Wednesday, November 27, 2013


This is the best thing I could possibly show you.  It's been so long in coming...5 years since we first started looking at property in our hometown.  We finally closed on a house.  It's that beauty from a few posts ago.
It was built in 1755 and sits on 2.8 acres.  Has a big old barn that needs a lot of love and restoration. If you've been with me for a while, you'll remember the old barn that was falling in on itself that we worked so hard to restore with the help of others.  This barn is nowhere near in the pitiful shape that one was, so we're not scared.  It will get done.  And I'm even going to research to see if I can find some historic preservation grant money anywhere to help it along.  The house is in great condition, it needs some love of it's own and we're going to be doing some work on it.  A new kitchen is needed, along with some help for these roller coaster floors!  But overall it's a wonderful, warm place that will be the home we dreamed of for so long.  If we ever get done moving!  It's chaos over here right now, but as soon as I can sort it all out, I'll be back to update you.  I know I've not been around much lately because this has consumed my thoughts and time for a few months now.

Once renovations get ramped up, I'll be posting more on that process, plus the additional farming we'll be able to do with so much more space and a big barn.  Stay tuned, it's gonna get good 'round here!

In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of the interior for your viewing pleasure!
The living room hearth...

Kitchen...with almost no counter space for this cook...yikes!  Pretty, though...

cool cauldron in the kitchen.  We figure it must have held water to heat because it's on the back side of the fireplace.

So much else to share with you, come on back and check in!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...we're feeling very blessed and thankful right now!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

For the Love of Autumn

“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”
Lauren DeStefano,

“I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
Henry David Thoreau

 “Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”
Humbert Wolfe

 “I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne,
The American Notebooks

 “Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable...the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.”
Hal Borland

“October proved a riot a riot to the senses and climaxed those giddy last weeks before Halloween.”
Keith Donohue

 “The tints of autumn...a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.”
John Greenleaf Whittier

“I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, and then drove the five miles to the station through the most glorious October colouring. The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of promise. I knew something was going to happen. ”
Jean Webster,

Monday, October 14, 2013


Dreeeaammm...dream, dream, dream...Dreeeaaammmm....
A bit of 1755 history in our little town.  Beautiful, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall Camping

Our fall is never really complete until we spend a bit of time at a coastal campground.  We had a fun trip  to this same campground in July, but were very happy to go back when there were less people to contend with.  Many of the tourists have not yet hit our area in full force and we took the much reduced traffic on the Maine Turnpike as proof of that.  We had fantastic weather the whole weekend and didn't even need the heater at night, temps dipping only into the 50's with highs during the day up in the high 70's.  Not exactly my complete "Autumn" experience as I didn't really need the sweater I begrudgingly removed as the days heated up, but the no rain and beautiful scenery prevailed over my "lack of fall" grinch-y-ness.  I'm feeling the need for one more trip in the chill before the camper is buttoned up for the season.  We did manage to see a bit of the foliage starting it's vibrant fire-like show and relished every moment of it, the ride to and from was beautiful!
Having made reservations fairly late, we had one of the only two sites with power left available.  We never had this site before, and it was part of the destructive micro burst that hit the campground over the summer.  The trees on the back of the site had been leveled and then removed, leaving scars in the landscape and treeline.  The plus side of this was that it was fodder for the boys to have free rein there.  They could bother no one as there wasn't a site behind us for a long distance.  We enjoyed them playing up there, especially when they ventured close enough to hear what they were saying.

Music Man and I laughed together when we heard Little Red talking in a hushed voice about the young marijuana garden they had found.  After that came the hypothisizing about who's it was and how they were going to stake it out and catch the bad guys.  After that came the "catching the poachers" adventure, whereby they would follow a blood trail and catch some poachers poaching deer in the woods.  They have been watching "North Woods Law", one of the few tv shows we allow them to watch once we preview the episodes.  For those unfamiliar with the show, it's about game wardens in Maine and the things they encounter every day.  Some of the content is not appropriate for them at this age, but the overall message is good and they really enjoy watching how the game wardens perform their jobs.  This was the first time we'd heard them putting their own scenerios together and it was good to hear them using their imaginations in this way.  We did get a little concerned over what other people around us might be thinking when they hear the 9 year old talking about marijuana gardens, however!

There are several key places we always want to go when we stay in Freeport.  One of our favorites is the Bow Street Market.  This is a little oasis in the midst of a shopping mecca.  It focuses on fresh, locally made and grown foods and it's atmosphere is soothing and pleasant.  And, they have the best wine selection around as well!  The boys were marveling that anyone would pay $249 for a bottle of wine (truthfully, so was I!), and it led to a discussion on marketing and quality and value of our hard earned money and where we chose to spend it.  This is a discussion we have with the boys often, about where you spend the money you work hard to earn and valuing what are able to purchase and chosing what's most important to spend that money on.

One of the other favorite places is the South Freeport Harbor.  Not only is it the home of the Haraseeket restaurant, but it's also just a neat little wharf to spend some time in.  The boys are able to explore a bit without anyone getting antsy and we feel welcome there. 

Exploring the depth chart

Waiting to go to moorings

Little fish shack
A place for a boy to just BE

Trapped in Freeport Harbor


Crab exploration
All in all a wonderful place for us to spend a weekend.  It was very impromptu and that made it a wee bit more fun, I think.  Hope you enjoyed a few moments with us on our first of many fall adventures.  This is my time of year to reflect, prepare and be outside.

Wishing you harbors in your adventures, ~Peacemom

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ummm...still harvesting

News about our little homestead includes more harvesting.  I've put by 8 quarts of tomatoes from the ones I bought from our friend's CSA overage, 8 quarts of waxed beans and today I've got another large crock pot full of tomatoes and basil cooking down into more sauce which will go into jars tomorrow, or maybe later today depending on how well it cooks down.

For a couple of weeks there we had some wonderfully cool temps with some low humidity.  Not at all like our normal August weather, and I was loving every minute of it.  Now, we're back in the 80's with today's humidity registering 93% on the scale, so in my terms, distasteful.  I know, come January, we'll be wishing for this heat, but I'm so very ready for autumn to grace us that I'm feeling grumpy with the heat.  Oh, who am I trying to kid?  I'm always grumpy in the heat.  There's a reason I don't live in Florida anymore.  Yuk is all I can say to that.  However, once you're out in the garden working up a good sweat, your pores feel cleansed and you get to feeling a bit healthier after you've got rid of some of the salts and poisons existing in your body.  Sweating is definitely good for you, and so I'm trying to embrace that thought...though honestly, it doesn't always work out so well.

For those of you that know me well, know this has been a very difficult gardening season for me.  I did not plant much with the expectation that we would not be here to harvest it.  Then house deal #2 feel through and we were yet again here for another summer. Now, I don't want you to think that "here" is a bad's a lovely place, but it's not our place and so any improvements we make to it, we know is not an investment in our family and our own homestead.  Then, my beloved mother in law passed away very unexpectedly and we were left reeling from that.  Something I know will take a long time to come to terms with for her whole family.  But, it's all left me in a funk. 

Now, we intended for this summer to be one of fun for the boys.  They have had enough hard in the last three years to take us far into their adulthood, never mind bringing them to 9 and 10.  So, we decided, no more house hunting for a while, just fun for them, a bit of traveling for the whole family and an actual family vacation, something we've only had one of in their lifetime. Time to rest, recoup and relax.  And we succeeded.  Such a fun packed summer that I shirked some of my duties here while I brought them here or there.  This house was not as clean as it might have been, the laundry piled up more then it might otherwise have and we ate out a bit more then we are accustomed to.  But fun we did have.  When the boys started school last week, I felt like I needed a couple of days of rest to just recover from our summer!

I have started to put the thought back in to getting a part time job outside of the home.  Honestly, not something I'm relishing. I feel the boys are still too young to leave them home alone for any long period of time and I also know how much work our handmade, cooking from scratch, simplified lifestyle takes.  And much of it falls on me.  I feel that working really inhibits some of that for us and takes away from the life that we are attempting to live.  It's a constant battle within myself.  We certainly could use the additional income to afford the extreme home prices in our hometown, that's clear.  But, it's got me down just thinking about it...really down.  In a way, I feel it's giving up on some part of our dream here and that's something I've had to do too much of recently.  It's disheartening.

But at the end of all these random thoughts comes the fact that we've been able to harvest some food from our modest garden effort.  I've picked many tomatoes, harvested onions, picked lots of waxed beans, heated up my husband's palate with jalapenos and am anxiously awaiting the cooler temps later in the week in order to go on a potato treasure hunt.  Like picking apples, I need to have cooler weather to pick certain crops in order to feel the seasonal connection to them. I know, I'm perhaps weird, but that's okay with me.  We all do what works for us, don't we?

I've been planning out a couple of new hats to knit this winter along with hoping to try to figure out how to make socks...this is something I've been wanting to learn for a while now, and am wanting to use this winter to figure that out.  But, in order to earn that couch time, I need to be sweating and harvesting now, so that's what's mostly been doin' round here.  Fall baseball starts this week for the boys, so soon we'll be devoting every weekend to that for a while.

Wishing you onions and potatoes for your harvest, ~Peacemom

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Hello All! 

Well, we've been busy around these parts.  We went to Freeport for our first family vacation since 2006, which was our only vacation since our honeymoon almost 12 years ago.  Yikes!  We had fun, though the campground had been hit by a microburst a few weeks before and many trees that we used to enjoy in our favorite site were gone, and they were removing them right next to us.  Consequently, back hoes, chainsaws and such were the order of the day during the day and we had to skedaddle for most of the daylight.  Not exactly what we had in mind as we love hanging around the campsite relaxing and reading. This was not that kind of trip!  But, the campground owners bent over backwards to make it up to us.  They gave us the use of two tandem kayaks and we poked around the bay in those with the boys. They treated us to dinner one evening at a restaurant in Brunswick called "Fat Boys".  It's one of those drive up restaurants that were around when I was a kid.  The waitress comes to the car, takes the order and brings you the food.  The boys were fairly amused by this as they hadn't seen anything like that before!  The campground owners also kept us aware of what would be done when so we would have an idea of when to be gone for sure for the day.  And they also gave us our campsite for half price because it certainly was no longer the beautiful, bucolic site we were used to staying, and all the others we could have used were booked up.  We made the best of it, anyways!

Then last week we went to my parents in downeast Maine for the week.  The boys had a nice time getting to visit their grandparents for the week and part of it was just them and I, so they got to spend some time with them one on one. We went to an aquarium science center, got to see lobsters in infancy and learn about talapia farming and aquaculture.  We went swimming at a beach that had the longest shore to water ratio I have seen in a long time!  The water went WAY out and was still only to the boys knees, big sand bar there I guess!  They got to spend some time with their grandfather making wooden "treasure" boxes in the woodshop and some time chatting with their grandmother.  We also put the boys to work weeding a lot, too!  Then the whole family arrived for the end of the week, for the annual lobster fest that my parents host.  During this event, my parents order some lobsters off the boat from their next door neighbor.  This year, we ordered 15 extras to shell and freeze for our winter meals. 

This is a wonderful way for us to get some extra fixin's for meals in the freezer that aren't pork or chicken.  And, they ended up costing us only about $2.30 lb...yes, you read that right!  When you get them right off the boat, the lobstermen only charge what they would be getting from the grocery stores and restaurants, so when you're paying $20+ in the restaurant for a steamed lobster, the lobsterman only made $2.30 for that same lobster.  Eye opening, is it not?  In any case, we had the fastest shelling of lobster known to man that evening after they were cooked because the mosquitoes had come out by that time and YIKES!  At one point, I slapped 5 on one leg, and that drove me into get the bug spray.  My niece who's game for most things, dug in and learned how to shell with us and gave us a hand, too.  In any case, this is what 15 lobsters looks like cooked, shelled and ready for the freezer...
can't wait for those lobster pot pies, lobster stew and lobster alfredo!  Yummy!

Other harvesting has also been going along.  I showed you my blueberries in the last post, we ended up with 12 quart bags stuffed to the gills and they hold more then  one quart, so that should be good for those muffins and pancakes and pies and such.

I planted actually very little in the garden this year as we thought we may be moving again.  So, the successes have been the wax beans, jalapenos, tomatoes (though a blight has gotten many of them), potatoes and onions.  I harvested a large basket that went into the freezer before we left (6 quarts there)....
...and another large basket just like that when I got home.  We're set for the wax beans now!  My friend John just informed me that they would be away for a week and would we like to pick the blackberries in his yard that are harvest ready while they are gone?  You bet!  One more bounty for the freezer and perhaps some fresh blackberry jam or cobbler, too.

I love the beginning of fall, because that's what this season is.  The end of a year of growing, and the hunkering down for the winter has begun.  We've had some lovely cooler temps the last couple of weeks and it's getting me very excited indeed for the upcoming autumnal season.  Getting ready to light a fire in the fireplace and put a cobbler in the oven.  It's so much more comforting to watch the snow fall in winter when you know you've got the larder stocked.  And so it begins.

Wishing successful harvest and lots to put by, ~Peacemom

Friday, August 2, 2013

Blueberry Season!

Hello All,

The boys and I went blueberry picking at our favorite place, Blueberry Bay over in Stratham, NH.  They have chemical free berries and other items and they are all pick-your-own, my favorite things!  They also serve homemade blueberry lemonade, which is incredible.  If you've not been there, and you're local, I urge you to go.  Small farm making the most of their land, serving their community with fresh, wholesome food and such nice folks to boot.  You can even buy some blueberry bushes there to start your own little patch if you'd like.  Now that the boys are older, they are a great help in picking, and we managed to get enough for this recipe, blueberry muffins, lots eaten fresh and about 10 quart bags stuffed to the gills in the freezer.  Can't wait for those in January, a little bit of summer sunshine in the winter snows!

I was looking for a quick blueberry recipe in order to bring some goodies over to our friend's home for a swimming date and chit chat between moms.  My friend Diane and I became instant great friends and we can spend hours together talking about life, farming, animals and our kids and whatever else might come to mind.  She is like a sister to me now.  She has a son that is the same age as my oldest and all three boys are great friends.  They have such a nice time together and I love that my boys can be so silly with her son.  They are both pretty serious kids, and to see them cut lose and get a little silly with him is a treat for me.  Kids should enjoy being kids, shouldn't they?

So, in the end, I was hunting through a cookbook given to me by my mother-in-law a couple of summers ago.  She got it when she was touring the Pennsylvania Dutch country in a store run by Amish people.  I love this cookbook.  It has some really practical, down home recipes.  When I'm looking for comfort food, I head to this book. It's called " Country Lane Quilts and Family Cooking".  It also gives the history of a lot of quilt patterns to the Amish, and as I have been known to sew up a quilt or two in my day, I love the whole lot of the content in this book.

I found just the right recipe in that book (I just knew it was in there!).  So quick and easy, but fabulously delicious, it's almost too good to be true.  The 13" X 9" pan that the recipe makes did not last long here, but I did bring half of it to my friend's home.  Where it was promptly eaten up as well!  If you have a wonderful crop of blueberries bursting in your area, please do give this easy recipe a try.  It's also great for young cooks with a bit of help, it's that easy!


BlueBerry Bars

3/4 c butter, softened
1 c brown sugar
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 c oatmeal (not the instant kind)

2 1/2 c blueberries
1/2 c sugar
2 Tbl cornstarch
1 c water (I know it seemed like a lot to me, too and your filling is fairly floating in it, but it worked out great, the oatmeal needs it to become soft)
1 Tbl lemon juice

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add dry ingredients and then oatmeal.  Press half of the batter into a 13" X 9" X 2" pan.  Spread the filling and the sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool.

You can also add this to the recipe as well, but I left it off and it was great without it:
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbl milk
Combine well and drizzle over the top of the bars.

You'll have a smiling family if you end a nice summer dinner with this fine dessert!  They would also be great to take to a cookout or potluck.

Enjoy your berries of blue, ~Peacemom

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer time, Summer time, Sum, Sum Summer time!

With the hot summer we've been having, we've been spending some time on the coast.  (Wait, I did move from Florida, right?  Am I having flashbacks or was it really 98 degrees the day this was New Hampshire...oh, yes. It really was).  I am not a fan of the heat at all and I've also never been a fan of parading my half naked chubby self for the world to see in a bathing suit, but even I got wet this day.  This is Music Man and Maestro enjoying some boogie boarding in the New England surf.
One of my favorite things to do while at the beach is watch Music Man either body surfing or boogie boarding.  See this extreme joy on his face?  That's the look that is always there for him during that time.  He can lose himself in it and doesn't think about anything else for a while.  One of the things we share in common is our deep love of the ocean.  It is healing, it is nourishing, it is rejuvenating.  The salt water is the scent of home for us.  We've considered moving somewhere more inland, like Vermont or upstate New York, but we always come back to the fact that we wouldn't be able to just jump in the car and be at the ocean in a half an hour or so. 

The guy in the black there?  His surfboard actually collided with Maestro.  At least he had the good sense to feel bad about it, and he moved further from the swimmers and boogie boarders after that.

Little Red did actually do some boogie boarding himself, but I missed him in action shot pictures.  But, he does like to dig in the sand a lot too, so this is also his natural element. Boy, I remember the days I could sit like that, not anymore! 

We've been having a lot of fun this summer in spite of the tough circumstances we've encountered.  We worked countless hours, and another 6 months, to buy a home.   This one another rehab situation and we lost it once in negotiations when our contractor walked on us, but then got it back under contract when no one else matched our offer.  Doing an FHA loan with a 203k rehab loan attached is so much work. If you've never had to do it, I can't even  begin to explain the red tape and idiocies of the process.  So many forms, which the contractor has to be involved in also (and most don't want to deal with), so much proving of everything, inspections, appraisals, septic inspections, the list goes on and on.  I did this for the house we were buying a year and a half ago that we lost when Music Man was laid off two weeks before closing.  I did it all again for this most recent house, then we lost it when the contractor walked and we couldn't get an extension from the seller to find a new one.   Then, they didn't get as good an offer on it again, so we were able to get it back under contract, causing me to have to start the whole process of the paperwork for the loan all over again.  And getting a new contractor lined up again.  Then we found out there was a problem with the title and the day we were supposed to close, after 3 extensions, the seller decided to pull it off the market on us to fix the title issue.  We lost time, the money we had invested in all the inspections and appraisal, and the interest rate that would have cost us $100 less a month then the one we'd have to have now.

We were crushed.  Having to tell our boys that this house wasn't going to be ours either...well, it was too much.  We'll just suffice it to say that this house was smack dab in the middle of 5 of their friend's houses and they were so excited to be moving there.  They took it hard, especially Maestro.  They just want to know that they are living here for good, that we're not moving them, that a landlord can't decide to stop renting the house we call home to us because their in laws are ready to move in.  We just want to provide them with that stability, and's so hard to do.  We had to fall in love with one of the most affluent communities in the state, where we are definitely NOT one of the most affluent families and trying to buy real estate here for us means that we have to go with a rehab to make it affordable.  They generally come with a whole host of problems, and we've encountered most of them.

Between the house loss and losing my Mother In Law a month later, we're still kind of reeling.  So, we've been trying not to process too much too fast and have been spending lots of time with the boys getting out there and doing fun things.  Summer should be fun, right?  We've decided that we're just focusing on the fun for now and as we can handle it, we'll let the sadness in to process that.  We all do it in our own ways, and that is as it should be.

Wishing for you gliding on the salt yourselves, ~Peacemom

Sunday, June 30, 2013

So Saddened

 In the event that you may have been wondering where I've been the last little while...we have been mourning the loss of my mother-in-law, Sandy.  On Father's Day she had an aneurysm, and there was too much damage for the doctors to save her.

The above picture is her with Maestro when he was 3 weeks old.

And when he was finally well enough to actually laugh a little at 5 months, she was the first person he laughed at.  And he belly laughed at her for a long time, it was an amazing moment for me to see the child that did nothing but scream in pain from birth until then, laughing.  She had a magic with her grandkids, that is for sure!

And Grammy with Little Red, she was a great Grammy.  The boys are missing her deeply, as are we all.

And her with Little Red a bit older.  He used to be pretty interested in her glasses because at the time, no one else he knew wore, age having set in, we all do.

And one of the people I know will miss her most is her wonderful son.  I have eluded to the fact that his father was not in his life by choice after he was 12, and his mother had raised him a lot alone anyways as he was deployed a lot.  Music Man has a special place in his heart for his mom.  She did an amazing job at raising a wonderful son to be an even better father and husband, something he did not have any example of in his own life. 

I will miss most her laugh, sense of adventure and hugs.  She worked out every day at the YMCA in her home town and was absolutely, by far, one of the healthiest people I know, my role model.  She had so many friends, it was amazing to see how many people came to her wake. She was very well loved. 

We had other news to report as well, but I'm going to leave this one here.  Sandy, I love you, I miss you and I'm so sorry that our boys didn't get to have you longer.  So sad to have to say goodbye way too soon.

Peace be with you, ~Peacemom

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

All Star!

This is Little Red in the ready position, waiting to make that great catch at second base!  He had a fun baseball season as well.  He's in a tough age bracket of kiddos because there are all different levels of focus at his age and many different age groups on the team.  They range from 6-9, and that's quite a span in maturity level.  And, Little Red is not the most patient person, but he's done pretty well with this big age range of boys to play with.

His swing has gotten so much more confident this year!  And this was his first year with kids pitching, which can be a little scary since some of them don't have the best control of where the ball will end up once it leaves their hand!  He did get hit once this year in the back of his ankle, knocked his feet right out from under him.  And he gets nervous when that happens and for a while will be afraid of the ball again.  This picture is one of my favorites because it shows Music Man in the back.  The one in the jeans and tan fleece.  He was coaching first base.  Music Man truly enjoys coaching the boys.  He wasn't able to do that with Maestro's team this year as there were too many rooster in the coop, if you know what I he decided not to tackle that this year and focus on Little Red's team. 
And he hit it!  He's off to first base, and his dad...kind of a cool thing to see and I truly hope that the boys remember doing all this with their dad.  It's definitely something Music Man didn't have in his childhood and he gets a lot of fulfillment out of doing that with his sons.  And hey, I even caught the bat in mid-drop, good job not throwing that bat, Little Red!  He's also a pretty decent pitcher, he's had quite a few strike outs this year as well.  He's played a lot of different positions, one of the things that made this coaching team a great success this year.  If a child wanted to pitch, they got the chance, if they wanted to play first base, they got the chance, if they wanted to catch, they got the chance.  And at this level that's the way it should be.  They tried their best to let the boys try out all the positions and learn from them.  Some of the other coaches like to put boys in one position and leave them there for the season.  At this level, that doesn't make for well rounded players.  Really all it does is make for frustrated boys in the outfield.  Movement and change are good right now.

Little Red was chosen to be one of the players on the All Star team this year!  Three boys from his team were chosen to play in the game.  It was a fun time, even though it was 95 degrees outside!  Which, for New Hampshire, is crazy hot.  We're not ready for that already this time of year.  After a very cool spring, we've got to work in to that kind of heat!  But the boys were troopers.  Here they got to have their names read and come out on the field together.  As you can see 4 different towns made up his team.
The boys had a good time meeting new kids from other towns in the dugout.  This is our three players from our town.
Maestro was even able to come and watch some of his little brother play.  We had to leave to go to his first play off game right from this field.  Maestro needed the umbrella, like I said, the sun was very hot that day!
Little Red got a hit in the game as well as made a great throw to home from second base!  He's had a fun season so far.  His playoffs will start soon and we'll be taking the summer off from baseball after that.  And maybe some fall ball once the weather turns a little cooler. 
Take me out to the ball game, ~Peacemom

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lilac Apple Jam Season!

Lilac season is in full swing here in New Hampshire!  Oh, beloved state flower!  As you're driving around, you can smell little pockets of it's wonderful scent wafting in through your now open windows.  Blessed heavenly scent!

And if you pull them from their stems, they are a key ingredient to a most amazing spring tradition around here.  Lilac apple jam!  

All you need is two cups of blossoms, add 2 cups of hot water, let steep and you have an amazing floral infusions.  Well, let me give you the recipe...

Lilac & Apple Jelly

2 c lilac petals, removed from the stem (try to keep the entire blossom intact, the nectar is in the center part)
2 c boiling water
1 pkg powdered pectin
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c finely diced, peeled apple (I used empire, which was a great flavor with the lilac)
4 c. sugar

Rinse flowers well. Put in heat resistant bowl and pour boiling water over all. Steep over night. Next morning, strain petals using either a fine mesh sieve or cheese cloth. Discard flowers. You will need the liquid to be exactly 2 cups, so if the flowers soaked some up, add enough cold water to make 2 cups.

In medium saucepan combine flower infusion, pectin, and lemon juice. Using a whisk, mix until the pectin is fully dissolved. Add diced apple. Bring to a boil. Add sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Return the pot to a rolling boil, boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.

Using sterilized canning jars and lids, ladle hot jelly into the 1/2 pint jars (5 in all). Put in a water bath canner and process for 10 minutes after the boil is achieved. Remove from canner and place on counter on dishtowel to cool. Listen for the wonderful sound of the "POP!!" as your jars seal!

There's no better jam on a hot, buttery English muffin, I guarantee it!  And, it's really quite easy to make, no special equipment needed. Whip up a batch while the blooms are blooming, it's wonderful on pancakes and waffles as well.  No better treat on a February snowy morning then this slathered on a breakfast treat.  Enjoy!