Thursday, June 14, 2018

June's Beautiful Colors

The lake at our camp

Lupines along the highway at our camp, and I enjoy the blooms every year. 

Every June, we spend many hours outdoors and call them "alfesco moments". Lately we have been listening to a songster that sings from dusk to dawn. 
For you bird lovers, I am referring to the Wren. After pairing with a mate, the male takes the female to each of the nesting sites he has begun building. The female selects the one she likes and begins to fill the nest completely with more twigs. Then she makes a small depression at the back of the cavity which she lines with pine needles and grass for egg laying. Interesting to note, spider egg sacs are part of the make up of nest building. It's thought that they use the spider egg sacs to help control mites in the nest. The spiders hatch and eat the mites. 
This is entertainment for us a couple evenings a week when we are home. We hang out at the patio table until "blue hour" which seems to be around 9:00 p.m. lately. Cheap entertainment for us after the stress we endure with our jobs.

As you can see, I am easily entertained in my own backyard. And very grateful for that. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Monette’s Rhubarb Cake

At first bite, I declared it a coffee cake with an enjoyable tartness from the rhubarb. Very moist, and we loved it. I had to take this picture quickly before leaving for work as I knew there would be a piece missing by the time I got home. If you enjoy rhubarb, you will enjoy this. 

Here is the link to the recipe. I am quite happy with the majority of Ricardo's recipes. 

1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter softened
1 egg 
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) brown sugar -- I used only one cup of brown sugar and it was perfectly fine
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract 
2 cups (500 ml) flour 
1 teaspoon (5 ml) baking soda 
A pinch of salt 
1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk (the recipe says you can use vinegar mixed with milk instead of using buttermilk which is what I did)
2 cups (500 ml) fresh unpeeled rhubarb, dice into 1/2-inch (1-cm) pieces or 2 cups (500 ml) frozen rhubarb, thawed and drained 
1/4 cup (60 ml) sugar 
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon 


1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC (350 ºF). Butter a 8-inch springform pan. 

2. In a bowl, beat the butter, egg, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until the mixture is smooth. 

3. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the previous mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Add the rhubarb and combine with a wooden spoon. Pour into the prepared pan. 

4. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of cake. 

5. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Tales of Traveling Tote #15 - Miss Aurora Tours the Farmhouse

 If you are here for the first time, welcome to Mountain Breaths. Today I am joining a group of talented bloggers to bring you our quarterly Tales of the Traveling Tote. 

Before we start the Farmhouse Tour, Miss Aurora enjoyed the flowering trees in spring at Sycamore Hill Gardens in Marcellus, NY on Mother's Day. We have gone for the last four years, and each year we invite someone from the family to join us. This year it was my sister Diane and niece Chelsea and we all loved it. My husband and I took a quick trip to Beekman 1802 Mercantile in Sharon Springs just before Mother's Day to stock up on Happy Place laundry detergent and goat milk soap. I loved the wicker picnic tote and the bed of ferns! 
Miss Aurora was very content traveling locally so in April, Joe and I attended the MacKenzie-Childs Warehouse Sale in Union Springs and added a few items to our collection. Then we headed to the lovely Farmhouse on Cayuga Lake for a tour. 

On the farmhouse tour, we started in the living room (parlor) that was under renovation.  Artist "Corey" from the Visuals team had finished the walls of the farmhouse, one bouquet at a time. Hand-painted flowers on tone on tone stripes. This is the new look. 

Below is a photo I took of the same room in the fall. A big change!

The 3,300-square-foot, three-story Farmhouse is an example of classic Second Empire/mansard architecture, which was popular from 1860 to 1900, particularly in the Northeast. It shows many features of that style, including a mansard roof, decorative dormer windows, and porches with columns. Its interior was remodeled extensively in the early 2000s, but some of its original charming features remain, including the front doors and several sets of pocket doors believed to be black walnut. Here are a couple photos that I took last the summer and you can see the mansard roof and porch with columns. 

Prior to being acquired by the founders of MacKenzie-Childs in 1986, the Farmhouse was the centerpiece of a working dairy farm. I have loved this vintage bed forever. Miss Aurora wishes she could have a bedroom like this :-)

Miss Aurora posting on the new living room rug at the Farmhouse.

Much to my surprise, we saw a woman with "The Tote" and we conversed and determined that the twin sisters were from California and visiting NY to attend the warehouse sale.  
It was a pleasure meeting Dot and Donna and having our picture taken with Tom. (a wonderful long time MKC employee that you will see at the barn sale if you attend). 

A short video.

Here's a few of the items we purchased at the MKC Warehouse Sale in April. A lone sleigh ornament which Joe quickly grabbed from the employee that was pricing it. I stash these items away, and it's like Christmas once I dig through the bag again in November. 

As you can see in the photos above, the MKC warehouse sale is packed with goodies. We never know what they will have so it's hit or miss. I try hard to only buy items we will use or give for gifts. This year we bought the following items:
Moose wine bottle stopper
Baseball cap
Small whisk
Canape knives
Angel ornaments
Owl ornament
Courtly Check dinner plates
Flower market salad plates

In the photo below, that is me pushing the cart in one of the rooms at the warehouse sale. 
At the end of April, we attended the Herb and Wine Festival on Cayuga Lake. For those of you who don't know the area, MacKenzie-Childs is located on Cayuga Lake, however we didn't have time to visit on this trip. Our spring blooms are late this year, so only the daffodils were blooming. I've included a picture from last year when the tulips were in bloom at the same time of the year. 

Yes, I am cold! It started out "warmish" and then the clouds started rolling in and rained.
  My new friend Melody.
Hope you enjoyed the tour! This was my 15th Traveling Tote post. Miss Aurora definitely gets around, and I had several compliments on "her" when I visited the retail store and had to explain that she is retired but may possibly be found on Ebay. The common thread of MacKenzie-Childs has started many conversations. We are offering the lovely Flower Market Globe Vase as a giveaway to our loyal readers. All you have to do it visit Katie with Miss Daisy @ Preppy Empty Nester. Let them know you would like to be included in the drawing for the vase.  It looks so sweet with flowers!
My friend Tami (who doesn't blog) shared this great photo on Facebook when she was in Cape May. Love how these totes get around! 
Come along and travel with:
Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths (you are here)
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Jackie with Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Katie with Miss Daisy @ Preppy Empty Nester
Lia with Miss Scarlett @ Cici's Corner
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Ricki Jill with Countess de Monet @ The Sketchy Reader
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply 

Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul

Until next time, enjoy your summer! xoxoxo


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