A Line Skirt

I finally finished a skirt I’d cut out months ago.

Just in time for our first campfire of the season!


The fabric is a delectable avian print by Joel Dewberry.


And can I say how much I enjoy having a serger to make nice finished edges?


The pattern is one of my absolute favorites.  It’s Amy Butler’s Barcelona Skirt pattern, and I’ve made many of them.


They’re comfortable, flattering and super easy to make.  I don’t know why it took me so long to get this one sewn up.

Brisket Tacos

This weekend I decided to try my hand at something I’d been thinking about for awhile.  Soft tacos with brisket filling.

I didn’t really have a recipe as such so I just kind of winged it.  This is what I came up with.

I threw a 2 lb beef brisket into the crockpot around 11 am and topped it with about 1/2 cup of catsup, 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 3/4 cup of tequila, 1 cup of beef stock, 1 TBS red pepper flakes, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and 2 tsp cumin.  I cooked it on high heat for about 3 hours and then reduced it to low for about another 3 or 4 hours.

Once the brisket was done (super tender and falling apart!) I chopped up some tomatoes and onions and threw them together in a small bowl with a splash of lime juice.  If I’d had any fresh cilantro on hand I’d have thrown that in as well.


Then I decided I may as well whip up some homemade tortillas.

Homemade tortillas are actually dead easy and quick, and if you’re going to go through the effort to make a fabulous brisket filling for your tacos, then you should have excellent tortillas, too.  They’re so much more delicious than store – bought (unless you can buy freshly made ones!).


SO easy.  Flour, salt, water and olive oil.

Break off a small ball at a time, roll it out with a rolling pin and throw it in a greased pan for about a minute.


It took me about 20 minutes to make 8.

Then I served them up.  I filled each warm tortilla with brisket (plus a little brisket sauce from the crockpot) some monterey jack cheese, the tomato – onion mixture and some sour cream.  If I had had any fresh guacamole I would have used that as well.


Et voila!  A super delicious, super easy dinner that will wow your family.


Garden 2013 Progress

This year has been my most ambitious garden undertaking to date.  I have two raised beds in front full of radishes, chives, lavender, rosemary, yukon potatoes, and Adirondack blue potatoes.

I have the front garden full of garlic, arugula, two kinds of beets, two kinds of peas, pole beans, carrots, 4 different kinds of tomatoes, bell peppers, anaheim peppers, strawberries and raspberries.

The new, larger back garden has several kinds of pumpkins, butternut and acorn squash, zucchini and summer squash, two kinds of cucumbers, watermelon, two kinds of corn, blue potatoes, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, and basil.

Keeping up with the weeding has been the hardest part of it all (as is usually the case!).


The blueberry patio plant I bought last year (which was “guaranteed” to fruit the first year. Ha!) is finally in fruit.


The back garden.


Squash sprouts!


Sweet potato.


Red potato.


Pole beans.


One of the roses I planted to encourage visitation by pollinators.

It’s so hard to be patient when everything is just starting out, but soon enough if all goes well I’ll be overwhelmed with the bounty.

Fingers crossed!

Shorts for Oona

Last summer or so I started an Oliver & S short set for Oona in some adorable Moda knit fabric.

Before finishing the waistline on the shorts I tried the outfit on Oona and discovered it was going to be WAY too big on her.  So I stashed it.

Yesterday I pulled it back out and finished it.  When we tried it on her again, it fit!





I’ve yet to use a pattern from Oliver & S that we haven’t loved.

Trying to Beat the Heat

It’s finally starting to feel like summer out there.

The cicadas are chattering the day away and the livestock are hiding out under the trees.  Thankfully we were able to leave several large trees out in the field and now that they are leafed in they provide plenty of afternoon shade for the sheep and goats.  Jerry doesn’t seem to care overmuch about the sun; as long as he can keep his face buried in yummy hay he’s not going anywhere else.

We’re starting to ease into our summer schedule: early morning watering and sheep checks followed by laying low during the hottest portions of the day (though I still check the sheep during this time to be sure no one is in any distress) and then feedings and another round of checks in the evening.  The evenings are usually when everyone is most playful and happy.


The chickens find whatever shade they can as well – usually under the cars.





Maintenance and Upgrades

Now that we’ve managed to carve this property more or less into what we need it to be we realized it’s time to make it look better.

We’re working on getting the pool open (a genius with pool chemicals I am not) and in anticipation of that Paul decided we needed stairs so we’re not walking down a veritable mud slide to it.


He spent the weekend bringing in dirt and setting the bricks in where they need to be.


I’m excited for the finished product – and I’m thinking some solar lights along the sides are called for.

I also bought more peony and dianthus plants to put in (haven’t gotten to them yet….ugh) and we’re working on smoothing out the back pasture and getting all the stumps removed (slowly but surely).

The good news is that I am starting to see this:


Grass!  I can see grass starting to come in!  It’s not growing in fast enough to suit me, but at least I can see that a day will come that it won’t look like a barren, post apocalyptic wasteland back there!

Every Farmhouse Needs A Table

A REAL table.  Not two plastic Sam’s Club folding tables bolted together and covered with tablecloths to keep people from suspecting.

That is sadly what has passed for the main table in the house for a few years now.  We needed a fairly large table and as you can imagine, real wood tables are rather expensive, especially ones big enough to allow for up to ten people to sit around them (remember, we host family gatherings for the holidays).

And when you think of it, so much life happens around a table when you homeschool and when you make it a priority for the family to eat together at meal times.  Why not have a table you love?

So, a while back we acquired a beautiful rustic farmhouse table.  The problem was, moving it was ridiculous.  It had been put together so poorly that it was nearly impossible to life without pulling the entire top off, and the legs had nails sticking straight out in places.

It took Paul a bit of work, but he spent time reinforcing the whole thing and taking out any hazardous nails.  I thought it would never be complete and in the house, but the results were well worth the wait!




We inaugurated it by having an impromptu dinner guest (my friend Margie who stopped by and had a butternut risotto foisted upon her) and everyone agrees it is a far nicer table than what we were using previously.



The Darby Show

You’ll have to excuse us….and indulge a bit in our love for a certain little lamb.

Darby has made a complete recovery and is now officially our shadow.  He likes to follow me out to the garden, he likes to follow Emily while she feeds the chickens.

He is happy to let Oona and Neve bestow a suffocating amount of snuggles upon him.



It creates no end of amusement to the kids when he follows me into the house, or hangs out in the garage to see what Paul is up to, crying out little “maaaaas” every so often (it sounds just like a child calling his mom……spookily so some times).



Occasionally we’ll even find him standing at the back door, having gotten up on the deck but not knowing how to get back down.

He’s finally starting to put on weight and no longer nurses from his mama – though they do hang out and snuggle together.

Still, I’m not sure he realizes any longer that he’s a sheep!

Weekend In Pictures


We let the ducks out in pairs to swim.  A couple of them took right to it; a few others were more interested in escaping.



We worked on brushing the dogs and getting them treated with Frontline now that ticks are out in full force.



I made a batch of homemade granola using a variation on  THIS recipe from Susan.


I add cinnamon and maple syrup along with the honey to mine.  This time of year I always use dried blueberries or cherries;  in the fall I like to use pumpkin seeds and dried apples or cranberries.

What did you do with your weekend?

Happy House Lamb

Life has given me a lot of really crappy days lately (and not just me – I know plenty of other people having tough times…..must be something in the air) but once in awhile it also hands me something really, really great.


Little Mr. Darby, our House Lamb, has turned a corner!

He’s been getting slowly perkier and perkier each day, and last evening started nibbling on a small amount of grain and drinking from a water bowl.  It was great because I then didn’t need to get up in the middle of the night to give him a bottle.  In the morning his ears perked up when I went to say “good morning” to him and he let out a tiny little “baa”.  I put more grain in front of him and went for my own breakfast.

A few moments later I heard his little “baa” again.  When I went back, he was looking at me expectantly.  He had eaten all of his grain so I gave him some more.  Just tiny amounts so he wouldn’t overdo it.

We repeated this process all morning until I took him out to enjoy the sun and lay in the grass.

Except he didn’t want to lay in the grass.  He wanted to walk!

He is still fairly weak and can’t walk around a whole lot on his own, but the fact that he has started to do it gives me great hope.  It will be wonderful to see him back out with his fellow lambs instead of hanging out in the craft room impersonating a spoiled invalid.