Archive for the ‘My Homeplace’ Category

Get ready for gardening season


2014
03.19
potato bloom

These potato flowers are such delicate little lavender flowers. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Gardeners Get In Shape

Getting in shape for the rigors of the upcoming garden season will prevent muscle strain and other injuries. I am neither a physical therapist nor a fitness trainer, but this works for me:

Start now so you can begin your fitness program slowly. Three days a week will yield results.

potato plants Strengthening arm and shoulder muscles: begin by standing outside on a level surface, and with a 5-lb. potato sack in each hand… extend your arms straight out to your sides and hold them there as long as you can.

After a few weeks, move up to 10-lb. potato sacks and then 50-lb. potato sacks, and finally get to where you can lift a 100 lb. potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute.

Next…start putting a few potatoes in the sacks, but be careful not to overdo.

dig potatoes

Dumping the soil out of the potato planter and discovering the potatoes is a lot easier than digging. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

The golden lawn


2013
11.07
A lawn of gold.

A lawn of gold.

 

 

When I woke up to this view this morning, I was delighted. My front yard is golden and bright on this  grey drizzly day. The yellow leaves seemed even brighter this rainy day.

All the leaves were on the tree last week when we left home. The lush green lawn was  loving the cooler weather. We came home last night in the darkness of the time change. So, my first view of the front yard was this rainy morning.

I love leaves and when the weather gets drier, they will be moved to a huge pile of chopped leaves by the vegetable garden.   The raised beds in front of the house will eventually get a layer of  the chopped leaf mulch in a few weeks.

But first, there are a couple hundred Darwin tulips to be planted in front of the porch. These raised beds get the benefit of the morning sun and the blessing of afternoon shade. There are hundreds of daffodils already in these beds.

The daffodils thrive here and, because there are so many varieties, we will have weeks of early blooms. Some are fragrant and some have multiple flowers.

stone furniture

Stone furniture, center left, is already for a spring tea party.

So, in the next few weeks, there is still plenty to do. Planting tulips and raking leaves are the perfect way to close down the gardening season.

Oh, yes, in the vegetable garden, there is still more garlic to plant. Every bed will get leaves dug into the soil and a layer of chopped leaves to cover the whole bed. The spring soil will be ready for planting a few weeks earlier than usual thanks to the investment in time this fall.

In a couple of days, I’ll wake to a brilliant sunny day. There will be a pot os slow simmering stew or chili either on the stove or in the crock pot. We will spend the day(s) raking leaves and getting ready for winter. When we are weary from a good days work outdoors, it will be time to come inside. We will step inside to a warm, fragrant kitchen and a simmering pot of vegetable soup.

 

 

 

Next Spring will include theses daffodils.

Daffodils are already planted. They are great naturalizers and ready multiply.

Daffodils are already planted. They are great naturalizers and ready multiply.

 

 

 

Colorful Darwin tulips are big and sturdy.

Colorful Darwin tulips are big and sturdy. This is the 2013 display.  A few of these tulips may come back for a second year. We still need to plant the 200 bulbs for 2014.

It’s Peach (Bellini) Season!


2013
07.23

Choose sweet, ripe peaches and crisp, dry champagne

Bellini is this summer's patio drink at the historic Hobson Estate.

Bellini is this summer’s patio drink at the historic Hobson Estate. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

In Italy, the Bellini is made with Prosecco, the Italian sparkling wine. Elsewhere, Bellini is a champagne cocktail.

A Bellini requires only two ingredients: champagne (or prosecco) and peaches. Created in the 1930s or 1940s by bartender Giuseppe Cipriani at Harry’s Bar in Venice, Italy. He named the drink for his favorite painter, Giovanni Bellini.

Bellinis are 1 part peach puree and 3 parts prosecco.

Directions – Peel, chop, fruit and discard the pit. Puree the freshest, ripest chopped peaches. Start with two small or one large peach. Puree then sweeten to taste with stevia or sugar. I use a homemade peach butter. (made like apple butter or applesauce only with peaches.)

Pour enough peach puree into glass to fill ¼ of the champagne flute. Slowly add champagne. Stir gently. Garnish with a peach slice or mint leaves. Makes two cocktails. Enjoy!

Champagne Cocktails

Sweet peaches and dry champagne. The Bellini is a celebration of summer's best. Photo by PBH.

Sweet peaches and dry champagne. The Bellini is a celebration of summer’s best. Photo by PBH.

When we stopped at Les Bourgeois Vineyards on a sunny, summer afternoon, a glass of bubbly seemed in order.  We had Brut, a cheese plate, and enjoyed the bluff top view of the Missouri River.  We ended up buying several bottles, and bringing home the key bellini ingredient, Les Bourgeois Brut.

I’ll use the Brut from Les Bourgeois Vineyards for Bellinis. At last, I found an affordable version of Missouri-made champagne.

Here is what Les Bourgeois has to say about Brut: “Using primarily Vidal grapes gives the methode traditionale sparkling wine a refreshing aroma with a crisp effervescence and dry finish.” All I know is that it is the best made-in-Missouri version of champagne I’ve ever tasted.

Go to: Les Bourgeois Vineyards – 14020 W. Highway BB – Rocheport, MO 65279 – 1.800.690.1830

More cocktails

Create your own signature cocktails by combining any of summers best berries or stone fruit. Just use the same proportion of fruit to  prosecco. Try strawberries, blueberries, nectarines or plums. Some fruits are sweeter than others, so sweeten fruit purees to taste.

More about peaches

and the recipe for home made  Peach champagne jam

A beautiful cheese plate adds to the celebratory nature of champagne.

A beautiful cheese plate adds to the celebratory nature of champagne at Les Bourgeois Vineyards. Photo by PBH.

It’s Peach Season!


2013
07.13

A fresh, juicy taste of summer

Peach season is short and sweet - possibly stretching to six weeks. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Peach season is short and sweet – possibly stretching to six weeks. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

This is my favorite Peach Jam Recipe. It turned out great last year, so I’m making it again this year. I made little jars of jam and shared it with neighbor Patti. She loved it and returned the two empty jars within a couple of weeks.

Peach champagne jam

4 cups peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 T. Ball flex batch powdered pectin
2 T. bottled lemon juice
1 cup champagne*

This year, I'm making two batches. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

This year, I’m making two batches. Photo: Patsy Bell Hobson

Prepare four half pint jars by sterilizing.
Add sliced peaches to stainless steel or enamel cast iron pot. Cook on low stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender or potato masher crush the peaches till the recipe is smooth. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Bring the temperature to medium, stirring constantly to bring the mixture slowly to a boil. Note: The jam with splatter like a volcano erupting so where an apron.

Once at a boil add champagne and stir for about one minute then add the pectin. Bring mixture back to a boil which will happen quickly and keep at a boil for one minute continuing to stir. Remove from heat.

Immediately ladle peach jam into jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims and add hot lids/rings and process in water bath for 10 minutes at a full rolling boil.

Try this champagne cocktail recipe: Bellinis using sweet, fresh and local peaches.

BTW, I’ve tried several canning recipes from this site. Each one turned out perfectly and was loved by all. Canning Homemade! Sustainable Living and Preserving the Future!

* I used Brut from Les Bourgeois Vineyards  – 14020 W. Highway BB – Rocheport, MO 65279 – 1.800.690.1830 It’s the best Missouri version of champagne that I have tasted.

Don’t buy laundry soap for two years


2013
07.11

This is not my idea, but I’ve been using this one batch for a year. What I learned: make this in good weather, outside, on a windless day.

I got this recipe from
Home is where the Library is · A stay-at-home mom and archivist tackles life

Recipe for

Homemade Laundry Detergent

All the ingredients to make a years worth of laundry. (or two) Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

All the ingredients to make a years worth of laundry. (or two) Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

1 box super washing soda
1 box borax
2 bars of Felsnapath (grated finely)
1 tub Oxygenated Bleach (Oxi Clean)
1 large container Purex Crystals, aroma of choice

Method: Grate the Felsnapath soap using a food processor. Add in a scoop of oxi-lean or borax and pulse until it resembles fine crumbs (the addition of powder helps the soap from clumping). Combine the ingredients 1 cup at a time, mix together, then repeat until all components are used.

If only I had read this little detail. I used a box grater on the bar soap not the food processor. Go with the food processor.

 

There are other recipes on Pinterest and blogs. They call for 1 cup of this and a cup and a half of that. I only bought all this stuff to make laundry soap. The recipe that calls for a whole box of this and a whole bar of that is a better idea.

Before you start, decide what kind of container you will use for this huge amount of laundry detergent. I used a popcorn can. Then we scoop some of the laundry detergent back into the oxi-clean container to use near the wash machine.

Use only a half a scoop. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

Use only a half a scoop. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

Plus, there is a measuring scoop in the Oxi-Clean, which is handy. The big can will be stored in the closet. Only the small Oxi-Clean (home-made laundry detergent) container is exposed to the air and humidity. Good thing because this batch of laundry soap will last us for a couple of years.

 

Daffodil Days


2013
04.23

It seems like the welcoming daffodils of spring came early and stayed late this year. I have at least six varieties of daffodils that I photographed. But I missed a few of the earliest blooms.

Some are known for early bloom and others known as late season bloomers. Several are fragrant. Daffodils have a very mild, gentle sent.

Daffodils stroll

Daffodils in the front yards, circle garden, iris bed outside circle garden

↓Thalia Nodding pure white flowers, usually 2 per stem, with narrow petals and a delicate cup. Thalia is excellent for massing at the edge of woods or in a shrub border.

Thalia

There are usually two blooms per stem. So I think I’m getting more of a show per bulb. Photo PBH

Thalia is nearly 100 years old. It has proved to be an excellent perennializer. The bright white flowers are tough to photograph. Those brillant double blooms always seem to be overexposed. It combines very nicely with with other dafs.

Daffodils are naturalizing. Naturalization also means Take Over The World. But that is OK, it's a short bloom time.

Daffodils are naturalizing. Naturalization also means Take Over The World. But that is OK, it’s a short bloom time.

The above flowers are the standard issue big yellow daffodil. Probably Dutch Master of Marieke. There wer lots of them here when moved in and I’ve purchased  quiet a few. Because you can never have too many daffodils.

↑Dutch Master Dutch Master is the most widely grown of the yellow trumpets. Like King Alfred before it, it has become the standard early yellow daffodil. In fact, many suppliers still list King Alfred, but they almost always ship Dutch Master.

Marieke Here is a golden yellow daffodil that is sure to replace many older varieties. Its large flowers are beautifully proportioned, graceful despite their size, nicely scented and very long lasting. The name is pronounced mar-EE-keh.

daf ice follies

↑Ice Follies Very large, silvery white flowers with a wide lemon-yellow cup that turns white as the flowers mature. Ice Follies is one of the strongest-growiing daffodils ever and  great for naturalizing, North and South.

Butter and Eggs Daffodil

Butter and Eggs Daffodil Photo PBH

Butter and Eggs Authentic Southern heirloom – hardy north to zone 5 – that’s been a folk favorite and passalong plant for centuries. Its yellow petals are interspersed with shorter ones of gold to almost orange, and even snooty William Robinson in The English Flower Garden praised it, as “handsome and abundant.”

Daf last

The last daffodil blooms of the season are Actaea. Photo: PBH

Actaea Sweetly scented, snow-white flowers with scalloped petals and a small flat eye of yellow, edged bright red. Actaea is one of the last daffodils to flower and one of the best for naturalizing. It has brightened spring landscapes for almost a century. As the daffodil show slowsdown, the tulips, wild tulips, grape hyacinth and a number of early spring bulbs take center stage.

I didn’t plant as many tulips as usual because the dafs a quickly naturalizing those garden spaces. But the Iris are just starting to bloom. The first ones up, are the old fashioned purple iris.

Oh, yes, the Lilac are just beginning to bloom. As you can see, my favorite flower is what ever is blooming and my favorite season is what ever is next.

Winter comes to Cape


2012
12.31

WinterBluSpruceThe first day after a snow is the most beautiful, isn’t it?  This snowy blue spruce has been moved so many times. It was only about 18″ tall when it was planted the first time. Now in it’s permanent home, the tree is about 5′ tall.

I've had this a little over a year. I got it out for morning coffee and a few minutes of prayer for our country and all out leaders. Do you think they can put the well fare of out country ahead of politcs?

I’ve had this a little over a year. I got it out for morning coffee and a few minutes of prayer for our country and all out leaders. Do you think they can put the well fare of out country ahead of politcs?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I forgot to pull the leeks out  of the garden before this first big snow.  Hope theywill survive under their snow blanket. I am looing forward to potato-   leek soup.  I’m stll working on a  multi allium soup recipe. Something like a 3 onion soup. However,  my recipe will still be topped with a crouton and cheese. Those French can cook! don’t cha think?

 

wintergardenThe garden is pretty with the first snow, but I feel that it wants to be blooming again. I’m still tossing around plant ideas for those chimney tiles. Any thoughts?

I love the week between Christmas and New Years. Seems like there is always time for a walk with your sweety, the occasional nap, and that little happy moment when the eggnog is finally all gone!

Well , call me or send me your phone # to  hobsondotpatsybellatgmaildotcom I lost everyons phone, so call me.

Streets and sidewalks are clear. We have plenty of coffee and tea, so come on down. There’s always a fireplace on somewhere.

 

 

 

 

Been There


2012
11.01

Despite days of back breaking sand bagging, I’ve seen the devastation of flood waters rising to the ceilings of homes.

I’ve seen the neighbor’s house literally blown away by a tornado that left my home standing.

Pay it forward.

You will never forget that desperate and exhausted voice saying “I can’t find my grandson,” or “I’ve lost everything.” It will haunt you.

How disorienting it is when every street sign in the city is missing. Or, when there is no phone, no electricity, no way to get help.

So, before we dismantle big government FEMA, and before dismantal Obama Care, think about what you would do if there was no one to pull you out of the rubble and rush you to the hospital.

What if suddenly you don’t even have a pair of underwear, or a toothbrush or any form of I.D?

You can’t find your pets, you can’t call your kids to tell them you are alive, you can’t afford to replace the car, even if there was a road to where  you used to live.

 

 

Todays Harvest Basket


2012
08.17

August 17, 2012

Riesentraube tomato there are about 90 of these little 1 ounce tomatoes, all from the same plant. Riesentraube means “bunch of grapes”.  Seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Indigo Rose tomatoes are the row at the top of the basket. Just over a dozen to these saladette tomatoes are all picked off the same plant. Seed from Nichols Garden Nursery

Outside the basket are a 3 small pink Brandywines. After a long, hot summer, these heirloom Brandywine tomatoes are much smaller than the usual tomatoes. Tomato seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

3 Italian roma tomatoes are Pompeii. Bigger than most plum tomatoes, these are meaty and rich-flavored. Great for sauce or dried. The seeds are from Renee’s Garden.

Today is really all about the tomato. The Riesentraubes are in the dehydrator now. By tomorrow evening they will be “Sun dried” tomatoes. The majority of tomatoes sold as “sun dried” are dried in a deydrator. It’s faster, safer, cleaner.

Wordless Wednesday


2012
08.15

 

 

 

Wordless Wednesday

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