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Baking up Christmas

December 20th, 2016

With all the travel, we’re doing a more minimal Christmas this year. We put up a small tree, but the rest of the decorations stayed in their boxes in the closet. We’ll burn candles to add brightness.
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Yesterday I spent some time making a few batches of Christmas cookies: butter cookies, gingerbread men, and date pinwheel cookies. These are some of my favorites. With only two of us in the household, they’re bound to be frozen in batches so we can enjoy them over a longer season before they go stale.

What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

Vintage Volvo

December 14th, 2016

While researching for our trip to Sweden, we came across Time Travel Sightseeing Göteborg. Of course we had to do it, seeing that we were in the country to pick up our very own Volvo. I first fell in love with Volvos when I was in third grade, our neighbors up the street had the classic 1970’s brown station wagon, I admired it every day on my way to school.
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We got a very in depth tour of the city in a classic Volvo PV 444/544, they were manufactured between 1947 and 1965. It was fantastic and well worth it whether you like Volvos or not.

Vasa Ship

December 13th, 2016

While we were in Stockholm in September, we visited the Vasa Museum. In this museum is a real 17th century ship, it looks just like those in pirate movies. It’s hard to imagine that this ship was built in 1624, set sail, and sank immediately. It preserved at the bottom of the ocean and the process to start bringing up began in the 1950s.
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If you’re ever in the area, it’s worth a visit. Definitely get in on the guided tour, that was wonderful at explaining the history of the ship.

Colorblock Gardens at Djurgården in Stockholm

December 12th, 2016

After spending the morning at Rosendals Trädgård (post 1 and post 2 about this lovely space), we decided to walk back to the old part of Stockholm and wander through the Djurgården, which we had heard was lovely. Indeed it was. Swedish parks and public spaces are lovely, they know how to plan things for maximum beauty and peace. We especially loved these color block gardens in one of the larger public park areas.
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If I remember correctly, there were four very large borders, each filled with plants/flowers in one color. The white and purple ones were my favorites, as my tastes in flowers definitely lean that direction.
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Generally, borders like this are a bit too much for my garden tastes, but these were perfect. The mix of flowers and plants were perfect, each bringing a certain texture to the garden. We certainly enjoyed wandering around noting each variety and what it brought to the mix.

What colors are your favorites in the garden? Do you tend towards hot colors like red, orange, and yellow? Or do you lean towards the more muted purples and whites?

Friday Favorite: Brussels Sprouts

December 9th, 2016

I’ve been trying to grow brussels sprouts for year, they always seem to get eaten by something. This year, I planted them in the front corner of the main edible garden by Tara (our Anatolian Shepherd garden and livestock protector). That seems to have done the trick and my sprouts finally reached maturity.
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Brussels sprouts are a favorite vegetable in the winter months and we are happy to have a very large harvest of them to enjoy for the next month or two.
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This year I grew two different varieties of sprouts, ‘Diablo’ from Johnny’s Seeds and ‘Long Island Improved’ from Baker Creek. Both varieties did well, the ‘Diablo’ produced taller stalks with larger sprouts, but the sprouts weren’t as tight at the others. I will continue to grow a few varieties, next year I’d like to add a purple for a little variety. Stay tuned, next week I’ll share a favorite recipe for sprouts.

Do you like Brussels Sprouts?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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