what it is that needs to be purchased in Kampala before we bring in the children.  There is a kitchen that needs to be supplied, basic items for housing and feeding the children, as well as food itself.  This is the project I have challenged myself to raise the money for.  The more we raise together- the more I can provide for these kids- especially food.

I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to welcoming them with my mom; to capturing their first days in a place that they can feel safe and happy and can play like children.

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While it has taken me a lot longer than I had anticipated to pull all of this together, I am excited to tell you that I have finally organized all of the beautiful donations that my incredibly generous friends have offered so that we can raise money to purchase all that we need for the children.  As I want to make every dollar count, I have opted to run the entire process through my website rather than using an online auction source, seeing as they would cost a few hundred dollars- dollars that could be put to much better use elsewhere!

The Details:

The Auction for Africa will go live on MONDAY June 17th at 8 am PST and run until WEDNESDAY June 19th at 6 pm PST.  My plan is to have a separate post for each item, and then biding will be done in the comment section.  The auction will run for three days so that everyone will have an opportunity to bid on the items they want.  Once the auction closes, I will contact the winning bidders and they will have 48 hours to deposit the bid into my paypal account.  If after 48 hours they aren’t able to do so, the second place bidder will be contacted.  Once the bid has been paid the item will be shipped- most of which by the person who donated the item.  Have I mentioned how generous my friends are?

So here is what I am asking of you.  Not only do I hope that you will bid on the items, but I would be SO GRATEFUL if you would share it – shout it from the rooftops, facebook it, twitter it, blog it- MULTIPLE TIMES if you can!  Look, I know I have asked a lot of you in the last year.  I know that you have been kind, and giving and so incredibly supportive.  If I wasn’t so darn passionate about this, I wouldn’t have the nerve to ask this of you, but I am.  I want those kids to move in to this house and know that they are loved and that they don’t have to struggle to survive any longer.  I want them to feel safe and secure and be able to be children.  Every child deserves that, don’t you think?

Monday people- it’s coming.  I hope you love the items as much as I do!

Love to you all,

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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

bees

{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~

 

 

 

{spinach & strawberry} salad

spinach salad

 

As spring arrives in the pacific northwest, so do the strawberries.  We are fortunate to have them all through the summer and one of our favorite meals includes a spinach and strawberry salad.  I’m pretty sure we have this salad once a week, and almost always when entertaining guests for lunch or dinner in the summer.  It is easy and so delicious- all five of my men love it~  As with many of our salads, we like to add chevre if we have it.

 

strawberry & spinach salad

 

1/3 c. sugar

1/2 c. oil

1/4 c. white vinegar

2 TBSP sesame seeds

2 TBSP poppy seeds

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tsp minced onion

enough spinach and strawberries for you and your guests

(this dressing makes enough for two nights of salad in our house- with six people.  I occasionally half it if I’m only making one big salad but it can be easily stored in the refrigerator)

Mix dressing and toss with spinach and strawberries.

 

 

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

time in the {country}

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Sometimes you need to be spontaneous.  You need to jump on a plane bound for people who have known you for your entire life.  You need to rent a car and drive down country roads with the windows rolled down, music playing, warm spring air on your skin.  There is something magical about starting each morning with a cup of coffee on the front porch as the sun rises and warms your face.  Time in the country replenishes your soul.

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This past weekend I was blessed to be surrounded by family that I grew up with.  We spent time together, we ate wonderful food, we caught up for the past 25 years.  I loved on old family, met new family whom I adored, and felt like a part of a family.  I spent time with one of the most important and influential men in my life, a man who was a huge part of my childhood.  He took me to all of the places that I love most- old historic cemeteries, farms that have been in the family for years and years, complete with the most amazing outbuildings and very old farms that have been more recently acquired.  Beautiful old buildings, weathered barns, and fabulous old chicken coops.  It was wonderful.  Hours and hours of wonderful.

 

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Those three days gave me something that I didn’t even know I needed.  It reminded me how life can be uncomplicated and leisurely.  It reminded me that gathering with those you love can be as easy as a few phone calls and a pot luck of really great food.  Perfect is so overrated.  Stressing about everything being “just so” takes so much more energy than looking at the people right in front of you and loving every moment with them.

I am grateful for a husband who supports my need for times like this.  I hope that when I return home to my family I am a better person, a calmer person, a happier person.

 

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a new {inspiration} sign

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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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{risotto} on a rainy evening

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I must admit, risotto is one of my very favorite things to make.  I love that it is a slow process.  I love that there is wine and homemade chicken stock involved.  I love that the risotto itself is like a blank canvas and that pretty much anything goes once you have arborio rice, wine and stock.  No matter the season, the day of the week or the state of the refrigerator, there is always something in the house that will go into risotto.

Today I had one of my easy, multiple use and oh so tasty favorites on hand- a rotisserie chicken from the grocery.  Almost every grocery store offers them and they are so incredibly tender and juicy.  I have at least half a dozen quick and easy options for meals using a rotisserie chicken and risotto is definitely one of them. Tonight, seeing as #2 is in Mexico for spring break, I gave each of the littles a leg and used the breast meat for the risotto.  It left me the rest of the chicken for another meal in the next day or so.  (most likely a salad with chicken for lunch tomorrow or Saturday)

If you haven’t made risotto I suggest you give it a try.  It is the perfect comfort food, you can add summer vegetables soon and it works as a side dish or main course.  I’m also guessing it’s gluten-free! (but make sure to verify that rather than taking my word for it…)

Risotto- the base recipe

4 cups stock- chicken or vegetable

1/4 cup butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

4 shallots or 1 small onion finely chopped

1 1/2 cups arborio rice  (you can use other risotto rice such as carnaroli, vialone nano, baldo or Calriso)

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup grated parmesan cheese (I also use pecorino)

sea salt and pepper

 

Heat the broth in a sauce pan and then keep it at a simmer.

Heat the butter and oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the shallots or onion and cook until softened. Add the rice and stir with a  wooden spoon until the grains of rice are coated.  Pour in the wine and stir until it has been absorbed. Add one ladle of stock at a time, stirring until the stock has been absorbed.  Continue to add the stock one ladle at a time, stirring continually.  You may not use all of your stock as you want the rice to be firm (al dente) but creamy.

Once the rice is done, stir in your cheese.  Voila!  Risotto.

As far as adding vegetables is concerned, you can add things like peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, fresh peas, roasted root vegetables, spinach, kale, tomatoes, leeks, etc…  My very favorite book- my go-to idea source is a little book called “risotto: 30 simply delicious vegetarian recipes from an Italian kitchen” by Ursula Ferrigno.  I love all of the ideas and inspiration in it.  You can find it here.

 

risotto

 

 

Now, on my list of things to try…

~friends RAVE about fava beans, and this recipe looks like the perfect first try!

~it’s rhubarb season and this sponge would be divine under a rhubarb compote!

~speaking of rhubarb (and I think I will be speaking about it a lot in the coming weeks) I am looking forward to trying these this weekend.  Even the photo has my mouth watering!

~this looks like the absolutely perfect spring salad, don’t you think?

 

Have a wonderful weekend mes amies!

x

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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