Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November's Bounty

Purple onions, an English cucumber and Swiss chard picked fresh in mid-November.
The last of the garden's gifts for the year, although I may yet harvest more Swiss chard.

I love the earth and its jewels.

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Grateful Heart

Life is beautiful and strong; precious and fragile.

We are filled with gratitude all through the year and especially at Thanksgiving; but have even more reason than usual this November. 

Our beautiful, lovely girl- who recently went to her first homecoming dance- has come away from a severe car accident with a concussion, sore body and a fresh perspective on the fragileness of life. We know she was watched over, and for some reason our girl was saved from dangerous injuries or worse. 
Content copyright © 2015 by Jessa at Graceful Landing

It's hard to describe the humble gratitude we feel.  Our minds are still reeling from this experience and we are sober and quiet much of the time as we try to make sense of all we saw and have felt.
  Our depth of gratitude is great.

Life is precious- please drive safe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chicken Facts

Content copyright © 2015 by Jessa at Graceful Landing
*Chickens are omnivores- loving seeds, insects, vegetables, grains and even mice!

*Chickens live, on average, five to ten years.  (Unless, ahem, a fox gets too close.)

*The world's oldest chicken lived to be sixteen, according to most sources, but I've heard there is one named Muffy, who is twenty-two.   ("I don't know about you, but I'm feeling twenty-tw0".....I think her feelings about that may be different than Taylor Swift's. )

*A chicken's heart beats about 300 times per minute.
(Reminds me of Bill Cosby's 'Chicken Heart' routine and the spooky heartbeat sound he made- gave me chills up my spine as a kid)

* The fear of chickens is called Alektorophobia
 (My sister once brought her friend over and he jumped about two feet when he saw that a chicken was near him in the yard.  Apparently, he'd never seen one in real life.)

Content copyright © 2015 by Jessa at Graceful Landing

*Many hens have lost their natural broodiness (desire to lay eggs and hatch them) due to modern day practices.  However, Buff Orpingtons are one of the few breeds that still tend to have maternal instincts.   Interestingly, chicks that are hatched by a hen are likely to hatch their own eggs later.    (A big plug here for home-grown babies- human and otherwise!)

*Mama hens are fiercely protective of their chicks.  They puff up and dance around with serious warning sounds if anything comes near them.   They also 'talk' to their babies a lot and call them over when they spy something  yummy to eat.  They let their chicks eat first, while keeping close guard.  

In my opinion, chickens are one of the most versatile farm animals- providing eggs and/or meat, as well as cleaning up insects and spiders around the farm as they free-range.   They're happy to see you and get excited when you bring them things to eat.  Not to mention, they can be quite beautiful.  :)  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Stuffed Bellpeppers

After harvesting the last of the bellpeppers from the garden and with the cooler days inspiring my taste buds; I decided to make stuffed bellpeppers.

For many years there was no point in making such a delightful dinner as my children would balk at the idea of eating peppers.  (With the exception of my oldest two)  

So you see, there are some perks to having your children grow older.    Now they complain less about meals and are much more willing to try new things.   :)

These are pretty simple and here's the basic recipe:

Cook  1 and 3/4 cups of white rice (I use jasmine) with 2 cups of water and a drizzle of olive oil  (I use a simple rice cooker- but a pot with a tight-fitting lid works great, too)

While rice is cooking;
Brown 1 lb ground sausage til cooked through  (mild or hot)
When sausage is browning, add 1 smalled diced onion to the meat to cook along with.
Add to the cooked sausage/onions:
 -Two 15 oz cans diced italian tomatoes (I ran mine quickly through the food processor as some people don't care for tomatoes in my family- crazy people.)
-One tablespoon balsamic vinegar 
-One teaspoon granulated garlic or fresh, minced 
- 1/2 cup parmesan
-Salt and pepper to taste

In another small pot, bring to a simmer;
-Two cups marinara sauce (I make mine)
-1/2 cup beef broth

When rice is finished cooking,  grease or spray a 9x13 baking dish.  Pour about 3/4 cup of beef marinara  sauce into bottom of dish and spread around. 

 Arrange peppers (tops cut off, seeds and center cleaned out) in dish.

Add rice to the meat mixture- making sure you don't add too much, keeping the filling moist.
Stuff filling into the peppers almost to the rim.  
Pour rest of marinara sauce over the tops.  (They can overflow somewhat)
Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of each pepper.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes 


Monday, November 9, 2015


Content copyright © 2015 by Jessa at Graceful Landing

“Golden retrievers are not bred to be guard dogs, and considering the size of their hearts and their irrepressible joy in life, they are less likely to bite than to bark, less likely to bark than to lick a hand in greeting. In spite of their size, they think they are lap dogs, and in spite of being dogs, they think they are also human, and nearly every human they meet is judged to have the potential to be a boon companion who might, at many moment, cry, "Let's go!" and lead them on a great adventure.” 
 -Dean Koontz 

Content copyright © 2015 by Jessa at Graceful Landing

“The face of a golden retriever feels like home.”
― David Rosenfelt

Thursday, November 5, 2015


Seeing my grandbabies in their costumes and watching them trick-or-treat:  SO much fun! 

Monday, November 2, 2015


Final cutting of hay for the year; cut, baled and stacked.
  It's a beautiful thing.

Content copyright © 2015 by Jessa at Graceful Landing

Content copyright © 2015 by Jessa at Graceful Landing

Content copyright © 2015 by Jessa at Graceful Landing

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