observations, ideas and inspiration... from my pennsylvania home, garden, kitchen, and studio

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Rock....a simple fountain story

One day 17 years ago I carried (very slowly) this rock up a giant hill.  I found it down by the creek below our house.  I loved that it had a little indent in it.   Did I mention that I collect rocks?

Some years I had flowers tucked in the center. 

Other years I'd have a shallow pool of water for butterflies to stop by for a drink and a rest.

This year, Dino asked if he could have the rock.  I him-hawed around a bit but finally agreed. 

While making breakfast a few weekends ago, he carried the rock past me in the kitchen and down into our basement.  By the time we were ready to eat, this is what he made.  What a pleasant surprise!

Dino drilled a hole right through that rock and fished a tube down the center.  He connected the tube to a very cheap pump someone gave us.

The tiny prefab pond was already there.  All Dino had to do was take our old grill grate, support it with a piece of treated lumber and placed it over the pond.   Then he set that big rock on the grate and hid the rest of it with smaller rocks.  Plugged it in and taadaa!  A new fountain.

It's in a perfect spot right off our back porch, which is where we eat every meal in the summer.  I can even hear it from my kitchen.  I love it so much!

And so do these guys. 

 The end.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lattice-Topped Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie

When I was little I liked to bake pies.  You know how your NOT suppose to work the crust too much?  I played with mine like it was play dough.  Then I'd roll it out, drop in a can of "Thank You" brand cherry pie filling, add the top crust, which I don't recall rolling, but tossing and flattening out like pizza crust. 

I still remember the compliments my parents gave me....."It looks beautiful." or "The filling is so good!"

Some things never change and I still like to bake pies.  I've improved on my crust making a bit, although my lattice work is a little primitive. 

Rhubarb is my most favorite pie.  This year wasn't a good one for my rhubarb, so I've added a small portion of strawberries to fill it up.  Enjoy!
Jenn xo

Lattice-Topped Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie

For crust
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 scant tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¾ cup cold butter, cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup cold lard, cut into chunks
  • ¼ - ½ cup cold water

For filling
  • 4 cups 1/2-inch-thick slices trimmed rhubarb ~ I use my kitchen shears for this, it's so much faster.
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled, halved
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch or flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg yolk beaten to blend with 1 teaspoon water (for glaze) plus additional teaspoon of sugar
To make crust:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in lard and butter until coarse meal forms.  If you don't have a food processor, a fork or pastry cutter will do the trick.  Blend in enough ice water, 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.  Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling. 

To make filling:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine all filling ingredients, except egg yolk mixture and additional sugar. Toss gently to blend.

Roll out 1 dough disk on floured work surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang. 

Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.  Spoon filling into crust. Arrange half the dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling and weaving in and out if you like. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges decoratively.

Brush the egg glaze over crust and sprinkle with additional sugar.

Bake 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Bake pie until golden and filling thickens, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely.

Monday, May 14, 2012

so grateful ...published!!

I am truly thrilled to have my little bunnies featured on 3 pages of the current issue of Prims magazine, which was released on May 1st.  I am writing this quite a bit later than I expected because my dad had a heart attack on April 30 and is slowly recovering but doing well. 
A few months ago I received an email from Jennifer Jackson Taylor, editor of Prims magazine, asking if I would be interested in having some of my work featured in their magazine?  YES!!  Does anyone ever say no to that?   It is such a surreal feeling.  I know I love what I do but when someone actually wants to put in in print, it's a strange feeling.  The first thing Lydia asked me is if I would mention her :)...she's not as shy as her old mom is. 
Thank you Jennifer and Stampington & Company with your many lovely artful publications including Prims.

It's been a bittersweet month but I feel so blessed.

Warm hugs,
Jenn xo

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." 
~ Proverbs 3:5-6

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