Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Ash Wednesday and The Easter Egg Tree

We're very traditional at Linderhof . . . 
Especially during Advent and Lent
Things are written in stone!

Like the pre-lenten
(Shrove Tuesday)
breakfast pancakes

 I'm not sure I could cope if I didn't eat pancakes for breakfast 
on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
This year they were blueberry!

And today,
Ash Wednesday
is the day we put up our Easter egg tree

Some years I get branches and bring them inside
But not this one for we've got around 8 inches of snow outside.
I have a stash of silk forsythia blossoms tucked away
for Ash Wednesdays like this one.

We've had an Easter egg tree in the dining room since 1992

That was the year that we took a trip to Germany
During Lent
We, of course, stayed in B and B's
And loved the charming custom of branches hung with painted eggs.

We thought they must be dear
And we finally inquired of one of our hostesses
"Where", we asked "can we find some of those charming eggs".
(thinking that perhaps some luxurious store might have them or the hostess herself made them)
was the reply!

So our very first stop that day was at the first Woolworth's we saw.
There they were
lovely hand painted real chicken eggs
complete with string or ribbon to hang them from the branches.

We bought a dozen!
And they arrived home all in one piece!

It's been almost 30 years and we still have that original dozen.
And no more.
For these are special eggs.
our German eggs

So we never bought any more bobbles and bits to hang from
our Easter egg tree and although I've been gifted some things to hang from the tree, we've refrained --
we like only our Woolworth eggs hanging from the branches!

A beautiful butterfly

A bunny

I must admit that we've had an accident or two
But they've hung on
And we've kept them 
And continue to use them

A whole and a crack

This one got dropped
But it's okay for we hang it towards the back

Another bunny

And a duck

Because the trees in Germany were in the dining room, 

ours is too!

It's almost always been on the end of the sideboard

(one year I put it in the middle of the table -- that was not a good idea!

It's not an easy thing to move)

It's a constant reminder

that we are in the Lenten season

as well as a wonderful trip to Germany

all those many years ago.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

New Tea Ware

I have tea ware.
I have scads of tea ware

Mostly blue and white

And between the tea sets and the cups and saucers that go with my dinnerware
I can probably pour cups of tea for a small army and have some leftover.

But then I  saw Wedgwood Bianca

(And I'm not sure why I saw Wedgwood Bianca),
how it happened to come on my radar, but
I said
"that's pretty but I need no more tea cups and saucers"!

So even though I trolled E-bay and Replacements,
that was all I was doing -- just trolling!
Being very conservative and definitely being a
"I'm not buying any more china" person

And then I received this in the mail!

Look what is on the cover!
Wedgwood Bianca
The lovely teapot

"Wow", I thought, it's even prettier than on the internet!

And then I thought . . . if it's on the cover, more people like me,
who covet it will end up buying it and if I don't buy it now,
there won't be any to buy . . . at least for a while!

And so I did
From E-Bay
8 cups and saucers!

Don't you love the old fashioned ness of the deep saucers?

It's prettier in real life than it was on the computer!

I wonder how much Bianca was sold

because Tea Time Magazine put it on the cover?

And featured it in a story!

I still covet that tea pot
But it is pricey
And I don't need another teapot
But then, I didn't need another set of tea ware either!

It looks right at home in the cupboard 
with my antique pink luster cups and saucers.
They are a similar shape and both sets have those deep saucers!

Keeping them company in that cabinet

is my Brown Betty!

How good would that Bianca teapot look in that spot?

Thursday, February 4, 2021

It's Christmas for Your Birthday When You're Born in January

The year our daughter was born,
Hallmark introduced a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament
It was in the Penney's catalog and I ordered it
It was really my first introduction to Hallmark ornaments

 It cost $2.50 and hung on our trees from Christmas Day 1976
until she graduated from college and had a home of her own in 1998.
And today, it still hangs on her tree.

That first ornament started the tradition of a yearly Christmas present  Christmas ornament.
Hallmark ones for probably the first 15 years or so
And then we branched out into other ornaments.
We also give silver bells --
engraved Reed and Barton silver bells to commemorate happenings
such as her wedding and the birth of each of her daughters --
The front engraved Christmas and the year
And the back engraved simply
with her wedding date
or the full name of each of her daughters

In 2017, when her oldest was 4, I came up with the idea of a
"hand" ornament
There were all kinds of clever things to do with children's handprints, fingerprints and footprints on Pinterest -- with paint
But I thought it would be fun to trace the hand, needlepoint the hand in a clever way, and turn the needlepoint into a Christmas ornament.    Plus, I would have each girl print their name
which I would also needlepoint

With Lucy and Piper's assistance, I made that idea into a reality . . . 

Their hand's turned into Santas

Lucy -- she's 4 and she's got her name a bit turned around!

Piper's only two and doesn't print, so Nana wrote her name


It's a Christmas Tree

Piper's is three and can print her name
Notice the extras on the E!d

Lucy is five and she's got her l and u in the right place!

Each girl picked five buttons from my button box and I
found a star button from the top.


Four year old Piper

Five year old Lucy

Their hands were getting too big -- the ornaments were large and this year

they would have been the size of a salad plate, so I decided to go with thumbs!



One ornament -- front side only

Index fingers

Lucy who's seven on the left

Piper who's five on the right

The ornaments aren't given on Christmas but rather, they're traced on Christmas, the girls write their names (and in 2020, it's Piper's printed 2020 that's on the ornament (which is why 2020 is in purple)

Then, those weeks after Christmas I start stitching

For our daughter's birthday is in January

And it's a traditional birthday gift for her

Her last year's Christmas ornament

I'm mad at myself that I didn't think of it in 2013, when Lucy was born

Sarah and I are both sentimentalists,

nothing like special ornaments on the Christmas tree

And these are very special indeed.

Monday, February 1, 2021

And the Tree Comes Tumbling Down


One nice thing about living in and old house
It's trees!
Mr. Sechler who built Linderhof in 1920
planted two trees out front

On the left (you just see the leaves)
is an Elm
On the right is a Hackberry


They grew into big and beautiful trees

Giving us nice shade in summer
And lots of leaves to rake up in fall!

And then when we thought 2020 had left . . . 

Jim and I both hear a crack and a swoosh at 5 a.m.
on January 1

The hackberry came down
On the house!
It split in two!

Big branches on the side of the house
(for it was a tall tree)

And even bigger branches across the drive

Seeing the tree down in the drive
we thought, perhaps, 2020 hadn't left yet!

But never fear, Miller's Tree Service came to our rescue

They cleaned up the branches littering the north drive

Then they started taking down the half a tree that was left

All the way down!

And left a big stump because they had another job.

They came back and got the rest of the stump.    This spring they'll grind out what's left

It certainly looks different than it did . . . looks more like the 1924 picture.      We'll plant a tree in it's place -- not for us but for those who own Linderhof after us.    I'm thinking a pretty maple.    For neither the elm nor the hackberry were pretty trees.

Eerily, the above picture in black and white bears a striking resemblence to the first picture in this post . . . What's new is old again!

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

A December Breakfast

Our weekday breakfast are simple
Some sort of eggs
Often soft boiled
Toast with marmalade
Tea and coffee

But on weekends, we like a more substantial breakfast
A homemade breakfast bread, eggs, meat and toast with marmalade
Juice, tea and coffee

Although Betty Crocker calls Popovers a "Quick Bread", and I guess because they
have no yeast, they can be considered quick
But popovers are anything but quick
1 - you have to heat the oven to 450
That takes more time than it does to mix up the batter
2 - you bake them for a total of 30 minutes
(to me that's not quick)
But there is nothing that Jim and I like better than popovers!

And although you can bake popovers in muffin tins

A girl really needs a popover pan

There's just something perfect about a tall puffy popover in a popover tin!

Popovers are perfect for a December breakfast

in the breakfast room!

A white tablecloth

(nothing is better than a white cloth -- they are so pristine)

A Christmas centerpiece


And eggs, ham, orange juice and orange marmalade for the popovers

The Christmas china, of course

Royal Doulton Tartan

They don't make it anymore and our first 8 place settings -- well, plate and cup and saucer were hand carried home from England long ago.    At a cost of $8 for all 24 pieces!

Popovers look especially nice in a silver plated bread basket!

 We even got out the Waterford salt and peppers!
And a proper bread and butter plate and butter knife
for the popovers.

On the weekend we can afford to be a little more proper
for we have time we don't usually have on weekdays.

We pour another cup of coffee or tea, we linger and perhaps have just one more popover!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

We Find An Old Friend

Twenty five years ago, I acquired a cute little tea set at an auction.
I'd never seen one like it.
It was English.
It was sweet.
And I didn't know what it was!

But I got tired of dusting it, and into a cabinet it went.      It really didn't serve a "purpose" -- it was just a cute tea set -- to set around!

Thirteen years ago, we auctioned things from our retail store.     I went through closets, cabinets and drawers and put things in the sale as well.     The items in "that" cabinet went into the sale.

Years later, I found out it was a Royal Winton

breakfast set

And it was quite valuable -- $200 up for that little tray with a cup, a wee pot, a miniature sugar, a miniature cream and a toast rack.

Boy, did I ever mess up.

I rued the fact that I sold it.

WHAT was I thinking?

Cleaning in the attic last week and going through bins up there

What did I find?

My Royal Winton Breakfast Set

It was like reuniting with an old friend!

A toast rack for two half slices of toast
A teapot that only holds one cup
Two sugar cubes in the sugar bowl
And just enough milk in the pitcher for that cup of tea

My old friend.   The friend that I thought was gone forever, got a new spot --

On the table in the front bedroom by a comfy chair

A perfect spot for a morning cup of tea and toast.
brought up by the maid (giggle)
To give you strength to dress for the day and go down for 
"real breakfast"


Royal Winton is an English potter

Started in the late 1800s

Probably their most famous product

are their Chintzware

and these little breakfast sets.

No other potter made a similar breakfast set

So they are unique to Royal Winton

Best I can tell they are 40s (late) or 50s

They are rare but there are still quite a few available, especially here in America.

I think they were one of those "adorable" things that 

travelers to England bought in the 50s to bring home to America.

And like me, got tired of dusting it and so they were put away.

This little set won't be put away again any time soon.

While my "maid" won't be bringing me tea and toast in the morning, it will be

fun to have tea and cinnamon toast in my cozy spot in the bedroom

in the afternoon.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Pumpkin time at Linderhof

I'm not a fan of "pumpkin spice" unless there is pumpkin in there too!!!

And in October, we certainly have our fill of all things pumpkin!!!

Pumpkin pie . . . the first always made for Halloween.     We leave the candy bars to the kids while we finish our traditional bowl of chili with a slice of pumpkin pie.    An old recipe for rather than evaporated milk, it has cream.    From back in the days when families keep cows and there was always cream in the house.

Pumpkin pancakes . . . that little bit of pumpkin leftover from baking bread or scones goes great with pancake batter to make the breakfast (or supper) pancakes.     Adding a little cinnamon to the pure maple syrup ups the ante a little!

Pumpkin bars . . . everyone has their favorite recipe for pumpkin bars and you see them a lot in October. But they are a great dessert or tea time treat and easy to make!

Pumpkin cornbread . . . I couldn't imagine but I tried the recipe and it is delicious.   Probably the best cornbread I've made.    There is no "pumpkin spice" in it, just pumpkin and because of the moistness of the pumpkin it was a good keeper.    Plus there is no flour in it -- just cornmeal so it's gluten free!

Starbucks Pumpkin Bread . . . a new one this year but I adore other Starbucks treats and thought I would try a copycat recipe for their pumpkin bread.    It's good and the seeds on the top are a nice touch.    But I really do like my old had forever recipe for pumpkin bread the best.

Starbucks Pumpkin Scones . . . I'm not much on scones that you buy in bakeries here.    Too dry.  I'd rather have a muffin!     But these were good and moist and I loved the double drizzle on them -- a vanilla glaze and then a cinnamon piping.     They did go very well with breakfast coffee and afternoon tea!

 Pumpkin Bread . . . A different kind of pumpkin bread because it's a yeast bread with pumpkin in it.   It goes very well with a maple cinnamon butter.     The rolls shaped like little pumpkins  would add a bit of whimsey to the Thanksgiving table.      Served with a plain butter, they're really good with a big bowl of fall soup.