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