Tag Archives: gardening

Mock Apple Pie – Gluten & Dairy Free

Here we are again with another Ratio Rally offering.

This month is being hosted by Lisa of Gluten Free Canteen and is one of my favorites… pie!   Go there to see all the other great gluten-free pie offerings this month!  UPDATE: I have links at the bottom of this post too!

Baking by ratio… is really keeping a more exact proportion of ingredients in a recipe so that it always turns out.  Measuring ingredients can give a widely varying weight ‘cup for cup’ and in gluten free baking too much isn’t a good thing!  Once you try weighing your ingredients you will find it so much easier.  Really!!

Pie dough has to be the easiest ratio ever… as simple as 3 – 2 – 1!  3 parts flours to 2 parts fats to 1 part water.  The amount of water can change based on the fat used.  If using butter, it is partially water, so a little less water will be needed.  I am pretty sure there is water content in the Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery spread I used, which accounted for a little less than the full 1 part of water needed in my recipe.

My mom always used lard to make her pie crusts.  Once I started making pie for my own family I used lard initially.  It does make for a very flaky crust but I dislike the lard taste.  I eliminated ALL hydrogenated oils from my kitchen years ago and switched to using palm shortening instead of the hydrogenated cottonseed oil called Crisco… eeewwww.

Did I say that I really like pie?  I think that the crust is one of my favorite parts of the pie.  I would take the extra bits of dough, roll them out, sprinkle them with cinnamon & sugar and bake until just starting to turn golden brown… crust cookies… YUM!!

Once I needed to eat gluten free it was pie and pie crust that I missed the most.  I have tried those boxed, gluten free pie crusts, but they left an odd aftertaste in the mouth, were crumbly more than flaky, rolling them out was disastrous… and try to make my pinched crust edge??  Forget it!  The crust just broke.  Though repairing tears and holes was super simple.

Until today.  Today I came to closest to gluten free pie crust perfection as I have ever come, or tasted… anywhere!

Now that I have made my own pie crust without any of those funny gums…and my crust did not have that ‘odd’ taste… I am wondering if it is those gums that leave that odd taste behind…

Of course that near perfect gluten free pie crust needs a show stopping filling doesn’t it?  And why, oh why would a woman who lives in the Pacific Northwest – better known as “Apple Country”… make a “MOCK” Apple Pie pray tell???

Why to use up those giant, baseball-bat-sized zucchini of course!  lol  We can only make so much zucchini bread and zucchini chocolate cake in one season.  Let’s try something new for a change – – – – – let’s make pie!!

Mock Apple Pie

1 recipe pie dough for a double crust pie (below)

1 – 2 large, hard, zucchini, peeled, de-seeded & sliced to equal 5 – 6 cups

1/2 cup sucanat

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 – 1/4 grated nutmeg (I buy the whole nuts and grate as needed)

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon organic cornstarch

tiny splash of vanilla extract (use the real stuff!)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place zucchini, sucanat, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, cornstarch, and vanilla into a mixing bowl.  Stir until well mixed and zucchini slices are coated with the sucanat & cinnamon mixture.

Pour into prepared pie shell.  Top with second shell and seal.  Pierce top shell to make vents for steam to escape.  Cover fluted edge of crust with foil or a pie crust shield.  Place pie in pre-heated oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes.  Turn heat down to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 – 40 minutes until zucchini is tender.  Let rest out of oven for 15 minutes before slicing.

Slice.  Eat.  Enjoy!Why claim only ‘near’ perfection…?  The fluted edge didn’t hold it’s shaped as well as I would have liked in the heat of the oven.  I will have to try using a little less shortening next time to test out that… otherwise this one’s a keeper!!

Pie Dough

Take your mixing bowl and set it on your scale.  Turn on the scale.  Weigh out ingredients.  This is the EASIEST way to measure out shortening ESPECIALLY!!  No muss, no fuss, no mess, easy peasy!  Try it, you’ll love it!!

5 ounces sweet rice flour

2 ounces sorghum flour

3 ounces tapioca flour

1 ounce organic corn starch (make sure this is NON-GMO!!)

1 ounce millet flour

4 ounces Earth Balance soy-free buttery spread

4 ounces palm shortening

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

Weigh out all the ingredients into mixing bowl and cut the fats into the flour mix.  I used my kitchen aid stand mixer for this.  Cut in the fats until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Mix 1 beaten egg with 1 teaspoon vanilla and add to mixing bowl.  Add 1 – 2 ounces of cold water, 1 teaspoon at a time until the dough forms a ball.  Place the dough into a plastic bag and pop into the freezer for 15 minutes or the fridge for 30 minutes.

Divide dough into two equal pieces.  Roll one out between sheets of plastic wrap using a rolling pin to the diameter of your pie plate plus 2 inches.  Keep the second piece of dough in the freezer or refrigerator.  Once the dough is the proper diameter,  remove the top piece of plastic wrap and lift the rolled out dough using plastic wrap to lift and place into pie plate, remove the other piece of plastic wrap.  Use the same pieces of plastic wrap to roll out top crust.  Place sliced zucchini mix into crust lined pie plate.  Place crust on top of pie plate, using plastic wrap to lift rolled out dough.  Make fluted edge to seal top and bottom crusts.  Cut decorative vent holes.

Makes enough for one 9-inch double-crust pie or two single-crust pies.

The guys really liked this pie.  The Patriarch said the crust was wonderful, and he isn’t overly fond of gluten-free items normally.  He even had seconds.  Arrow gave this pie the thumbs up.

The best part… Neither one of them could tell that this was not made with apples!  🙂

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R

RATIO RALLY PIE LINKS:

TR from No One Likes Crumbley Cookies Chocolate Mousse Pie

Jean Layton from Gluten-Free Doctor Cheese Crusted Apple Pie

Irvin from Eat the Love Double Butterscotch Apple Pie

                                                        Charissa from Zest Bakery                                                   Apple Galette with Pisco Soaked Golden Raisins

Kate from katealicecookbook Kale & Zucchini Tart

Jenn from Jenn Cuisine Sweet Potato and Duck Pot Pie

Caleigh from Gluten Free[k] Leek and Potato Pie

Rachel from The Crispy Cook Maple Walnut Pie

gretchen from kumquat deep dish chocolate bourbon pecan pie

Claire from Gluten Freedom Autumn Pumpkin Spice Pie

Morri from Meals With Morri  A Pie Crust to Remember

Silvana Nardone from Silvana’s Kitchen Chicken Potpie

Caneel from Mama Me Gluten Free Green Tomato Pie

Meredith from Gluten Free Betty Blueberry Pie

Shauna from Gluten-free Girl and the Chef Fresh Pumpkin Pie

                                Meaghan from The Wicked Good Vegan                                    Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie with Pumpkin Seed and Ginger Topping

Erin from The Sensitive Epicure Chess Pie 

                                        Mary Fran from frannycakes                                            Pumpkin Mousse Pie and Apple Maple Cream Cheese Pie

Brooke from B & the boy! Pot Pie

Lisa from Gluten Free Canteen Frangipane Apple Tart

My Other Ratio Rally Posts:

This post is also linked to Kim at InAShoe.com

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A Few Thoughts on Expiration Dates

Psst.  Can I tell you a secret?  Promise not to tell??  Double promise?  I, um, well… [clearing throat], um, I regularly keep and use food and medicine well beyond their expiration dates.  There, phew, I said it.  Are you completely shocked?  Hey, and I’m still alive and well too!!

Most expiration dates are an indicator of quality and, shall we say, full nutritional value (for food) and full effectiveness (for medicines).

I do can my own food.  I would like to say it’s from my own garden, but maybe that will happen one day.  No, I buy in bulk and process it according to the tastes of my family.  One year, I think it was 2006, I made so much jam that I still have a few of those jars on my shelf today!  Do I use it and feed it to my family?  Yes.  It tastes just as good as the day I canned it.  One caveat though.  If you decide to go out on a limb and make some ‘exotic’ flavor of jam, say blueberry with lime, I have to warn you.  The lime zest starts to overwhelm the blueberry and it does become inedible for that reason.  It hadn’t gone bad, just very lime-y.  Very.  Ask me how I know.  I have also canned tomatoes, green beans, and applesauce to name just a few.  I keep those for longer than a year and we still eat them!  I have not canned my own butter or cheese, and being dairy free I probably won’t either.  I will be trying my hand at ghee.  I’ll post my results on that another day.  I promise!

If it does not smell bad & does not have any of the tell-tale signs of spoilage.  Than I figure it is alright to eat.  This is not a blanket statement for you to eat any ol’ thing on your shelf.  This is simply a statement of what we have chosen do in our home, but with intelligence.  Your family’s safety is your own responsibility!  Make sure you know the signs of spoilage in home canned items.

Canning: Signs of Spoilage

  • Jar seals have bulging lids or the seal is broken
  • Jar is dirty on the outside (a sign of food seepage)
  • Liquid is cloudy or bubbling/fermenting or foaming
  • Liquid is seeping out from under the sealed lid
  • Contents spurt out when the jar is opened
  • Mold has grown on food or under the lid
  • Food is slimy or mushy
  • Food smells off or unusual
  • Food is discolored (usually darker).

If a jar is showing signs of spoilage, throw it out safely so that no children or animals can get at it.

Does commercially canned food ensure food safety?  Don’t make me laugh.  How many food recalls can we think of in the last 2 years?  Far too many for me to trust commercially canned items implicitly!

Here are the terms used in the food  industry to describe canned foods with signs of spoilage:

  • Soft Swell: A can that is bulged on both ends, but not so tightly that the ends can’t be pushed in somewhat with a thumb press.
  • Hard Swell: A can that is so tightly bulged on both ends that the ends can’t be pressed in. A can with a hard swell will generally “buckle” before it bursts.
  • Flipper: A can whose end normally looks flat, but “flips out” when struck sharply on one end.
  • Springer: A can with one end bulged out. With sufficient pressure, this end will flip in, but the other end will flip out.
  • Leaker: A can with a crack or hole in the container that has caused leakage.

How can we protect ourselves? One important way is to look for signs of spoilage and to immediately discard any canned foods that are suspected of being spoiled.

Excalibur 9-Tray

I also dehydrate many of the things we eat.  I like dehydrating for many reasons.  One is there are no jars to potentially break in an earthquake and an even longer time for the nutritional value (at least what’s left of it) of the food to remain intact.  But keeping these things free of moisture is key.  That is one reason why we found viable grain in the tombs of the Egyptian Pharaohs!!  Dry, dry, dry.  It’s the word of the day.  Mold needs moisture to grow.  If you have dehydrated it well enough there will not be any moisture for mold to grow!

Dehydrated food is also lighter in weight making it easier to transport whether you are hiking, biking, or bugging out.  I am experimenting with making my own ‘instant soups & meals’ using my own dehydrated foods.  I will keep you posted on my progress in that.  I am also using lots more ‘leathers’ for a wide variety of uses.  No, not all fruit leather.  How does mushroom leather sound?  Or spaghetti sauce leather?

We purchase very little processed foods.  I make the bulk of our food from scratch.  With that said, even boxed cake mixes (for an example) would last for many years beyond their expiration dates!  Especially if they were also stored in 5-gallon containers with oxygen absorbers.  Water and air are food storage enemies.  Heat isn’t a helper either.  The cooler the storage temperature the better.

What about medicines you ask?  I do not take any medication on a regular basis.  I am attempting to get healthy by loosing my excess weight, exercising and eating a healthier diet.  All that is for a completely different post than this one!  lol  So if you do regularly take any medications you will have to judge for yourself whether any of this is for you or not.

Once long ago I passed a kidney stone.  OK, truth be told more than once, but we don’t need to get into that here do we?  Not drinking enough water, a significant increase in my black tea intake and celiac were my undoing.  Let me just tell you that passing a kidney stone is far more painful than giving birth!  I have given birth & with NO pain medication more than once.  This kidney stone thing was FAR worse.  Far, far worse.  I’m starting to sweat and shake just thinking about it.  I was given Tylenol with codeine for the pain.  But one whole pill sent me on ‘a loopy road’ and unable to function.  Who can do that with a small child in the house?  So I cut those big pills into quarters and took them that way.  I was able to take just enough to stay on top of the pain yet remain functional.

You can well imagine that those pills lasted quite a long time.  I have taken some of these that were well over 5 years old and closer to 10.  They still worked, but not like a ‘fresh’ one.  But at least they worked!  If you do choose to store extra medicines make sure they are stored in a way that an unauthorized person can’t gain access to them.

Blessings,

~Mrs. R

Disclaimer: The information available through this blog is  for educational purposes only.  All efforts have been made to ensure the material in this post is accurate and up to date.   However, Honey From Flinty Rocks cannot be held responsible for any circumstances resulting from its use, unavailability, or possible inaccuracy.

Broken Arm Blessings – The Break

First, before I get into the details you need to know that my walkway extends along the front of the house and meets up with the driveway at a 90 degree angle.  At that angle, the grass is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches below the level if the driveway.  Along the walkway and against the house is a planting area which contains two jasmine bushes/vines on trellises, an unknown, very slow growing, variegated  low ground cover, one hosta with lovely purple flowers and one hydrangea bush.   This planting area is all of 2 feet in depth.  All of you gardeners are now wondering who had the “bright” idea to plant two jasmine bushes that like to grow up under the siding as well as extend tendrils far out into the walkway (they can reach to a height of 10-15 feet, growing approximately 12-24 inches per year ) and a hydrangea bush (“The” bush in the photo at the top of this post) that will grow to be 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide in this narrow planting bed.  I too have been wondering…

Also, this will be a multiple part set of blog posts.  There is so much that happened that I couldn’t put it all in one giant post…  it would be way too long!  lol  Just how long will this series be?  I am not sure yet but 5 or 6 I think.

There I was, out to help Arrow find my garden bag.   That’s the bag with all my garden tools and I knew it HAD to be in the shed… but he claimed he couldn’t find it.  To tell you the truth I was irritated that he claimed he couldn’t find what I knew was “right there”.  I had on my apron and I was ready for the day.   We had more vegetables to plant!  I walked out the door and down the cement walkway, stepped around the lovely, full of big periwinkle blossoms, hydrangea bush (I had not pruned it back this year…) caught my foot on the driveway that sticks up above the grass and started “the trip of a lifetime”!  I took 4 or 5 “running steps” in an effort to catch myself, which actually only accelerated the velocity at which I was now “traveling”.  Well, that is until I stopped “traveling”.  The driveway is at about a 30% incline and my left side was on the uphill side of the driveway.  I remember hitting hard with my left hand and then pitching forward onto my forehead/face.  I rolled over and took one look at my arm and knew it was broken.  It had a slight dog-leg to it that shouldn’t have been there.  I clutched my arm to my chest as I lay there crying out (Oh, Oh, Oh) in pain.  Arrow was in the shed and looked out to see what the commotion was all about.  He came over and I could see he was very upset and starting to panic..  I had to get a grip on myself…  You know, Lamaze techniques come in handy for more than just giving birth!

I could feel the blood pouring down my face.  I rolled over onto my knees and stood up.  I didn’t feel at all dizzy.  We walked into the house and I had Arrow get me something cold for my broken arm.  In his panic all he could find was a bag of  reusable ice in dolphin, shell & other seaside shapes.  But it was blessedly cold!  I then went into the bathroom to assess the damage while Arrow got my cell phone.  I just prayed I didn’t break my teeth… they seem fine.  I did have a number of what looked like deep cuts on the bridge of my nose and they continued to bleed.  I told Arrow to call 911.  He came back holding my cell phone and said he couldn’t remember how to dial 911.  Poor thing.  I said just dial 911.  He did and then was answering all their questions and trying to follow my directions…

get my wallet, the house keys & put the dog outside and make sure he has water.  The 911 operator was trying to tell him to just shut the dog in a room, but I knew we were leaving and didn’t know how long we’d be gone.  Once he was off the phone with 911, I had him call his daddy to let him know what had happened & where we were going – the ER.  Then I had him grab the homeopathic remedy Arnica and give me one dose.  Cargo pants with all those pockets are my new heroes!

I then heard the EMTs arrive and we went outside to meet them.  They start calling out to me, “ma’am, ma’am we’ll come to you”!  Arrow got me a chair in the shade in front of the garage doors and I sat down, still focusing on trying to stay calm to help Arrow not panic and help me not go into shock.  I can’t see where it would help to ‘give in to the pain’.  It seems to me that it just makes me more upset and upsets those around me but doesn’t “help” the pain one bit.  The EMTs start asking questions  what’s my name, what happened, can you move your fingers, etc.  Well in my efforts to ‘stay calm’ I was using my lamaze breathing and focusing.  So I hesitated in answering the first question… guys you have to get through the “I need to stay calm” process first.  My slight hesitation made then VERY concerned.  So then I get all the, were you dizzy, do you know the name of the President kinds of questions.  But they had to ask THAT one.  So I said, “yes, unfortunately I do know the name of the president, Barak Obama”.  They put my arm in an inflatable splint and then wanted to know if Arrow was alright at home or should he come with me.  I figured Arrow would panic wondering what was happening and as homeschoolers we ‘do everything as a family’ anyway so along he came!  Then they asked something about hospitals and a preference.  I had no preference as I knew little about any of them!

I walked onto the ambulance and they pointed out the little bed in the middle of the floor, telling me, ‘this is your seat’.  O. K.  Then they strapped me in and we were off.  As we rode along they continued to take my blood pressure.  It had registered 190 over ‘something I can’t remember now’.  In the ambulance it was registering 107 over 70.  Pretty low indeed.  But it registered that consistently and they were starting to think they had faulty equipment.  They had me stick my tongue out (I forget why) and the EMT asked me in a shocked tone if I had piercings!  Who me??  Oops, no those little white pellets you see on my tongue are the Arnica.  [Note to self:  when taking a homeopathy remedy place pellets UNDER the tongue.]  At least he was shocked!  🙂

Though I didn’t get any lights or siren.  I could tell where we were by the turns & inclines even though I was facing backwards.  I asked for more disposable ice for my face and watched traffic behind the ambulance as we headed to the hospital.  Arrow got to ride in the front.  At one point I asked one of the EMTs what time it was… 2:38 PM.

Next installment – The Emergency Room!

Where are the blessings you ask??  Stay tuned they are coming… I promise!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R

This post also linked here: Gratituesday,

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring is my favorite season!  The colors fairly glow here in the Pacific Northwest’s grey overcast skies.  There is the beauty of new growth sprouting out of the dead of winter, giving the  promise of new life, warmer days, birds singing, flowers blooming and sun shining (well periodically peeking out from behind the clouds here anyway!).  It is a time of anticipation, waiting to see all my favorite flowers budding & blooming once again, the promise of fresh sweet berries and fruits from all those pretty blossoms gracing my table and filling my canning jars.  It is the time when I can throw my windows open wide to air out the house and smell the new spring air.  Once that two minutes has passed the windows will need to be shut quickly to prevent the hail from entering out domicile!!

The other day my dear husband went outside to leave for work and his truck had a flat tire.  He called the Les Schwab people and while they were replacing the tire, all to the eager eyes of “Arrow”, I proceeded to take pictures of all the various signs of spring in our very own front yard.

I also love poetry.  Not all poetry, but lots of it!!  Robert Louis Stevenson, Emily Dickenson, oh and so many more!  Not that I understand all of them, but I still love poetry!!  So I thought I would make a post with my spring photos and some spring poems!

Come with me on a walk through my front yard…

Blessings,

~Mrs. R

An April Day

by Henry W. Longfellow

When the warm sun, that brings
Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,
‘Tis sweet to visit the still wood, where springs
The first flower of the plain. I love the season well,
When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,
Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming-on of storms.

From the earth’s loosened mould
The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;
Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,
The drooping tree revives.

The softly-warbled song
Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings
Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along
The forest openings.

When the bright sunset fills
The silver woods with light, the green slope throws
Its shadows in the hollows of the hills,
And wide the upland glows.

And when the eve is born,
In the blue lake the sky, o’er-reaching far,
Is hollowed out, and the moon dips her horn,
And twinkles many a star.

Inverted in the tide,
Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,
And the fair trees look over, side by side,
And see themselves below.

Sweet April!–many a thought
Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;
Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought,
Life’s golden fruit is shed.

These are the lovely pink tulips and grape hyacinth that are in large pots along our “second” driveway.  They are in desperate need of being planted in the ground and out of these now constricting pots.  I thought I didn’t like the color pink.  Then I saw these pretty tulips and I realized I DO like pink.

These are my strawberries.  I have 5 hanging pots along our shed that contain these wonders.  There is nothing like freshly picked ripe strawberries.  YUM!

OK.  You are probably thinking I have lost my mind posting pictures of… weeds.  But wait just a moment… did you know that both of these are edible?  The lovely miniature purple flowered plant is Erodium Cicutarium or the more common names are Storksbill or Crowsfoot.  Not a very pretty name for such a sweet flower!  The common name is derived from the seed pods which look like a storksbill.  My Wild Plants of Greater Seattle book describes it as “edible, bland, and of faint cucumber flavor.”  Good in salads, a major source of vitamin A, and used in herbal medicine to stop bleeding.  One medicinal use apparently is an antidote for strychnine.  You never know when you’ll need an antidote for strychnine.

The lowly little dandelion is also supposed to be quite nutritious and the leaves when gathered prior to the flowers appearing are much less bitter.  The leaves and or roots can be added to soups or stir fries.  The flowers petals can be added to salads.  I think I will try one on tomorrows lunch salad!  They have a variety of medicinal uses, one is for cleaning the gallbladder & liver.  And they are just so cheery with their pretty bright yellow flowers.

Both of these are growing in what should be my “garden”, but is really a weed patch.  OH!  Maybe I should call it my “medicinal garden”!  lol

The Dandelions

by Helen Gray Cone

Upon a showery night and still,
Without a sound of warning,
A trooper band surprised the hill,
And held it in the morning. We were not waked by bugle notes
No cheer our dreams invaded,
And yet, at dawn, their yellow coats
On the green slopes paraded.

We careless folk the deed forgot;
Till one day, idly walking,
We marked upon the self-same spot
A crowd of veterans, talking.

They shook their trembling heads and gray,
With pride and noiseless laughter,
When, well-a-day! they blew away,
And ne’er were heard of after.

Ah.  Now this is another on of my favorites!  Blueberries!!  Of course those wonderful berries are not here just yet.  These are blueberry blossoms!  I always wondered what a blueberry blossom looked like.  Now that I have 5 of these bushes in pots I get to enjoy the all-year beauty of my all time favorite fruit.  I have these pots along our “first” driveway and up by the house.

The Voice of Spring

by Mary Howitt

I am coming, I am coming!
Hark! the honey bee is humming;
See, the lark is soaring high
In the blue and sunny sky,
And the gnats are on the wing
Wheeling round in airy ring. Listen! New-born lambs are bleating,
And the cawing rooks are meeting
In the elms–a noisy crowd.
All the birds are singing loud,
And the first white butterfly
In the sunshine dances by.

Look around you, look around!
Flowers in all the fields abound,
Every running stream is bright,
All the orchard trees are white,
And each small and waving shoot
Promises sweet autumn fruit.

Oh.  More on the blueberry thing.  These are the first leaves coming out on one of the bushes.  That is a misnomer!  The “bushes” are only 3 feet tall and fairly spindly!  But they do produce… blueberries!

OK, another weed.  I do not know if this one is edible, but isn’t it a sweet little thing!  This is growing in the grass on the other side of the “first” driveway, also up near the house.

Daisies
by Evaleen Stein

At evening when I go to bed
I see the stars shine overhead;
They are the little daisies white
That dot the meadow of the Night.

And often while I’m dreaming so,
Across the sky the Moon will go;
It is a lady, sweet and fair,
Who comes to gather daisies there.

For, when at morning I arise,
There’s not a star left in the skies;
She’s picked them all and dropped them down
Into the meadows of the town.

Hmm, Lavender.  A heavenly aroma.  These are some of the tiny sprouts coming out of  the large plant that I started from seeds!  OK, well maybe it isn’t quite so much on the large side as… small to medium sized?! lol  I was so excited that I was able to start all this from seeds.  I love to rub my hands over the leaves and smell that lovely aroma.  I am hoping to plant more this year.  This is in a pot at the street end of the “first” driveway.

Our ornamental cherry tree is down along the road in the northwest corner of our yard.  It’s is due north of the lavender pot!  Very pretty flowers but produces nothing edible.  The bees LOVE this tree.  There was a whole cloud of busy bees surrounding the top of this tree the other day.  Trees.  I like trees.  I used to LOVE to climb them when I was a little girl.  That is until I kept getting a piece of bark in my eye!   “Arrow” has climbed this tree many times, just NOT when there are any bees interested in it!  A while back “Arrow” took some rope, blankets, and other items and made a little fort in the crook of this tree.  He could actually hide himself in there completely when it was covered with leaves.  Ah, the joys of homeschooling and a creative mind!

TREES

by: Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)

  • THINK that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree.
    A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
    Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
    A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
    A tree that may in Summer wear
    A nest of robins in her hair;
    Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
    Who intimately lives with rain.
    Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.

What Is a Tree?
What is a tree”
Well doubtless he
Who dwells in city streets by choice May never know.
But souls that breathe expanding life outdoors
Know trees as brothers, friends; and feel aglow
With kindred fellowship and common voice.

Yes, bees do know
And birds have made
The trees their lifelong homes
And what is nearer or more intimately ours than home?

What is a tree?
The soul of God!
Whose budding leaves and blossoms in the Spring
Bespeak Creation.
Whose shade in Summer cools
The burning heat of life and brings us peace;
Whose bronzing colors in the Autumn landscape glow
With pride of fruitfulness, God’s bounty, man’s maturity.
Whose bare strong arms in Winter steadfast hold
Against- the ice and storms of life when courage sags
When green and sap of youth have lost their bold
Firm power and interest lags.

What is a tree?
Oh! Yes, I know! ‘Tis God.
‘Tis His own way to speak His majesty,
His voice, His power, His love, His mystery..
-G. THoMAs DUNLOP

These are close up shots of the pretty flowers of the Ornamental Cherry tree.  The blossoms are really quite lovely, though little to no fragrance.  Too bad on that score!  I could have had an abundance of “something” to scent some of my soaps right out of my very own yard!

Hydrangea – in much need of being dead headed!  I thought it looked interesting over the winter all covered with the dead flower heads.  But I should have cut them off when the new growth first started appearing… guess I have even more to add to my “to do list”.  This is up next to the house.  Not a good place for a plant that will grow to a large size!  I have to prune this back multiple times through the growing season.  One day I may decided where I want to transplant this so I can trim once a year instead!

Dicentra Spectabillis, also known as bleeding hearts.  Another one of my favorite flowers.  I love the arching branches full of the tiny little heart shaped flowers.  These are along the north side of the house in a pot.  This side of the house gets shade nearly all day.  One reason is the northerly latitude we live at, another is the large number of very tall pine trees in my neighbor’s yards.  So I am working on a shade garden!  So much variety and I didn’t know I could grow so many flowers in the shade!

More shade loving plants on the north side of the house.

Another favorite flower of mine ~ White Trillium.  In all it’s stages of growth this plant reminds me of the Triune Godhead!  It’s leaves appear in succession 1, 2 then 3.  The mature growth has three leaves and the flower has three petals.

I planted this from a seed pod that was given to me.  I bought the wooden planter just for this lovely plant, since it does NOT like to be transplanted.  When you plant a trillium seed pod, you just put a couple of old dead leaves over the pod, water carefully and keep it moist and leave it alone.  It took my seeds 5 or 6 years before they first sprouted!  But they finally did and I am so glad.  The first year’s growth is like a blade of grass on a very thin stalk.  The second year’s growth has two leaves.  The third years growth has three leaves and the flowers and seed pods appear in the fourth year.  They will continue to produce flowers and seed pods every year there after.   In the wooden planted is also a fern.  It just appeared one year and had continued to grow.  I think it is high time for the fern to be removed carefully from the trillium’s planter!

The White Trillium
Trillium graceful, Trillium white,
Star of the woodland, Lady of light
Lo, how she prou!ily
Stands in the glade,
Tri-sceptred sovereign,
Queen of the shade.
Stately she rises,
Slender-stemmed, tall,
Gracious response to Spring’s early call,
Lifting three leaf-arms
High from the sod,
Gazing with pure face lip at her God.
Milena Matcska

And even more shade loving flowering plants on the north side of the house.

Hostas.  I am not sure when I first heard of them, but I love their variety, and this one has lovely purple flowers.  This is a Marginally Variegated variety because the lighter color is on the outside of the leaves.  I also have one with no variegation in color, but a nice dark green leaf and… purple flowers!

Thank you for coming along with me on my ground rounds!  Have a blessed day!!

Blessings,  ~Mrs. R (aka ~Aunt Mae)