From My Carolina Home

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Early June In the Garden

The garden continues to grow and evolve, watching for the first tomatoes and hoping for a good crop of basil.  The garden is busy and blooming so get ready for a picture heavy post!  Out in the forest, the honeysuckle is going like crazy.

Late May in the Garden 3

The sweet fragrance wafts across the air, and the pollinators are all over these blooms.

Late May in the Garden 14

Mountain Laurel is blooming across the property.  Ours are all white, no pink ones.

Late May in the Garden 4

The peach trees have a good amount of fruit. These are wild clingstone peaches, not a lot of usable fruit, but a really sweet and intensely peach flavor.  If DH is lucky enough, I’ll get the peaches before the bears do and make him a Fresh Peach Coffee Cake.  The problem is I have to leave them on the trees until they ripen or they don’t get ripe.  So, the bears and I have a race each year to get to them at the perfect moment.

Late May in the Garden 17 peaches

This red and white petunia sneaked into my basket of bargain white petunias, so I put it with the white lobelia. Both are doing nicely on the veranda.

Late May in the Garden 18

The yellow torenias are growing and beginning to bloom more profusely.

Late May in the Garden 30

Whoopee, I actually have a nice lettuce plant! This will be a salad soon.

Late May in the Garden 22

The red snapdragons are starting another show.

Late May in the Garden 24

The celosias are still little, but blooming well.

Late May in the Garden 25

The day lilies are getting going, this one with dewdrops in the early morning.

Late May in the Garden 26

My favorite pale yellow one with the deep purple throat is blooming profusely.  It is too bad that these gorgeous blooms only last one day.  I like the ruffled edges of this one.

In the Garden at From My Carolina Home

More ruffled edges on the peachy color ones with yellow throats, there are two clumps of these both putting on daily shows.

In the Garden at From My Carolina Home

My largest tomato plant has a flower! Hoping for a nice fat tomato.

Late May in the Garden 27

The tomatoes planted in a large pot are getting bigger too.

Early June in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Out in the front flower bed, the white petunias are growing and filling the pots, flowering nicely.

Late May in the Garden 28

The larger pot on the corner of the veranda is filling in too. The daisy finished blooming and I deadheaded the blooms hoping it will go again. I like this pink coleus a lot, it adds nice color to the pot.

Early June in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Another planting of basil in a small pot is coming along.

Late May in the Garden 34

Inside, a friend convinced me to try growing another lettuce from the core of one used for dinner. So I did. I thought using a bulb vase would be perfect to keep it just in the water. I cut a thin slice off the bottom and put it in water.

Lettuce rooting

About a week later, it seemed to be doing really well. No roots yet, but I was hopeful as the leaves were growing.

Lettuce in bulb grower

Then, for some reason it died and turned brown. I don’t have a clue why. Another epic fail, LOL!! Also on the failure front, the poinsettia in the large pot on the veranda died too. I guess it didn’t like being replanted, or something was wrong with the light or water. But the blue lobelia and the peachy pink begonia still are growing and blooming nicely.

Lobelia May

The vibrant colors are just beautiful.

Peach begonia with lobelia

Basil and more begonias, both doing well.

White and pink begonias

The fuschia put on a spectacular show!  The two color flowers are so interesting.

Fuschia 1

Last week I made DH a couple of loaves of Apple Bread, and put the peels and cores out in a dish for the critters. It didn’t take long for the crows to find it and steal an apple core.  The others tried to take it away from him, instead of getting their own from the dish.  Later, I noticed it was all gone, so I think they came back and had a feast.

Crow with apple2

The goldfinches are wearing their summer colors, so bright and beautiful.

Goldfinch

All the torenias are blooming and they are beginning to cascade trailing shoots of leaves and flowers. They are growing larger and faster than previous years, and I think the bone meal and slow release fertilizer I added to the hanging baskets made a difference.

Early June in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

Lovely cool mornings and evenings are nice to sit in the rockers and enjoy a hot cup of coffee or a nice evening libation.  The pillow is from my internet buddy Jenna’s site The Painted Apron.   She is such a wonderful artist!  I plan to get another bright pillow soon for the other chair.

Early June in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I love seeing the pollinators come by, this pretty butterfly rested on the veranda, moving its wings back and forth slowly.

Early June in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

The June blooming lily has one bloom again this year. I wish it would do two like it has in the past, so I’ll give it some fertilizer and bone meal to help it along.  Not bad for a bulb that was a gift several years ago, and has bloomed every year since.

Early June in the Garden at From My Carolina Home

I deadheaded the hydrangea, and it is starting to bloom with lovely shades of pink to lavendar to blue, all on the same bush and sometimes on the same flower.

In the Garden at From My Carolina Home

In the Garden at From My Carolina Home

In the Garden at From My Carolina Home

In the Garden at From My Carolina Home

So, much is blooming and more to come.  My one little squash plant has a big flower, and I hope for more.  The hostas are filled in and fully leafed out, and should have the tall spires of purple blooms soon.  More day lilies will come into bloom too.  I still plan to move some things around, and will get to that soon.

What’s going on in your garden?

 

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Be My Neighbor Block 12

Moving on to the next block in this quilt along, block 12 is pretty simple. I knew I could do this one in very little time, so I got out the basket of scraps and began pulling colors. I laid out the previous row so I could see what would be next to this block, and vary the colors. Purple with a floral print seemed the right choice for the large squares, and I can use the lighter purple in the nine-patch blocks.

Be My Neighbor Block 12 -2

I cut most of the pieces and set them out on my sewing table for assembly. I decided to do the nine-patches using strips instead of cutting all the little 2-inch squares. Laying out the components, there were only two diagonal lines to draw this time. I chain pieced as much as I could before taking the units to the ironing board.

Be My Neighbor Block 12 -4

I did the nine patch strip units and cross cut them, pressing the strips toward the green so the units would nest.

Be My Neighbor Block 12 -5

Sewing more units, I looked carefully at the roof knowing that those chimneys would be a pain. So, I carefully pinned them, checked the placement, checked and repinned again.

Be My Neighbor Block 12 -6

And still managed to do it wonky. Even with the quarter-inch foot and trying really hard. I can’t break the streak now, apparently.

Be My Neighbor Block 12 -7

And so, I took it out and redid the seam. Twice.

Be My Neighbor Block 12 -8

The third time was the charm, or at least as good as I was ever going to get it. I turned to assembling the other units.

Be My Neighbor Block 12 -9

Final two seams were sewn and the block was done.  The purples really are the same bluish tone, the darker one isn’t showing true in the pictures.  The nine patch colors are pulled out of the purple floral print, and match really well.

Be My Neighbor Block 12 -10

So, those of you really sharp eyed will notice that I skipped Block 11. I have a couple of ideas of how to do that block with all the little houses, but no fabric that will suit for the large windows on each little house. My first thought is to make them all birdhouses, with fussy cut birds in each window. Problem is I do not have any bird fabric. I also thought about using food fabrics, like little farmer’s market stalls. So, I am going to look in the shops for something suitable, maybe one of these ideas or maybe something I haven’t thought about yet. I won’t be able to get to the meeting today for the group as our longarm group is meeting in Waynesville Weaverville at a new quilt shop. Maybe I can find something cute there. We’ll see!

Are you doing the quilt along? What are you working on now?

 

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Summer Squash Casserole

I have been working on this recipe for quite some time trying to get it just right.  I usually make a recipe at least three times before I share it with you.  DH doesn’t really mind being the taste tester.   I have made this one now several times, each time tweaking this or that, trying to get the perfect balance of fresh squash to cheesy filling and crunchy topping.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

The other limitation I put on it was that it had to serve two, not a huge pan that would last for days.  One of the most common positive feedback comments I get on recipes like this is they are small enough for two, not huge.  I find I really do prefer fresh food rather than leftovers most of the time, and this really does satisfy all the requirements.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

The second time I made it, it wouldn’t fit in the small baking dish, so I had to use a larger one. The balance of flavor was better, but it made too much for two. It is easy to double a recipe, but a bit more difficult to cut one in half.  Plus, the crunchy topping gets soft overnight on the leftovers.  So, tweak the recipe again, eliminate one of the eggs and reduce everything else proportionately, and try again.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

I finally got it where I was happy with the yield and the flavor, so here it is.  As always, I begin with gathering ingredients.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Wash squash, remove ends. Thickly slice, then cut slices into quarters. Steam lightly in vegetable steamer for about 3 minutes, until beginning to soften.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

While squash steams, gently saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Remove from heat and add cream cheese, stirring until melted.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Drain Squash and mash lightly.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

In a large bowl, combine onion-cream cheese mixture with cheeses, egg and milk. Add squash, salt and pepper, and mix well.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Spray a small 6×9 oval baking dish (or similar size) with no-stick spray. Pour mixture into dish. Combine crackers with melted butter, then spread over the top of the casserole.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until top is lightly browned and casserole is set.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Serves 2 with large portions!  Or maybe four, but around here we like a lot of veggies.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Goes with ham really well! Especially the spiral sliced kind!

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Summer Squash Casserole

2 medium yellow summer squash, thickly sliced and quartered
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
12 buttery crackers, crushed medium size chunks (Club, Ritz or gluten free option)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Wash squash, remove ends. Thickly slice, then cut slices into quarters.   Steam lightly in vegetable steamer for about 3 minutes, until beginning to soften. While squash steams, gently saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Remove from heat and add cream cheese, stirring until melted. Drain Squash and mash lightly.  In a large bowl, combine onion-cream cheese mixture with cheeses, egg and milk. Add squash, salt and pepper, and mix well. Spray baking dish with no-stick spray. Pour mixture into dish. Combine crackers with melted butter, then spread over the top of the casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until top is lightly browned and casserole is set. Serves 2 nicely as a meatless mail course, or four as a side dish!

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

The balance of protein and complex carbs make it a good selection for a vegetarian lunch, just heap into a bowl and enjoy.

Summer Squash Casserole at From My Carolina Home

Download the recipe – Summer Squash Casserole

Do you like yellow summer squash?

 

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My blog is a variety of subjects, quilting and sewing, tablescapes and recipes, book reviews and hand stitching, crafting and mountain living. I love to have new followers, too!  See the buttons on the sidebar to follow by your favorite method.  If you are visiting from Fave Quilts, Pinterest, a blog hop or link up, please stay a bit and have a look around, my tutorials are gathered at the top in pages to make them easy to find.  Lots of fun is had here, and I invite you to follow with any of your favorite methods, see the sidebar for ways to follow.  My third mystery quilt is in progress, click on Scrap Dance Two Step on the sidebar for the first post.  Click on the Home page to see the latest posts on the blog.


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Driving the Devil’s Whip

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, warm and clear, the best time to take a car club drive.  This time the drive leader had us meet in Swannanoa for an event that was supposed to be two weeks ago, but was postponed.  We drove as a group from Swannanoa to Old Fort, and then formed up again to begin the winding, twisty and steep drive up into the mountains by a road locals call the Devil’s Whip. It is Hwy 80, going north from Hwy 70 out of Old Fort. This road is 12 miles with 160 curves, some switchbacks, and rising in elevation 2000 feet in those 12 miles.    There are huge signs telling trucks not to take this route, then this small one that says “steep winding road”, yeah, no kidding!!

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

But, taken carefully, it is a fun drive with a lot of gorgeous scenery, trees meeting overhead to form green arbors over the road, and flowers blooming.  Well, that’s what I thought was good about it, DH preferred the curvy road driving.  I did try to get more pictures, but you have to trust me that it was a beautiful road, but difficult to get a good picture while going around all those curves.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

At the top, we turned left to enter the Blue Ridge Parkway east of Mount Mitchell. The parkway was busy, as usual for summer weekends, especially on clear days. Several tunnels are on the way to the peak of Mount Mitchell, where we were going to have a picnic lunch.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The higher elevations have rhododendrons blooming profusely along the road. I tried to get pictures of them, but few turned out, and even this one that is clear doesn’t show you the mass of blooms we were seeing.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Reaching the summit at Mt Mitchell, the guys were pretty happy with the drive. Three of our members brought their British motorcycles.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Just look at the mountain view past the cars!  The orange car on the left is a Tesla, all electric and quiet as a ghost.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The temperature on the top is often cool to cold, even in summer, but this day was nice. It was in the low 70s, and sunny, perfect for a picnic.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

The views were clear too. Often it is so foggy up here that you cannot see these vistas.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

I love seeing all the layers of smoky blue-grey that define the Blue Ridge mountains.  This elevation is in the parking lot, and you can walk to the highest point of 6,684 feet via a paved walkway.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

Heading home, we enjoyed the parkway views.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

I kept trying to get more rhododendron shots, the purple-pink color was so pretty.

Devil's Whip Drive at From My Carolina Home

There is nothing like a day on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it never disappoints.

What did you do for fun this weekend?


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Angel Quilt

Recently, a friend of mine gave me this sweet fabric. It isn’t a panel, but it has squares with angels playing in their gardens.  The soft greens and yellows with the printed purple sashing is just a charming color palette.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

There are three angel designs in the fabric.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Initially, I thought it would be a good time to practice some custom quilting, outlining the blocks and doing some feathers.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

But, loading it up, I decided just to do a pantograph and get it done for giving away.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

The pantograph is a pansy with leaves, as it went with the gardening theme in the panel.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I used a light yellow thread by Essentials, with Bottom Line in the bobbin, also in yellow.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Batting is Warm and Natural. The soft colors will be nice for a little girl.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

It quilted up fast, and I was done in an afternoon.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I trimmed it so the purple sashing was relatively even.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Digging in the stash, this yellow rose fabric was perfect for the binding.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

Hand stitched to the back was fast too.  The backing is a tone on tone ivory, and did well with the pale yellow Bottom Line in the bobbin.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

All done and ready for donation.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

I am not sure where this one will go yet. But, I am sure it will be loved by someone soon.

Angel Quilt at From My Carolina Home

What are you working on now?

My blog is a variety of subjects, quilting and sewing, tablescapes and recipes, book reviews and hand stitching, crafting and mountain living. I love to have new followers, too!  See the buttons on the sidebar to follow by your favorite method.  If you are visiting from Fave Quilts, Pinterest, a blog hop or link up, please stay a bit and have a look around, my tutorials are gathered at the top in pages to make them easy to find.  Lots of fun is had here, and I invite you to follow with any of your favorite methods, see the sidebar for ways to follow.  My third mystery quilt is in progress, click on Scrap Dance Two Step on the sidebar for the first post.  Click on the Home page to see the latest posts on the blog.

 

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Garden Jubilee 2017

Memorial Day weekend is the annual Garden Jubilee in Hendersonville, the largest annual plant show and sale in the western North Carolina area.  We go most years, and this year I was on the hunt for more perennials, and I really want a clematis for the lattice in the front garden bed. Local nurseries and garden centers bring their best and the displays are a delight for the eyes.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

We came up at the middle of Main Street, looking north you can see lots of plant vendor tents along with arts and crafts vendors. The crowds were substantial as the weather was wonderful, but it wasn’t hard to move around and see all the flowers, veggies, and herbs on offer. We were there in the morning before it got too hot. The large trees are permanent plantings, along with flower beds here and there. Note the wonderful architecture on the buildings peeking over the trees.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

Looking south from the same intersection, lots more vendors, people, and gorgeous plants for sale, with a distant view of a mountain. Hendersonville sits in a valley between two ranges. There were eight blocks of Main Street blocked off for foot traffic only, vendors along the street on both sides and lots of things to see.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

Lots of people were purchasing rolling carts, and filling them up.  I liked this purple flower, but I didn’t see where it came from.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

There were several vendors with ‘yard art’, I thought about getting one of these chickens, but ultimately didn’t.  Cute though.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

Lovely selections of all kinds of flowers and colors were all along the street on both sides.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

These light purple verbenas are a nice pairing with the deep purple petunias. Every plant vendor had wonderful ideas for putting plants together in baskets and pots. Aren’t those hydrangeas gorgeous!

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

The next vendor had lovely red salvia flowers in pots.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

And one more down was showcasing pink and white.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

I came very close to buying this dalia. But the vendor was honest enough to tell me that it wouldn’t survive our winters without being dug up and stored. Not something I really want to do, I want to plant some perennials and just let them take over. But it is a beautiful flower.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

One of the craft vendors was offering barn quilts. These were so neat, some like this one were done in reclaimed wood. Others like the yellow, black and grey were made of tiles.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

I think one of these would be super over the garage door on our taller garage.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

There is a quilt trail starting in Henderson county, and I’ll try to get around to seeing some of those soon.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

The next plant vendor had a pink Mountain Laurel. I’ve lived here for years, and thought it only came in white! After I saw this one, I saw more growing wild. I just never got close enough to the wild ones to see they were Mountain Laurel.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

I was tempted by these foxgloves too, remember the ones at Brookgreen Gardens? I may try one eventually, they are biennials, reseeding every year, with new plants blooming the second year.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

I took a lot more photos of flowers, but I’ll close with this one of a huge display of hanging baskets.

Garden Jubilee ~ From My Carolina Home

So, what did I buy?  Only one plant, a Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato, and I hope grows well.  I picked up some coupons to visit local growers next week.  Being local has its advantages, I don’t have to walk around with a bunch of plants, I can get them a bit later.  What did you do over the weekend?

 

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Reflections on an Early Morning

Sometimes I am up really early in the morning, and have the wonderful opportunity to witness the sunrise over the mountain to the east. There is just something about the light in the early morning that is different from evening. I’ve never been able to describe the difference, but I can see it. It somehow seems softer, more pure.

Early Morning 3

The torenia baskets seem to turn their faces to the morning light.

Early Morning 2

A view down the veranda. Quiet. Peaceful.  Only bird song breaks the silence.

Early Morning 7

Noticing the shadows of the railing on the flooring boards, a gentle breeze moves the leaf shadows ever so slightly.

Early Morning 1

Hot coffee and a cool morning, perfect to reflect on our many blessings, and enjoy the beauty of our little corner of the world.  It is also a great time to just think, and I have been doing some designing in these quiet hours too.  I will have a new quilt pattern for you soon.

Early Morning 4

The valley has a different look to the layers of hills and distant mountain ridge with the light from the east.  We face south so the east is to the left in this picture.

Early Morning 5

The bird feeder was seeing a lot of visitors on this day.

Early Morning 9

Here and there, dew drops had formed on flowers.

Early Morning 13

Interplay of light and shadow make interesting shapes.

Early Morning 14

I really liked the shadow on this lobelia trailing tendril, this may be a photo entry in the fair later this year.  The shapes are interesting, and the clear light made a sharp edged shadow.

Early Morning 17

Looking up, the clouds looked like flying visitors.

Early Morning 18

Light and shadow on the driveway down the mountain, in the golden morning.  Reminiscent of a time gone by, of a slower day, time to be still and breathe.

Early Morning 20

The blue jay calls, and the chickadees answer.  A titmouse, a wren and a nuthatch join the choir.  This is a morning for gratitude, for our lives, our freedom, our beautiful home and property, our family and friends, our many blessings.  Count your blessings today, and remember those who have protected our freedom.  Have a wonderful Memorial Day.

 

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My blog is a variety of subjects, quilting and sewing, tablescapes and recipes, book reviews and hand stitching, crafting and mountain living. I love to have new followers, too!  See the buttons on the sidebar to follow by your favorite method.  If you are visiting from Fave Quilts, Pinterest, a blog hop or link up, please stay a bit and have a look around, my tutorials are gathered at the top in pages to make them easy to find.  Lots of fun is had here, and I invite you to follow with any of your favorite methods, see the sidebar for ways to follow.  Click on the Home page to see the latest posts on the blog.