from the ground up

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Orchard day.

Slanty sun.

Leaves falling.

Horses munching.

Apple barrels.

Crisp, bright.

Juicy, sweet.

Warm breeze.

Plum picking.

Family chatter.

Plum Butter:

In the evening, fill slow cooker with tiny plums.

Add water to 3/4 full.

Set at low overnight.

In the morning, remove pits with a food mill.

Return pulp to slow cooker.

Add some sugar if desired.

Add steeping bags with cinnamon, cardamon pods, and cloves.

Cook on low until desired consistency reached.

Remove spices. Add splash of vanilla.

Can in jars.


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In the recent explorations of our generous friends garden, there was a certain corner of the garden that kept pulling us in.

Can you imagine why?

The first day we picked and ate and picked and ate.  No berries made it home with us.

The fourth day, we were barely able to save enough raspberries for one batch of freezer jam.

Oh,  how precious it is and how thankful we will be in January, nibbling warm toast and watching the snow fly.

The rest of the berries have been eaten on site or made into several delicious desserts.


Not only were our friends kind enough to share their bountiful raspberry crop with us, they also shared a delicious recipe with us a few years back.


Swedish Cream and Berries

2 1/3 cups cream or half and half

1 cup sugar

1 envelope plain gelatin

1 tsp. vanilla

1 pint sour cream

Mix together cream, sugar and gelatin.  Heat until dissolved. Cool. Gently mix in sour cream and vanilla.  Pour into 8 x 8 baking dish.  Refrigerate.  Serve chilled with berries.

** Use whole milk and fat free sour cream to lighten this up a bit.  I have always wondered about using honey in place of the sugar, but haven’t tried it, yet. **

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The gorgeous cherry, adorned in pink, has exchanged those frills for ruby jewels.

More juicy, tart cherries than we can manage. We pick and pit and freeze and can and bake and pit some more. It feels like mostly pits, but the sweet-tart joy we reap is worth every stone (even when you get one in your cake). And there’s plenty leftover for the birds.

For others with tart cherries dripping from your trees, these are our new favorites:

Sour Cherry Preserves and a variation with a blender to make it into jam.

Moist Yogurt Cake with Tart Cherries with our variation of 1 tsp almond extract and 1 tsp vanilla.

A special juice recipe created by Weston: “extra hummingbird juice and cherry juice”, a tasty treat.






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Rhubarb.  Often thought of as the “forgotten fruit”.


Splendidly red stems can be eaten in so many ways. Cobbler. Pie. Preserves. Drinks.

We have been eating our fair share of cobbler around here, which we actually prefer to call “gobbler”.  One member of the family prefers to shout “CAKE, CAKE”, when gobbler time has arrived!  It is sure tasty coming out of the oven, warm and bubbly. But no one feels a bit bashful to have another scoopful for breakfast either.

We have also added rhubarb-honey drinks to our repertoire.  Added to sparkling water or better yet, a chilled glass of Prosecco.

Ahhh…. Summer seems to have finally arrived.

Honey Rhubarb Simple Syrup:

3 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped.

2 cups water

1/2 to 1 cup honey

Mix.  Boil.  Simmer 15 minutes.  Cool. Strain.

Add. Mix. Drizzle. Sip.





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Recipe Share: Swiss Chard Artichoke Dip

Here’s a new recipe creation from a Thanksgiving we shared together. After serving this dish as an appetizer with a variety of crackers, we decided it was worthy of sharing. And yes, this sweet, succulent swiss chard is straight out of the late, late, late autumn garden. It’s verging on winter here, and since harvesting these ingredients, the plants are finally wilted from frost. All that remains is strong, dark, ever green, ‘Blue Vates’ kale. And won’t it be amazing to harvest and eat fresh into December…keep your fingers crossed.  And Enjoy!

Swiss Chard Artichoke Heart Dip:

1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

3 cups finely chopped Swiss chard, veins removed

1 TBS lemon juice

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 tsp. sea salt

8 oz  cream cheese (1 brick)

Fresh ground pepper to taste

1 c. plus 3 TBS, low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix all ingredients. If a finer consistency is desired, pulse in a food processor.
Spread into an 8 x 8, oiled baking pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until brown and bubbling.
Served with toasted baguettes or crunchy crackers.

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Recipe Share: Arugula Pesto

Arugula! Pesto! This rivals traditional basil pesto in my kitchen.  But it’s a tight race.  This year,  I didn’t process nearly as much basil pesto as I have in other years.  Instead, I replaced a few batches with arugula pesto.  I can already taste the warm sandwiches, spread with a thick layer of tangy, spicy arugula.  Or the occasional dollop (or two…)  added to a hearty soup this winter.

Arugula Pesto

4 cups loosely packed arugula

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 to 2 cups nuts.  Walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine…the choice is yours!

3 cloves garlic, crushed

salt, to taste

parmesan cheese, to taste *

Layer ingredients in blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth, adding more olive oil as moisture is needed.

* I add the parmesan just before eating, for a fresher taste.

Eat a batch fresh! This recipe also freezes well. One cup in a freezer bag smoothes out flat for stacking.  Just break off as much or as little as you want for a slightly spicy addition to any recipe. Enjoy!