Friday, June 27, 2014


Hello, dear friends,
I've been staying busy since my last post. The fall issue of the quilt magazine (Primitive Quilts and Projects) that I edit went to press this week, and both of the quilt books I'm editing this quarter have been sent to the designers. I'm definitely feeling a sense of accomplishment as this work week draws to a close!

But it hasn't been all work here, fortunately. Thanks to the keen hunting skills of my husband and father-in-law, I was able to enjoy a bumper crop of morels this season. I had so many this year that I thought I'd try baking a batch rather than sautéing them in butter like I usually do. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that they turned out just as good with a light coating of butter-flavored cooking spray. I had my doubts about baking them, but I would definitely do this again if I'm lucky to enjoy another harvest of these golden delights.

Baking also proved a wonderful solution for a recent cooking dilemma. Our 10-year-old microwave conked out a couple weeks ago and we found ourselves needing to warm up some already cooked quinoa for dinner. So I put it in the oven with our salmon. My husband said he liked it even better twice cooked!

In other culinary adventures, my friend Merry and I enjoyed lunch at the Tulip Tea Room while visiting Pella last month. 

I had the rusk chicken with rice. It was served with a side salad, scone, and almond bar. Plenty to fill me up for lunch!

May also found us checking out the Downtown Des Moines Farmer's Market where we sampled gluten-free donuts. I do not have a gluten sensitivity but just thought it would be interesting to taste the difference.

We also got some of these delicious radishes from one of the Asian vendors.

A highlight in June was attending a vintage handmade fair where artisans were selling their wares. Many of the booths featured fun garden ideas like these gardens-in-a-tree stump.

While there, we indulged in lemon cupcakes from Scratch Cupcakery's cute pink-and-brown truck.

June also found us celebrating a special birthday for my grandma. One of her daughters put together a lovely photo book to commemorate the occasion. It included this photo of Grandma as a young woman...

...and this photo of Grandma with her fraternal twin sister as a youngster. Grandma is the one on the right.

It's hard to believe that June is nearly over. It's been a rainy month, and for that I've been thankful as there has been little time to work in the garden. Thanks to the rain, it has been holding its own. Sadly, many of plants suffered serious setbacks from the cumulative effect of several dry summers and winters. The roses, boxwood, and hydrangeas were the hardest hit. Oddly enough, some of the weakest roses (English roses) survived and some of the tougher ones (Knock Outs) that have come back year after year in the 10 years we've been here were damaged. Some even succumbed to nature's cruelty. As a result of all the rain, we've seen more toads at Ashton House than in past years. I spotted this plump fellow at my back doorstep this morning. At first I feared he was injured because he didn't move an inch when I touched him, but then he hopped away once I went indoors.