Thursday, July 30, 2015

Gardening: Saving Seeds

The garden is hitting that late summer lull.  We're all feeling it.  August is upon us and we are anticipating Autumn.  Yes, I said it out loud!  

Our summer has been relatively mild overall, so I have no complaints.  Really.  I just want it to be Autumn now!  Pinterest has not helped this feeling at all!  I've been pinning things like this


But I digress.

Back to the garden.

The garden is getting past its prime and many plants are going to seed.  As I was weeding last week and cutting some things back, I could here several plants tossing their seeds as I moved them.

I decided to save as many as I could.

These are my hollyhocks. 

I love how the seed casing is flower shaped.  Hollyhocks are easy to grow and all you do is toss the seeds out into the garden once you are past your last frost date.  Oh, and be careful of free ranging chickens.  Ask me how I know.  

 These were really rattling in their casings (for lack of a better word.  I don't know the technical term).  These are from my Larkspur.

 This poor blurry photo is of my Lychnis seeds.  They are really a pretty flower, on an interesting plant.

Last but not least, my poppies.  These seeds are enlarged here.  They are really very tiny.

Here is a link to a post I did about the garden in Mid June.  You can see all these flowers in the photos.

I love to share plants from my garden and saving and sharing seeds are an easy way to do this.

Do you save seeds?  Do you share them with friends?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Senior Year Ahead

Rachel turned 16 at the end of May and has not slowed down.  She got her permit, has been driving all over Lancaster County, and applied several places for a part time job.

This week she got hired at one of our favorite fast food places to eat - Chick-Fil-A!

It's quite the process.  Open interviews - short, fill out a quick form, they give you a preliminary interview.  Next, fill out an application online that includes a 12 page survey. (personality type)  Then an interview with the owner, and finally the call to say, "We'd like to offer you a position."  

She had orientation yesterday, and will have safety training later this week.

She's excited.

This is going to be a big year for her.  She is in her senior year of high school, she'll get her driver's license, she has a job.

We are experiencing all those feelings you have as your kids grow up.  We are happy, sad, proud, excited.  She's a delightful young woman.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Grilled Chicken Salad

We love salads here at the Cottage and this one is a favorite.

It's so easy.  I grill chicken tenderloins (or I cook them on the stove), make up a salad of whatever you like or that you have on hand, voilĂ !  Dinner is served!

 Tonight I added red onion, home grown grape tomatoes, sweet peppers, cheddar cheese to the salad.

I sliced the chicken and put it on top of the salad and added my favorite thing about summer!

 But just a few, because they are high in natural sugar!

 Then I drizzled some of our homemade ranch dressing.
It was so good!  

Here is how I season my chicken - 

If I am grilling it I make a marinade of:

Red wine vinegar
mild tasting oil (I use mild tasting olive or coconut oil)
garlic powder
onion powder
chili powder

I just mix it up to taste.

If I cook it on the stove I put either oil in the pan or some butter
then I season it with the same ingredients as above though I usually don't add the oregano.

If you give it a try let me know how you like it.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

My Favorite Thing About Summer

Freestone peaches!  Locally grown!

Lindsay, Rachel and I made a trip to our local orchard.  We didn't pick them, though.  

I am going to can a lot of peaches this year!  I can't get enough of them!

How about you?  Are you a peach lover?  Do you do much canning of summer produce?

Friday, July 24, 2015


I've been busy preparing for several upcoming things.

The first of course is Nate and Kayleigh's wedding.  She and I shopped on Monday and got some items for the tables, the flower girl basket and the ring bearer pillow.  It was fun and it's great to see it all coming together.

The second thing I've been preparing for is our upcoming school year.  We start back in August and with the wedding in September and Tim's business starting, I am glad that we start early.  This always affords us flexibility during the year.  We also finish at the beginning of May (we don't have snow days, teacher in service days, etc) so by time we start we've had three full months off!

Tomorrow while I am out getting groceries and running errands, I will be getting pencils (I only use Ticonderoga brand), glue sticks, tape, paper, folders, art supplies.  I love back to school shopping!  Who am I kidding?  I LOVE back to school!

This will be Rachel's last year!  She's got an ambitious load - Biology, British Literature, math, history, humanities.  Plus, it looks like she will be a starting a part time job soon.  (more on that next week!)

I am also preparing for the start of Tim's business.  He has already begun but is still at his other job until the 31st.  I've been helping with making sure he has all his tools ordered, and has the supplies he needs.  I also have helped him with scanning and sending reports.

We are hoping to get my parents house on the market soon, so we are preparing our house and theirs.  Sorting, organizing, preparing plans.  It's all good.

There is always a lot going on but by planning and doing a bit at a time, it all gets done.  And I have my handy dandy crew here to help!  That's the real secret to my success!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New Job

Over the last year or so, the desire grew in Tim to start his own business.  This was surprising to me because over the years he had mentioned on more than one occasion that he was not entrepreneurial material and couldn't see himself running his own business.  I believe the desire started the day he found out that the company he worked at previously was going to require that he work every other weekend.  That meant he worked 12 days straight before he got two days off.  He was not liking this, and he wanted a way to have more margin in our lives, both financially and physically.

He is still working on being able to help others with projects from installing appliances, to painting, to lawn care, but he has gotten into doing septic inspections, and that is going to now be the bulk of his work spring through autumn.

It's so neat how God has lead in all of this.  He put in his two week notice and his last day at his current job will be July 31st.  After that he will be working for himself.

We are excited by this and a tad nervous.  He will do inspections 3-4 days a week and use the 5th day to do other types of projects. 

The name of his business is Rabe Home Services.  We are working on a website, but he does have a FB page, if your local check it out!

                                   This man works hard to serve others.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Chicks

With the family growing the need for eggs goes up and our current hens can't possibly keep up with demand!  Lindsay and I placed an order for new chicks two weeks ago and they arrived yesterday.


We were away yesterday so when they arrived at the post office, Lindsay picked them up and settled them in.

 Here they are still in their box but their new home for the next month will be a kiddie pool with removable chicken wire on top so they are protected from predators.  It also makes it easy to fill their food and water and hold them.

This is Lindsay's favorite - a Speckled Sussex she's named Eleanor. The Speckled Sussex's are named after the Dashwood Sisters.  We have three Marans and they are named from the book Persuasion - Anne, Louisa and Henrietta.

This morning Rachel is in love with this Cochin named Violet.