First Snow of 2020

When reflecting on the progress of this homestead, I can’t help but feel satisfied with the growth.  I don’t feel it day-to-day, or even month-to-month, but when I look at the year in its entirety, I smile with the accomplishments.  At times I have to remind myself that there was nothing here; it was just pasture when I began. Now I have buildings, a greenhouse, gardens…

I have resolved that 2020 is the year for finishing those unfinished projects.  There are plenty.  Like the bathroom tile that is about 80% done or the shed that needs to be painted.

January brought a little bit of snow providing a quiet morning that you only get on a snow day to reflect on the progress and see the possibilities to be.  Also, some stunning photographs.

I can see this windmill from my front windows and it is always showing me which way the wind is blowing.  It appears that I get strong winds from the north, and also strong winds from the southeast.  Hence Project Bees slated for 2020.  I need to move the beehives to a new bee yard and protected from this wild wind.  They don’t like the wind.

My neighbor’s house with glowing Christmas lights and a rising sun.  So peaceful.  Newly planted crabapples, maples and birch trees all look beautiful in snow.

A sleeping garden and sleeping chickens.  I plan to expand the garden out this year and fortify the chicken coop with wire at ground level to keep the burrowing mice out.  I’m feeding a whole nest of field mice.

Unfortunately, this snow only lasted two days.  I’m going to miss this view.  A new neighbor will be building near those trees in 2020.  But they plan to build a cute little farmhouse and that makes me smile.  They are also animal lovers and have horses, goats, etc.  So happy camper right here!

The lavender is sleeping under a blanket of snow.  I’m looking forward to making row markers identifying the different types of lavender.  Another planned project to finish with my girlfriends.

The new year is off to a good start and I’m looking forward to sharing more!

Keep Calm and Lavender On 💜

Debbie



Lavender Lemonade

Peaceful moments: On a warm day make this lavender lemonade and then sit on your porch and enjoy the sounds of spring/summer while sipping this wonderful concoction over a tall glass of ice.

Lavender Lemonade

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
5 cups waterphoto
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. dried lavender buds
1 cup lemon juice

1. Boil 2 1/2 cups water and add sugar until dissolved. Add lavender buds, cover, and steep for 15-20 minutes.

2. In a pitcher, add 2 1/2 cups water and lemon juice. Strain lavender mixture to remove buds and add liquid to pitcher.

Serve chilled over ice.


Lavender Lemon Zucchini Cake

FullSizeRender 46.jpgSo your garden is overflowing with zucchini and you’re wondering what to do with it all.  Or maybe a few of your neighbors have gardens that are overflowing with zucchini and they brought you their zucchini…and pretty soon your counter is overflowing with giant zucchini.  Either way, this lavender lemon zucchini loaf can make quick work in freeing up your countertop and providing a winter’s worth of delicious mini treats.  Bake it and freeze it.  Or maybe give a mini loaf back to your kind neighbors.  This recipe makes two loaves OR six mini loaves.

Lavender Lemon Zucchini Cake


Ingredients:
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil (or substitute 1 cup applesauce instead of the oil)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups shredded zucchini
zest of 2 lemons (reserve 1 tsp. lemon zest for glaze)
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. dried lavender, chopped finely (optional)

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. lemon zest

Instructions:
1.  Preheat oven to 350°.   Prepare 2 loaf pans with cooking spray and a dusting of flour.  Alternatively, you can make six mini loaves.  I love the mini paper loaf containers if I’m giving them away.  Check the packaging on the mini paper loaf containers for prepping instructions.  Mine didn’t need spray nor flour.

2.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and lavender buds.  Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, beat eggs until smooth.  Add oil (or applesauce) and sugar until smooth.  Add buttermilk, zucchini, lemon zest (minus reserved 1 tsp.) and lemon juice.  Mix well.

4.  Slowly add dry mixture into the batter until thoroughly combined.

5.  Pour batter into your prepared loaf pans.

6.  Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

While loaves are cooling, prepare the glaze.

For the glaze: Add powdered sugar, lemon juice, milk and lemon zest together.

Drizzle over each loaf.  Let cool before serving.

Note about shredding zucchini:  I use a spiralizer made by Veggiespize.  I like that it has an easy-to-use hand crank and it has three interchangeable blades.  I use the shredding blade that makes noodles like angel hair pasta.


Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender ice cream tastes like a surprise: sweet and exactly like it smells.

Lavender Ice Cream

4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. dried lavender

In a heavy saucepan, warm the whole milk, heavy cream and the dried lavender. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and strain out the lavender flowers. Cover to keep warm.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture. Slowly add the remaining warm milk mixture, constantly stirring.

Pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan and heat until it coats the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat and place the saucepan into a bowl of ice water until it has reached room temperature. Alternatively, place custard into a bowl and refrigerate until cool.

Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.


Lavender Wand Tutorial

I’ve had a couple of requests for directions on how to make the lavender wands, so I thought I’d share with you. Easy to make and the scent lasts a very long time. Great for drawers or closets. How about placing one on a gift package for a little extra something?

Lavender Wands

Lavender Wands

Instructions: Because the wands need a firm stem, I prefer to use English Lavender. It has a long stem with the flowers at the end of the stem. You will see lavender sold in the home improvement stores like Spanish and Goodwin. Spanish lavender would not work well because it has a bulky flower head and Goodwin Creek Lavender is a bush with stems that are too short. Look to plant English lavender (Lavandula Augustifolia), also called true lavender.

Cut Lavender

For the wand, choose stems that are strong with firm flower buds.

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Discard stems that look like this:

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You will need 1/4-inch lavender colored ribbon, fabric scissors (to cut the ribbon), floral wire, and wire cutters. Optional: 1/8-inch lavender colored ribbon to tie the wand at the bottom.

IMG_6838Cut 4 feet of 1/4-inch ribbon. Gather 13 lavender stems and trim off any leaves. Some of your stems may have branched out with two smaller flower stems. Pull those off as well. Place 1/4-inch ribbon so that one end of the ribbon is about 2 inch past the end of your flowers. Wrap floral wire around the stems and the ribbon. (This photo shows only an inch of ribbon – you want the ribbon to be another 3 or 4 inches so that the ribbon is hanging past the flowers about 2 inches.)

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Turn the bundle upside down and begin folding the stems over the wire.

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Again, make sure you have more ribbon hanging past the flowers than this photo shows.

Fold over stems in a circular pattern.

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You will have the short tail of the ribbon and the long tail end of the ribbon inside the bundle with your flowers. Pull out between the stems the long tail end of the ribbon and begin to weave to the right. Keep a tight weave.

IMG_6845Continue weaving around over and under. Sometimes a stem will hide behind some flowers and you’ll lose your place so if you come to an over/over or under/under, you’ve skipped a stem.

IMG_6846Continuing weaving all the way down until you just pass your flowers.

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Grasp your short tail ribbon that was inside the wand and the long tail ribbon and wrap around once or twice and tie an overhand knot.

IMG_6851You may want to pull off any flower buds that are poking through the ribbon and tie the bundle at the very bottom with 1/8-inch ribbon to keep the stems neat and tidy.

photoTo freshen up the wand, gently roll between your palms to release the lavender scent. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 


Plant Lavender for Good Luck

“There’s a few things I’ve learned in life: always throw salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for good luck, and fall in love whenever you can.”
– Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

If you walked into my house right now, you would smell the essence of fresh lavender. In June my lavender blooms. I may be lucky with a few more waves of blooming in my climate, but June reminds me of a summer vacation in 2002 where we stopped in Sequim, Washington on our way to Vancouver, Canada. I fell in love with lavender that day.

Sequim Washington

Purple Haze Lavender Farm in Sequim, Washington (2002)

We filled our baskets with flowering lavender, sipped sweet lavender lemonade while rocking on a porch swing, and gazed upon the perfectly purple rows. My daughter said she never wanted to leave and my son (who was 14 at the time) said, “I’ve got to admit, this is a pretty cool place.” It was a perfect day.

fields

Daughter and I harvesting our baskets of lavender. (2002)

The variety that I harvest at home for lavender wands and culinary purposes is English Lavender.

photo 1

The stems are long and strong enough for crafts and arrangements. Daughter and I made wands today and even hubby learned how to make wands. Tutorial here.

photo 2

After drying a few trays of lavender buds in the dehydrator, store in jars to give and use throughout the year in recipes like ice cream, lemonade and herbes de provence. Of course, you can always use it in homemade soaps and sachets.

Lavender

Ahh, yes, the calming essence of lavender. Words cannot describe the taste of lavender. You just have to try it!