Monday, June 29, 2009

Grape Harvest

When we moved to our home seven years ago, one of the requests I made was that I wanted my backyard as "lush" as an oasis in the hot desert. We got busy planning how we wanted the yard to look...Having a grape vine meant a lot to both my husband and myself. I can remember as a young girl, spending "hours" under the vine making my famous "mud pies"...."Only use the grapes on the ground" my dad would tell me. My husbands paternal side immigranted from Italy so you can figure how important "grapes" would be for him....
The first few years after planting, we got mostly foliage. There were a few grapes but the birds always beat us to them. Each year there after we got more and more fruit.
Now in the present...the economy is in havoc and many are returning to simplier ways. More and more are putting in gardens or doing container gardening. I've always known that the Lord would take care of us and He's proven his promise this year.
We noticed early that a lot of grapes had formed. We watched everyday, determined that the "birdies" wouldn't get them this year. We were prepared to take desperate measures if need be.... A week ago, we harvested a large mixing bowl full of the "fruit of the vine"... then this past weekend, we hit "pay dirt"... We got up early, to beat the heat, and harvested about 25 pounds of grapes!!! it's time to do more canning...Isn't it wonderful how we are blessed each day by the promises of God?

*Pictures are a sampling of our harvest... isn't it spectacular???

Friday, June 26, 2009

In Memory of Michael Jackson

This has been a "hard hitting" week in the entertainment world..First the passing of Ed McMahon, then Farrah Fawcett and finally Michael Jackson.
I can remember where I first heard "The Jackson Five". It was in 1969, I had came home from class in Stillwater and I heard them sing "ABC". I remember thinking, "boy, they're good". Little did I know that was to be the beginning of a 40 year career, ending so tragically. Michael had gone through so much...highs and lows...and he was working on a "comeback" to begin in London in about a month.
This just goes to show you that in EVERYTHING... God is in control. May he rest in peace...he will always be remembered.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Little Chef" Vintage Oven

All of us girls can remember playing "house" and making delicious meals with our imaginations and our toy stoves. I didn't have one, but always wanted one. My speciality was "mud pies" made under the grapevine, using the warmth of the sun as my "oven" and adding grapes as an ingredient. of my favorite blogs that I love to visit is "Sugar Pie Farmhouse". Aunt Ruthie has the most wonderful spirit and it's obvious that she loves the Lord. She also has the most darling home, which she spends so much time and love into making it a special place for her family. One of her accents in her kitchen is a little oven...I noticed it the very first time I saw it. I've been in pursuit of one ever since. I finally found one and it's on it's way to my home... I can't wait.

Right now, I've got my eye on some utensils that go with this little oven. I hope I am able to get those too.

I decided to try to find some history of this "find" and came across a Little Golden Book that was not written to go with the oven but has little recipes that can go with the oven. If I can find one of these, I'm hooking it too.

I know this all sounds silly but it's fun to re-live some of our past childhood memories. Those are days that are long past and sometimes can't be recaptured.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Our Secret Garden

One of the conditions on moving was that I wanted a green "lush" garden....something to remind me of home. We've been working on creating just that.

We tried many different plants and shrubs and found that roses grow well here in the heat. We have many different roses, some going down the side of our home...most are in the backyard garden.

All gardens need a "garden gate". Upon entering our garden, we have a beautiful mandavilla vine called "Stars and Stripes". Hopefully within time, it will grow and cross over the arch above the gate.

As you look past the patio area, you'll see a gravel path leading to our solitude bench under the grapevine. Nearby, we have an old Franklin wood burning stove with a wine barrel sitting on top. The reason for that is we have a "puppy" that likes to get on top of the stove and peek over the wall into the neighbors yard....Hunter is a real character.

Moving a little to the East is another view of our solitude bench, nestled in the grapes. Nearby, on the wall, is a collection of whimsical birdhouses. Some birds use them, most just stop to look.

Even though our yard is not very big, we've tried to make it as "lush" as possible. One of the things we did was to use a Chaste bush and trained it to be a tree. Every Summer, we get the most beautiful purple sprigs of flower for a couple of weeks and then it provides much needed shade.

One thing for sure is that the heat will zap all the moisture out of everything. On a trip to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, we picked up two rockers made by the Amish. Every summer they have to be repainted or they become "kindling" waiting to happen. This season, we've painted one, Cherry Red, and are waiting for a calm day to paint the other Forest Green. We love to have splashes of color throughout the garden.

As you can see, our garden is a "work in progress".... we still have another patio to build (as you can tell by the pallets of stone). Hunter has worn patches in the grass that need to be replaced...all of this takes time and "elbow grease". Yes, I would love to be home in Oklahoma but for now, this is our "getaway" from the hustle and bustle of a hot, fast city. ... More to come.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Soda Pop Box

On a recent visit to our local grocery store, we discovered a rustic looking soda pop box. We both examined it and without saying a word, we both thought, "we can make that and make it even better." The price tag on the box was $129. WHEW... that's a lot of money for a poorly made box.

Well.... we talked about it on our way home and knew we already had some of the materials that we would want included in ours. Wayne has an excellent eye for spotting things along the highway and had previously found a bundle of styrofoam (normally used for insulating ). Our son, whose in the sheet metal union, had given us two 3'x4' sheets of galvanized sheet metal. We had some scrap lumber to build the internal frame....all we needed was the Redwood lumber for the outside finished product plus a hinge and something to use as handles.

We jumped on starting the project quickly...first visiting the local Lowe's to get the Redwood lumber and other hardware. This project actually took 3 weekends because, after all, he does have to work. He started by building the very bottom, making it 4 inches thick, this included the insulation and tin. He next build the frame, which included the legs. He then added the Redwood sides and completed the bottom portion by adding more insulation to all four sides. He then covered the inside with tin and used silicone caulk to seal the seams. The last major portion of building was the lid, which included a 1 inch thick plug that would seal the top.

When it came to adding the handles, we quickly decided we had bought the wrong style. We ended up going to the local feed store and purchased some horseshoes for the end and top handles. Of course, we had to have one "pony" shoe for decorating the front. We added a few rustic metal stars and all we're lacking at this point is an authentic "Coca Cola" wall mount bottle opener, which we are looking for.

We have a store here that sells vintage soda pops...Bubble Up, Nesbit Orange and Grape, Sasparilla, Old fashioned Root Beer and Cream Soda. ALL of these are made with cane sugar and have the "old fashioned taste" that so many of us grew up with. Even our glass bottled Coca Colas are made with the cane sugar...

Oh by the way... the total amount of money we spent on this was around $40 and we are sooooooooooo proud of the way it turned out.... Bring on the 4th of July...we're ready.