May 27, 2013

Virginia is for Lovers

I live in Virginia.  The state motto is "Virginia is for Lovers".  To help with the campaign there's several 'LOVE' signs across the state.  There's a cool one at the Fredericksburg Rest Area off I-95 but I'm never near there to ever get a picture of it.  

I saw an article the other day about a 'LOVE' sign being placed in front of the Courthouse Village in Spotsylvania for a limited time.

I drove there today and got some pictures.  :)

Before I die: Chalkboard

On my way to work the other day I saw these chalkboards lined up along a fence. On the boards you could write in something you wanted to do before you died.  It seemed like a project of some sort and sure enough there was an article in the newspaper about it a few days later explaining it.  Seems pretty fun.  I went downtown today to get pictures.

Of course, no matter what you try to do there will be very immature people drawing graphic pictures, filling in curse words or just being plain disgusting.  :|

Nate told me what he would write on the chalkboard so I filled out a line for him.  :)
Before I die I want to RUN A MARATHON.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Yesterday, I went to RVA to bottle my 3rd batch of Homemade Vanilla that was ready.  Ashley and Ella came over and we hung out and as Kristen and I did the bottling.

I have the Vanilla for sale for $5 each.  We'll see how many I sell.  

It was a fun day. Dave grilled burgers and hot dogs for us for lunch.  Then for dinner we picked up a few Little Caesars pizzas.  :)

May 25, 2013

Garden Update: Day 82

Garden update.  Day 82.  

Everything outside keeps growing very well.

My Marigolds are blooming.  :)

Inside my carrots are still doing great.

My grape tomatoes were starting to slouch....

So....I put some ties on them to keep them straight up.

My Red Pepper plant is still getting big.  I have a few gnats that have been flying around the plants.  I saw on pinterest a helpful tip on how to get rid of them.  Just add a tbsp of dish soap and a tsp of white vinegar to the water and water every other day with this mixture to get rid of the gnats.  It could take up to a week or so.  I saw some again this morning but not as many as before so I believe it's at least helped.

Outside I almost stepped on a baby bunny.  :)  Nate told me that he saw one when he was cutting the grass the last time.  We always seem to get baby bunnies every Spring.  :)

I got a new gnome today and added him to the gnome garden.

The 7 dwarfs...I mean 7 gnomes.  :)

I almost stepped on this Robin's egg.  It seemed perfect.  I think the winds knocked it out of the nest.  I put the egg in the Robin's nest that is at the tree where the gnome garden sits under.  The egg was such a beautiful tealish blue.

I checked the bluebird box and there are 6 beautiful blue eggs inside.  :)

Back inside....Harley is protecting my flip flops.  :)

Strawberry Picking at the Farm

The plan today was to have a lazy day but I woke up this morning with an idea to go pick farm fresh strawberries.  I went to Millers Farms.  It was so beautiful outside today.  Sunshine, in the 60's and breezy.

Cute sign telling you where to go to pick your own berries.

Near the patch is a little red shed where you get a bucket or tray and then you find a row that's not busy and start picking.

Here's my bucket with a few berries I found.

Yummy ripe berries...

Rows....It was nice and peaceful finding berries.  I could hear the 17 year cicadas humming off in the tree lines.  There were several families with little kids picking berries for the first time.  One mom ate a strawberry  and her little boy said "Mommy they have pesticides".  She didn't say anything and continued picking berries.   I overheard a father from another group tell his little girl to pick the berries that glistened in the sunshine.  And then there was a little girl named Lydia who's mommy told her she found all the best berries in the patch.  How cute?  :)  All these moms and dads were making wonderful good memories for their little kids.  #adorable  :)

My bucket filling up quickly.  I might have eaten a berry or two.  ;)  I love picking berries.  When I was little my parents would take my siblings and I to the farm to pick berries.  It was always a lot of fun picking and eating the berries.  :)  #Ihadanawesomechildhood

Here's an unripened white strawberry.  One day it will be ready for someone to enjoy.

I walked all the way down to the end of the row and then back up another row, picking ripe berries along the way.  The strawberry patch is across the street from the main house and the market.

Strawberry plants.

These berries were pink.  Photo op!  :)

Once I was satisfied with the amount of berries I went to the red shed where I was recognized by the farmer.  He remembered me from coming there for the pumpkin, strawberry, and pie classes I took with friends.  He told me with a big smile that there was plenty of ice cream for sale in the shop from Trickling Springs Creamery that goes great with the berries.  haha

Here's my basket of berries.  :)

The pick your own berries were $2.50 a pound.  I had about 4lbs of berries.  Once I got my berries weighed I went across the street to the market.  It was busy!  Tons of people buying stuff.  

Here's some beautiful flowers for sale.

Wagon wheel

I bought a bundle of asparagus too.  I couldn't resist.  It was $4 per bundle.  I love fresh asparagus!

May 23, 2013

Amish Friendship Bread

My friend, Crystal gave me a starter bag for Amish Friendship Bread over the weekend.  There is a 10 day process before you can bake it.  I got my starter bag on day 6.

Don't use a metal spoon or metal bowl for mixing.  Do not refrigerate.
It's normal for the batter to bubble and for the bag to expand, just let some air out slowly as the fermenting is taking place.  :)

Day 1- Squeeze bag
Day 2- Squeeze bag
Day 3- Squeeze bag
Day 4- Squeeze bag
Day 5- Squeeze bag
Day 6- Add 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour and mix throughly in ziploc bag
Day 7- Squeeze bag
Day 8- Squeeze bag
Day 9- Squeeze bag

Today marked day 10 which meant I could then combine the batter with ingredients to make more starters and mix up my bread to bake.

Here's the recipe and instructions.

Day 10:  Combine in a large bowl:
The batter
1 cup Flour 
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk
Mix with a wooden spoon.  (I didn't have a wooden spoon so I picked up a nice sturdy one from the store earlier today).

After you've mixed well...put 1 cup starter batter into 4 ziploc bags.
Keep 1 starter for yourself
Give three to friends or family with a printed copy of the recipe/instructions. 

To the remaining 1 cup of batter in your bowl add the following:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 (3oz) packages of instant vanilla pudding
3 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup raisins (optional)
1 cup nuts (optional)

Mix well, and pour into two greased (or 1 large) loaf pan.  Sprinkle with a cinnamon sugar mixture on top.  Bake on 325 degrees for 1 hour.  Since I used a large loaf pan I baked for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  

Let cool...

Slice and enjoy... tastes like a cinnamon streusel cake.

May 21, 2013

Garden update: Day 78


This is my indoor garden.  I have strawberries, carrots, red peppers and grape tomatoes.  I'm not seeing any growth with my strawberries.  I'm not sure why.  I'm disappointed but I'll give them some more time b/c it's only shy of a month of growth.  The carrots are doing great.  They are on day 45.  They keep just keep growing.  I need to research to see how I know when they carrots are ready to harvest.  I still have my avocado pit in the window sill in the kitchen.  It looks the same as it did almost a month ago.  I put the celery stalk in the compost pile.  It got really gross so I gave up on it.  It did grow stalks out the middle but the base rotted so badly and quickly that I decided to get rid of it.

Here's my pepper plant.  It's doing great.  I hope to get peppers.  I'm going to have to repot the plant in a bigger pot soon.  I will need to get some stakes for it to hold it up so the leaves don't get to heavy for it.

Here's my grape tomatoes.  They are so happy in the window sill.  I have to keep moving the blind up because they keep growing up.  There were some smaller plants and sucker leaves that I decided to clear and thin it out a bit.

Here's what they look like now. Must more thinner at the bottom.  Maybe now they will start to fruit.


My potato plants are thriving!  I only have 2 left and the plants are full of green leaves.  This is day 78.

I have the potato plants, rose plant, marigolds, big boy tomatoes, squash and zukes all outside.  The rose plant had some dead leaves and dead roses on it so I took them off.  I might plant the rose bush in the front flower bed  one day.  We'll see.  The marigolds are starting to bud nicely.  It's day 46 for them.  Pretty soon they will have some flowers.  :)  The squash and zukes are doing great.  It's day 38 for each of them.  They have nice big green leaves.  I added some more soil to the pots today so the plant stay covered.  I also added soil to the big boy tomatoes.  Once they get bigger I will probably need to separate them into their own pots with a stake to keep them straight.  It's day 46 for the big boy tomatoes.