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After four years and 576 posts, 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!

 

 Enjoy the slideshow below for more photos of our wonderful visit!

Yesterday, this front porch was the scene of a Fourth of July cookout hosted by Jim’s daughters and their husbands with lots of good food, friends and members of their late mother’s family who live nearby.  Basically, all I had to do was show up and that was nice.

Before, there were some old rickety white metal tables here.  I wanted something a little more in keeping with a Southern front porch.  We found these tables at a secondhand furniture store.  They were cheap, sturdy and an ugly brown.  Jim painted them white for me.  I think they will do just fine.

Now, if the deer would just let me have pots of wonderful petunias, pansies and geraniums on the front porch…

Mama was born on the 4th of July.  Every year, the family gathered for a picnic and cookout with all the trimmings in her honor.  In later years, it was held at my oldest sister Dot’s house because she had a swimming pool.  Memphis is hot in the summertime and the kids loved the pool.  Dot would bake a large chocolate sheet cake with a hint of cinnamon and a delicious chocolate icing.  Sometimes, she’d decorate the top.  It was so very good.  My mouth waters just remembering.  With the cake, there would be homemade vanilla ice cream, usually my sister Gerry’s specialty.  Before dessert, of course, there would be delicious grilled hamburgers, baked beans, potato salad and other wonderful dishes.  In later years, we’d sometimes order Memphis barbeque  at its best – from Corky’s.

Yes, I know that July 4th represents Independence Day…but not to me.  To me, it is Mama’s birthday.  The day is filled with memories that make me wish I could turn the clock back and we’d all be together celebrating.  Little did I know then, how quickly time would pass…

 

Dianne and Gerry at Mama’s 4th of July birthday party at Dot’s house.  About 1990.

 

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.

 

 

Just in case you’re wondering where I’ve been…

We live almost at the end of this two-mile winding, climbing road in the Callahan Mountains…

 

Our first guests arrived two weeks ago yesterday (Monday).  A precious young couple with two sons who loved the farm and the shooting range and my cooking.  We thoroughly enjoyed them all!  On that Wednesday morning, our guests left for the redwoods of California.  They would return on Saturday for a special visit with Jim’s daughter and her family who would arrive Thursday afternoon.

On Wednesday morning, Jim flew to Arizona.  He returned on Thursday with his sweet 90 year old Mom for a week long visit.  (Unfortunately, we were not informed ahead of time that the entire assisted-living facility where she lives had succumbed to a confirmed diagnosis of Norovirus GI flu and the facility was quarantined!)  Thankfully, his mom was better and they flew here on Thursday, arriving on Thursday night.  She was exhausted – they both were!

On that Thursday afternoon before Jim and his mom arrived that night, his older daughter and her family arrived from Seattle.  I had roasted a chicken and prepared mashed potatoes and a spinach salad.  Almost three-year-old Mason loves mashed potatoes and chicken!  He also loves the farm with the goats and chickens!

On Friday morning, Jim awoke with the Norovirus!  We called the young couple and their family to alert them but they wanted to come back for a visit on Saturday with Jim’s daughter and her family.

His mom is basically now confined to a wheelchair.  The wheelchair would not fit through the guest bathroom, so the door had to be removed.  Which meant we had a houseful of guests and a bathroom with no door…which meant everyone headed to the master bath and Jim was sick in there.  I mopped and cleaned the master bath at least 5-6 times while we had a houseful of guests on that Saturday!  In the midst of all that, I prepared everything for a cookout!  (Good thing I’ve been a Registered Nurse since 1978 and have perfected handwashing!)  Basically, it was easier to laugh!

Jim and his daughter were a tremendous help with his mom, since I am totally unable to lift her.  Sadly, his mom has lost basically all mobility.  His daughter and her family returned home last Monday.  Jim, his mom and I spent this past week watching old classic movies (which she loved – especially the Cary Grant ones!) and enjoying the front porch view together.  He put her in the truck (the only vehicle which manueuvers the farm) and took her down below to the garden, orchard and pasture.  She loved it!  She has a great appetite and enjoyed all the meals (and desserts) I prepared.  It was a very good visit.

 

One of the first things I did when moving here was purchase four rocking chairs and a front porch swing. After all, I am Southern!

 

 

I thanked his mom for making the journey for I know it wasn’t easy for her.  In my heart, I know this was, most likely, her last visit here.  In spite of the failing memory of a 90 year old, I hope and pray that she remembers these past days and the fun visit.  I think she will.  We sent her back with a book of photos about the farm…

I confess to being totally beyond exhausted and wishing I could bounce back faster – like a younger Dianne would have!  It will take a while…

Our next company arrives next week.  His two daughters and their families arrive on July 2nd.  So, there will be the sound of laughter from the front porch, horseshoes, plinking at the shooting range and Mason having fun with the goats and chickens…

 

 

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!

 

The FedEx truck just arrived with the enormous box…containing the LARGE (55″!) Corinthian Bells windchimes in the key of G. Granted, they were HEAVY and I should have waited for the macho logger tree farmer, but I didn’t. I managed to hang them. (My neck and shoulders aren’t too happy about it!)  It’s a cool (50′s), overcast, windy day here on the mountainside. The wind picked up the chimes and the symphony started. We now have four Corinthian Bells windchimes across the wide front porch:  the upper and lower keys of A, C and now G. Amazing!

 

It’s a good thing we don’t have close neighbors!  Sorry if the video makes you dizzy!  ;-)

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.

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