Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Pinata for the Family Gathering



O.K. - I had way too much fun making this
beehive pinata! (can't figure out how to put the little do-dad above the first "a" in pinata - but you all know what I mean right?)


It's for our family's annual reunion picnic - not just any kind of picnic - but a Teddy Bear's Picnic!!!








I started making it about two weeks ago by
putting 3 layers of newspaper strips onto a balloon.  I used flour and water to make the "paste" for two of the layers and then switched to white glue thinned down with some water for the last layer.


I left it to dry for a few days in between each layer.


Once completed, I used a thin yellow tempura paint.  The final layer was made by gluing on strips of yellow crepe paper.




Bumble Bees were made with yellow and black pompoms
and black pipe cleaners.  Wings made with white
netted ribbon.



The best part was going to the bulk food store and loading up on wrapped candies (some sampling occurred also).


It's ready to go and now I hope my great nieces and nephews will have fun as they take turns trying to "break" the hive to spill it's contents.


It's going to be a great photo op for the family!








Till next time ............ getting ready for our Rhubarb Event and the Family Picnic - it's going to be a busy first weekend in June 2012!  

To quote the farmer "nothing like planning two major outdoor events to make it finally rain" Ugh!  It's raining cats and dogs right now - but I agree - we do need it.








Tuesday, May 29, 2012

'RHUBY TUESDAY'S" Sour Cream Rhubarb Muffins


After testing many rhubarb muffin recipes over the past few years, this one wins - hands down!  It seems I have better results when baking anything that has sour cream or buttermilk as an ingredient.  I like how they add moisture and a delicate taste to baked goods.


I hope you'll give this quick and easy recipe a try.





Sour Cream Rhubarb Muffins
Preheat your oven to 400F
2 Cups Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl whisk together till smooth:
1 Cup Sour Cream
8 Tbsp. melted butter
2 lrg. eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Add the wet ingredients into the dry mixture, stir gently just until moistened. Do not over mix.  Fold in:
1 1/2 Cups of fresh finely chopped rhubarb
Line a muffin tin with 12 large baking cups and fill with batter.  Sprinkle each cup with the topping:
Topping
3 Tbsp. sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Place in preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes








Now kick back and enjoy a warm muffin with your favourite cuppa............











Robin Report:
The babies are now 8 days old, they are getting feathers, just opened their eyes, and look like prehistoric birds right now!




Cement Rhubarb Leaves - how they turned out:
Ready for this weekend's Rhubarb and Rhummage Event.....





Monday, May 28, 2012

Heritage Peonies, Poppies, and Ferns



Heritage Peonies were growing on our farm
when we moved here 30 some years ago!
Every spring when these beautiful deep burgandy
blooms appear I always remember
Mrs. Mose Gerber who lovingly planted them!
My maiden name is Gerber too though I don't
believe we were related too closely.
I know many of her Granddaughters and they
remember visiting their Grandparents right
here on this farm!
I've been moving and dividing these beautiful plants
over the years and have given some 
of these ladies pieces of their family's plants.


There is another beautiful white peony that 
blooms later in June that was also growing
here when we arrived.
The white peony is very fragrant and it
has a special place in my heart because
I used to put Becky in front of that plant
each year when it bloomed and took
the annual peony picture.
It didn't always get done and stopped
at around age 10 I think.



Another one of my favourite plants on this farm
are the giant ferns that were planted at the back
of the house.
I have moved and replanted these beauties in several 
shady areas around the yard.
They add such an elegance to the back yard.



There were only a few of these oriental poppies
when we moved here but once we found the
right spot to transplant them to,
they began to "take over"!!




Heritage perennials such as these are
some of my garden's greatest treasures!


Till next time ..... enjoying the garden!








Saturday, May 26, 2012

Rhubarb for Rhuleif!


Last evening and today was the 46th Annual Mennonite
Relief Sale in our area.
Our church's Mission's Committee organized and sold locally 
grown and donated rhubarb for the second year in a row.
This day is a wonderful time for many different
Mennonite Churches to come together in support 
of Mennonite Central Committee
who provides Relief for the Needy
"Across the street and around the World"!

It's always an amazing day and we were able to
experience and taste many different foods such as
Rollkuchen and Watermelon, Homemade Pies, 
Fleish Peroshki, Vereniki, Cream Buns, Summer Sausage,
Hmong and Laotian Spring Rolls, Hispanic Pupusas,
Tea Balls. Lamb sausage on a bun, Homemade Ice Cream,
Falafel Pitas, Kettle Popcorn, and much, much more!!!

The quilts that were donated for auction were 
out of this world beautiful!!  I could have spent the whole
day watching the auctioning of those lovely pieces of art!
My co-worker Sara donated a beautiful quilt and it 
sold for $1,200 - way to go Sara!!!
The quilt auction is the main event and it's really neat
when quilt #125 out of 204 quilts was sold
the whole arena was led in the singing of
"Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow"
What a powerful and moving message.

It's also a day of socializing and reuniting with all
those great "old" friends that we see but once a year at the sale!
We reminisced how when we were youth the sale was in
it's first years and how we grilled hamburgers for hours
in the old arena food booth.
.... those were the good old days!

One of the food items that made the New Hamburg 
Relief Sale "famous" and is still sold to this day are 
the delicious Fresh Strawberry Pies!!!
I didn't stand in line to buy a pie this year but 
made one for supper - just had to have this pie on the day of the sale!



Then the farmer washed and polished the old '67 Mustang,
dropped the top,
and we went for a little tour into town.
A nice way to end a busy and fun filled day!



Till next time.....enjoy the rest of this last weekend in May 2012.....
Happy Birthday to my sista - Evelyn!!!!




Thursday, May 24, 2012

Three Little Birdies


And then there were three!
Little TuTu made his debut on May TuTu
to join his sibs hatchlings -  Vic and Tori.


There is still one egg - will it hatch??


The parents are kept very busy feeding
their helpless babies.


The worms are hard to find on this parched
and dry lawn and fields.


Praying for some rain!








Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"RHUBY TUESDAY'S" Crafting Cement Leaves



A Day in the Sun Shade!


We had so much fun, my sisters and I, making mud pies piles, picking our rhubarb leaves, mixing the cement "batter", patting it onto the leaf "molds", and enjoying this glorious summery May day!





After an afternoon of creating we took a break to enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of Rhubarb Dessert.




Rhubarb Dessert

My sister-in-law Gloria gave me this recipe and it is deeeeelicous!  It appeared in The Country Woman magazine many years ago.  I made a pan of these squares for Mother's Day this year - and there was some leftover to share with my sistas!

Base Layer:
1 Cup butter
¼ Cup sugar
2 Cups flour
Mix and press into 9 x 13 ungreased pan.  Bake @ 350 degrees for 10 min.
2nd  layer:
7 Tbsp. Flour
2 Cups Sugar
3 eggs - beaten
1 Cup whipping cream
5 Cups Rhubarb - chopped
Combine flour & sugar.  Whisk in cream & beaten eggs.  Add rhubarb and pour over base and bake @ 350, 40 – 50 min.
Topping:
1 Cup whipping cream - whipped
8 oz. cream cheese - softened
½ Cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
Whip together and spread on 2nd layer when cool
Chill before serving.




Till next time .............. watch where you put your leaves to cure!  The farmer didn't notice them tucked neatly under the lilac bush when he moved the auger........oops.  No worries - I made 6 more yesterday for the Rhubarb and Rhummage Sale!







Monday, May 21, 2012

Victoria Day Babies

Vic and Tori have arrived!!!!

Exactly 18 days since Mrs. Robin 
laid her first egg.....14 days since she
started incubating the 4 eggs.
So exciting to watch this!!



Vic - The Early Bird


Tori - Hatched around noon.


Hope they other two make it.  I'll keep you
posted.....

















Saturday, May 19, 2012

Roasted Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto






For a real treat, we like to roast Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto on the bbq. and serve it as a appetizer.  It's so easy, especially when the farmer does all the bbqing!

It's a great finger food appetizer for any gathering or for just you and the farmer - smile.









Wash the asparagus, snap the tough ends off, slightly dry with some paper towel, split the prosciutto lengthwise and wrap the meat onto the spears.  Pop these tender shoots on the grill and roast for 5-7 minutes until the prosciutto gets nice and crispy (turning several times with your tongs). You can use bacon as well but you should cook the bacon a bit before wrapping the asparagus - it takes longer to "crisp" thus overcooking the asparagus.









Spritz with a bit of lemon and enjoy while you wait for the rest of your bbq to finish!










Till next time ....... enjoying the sunset on the back deck!  Life is good.




Thursday, May 17, 2012

Homegrown "Fireworks"

Allium May 2012

Victoria Day in Canada 

Calls for fireworks and celebrating
Oh, and lots of hotdogs!
I think the Allium resembles fireworks
don't you?
I guess that's a bit of a stretch.

I remember back in the 60's
how our area churches youth groups
would have their first of the season's
baseball tournaments on
Victoria Day.
What fun it was to see everyone,
cheer our little hearts out for our
favourite teams and even play
on a team!

It was also the weekend when we got 
our first sunburns of the summer.
Little did we know how bad that was
for our fair, pastie white skin!
We would shiver from our sunburns
that evening in the cold night air 
as we waited for the fireworks 
to begin.

I think I'll just kick back
and relax - no baseball, no sunburn,
maybe a few hotdogs,
and admire my dreamy beautiful
homegrown "fireworks"!



Enjoy a wonderful Victoria Day Weekend.....










Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"RHUBY TUESDAY'S" Dream Bars

Rhubarb Dream Bars

During this season of plentiful Rhubarb, I would like to share some of my favourite Rhubarb recipes on "RHUBY TUESDAYS"!  Join me by posting your favourite Rhubarb recipes on Tuesdays during the months of May and June, if you will.....FOR THE LOVE OF RHUBARB!

Rhubarb Dream Bars


1 Cup Flour
5 Tbsp. Sugar
¼ Cup butter
Topping:
2 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
¼ Cup Flour
3/4 tsp. salt
2 Cups Rhubarb – cut fine
Combine flour and sugar.  Cut in butter.  Press into a 9 X 9 cake pan.  Bake at 350F for 10 minutes.
Combine Eggs, sugar, flour, and salt.  Fold in rhubarb.  Spread over hot crust and bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes until lightly browned.



Those of you who know me well, know my passion for Rhubarb and how we've developed this into one of our church's annual community festivals - it's so much fun and the festival is coming up soon. Here is the poster for this year's event (designed by my talented "marketing director daughter" Becky).







Saturday, May 12, 2012

Forget-Her-Not!



Forget-Me-Nots grow like weeds
(maybe they are weeds)
in all my flower beds this time of year.
I think they are so pretty but once they've bloomed
I "weed" them out of the beds and
tend to throw the dead plants over the fence
into the orchard
They've seeded themselves and
Now my whole orchard looks like a sea of 
blue - so lovely!

I always think of my Mom when these little flowers
bloom because it's always around Mother's Day.
I will pick a nice bouquet and lay it on
her headstone tomorrow on my way to church.

She gave me a love for flowers
and for the ocean
She loved nothing more than to visit her brother and sister-in-law
in Sarasota, Florida
Beside a sea of blue!




It's almost ten years that she's been gone
but I'll "forget-her-not" EVER!





Friday, May 11, 2012

Precious Child





PRECIOUS CHILD



It’s every mother’s dream to have a little girl like you
God smiled on me and granted my wish
I couldn’t believe how beautiful and perfect you were
Your bright shiny eyes, your perfect fingers and toes
The overwhelming love that I felt was impossible to describe
I loved every minute watching you grow and develop
Into a very smart and social little butterfly
Though you have no siblings, you have made many wonderful friends
And have loving cousins galore
Now you have chosen a life partner
What a wonderful wedding that will be!
You are more precious than gold to me
I feel so blessed to be a mother
And especially to be your mother!
You are my only one - my limited edition!
Like the Robert Munsch book says…
“As long as I’m living, your mother I’ll be”

Love you forever!






Till next time.........HAVE A HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MY FRIENDS!





Monday, May 7, 2012

4 for 4 and Favourite Rhubarb Pie

Mrs. Robin's 4th egg 
She did it!  She has been a busy bird.  The eggs are so beautiful!  I did a bit of research and read that the eggs will hatch in 12-13 days. Due date = May 19th??  I hope we are able to avoid disturbing her too much between now and then, however, she picked the busiest entrance of the house......will do our best!










Oriole in the Apple blossoms


We have so many beautiful birds around here right now.  An oriole that sings like a robin who's had voice lessons, hummingbirds constantly at the feeder  like whirling dervishes, the nesting cardinal couple, and way too many bluejays!










Today was a busy Monday.  The fields got cultivated and fertilized - this means that things are pretty "rammy" around here with no time to eat, talk, or stop for even a minute.  Alas, it started to rain this evening screeching everything to a halt - oh well, there are hockey games to watch after all!  For me it was one of those days where I wished I had gone to work - would have been a lot less stressful - smile. In spite of the busy day I got some planting done in the garden, took a quick trip to the nearby village for some fresh bread and sliced meat to make quick sandwiches, delivered them to the "back forty", dabbled a bit in my rhubarb craft (to be revealed later this month) and last but not least - made two fresh rhubarb pies - first of the season!!  Recipe below:



Favourite Rhubarb Pie

This makes 1 pie - I usually double the recipe to make two pies (why make one??)

1 Egg – slightly beaten                         
1 tsp. vanilla                                          
1 Cup White Sugar
2 Tbsp. Flour
2-3 Cups Rhubarb – chopped
Add vanilla, white sugar and flour to egg.  Stir in the rhubarb and pour into an unbaked pie shell.

Crumb topping:
¾ Cup Flour
½ Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Butter – soft
Put topping onto the rhubarb/egg mixture

Bake for 10 minutes at 400F.  Reduce to 350F and bake for another 30 minutes.  Enjoy!




Till next time ............ treading softly around the main entrance!




Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day three makes three




Between 10 a.m. to 12 noon seems to be her "laying" time.  Will there be one more tomorrow?








Friday, May 4, 2012

She did it!



I left the house at 10 a.m.  Returned at noon AND
guess what I found in the nest!!!!!

I was so surprised........










The rest of my day was great!  I took a picture of a cardinal's nest (top left).  
We've been watching this pair for some time
and realized that they were busy nesting too!
Unlike the Robin, they have built their nest high 
and well hidden.
How I wish I could see into that nest too - have you ever
seen a cardinal egg?  I haven't.
It will be fun to observe





My parrot tulips are blooming - I love those.
And
I made my "trip to the coast" for a 
much needed hair cut.
I always go a bit early so I can hang out at the beach for a few minutes.
The lake was calm and lovely today.
Lake Huron is my favourite of the Great Lakes!
Thanks Jo for another great visit and cut.


Tomorrow we will be attending the wedding
of my cousin's and my husband's cousin's daughter, Alison.
Confused?  Alison's mom is my first cousin and her dad 
is H's first cousin.  Cool eh?
She's a beautiful young lady and I was her mentor 
during some of her teen years.  There are many 
family and church connections and we look
forward to celebrating this day!

Now I'm ending the day with a nice cup of camomile tea - life is good!


Till next time ................ I'll keep watching the nest and I want to wish everyone a HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO tomorrow!!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rhubarb and Robins!





The nest has been padded - however, haven't noticed much action lately and I'm afraid we may have disturbed Mrs. Robin too much?  Maybe she changed her mind and doesn't like all the traffic and the bright porch lights!  That would probably be a blessing.












The Rhubarb is at 8 weeks and I'm so excited.  I think I can pick some now.  I will be making a pie this weekend for sure!  Do you wonder why the row is so crooked?  Well that's another story.....

Watch for a special Rhubarb craft that I'll be making in the next few weeks for our church's annual Rhubarb and Rhummage Sale!