Welcome! I'm happy and humbled you've stopped by.....Cozy up and follow along as I share my attempts at simple living with you. I'm a country girl, who has recently found herself living part-time in the city, adding complication to my simple lifestyle...... This could get interesting!........(To learn why we are in the city, click here.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Our Crazy Busy Summer....AKA Preserving the Harvest

It has been more than 2 months since I last had time to blog.
Please forgive me.....AGAIN
  So today, I thought I'd share with you what has been keeping me from blogging! 
I'm telling you, 
I have been crazy busy!

Maintaining our garden
as well as our family relationships has been challenging to say the least. We are still going back and forth between our country home on weekends and our city digs during the week. 
2 homes in 2 states is just too MUCH!
  Of course, my heart is AlWAYS at HOME!
I'm a country girl at HEART!

Even though we couldn't watch over the garden as diligently as we would have liked, we managed to harvest quite a bit of goodness to fill our freezer and pantry!


Zucchini Bread!!!






We had a pretty nice strawberry harvest this year. 
I froze many of them, after we ate our fill, of course.  
I also made a small batch of jam.  We are not big jam/jelly eaters, because of the sugar.  But the grandkids always have to have pbj's when they come over.  I personally don't like the taste of pectins in jam.  I have made pectin-free jam before by literally cooking the jam to death over the stove. 
But here is a trick worth sharing.  I happen to have this high end bread machine that makes pectin-free jam, and it does all the work.
Really! it has a jam setting!  I bought this machine a long time ago for baking bread after my old welbilt machine died.  However, I rarely, if ever bake bread in it.  Usually, I just mix the bread in the machine and then bake it in my own pan.  But this jelly setting is SWEET!


 When the jam was finished, 
I put it into hot jars and gave it a water bath.  Wala!





 We had quite a few wild black berries on the homestead.  I made a few more jars of bread machine jars of blackberry jam and I made some blackberry vinegar! This is going to make a yummy vinaigrette.




preserving herbs is a never ending job!

I have found that there isn't a better place to bond than in the garden.  This is true for grand kids as well.
This boy is quite the foodie.
His mama has introduced him to lots of veggies.  He will try almost anything.



 After spending the morning in the garden, we made lunch with all the goodies we picked.  He had beans, zucchini, fresh potatoes and kale chips.  Also, he requested some pickled beets.  He loves pickled beets!  Crazy, I know for a 5 y/o to request beets.  Of course he had watermelon for dessert.  He was one happy boy.

We were able to spend some time swimming and picnicking with kiddos on weekends.  So much fun!  
Check it out......3 more reasons why I don't have time to blog!




The Good news is....
I'm home right now.  
I'm trying desperately to get all our food put away.  
Right now, I'm up to my elbows in tomatoes.  I usually can tomato juice, tomato sauce and salsa. 


 This year, I'd like to give ketchup a try.  I'd like to find a recipe that i can pass off as store bought.  If you could help me out with this, I'd be forever grateful!

Until next time....
Keep it Simple.....
Tammy

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wild Weekend

I had big plans folks.
BIG PLANS.
I had big plans to blog more often.
But I have fallen short........again.

Forgive me.....Please....

So my last post was in February.
Yes. 
That was 4 months ago.


I have to laugh when I look at the last post.  
I was lamenting that stinking ground hog.


And now, all that snow is just a faint memory
because these days, the mercury is creeping a little higher everyday.

Whew!
I don't know about you,
but where I am, 
it
is
HOT!

When I'm in Rockville,
 this is where you'll find me.
 No wonder I can't find time to blog!


We spent a lot of time this spring getting some maintenance projects done around the house.

We also got the garden planted....

And you know that strawberry patch that was under a pile of snow in my last post.....
  it has now been producing lots of lush juicy strawberries. 


I was able to get about 20 bags in the freezer so we can enjoy them all winter long!!

I'll share more about the garden in my next post...
I promise!

Today however, 
I wanted to share some pictures I took of a much needed weekend getaway back in May to our cabin in northern Pennsylvania.  

I hope you'll enjoy looking through the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!



On Saturday morning, we took a ride to Elk County to see if we could see some elk.  Even though we didn't plan our little day trip to arrive at the peak viewing time (early morning or evening), we were able to see a lot of elk.  Here is just a sampling of the photos of the elk I captured that day.

  









For more info on the elk population of Pa


On our way back to camp,
I spied this......



Turned out that mama bear didn't just have this one yearling......
she had 2!

At this point, we were on the dirt road in the mountains, and almost back to the cabin.

So we just stopped 
and watched the entertainment.

Isn't he/she the cutest thing you ever did see!?
 The cubs were curious so they made their way down the bank.  

Mama let them go but she was more cautious. 
 She eventually followed behind, but she seemed to have a different plan from that of her rebellious cubs.  She seemed to be directing them to go up the road, away from our truck.  


However, they wanted to travel across the road and down the bank toward the stream.  


I I love this picture!  One of the cubs stood upright to look out over the ravine in search of its sibling.  Oh. and yea, that's hubby's head in the corner.
  

Mama (on the far Left) is waiting patiently for her cubs


Mama bear waited patiently as she watched the shenanigans of her young ones. 
Just like people mamas often have to do!

The rebellious sibling soon returned and they began to walk up the road together with mama. 
 Mama always wins!

These bears are looking a little scruffy.  They probably hadn't been out of their dens for long.  May is a good time to see bears because they are search of food!

We arrived at camp ready for some food and a little relaxation....

But we no sooner returned to the cabin 
and we got a visitor....

I was sitting on the recliner,
 preparing for a catnap 
when I spied a black ball of fur out the window.
  So OF COURSE, 
I grabbed the camera.  

This guy (or girl) was getting a drink in the stream and then decided to check and see if there were any picnic baskets on the premises  to raid!   

Not only did he step onto the porch....
But he actually looked in the window!!! 




He didn't find any picnic baskets....
Just a crazy lady with a camera....

And Yes....
I stalked him like he was some kind of celebrity.
And Yes....
I went outside the safety of the cabin to get some pictures!

He didn't seem to mind though. 
He just lullied on his way...
perhaps to find another cabin 
or picnic basket.  





Hope you enjoyed this post....
Until next time,

Keep it Simple!




Monday, February 16, 2015

Winter Blahs....

As I sit here typing....
It's snowing....
AGAIN!


That darn ground hog has once more cursed us. 



So what does one do to beat the winter the blues???

Well, around here 
We craft! 

Helped the grand kids make some Valentines




MADE VALENTIN'ES FOR MY LOVED ONES..



  

and crafted  some more.

Cascading card

Saw one of these on Facebook
and had to have one.
So I made one with the Cricut!!

And when I can't craft any longer....

I break out the seeds..
and plan
and dream 
of a summer garden.



How 'bout you?  
How do you beat the winter blahs??!

Keepin' it Simple
And tryin' to keep warm!


My Garden....
it's gonna be awhile!




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Home Away from Home

Today, I thought I'd take you on a tour of our 
Home Away from Home.


Last summer,
when hubby's company  sent him to an out-of-town job,
 we landed here...
At King Farm, in Rockville, Maryland.

King Farm is nearly 2 hours away from our little homestead in Pennsylvania.  
We try and go home every other weekend..
sometimes every weekend.

But for now, 
it is our home away from home.



King farm is described as a 

high-density, walkable, mixed-use community
consisting of 3,200 homes on a 430-acre site.

As you can tell by its name, King Farm was an actual farm.  But when the owners died, the family could not keep up with the costs.  So today, it has been transformed into  a planned community.

It consists of apartments, (like our row of apartments pictured below), townhouses, and single family (LARGE) homes, as well as green spaces, parks, ponds and shopping.   One might call it a
 package deal!


Our little nest is tucked away behind this holly bush!


Our little apartment boasts a whopping 800 sq ft!
You can almost see everything upon entry!  

The apartment is furnished with a mish mesh of extra furniture we managed to round up!

Josie enjoying a little HGTV 



One of the ways I entertain myself is by crafting.  I have taken up the entire "dining room" with my crafting goodies!  
The lighting here is great.


Our boudoir is in that darkened space just beyond the craft table. I actually had to  drape some sheets over the window blinds because we can't sleep with all the streets lights! 
And believe it or not, 
the light still comes through.  
We like it dark at night.  
Pitch black dark!


This is the view from my "craft room" these days. 
There is a lot of activity outside this window.... 
Lots of passersby headed to the bus or Metro.
And lots of emergency vehicles....
all hours of the day and night. :( 


But just yesterday...
on a bitter cold day....
clusters of robins adorned the trees outside my window.  


This is my little kitchen.  
It serves its purpose, as it is stocked with all of my 
home grown, 
and home canned food.

                         
   But it's a far cry from our homestead kitchen.


One of the perks of living here is the well kept community.  Trees and shrubs and flowers decorate every street.  And because it is cared for by a homeowners association, it is always beautiful!  Every sidewalk here is edged,
 something a visual person like myself  can appreciate!

Nearly everyday, 
Josie and I make our way down this street to one of her favorite parks.





It is very quiet and peaceful here, but as you can see, just beyond the park is the beginning of city chaos.








This picture was taken on the street corner closest to our apartment.  In the background you can see what remains of the original King Farm.
The barn, silos and farm house remain.  
They are part of  Rockville Parks.





It is a bit of walk to get to the farm. 
 But just beyond the farm, is Josie's favorite place.....

Oh yeah, it's the 
Dog Park!
It's a place where she can run and play and smell.



  Meanwhile, back at the farm...


The farm itself  has been transformed into a community garden.  I have to admit that I was very impressed with the variety of veggies grown here....
by city folk!  


 

During the summer months,
 I was beginning to feel very spoiled.
With 2 pools 
and no real responsibilities
I just lounged around by pool in the afternoons. 

I have to admit though,
it was a wee bit boring by the end of the summer.


Behind the planters is a hot tub!

During these winter months I have been able to utilize the indoor pool.
No lounging here.  
I take advantage of the pool by doing some real lap swimming and 
some pool exercises. 
I have to keep my water aerobic skills honed!  


Located at the center of King Farm is a shopping complex.  
There you can find a variety of shops, banks, and businesses.  
There is also a Safeway store I can walk to if necessary.  
Many of the store fronts are empty though. 
 I suppose a casualty of the high cost of doing business in this area.  

 Well folks, this is the end of our tour...
I hope you enjoyed seeing how the 
other half lives.

Even though living here is not exactly our
cup of tea...



It has surely been an interesting experience!
And, it's been a bit of a honeymoon for me and hubs (and Josie)!

I'm thinking that one day, 
we may look back at our time in Rockville,  fondly...
Maybe someday......

In the meantime, my thoughts are never far from that place that we call home...







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