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Thursday, July 31, 2014

July in the Rear View Mirror

Weather-wise, July was a strange month here at The Sticks.  Twice, for a week at a time, we had some really, really cool nights.  Cool as in the upper 50s!  Bad thing though… very little rain.  The yard is getting pretty well baked.  We have started bringing out the watering buckets (our 5 gallon buckets with a tiny hole drilled in them). 

No trips this month, except for a day trip to Nashville with my sister and family.  Yep… the babies came down to Tennessee!  What a blast that was!

We have done a lot of entertaining this month… large groups.  We did a spaghetti dinner for our Sunday School class and had a tea for my Homemakers club.  Fun!

We have been taking advantage of those cooler temperatures; we have been and are BUSY in the yard.  I’ll have several projects to share over the next few weeks.  I am so happy with what we’ve been getting done!

With the work outside and our entertaining, not much has happened inside.  The studio is coming along slowly but surely.  I have a couple room makeovers planned for August.  I’m excited about those!

In fact, August seems like it is going to be our Makeover Month!  Lots of changes planned…

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Southern Night: Cicada and Lightning

We are experiencing some wonderful cool mornings and evenings this week.  Perfect for another round of yard work.

But this great weather came in with a round of thunderstorms.  Here at The Sticks two strong cells passed on either side of us.  We got a few drops of rain (which we are needing badly) and some lightning.  Not enough to stop the summer cicada from singing.

From our back deck...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Simple Book

I've always been fascinated by hand bound books.  So when I had the opportunity to take a class on Japanese 'stab binding' I jumped on it!  

Each place at the table had a kit waiting for us that we would make two books from.  We then were able to chose the papers we wanted for the books.

This is the paper I picked for my 'hard' cover book.

And this is my soft cover book.  It is the book we started with.

You get everything cut the same, then clamp it down so it doesn't move.  Then with an awl you push through to make holes in the pattern of the binding you have chosen to do.

Then it is time to start stitching.  

It is slow work because if you pull too hard on the needle as you work it through... it breaks.

Almost done!

And here is my finished book!

I used different colors pages 'just because'.  I'm not yet sure what I'm going to use it for.  But it will be for something special, that much I already know!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Salud! at Whole Foods: Chinese Carryout (recipe Fortune Cookies)

Another Whole Foods cooking class last week.  This one was part of their 'kid's camp' week long series (we only worked one of those days!).  The day we worked was "Chinese".  And I'm going to share the 'Fortune Cookie' recipe because it was soooooo good.  (Yes, I know fortune cookies are not really Chinese... just think of the class as Chinese carryout).

The biggest trick to making the cookies was to do them in small (very small) batches and work with them quickly once they are out of the oven.  They get crispy as they cool and they cool very fast!  Double gloving helps with the heat.

After folding, set in a cupcake tin to keep them in shape as they cool.

Perfect cookies and BETTER than at a restaurant!

You'll need to keep a good eye on the first few batches to see how they cook in your oven.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Buy Local: Natural Mulch

In getting our yard under control we use wood mulch... and we need a lot of it.  Fortunately just 4 miles down once you get to the main road, there is a company that does natural mulch and composting.  They are called "The Compost Company"  

They take this... 

...and turn it into THIS!

No loading, they do it all.

He does a great job getting it packed in.

See... I told you it was packed! (It's darker than this sun exposed photo shows - the below shows it better).

That is one cubic yard of mulch.  It cost just $25.  If we had bought it in bags at a big box store it would have taken almost 14 bags and would have cost us about $46.  And those bags would have had dyes and chemicals in them.

Here's a sneak peek at one of our projects that we will finish this week with the coming round of cool mornings. 

To find out if there is similar business near you, contact your local agriculture extension office or a nursery that does not sell mulch.