Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Tablescape

Let's go back... way back to Valentine's Day, 2014.  My super-dooper husband gave me a gift certificate to a super-dooper little home decor store in Howard City, MI (which just happens to be a few miles North of our home).  The store name is Kindel & Co.  They are in an old renovated building that has been there forever.. you know, the kind with old exposed brick walls, wood beams and floors, and high tin ceilings with cool industrial pendant lights.  Yeah.. it's really cool!

Kindel & Co.
I decided to take a drive there recently and picked up this very cool elongated red chippy container.  I call it a "container" because it's not all wood or wicker.. it's a combination of metal and mesh made and painted to look vintage.  It works great on our long kitchen farmhouse table and will be very functional for our fireplace mantel, sofa table or dining room sideboard/side table. 

I decided to fill it with several colorful items rather than sticking to a "one or two" color theme.  There are silk flowers, a candle, grapevine ball, ceramic and glittery pumpkin, small teal colored balls and all planted in decorative dried grass.

Another beautiful and very practical item I recently purchased online was a handmade burlap runner.  It is 108" long and very well made.  It does resemble the Pottery Barn one, but at a fraction of the price.   The place to get it... The Elegant Clutter.  Just love the runner... Thanks Lori!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grandma Regentin's Banana Cake

After posting this photo on my Facebook page, I had requests for the recipe so thought I'd share it here.

Yes, this cake is as good as it looks..

Here is the recipe:

Grandma Regentin's Banana Cake
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas
1 cup sour milk (buttermilk)
3 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Cream shortening and eggs together and mix in sugar.  Add bananas and sour milk.  Fold in dry ingredients.  Bake cake at 350 for 35 minutes (or until light gold on top), uses a 9x12 cake pan.

 Cream Cheese Frosting
The cream cheese frosting is not from the original recipe, but here is the recipe I did use for the cake (thanks to Better Homes & Gardens):

6 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup butter (softened)
2 tsp vanilla
4 - 4 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well.  Gradually keep adding powdered sugar and beating until you have the desired consistency for spreading.

Store the frosted cake, covered, in the refrigerator.  Yummy!

Late September - What's Going on......

This weekend I decided to take a walk around the farm and snap a few pictures.  Here's what our property looks like in late September this year.

What is a post of the property without some pretty flowers?  The yellow petunias are done for as are the white sprigs, but the purple flowers remain (including a couple of purple petunias).
The dahlias really didn't do well this year.. many of the tubers, which were budding when put in the ground, never popped through the Earth.  Less than half of my dahlias came up.. I'm afraid the cool wet Spring was too much for them and I've lost some tubers.  

And like the dahlias, the garden didn't exactly thrive.  Tomatoes succumbed to a form of blight.  We harvested some tomatoes periodically, but certainly not enough to can like I had planned.  We did have a fair amount of peppers (green, purple, jalapeno, chilis) and cucumbers however.  Broccoli wasn't work the time spent putting the plants in.  Lettuce was good (it always is!) and the cabbage is looking good as of now yet.  The front of the garden is looking more like a rose garden... if the shoe fits.... 

The Anemone Clematis we though had died last year.  For the first time, in the middle of the season, the thing just went brown and dead.  I was very sad because this Clematis has always done very well.  I decided to rip out all the dead branches and leaves mid-late season 2013.  Low and behold, this 2014 season, the Clematis took off again.  All of this new growth was done this summer!  Gorgeous again!

Anemone Clematis

Anemone Clematis
I recently cleaned out the front bed of our house.  Cut down the iris' and day lilies that were a real mess.  A local nursery had perennials for great prices (75% off), so I picked up light green coral bells to add into the landscape.  The goal is to get these beds nice and thick.. choking out most weeds!  The red long johns hanging up is for "Red Flannel Festival" which is taking place the first weekend in October, in Cedar Springs, MI.

Small plants are the new coral bells planted.  The snowball hydrangeas were planted last year.. and I'm hoping that the plant size starts to take off in 2015.

Also planted a few pink columbines in front of the rhododendrons
Added a trellis and clematis facing the West which should get a good amount of sunshine.  Had put a few glads in the ground there too.  The honeysuckle and clematis is growing well on the West side of the door going into the garden shed (which is North facing).  However, the climbing rose that I put on the East side of that door didn't make it through the winter.  It's been replaced with English Ivy which should do well; the clematis on that side of the door is also doing fine, but not growing as fast as the other one (it doesn't get quite as much sunlight)!

The only area that we didn't remove some larger plantings in the landscape (when we put the basement in) was on the East side of the house as you drive in the driveway.  It's kind of a cluster of plants that are mismatched and not necessarily suitable for the location in terms of size and juxtoposition.  Both the cedar tree and the large decorative lilac (farthest to the right) were cut back drastically last Fall.  The lilac has come back with avengence and well over doubled it's size!  I've transplanted some perennials from another bed into this area, but something needs to be done here.  The best thing would be to remove the cedar and lilac (and the boxwoods that are behind the lilac), and drastically reduce this bed.  But I hate to pull out that lilac as it's beautiful and so fragrant in the Spring!  

English Ivy planted in between shrubs outside the garden, with the goal of closing up any need for bark/mulch.  

The ladder was from my father-in-law and I decided to use it as a trellis for a climbing rose on our old hay barn.  It had a slow start this Spring, but is doing better now.

We are also now ready for winter (other than re-arranging the hay) as we just filled our barn with out 400 bales of second cutting, for a total of about 750 bales for the winter.  We have *large* horses.. and they eat a lot of forage, however, we will have leftovers and that is always good!

The man of the farm is relaxing under our new Natural Light Patio Cover

Notice the wisteria that we planted two years ago now... and I was worried it wouldn't grow (or grow fast enough).  It had it's first pruning this past weekend.. and we'll have a "pruning party" twice a year from now on!

The adirondack chairs were a birthday gift from my husband, Steve.  He found them on Craig's List (thank goodness, because I wouldn't pay full price for a pair) and then repainted them red to match the barns and to standout in the landscape near our fire pit.  In the background is our old rescue dog, Denver, coming back from pooping on the neighbor's lawn.  Now, before you jump to conclusions.. the neighbor dog ("Mitch") comes to our lawn and does his business too (I just can't help that their one dog weighs about 9 lbs.. and our two dogs are in the 75-90 lb. range each).
Lastly, we added 7 white pine trees shaped in a "half moon" along our property edge here.  These trees will help with privacy for both our neighbors and us during the winter months when the leaves are no longer on the trees.  Keep in mind that we have our path to the neighbor's house in between the 5th and 6th tree (under the sumac)... for the dogs, of course.

There is our property in the late days of September.  Thanks for coming along!