hello? hello?

Folks might be wondering what happened to the bloggity ways of our farm.  I had decided to take some time for some self-renewal and it just so happened to coincide with my 40th birthday.  Go figure!  I also lost my beloved grandmother this year…we were soul-mates.  Sometimes a loss effects you in ways that you don’t even recognize.  When I’m in the kitchen cooking like her and using her recipes, I have some “sappy tears” roll down my cheeks.  Just a little.  Oh, and “sappy tears” are those tears that are a gobbed up mixture of sad and happy.  Little drops of ~I miss knowing that you’re here~ and ~thank you for some of the happiest memories of my life~.

On a purely wonderful note, the lavender is still growing, the dogs are happy, the family is goofy and all our little feathered friends are still running around, but this lady o’er here is on hiatus.  Don’t go anywhere though…I’ll be back.  I have an amazing person working with me on our Woody Creek Lavender logo, and I’ve been playing around with lavender in the kitchen endlessly….I will share this with you all in the near future.

Until my return, thank you so much for being patient with me.  Enjoy the beautiful colors of autumn and make sure you do ONE THING each day that makes you feel good when you lay your head on your pillow at night.  It only takes one thing.

And don’t forget to keep “giving it a go”!




Filed under FARM LIFE

me vs. grandmas pie crust

I have many of my grandma’s recipes.  These recipes are so dear to my heart.  They bring back tons of wonderful memories.  I can’t help but think back on the many, many years that I watched her cook, watched her use a half an egg shell as a measurement, use her fingers to pinch in this and pinch in that, and I don’t know how, but her homemade noodles came out the very same thickness every single time.

She usually started cooking the sweets a few weeks before Christmas.  Her house was older and the upstairs didn’t have heat so she would put all the bars, fudge, pies…everything on the steps going to the upstairs.  Me, my sister and cousins would head straight for those stairs when we visited grandma.  If we visited before the holiday, we still went straight for the stairs because we just knew something good was there.  And when we dug into it, she never once told us to wait for Christmas.  She just made more.

One of the things she made was creme pie.  So, a couple weeks ago, I decided to give it a whirl.  Grandma’s homemade pie crust and all!  So, I did the pie crust according to directions and dagnabbit if the darn thing didn’t separate on me.  I rolled, added more water, rolled again, added flour, rolled again….  I even talked to it, “Please pie crust!  All I want is to make you like my grandma!  If I can’t do it, who will?”  Then it got a little uglier with, “What is wrong with you!!!???  Stick together for crying out loud!”  It was me vs. grandma’s pie crust…and this round, went to the pie crust.  I ended up just piecing it together in the pie dish and in one of those ‘to heck with it’ ways.  There were no perfectly even sides, no nicely pinched crust.  Thursey walked by, and said, “What is that?”  Sigh.

So, I went on to do the creme, the meringue topping and put it in the oven.  While it was baking, I called grandma and told her my pie crust woes.  Grandma, just a matter of factly said, “Shawni, you didn’t have it wet enough.”  Sigh again.

So, it came out of the oven…the crust wasn’t cooked (I was suppose to cook it before the filling went in), the meringue was super high (I think the egg whites might make two pies or I beat them too long), the middle was yummy but runny (maybe I didn’t let it sit long enough to cool or didn’t thicken the creme long enough on the stove), so in short, compared to my grandma’s creme pie, mine was an utter disaster.  But, the attempt brought back so many great memories and I can’t help but laugh at how my grandma advises me like….duh.

Someday, I will make grandma’s pie crust…and I will keep trying until I can tell the kiddos, “this is exactly how grandma made it.”

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!  Put love into everything you do!




Filed under FARM LIFE

awaiting snow

It’s finally coming…real snow.  I say real snow because we have had some flurries a couple days since autumn came, but we know the real thing comes sooner or later!  Mother nature seems to have given signs that we will be getting about three to six inches in the next 24 hours.  So, as I wait for the ice and snow to come, I took a little journey through some photos of winters’ past since we moved here to the farm.

Our farm dog Gypsy just lives for this weather!  We’ll see her taking naps in the drifts as she takes advantage of that thick, comfy undercoat.

The kids love it too.

I’ve got all the fixins’ for hot chocolate and all the snow clothes are ready to go so……

…….bring on the snow!

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roasted butternut squorsh (yes, that’s right) soup

In defense of my “squorsh”, I will start by telling you that I really like my grammar and pronunciations to be correct.  Buuuuuuut, there are certain words that I pronounce Grandma Sam style.  I will do a separate blog about my Grandma Sam soon, to explain.  But for right now, let’s get to the FOOD!

As I say with all my recipes:  DON’T FOLLOW THEM!  Haha!  What I mean is please don’t think that if you don’t have something on here that you just can’t make it.  Most of the time, I start with a basic recipe (or not) and just start throwing things in as I go.  Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s awesome, and sometimes it’s just “eh”.  This one was awesome.

And because I don’t want you to think in terms of exact scientific measurements, I don’t usually post full recipes in exact measurements.  Your best measurement you have is a taster spoon.  Taste what you cook, as you’re cooking it…then, add to your taste!  Let’s give this a go!

Roasted Butternut Squorsh (Squash) Soup

1 butternut squorsh (squash)

1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth or homemade broth

1/2 medium sized white onion

3 slices of fresh ginger

1 BULB of garlic

1 tsp dried culinary lavender

1 tsp salt + to taste

1/2 tsp white pepper + to taste

Olive oil (first, cold press)–put money into a really good olive oil to have on-hand

Smoked mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Ready for roasting! I have more ginger in there than I used in the recipe, but I wanted to make sure if I wanted to add more I had extra!

Squorsh (squash):  Slice that squash right down the middle, the long way.  Now, smell it.  To me it smells sweet and fresh..kind of like fresh melon or watermelon.  I LOVE the smell of fresh squash.  Do not spend your precious time struggling to peel it raw.  We’ll do that later.  Now, rub it down with your quality olive oil.  Place it meat side down on a roasting pan…I used a pyrex pan for no other reason than it was the first thing I grabbed.  I kind of wished I would have started this in one of my cast iron pans, but alas, I was half way through and too lazy to change it.

Onion and Ginger:  Rub with olive oil and put in pan.

Garlic:  Cut off top of bulb (do not peel or separate) and drizzle top with quality olive oil and set in pan.

Lavender:  Put your little bud pile in the pan too.

Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Take a butter knife and just slide the skin off of the squash (my chickens love the skin).  Remove roasted garlic from cloves.  They will have a gentle garlic smell.  Pop one in your mouth and taste it…it is balanced and mild and so good.

Take half of the squash, garlic (I left out four cloves, one I ate and the rest I did something special with that I’ll explain at the end), 1/2 of the chicken broth, ginger, lavender, salt and white pepper and put into food processor…mix until smooth.  Pour into a pan on the stove to heat.  Then take the last half of the squash and the chicken broth and again, mix until smooth.  Oh and make sure you added all those roasted juices and olive oil from your roasting pan into the food processor.  So good.  Once you have it all on the stove heating gently, let’s use a few of those roasted garlic cloves.

Take a flour tortilla and heat it until it’s a little crispy.  I used my small cast iron griddle and did both sides.  Then I took that roasted garlic and spread it all over that warm tortilla.  Fold it over a couple times and serve it as a side to your soup!

When you serve this soup, grate some smoked mozzarella on the top.  That is a MUST!  And have some additional salt and white pepper on the table for taste.  The white pepper is a kind spice with this soup.  I added a little more of both to my bowl.

Roasted Butternut Squorsh Soup with roasted garlic tortilla for dipping!

This soup is best accompanied by at least one or more of these things:

Cozy pajamas and slippers.

Nothing better to do.

College football on tv.

A lap dog.

A blanket.

Chilly weather.

Kid tested and approved!



Filed under RECIPES

remember the little apple?

If you’ve been following our little journey, you’ll remember our windy day when we lost our beloved apple tree.  Then we shared how the tree sat there for most of the summer and lo and behold that tree wanted to give us one last apple, and it did!

Our last little apple.

We waited patiently and that little apple went from green to yellow and then one day we saw shades of pink and red!  It was close to being ready to pick!  The hubs and I decided that it should be ready in about a week.  I started thinking of how I could make our one last little apple special and share it with all our readers who have followed its story.  Maybe a personal sized apple pie?  Apple crumble?  Maybe a recipe that I’ve never tried before, but it has to be special…a celebration!

The next week I cleaned the kitchen, got the camera ready and went outside to pick that little apple.  As I got closer and closer, I didn’t see the little apple.  I looked everywhere, no apple.  Did it fall off?  If it did, then when?  Did the chickens eat it?  I looked all around the tree for any sign that the little apple had fallen.  I couldn’t find it.  The branch was bare.  Then I started feeling sad.  I couldn’t give our last little apple that worked so hard to come out of that tree, a proper goodbye.  Our little apple was gone.

I was very upset about it, because that was not how I planned it!  I could never give that little apple the beautiful send off it deserved.  As I stood there at the bare tree, something changed.  What happened was another farm-life lesson.  I smile came over me.  That little apple actually showed me something wonderful…you can have all the plans in the world but sometimes, things just don’t go exactly how you’d like them to.  It’s neither good or bad, it just is.  The little apple is gone and that’s ok.  Initially, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to make it into something beautiful, but…it already was.  It was amazing to see that it grew out of something that most would call dead and gone and it gave us a great story and tons of warm fuzzies!  And since that happened, I look at things that don’t go the way I had planned and just tell myself that this is a “little apple”.  I hope you can think of this story when life gets rerouted and isn’t going the way you planned…

Thank you little apple!


Filed under FARM LIFE

the lavender learned me…

We have been through the mill over here!  It’s been a whirlwind!  Planting more lavender, enjoying the growth of the second year plants, learning, making mistakes, mowing things that shouldn’t have been mowed.  Consider us schooled…for now.  I’m sure the lavender will learn us every year.  Here are a few things that will help us go into next year a tad bit smarter…

If you let the weeds grow, your farm dog will think it’s a short cut when chasing critters off the property.

When you put new plants in the ground, flag them or put something by them because your farm dog won’t pay attention and take the short cut when chasing critters off the property.

If you cut lavender too early, it will wilt and your bouquet will look really sad.

A goose might uproot a lavender plant out of curiosity but they find out quickly that lavender is not something they want to eat.

At the end of the season caterpillars love to hang out on the stems, be careful cutting the final bunches of lavender or you may behead one!

If you dig holes one day and go the next to put the plants in, check for toads first or you’ll scream when one jumps out at you.

Chickens love the lavender field and are very polite about leaving the plants alone.

Flag the new plants before you mow, or you may mow over one…and you’ll know this when you get a huge whiff of lavender while mowing.  Not a good sign!

Weed cloth is the best invention in the entire world.

Have a scripted answer for “Lavender?  What’s lavender?”

The 2011 lavender season is officially over now.  So, it’s product experimentation time!  I’m sure there will be many more “oops’s” to share!  And I’ll share them!  Happy Autumn!


Filed under LAVENDER

Poll: using lavender in cooking…


Filed under DARE I ASK