Thursday, November 21, 2019

Cast Iron Cooking

This rustic apple pie, made in an 9" iron skillet, was inspired by Mary Janes Farm cast iron
cooking. I have always loved cooking in my vintage cast iron skillets and baking corn bread in my
variety of cast iron muffin and corn stick pans. My grandmothers and mother used cast iron kettles,
dutch ovens and many different sizes of skillets. Nothing beats a hot pan of corn bread with fresh
butter melted in between the sliced open wedge, or a corn stick laden with butter. A pot of white or pinto beans and turnips greens are a wonderful meal paired with the fresh baked corn bread.

The skillets are also perfect for the sweet things like this apple pie or even pineapple upside down cake. This Thanksgiving I plan on using my iron skillet for our traditional Pumpkin Pie, I will post a picture here on the blog.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Thanksgiving, there is
so much to be thankful for. Family time together, wonderful food to share, its a blessing, a true blessing. We have four of our little grand children living with us right now, they love to help in the kitchen, especially baking the pies. The warmth of the wood stove fire and the smell of roasting turkey in the oven, yeast rolls turning golden brown just waiting for the butter to melt and run down the sides, green beans and sweet potatoes simmer slow fill the air with the mouth watering scents of our Thanksgiving day. May we always give thanks for our many blessings each and every day but especially on this day, let us remember and celebrate with our hearts and homes filled with love and gratitude.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Making Fried Apple Pies

The local power plant has yearly outages in order to bring in workers to check and 
Repair any pipes in the boilers and also electricians to run wiring  and other trades to
Give the power plant a good makeover. Each year my husband and I go early every morning to sell hot breakfast biscuits and my homemade fried pies to these hard  working guys and gals. 
They are so appreciative and sometimes order 30 or 40 pies to feed their entire crew. 
It’s  been great to get to know so many guys who come from all over the U. S. to work. I also 
Sew welder hats and sell them. It’s a wonderful way to help these workers and they in turn help us. 
Thankful for it all.

Willow Furniture

Where did the name Willowpatches come from?

Back in the 1980s I started making grapevine baskets
and wreaths to sell to local florist and craft shops. The grapevine were free and just hanging everywhere along the old country roadsides, why not stop and pull a few and roll them up into
beautiful wreaths, they were very easy to make and popular at that time to use for decoration.

I enjoyed looking through Country Living magazines and Mother Earth News magazines for ideas for things I could make and sell. I stumble upon a picture of a willow chair in one of the magazines and ask my husband what type of wood it was made from, to which he replied Willow. I ask if he meant Weeping Willow, and he said no, it is River Willow. The river Willow grows in thick patches along ditch lines or near water around ponds etc. I was excited, when I learned that willow was growing everywhere much like the grapevines, it was there for the gathering. I didn't know what tools I would need to cut it but learned that pruning shears and lobing shears worked great on the smaller willow shoots. The larger pieces I would need a bow saw to cut them. Most people have no use for the willow and don't mind someone cutting it down. It grows back from the root very rapidly so you cant hardly eradicate it. The willow growing along the roadside was easy to gather and less snakes to worry about. we could just pull off the shoulder of the road and cut a bundle in no time.

My first pieces of furniture were doll size and very cute, a lady near by made porcelain grandma and grandpa dolls and the chairs were a perfect fit for her dolls. I had a regular customer immediately. Soon I was selling the little chairs and loveseats to local craft shops and going to craft fairs and selling my weaths, baskets and willow furniture. As time went on I had a referral to go and meet a kind elderly couple who owned a log cabin which they had converted to a small craftshop and eatery. The cabin was perfectly nestled by a creek in a lovely valley on their farmland. It was called Acorn Hollow. I met with Mrs Loose the owner and we discussed selling my handmade items at the cabin. She and her husband loved the little willow chairs and had purchased handmade Amish dolls on the yearly trip to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the dolls fit perfectly with the rustic little handmade willow chairs.

The cabin was a special place and filled with many antiques and handmade crafts from local craftsman. On the porch was an adult size willow settee and chair, Mr and Mrs Loose were not able to order any of the adult furniture to sell at the shop because the man who had made them had passed away many years ago. Mrs Dottie ask me to make some for the shop, she said if you can make doll and children size you can make this size too. So the willow business began to roll and soon my husband and I were making several sets a month to fill all the orders. We decided to name our little business The Willow Patch, I had business cards made and painted a sign to hang out in our front yard. We made the furniture and grapevine items for many years, and still could probably make and sell them. We are getting older and we miss those wonderful times and the wonderful people we met along the way. I will always cherish the memories we made at Acorn Hollow and I am so thankful we were blessed with many good times at the craft fairs.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Autumn Days......ahhhhh so wonderful. I love to feel the autumn chill in the air.

Its time to relax and unwind with a little embroidery project, maybe get a few
Christmas gifts done during these cooler shorter Autumn days.
Nothing like a warm cup of coffee and a sewing project to pass the time
and make something special for someone you love.

Loving my Farmgirl Sisterhood
it is so wonderful to hear from farmgirls all over the USA. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Summers Bounty

A fresh and cool tomato and cucumber salad on a hot summer day, enjoy summers bounty it only last a few short weeks. These beauties were grown right in our own backyard, along with cucumbers,  bell peppers, banana peppers and jalepeno's. I will soon be making salsa from too.
Fried Green tomato's are a real summertime treat.
Homemade Green tomato relish
My handmade apron Inspired by MaryJanes Farm.

 Freshly canned green tomato relish cooling on the counter.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Autumns Coming
Although it’s mid July, the schools are already putting out their
back to school list. The children are still playing all stars and swimming 
In the creeks, enjoying chasing fireflies and family cookouts. Seems as though they 
barely get a break until it’s time to start back for another year. I think when 
I was young we got a longer summer break, maybe June, July and 
School just makes me think of Autumn and the cooler days to come. An apple
for our teachers, new pencils, paper, colors and glue. I loved the smell 
Of new school supplies and the excitement of the first day back to class.
It was fun to see your friends again and compare class rosters to see which
Ones you had together. So much to catch up on, we who lived far apart
may not have seen each other all summer long. There was no social media back
then. Summer breaks were filled with creek wadding , crawdad catching and swinging on those long grapevines. Picking wildflowers and blackberries along an old fence row, riding our bicycles out in the sunshine. Time slowed down and days were longer, it was a simple carefree life. We visited our neighbors and did little chores to earn some change so we could visit the local country store.  
Seasons come and seasons go, still I stand. Built by ancestors long ago, a reminder of our pioneer past.

"Country roads take me home to the place I belong" John Denver

Our small town walking trail, a place to feel the Autumn Chill.

Weathered barns and autumn leaves remind us of the many seasons that we have lived through.