This past weekend we paid a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park. It was beautiful and we spent a little bit of time driving round to find some elk. They are starting to congregate to rut (their mating period) and we were lucky to spot a few. Here is a cow, She is beautiful. During the rut, the biggest, strongest bulls will have a harem of up to 20 cows. She’s been spotted. This was one big elk, and he wasn’t more than 50 yards away from us. Every year when they congregate, the bulls will fight for dominance and only the strongest maintain harems. The chase is on. He went after her licking his lips and bugling. Rejected. Silly boy, even cows need a respectable amount of wooing. The bugling of the male elk is eery (at least to me). It can be heard for miles and sounds like someone is being murdered. Incidentally, our eldest can imitate it perfectly. What a majestic creature, we were so lucky to see them so close. We did end up seeing one male and his harem of 17 cows, but they were much farther away. We are hoping to go one more time when there are many more elk in the meadows, it would be great to see some of them antler wrestling for dominance.
I love pesto, but have never made my own. I had a bunch of basil that needed using up, so I gave it a try. Boy was I glad I did, it tasted so much better than any other pesto I have ever had. There are tons of recipes out there, but this is the first one I came across, so this is what I tried. I’ve never made it before as basil from the store is expensive, and boy howdy those pine nuts are ridiculous. I found them in one store in town and they were $35 a pound. That is way out of my food budget, so in future I will be substituting walnuts or almonds (as I have read that lots of people do). The pesto made a delicious pasta supper, so let’s just hope we get a bunch more basil growing here in the next few weeks so I can make and freeze some for winter.
A simple summer salad made from the bounty of our garden. Well, it may not be a huge bounty, but it sure does taste good. There is something so incredibly satisfying about being able to walk out into the garden and pluck peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers right off the plants. In less than five minutes you can be sitting down to a wonderfully simple salad that is still warm from the sun. This was the first year we grew peppers and cucumbers and they will definitely be back next year. I’m also looking forward to growing some different veg as well. Slowly but surely our garden is expanding and it is so much fun. The kids love being able to pick veg, but they are really excited about the cantaloupe. Right now it’s about the size of a softball and growing a bit every day. What bounty are you enjoying from the garden (or the shops)?
This is a quick, easy, yummy lunch or snack for us. Most times I make my own satay sauce, but this time I used a jar from the store. Cook up some chicken and shred it. Mix in the sauce, and put shredded cabbage, carrots and the chicken on a tortilla. Wrap it up, slice it in half and enjoy!
Making bread bags has been on my to do list for well, ages. Considering it only took me ten minutes, with distractions, I should have done it ages ago. I have been wanting to come up with a more natural storage solution for keeping our bread and had decided on cloth bags. Shortly after, I saw Mousy Brown’s tutorial and decided that was just the thing. Funnily enough, I picked up these tea towels to make them when we were at the Ikea in Philly. When I went back to the tutorial, I realized that I had bought the exact same ones. I love how they turned out, they are a good weight and should be just right for keeping our bread fresher, longer. If you are looking for a new way to store your bread, give these a try, they are quick, very easy, and really nice to look at.
My seven year old loves blankets. He is buried or snuggled in one most of the time during the winter, and fall, and spring. I have to fold them and put them away during the summer and he has even been known to dig them out just to snuggle up. I have been wanting to sew each of my kids their own special quilt and I finally finished his. Most clothes that are grown out of around here end up at the thrift store. T-shirts that are too worn and/or stained get cut up into cleaning rags. I’ve always felt a little bit bad about jeans though. With a torn knee or a worn cuff they can’t be donated, but I didn’t want to throw them out either. So one day it came to me, make a strip quilt out of the decent pieces. I have to say that it turned out even better than I imagined. I absolutely love this quilt, and I hope he will too. The jeans were well worn so they are so soft, not stiff at all, perfect for snuggling up in. I used a thrifted sheet for the back. For the inside, I used the other half of that sheet (it had a few small tears and stains) and a large piece of flannel that had been given to me (I didn’t care for the print). It ends up being a nice sturdy weight and the grand cost was $1, for the sheet. Everything else I had, which makes this quilt all the more exciting to me. I really do love taking things that are no longer used or loved and turning them into beautiful things. So here we are, a well loved denim quilt for a well loved boy.
I’m a bit swept off my feet at the moment. Hubby is working on-site with a client in Washington D.C. for two weeks so it is just me and the kiddos for a while. Apart from the two months that I was in the hospital this will be the longest we’ve ever been apart. Thank goodness for modern technology as we can call, e-mail, text and even video chat to make the distance seem not quite so far away. Our days have been super busy and filled with plenty of games, lots of snuggles, picnics on the living room floor when it was too drizzly to eat outside, and even a late night snack of bread pudding when my eldest couldn’t sleep. I’ve been staying occupied in the evenings watching British tv shows and crafting. These quick change trousers were high on my list. They are from Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings. They are super cute, super easy and just what we needed as the nights have been a bit chillier and the babe didn’t have any pyjama pants as she has outgrown everything that fit her last winter. These are ingenious as they are fully reversible. I only used two different fabrics instead of three on this pair as I am trying to use up some of the fabrics I have on hand without spending anything on new fabric. The striped cotton was from a pair of hand me down pyjama pants that were too short for me, so they matched up pretty nicely with some purple floral fabric I already had and voila, cute pyjama pants to keep those cute little baby legs warm. There are definitely going to be more quick change trousers in our future.
Bulls are huge, and heavy, and not very happy to have cowboys on their backs. I find them to be surprisingly graceful for being such big beasts. Notice the rodeo clowns at either side of the pic, ready and alert.. Uh, oh! There he goes…. It’s not all clowning around, this is exactly what these rodeo clowns do… jump in to take the hit if necessary. They have such a scary (to me) job, but they are really good at it, and are vital for the safety of the cowboy. Hope you all enjoyed our little venture into the wild west, next up is steer roping.
This all happens in a matter of seconds, and quite frankly, I’m amazed that these guys can walk after this. This is the buckin’ broncos at Frontier Days, it’s the largest outdoor rodeo in the world and once a year our town is swamped with visitors and lots and lots of cowboys. There are lots more events and over the next few days I’ll show you some more. Bull riding, up next…..
This is our first harvest of the year, a handful of green beans and a cherry tomato. The beans got as far as being rinsed off before they were eaten. This tomato will be eaten today, just as soon as I can divide it into six. Wouldn’t want anyone feeling left out of eating our first tomato of the season.