After four years, this will be my last entry written as My Southern Heart.  I hope you will follow me as I begin a new journey and a NEW blog.  Thank you, dear readers, for your friendships which stretched across the continents.   

You see the wing of that jet below?  I will be on one such jet on Saturday morning leaving Portland, Oregon, and the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest for the last time.  Headed for another beautiful part of this country – the MIDWEST!  I love the prairie…with the spun gold rolling grasses as far as the eye can see and the breathtaking sunsets.  Oh, and did I mention corn?!  By supper time Saturday, I’ll be getting kisses from four grandkids and a Hungarian Vizla!

Blessings to each of you!

Dianne

I will, in time, be closing down this blog – it’s all about saving four years worth of my work AND finding the time! In the meantime, I’m hearing from many of you who are still enjoying past posts and recipes.

My new blog is entitled Sweet Journey Home and I would love it if you’d follow me over there!  

 Comments are closed for this one…

 Photo above by Penny Allen Glenn. Copyright 2012. Used with permission. All rights reserved by Penny Allen Glenn.

There’s nothing quite like the delicious aroma of herb roasted chicken…especially when one of those herbs is rosemary!  I’ve discovered this delicious combination to create a dish that we enjoy.  I will serve it tonight with a spinach salad, squash from the garden (cooked with an onion from the garden), mashed potatoes and hot cornbread muffins.  The chicken will serve us tonight and there will be enough left over for sandwiches or a chicken salad.

 Herb Roasted Chicken

One 5-6 pound whole chicken, washed and dried inside and out

2 tablespoons butter

1 lemon

1/2 medium-large onion

2-3 garlic cloves

1 large sprig rosemary

1 sprig thyme

1 sprig basil

1 sprig sage (a few leaves)

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish.  Chop the herbs and add to the butter.  Add the salt and pepper to the herb mix.  Raise the skin all around the chicken (without tearing if possible) and insert the herbs and butter, spreading it out as much as you can.  Smooth some of the butter on the outside of the chicken too.  Insert 1 lemon (quartered and seeds removed), 1/2 onion and the 2-3 garlic cloves into the cavity of the chicken.  If you have kitchen twine (I was out), tie up the legs and tuck the wings beneath the chicken.  Place it in a roasting plan and cover loosely (tent) with foil.  Roast in 375 degree oven for about 2 hours or until golden and meat tests done with a meat thermometer.  Enjoy!

Here we have the herbs straight from the garden:  

sage, thyme, sweet basil and rosemary…

along with an onion from the garden.  

Also one fresh lemon and 2-3 garlic cloves.

Kosher salt and my favorite, Lawry’s Seasoned Pepper

Melt two tablespoons BUTTER in a covered bowl in the microwave…

Add the chopped herbs, the salt and the pepper to the butter…and mix together

Raise the skin up around the chicken, without tearing,

  insert the herb mixture and spread as much as you can.

Place in a roasting pan and bake at 375 degrees for two hours…

covered loosely with foil.

Tender herb-roasted chicken…

with the distinct flavors of lemon, onion, garlic and herbs…

Even after a rare thunderstorm last night – complete with thunder, lightning, hail and pouring rain – it is much too quiet here this morning.  After a wonderful visit together, it was time to drive Sharon (my niece who is two years younger than I) and Penny (my sister-in-law of 39 years) to the airport in Portland yesterday.  Their flight is on the runway as I type and they are departing for Memphis.  I miss them already…

They arrived on Tuesday, July 10th, in Eugene, Oregon.  It had been Penny’s first time to fly.  Thankfully, both flights were flawless and perfectly smooth the entire way…and she loved flying!   They immediately fell in love with Oregon and the incredible beauty of the Pacific Northwest.  They also couldn’t believe that it stayed “light” until practically past bedtime!  As we drove the one and a half hours to the farm, we talked nonstop as they took in the scenery along the way.  It was almost dark when we arrived home to the farm but they were excited to see everything.

When I awoke the next morning, I found them enjoying coffee and juice in the front porch rockers.  The front porch would be the place to enjoy many times over the next week and a half.  The sun was shining in an almost cloudless sky and the temperature was in the mid-sixties.  They had left 100+ degrees in Memphis and they were thrilled.

Over the  next ten days, we did everything!   On Wednesday, a “rest” day for them, we toured our small town and I showed them everything here (that didn’t take too long).  We went to a local nursery and enjoyed the beautiful  flowers there.  We stopped by Kruse Farms and picked up a freshly baked marionberry pie and vanilla ice cream.   We hiked down to the canyon with the macho logger tree farmer.  They enjoyed shooting the .22 with him at the shooting range.  They loved the farm life here.  Penny took over feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs.  Sharon assumed the duty of feeding the goats.  They loved it!  We spent a lot of time on the front porch enjoying the rocking chairs and our spectacular view – which they loved.

On Thursday, we drove to Grant’s Pass, Oregon, where we took the Hellgate Jetboat excursion to the large log lodge upstream for a barbecue lunch. They loved jetboating…especially on the return trip when the captain hotdogged the boat and we got soaked! We saw elk on the nearby elk preserve…and just wished they were closer. Thankfully, we had a zoom lens for photos.  Friday was another “rest” day with fun on the farm and the three of us in the kitchen.  I could get spoiled to that!

On Saturday, we drove to Florence, Oregon, to see the Pacific Ocean. So different from the Atlantic and the Gulf Coast which they are used to seeing.  We went down 600 feet into the incredible Sea Lions Cave.  On Sunday, we headed up to 5700+ feet to see the amazing Crater Lake.  We found a beautiful nearby waterfalls and took some memorable photos there.

 

 

At Sea Lions Cave…

On Monday, we headed back to the coast – this time to one of my favorite coastal towns:  Bandon, Oregon.  We also stopped by the elite Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, where Sharon’s husband wants to eventually play.  We picked up some souveniers for him.  We tasted practically all of the samples at the Cranberry Sweets store and they purchased some to take home.

On Tuesday, Penny and Sharon enjoyed playing horseshoes with Jim.  We spent a lot of time relaxing on the front porch.  Each evening, we enjoyed a movie after dinner.  It was all about the fellowship and time together.  They had fun playing cards on the front porch with the macho logger tree farmer.  No doubt, laughter could be heard all the way down to the valley.  They picked fresh veggies from the garden and we cooked a delicious dinner again.

Thursday came all too soon.  We drove to Portland where their flight was supposed to leave this morning at 7:55 a.m.  (Actually they are flying United so, of course, it is late!)  We took them to Sweet Tomatoes for a soup and salad lunch which we all enjoyed…and then it was time to get them checked into their hotel.

Saying goodbye is never any fun, but it helps that we will be having Thanksgiving in the South this year and I will see them then.  We miss you already, Sharon and Penny!

This was the sweet scene that greeted me one day last week from my front porch.  The doe and her spotted newborn were just inside the fence of the front pasture.   I grabbed my camera and zoomed in as quietly as I could.  Mama deer raised her head with her ears pricked forward, but she stayed where she was.  Perhaps she realized there would be no danger from me.

However, this farm sits in the middle of 58-acres in the Callahan Mountains and is shared with other wildlife:  bears, cougars, foxes and bobcats.  Early on Saturday morning, I was greeted with the bad news.  The buzzards were circling just above the front pasture and something was dead.  My first thought was:  where are my goats?!  I knew they had spent the night in their secure pen but cougars have been known to be out during the day and early morning as well.   I lost three goats last year to cougars and our neighbor just up the hill has lost eight to cougars.  Jim insisted I stay on the front porch while he went to check it out.  It was the fawn.

It was so tiny and helpless.  It could have been a cougar or “natural mortality” to quote the macho logger tree farmer.  Whatever it was, it was sad.

Again this morning, it looks like a birds-of-prey convention in the Douglas Fir just inside the pasture.  Jim says “they have a job to do”, but I still don’t like them.  Granted, these turkey vultures don’t kill…they just clean up.

Perhaps it’s time for me to re-read a superb book by Mary Alice Monroe entitled Skyward…a love story set in the low country of South Carolina near a birds-of-prey sanctuary.    I just cannot feel charitable towards vultures and buzzards.  Maybe reading Skyward again will help.

 

The view from my kitchen window is remarkable.  Across the valley are the multiple layers of the foothills of the Cascades.  Every day is different depending upon the weather and the time of day.  During the Winter and the rainy season, some days there is a fog so deep that you cannot  see the first line of trees on this tree farm…much less the mountains across the valley.  Those days, I enjoy the green in my window!

Left to right are:  African Violet, Christmas Cactus, Elephant plant, and an African Violet that was just repotted and isn’t happy about it.  In the middle is my “guardian plant angel”.  She has her work cut out for her since I do good to remember to water them and feed them occasionally.  Although, they do appear to be happy in this window…

(click to enlarge photos)

The Christmas Cactus reminds me of the scene in the movie  “The Homecoming:  A Christmas Story” (about the Waltons) when Patricia Neal goes down to the basement on that snowy Christmas Eve to look for apples to bake her applesauce cake.  There, she finds the Christmas Cactus in full bloom.  I love that movie!

 

Today has been a cool (low 50’s), overcast day with dark clouds overhead…and a slow, steady rain.  I’ve spent the day in my “studio/workshop/sewingroom” trying to bring some order to the place.  I confess that I’m a very messy artist and seamstress!  After years with very little company, this Summer we’re having a lot of company and that’s exciting.  However, it also means that I wouldn’t want anyone to see this room, so it’s time to organize.  I’ve tossed out and parted with more than the macho logger tree farmer had thought I would…but there’s so much more to do!

I took a break and brewed a cup of maple tea from Victoria, British Columbia.  When we visited The Empress Hotel in Victoria, I purchased this tea at the gift shop there.  It’s delicious with just enough maple flavor…a tea we will definitely enjoy.

For now, the break is over and it’s time to return to restoring order.  The link above is how the “studio” should look if it were clean, although there have been some decorative changes since these photos were made.

It started with a lemon tree in the greenhouse, lots of sunshine…and water of course.  I wish I could say the lemons are as large as they look in the photograph below, but they’re actually only about two and a half inches now…and growing.  We cut one and shared it in our tea this afternoon.  Meyer lemons are so good!

They did inspire me though.  I purchased a couple of large Meyer lemons and made one of our favorites:  Lemon Scottish Scones.  The recipe is here.  Or you could try my recipe for delicious Lemon Pudding Cake here.  Or Lemon Yogurt Loaf here.  Each one is scrumptious – especially enjoyed on the front porch with a cup of hot tea and a windchimes symphony.  Anytime you’re cooking with farm fresh eggs with golden yolks, the results are golden and delicious!

It was pouring rain as we left the farm last Thursday morning for a seven hour drive north. We were looking forward to our visit with Jim’s daughter and her family who live an hour north of Seattle. About twenty minutes south of Seattle, it stopped raining and the sun came out…and stayed out for the rest of the weekend.  On Friday morning, we left their house early for the drive to Anacortes, Washington, where we caught the ferry for our three hour trip to Victoria, British Columbia.

I couldn’t help being a little reflective as the ferry got underway…my last ferry trip to Victoria was in 1965. I was a nineteen year old college student, traveling with a group of other “summer missionary” college students. That story is here.

Jim and I were in Victoria last July for a brief few hours hours during a stop on our Alaskan cruise, but a few hours just weren’t enough.  I was glad we were going to have two whole DAYS this time.  We walked all about Victoria…up and down the historic streets enjoying the shops along the way, along the water’s edge where the sailboats were lined up and into the Empress Hotel.  I remembered having “tea and crumpets” there with a group of college students when I was nineteen.  The Empress Hotel is in the background of the Wikipedia photo below.

On Sunday, we spent the day at Butchart Gardens – a historic, incredible place to be sure.  I took all the photos in the slideshow below on Sunday.  To be honest, I don’t think photos do this beautiful place justice.  You’ll just have to go visit.  I do the best I can with the built-in macro lens on my Sony DSC-H5 but I would love to have a separate powerful macro lens!

The weather in Victoria was beautiful – 72 degrees and sunny with a light breeze.  We enjoyed our time with almost three year old Mason and his Mom and Dad.  I love watching grandfather and grandson acting like two kids together.  It was a fun weekend and one I will remember for another long time…

I’d like to think that Spring is here. There is no rain in the forecast and the sun is shining. It is sixty-five degrees today and beautiful. The herb garden loves the sunshine.  I must harvest the chives and oregano soon. The rosemary, thyme, savory, sage, marjoram and sweet basil are waiting patiently for more sunshine and higher temperatures.  They’re thriving though and look delicious.

There are lemons on the lemon tree actually turning yellow, but we were informed by a grower at the farmers market on Saturday to wait until the lemons are large – actually three times the size they are now! That will take patience. The macho logger tree farmer is busy at work adding an addition on to the greenhouse – a storage building. It will adjoin the wall on the rear of the greenhouse – 10′ x 10′ – and will not affect the sun coming into the greenhouse on the other 3 sides. He loves “building something” and this will definitely give us more storage. It will be vented appropriately. 

The goats are in need of care: brushing, worming, hooves trimmed – and a good bath when the weather is warm but that will be a major challenge. For now, they are healthy and growing. Sharon has learned to use her horns to her advantage, although I still think Cindy is the “ring leader” who decides where and when they all move to a different place in the pasture. They all stay together regardless…

The chickens are in their peak production – giving us large, brown eggs by the basketfull! There are only so many dishes that I can prepare that call for eggs, and so we give away a lot! Last week, we accidentally opened a piece of mail belonging to our neighbor that had been inadvertently placed in our rural mailbox. We returned the opened bill with two cartons of 18 eggs. She thanked us, then quipped that we could have just paid the bill! 😉

We haven’t walked down to the canyon recently but I think it is time. I want to see if the wild irises are blooming yet. They are blooming on the farms further down in the valley below. Wild purple irises are such a sight to behold in full bloom and last such a short time. Not a blessing to be missed!

It’s still cool and raining here.  For now, a cool rain and dark clouds are okay with me.  I know the DRY season will be here soon enough with months on end of NO rain and brown grass!  For now, I’ll enjoy Spring and  the emerald green grass…green as far as the eye can see.

We’re getting everything ready for company this Summer and we’re excited!  In June, Jim’s mom will visit (she’s ninety and he’s flying to Arizona to escort her both here and the return trip).  Jim’s older daughter and her family will visit while little Mason‘s great grandma is here.  In July, my niece (two & a half years younger than I) and my sister-in-law of almost 40 years will visit.  It’s going to be a fun, busy summer!  There is so much to see here and we’re looking forward to sharing it.

As soon as it warms up enough (and quits raining) the front porch swing and the four rocking chairs need a fresh coat of paint.  So many months of rain will do that.  After I check the rocking chair pillows stored away, I may add some new ones.  We’ll enjoy sitting on the front porch enjoying our coffee and juice – and the view – to go along with our conversation.  I can’t wait!

The backyard stone patio was completed a couple of years ago and has had much too little use since then.  I have pictured some Orvis Adirondack chairs (the white ones below) surrounding the firepit there, but at $298/chair +35 shipping + 5 months of mold causing rain…I just don’t see it.  Especially since they’re heavy and there is no where to store them during the rainy season.  We drove into town this afternoon and checked out the Adirondack chairs at Home Depot (pic below).  My son and his wife had them on the front porch and backyard stone patio in lovely, bright colors at their vintage home in Dallas.  I liked them.  They’re reasonably priced (cheap),  come in assorted colors and they’re actually comfortable.  They looked very nice with pillows in them.  They are also light and stack easily for storage.  I’d like to place 4 of these chairs around the firepit on the patio in the backyard.  I’ll choose pillows that compliment the colors of the stonework.

The perfect place to sit around the firepit and roast marshmallows for Smores.  I’ll look forward to that.  The stone patio below with the covered firepit and the fountain.  You can also see that we had to resort to electric fencing to keep the deer out of the expensive photinia plants above the stone ledge!  We kept replacing the plants and they kept saying thank you!

 

 

 

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My Southern Heart...the Stories blog is about my life growing up in the South in the fifties and sixties. It was an amazing time...a time of falling in love, getting married, having a family. A time of history in the making, political unrest, rock and roll. Come along on my life's journey. It's a chronological story, so be sure to start at the beginning. It will make a whole lot more sense that way. Check out: My Southern Heart...the Stories