Seven

Mike reminded us that today is the 7th anniversary of the day we moved into the farm. Driving two cars heaped high with old furniture, junk, a mattress from our attic in Atlanta, two kids, two Great Danes, one Yorkie and lots of high hopes, we headed to Alabama, closed on the property (while the dogs were in the car, A/C running), and drove up to the hills. It was one of the most exciting–and most anxious–days of our life together. Yet here we all are…several years, drained bank accounts, and buckets of sweat later…happy as can be with the magical little place Mike stumbled across…on the internet.

As we look back and think ahead, here’s one of the first blog posts we wrote. Seems like so long ago, and just yesterday. 🙂  A heartfelt thank-you to all the kind and wonderful neighbors and friends who, over the last seven years, have come into our lives and made us feel right “at home.”

7

 

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High on Pie

Few desserts make people as happy as a homemade pie. And in our opinion, this one takes the prize. Perfect for summer. Perfect for hungry guests…and kids. And we know for a fact it makes neighbors smile when you deliver one to their front door. (Right, Megan and Robin?)

So here’s our contribution to National Blueberry Month — a deliciously wicked Lemon Icebox Blueberry Pie.

Trust us, you need this. 🙂

Lemon Blueberry Icebox Pie

Gather:

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 tblsp freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup buttermilk

Store-bought graham cracker crust (we like Keebler)

Make:

Preheat oven to 325°.

Whisk first 3 ingredients together in bowl. Set aside.

Beat egg yolks with a mixer at high speed for 4-5 minutes or until yolks become pale.

Slowly pour in condensed milk mixture and stir until well combined; whisk in buttermilk.

Pour mixture into graham cracker crust.

Bake at 325° for 20-25 minutes, until pie is set around edges (it’ll be slightly jiggly in center).

Cool pie on wire rack for 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap (spray wrap slightly with cooking oil to avoid sticking).

Freeze 4-6 hours.

Top:

2 cups fresh blueberries

1/3 cup sugar

3 tblsp water

2 tblsp fresh lemon juice

1 tblsp lemon zest

Combine 1 cup of the blueberries with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer 8-10 minutes or until thickened and berries start to break down.

Remove from heat. Stir in remaining 1 cup blueberries. Cool for about 1 hour.

Keep topping chilled until ready to use. Pour over pie, then serve!

Lemon Blueberry Icebox Pie

 

Recipe adapted from Southern Living.

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Two words

“How can a few short weeks alter the course of a lifetime? Two words: summer camp.”

If summer camp remains the best vacation of your entire lifetime, you are so not alone. Author Dominique Browning (who blogs at Slow Love Life) captures what it feels like to be set free on a mountain (or by a lake, a river or in the woods) with hundreds of small children, a few responsible teenagers and college-aged students (“counselors”) and the requisite number of adults so that no one ends up hurt or in jail and everybody thrives. On our farm we’ve (perhaps unknowingly) created a camp-like environment where kids–and adults–can come relax, play and be at peace. And at the end of each day after feeding the horses, I often find myself humming “Day is done…” as we walk up from the barn and get ready to make a fire. Ever so often, especially in summer, I even dream of camp and the beautiful “Taps” that echoed through the woods after campfire time…tucking us into our rustic cabin bunk beds (no guardrails) where we fell hard asleep, our bodies and minds blissfully spent. It’s a bugle call that lives in my heart and takes me back to childhood. For all of you lifelong campers out there, who find yourselves often “trying to get back to summer camp,” enjoy this piece on The Days of Reveille and Taps. 

Arielle at Camp

Arielle at Riverview Camp for Girls Mentone, Alabama, July 2000

Taps

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Fading light, dims the sight,
And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

Thanks and praise, for our days,
‘Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, ‘neath the sky;
As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

Sun has set, shadows come,
Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds
Always true to the promise that they made.

While the light fades from sight,
And the stars gleaming rays softly send,
To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

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‘My time of year’

Because today is July 15th, which means summer is halfway through, it got us reminiscing about this little classic from War, which peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the Summer of ’76.

…’Cause it’s summer
Summer time is here
Yes it’s summer
My time of year…

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Under the Stars…with S’mores

IMG_9809

I remember it like it was yesterday. An overnight campout during my little sister’s and my first summer at Camp Skyline Ranch in Mentone, Alabama…and my first bite into a S’more. How was it that our parents somehow failed to expose their 6 kids to America’s easiest and absolute best-tasting dessert? What is it about this 3-ingredient campfire treat that makes even the most erudite adults wax nostalgic about childhood summers? In Dan White’s new camping and travel memoir, Under the Stars, the author, who lives in Santa Cruz, California, devotes pages to the S’more and deservedly so. It’s the object of every camper’s affection and out here at our place we serve them up regularly. In fact, one cold evening last winter, Arielle and I got a craving so strong we made some indoors in front of the Buck Stove in the living room. White gives us the origins of the dessert (tracing it back to a 1927 camping manual called Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts) plus much, errr, s’more on his adventures in nature all across America’s great woods and wilderness. Share your own camping memories and photos now on White’s new Facebook fan page, and you can listen to a special July 4th interview — “How America Fell in Love with Camping” — on Wisconsin Public Radio.

July got here just a little too quickly, don’t you think? So damn the calories — let’s celebrate Summer with gobs of gooey S’mores!

Under the Stars

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