Friday, July 31, 2015

It's National Mutt Day!

Who knew there was a day to honor the mutt's that make our life so enjoyable? There is and it's today!  So in honor of my three mutt's Lucky, Lucy, and Luke Bailey.   I wanted to share a few sweet photos and the story of their lives.  I also want to encourage others to consider adopting a loving companion from your own local animal shelter. There are so many four legged friends just waiting for a place to call home.
We have always adopted our dogs from the local animal shelter.  It's the thing to do for our family and we have had wonderful, loving pets.  Our little Luke Bailey is our first non-adopted mutt and he was a gift from my sister.  Lucky is our oldest dog.  He was originally adopted by an older couple to be a "lap dog".  He quickly grew and the couple could not keep him in their home.  My hubby found an ad at our vets office stating that the couple wanted a "good, Christian home for their Lucky".  We went to see Lucky and fell in love!  Thankfully, the couple felt we would make good owners for their beloved pup.  Lucky is a fierce snake killer, but terribly scared of lightning.  He will follow you anywhere and has such a sweet personality.  He is very patient and will step aside to allow his best buddy, Lucy, get her time with us.  Much to my chagrin, he is a champion at squirrel chasing and has brought his bounty to lay at the front porch as a gift.  Yuck!!  He loves to swim in the creek on hot, summer days. Isn't he handsome in his recent July 4th attire?
Lucky was a little lonely here at Still Woods Farmhouse and needed a friend to walk beside him as he wandered the woods and played in the creek.  We headed to the Harrison County Humane Society to find a companion.  My husband has a gift for selecting the best pets.  He saw this black beauty and we adopted her.  The information said that she kept digging out from the yard of her previous owner, but other than that, was a wonderful dog.  We named her Lucy for one of my favorite shows, I Love Lucy!  I affectionately call her Lucy Bell.  Our Lucy loves to sun by the pool and eat Lucky's food before she eats her own.  The first day we brought her home, I went outside to sit on the back steps and read a book.  Lucy came over, sat by me, and put her paw on my shoulder.  I was shocked!  I looked at her and she was facing the woods, looking not at me, but at the  woods.  Just hanging out with her new owner! She is a chow, lab mix just like Lucky.  Here is our sweet Lucy in her July 4th attire!
Lastly is our little Malti-Poo, Luke Bailey.   As a mixture of a Maltese and a poodle, he is a mutt.  An expensive mutt, but by definition, a mutt all the same.  I fell in love with him when my sister's dog gave birth after being bred with a poodle.  You can read more about Luke Bailey at a blog post he wrote..."Puppy Love".  We have a very talented puppy!  Luke Bailey actually smiles when you come in the door.  If my husband and I are in two different rooms, he will try to position himself so that he can see both of us.  Even though he weighs a mere 8 pounds to Lucky's 65 pounds and Lucy's 90 pounds, Luke Bailey thinks he is their size!  He is also the official "lightning alert" pet and makes sure that he gets our attention so that his older brother and sister come in the garage until the danger is over.  He is soft and cuddly, but would rather sit with my husband than with anyone else.  He is a gem! Look at those eyes!
Thank you Lucky, Lucy and Luke Bailey for your unconditional love and companionship!  If you have a mutt as a pet, give them an extra dose of love today and maybe a new bone in celebration of National Mutt Day!

Blessings from Lynda, Lucky, Lucy and Luke Bailey at Still Woods Farmhouse
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Walk to Remember

We just returned from an enjoyable week with our oldest son.  He recently became a homeowner and this mom loaded up the car with her sewing machine and necessary gadgets and headed to Virginia.  During our visit, I made window treatments for 21 windows!  That's a mother's love for you!

Of course, games of Canasta, antique shopping, and site seeing also filled our days and nights.  One of my favorite towns is Port Royal, Virginia.  After dinner one night, we headed out the door and decided to walk off some of our calories in Port Royal's historic square.  It was a lovely evening with gentle breezes and low humidity.  Love low humidity!  I snapped a few pictures with my cellphone.  Established in the mid-17th century, Port Royal is a small, river town steeped in history.  Situated on the Rappahannock River, it was developed primarily as a site to export tobacco, the cash crop of Virginia.

The Holloway House is in need of lots of love and attention.  It was built in 1775 and owned by John Hipkins, a prosperous merchant in town.  Wouldn't you love to get your hands on this house?  The work would be enormous, but the reward of saving a home like this would be plentiful.  My guys posed for me!
Around the corner is an example of a nicely restored home.  This one was built in 1850.  The above ground power lines detract from the natural beauty of the home.  It would be wonderful if the town could bury the lines.
Next is a home built in 1755.  The owner, William Fox, secured the appropriate documents to operate a tavern from his home.  According to expense ledgers, George Washington spent the night in the taverns accommodations on three occasions.  How cool is that?  My photo did not turn out well so I am borrowing this one from the Historic Port Royal website. 
Just like the tavern, the house below built in 1865, is full of history.  One fateful night, John Wilkes Booth and four other men rode up on horseback, knocked on the door of the Peyton House and asked the mistress of the home, Sarah Peyton, if she would give them refuge.  She refused and the group traveled 3 miles down the road to the Garrett farm where John Wilkes Booth was eventually killed.  
Riverview, a home built in 1846, sits on the banks of the Rappahannock River.  It is a beautiful home and is one of the largest homes in Port Royal.  Crepe myrtles line the walk up to the house.  
Townfield was built between 1745-1750 and enlarged in 1790 and again in 1837.  It's a well maintained home and simply beautiful!
Love the colors of this home! Cats are everywhere in this town.  These two didn't mind me snapping a picture.  Notice how the front of the house bows inwards.  
This structure built in 1750 is labeled with a tavern sign, but was the town's print shop.  It is built as a shop and not a home.  Early enterprise at work!
Isn't this a cute home?  It was built in 1775 and is obviously well loved and cared for.  
We ended our walk at one of the newer homes in the area, just a young 109 years old!  It is also a home our son considered when he was house hunting.  When he found a house he was interested in, I would anxiously ask what year was the house built...1700's, 1800's, 1900's, 2000's?!!!  I adore old houses, but I know they are a lot of work.  This house was built in 1906 and has been in the same family for many generations.  He eventually decided against the home and a young couple ended up as the owners.  I am sure they will be happy there for many, many years!
Next time you find yourself in Virginia, stop by this historic town, park your car, and set out on your own walk to remember!
Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse 
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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Jolly July Christmas Project Number 1

In my area of the world, one word describes our weather... HOT!  So this is a perfect time to think of cooler weather and a few Christmas projects.  Christmas in July events are found everywhere.  Some of my favorites are on shopping channels, Etsy, and in Blogland.  I have the month of July off each year and it affords me the opportunity to pre-plan.  Do I need to donate gently used decorations to Goodwill? Is there anything I need to put on my early Christmas "to do" list? And even more importantly, is there a way to simplify the hectic holidays so that I spend more time reflecting on the true gift of Christmas?
I decided to focus on a few projects which might give me a head start on my Christmas happies.  I will share several projects with you during what I am calling Jolly July!  Let's start with a simple project. I like the word "simple"!  This would make a cute, inexpensive personalized teacher gift for Christmas.  I plan to make one for my niece to coordinate with her new bedroom colors!

We have had an ugly mouse pad for as long as I can remember.  Yes, I like using a mouse!  I thought of buying a new pad when this idea came to me.  It took all of 15 minutes to complete this project!  All you need are a few simple supplies.  The most difficult task is to decide which fabric to use.  Pictured are fat quarters I picked up at Walmart for less than a dollar each.  I selected a leftover remnant of upholstery fabric.  If the thicker fabric worked out, I would have a mouse that coordinated with the nearby bar stools! Let's get started...

Mouse pad
Fabric of your choice (Pictured are Fat Quarters)
Heat n Bond (I used ultrahold)
Stop Fraying Adhesive
The directions are a breeze! Start out by tracing the mouse pad to the back of the fabric and cut.
Next, trace the mouse pad to the Heat n Bond and cut out the shape.
Following the directions on the Heat n Bond, iron the product to the top of  the mouse pad. After cooling, slowly peel the paper section of the Heat n Bond from the mouse pad.  I like the shiny look it gave my old mouse pad!  Excuse the blurry picture, but I only took one.
Next, position the fabric on the mouse pad and iron the fabric in place.
Allow pad to cool.  After cooling, trim any extra stray edges you see. Apply the Stop Fraying product according the bottle directions.  Wa-lah!  Your mouse pad is now ready for use!  How is easy is that?
Have a Jolly July everyone! Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Creamy Homemade Custard Ice Cream

Are you looking for a fabulous ice cream recipe for a 4th of July celebration? Luckily, your search is over! I shared this ice cream recipe several years ago and it is a perfect time to share again!  This is a traditional cooked custard recipe my dad has made for years.  It makes the most creamy, deliciousness that you will ever put in your mouth.  We hosted a homemade ice cream social at our house and this ice cream received so many compliments.  You can taste the difference between a cooked ice cream and a non-cooked ice cream.  It doesn't take long to prepare this recipe and it is worth the little bit of effort you will put into it. As for me and my house, we serve the Lord and eat cooked custard ice cream!
Let's look at the Starting Line-Up.  Just a few basic ingredients.  Please note that the ice cream salt in the picture is only for my ice cream freezer and not for the recipe!!
If you are like me, I like the recipe all at once and then the pictorial steps.  So here it is!  
Dad's Creamy Custard Ice Cream
2 and 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon regular table salt
5 cups whole milk
4 large eggs, beaten
4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla

Combine sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually stir in milk and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until thickened.  Gradually temper eggs by adding the hot milk mixture by small amount to the eggs, beating as you temper.  Once tempered, slowly add egg mixture to the milk mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the custard coats a spoon.  Remove from heat, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.  Lastly, combine whipping cream and vanilla to the mixture and freeze in an ice cream freezer.
Now to create your masterpiece!  Combine the sugar, flour, and table salt.  Gradually whisk in the whole milk.  Continue to cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.  It looks good already!
While this is cooking, beat 4 eggs in a separate bowl and temper the eggs by gradually whisking in a little of the heated milk mixture to the eggs.  If you just plop the eggs into the milk mixture without tempering, you will end up with scrambled egg ice cream!  After tempering, add the eggs slowly to the pot and continue stirring until the mixture thickens.  This takes about a minute or two.  When the custard coats a spoon, you are done with this stage and will have a pot full of delicious custard.
My dad always strains the custard to make sure that it is free of any flour lumps, eggs particles, foreign objects, I don't know!!  He just does it, so I do it as well. You can skip this part if you want; however, Dad would tell you to strain!
At this point, you are ready to cover the custard and refrigerate it for 2 hours or overnight. Cover it immediately so a layer will not form on the top of the custard.
Now comes the fun part!  After the custard has been refrigerated, add 4 cups of heavy whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of vanilla to the custard.  Mix well with a spoon.  You will probably want to get a clean spoon, dip in, and taste what you are about to put in your ice cream freezer!  If you find you have to taste it again (and you will), just get another clean spoon!  No re-dipping!  Follow the freezing instructions for your your ice cream freezer.  This recipe will yield 4 quarts of happiness!

If you don't eat it all in one sitting, just freeze it.  This ice cream freezes extremely well without ever getting icy.  This picture was from a previous batch I made and we ate the last of it over a hot fudge cobbler. However, this ice cream is perfect all on its own.  No sprinkles, nuts, or fancy syrups required.  It is simply scrumptious!!  
Happy 4th of July and Blessings from Lynda at Still Woods Farmhouse
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