Green Hill Farm in Bloom

Our garden has been really lovely this spring and summer.  Actually, I think it’s the prettiest it’s ever looked.  We designed and planted our flower beds around 2005, and every year they’ve filled in a little more. Of course, all the rain we had in April and May certainly helped to create such a colorful palette of blooms. Have a […]

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A Summer Fling

I’d like to start with the fact that I don’t normally get emotionally involved or gush over dessert.  Yes.  I enjoy decadent treats in moderation: a piece of Victoria sponge or chocolate cake on occasion.  I don’t, however, just lose my mind over sweet things…….until last week. It started out innocently enough.  My dad is a fine gardener and always has a bounty of vegetables to share with friends and family.  Every summer, he sends my in-laws squash, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, etc. from his garden; and, in an act of reciprocity, my mother-in-law bakes bread or makes a special treat for my parents.  About a week ago, after receiving an installment of vegetables from Dad, my mother-in-law sent my parents fresh berries with a homemade “cream” topping.  Bless her heart, she even sent some for us. Of course, Farmguy and I had no inkling this wasn’t any normal berry and cream combination.  After dinner, we dished out some berries and dollaped the “cream” on top and proceeded to enjoy our desserts.  After one bite, I exclaimed, “Oh my gosh–This. Is. SO. Good!!  It’s not like any cream I’ve ever had! We’ve got to get the recipe from your mother!”  The next day, I called Farmguy’s mom to thank her for this unexpected treat and to get the recipe.  I went on and on about how much we enjoyed it, and how it was the best thing EVER.  The memory is blurry now, […]

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Fresh, Sweet Corn

Sex is good but not as good as fresh, sweet corn. ~Garrison Keillor Fresh, sweet corn is one of those treats you look forward to in the summertime, especially if you’re a gardener.  There’s nothing quite like it!  And, at the risk of sounding like “fifty shades of farmgirl,” I just had to include Garrison Keillor’s quote emphasizing how spectacularly good it really is. 😉 In honor of fresh, sweet corn, I’m sharing one of my favorite corn recipes—corn spoon pudding.  I love it, because it’s super easy and amazingly delicious!  It’s from a wonderful cookbook titled, Potluck at Midnight Farm-–celebrating food, family, and friends on Martha’s Vineyard, by Tamara Weiss.  Corn spoon pudding is a recipe that was contributed to the cookbook by actress, Mary Steenburgen.  Steenburgen writes, “this is a recipe that I grew up with in Arkansas and have made for many kinds of people.  Also, it’s so wildly popular that folks take one bite and instantly want the recipe.” Well, I have to agree with her.  I always keep extra copies of this recipe on hand to share, because it’s a guaranteed smash hit.  It’s the best cornbread you’ll ever eat! Corn Spoon Pudding Serves 12 *Use organic, non-GMO ingredients when possible Ingredients: 1  (8 1/2-ounce) box corn muffin mix 7 1/2-ounces of freshly cooked whole kernel corn or canned corn 7 1/2-ounces of creamed corn or canned creamed corn 1 cup sour cream  (use sour cream […]

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Mother Nature’s Helper

“Vintage Watering Can,” 18 x 18 acrylic on canvas by Tonya R. Hengerer   *Many thanks to my wonderful art teacher!       “Mother Nature’s Helper” by Tonya R. Hengerer   What one uses to Attack parched, arid Terroir, Eradicating dryness and Restoring an Ideal environment Necessary for Growing   Crops, such as, cantaloupe And, especially cucumbers—Mother Nature’s helper.  

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Creative Cuisine, Cool Cocktails, and Chickens…Could There Be a Better Combination?

A while ago, friend and fellow blogger, Melody of Meals With Mel visited Virginia and Green Hill Farm with her husband, Doug.  Melody is a fantastic cook with a flair for Southwestern cuisine.  And, she recently showcased a number of healthy and delicious salads that are perfect for dining al fresco this summer.  If you’re wondering what to cook for dinner this evening, be sure to visit Mel for lots of wonderful ideas! During our visit, Melody told me about a fun and whimsical blog called, Drinking with Chickens.  I knew I would love it based on the name alone.  Drinking With Chickens features cool cocktails using fresh herbs and flowers from the author’s lovely and inspiring garden….and, of course, there are lots of cute and curious chickens running around everywhere.  This blog has beautiful photography and wonderful, creative cocktail recipes—plus a good dose of chicken humor. So, with summer almost here, you may want to check out these two very original blogs before your next cocktail or dinner party.  Happy Blogging! 🙂  

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Teacup Bird Feeders

I grew up in an environment of “old stuff”–old houses and barns, antique furniture, and heirloom quilts and china.  My grandparents lived next door in the family’s ancestral home, and Grandma Rieley loved antiques.  Almost every Saturday morning she was either at an estate sale, yard sale, or antiques store.  All of this influenced my appreciation and love of antiques and “old stuff” in general.  So, when I ran across this craft idea for making a bird feeder from a vintage teacup and saucer, I loved it! This would be a fun craft activity to do with older children (with adult supervision), a charming homemade gift for Mother’s Day, or even a hostess gift for a bird lover or gardener.  It’s fairly straightforward, only requiring a few items. Gather: 1.  Teacup and saucer–This can be anything you have on hand, mismatched or otherwise.  I found a few individual vintage teacups and saucers at a local antiques store for $10.00 or less. 2.  Sandpaper 3.  Super adhesive glue–I used E6000. 4.  Twine, string, or yarn 5.  Birdseed–My birds seem to like a sunflower and safflower seed mix. Directions: 1.  Thoroughly wash and dry teacup and saucer. 2.  Use sandpaper to scratch teacup and saucer where the two surfaces meet.  This helps them to adhere together once glued. 3.  Squeeze a small amount of glue onto the surface of the saucer.  Next, tip teacup onto its side and place on top of […]

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Force of Nature

  A few weeks ago, I decided to coax cuttings of a flowering cherry tree into an early performance in order to speed up spring. Persuading plants to flower out of season is known as forcing.  You can either trim branches from your yard or buy them from a florist.  There are a number of flowering trees and shrubs that you can choose for your trimmings.  I have a flowering cherry tree in my front yard.  So, that’s what I used. However, flowering dogwood, redbud, flowering dogwood, saucer magnolia, flowering quince, or forsythia work well, too. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: 1.  Prune on a mild, late-winter day.  Branches are more pliable when temperatures are above freezing.  Most spring bloomers form flower buds on the previous season’s growth. 2.  Look for crowded branches that are no more than 1/2 inch in diameter, with numerous round, plump flower buds.  Thinning is okay. 3.  Place branches in fairly hot tap water, and recut at an angle.  Next, place in a bucket of water with floral preservative.  Store in a cool, dimly lit area like a porch or garage to ease the transition indoors. 4.  When buds begin to swell, bring branches indoors.  Set arrangements in a bright area away from direct sunlight and heating vents.  Change water daily. 5.  Celebrate spring early!  After all, you just fooled Mother Nature.    

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Friday Farm Favorites: Spring Bulbs and Vintage Flower Pots

Gray, winter skies won’t curtail my cheer.  Thanks, in part, to a variety of colorful and fragrant bulbs and these whimsical, vintage flower pots.  This time of year, it’s so uplifting to have something blooming in the house, especially any of these springtime flowers.  I also love my collection of McCoy flower pots from the 1940s.  McCoy pottery dates back […]

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