Hello dears. There's peaches. Try a few slices in your tea. I think you'll find it very refreshing!
That's my second gift of peaches in two weeks. God knew I just needed some sweet nearly local Georgia peaches. Bess brought in a bag last week from Dickey Farms in Musella and Mama purchased these to give me on Monday when I took her to her favorite farm stand in Montezuma. Both places are within 30 miles of home, so I think that qualifies as 'local' peaches. I sure do mis my own Taylor County peaches though...Anybody interested in buying a peach shed and orchards? It's up for sale...
I had a cup of peach ice cream at Brown's and I must say I don't really care who makes it, peach ice cream is GOOD. This one had tiny little chunks of peaches and the cup from Dickie's had peach puree mixed in the cream base.
It's a lovely place this farm stand Mama enjoys so much. It is nice and it looks homey. They do grow all the fruits and vegetables and flowers they sell and they make their own peach ice cream. I personally won't go out of my way to purchase there but when I'm in the area I'm tempted by their pretty peaches, tiny yellow summer squash and big green tomatoes. I got some of all three of those things this week.
You can see the vegetable and flower plots they pull products from to sell in the stand in nearby fields and their workers busily gathering the harvests. They have big long church pews to sit upon while you're eating your ice cream and there's always a nice breeze from fans there. It's a seasonal place so Mama is always anxious to get down as soon as they open and visit as often as she can before it closes again. I think this was her first visit this year. She's having more and more trouble walking and now uses a walker instead of a cane. I don't know how many more years she'll get to visit this place.
Even though I was worn out the other afternoon when I started dinner, I went right ahead and made a fresh peach cobbler with the last of the peaches Bess brought in. Oh it is so good! John was mowing lawn when dinner got ready and I knew he wouldn't come indoors so I ate without him...but not cobbler. Cobbler is too good to eat alone when it's all warm from the oven. I set the cobbler back in the oven when it had cooled somewhat and let the pilot light maintain that warmth. It's perfectly good all alone but I seriously considered a splash of half and half just to remind me of peach cobbler from my childhood. Of course, in my childhood it would have been evaporated milk, though Granny and Grandmama always called it 'cream', but I can't find a brand without carrageenan so I thought half and half might do as well.
This cobbler I make is super simple and easy. It doesn't require a lot of memory either. It's a 1-1-1-1 recipe. 1 stick of butter (I do half a stick often because a whole stick is super rich), 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of flour. Melt the butter in a 7 x 11 baking dish or a 2 quart casserole in a 375F oven. In the meantime put milk, sugar, flour together in a bowl. I use all purpose flour so I add 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Self-rising flour works just great in this, too. Don't mix. Just set aside. Now peel and slice 2-3 cups peaches. I add extra peaches. Older recipes actually call for 1 cup of fruit which I find isn't near enough. And by the way this cobbler topping is excellent over apples/applesauce, oranges, berries...They all taste yummy!
Pour the melted butter into the flour mixture. Mix quickly with a whisk, just until it's all mixed and not lumpy. You can, if you prefer, do as my late father in law used to do and blitz it in the blender. Pour into the casserole and put peaches into batter. Bake until golden brown and puffy. I haven't made one in a 7x 11 pan in a long time so I can't tell you how long to cook that. I use the 2 quart casserole usually. In a casserole, it takes about 1 hour to bake. It will go quicker in the 7 x 11 pan since it's more shallow.
You can double the recipe and put into a 13 X 9 pan and it too will take about an hour to cook through. This is how we made it most often when I was growing up. I like that the recipe can be doubled or halved, and even quartered, easily.
This recipe became popular in my childhood. It's not the cobbler I remember Granny making but I can't quite remember how she baked her peach cobbler when I was a child. I keep testing my memory but it's just not coming up. All I can clearly recall is that Granny made what she called peach cobbler but it had a pastry type crust and she dried peaches and made fried peach pies from them in the winter months. She didn't make those nearly so often as her fried dried apple pies.
When I was older, she made this same cobbler recipe that I've shared, as do most folks in our area of the south. It's a universal sort of recipe all across the middle Georgia area and it may stretch to elsewhere. I can't say with any certainty about any other place except middle Georgia.
And interestingly enough there is a similar chicken pot pie recipe that eliminates the sugar but uses the 1 cup each of flour and milk and 1 stick of melted butter. So it's a good basic recipe to know for savory and sweets.
There is a recipe that is a variation on this that I've also made. It is Upside Down Peach Cobbler. The ingredients are the same but the process is slightly different and a little more detailed. The outcome is slightly different, as well. Katie makes hers in this way. She acquired the recipe from her former mother-in-law. I found the recipe I use on Aspiring Homemaker blog.
This is a lovely little blog and well worth reading through the archives of. Mia hasn't blogged since 2013 that I am aware of. After she completed her homeschool courses, she was offered a job with a living history site and went to work full time there. I don't know what's become of her since then. It was my privilege to meet Mia and her family at a Home school graduation party we attended for a young friend shortly after Mia's own graduation. The family I met were as lovely as the blog indicated they might be and I greatly enjoyed my conversation with her mom that evening. If you've a day to do nothing in, then read through the posts, enjoy the photography and catch a glimpse of a 'past life' of sorts.
I hinted this weekend that I had big plans for the months ahead and I do, but it's all going to sound a bit vague I'm afraid.. I'm finding it hard to put down in words exactly what I see ahead, so you'll just have to get it piecemeal as I figure it all out. I can tell you that I've gotten mighty inspired by possibilities. I feel quite sure there's a whole life sort of change coming on and that's a curious feeling when you're almost but not quite sixty. Mind you, Granny told me ages and ages ago that I'd stay young if I kept learning and apparently this is true. I don't feel old, as I shared last chat.
As near as I can describe what is going on is to refer back to a past time, a time before I wrote a newsletter or blog, when I was dreaming of the days I'd spend writing and in creating a lovely life. There was a period of time when it seemed that all things came together to assure me that I'd have just what I imagined during that time, that I was right where I ought to be and on the right path. So it feels just now. I am where I should be and I am on my way to the fulfillment of another portion of life dreams. Now what is odd, is that I haven't had a dream for my life in years and it's only in the past few months that I've dared dream once more..
Several years ago, I was terribly disappointed in life overall and how difficult things had been, despite gaining my dream of writing, and seeing my children grow into lovely adult men and women, etc. I tried and tried but I had no joy. We'd been hit with a series of tough events and I guess I'd just battled myself out. Personally, I had dry bones. No joy, no hope, no dream. I'd outgrown the dreams I'd carried about with me for all my years and had no idea what to dream next. So I have traveled light for these last years, sort of just loping along waiting to see what would happen and making no effort to dream of what I might yet be.
After my health crisis two years ago, I found joy was easier to come by even during the tough things that we met shortly thereafter. I guess I had the refreshing I needed during that experience, but I was so busy at that time just coping with life and life changes that I didn't take time to dream anything other than for a normal enough life.
I made some necessary changes emotionally and physically in my life and gradually I've begun to look at life with a daydreamer's desire to dream once more. So I've thought of things I might do, things I'd like to do, etc. I accomplished a few goals and as I met those goals and made changes to our home, to myself, I found courage to dream a little bigger and a little deeper. Of late, I've mentioned to John some scary big sorts of dreams and he's looked at me with astonishment. Yet I tell you truly that both of us can see that these things are big but not impossible.
And then this past week I suddenly had this sense of being on the cusp of a 'next phase', a new era of life, ready to move forward once more, ready for the next step up. I see it as a whole life thing: my home, my self, my writing, my family, our finances.
Why now? Why when our lives are more constricted than ever by the schedule John must adhere to in his work? I don't know. I can only tell you that now is the time to begin.
So here are a few of the things on my mind.
I've followed along with Patsy at A Working Pantry. She's taught herself to crochet and has learned about essential oils. She's taught two preparedness classes. I am so inspired by Patsy!
It makes sense to me to take those sorts of next steps in my home life, to add to my skill set. I want to expand my knowledge. I purchased a hot water bath canner earlier in the year. I'd like to spend some time working with canning. I want a pressure canner but have made up my mind that I want to most thoroughly learn hot water bath canning first. That's the logical place to begin in that area. I'd like to learn to make ice creams. I have an ice cream maker I've never used. I'm having a hard time sourcing carrageenan free cream but I'm going to dig about and look at various recipes and I'm going to give this thing a trial. I've priced it out and I won't save a dime, in fact may pay more, for my ice cream making but it will be carrageenan free which means I won't have to deal with those unpleasant allergy symptoms, so there is that.
There are other things I want to learn regarding home arts and kitchen arts. I've mentioned crochet and embroidery. A few years ago I got nearly half way done with a quilt then set it aside. That project has been pulled back out of hiding.
I have a great desire to minister through writing. I would like to eventually write daily devotionals. For now, I need to practice writing out my understanding of scripture and how it applies to life. I began this yesterday morning, writing about my readings in 1Thessalonians. As I get more practiced and better at getting scripture across, I'll share here and there.
I want to expand my writing here on the blog. I know that most of you show up for the thrifty/frugal posts and I suppose that shall always be one of my main points in writing this blog but I tend to be overly focused on that one point and I want a more well rounded view. I started this blog to move away from being so one themed and yet I find I often fall right back into that without meaning to do so.
I want to try to bring the blog forward. No, not with sponsored posts but perhaps adding in an Amazon affiliate link for products and books, increasing traffic in a natural sort of way. I don't want to lose the quality of friends gathering to learn and to teach and share that we have now. This blog has never been about earning but I am devoting a lot of my time to it and I'd like to see a return for my time of some sort. But no, not sponsored posts. Those are always so stilted and disappointing and I feel half as though I'm reading the sort of ad copy that I find in some of the oldest of my vintage magazines. Do you know the sort I mean? You start out thinking you're reading a story and then you realize it's actually a product ad. I don't want that here. So no fear I'll change things in a negative way.
I want to expand the blog through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and eventually Instagram.
Personally I want to begin to upgrade my wardrobe pieces. I've relied a lot on 'disposable' clothing, of late. By that, I mean that I tend to buy very inexpensive pieces and though I tend to them, they do begin to look mighty shabby after a season of wear. I'd like more quality pieces. I've got a nice coat and I've been purchasing nicer bags. Now it's time to turn that same thought to the blouses and pants I wear. If I love a piece, I won't mind wearing it forever or even retiring it for a season and then returning to the rack.
For years now, I've purchased quality costume jewelry pieces on sale and I've worn some of those pieces for years upon years upon years. How often have I loved a piece of clothing in the past only to have it wear out and I couldn't replace it? Ditto for shoes. I can afford better quality shoes than I've bought in the past. I am not by any means talking Laboutin's but I can certainly afford better than I've purchased. I don't have lots of shoes anyway, so it's not like I'll be dropping fortunes in that department.
My plans to work on the landscaping about the front of the house is part of this whole next step/upgrade life thing as well. It will make a difference in how our home is perceived by us if I take the time to make it look like it's permanent. Right now, unless you come on around to the back side you'd never guess we didn't mean to pick up our doublewide any time now and move it. Frankly there are plenty of the temporary dwelling sorts of doublewides in our area and I just don't care for that look anyway. I've seen some places, too, also doublewides, that are just lovely with the landscaping done with care and attention paid to details like skirting and trim work. Those are things we can change and do so affordably if we do the bulk of the work ourselves.
As well, I'm tired of temporary pieces in our home furnishings. I have purchased a few good quality used pieces but we also have some inexpensive pieces that were purchased new and they haven't held up as well as I'd have liked. I also have a very mis-matched collection of things and I'm not loving it anymore. I told John the other day that given money to purchase new chairs, I think I'd buy three wing chairs and replace the other four chairs in the room. Not necessarily new ones but I'll just bet I can find some good solid hardwood chairs in some thrift store if I look hard. I'm going to slip cover anyway so the upholstery isn't of great import.
These are just a few of the ideas swirling about in my head. I won't bore you with every single one of the ideas in my brain but I did get inspired and I did get excited at the inspirations that came and I hope that comes across in future in my writing, too.
I mentioned I got ill last week. Bess had just left with the boys to head up to her parents' homes. John's flight was due in Atlanta and I had about 2 1/2 hours before I picked him up when I started to feel a little unwell and then it escalated. I got hit by that illness almost out of nowhere and while I wasn't yet physically sick, I was sick. So much so that I could barely hold my head up. I wracked my brain trying to figure out someone I might call to meet John but came up with exactly nobody. Bess was at least 1 1/2 hours up the road by that point. Mama couldn't walk, other family members that do live near were at work. We don't have neighbors or friends in the community and the only other person I could think might help was out of state. That was very sobering moment for me and something which John and I discussed when I was better. No conclusions on our part about what to do in future, but it drove home to us both that we've got each other and that's what we've got. I never thought once to call John and ask him to take taxi...and whoo wee! Can you imagine what a 40 mile taxi fare would be? He'd never think of Uber, either.
Well, prayer is a wonderful thing, truly it is. I prayed myself from one landmark to another and arrived at the exact moment he did at the transportation service center. I could barely stand when I got out of the car and I don't remember much of the ride home because as soon as he pulled from the parking lot I began to be ill and was either passed out or sick and was for the next 12 hours. UGH!
For those of you under the illusion that I'm married to a paramedic and therefore was in good hands, think again. Two days later when I was better enough to hold my head up long enough to look at the computer, I noted John had put up a prayer request. That's wonderful. What made me laugh out loud was a friend's remark that at least I was under good care with him here. HA! There is a characteristic common among medical folk that I've become aware of over time. This is not necessarily true of every medical professional but I've known many over the years and it was common among the ones I knew well. My mom is an RN/Nurse Practitioner, my husband is a medic. I've worked with doctors and nurses and for a doctor and to a person they are the most caring individuals I know...as long you don't belong to them! If you belong to them and are ailing and hurt, they are just as bewildered and repulsed by illness as anyone else you'd care to meet who has no medical knowledge at all.
John couldn't see me to bed quick enough and that was the last I saw of the man until he deemed it necessary to check my blood sugar. He plopped a cool cloth on my forehead and handed me a bottle of Gatorade, commanded I drink what I could of it and exited mighty quick. I didn't see him again until the next day.
I might sound miffed, but I'm not and I wasn't. I am not by any means faulting John. The advantage of his being here was that had things gone too badly there was someone who could call the ambulance. Frankly, I didn't want company good, bad or otherwise. I wanted to be left alone and seriously considered dying when I was awake enough to think on it. I find no pleasure in being ill and certainly none in a tummy virus!
This Monday I was out with Mama and I had a rather interesting time after I left her. Normally, because I am up so very early on John's workday, by the time we've had our usual dinner and long drive, I am done in. But I really wanted to make up for the two missed opportunities I'd had to shop the previous week. I wanted to finish up that desk area of mine. I'm not quite done yet, but I'm nearer done than I was.
I went into Ross. One of you mentioned checking Ross and TJMaxx for bras. Thank you! I found a great Olga brand bra in my size and it wears like a dream. I might have looked a bit harder but it is back to school week in that county and Ross was a mad house. I told John between parents yelling at kids, kids crying, loudspeaker going off every few minutes, people on speaker phone talking to others, etc., I nearly left the store without looking for anything at all. I hung in there and discovered the one bra, a much wanted black purse, and then stood in a long line, in which the clerk handed purchases back to me with alarms still attached which beeped the moment I went near a doo, sans a bag because they were apparently out..I was discombobulated enough to walk away leaving my credit card in the machine...Sheesh! Thankfully a clerk came flying out the door after me. The parking lot wasn't much better, either! I dodged cars and groups of teens who were shopping and felt very drained by the time I'd reached my car.
Since I hadn't found any artwork, frames, nor a shelf, I was mighty disappointed. I was going past Hobby Lobby on my way out of town and decided to stop there. It was a whole different experience. It was so quiet and calm and cool, I felt myself decompressing. I was headed to look at the florals because I have made up my mind recently that I'd rather have really nice faux flowers than cheap substitutes when I have no fresh flowers, at all. I generally keep faux flowers on the dining table because John has his computer there and occasionally has knocked over or bumped a vase of fresh flowers.
Anyway, I was headed to the floral department and just as I arrived a woman came around the corner with a buggy filled to the maximum with peonies and roses and multiflora roses all in creams and apricots and corals. I gasped out loud. She looked up when I did and I stammered out 'That is just GLORIOUS!" And it was.
She was a very, very well dressed woman and at the moment I looked rather worn down and more than wilted from the heat but her smile to me was genuine. "Do you really think so?" "Oh yes!" "My son is getting married and I am decorating the bower and I want it to look lovely." "Oh it's going to be gorgeous." She seemed quite happy to have my opinion upon the matter which was sweet.
I looked over the various selections and bought one pale pink peony for my desk. Here's where I got fooled. I thought the single bloom one of the better priced items at $4.99. I caressed a petal and then felt it all over again. It was thin and delicate and beautifully colored and it was plastic. I was stunned. This is not the plastic flora I grew up with. This is pliable, thin and looks like silk. Considering the silks were $16.99 each, this was a steal. I defy anyone to just look at it and guess that it's not a quality silk!
You know there are faux flowers across all price points. The main advantage of Hobby Lobby is the huge selection of colors, varieties and prices. I briefly considered bunches of cotton bolls which I'd like to have but I couldn't help but think of the thousands of acres of cotton within a mile of my house. I just can't bring myself to help myself out of the field, much as I like them. I'm also a little bit rebellious. I know that cotton bolls are very much on trend just now and I've never wanted to be on trend. I sometimes am, but it's purely accidental. I always refer to those moments as my being totally unaware of a trend that is about to happen. I do something and then I see it all over Pinterest and television décor shows and there I am, right in the middle of a fad. I prefer to think I am unique and all that but in the end, I'm pretty conventional, lol.
I bought some well priced apricot Ranunculus and purple Thistles for the dining table. The Ranunculus are silk, the thistle plastic. I was and am well pleased with these purchases. Next month I will get a few more floral picks of something lovely. I'd like to have seasonal selections to use when decent flowers are not available in the budget or at the grocery or the ones I've purchased fade more quickly as they tend to do in extreme heat or dryness. That's the plan, anyway.
Then I strolled about and looked at artwork but I didn't see a thing I liked. I'll try finding something suitable online I can print or frame something from my files once again. I didn't buy frames at HL either because even at 50% off they were pricey in my opinion. Katie tells me I can buy frames at Dollar Tree very reasonably.
I saw loads of shelves, none of which were the thing I had in mind and most of which were so heavy I truly feared hanging on any wall in my home. I did find one at least that was lightweight enough and I knew immediately it was the right piece. John hung it for me Tuesday morning and I set it up and it's so right it makes me smile.
Katie has been hard at work in her home. We laughed a little at how men sometimes fail to see what we've done and then suddenly become aware of it. She painted her mantel. It was a woodtone, an almost orange-y sort of wood and while her husband preferred wood finish, she realized with the fluting and detail work sanding would be a right pain and a long term job. So she mixed up a variety of leftovers from her paint stash and painted the mantel. It took Matt a good 36 hours to notice. She told me he'd stared in unbelief and then looked at her and said "You're lucky I really like this because I'd never have wanted to paint that." I told Katie I guess that it's hard to be worried over something once you know it's liked, isn't it?
I shared with her that I'd found a new slipcover to go on the newest chair in our odd assortment of chairs and it had been on the piece for nearly ten days. To date her dad hasn't noticed nor mentioned it. It does make you wonder what else you might get away with doing...
Katie has been hard at work on her home this last week and has made some lovely changes. She's made curtains for two rooms and done some painting and redecorating and has plans to do more. I love all that she's done thus far. Naturally she's done it all as inexpensively as she could and so it's more effort and a lot less money than it might have been. And she's inspired me to make some changes, like repainting my own mantel. I never wanted my mantel black. I had, in fact, asked that it be painted Robin's Egg blue but when it was built someone else decided that it should be black. I'm thinking of going with gray. But that too is getting ahead of myself. I plan to finish up the desk area before I start any other project!
I've noted that of late when I am decorating I tend to sort of let my girly side come out in full force. I thought about this the other day while Bess was here. She mentioned wanting to follow a photo trend that is current amongst the young moms. A sort of glamour shot photo that is taken in the bedroom. It's not an immodest photo session, at least not the few I've seen here and there online. It's just young women in modest poses in silky lingerie. They are exposing far less of themselves than in a bathing suit and the shots are softly lit and flattering with a slight Hollywood glam to them. It made me remember how, as a young mom who was chronically tired, I often felt asexual. I think it's perfectly normal for younger women to experience this. You're getting a little older and your body has changed from childbirth and some things that once were have fallen by the wayside...That intensely intimate time of marriage is generally on the lull at that point and you want to experience that feeling of being alluring once more. Oh I do so recall that phase of life!
Well I'm well beyond that phase, though I do understand Bess' feelings overall. I've never been what I'd call a girly girl, though I did once wonder if I was at all feminine. I sure didn't feel feminine in the least and wasn't treated so either! Anyway, as I've grown older, I'm more comfortable in my own skin and not caught up in that constant wonder of who I am and where I got lost, etc. that is so common when you're twenty or thirty something. And I most definitely would tell you that I am very feminine for all that my personal style is not frilly and pink. However, my decorating style is evolving into something that is intensely feminine and I find it very surprising. The colors I've chosen are flattering to my skin tones and the finishes and accessories are increasingly more feminine. I first noticed this when I concentrated hard on that guest room for a spell. Flowers and Toile du Jouy , embroidery and needlepoint...And I'm seeing it in the kitchen sitting area and now my desk space.
I've always much admired the romantic look of decorating and the Shabby Chic look but felt both styles were so over the top feminine that I couldn't have that in my own home. Yet, I find myself combining some of both elements in with the more masculine pieces and it's all working together to form a look that practically screams that a GIRL lives in this house, without appearing frilly and pink and frou frou. And I LIKE it! That is what surprises me most, I think, is that when I'm all done, my first reaction is that I really like it...and then it comes to me that I've designed another space that is distinctly feminine.
It hints to me of depths of myself that have not really been fully acknowledged in the past.
Well loves, I've chattered quite long enough. I have a stack on my sewing table that is waiting to be attended to and things to plan for the weekend ahead. I have, this morning, finished the Faith tree bed except for the need of mulch, which I'll pick up later in the coming weekend. I've made a good start on finishing up the desk area and am off to look for artwork while I'm in the sewing room anyway. I have accomplished a good deal this week and feel quite comfortable in relaxing a little for the finish of the week. Life is pretty peachy over all isn't it?
Talk to you later!