Prince Snow Farm

12.31.2013

{Part III} 2013 in Review

The garden came late this year….school was back in,(we ended late and started early)….the tomatoes had a blush in early September….an odd season for this gardener! Stormy was doing ok, but it was hard to leave her after coddling and tending and snuggling….


As much as I adore teaching, returning to school this year left me conflicted. It was the start of my 22nd year, but my heart was calling me elsewhere….to the garden…to the camera strung around my neck….to the notebook filled with essays and articles...


Everything happened at once….several blogs featuring my essays and photos, my first magazine feature….yet time was now coveted….every second spoken for….


….I would grab the camera after school, throw on my boots, and head to the garden….literally for 20 minutes….then back to the house to tidy up, start dinner, and check in with the kids….


A jolly game of pass with a football left my husband feeling less than well, only to be followed by weeks of stress, and finally the diagnosis of heart blockages, followed by procedures, and pain, and discomfort, and a husband that is still not feeling himself….

….and then suddenly the leaves were changing, and my favorite flip flops weren't at the door anymore….a symbol not only of warmer temps, but of a freedom I felt was lost as the temps dropped….


And so I succumbed to the seasons and what I had no control over, and enjoyed my garden even as the blossoms began to fade…..



I drank in the zinnias colors and textures so wholly….their petals played a symphony upon my heart as I photographed their last days….



The hibiscus….generally short-lived was showy for weeks….birthed from an overabundance of snow last winter….


The gourds and pumpkins did well….the squash faltered…and failed….


The garden reached its peak, delivering mason jars spilled over with color in late October….


….and in the midst of the whirl of diagnoses and vegetables, and goblins and gouls….I continued my attempts at yummy tasting gluten -free baked goods….


My Muck boots protected me from deer ticks and the damp grass and mud of autumn...


and a barren apple tree produced its first fruit in 2 years….food for the deer…..much
 better than my hostas!


And just when I thought the last season was the one closest to my heart….


…autumn's sedum….


strawberry popcorn….


….and endless counters full of tomatoes brought a new joy to me. 



I chased the sunset at the lighthouse...


…and wrapped the corn husks to the porch….


I played….


and played….


….and played.


And now it is winter, and we are about to have a snowstorm!


I won't post photos from the last few weeks….you have seen them….


….instead, I will end my review of 2013 with a gentle blending of flora and fauna…
what may appear as flowers and feathers in a blue jar, delights my senses, brings a crooked smile to my lips, and gives me hope for the future.

Stay tuned on New Year's Day for a special post!

Enjoy your New Year's Eve safely, wherever you may be.

12.30.2013

{Part II} 2013 Year in Review

After a winter (and spring) blanketed in snow, the calendar for June faded quickly and with a bit of chaos. The garden was well under way, although thwarted by an overly rainy spring and a replanting of many directly seeded crops.  This proved to be a bit of a challenge, as we were still teaching until the last days of June….leaving the garden to tend itself more than usual at this time of year.





Stormy was also diagnosed with inflammatory brain disease at this time. Our poor pup (not even 2 at the time), had gone from being playful to sedentary. She required special vets and tests and medication. This was a trying time for all of us. We love this pup from the deepest part of our hearts. 


We were so blessed she came home with us. She required a lot of care, and a family close by to love her and tend her needs.


And she had it. I just know she understands the love this family gives her. Our kids were so amazing when we needed them most….and especially understanding when we didn't take a summer trip this year…we stayed close…tended the garden….went to swimming lessons….


Our lavender proved to be short-lived and had sustained quite a bit of damage in the blizzard and frigid temps. We lost 12-15 first year plants. Our grand old plants looked somewhat pathetic, but produced a bit for stripping, and finished their show much faster than usual.


We harvested the garlic scapes for pesto, (amazing)….but were left with rather small and unimpressive heads….


The ferns were glorious…most just wild ferns…..all showy and lush and green….


The snowy winter and rainy spring produced a unique and wonderful shade of green that this gardener wishes she could capture on a paint palette and use sparingly through the dark months of winter….


Summer was most certainly brightened by our 10 and 14 year olds and their zest for life….


…and by the birds. This catbird was a constant companion, meeting me outside the sunporch and heading down to the garden with me daily. I often wonder where he is. Is he safe? fed? Will he come back?



I used my home time to organize the house….and to "play" with flowers.


Lavender in my father-in-laws childhood cowboy boots. Fabulous.


Swimming lessons at the town beach a couple of miles away proved a perfect getaway for a 10 year old. If you haven't been swimming in the ocean, add it to your bucket list. Nothing beats the feeling of sand, steel blue waves, open sky and a horizon filled with activity.


I had time to create a bit as C swam to the raft and jumped with such amazing joy, over and over….



…and then, home to the garden we came….


…where flora and fauna beckoned to us….



….surrounding us with amazing color, texture, and scent….



….it filled our senses….


…allowing for a welcomed reprieve from teaching….


….allowing me to truly think about where my heart is, and what I would like my future to hold.




This short-lived summer offered me guidance and inspiration…..


It offered me time.


It left me with my eyes wide open.


Stay tuned for Part III



12.28.2013

Perfect for an Autumn Gathering, a Christmas Party, or New Year's Eve!






I just adore making cranberry sangria for an autumn farm dinner, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas Eve, or New Year's Eve.
It is perfect
served alongside a
 roast or ham
or roasted chicken.
(please forgive my photo quality, as I was photographing at night)

 

Quart Jars washed and air dried.


Our choices of brandy and wine


Straining the sugary cranberries to make the syrup




The leftover cranberries….my husband's favorite part!


I made 2 doubled batches (one doubled batch at a time), and filled 8 1-quart jars as full as you see above….leaving room allows for the garnish….





I have garnished with oranges before, but honestly, I think just cranberries looks better...



I attach a recipe on card stock….mostly for effect….and tie it up with a bit of twine or burlap ribbon…

Tips:

*Heat your ingredients in a large pan, and use that same pan to mix the batch. 

*Pour from the pan to a large glass measuring cup. This makes for drip free pouring into the canning jars….

*Allow to cool before covering….

originally found in Coastal Living

Cranberry Sangria

A fruit-forward red wine, such as a Beaujolais or Zinfandel, works well for wine cocktails like this one.
Coastal Living NOVEMBER 2011
  • Yield: Makes 6 cups
  • Cook time:10 Minutes
  • Prep time:10 Minutes
  • Chill:2 Hours
  • Total:2 Hours, 20 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle fruity red wine
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • Garnishes: fresh cranberries; orange, lemon, and lime slices

Preparation

1. Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes or until cranberries pop. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, using the back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Discard solids.
2. Transfer cranberry mixture to a large pitcher. Stir in wine, brandy, and orange juice. Chill 2 hours. Serve over ice; garnish with cranberries and fruit slices, if desired.
To serve as a warm mulled cocktail, transfer mixture to a Dutch oven and heat just until it begins to boil. Garnish, if desired.
ENJOY!!




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