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Monday, August 31, 2015

A Different Route

 We took a different route to the apple orchard in Cosby, Tenn. this year and noticed this sign along the road.

There just aren't many covered bridges in our neck of the woods so we decided to have a look at it.

Love the setting and the simple construction of the bridge.

You did want to drive through, right?

It was a bumpy ride, but just look at those boards and the windows.  Bridge heaven.  Sorry about the light - these are all cellphone pics.

In previous apple orchard posts, here, here and here, the focus was on the orchard and the many offerings at the market, but not this time.  It's time to see the gate.  

A fitting one, I say.

Well, maybe just one pic of the orchard.  Goodman took the photos while I drove, and I was saying how I don't like it when any part of our vehicle shows in them.   I'm glad I was able to make my point understood. ;) 

On the way home we drove by this building, yes, that's a goat on the roof (click for big pic), and there were many others up there. The place is called Goats on the Roof, but the attraction is the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. I had never heard of it, but I like the idea.  No, we didn't ride it, but I found this video posted by someone who did.  If you'd like to try the coaster out from right where you are go here.  (no affiliation w/ the business or the video)

Remember the stack of zinnia cloths I crocheted with proper "open disc florets" (lol)  when I first discovered this pattern?  Well, here are three zinnia cloths with obscure open disc florets.  O.O

 What's for dinner - homemade chili relleños, refried beans and the best ever chunky guacamole.  Delicious.

Have a great week, y'all.
This post shared at:  Maple Hill Hop, Roses of Inspiration, The Art of Home-Making Mondays, Good Fences

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Cooking Outside! In A Sun Oven

Anise hyssop (this one is from the mint family) growing in one of our raised beds.
My Good Fences photo (from my archives) of a replica of the Pinta (and a bit of the Nina) when it was docked in Knoxville several years ago for tours.  We took the grands with us for an educational tour that day.  Please, click on the pic to appreciate all the fences.

I have wanted a Sun Oven for years and finally got one last month.  Goodman is fond of homestyle meals complete with a meat and 2 vegetables so I cook A LOT, and that heats up the house A LOT. I like the idea of cooking without the heat from the stove competing with the air-conditioning in the summertime so it just makes sense to use a sun oven (or/and an outdoor grill.)  And it's really handy when the power is off.   It can even be used in winter - as long as the sun shines you can cook in it.
Since I bought mine I've been surprised to find out how many people have never heard of them.  
Here it's cooking a pot of beans on our deck.  (Imagine li'l red beans cookin' away in there.)
 mine, mine, mine.  ;)
The pot sits on a leveling tray so you can position the oven so the glass lid on top of the oven directly faces the sun.

It can reach 400° inside when placed in direct line with the sun.  Here I made sun tea - next time I'm going to make it in a jar as the pans that came with it don't pour without spilling it everywhere.  o.O 
Cookin' Green Sun Tea
I usually boil pork short ribs (makes them super tender and chases away that awful piggy odor) for an hour on the stove then drain and slather them with sauce on the grill for 10 mins.  Here I cooked them in the oven for a couple hours then drained them, added sauce and grilled them the usual 10 minutes for added flavor.  Delicious. 
Short Ribs going into the sun oven
It took the sun oven about 2 hours to cook beef tips for supper last evening.  Just a few minutes of preparation on my part beforehand then the oven did the rest. Cool.  And that's exactly what happened since I cooked outside...the house stayed cool.   In the summertime I try to fry squash and such on our outdoor grill to help keep the house cool.  
Beef Tips with gravy & noodles, Fried Zucchini, and Mashed Cauliflower 

I've also tried a whole baked chicken, and it's great cooked in the oven, too.   If you have any questions about the oven or are interested in buying one click here to watch a video at the sun oven site.   No affiliation, just a happy customer.

You can read about them here >  Source  <<   Btw, part of the proceeds from sales help to place huge community sun ovens in third world countries.
The growing season will soon end so don't forget to gather mullein for your herbal cabinet.  :)
As always, I'm not a doctor so if you have a medical condition do consult your physician.
Shared at The Art of Homemaking MondaysWildcrafting Wednesdays, Good Fences, Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Did you know there are burgundy stella d'oro daylilies?  It's true.  o.o

I'm growing calendula this year for the first time. 

 Several months ago I read a most intriguing account of wonderful results as to it's medicinal properties and couldn't wait to grow my own.  Click here to read the same article, and you'll also discover one of the best home-making blogs in cyberland.  Seriously. 

 I enjoy growing cucumbers, but I do not like that they ramble and roam everywhere within 30 feet of where they are planted so....

Goodman and I visited the bamboo patch along our fence line...

And extracted several poles so I could make a trellis for the cucumber vines.

We cut and tied them together with twine.

 The hollow core of the bamboo poles allows for sliding the poles onto skinny pieces of rebar so I pounded 1/4 in. pieces of rebar into the raised bed where I wanted the trellis, then I "hung" it onto the rebar posts.  It's very sturdy and has withstood several storms, and when fall arrives I can simply lift it off the rebar posts and store it for the winter.

In case you are interested in making your own nifty garden trellis here is a link to some very cool and useful lashing methods.
Clove hitch step 1

How does your garden grow this year?  Do tell.
Shared at The Art of Home-Making Mondays, The Maple Hill Hop, Roses of Inspiration, Wildcrafting Wednesday