Blackberry Cobbler – Backyard Surprise!

We bought our house in November of 2016, so this is the first summer we are experiencing in our new home and it’s amazing! I’m amazed at how much land we get to explore and the surprises we’re finding along the way. Despite the multitude of hours we have put into the making of our home, we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

One of my favorite things about our property are the HUGE blackberry bushes right behind our tiny, old shed. I’ve spent the last 2 weeks walking out every morning and evening watching them grow. This week our blackberries are edible!! Jack and I take morning walks to the bushes and he eats the delicious bursts of gold I pick with great enthusiasm.

Since I am a foodie and I really like summer cobblers, I decided that these blackberries would make as many cobblers as possible. Here is the delicious bourbon cobbler we’ve topped our vanilla ice cream with for the last week…

 

Filling:

1/4 cup of Brown Sugar

2 cups fresh blackberries

2 tbsp of Lemon Juice

3 tbsp of bourbon – I used “Big Ass” Bourbon

Crust:

1/2 cup of butter (one stick)

1 1/4 cup Flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp baking powder

pinch of salt

cinnamon (no more than 2 tsp)

Directions: 

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Add filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside for 15-30 minutes to marinate with bourbon.

In a medium mixing bowl mix brown sugar and soft butter using hands (wash your hands!). Slowly add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon to the mixture and mix with clean hands.

Grease a 9×9 glass dish (or similar size) and pour in the blackberry filling. Crumble the crust with your hands over the blackberries and pop in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is a crisp and golden brown.

Allow cobbler to cool for 10 minutes before serving over or under vanilla ice cream! Store in the fridge if leftovers accidentally happen.

Enjoy!

Slow progress is better than no progress!

The last few weeks have been filled with small house projects (to be announced soon) and a timeline on the building of our barn – which was not dependent on us. Triumphantly – we finally have a structure that greatly resembles a beautiful barn and will soon begin the last fixes needed to have a functioning greenhouse! Yay!


We would love to be moving faster than we are, but these things take time. We’re SO ready to begin planting. I will have more updates soon!

What was the longest part of your process when getting ready to have a functioning greenhouse?

 

 

Small Farm [Slow] Progress

Oregon: Desert to Ocean

Who knew Oregon was 1/2 desert and 1/2 lush mountainous land?! We recently traveled to the west coast for my brother-in-law’s wedding and decided to make a week long trip out of it. Here are a few of my favorite things we did and photos!

P.S. This was probably less than 10% of Oregon. There were so many other places we wanted to go but didn’t get the time.

Bend, Oregon

The main purpose of our trip was to witness the marriage of my beautiful (now) sister-in-law and brother-in-law. A lot of the places we visited were based on their wedding events, which was completely fine with us because we were introduced to amazing sights.

  1. Smith Rock

The wedding place and a spectacular place to hike, bike, and sight see. I didn’t climb the Rock because a steep hike for a pregnant woman isn’t advised. Tim climbed and said it was one of the best climbs he’s ever done!

https://www.smithrock.com/


2.  Main Town – shopping

Check out all of the adorable shops on the main drag. It’s pricy in Bend, so budget well for shopping.

3. McMenamins Old St. Francis School

If you’re looking for great food and endless hings to do, McMenamin’s is a place you’ll want to visit. Every McMenamin’s in the state of Oregon is a restore piece of history. In Bend, it’s the old St. Francis private school and has been refurbished very tastefully. We didn’t get a chance to visit the Greek Pool, but I can assure you, the next time we visit Bend it will be at the top of our list.

https://www.mcmenamins.com/old-st-francis-school

4. Pilot Butte

Or, as my husband would like to say, “Pilot Butt”… You can drive to the top or hike to the top of this extinct volcano. On a clear day you’ll see the most spectacular mountain views. It won’t take a long time if you drive, but it’s worth it for the view.

http://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=parkPage.dsp_parkPage&parkId=33


5. Deschutes River – Parks

Deschutes River cuts right through the center of Bend. The river has a spectacular flow coming from the melting snow caps in the summer, and is the main source of water for the surrounding areas. Crisp, cold water. It’s fantastic. Try some sun crisping, visiting any one of the many parks along the river, or some local and affordable water activities.

Seaside, Oregon

After visiting with family and wedding festivities in Bend, we traveled to Seaside to try and catch a sunset on the west coast. This has been a long time bucket list item of mine. Surprisingly – We caught an amazing sunset and I’ve got another checkmark on my bucket list (flying first class, travel by train cross country, and hopping on the next flight out, remain on the list – for now.).



I won’t go into specifics of Seaside, their season doesn’t technically start until mid-June so it was a quiet town while we were there. The Seaside Aquarium, shopping, and restaurants are great places to spend some time. My favorite part of the two days was going to the community sports area where they had an indoor, heated pool. During their open swim time, the large pool accommodated the older kids with a slide, rope, and the freedom to jump in as much as they wanted. The smaller and pleasantly warmer pool, accommodated parents with 4 feet deep water and a calm environment for smaller children.

Jack’s first pool experience was a success and we haven’t been able to keep him out of a pool since. 

Portland, Oregon

Finally, we ended up in Portland again. We arrived early enough to see the Portland Zoo. A great place to take the kids. Our favorite part of Portland were the food trucks! Visit 9th and Washington. There you’ll find over 15 different food trucks lined up for the lunch rush.

The city is one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen (with the exception of Horgen, Switzerland) and is known for it’s amazing restaurants. I’m fairly certain anywhere you go in Portland will be wonderful.


Now – Back to every day life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seed Ordering

So, we are a little behind on our order of seeds, but they are on their way! We placed our order of seeds from Johnny’s Seeds with their 20% deal. Lots of herbs, veggies, and flowers are coming our way!

Here is what we bought:

HERBS

Genovese Compact Basil Seeds 

…because, I’ll be making A LOT of pesto.

Link here

 

Staro Chive Seed

Link here

Common Mint Seed

One word… MOJITO (for when I’m not pregnant)

Link here

Summer Organic Thyme Seed

Link here

German Winter Thyme Seed

Link here

Giant of Italy Parsley Seed

Link here

Rosemary Seed

Link here

FLOWERS

Sun Ball Organic Craspedia Seed

I will be using the flowers to dry and making wreaths to sell. Dried flowers can hold their color and last for a long time. It’s a great way to hold the beauty of summer all year long.

Link here

Carmine Gomphrena Seed

Link here

Johnny’s Sublime Formula Mix Larkspur Seed

Link here

Apricot/Peach Mix Strawflower Seed

Link here

 

Veggies and Fruit

 

Diablo (F1) Brussels Sprout Seed

Link here

Juliet (F1) Tomato Seed

Link here

Supersweet 100 (F1) Tomato Seed

Link here

Emperor (F1) Spinach Seed

Link here

Penelope Pea Seed

Link here

Sugarsnax 54 Pelleted (F1) Carrot Seed

Link here

Athena (F1) Melon Seed, Arugula Micro Green Seed

Link here

 

Seeds were ordered on Thursday last week and just arrived today, Monday!

 

 

 

Family Progress.. Big News!

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage… right? In our case that is exactly what happened, two fold! Yup! Baby #2 will be arriving around October 2nd, 2017!!

In January, Tim and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. We felt complete. We have Jack, our new land, and each other, what else could our little family need? Everything was coming together so beautifully. On our anniversary date night, I expressed to Tim how much I wanted to wait to have another baby. My last pregnancy was more than rough, it was brutal. With multiple visits to the ER and feeling traumatized by giving birth, I didn’t feel ready to welcome a new little one into our family. Three (3) years was the perfect waiting period for another baby.

On the morning of our anniversary (January 24th), I realized I was a day late. With natural family planning you begin to know your body better than you ever thought you could. I had noticed I felt different in the days before. Thinking I had control over everything in my life, I thought it was impossible. But, I took a pregnancy test just to make sure I could safely drink the glass of wine at our homemade anniversary dinner that night. Tim was planing with Jack in the family room, I took the test, and while I was doing my makeup I looked down at the test expecting a negative only to see “PREGNANT” in all caps.

Shock.

It has taken me a few weeks to realize how much of a blessing this new baby is. My “plan” didn’t include a baby. God’s plan did. Fast forward 9 weeks (13 weeks pregnant currently), the completion we felt as a family in January has magnified. We are so in love with this new baby and all that he/she signifies! Sure, things happened a little fast, but that’s the point of NFP. We want to be open to God’s will. He knows better than us.

I feel lucky to have a beautiful little boy, a caring husband, and a rapidly growing family. I dream of working on our little farm together and teaching our littles the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Our lives continue to be busy with work, surgeries for me (wisdom teeth removal), and getting the greenhouse ready. Here’s to hard work and a life filled with love! [Cheers with my imaginary and greatly missed glass of blush wine]


 

Blooming Holland in Philadelphia


On Saturday we took the day to return to the city where we first met, Philadelphia. For the first time ever we attended Philadelphia’s Flower Show 2017. There was so much to explore we couldn’t possibly see it all! The crowds alone made walking around feel like you were in permanent human traffic. The smells, colors, and beauty of blooming flowers was just the event we needed on a cold winter day!

The theme this year was Holland. Being the WWII history buff that I am and part Dutch I loved the theme. There were so many bikes, cows, shoes, and native flowers to Holland. Besides the amazing colors and smells there was a great space for local businesses to buy a space and sell their goods. My favorite shop was the dried flower shop (dried flowers are so under rated). I’ll be making a wreath and center piece soon.

I don’t know if we’ll return next year. The massive amount of people and indoor setting made it all seem superficial. If you decide to go, keep the stroller (and maybe the kids) at home. My advice, If you want to see real flower beauty in the Philadelphia area, try visiting `Longwood Gardens this spring and summer. Their winter indoor green house will make you swoon with envy.

These were made from wood!

 

The Perfect Coffee Bar

I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but my husband is. When we recently moved I knew I wanted to surprise Tim with his own space in the kitchen.This space would be somewhere he could go every morning to the feel joy and relaxation of the day before beginning a long commute to work; thus was born ‘The Coffee Bar’.

What is a coffee bar? A coffee bar is a place where you can have every thing you need to make a great cup of Joe in the morning. “Just add water” mentality went into the design. Coffee bars are great functional filler for dead space. We had a little nook by our backdoor that needed some life. With some mugs, a coffee maker (must have), canisters for essentials (sugar, tea bags, etc.), and some cute pieces of art my nook was a coffee bar!

Coffee bar’s don’t need to be just about coffee. I store my teas in some of the canisters and often use our Verismo for hot water. For the kids, you can try adding some clear containers with marshmallows and hot cocoa mix.

 

 

Materials Used:


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