Monday, September 1, 2014

lavender bouquets

This was such a fun day.  We went to Yvonne and David's after lunch and finished an art project Yvonne and Kat had been working on the day I went to Suttons Bay to do some birthday shopping. 

After the last coat of Annie Sloan wax had been polished off Kat's moon and stars mirrors, We gathered some fresh lavender from Miss Yvonne's garden and went to the porch at the red house to make bouquets. 

I think we ended up with five bouquets.  We took them home and put them in different places around the cottage...and it smelled so pretty.  I wish we'd ended up buying some sachets to preserve the lavender after it had really dried and started to fall off the stems.  I could have tucked them in closets or drawers to keep things smelling summery til next season. 

Next year I'll think ahead so we have some lavender preserved.  And I'll also be working on adding more lavender to the garden so we have our own continual supply. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Time is truly flying.  I wish Mom was here to see her.  She'd be so proud.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

local customs

This was her first.  It will not be her last.  We might even have to take some Vernors home with us. 

Vernors floats.  Smile-makers. 

With love from The Motherland.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

birthday girl

She's nine!  How and when did this happen??
July 20, 2014: lunch and bowling at Tucker's of Northport. 

With love from The Motherland!

Friday, July 4, 2014

classic strawberry rhubarb pie

Our neighbors across the street here in Northport have a beautiful garden.  Their home sits on two village lots and the garden takes up a good portion of the third lot.  It's all wooded at the rear of the lot and is flanked by lush beds of woodland ferns.  It's simply pretty.

And very productive.  First thing this season, Carl caught me in the yard and handed me a bag of fresh rhubarb.  Straight from the ground, rinsed, and trimmed.

My kitchen here at the cottage isn't exactly a "chef's kitchen," but we managed after picking up a 9 inch pie pan at Tom's, and a Pillsbury crust.  Tackling a crust with minimal kitchen tools was too much work.  Besides, this was a bit of an experiment since I'd never  made a strawberry rhubarb pie before.
The recipe called for an egg yolk wash on the top crust.  Again, with minimal tools, I thought I applied it a bit too heavily.  But it did golden up nicely even if it did look a little on the artificial side.

The taste was 100% classic strawberry rhubarb pie, though.  I gave away most of it to neighbors - to rave reviews, I might add (yes, that's me tooting my own horn).  Kat won't eat pie unless it's baked from my mom's pumpkin pie recipe, and I didn't need to single-handedly scarf down a whole pie by myself.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

1 box Pillsbury pre-made unbaked pie crusts.
2 1/2 cups rhubarb, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 large stalks)
2 1/2 cups hulled and sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour or 1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze)
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Nestle the crust inside the pan so about an inch hangs over the sides. Press the pastry down. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Mix the fruit with the sugar, flour (or cornstarch) and lemon zest. Using the tines of a fork, poke the bottom of the pie crust evenly about five times. Pour the fruit mixture into the chilled pastry. Dot with the butter pieces.
Moisten the edge of the bottom crust with a finger dipped in water. Put on the top pastry in one piece and slice in a few air vents, trim, and crimp the edges.
Brush the egg glaze over the crust. Transfer the pie to a baking sheet.
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake another 30 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before serving.
The quintessential summer pie.

Bon Appetit from The Motherland.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

baby steps

The cottage had been vacant for almost a year before we bought it; the property was part of an estate and had previously been sold on a land contract.  When the land contract fell through, the property reverted to the estate and they were left to sell it again.

I think it had been a while since it the house had really been loved.  Dated 1970s tan/brown color scheme is really all you needed to see, right?  

While the long term plan is re-siding or taking it back to original wood, and replacing the standard shingle roof with a metal one, every plan begins with baby steps.  For now, painting the trim and giving the front door a happy coat of paint: Sunny Side Up from the local Ace Hardware, at least give it that lovin' feeling.  

Will post more as progress continues!

With love from The Motherland.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

road trip much for my 52 weeks of happy. Or, at least posting happiness!  For now, you'll just have to take my word for it.  I'm in my happy place.

We closed on our Michigan cottage back in April and we've just been patiently waiting to get out boots on the ground in The Mitten.  Of course, first we had to put our boots on the ground in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. 

Cross-country road trip, anyone?

Headed north on I-17 into Flagstaff. 

Don't go west, whatever you do!!

Sky for miles in northeast Arizona. 

Sun setting in Winslow, AZ. 

A little detour on to Route 66.  Sad desolation most of the way.  This was in Tucumcari, NM, where they seem to be revitalizing some of the old, abandoned buildings for...photographers?

Came through the coolest storm in Texas.  It was big.  But, isn't everything bigger in Texas?

All-American Oklahoma!

Mississippi River down there...somewhere.  (Hey, it's all happening at 55 mph).

And, sometimes you need to secretly videotape your mother.  To kill time and alleviate boredom. 

This was the part of the trip that stressed me out the most: a 10 month old puppy on a 2,100 mile car ride.  He actually did better than I expected...but, that's how it usually goes. 

Somewhere in Illinois. 

And finally, the run for the border!  This was such a relief.  We knew we were within hours.  Seven, to be exact, after a stop for dinner in Holland, and construction traffic outside Grand Rapids. 

Home, sweet home!

West of Cadillac on 115.  So close we can practically taste it! 

We arrived well after dark.  Thankfully we have friends in town who had a lot of spare furniture, and they were kind enough to put beds and linens into the house for us.  So grateful!

So very grateful.

With love from The Motherland.
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