Monday, February 10, 2020

Holy Cow it's February!

My 2020 plan of a free range lifestyle is moving along, sort of.  Thankfully no more issues with the van other than my depleted bank account, and that is where the free range lifestyle gets kind of fenced in.  

But I will not be corralled..... too much, I frankly refuse this year.  

Since last posting I hosted the great winter Pie-a-thon.  I had wanted to do a pie and Prosecco party for a while now and finally had the time to undertake this insanity.  Next time that little needle is stuck on the record I should just break the record and move along; next time! 

Invite the neighbors over, then realize there are 12 of us and one pie is not enough, then realize not everyone likes mincemeat, then realize you have been saving pie recipes since 1970 and my friends, you are down the pie hole of insanity.  My initial list had 19 "favorite" pies.  Thankfully my right brain kicked in and pointed out that was more than one whole pie per person; weed this list out!  Speaking of weeds, in a moment of clarity and panic I realized I had double booked the day and had a seed swap-potluck 40 miles away.  I'll just take pie and seeds and make it home in time to whip the cream and bake off one last pie.  I made two practice pies; applesauce and peach-blueberry, just to get my pie groove on. 

applesauce test pie....... the peach blueberry was consumed before I could get pictures.

Pies that made the cut: Mincemeat, Walnut and Whiskey, Lemon Meringue, French Silk with Espresso, Coconut Cream. 
Recipes are here:  PIE RECIPES

The parts I always forget:  
clean the house, blow the dust of the dishes and glassware, buy the Prosecco and bath the dog.  
This party stuff is a lot of work!  
But we made it!! 

We had a great time and I have never done anything like this before and I would do it again but I not going to be making pie for awhile. 

Along the lines of frantic activity we had a warm spell!  This fits in perfectly with my free range life style.  When I was in a pie frenzy, the snow was blowing and it was cold outside.  The wood stove was humming along and the dog was snoring.  Two days later I was in shirt sleeves hacking down tree limbs.  Which worked out great after eating way too much pie. 

One of my observations for the last few years; look out the window and plan the day!  If it's raining; bake, go to the studio, write a blog post, get into trouble applying to shows you really don't want to do etc.  If the there is no precipitation of any kind: GET OUTSIDE!  There is no tomorrow.  Sometimes the rain or snow lasts a week.  Sometimes the warm weather lasts 12 hours before we plummet back to freezing or have wind storms.  There is no more normal!  If strawberries fail but peaches have a bumper crop put up enough for two years as next year peaches might fail and strawberries might have the bumper crop.  We just don't know anymore but put something up and get stuff done when you can.  If the lake is calm go kayaking today not tomorrow!  This is the new normal.  I am getting much more done living under these "normal" weather patterns.  

Marinated Mushrooms:

Oranges were on sale too.  I love canned oranges and grapefruit! 
Not marmalade.... it's a texture thing with me. 

Then the warm weather hits and you're in the backyard moving plants and pruning like a 
mad woman.  The new neighborhood cat, Figgie stops by to save you. 

I still have 5 more plants to move but this is a huge start to the backyard makeover. 
If you would like watch the beginning of the transformation head over to the youtube channel.

The way back is going edible in a big way!  The deer have educated me to what they will eat and what they won't eat and they have eaten quite a bit.  And I am YouTubing all of this as it will be quite a change.  Confession, I am having a hard time leaving my formal gardening skills behind and deep down it just goes against everything I have held holy for the last 50 years.  I do not live on a farm, I live on a half acre lot with neighbors very close.  I do not want this place to look like a farm I want it to look landscaped but still edible and enjoyable.  As I take more and more ornamentals away what do I replace them with.  Are they just being replaced for food value?  and food value for whom (me or the deer)?  Do they make sense in this environment?  I don't have the luxury to plant just to plant. 

Ever drive down a street and see someone who is trying to "foodscape"?  95% of the time it looks like hell, IMHO.  So I have thrown down the gauntlet for zone 5 neighborhood gardens on this half acre; can I make this place look landscaped with native plants and edibles?  Toss in a few chickens, not 25, just a few and a blind dog.  OH and what does one do with all the dog poop on this half acre, the landfill should not be an option, or tracking it through the house.  I am hoping to come up with a solution, stay tuned for that one. 

It's been a great month of hiking, seed swapping, neighborhood visiting, pruning, transplanting, permaculture workshops, garden planning, seed ordering, YouTubing thinking and hiking. So much hiking this month.... 

sometimes just hiking around the yard....

and laughing........ don't forget to laugh :) 


  1. Evening soirees involving food and friends always sound like such a good idea in one's head ... until you are in the midst of the cooking and cleaning frenzy ... often doing both at the same time ... and then the old brain goes 'what the hell were you thinking'. However, usually it all comes together and goes over well ... everyone has a great time and wants to know when are 'we' going to do it again ... lol! ... glad your pie fest was a success ... re the yard and garden stuff? ... I'll pass that baton to hubby ... I'm heading to the studio ... b ... xx

  2. LOL so Brenda you been down this party road! Maybe I could figure out something outside ........ like a fire and an out house. I remembered at the last minute one coupe are vegans and I think it just threw me over the cliff. I made vegan meringues and tried whipping coconut cream for Vegan Pavlovas and they didn't turn out I was in a complete panic. They walked in and I started apologizing then they said; OH it's a party we eat anything ......... PHEW! Ya, back to the studio and I think I can whip out some dessert plates......... nahhhhhh there's pruning to be done!

  3. Having a get together with friends is good.. especially in dry weather!
    You are inspiring..and thanks for the recipes!!

    1. Hi gz! We have a very nice neighborhood and it is nice...... next month is a salad party ☺️💚🌱.

  4. It's spring, summer, fall here, pick any one and we can have it set up for you. Pie, watched the video I like pie but don't make it unless there are others to help. I made one and cut it into slices, put it in the freezer, as pie will freeze very well. I walked past the husband as he was eating frozen pie like it was a finger food. You know, he said, frozen pie is great. So is frozen cake, cheesecake, cookies. Nothing is safe here....

    1. Frozen pie 😳. I used to make an apple pie you frozen and baked it in a brown paper bag..... used to fill the freezer with those. My Dad loved pie, any kind and a good apple dumpling that no one in this family ever made as good as his Mom but we all kept trying. When you leave a fork and knife in the freezer basket you know you’re in trouble ...... I really only like pie for breakfast..... but I’m good for awhile now. I do love making them though.

  5. The pie and Prosecco party sounds like a blast! As for the dog poop... I grew up on a small city lot. When we had a husky pup my Dad made an in-ground dog poo composter. It had a small opening with a lid and you just dropped the poop into it. I can't remember if they had to add anything to help it along. I think that today you can buy commercial ones.

    1. Hi Michèle! The Pie and Prosecco was so much fun! As for the dog poop challenge...... yes! That is very much along the lines I am considering. Waiting for the ground to thaw so I can dig the hole. The joys of living in Ohio ☺️