Saturday, November 22, 2014


One more day outside and then the garden and flower beds will officially be in hibernation for the winter.  Tomorrow I'll be raking and tucking, stacking and stashing all the implements of my summer labors along with the seeds I've collected for next spring's rebirthing.  

I buy my vegetable seeds from SeedSavers Exchange, a group in Iowa that is dedicated to the preservation of heirloom varieties.  Seed saving was always a part of farm life and so I can't pass by a cosmo or calendula that's gone to seed and not reach out to pull the shriveled,  brown husks from each stalk.  The garage is full of plastic containers and tins brimming with the harvest and sometime over the winter, the kids and I will spend a day separating grain from chaff.  

But for now, I must make that final push toward the edge of winter.  There are clay pots to turn over and bean poles to stack in the shed.  As we head into the drab hues of winter, these rainbow heirloom photos will serve to tide me over...

I don't think I have good carrot soil.  We never get a bountiful crop and I'm not sure why I keep trying.  Maybe because they're so bright and hopeful looking when you dig them up.  The kids don't enjoy them much...too earthy compared to the store-bought ones they're used to.  But it's good for them to know where carrots begin. 

Pictured here is my wedding china, Lenox's Hannah Gold, along with some vintage textiles I found at the local thrift shop.

I tried something new this year...growing our own popcorn.  It's a miniature "strawberry" variety and we got about 25 stalks to grow, each with about 3 little ears.  I shucked them in October and now am waiting for the kernels to dry out a bit more.  I've read that if they aren't dried enough, they won't pop enough to enjoy.  So hopefully over the winter, we'll have a movie night while snacking on our own backyard popcorn.  

I found this pretty daffodil plate at a thrift shop some years ago.  I thought it would be a nice pattern to collect to use in the springtime.  But so far, I haven't found anymore piece to add!  I love the crazing. ~~~ And more vintage textiles that I couldn't pass up. I have a thing for hand-worked cross-stitch designs.

One of our favorite harvests...the durable cucumber.  I was thankful that not many cucumber beetles made it to the vines this year.  Must have been the bottomless pit winter we had that killed them off.  We got a decent crop and the chickens enjoyed a lot of trimmings as a result. 

This is my everyday Pfaltzgraff pattern, Filigree.  I'm so glad I picked a simple white...never have trouble matching it to whatever decor I'm in the mood to work with in the kitchen. ~~~ And more vintage textiles from the thrift store. I'm enthralled with the tiny knots at the center of these flowers.

We grew bush beans on the farm, but my piano teacher grew pole beans and that's where I got my first batch of seeds for this variety.  She lived in an apartment over the drugstore in town, so she had little space for gardening.  But a few buckets on the roof and she was in the bean business!  These easily reach over 8 feet tall and are robust producers.  The kids love to run out to the backyard and grab a few to munch on.  

 The pink glass plate is from my collection of American Sweetheart Depression glass.  I inherited a stack of butter plates from my grandmother.  She had no other pieces to the set.  But I soon fell in love with them and now have all but the most elusive pieces in my collection.  ~~~ This vintage linen is actually a pillowcase. I have plans to someday make it into a tea towel. 

Peas hold a special place in my heart. Since we first learned we were expecting them, the triplets have been my "3peas." I just love seeing how they nestle inside their pod...I can relate!  Peas are also a rabbit's favorite, so I bought a "pea tunnel" this year which allows them to safely grow inside the garden fence, away from nibbling foes. 

This green plate is a singleton in my cupboard. I only have an educated guess that it once belonged to my great-grandmother.  It was found on the loft of our barn many years ago in a box of other kitchenwares that had been stored there after Grandma passed away. I love it's simplicity and soft hue and like to wonder about that chip and who in the family was responsible for it.  ~~~ This vintage linen comes from a friend whose mother made it when she was young.  I marvel at the time time and skill it took to make those white flowers. 

It was a rough year for tomatoes in my garden this year. I'm not sure what the culprit was...poor soil, a wetter-than-usual season, late seed start...but it made me sad because I love nothing more than a good juicy BLT on Sunday afternoon.  We didn't get many tomatoes this year, though the chickens got quite a few green ones after the first frost killed off the vines. I'm thinking I'll move the location to the opposite end of the garden next year and see if that helps. A little more sun would be helpful, too.

This plate stirs strong emotions for me.  I found it at the thrift store (can you tell I spend a lot of my free time there?) and over the years I have picked up a few other pieces in the pattern as well. At Grandma's house, this was called the "George and Martha" plate.  Grandma had bowls, too, and I used to love getting to the bottom of my Cheerios to see the dancing couple under the milk. Grandma's set didn't have the gold edges or filigree design and I think the pattern was quite faded by the end. No matter. As we say here, "The more tattered shape it's in, the more loved it's been." 
~~~ The vintage linen was a must-have when I saw it this summer.  I'm using it right now on a bookshelf with my autumn pumpkins and crows. 

I'll end with the humble zucchini. What can I say about this vegetable? I struggle with knowing what to do with them but feel obligated to grow them nonetheless. It's a right of farmgirl passage to have a bucket of surplus zucchinis in the car at all times, like my mother did, for dropping off at neighbors' houses and the dentist's office. I will admit to loving a good loaf of zucchini nut bread and am looking forward to making a few of those over the winter.    

This plate coordinates with the Depression glass though it's not from the same pattern. My mother-in-law gave it to me after cleaning out the leftover dishes from her mother's house. It makes a perfect cookie tray for Easter sweets. ~~~ The vintage table runner was another thrift store find. It reminds me of the first needlework I attempted as a child.  Nothing fancy, but something to show Grandma and hopefully get her nod of approval. 

 Au revoir for now...