Something pretty, another rescue and french onion soup!

Photo by Janis Nicolay
I saw this shot as I was pulling the others for today's blog. I love it. It's from a shoot done for Gardening Life Magazine last year. It's the same time of year now. Grapes are almost ready for picking. I just thought I'd share something pretty.

Yes, another rescue at the farm! Today I freed a trapped bird that had become entangled in blueberry bushes. He had a caught wing. You should know, he was rather large, and had a very menacing beak. I got him free only to see him fall a few feet later. So, off to the bird rescue we went. He has a sprained leg and hurt wing, but should be just fine. Oh, FYI - that is not my hand. It is the man at Monica's bird sanctuary and I loved the aged worn look of them. He let that bird bite him and never felt it. He pointed out he deals with hawks and eagles - and they do hurt when they bite.

photo by Janis Nicolay
My onion has been turned into French Onion Soup! OUI, c'est true!
Here is my recipe for vegetarian French Onion Soup. You can of course use beef stock if you like.
5 Medium Onions
1/2 cup butter
5 cups vegetable stock - or beef
1/2 cup cognac or brandy (it's much more affordable!)
French Bread
Parmesan - a fresh block - no Kraft shakers permitted!

Peel and slice onions into thin circles. Saute in the butter till golden brown (be patient, it's worth the time to really saute them nicely). Add stock, cognac, and return to heat - simmer half an hour.
Pour into oven proof bowls.
Slice bread and toast the slices.
Lay two slices on top of each bowl, sprinkle on Parmesan then place in oven under the broiler.
It only takes a minute for the cheese to melt and turn just a wee bit brown. Keep an eye on it.

Bon Appetit!

After I was harshly awoken to Eye of the Tiger yesterday blasting out of my alarm clock, I thought, this could be a not so good day. I drove two hours to a shoot, only to find the home covered in scaffolding. Very Bad. I had another shoot on the same day at 2pm, and was given this lovely bottle of wine by the homeowner. I will be partaking in it this evening. Very Good.

My Pride and Joy..AAAHH, run a dragon!

This is my pride and joy in the vegetable patch this summer.

This is usually how my onions look every year.

To put it in perspective for you - these are the two together.

This beast of a dragonfly got in the house today - sent Lily screaming from the house. Gave me a bit of a fright too!

Things that made me smile today...

It seems, to me, that summer is over - that fall is here. But Lily and I took a walk through the garden today, and we found these flowers. Seems like summer is still hanging on.

These are some of my bestest friends.

I just had to share this. She fell asleep with her little mouse Daisy Doo, but from afar, it looked like she had a sinister french moustache.

Things that I like today..

Yes, it's a follow up to my negative rant yesterday.
1. My favourite shoot - above - in Paris for Country Living magazine. Ten days in Paris, all expenses paid, what's not to like! C'est Superb!
2. Karalee for sharing her daughters horrible doctors visit - but found the other patients that were ahead of her were kind and let her go first. There are good people, they are simply at another other clinic!
3. My brother in law 'Mr.Fun' we call him. He came down from work to get my daughter to take her medicine and now her temperature is down for the first time today.
4. That Lily ate these cheese crackers that I made her today (below shot). She hasn't eaten since yesterday afternoon, and she ate a whole heart.

These are very tasty and kids love them. Actually adults love them just as much. They are full of cheese and butter, but when they are warm from the oven, damn tasty.
Cheese crackers:
1/2 pound cheese
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup flour
Grate the cheese and put into a food processor. Add flour and butter then whiz till it comes together in a dough ball.
Roll out dough, cut out shapes of choice with cookie cutters. This is where it's fun for kids- they can chomp off animals limbs or make a garden out of the flower shapes.
Bake in oven at 400 for 10 minutes. Check them at 8 minutes as your dough may be thinner than mine, which means they will cook faster. Don't let them get to brown.
Bon Appetit

Things that I ...immensly!

Perhaps it's because I've had no sleep with Lily being sick, but today I am irked - in a very big way. So this is my new segment that I will call "Things that I!"

1. This shoot (above) that I did for O at Home magazine last fall. NIGHTMARE

2. Buying a tea towel that isn't even remotely absorbent. Water repellent in fact.

3. The fact that today at the clinic with my very sick toddler, no one even offered to let me go ahead of them. I waited with her for forty minutes while she quietly cried and I prayed that she wouldn't vomit. Though, perhaps that could have been just what they needed. Where has kindness gone.


This is a little mustard giraffe done by my sweet friend Kate. Visit her blog
Kate, I'd like your cookie recipe - they look to be the kinda cookie I very much enjoy!

It all started out nicely, then ended very bad

The weekend started out really well. My dad is here for a visit, he and my girl harvested all the potatoes from the garden. This little pansy was rescued by Lily and put in a vase.

We hit crescent beach for an after dinner walk and play in the sand.

Picked and ate all the strawberries from the patch.
And then, it took a sharp turn from sunny happy summer days, to fevers, projectile vomiting and tears. My poor girl was up all night with a 103.5 temp and nausea. Seems to be passed now. She's sleeping peacefully and her temp is down. Boy, that came out of nowhere. I need to blog about parenting and get tips from other moms.

Pinecone Camp is up!!

Pinecone Camp, a sweet blog by my dear friend Janis Nicolay, has begun.

Tea Party..?

My question is.... is GI Joe having a tea party with Bear, or is GI Joe the finger sandwich?

Where's the Jam! Is that a kitten!

My jam sold out! When that happened, I don't know, it just did. Well, that's awesome.

I found a tiny kitty in the blueberries last night. It took me hours to catch him as he is wild, but I did. I didn't take his picture as I didn't want to see his sweet face daily on my blog. I gave him yummy wet cat food, a much needed flea bath and lots of love. Then sweet kitty went to the SPCA. They loved him and I know he'll get a good home and won't be eaten by the coyotes.

Living in the country does have it's down side. Finding little animals is one of them.
I had no image to share, so I posted this one taken by Janis Nicolay. It's just adorabe - like the kitty.

What's with all the goats?!

I've owned my farm for ten years. I've never picked a name for it, till this year. I tried for years to think of one, but nothing ever felt right. Since I named the place Missing Goat, I've been seeing goats everywhere. Is this a sign?! I took my daughter to a farm out in Harrison Hot Springs called My Back Porch - they sell their own roasted coffee, beautiful organic garlic, pottery and hand woven baskets. I love this place - they don't have a web site, but it's called My Back Porch. It's a long drive, but you can have lunch at Harrison, walk around on the beach and hit the Back Porch. I love garlic and my husband loves coffee, so we enjoy it. The baskets are pricey, but they are beautiful. I bought one three years ago, and it still looks brand new. Any ways, I've been side tracked - I took my daughter to this place as they had a huge pig there last time. Well, pig was gone but this crazy goat (above) was there.
Last week, I was leaving a country nursery, and six huge goats were all over the road in front of me. I tried to take a shot with my phone, but a horse let out a loud whiny and they all bolted. Like I was paparazzi and the horse what their manager.
Then I saw the buffalo. Yes, there was a huge buffalo. He was staring at me, probably wondering what the hell I thought was so interesting about the dumb goats. To be spiteful, just as I tried to take his photo, he turned his back on me and left. Jerk. Buffalo's can be such asses, but everyone knows that.
I swerved the car to avoid a big dog on the road the other day, then realized it was a goat.
Seriously, what's going on.

Garlic and coffee beans from My Back Porch. I think I need to go into the garlic business - they sell it for 9.50 a pound! But, it's delicious and they have a lot of rare kinds that you can't easily find elsewhere. I just love day trips to interesting places.

This is my new concoction - Peach jam with vanilla and cardamom. Wow, it's tasty.
Merry Christmas!! What? Ug! yes, I spent the day shooting a Christmas story for a magazine today. My house is festooned for the holidays, which I can't show you as it has to go to print first. It gave me a chance to pull out my favourite little trees and paper houses - I just love these! My daughter is completely in love with them too. They just seem magical.

just another day in the country..

I put my first batch of jams out to sell today - went very well! I haven't got my cute labels done, but I know exactly how I want them to look. Next week Janis, my talented photographer friend, will come out to take some photos for me. I'll post the shoot! If she lets me!

Everything seems to ripen at once when you own a farm. In the midst of making jams and trying to keep up with the raspberries, strawberries, pole beans and blueberries, the damn peaches are ready! So, I'm trying to new recipes for peach jams tonight - one has pinot noir with cinnamon, the other has vanilla and cardamon. Yum!

That's my dog finn coming up in the back. I can't believe the peaches this year!!

My daughter won't wear shoes much past 12 minutes each day. I find them all over the yard.

I wandered the farm and just found some things that seemed pretty to me today. This is a table top planter on our back deck. Made me smile.

These strawberries aren't perfect to look at, but they are bloody tasty to eat. Below is just a perfect allium standing very tall.

By far the happiest shot I've taken lately.

A day on the farm..

Missing Goat is the name of my organic blueberry farm. I'm in the process of developing a line of jams. Blueberry lavender and very very raspberry. I should have some in the Shabby Shack to sell this weekend!
Every summer I have an abundance of zucchini in the vegetable garden. I give them away to customers at the farm. My daughter wasn't impressed that her wagon became a produce stand. I wasn't impressed when, after all the zucchini were gone, people tried to take my sign. I only grow yellow zucchini. They are just so happy looking.
This is a bouquet of weeds that my niece picked for me. We also picked all the raspberries and made homemade ice cream.
The recipe is easy:
mash up some raspberries (doesn't matter how much any amount will work) and put through a strainer to get out the seeds.
Mash up some blueberries and put through a strainer to get out the skins.
Mix the two berry mushes in a bowl, ad some organic plain yogurt (or any yogurt of choice) the amount is up to you - I've made it with and without yogurt. I add a bit of honey or agave syrup for sweetener - again to your own personal taste. Freeze in your BPA free tupperware. You can use strawberries or any fruit that you like. It's just a fun thing to do with the kids - and you know what is in it!

Judging by the shot below - I'd say it's a hit.

Shady Entertaining

I didn't really know what to do or say when I started blogging. But, now, I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm finding all these stories and ideas that I can re-share with anyone who may care. I'm also finding awesome blogs and secretly becoming a junkie. My husband thinks I'm working but I'm blogging.
Design Sponge - so inspirational - especially when so many of the best magazines have folded leaving us very little to flip through. Yes, I know I'm so behind and everyone knows Design Sponge already, but it still had to be said again. Happy fifth anniversary to them! Also Cannelle et Vanille - I've got to go back to this when my daughter goes to bed tonight. Bloody beautiful to look at and no doubt just as tasty. I so envy food stylists. It's such an art and is not easy to do. I foolishly tried from time to time to make some food look good for a shoots. Here are the links to both:
Hang on, I hear a fight going on between my husband and daughter - she is 20 months, seems he is 24 months most times. Better intervene..
Problem solved - his beer spilled down her slide -you can see how both would be upset by this.

I miss the rain. It's dry and hot and my skin is feeling old. My farm is so dry too.

This is an appropriate story for hot weather that I produced for Gardening Life (sigh, they folded). It was an entertaining in the shade article. I hung cheap blinds from Ikea to block out the sun on two sides of the table. I used cut dill sprigs and specialty begonias planted in rice steamers to decorate the table top. That is Kate holding the salad cone - one of the sweetest ladies I know. She also works as an assistant to Janis. I put salad in a parchment cone and then wrapped a grape leaf around it.

All photos by Janis Nicolay - again!

This was shot on my back deck. Most of the stories I produced were shot here. That is Jake, our cat. He is rather vain. He manages to get himself in almost all the shoots we do here.