Tuesday, December 19, 2017

A little bit of Holiday Spirit

Another back post here, but i wanted to get a couple of Dec posts up. i had a hard time getting into the spirit this year. We traveled up to Michigan for Thanksgiving, but spend Yule at home alone. Which is typically my favorite way to spend it, but for some reason this year it felt a little lonely.

i had a craft show that was scheduled for Dec. 10th, but was cancelled at the last minute and then rescheduled for the 17th. It really screwed up my month, which i had already mentally planned out. i was planning to do all my holiday stuff just as soon as the show was done.  So, i didn't do nearly as much decorating, planning or baking as i usually do because i was still trying to make work to sell at the show up until the 18th.

We had our first and so far only snow the first week of Dec.  It only last a few days and then melted, but the kids got a couple days off of school which is always a bonus.

This was pretty much the extent of my holiday display. Tomtes,  gnomes, toadstools and a winter scene with pretty lights.  The lighted clothes pins are perfect for displaying holiday cards.

Our Yule tree is a really small potted tree that i bought last year. We named him Stanley ( yes, the tree) and decorated him with pinecones and bows. He wasn't big enough to hold up Kenan's icicle ornaments so i hung them in the window instead.

i didn't make any of the cookies i usually make. No gingerbread or sugar cookies. i did however, make lots of these shortbread trees which are a new favorite. They are so easy. 3 ingredient shortbread with cream cheese icing.  Seriously, they are the best thing ever.

Another easy cookie i made were these shortbread thumbprint cookies. Again, i used the 3 ingredient shortbread recipe, but added a little almond flavoring to both the dough and the glaze.  So amazingly simple, yet delicious. This is a great way to use up all that raspberry and blackberry jam i make every year. :) 

i made pecan tassies for the first time, just as something different. 

One of my favorite things that i started this year was a treat station. i'd seen something similar on pinterest and wanted to recreate it. If i'd had all the correct props ( a kitchen cart/trolley) i totally would have made it Harry Potter themed. :)  i kept this corner stocked with hot cocoa packets, candies and cookies.

 This was really the extent of my holiday preparations.   December was busy as always, both kids had winter concerts, i had a craft show and spent much more time in the glass shop and less time baking and decorating.  The holidays were simple and sweet.  December always goes by way too fast for me and i'm looking forward to sinking into a slower routine at the first of the year.

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Foraging Mushrooms and Growing them at home.

 Earlier this spring i posted about plugging mushroom logs. We love mushrooms, enjoy foraging but wanted to try our hand at growing our own. Plugging the logs is really quite easy, and then all you have to do is water occasionally and wait.

 We really were not expecting to see any mushrooms until this coming spring, and were totally surprised when i spotted this log that had been plugged with blue oyster loaded with mushrooms!

The log was covered with beautiful clusters! These are the 'warm blue' Oysters. Which must have been confused by our weird weather. 

We also had a few of the 'cold blue' oyster mushrooms come up randomly. 

The first log that kenan plugged when he took a  mushroom workshop  over a year ago has produced a mushroom here and there. Not a big flush, but still nice to get a few. We plugged several more shiitake logs this spring, so i'm looking forward to getting a real harvest. We really enjoy the flavor of the shiitake.

Even though we are working to farm our own mushrooms, i still love to forage. This fall there was a beautiful crop of Shaggy manes that came up on the edge of our land.  These are a delicate mushroom and don't keep well. So you don't want to pick them unless you plan to eat them immediately. They are very delicious though and are a new favorite.

i can't wait to see how the mushroom logs do this spring and fall, when we should really start seeing some mushrooms! i can't remember all the varieties we plugged, but it was a bunch!   i'm already looking forward to morel season as well, i really enjoy my time in the woods mushroom hunting. It's so much fun to find them.  i'll update more with our mushroom plugging progress as soon as we start seeing more mushrooms coming up. All of the plugs we bought came from Mushroom Mountain and we are super happy with all of them. If your interested in growing mushrooms, check out their site for supplies and information to get you started!