Once Upon a Quiet Sunday Evening
Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 3
Week 2: January 14, 2023
Once upon a quiet Sunday evening, I resolutely refused to let my thoughts wander into next week and instead spent a quiet evening hand-stitching felt Christmas tree ornaments. My stitching was slow and even without a hint of hurry. One stitch at time.
I enjoy hand sewing because it puts my mind at ease and I enjoy it more after Christmas because I am less busy.
This special time was made more uplifting and relaxing with a cup of tea made of herbs dried from dried from my apothecary garden:
Zloty Lan chamomile
The herbs were steeped 5 minutes in water heated to 185 F (85 C) rather than boiling to preserve the aromatic qualities of the herbs. I use a simple lollipop-style thermometer to check the temp.
The pink bone china cup and saucer are stamped “Vogue” in gold lettering on the bottom. Made in England, I discovered a pair of them in a thrift shop year or two ago for a few dollars.
And the cycle of seed to shoot continues in the indoor salad garden.
I generally plant 4 or 5 kinds of seeds twice a week to keep a steady supply of greens for the salad bowl. Here you see soaking (clockwise from the top left): radish, broccoli, pea, and sunflower seeds in baby food jars.
Root wads leftover from salad greens are a special treat to the chickens – they devour them!
Marigold, the buff Muscovy hen wakes up with messy “bedhead” feathers every morning – too cute!
Four years ago I bought a $2 pot of hyacinth bulbs at Walmart. After they bloomed, I transplanted them to this lined metal “basket” instead of throwing them out. Every spring I enjoy a “free” bouquet of flowers.
We picked our first 3 clementine oranges!
We have grown our own Meyer lemons for many years, rotating the trees between the restored vintage greenhouse in winter and the garden the rest of the year, and felt ready to expand our citrus horizons. (We live in USDA zone 8b)
What is a clementine, you say?
It is a cross between a willowleaf mandarin orange and a sweet orange. Similar to a tangerine, fruit are small with a bright, sparkly flavor. They are very easy to peel and give off an invigorating aroma when the skin is pulled away.
Sam’s projects involved vehicle maintenance this weekend. He changed the wiper blades on my car and his truck and changed the oil in his truck.
It was a busy week for baking! I always start by grinding my flour in my KoMo Fidibus 21 grain mill. It’s a wonderful mill! For years I used my Vitamix with the container marked ‘dry’ to grind my flour. It works, but you really have to work for it if you know what I mean.
I was so happy to purchase my KoMo after extensive research into grain mills. I bought it in 2009 or 2010 and haven’t had a bit of trouble with it. It is attractive enough to display on the kitchen counter, making it easy to have fresh whole grain flour at your fingertips.
My faithful baker’s bench was due for a spa treatment. I rubbed homemade Spoon Butter Wood Conditioner into the clean wood surface to protect it.
Deeply browned crust and soft, fluffy crumb. This recipe is a family treasure.
Let’s move onto homemade pizza! I really need to write this recipe up to share. It is a simple whole wheat crust made with yeast that goes together quickly. I have made 1,000 or more pizzas with this recipe!
Topped with fresh sprigs of basil grown in a pot, homemade pizza simply can’t be beat.
Separating milk and cream
If you look closely at the jar of milk, you can see the “creamline,” the line dividing the milk (bottom) from the golden cream (top).
Cream naturally rises to the top and floats, making it easy to skim off and save for my morning cup of black tea or to make whipped cream for dessert.
We are extremely fortunate to have a family-owned dairy The Mcmaemic Co. just a mile or two away and Farmer, Chicken Wrangler, Egg Gatherer, Sourdough Baker, Spice-Mix Maker, and Chief Milkmaid @Renee Clark wears all the hats beautifully! Her husband and kids are involved, too, and if you’re local you really ought to check out the farm’s website.
These books are a bit beat up, it’s true. There are lots of newer crafting books out there, but I keep coming back to these.
Scrap Saver’s Stitchery series by Sandra Loundsbury Foose contains around half a dozen books brimming with fun, simple, playful projects for your house, for gifts, for kids, and for yourself.
Many of the projects can be stitched by hand, others require a sewing machine. The fabric amounts are small, so you can use your scraps. Patterns are full size, no enlarging required, simply trace onto copy paper and go. This time of year, I find sitting and sewing to be such a pleasure!
The four books pictured are: Scrap Saver’s Gift Stitchery, Scrap Saver’s Stitchery Book, Scrap Saver’s 101 Great Little Crafts, and Scrap Saver’s Christmas Stitchery. All by Sandra Loundsbury Foose.
The Scrap Saver’s books are out of print, but available cheaply at my favorite online used bookseller.
A personal hello from us to you! Thank you for reading, for following along on our cottage-homestead journey, and for sharing your time and your journey with us! In a day when handwritten letters are rare, we appreciate your comments and encouragement more than you know. Thank you.
Michele and Samuel
Note: This post contains links to products and vendors I use and appreciate for their quality and usefulness. Some are affiliate, some are not. I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases when you use the links I provide; this does not change your price. Thank you!