Limeade, Lemonade, First-Aid

Raise your hand if you tripped in the hall at work on literally nothing and stumbled and then soon after turned to walk into your office and turned to soon body checked the wall.

*Raises Hand*

Thankfully the only hurt thing was my pride, which can be easily fixed because I don’t have much to begin with. Well no, not true. I have confidence, but I don’t have much dignity left to lose. I’m humbled. I have, afterall, walked face first into a closed door before. Lime-aid however is something I will always take that can heal many an embarrassing wound as you laugh with a friend over the perpetual lack of awareness of your body in space.

DSC_6710-01I hope you all love this end of summer recipe as much as I do. Andy picked up 6 bags of limes for free so let’s just say things are a little limey around here lately. There are plenty of limeade recipes out there but we go for the super traditional, though I can’t say I don’t love a lavender infused limeade. To make something like that, I would infuse the lavender in the simple syrup below, and then throw a sprig right into the jar at the end.

Homemade Limeade
A delicious homemade limeade with tips on how to use a vitamix to make the juice, and ratios for tarter versus sweeter limeade.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup white sugar (or equivalent in other non-sugar sweetener)
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2-3 cups fresh lime juice
  4. 4-12 cups cold water
  5. Nut milk bag (if juicing with vitamix)
  6. Half gallon mason jar or other container
Simple Syrup
  1. Combine 1 cup sugar (or equivalent of non-sugar sweetener) and 1 cup water in a pan
  2. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved
  3. Stir continually to ensure sugar doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan
To Juice Limes
  1. Let's be honest, it's not rocket science to juice limes. Here are a few tips: If juicing by hand or with a juicer roll the limes on the counter/cutting board before you cut in half, it will help release the juices.You'll need 2 cups of fresh lime juice or about a dozen limes.
To Juice Limes in a Vitamix
  1. Peel the limes so no skin remains
  2. Throw in the vitamix, start slow and put on high for just a few seconds
  3. Pour the blended juice into the nut milk bag, over your container. It is recommended to do this in batches
  4. Slowly press the juice out of the bag
  5. Pour pulp into compost, pour next batch, and repeat until you reach two cups of juice
To make limeade concentrate
  1. Combine simple syrup and lime juice
To make limeade
  1. Combine 1-3 cups of water per 1 cup of concentrate, dependent on how sweet you like your limeade
  2. 1:1 will be very sweet
  3. 1:2 will be moderate
  4. 1:3 will be more tart
Like A Cup of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
While we might like limeade it has a lot of sugar in it. My other idea is to juice the limes by themselves and then freeze it in cubes. Take a few cubes and thaw them out mid-winter for a perfect summery pick me up whether you’re making limeade, throwing it in a sauce or stir-fry, or putting it in a delicious french-yogurt cake (one of the simplest cakes ever despite the name). Then again, you could just make a ton of popsicles by freezing the juice with some honey and berries…mmm. Sounds so good. Someone make them and then report back to me.

Enjoy!

xo,

Heather

Summer 2013 Happenings

Hey friends! As some of you might experience in your own lives, summer is the busiest time of year. Here in Maine summer might literally go until the end of September, but as far as I’m concerned autumn begins on September 1st. Some people might shush me for saying that, but it really becomes autumn weather and I LOVE the autumn. The other night you could feel the change in the air starting and Andy and I were both thrilled.

Given it’s the end of August and the almost end of summer I thought I would catch up a few loose ends like the farm, the garden, the house and a couple other little birdies we had going on around here.

The Farm

The farm has been well this summer without much to write home about until this last weekend. At church on Sunday the farmers wife announced that there had been a calf born at the farm that morning. Needless to say I was slightly distracted throughout church to go meet the new little dude. So here’s the part where you ask why there isn’t a photo of him. Little dude is elusive. I’ve seen him, but there were other duties to attend to so I didn’t have my camera on me. I even tried to go up and get a photo of him just for this post (literally, I stopped writing the post and drove up to the farm with camera in hand). No dice. The herd had just retreated to a far back field out of site. For reals.

I will get a photo of him and I will share it once Mr. Disappearing Act decides to show his face at a time I also have a camera on me.

The Garden & Harvest Preservation

I am SO PROUD of the garden this year. I don’t mean proud of us. I mean I am literally (using that word in it’s actual definition) proud of the plants for making it through the crazy ass weather we’ve had, being choked by weeds, and infested by insects and fighting disease. I honestly didn’t think we would be seeing a single zucchini, squash or cucumber this year. I had to replant almost all of the cucumbers, I fought squash bugs like crazy, and we experienced blossom drop.

DSC_6718-01Well done garden, well done. You rebounded nicely. The above harvest was only one of the harvests this year. The cucumbers definitely were on the bigger side for this harvest so I seeded them (along with that giant zuc above) and diced them up for diced bread and butter pickled. We also have some sliced pickles too from an earlier batch. Speaking of pickles, this summer has been awesome for preservation. (To learn more about different methods of food preservation check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation).

DriedPotatoesWe sliced, blanched, dehydrated and vacuum sealed potatoes.

PicklesandMuffinsWe made sliced bread and butter pickles as well in a British style, a garlic style and regular.We also made a batch of hearty blueberries from the year/coconut/hemp heart/chia seed/vegan muffins and then cooled and vacuum sealed them for the freezer. These are so good to grab, heat for a minute in the microwave and then head out with. They are super filling and are a perfect pick me up.

JamWe picked a ton of wild blackberries and then made jam.

CanningFailWe had our first canning fail ever. I’m happy to say it was a perfectly broken jar and not a fail because of botulism or something. I’ll take a broken jar over bacteria any day of the week.

PicklesWe also had even more successes and will continue to can throughout the rest of the summer. These are the tiny diced cucumbers and zuc’s I mentioned above. For now it’s mainly all pickles at the house for now, but we might be able to blanch and freeze some spinach and maybe some vegan butternut squash soup later on.

IMG_6567Finally, we had great success with garlic this year. Even though we grow hardneck garlic we learned how to braid it to dry it properly. The big bulbs in the front are all seed stock which we will plant this fall. We’ll eat all the deliciousness in the back. I’ll write more on this whole process in another post, as I documented it for you guys!

The House

Holla! As you guys know from this post we’ve moved into our bedroom. This topic really deserves it’s own post though. I’ll be heading into the mountains soon so I’m hoping to bang out a post then for you guys all about it. There isn’t a ton to discuss at this point, but what there is to share it still exciting! It’s hard to believe we’re winding down on the interior of the addition, and yet there is so much to do. Oh, and we’re going to renovate the entire original house so there’s definitely plenty more to go.

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Other Little Birdies

For real birdies! This was such a highlight of my summer. I would look out the window to the porch just about every day and watch them in the rafters until they finally took flight (which I missed). I almost hope they nest there every year so I can watch them! Absolutely adorable.

DSC_6281-01 DSC_6286-01 DSC_6290-01 DSC_6298-01 DSC_6332-01 DSC_6354-01 DSC_6361-01So there’s a quick wrap up of our summer and we’re not slowing down anytime soon heading into fall as we prep for winter. We still have so much to go between working full time, harvesting, construction, and the rest of the shebang. We also are going to be part of a cool project that I’ll post about as soon as I get permission. Actually there are two cool projects. Do I have your interest yet? I can’t wait to share.

xo,

Heather

Locking It Up

We’ve started moving furniture up into our bedroom.

WAIT WHAT?!

I know! I’ve barely taken any photos (see time management above) and frankly, it’s a little hard to take pictures when you’re hauling one end of an oak dresser. So here’s what’s happened since Andy started installing trim:

First, we finished the trim. Literally, we finished installing it and putting a finish on it. I know that painting trim white is this huge thing in the blog world, but we did not. We did a simple Danish oil to preserve the natural look of the wood. We did a simpler trim style upstairs, and Andy jokes that it’s “camp chic”. Now let me be clear, I grew up with painted trim and I actually like it. I think it makes the room seem more ethereal. When I first met Andy he showed me a room he liked and I said, “That’s so much wood!” to which every family member in the room looked at me and gasped. There is no such thing in my husbands family as too much wood in a home. So, in some ways I’m still getting used to it but I have to admit it’s super pretty in person. It just feels like such a grown up house. Am I a grown up yet? I guess so. I have a great job with awesome benefits and I’m almost 30. How did that happen?

image7 image9Second, for the last few nights I’ve been painting a second coat in each room. Because I’m a messy painted, I taped off all of the baseboard and around windows to ensure I didn’t make a giant crap-fest of everything. I’ll get you photos when we’re done with all the rooms but to be honest, they don’t look much different. I will say that the Eider White in the master bedroom looks more like the swatch now and is a little more gray and I really love it. I still need to finish the downstairs bedroom, and we need to do the staircase walls as well as touch up the ceilings where I accidently bumped them with rollers. I told you – crap-fest.

Third, and the point of this post we installed door knobs / locks on the doors!

I got the door knobs though, so it’s all a win. I can say that finding knobs I was happy with wasn’t really that easy but it wasn’t that hard either. Here was the criteria:

  • Silver to match the locks on the front and dooryard doors
  • Not glass. I wanted vintage glass knobs but Andy doesn’t like glass knobs as much so we nixed them. I wasn’t 100% set on them anyway
  • Low-profile
  • Very very simple design (it’s the modern preference in me)
  • Not expensive
  • Available in a pop/twist lock and plain
  • Brushed so fingerprints aren’t on them all the time

We first went to Lowes and while they had an option we liked from Schlage, they didn’t have the style I liked in stock. At just under $30 a knob (with tax) I was a little *gulp* about it. It’s really not that pricey but for not the exact style I wanted I wasn’t totally sold. The next day I went to Home Depot on my way home from work and found a set from Kwikset that was both in stock, and cheaper. They were definitely up my alley, and a style I was very happy with.  

image2Andy was installing these, while I was painting the upstairs bedroom and the moment we not only saw a knob on the door AND that we actually had a door in the house that shut and locked properly it was like reality happening. This dream of when we bought the house was real. Weird that of all moments the knob was one of those “this is real!” moments but it was.

6 3Simple, basic, and wonderful. Now to finish the painting, get the railing put up, finish moving in and….you know what, I’m just going to stop and enjoy the moment for what it is in this moment and not think about everything else ahead that needs to be done. Knobs? Happy.

xo,

Heather 

Psst – We’re slammed lately, so I’ve decided it’s time for my twice-annual social media cleanse. I am not taking a break from the blog though! I feel most everyone should take a couple weeks away from social media, or at least do it very minimally at least a few times a year. So, for now I’m taking a cold turkey break from Instagram, Twitter and I’ll be minimal on Facebook (maybe checking once or twice a day to respond to anything, since let’s face it – it’s how lots of people connect with each other). If you want to catch me in the mean time, shoot me an email or leave a comment!

First We Finished Our Floors, Then We Made A Mess, But It’s A Good Mess.

There’s nothing like beautiful finished floors, and then covering them up partially, bringing equipment up, and filling up the space with sawdust.

DSC_6365-01Much like we did in the living room Andy has milled the trim himself as opposed to buying trim, and just like downstairs the new floor was almost immediately covered in sawdust. This time around though we’re going with a simpler trim style. At first I was a little unsure but then I got put on sanding duty, realized how much work it must have been to create and sand the trim style in the living room, and ended up pretty happy it’s simpler.

DSC_6376-01We’re sticking with pine and a natural finish. No stain, no paint. Just good old danish oil and natural aging which will darken the wood up some.

DSC_6380-01Here’s a better photo of the trim profile, and installation.

DSC_6381-01We’re keeping the same trim style in all of the bedrooms both upstairs and down (and stairway window and closet at the top of the stairs). The only trim style that’s different is in the living room, but that’s fine because only the living room trim can be seen from the original house. All other trim is either at the top of the stairs, or behind a bedroom door. It all works together anyway, so no complaints here.

DSC_6393-01 DSC_6396-01DSC_6389-01 DSC_6391-01That’s about all we have for now. As of Wednesday night Andy had finished the trim work and was, according to him, “down to the baseboard”. Then he asked me “Who’s the boss?!” and about three minutes later I realized I should have answered, “Tony Danza”. I’m really quick on the uptake with responses.

On that note, I’m going to leave you with two things – a promise to update with photos of the baseboard, and hopefully painting, and definitely move in day, and this video.

xo,

Heather

P.S. I don’t understand why Andy said “I don’t think so” when I told him tonight that we should have had the Who’s the Boss theme song for our wedding song. It’s perfect. I encourage one of you to do so.