Sweet Georgia Belles…

14 Aug

It is peach picking season in Georgia and there is no more delicious variety than the Georgia Belles.  After our fun and productive tomato sauce canning session, Virginia and I decided to have another round of canning with the fresh peaches.  We put up peach preserves as well as my favorite – peach chutney!  Check out the link to Jaemor Farms where the peaches are grown.

http://www.jaemorfarms.com/georgia-peaches

Georgia Belles fresh from the farm

Georgia Belles fresh from the farm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut up peaches

Cut up peaches

 

Red peppers, Onions, Jalapenos and ginger

Red peppers, Onions, Jalapenos and ginger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simmer the vegetables

Simmer the vegetables

 

Add in the peaches

Add in the peaches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared chutney

Prepared chutney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything is processed and ready

Everything is processes and ready

 

 

 

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A Feline Flip Flop Fetish…

9 Aug

Our cat appears to have developed a flip-flop fetish!  I came in the other day and saw him lying with his paw in my shoe and thought it was so cute, then last night he did the same thing with my husband’s flip-flop.  Very cute!  He likes to lie on them, but is terribly afraid of the sound they make when you are wearing them and walk near him – silly kitties!!

 

Mis in my sandal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mis in Scotts flip flop

 

Canning Fresh Tomatoes

8 Aug

My new-found gardening hobby has spurred an urge to preserve the fruits of my labor.  I showed you the potting shed and the tomatoes that I have grown this summer.  The next thing I wanted to do was can some so that I would have wonderful, fresh tomato sauce to cook with all through the year.  A friend of mine and I planned a canning day and made crushed tomatoes.  She went to a local farmers’ market and bought around 20 lbs of tomatoes.  No I have not raised enough of my own to can that much!  Not sure if I want to grow that much at once…  Anyway I am going to show you what we did in case you want to try canning.  It takes a long time and is a lot of work, but it really is satisfying to have done this, and I look forward to using these fresh tomatoes in my homemade sauces!  I will tell you this from my experience; if anyone ever gives you a jar of homemade jelly, jam, tomatoes or anything else, it is a gift from the heart, truly!  A lot of standing and being hot in a hot kitchen goes into this process, so if someone is willing to share that sweat equity with you, you must be a dear friend!

Tomato prep

Fresh tomatoes

 

After blanching them to loosen the skins, dunk them in an ice water bath

After blanching them to loosen the skins, dunk them in an ice water bath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cut tomatoes and prepare to cook

Cut tomatoes and prepare to cook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get clean jars, lids and rings ready to sterilize

Get clean jars, lids and rings ready to sterilize

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boil the jars

Boil the jars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fill with cooked tomatoes and process in the boiling water

Fill with cooked tomatoes and process in the boiling water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it, home made canned tomatoes!

And there you have it, home made canned tomatoes!

 

A Potting Shed…

8 Jul

I had a hankering this year for a potting shed!  I don’t know if a love of gardening is one of those things that develops as we grow up or what, but I decided that a potting shed was indeed in order.  I can tell you that as a young girl gardening was a dreaded chore.  We had a four-acre garden, is that even a garden?  I had to spend hours out there picking peas, butter beans, green beans, squash and okra only then to have to peddle my goods at the local grocery store for gas money.  Then, of course, we had to shell and put up all these fresh vegetables that we kept for ourselves.  I didn’t have as much exposure to gardening of the flower variety because my Mother did most of that.  There were times that I’d help her weed the beds or something and of course I hated it.  It interfered with my laying out in the sun time and none of my friends had to do it which made it doubly unbearable.  So to say the least, when I was out on my own, gardening of any variety was the farthest thing from my mind!  My grandparents lived across the street from us and the huge garden was in between our place and theirs.  When I would go to my grandparents’ house, my grandpa would walk me around his yard and show me every last bloom on his tomato plants or whatever else he had growing.  I would try to feign interest in it however, because he was so excited for each tiny bloom!  The first place I lived in on my own was an apartment and I was thankful for no yard work, never even crossed my mind that I would ever entertain wanting to do any.  When my husband and I bought our first house, the interest began to emerge ever so slightly.  I put out a few potted plants at the front door and on the porch.  One of my good friends loved gardening and she tried her best to convert me, and she couldn’t resist from pulling a few unsightly weeds from my front beds when she was over.  After we finished this house however, I started to turn my attention to the neglected landscape.  Most of it was reserved for the professionals who knew what they are doing, but I started to want to dig in the dirt little by little.  I wanted to do my potted plants of course, then, my love of cooking prompted me to think about growing some herbs and maybe some tomatoes!  Hence the need for someplace to do the work surfaced and it became a fun little project to create the potting shed.  My husband built it for me and I painted it to match the house.  We added the flower boxes to dress it up a little and to continue my Tuscan theme outside somewhat.  I stocked it with garden implements and soil, lots of different size pots, and as soon as Easter passed the calendar I was ready to start.  We had a really late Easter this year which made waiting all that much worse, but my grandpa swore that you could never plant prior to Easter because of a chance of a freeze.  Was he ever right!  This was a really cold spring so I waited until I could begin my gardening in earnest!  After my first few times out there I knew that the shed wasn’t sufficient.  I now needed a garden table to actually work on to save my back from all the bending over.  Then I thought, well it would be nice to have somewhere to sit down and cool off while I’m working, so chairs and a cocktail table came next.  My husband bought a hammock years back but we never had anywhere to hang it, so he put it out there near the potting shed.  Beneath our screened-in porch and upper deck is a great little shaded area that beckoned for the potting shed; it’s shaded most of the time and needed something there anyway to fill the space.  I can piddle with my plants and he can chill in his hammock while I work!  I decided to plant mint, oregano, basil, rosemary and tomatoes for my little herb and vegetable garden.  Didn’t want to go hog-wild my first time out of the gate.  It is very manageable!  Funny thing is I watch those tomato plants every day, and when the first little yellow bloom opened I was ecstatic.  I had raised this thing and lo and behold it was going to produce a tomato!  I thought about my grandpa…he would be so excited and he would be willing to walk around with me to check all my plants.  I do indulge myself by showing everyone that comes over my container garden.  Now I can’t wait to eat that first ripe tomato!

Whole area Sitting area Potting shed outside

Any followers still out there wanting to hear from the Southern Girl?

7 Jul

Hey there Guys!  Wow I had to find the password to get back in here it has been so long since I’ve posted to my blog.  Let me catch you up on why it has been so long since my last post!  The purpose of my blog, as you know, has been to share with you my renovation story, along with other tidbits I found interesting and recipes and such.  Once the process was completed I went back to work full time to help pay some of the bills, so my free time was nil.  Add to that, the passion that I’ve always had for decorating and home projects was supercharged during this time, and I knew that I had to find a way to make my passion become my profession.  So I have been working to create my own Interior Design business!  I now have the business up and running and am focusing full time on this venture.  I do have a few posts that I am going to include that I ran out of time to do earlier that I want to share with you.  Then the flavor of my blog is going to change somewhat.  I hope that you will stick around to see what evolves and to watch the growth of Belle Maison Living, my design company!

2012 in review…

30 Dec

I just received from WordPress.com the annual stats from my blog.  Check this out, pretty cool for my first time blogging!!

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Natural Christmas Decorations for the Front Entry

18 Dec

I have continued my battle with the deer and the flowerbeds but it is now time for me to concede – they have won!  I planted the front beds then the flower bed by the street and they have eaten everything.  I give up!  My husband found this product called ‘Deer Off’ that we are going to try, but at this point I’m delaying that experiment until spring planting.  I have spent all the money I’m going to on bedding plants only to have it end up as deer food.  The ‘Deer Off’ is supposedly what the neighborhood uses because their flowers are never touched at the entry way or at the clubhouse – they just come over to our yard to eat.  It is not harmful to the deer at all; it just gives off a scent that is not appealing.  Lesson learned, deer are very prevalent here and you can’t set out plants without some deterrent.  Today I cleaned out the last vestiges of pansies and kale and reluctantly covered the beds over with bark.  With company coming in Thursday for Christmas however, I did not want the front entry looking so sparse with no plants.  I decided to fill my planters with fresh-cut greenery from the yard (a mix of holly, juniper and berries) and spray painted pinecones silver and gold.  I arranged the greenery then interspersed it with the painted pinecones.  At least I have something that looks festive now and the deer should leave this alone!

Front Door Christmas GreeneryFront Door Christmas Greenery Closeup

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