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.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mother's Lilac

When my parents married they moved into a six unit apartment building.
On the first floor
The landlord and his wife were just across the hall
And became friends with my parents.

It was a small apartment.
Living room, dining room, kitchen,
one bedroom and bath

The bedroom was on the back and had
double windows on two sides.
Under one of those sets of windows was a lilac bush.
And old fashioned lilac.

My first night at home (and many others)
was spent in that bedroom
And my first spring, the lilac bloomed
And the fragrance of those lilacs
wafted into the room
My parents spent the first ten years of their marriage
in that apartment
But with the coming of my little brother,
a one bedroom was too small
So they bought a house across the street!

And that spring, a "start" of the lilac
also moved across the street!
And when they moved a few years later
to a house in another area of the city,
a "start" of the lilac came with them.
And when my mother passed away,
I brought a start of the lilac home with me.
And the very next year, the lilac bloomed
One bloom!
It was a sign, I've always believed, that mother was happy
that her lilac had moved to our little town on the prairie.

Last year, was a non-lilac year!
Each of my bushes had one or two blooms.
This year they're covered!
It's definitely a lilac year.

Mother's lilac is an old fashioned light purple variety
But the fragrance is out of this world!
In fact, when I go out the back door, the heady scent of lilacs are almost overpowering.

I always keep Mother's Lilac in a vase all to itself.
It made a darling Easter bouquet today
And underneath is my Grandmother's crochet tablecloth.

It's sort of a family table!

The lilac, this spring, will travel North, where Daughter Sarah
and her Lucy will plant a start.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Eggs, Eggs and MORE Eggs -- But Then It Is Easter Eve!

It's Easter Eve
The day of the "egg"

The first egg of the day
Scrambled with bacon and roasted asparagus

for breakfast

In the breakfast room with a centerpiece of fruit
that will soon be turned into ambrosia!

Hot cross buns
And a wee Waterford sugar and creamer
bought just yesterday at a shop in our little town
A steal of a deal
And who says that the sugar has to have sugar in it!
I find small open sugar bowls are handy for butters or breakfast jams!

And the second eggs?
Yes, more cookies

Another batch of my cutout cookies
Cut with the egg shaped cookie cutter
Frosted with white Royal Icing
And a yellow Wilton candy melt in the end
to resemble a yolk

Some, however, are shown "unbroken"!
My best stab at a wild egg!

And the last egg
A Good Friday tradition
but I was too busy yesterday
And so it was relegated to today

The coloring of the eggs
In coffee cups (because that is what my Mom used)
With food coloring (because that is what my Mom used)

And once finished

The French wire egg stand holds the eggs
It's used only for this short time every year!
And then it's stored away!

Alas, none of these eggs will find their way outside.
We'll have them in egg salad sandwiches and deviled and Husband Jim will just peel and eat some
(but I never will)

And from Minnesota

Seems grand girl Lucy is keeping the tradition
of dying eggs on Easter Eve!
(I wonder if any of hers will find their way outside?)

And since it is Easter Eve -- I'm joining The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sundays

Friday, April 18, 2014

Chicks, Bunnies and Buns (Hot Cross)

A tradition of Easter week
the making of the
Fund Raising Cookies
Easter chicks and bunnies
cut out cookies
And hand decorated
(not just iced)

It's our Spring PEO Fundraiser
and it my Labor of Love
What started out as a 
"I hope we can make $100"
has turned into 
a nice fundraiser for our club.

We make them on an assembly line --
I did get a picture of all 300 plus bunnies
But, alas, forgot to take a picture of the chicks!

Some of the group came this morning to help bag

Which made that task go quickly

And what did I do after?
Put the kettle on

For we had coffee and freshly made Hot Cross Buns
It is Good Friday after all!

Hot Cross Buns were a tradition for Easter Sunday breakfast
when I was a child
But in adult years, it seems that churches so often do breakfast for the
Whether it is scrambled eggs, bacon and biscuits or a pancake breakfast
or, as our church does a "pot luck"

So I've relegated Hot Cross Buns to Good Friday breakfast
with the leftover eaten with tea that afternoon.

Until this year, I've never baked my buns,
always buying them from a bakery in the city
(as mother always did)
But, alas, no city trip for me close enough to Good Friday
to buy buns so I decided to make them.

They're really easy and they were really good.

And now on Good Friday, the breakfast Hot Cross Buns will be homemade!


2 packages powdered yeast (I used quick rise)
1/3 c. warm water
1/3 c. scalded milk
1/2 c. butter
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
3 1/2 to 4 cups flour
1 t. cinnamon
3 well beaten eggs
2/3 c. dried currants, golden raisins or regular raisins (I used half golden, half regular -- currants are  
           hard to find here on the prairie)

Soften yeast in water.    Into the scalded milk, stir the butter, sugar and salt; let cool to lukewarm in a large bowl.

Sift flour and cinnamon together.    Into the milk mixture, stir a cup of flour and mix well.    Add eggs and beat well, then add the softened yeast and the currants (or raisins).   Add the remaining flour, a cup or so at a time and mix thoroughly to make a soft dough.    Cover with a clean dampened towel and let rise in a warm place until double, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.    Punch down.

Roll dough 1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured board.    Cut into rounds with a biscuit or cooky cutter and shape into 24 rounded buns.    Place well apart on a greased baking sheet.    Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour.     With a sharp knife or scissors, cut a cross in the center of each bun.    Brush tops with egg white or milk.    Bake in a 375 oven about 12 minutes or until nicely browned.

Remove from the pan and pipe or dribble white frosting on buns to make a cross.    Frosting is made by stirring together until smooth, 1 lightly beaten egg white and enough powdered sugar to make a paste (3/4 to 1 cup); add 1/2 t. vanilla.

Oh, and the cookies?
It's my cutout cookie recipe
Decorated like this:

The bunnies

The chicks

And yes, a package of each went North to Minnesota
for Grandgirl Lucy's first Easter

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring On The Prairie!

It's the middle of April!
It should be warm!
And Saturday it was -- like in the 80s
Today, not so much
More like the 40s
And tonight, it is predicted

Doesn't Mother Nature know that her children
are all a bud and a bloom?

And many will not survive the 20s which is the predicted low for tonight.

So I spent the afternoon cutting and clipping
To bring inside and fill vases
Which then filled tabletops

Or counters
like the daffodils which brighten the kitchen

A small bouquet of lilacs
on a tabletop in the living room

Or a bigger bouquet of lilacs

In a vase at the bottom of the stairs

And a silver pitcher on the sideboard in the living room

The pink tulips in a vase at the top of the stairs

And more tulips on the table in the breakfast room

I couldn't clip all of the lilacs
And it's a shame
For last year, we had one or two blossoms per bush
This year, all the bushes are loaded!

But I did take a photo of this year's lilac "crop"
So I'll have a remembrance forever of their beauty!

I love the house filled with flowers
But not because I have  to bring them in
or else the freeze will get them.

I prefer to have them inside because I want to
And enjoy a bouquet of each flower as it comes in bloom.

But at least these blooms will last for a week or so
And will brighten the inside of Linderhof
in this coming week.

And oftentimes, I even buy flowers 
like these beautiful white tulips I bought for the coffee table in the living room

Ah, had I known about the freeze . . . 

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Front Porch and Summer Storms

Last night we had a lightning display,
Today, there were dark clouds
And rain

And tomorrow

a spring snow 2012

There may be snow.


But on Friday
Glorious Friday

It was our first pitcher of iced tea day
(really refreshing after working in the front garden!)


Although we ate in shifts,
lunch was on the front porch
(leftover chicken and noodles from Miss Jamie's
And another glass of icy tea with lemon)

And Saturday morning,
we celebrated

With breakfast on the porch
Our usual breakfast
Tea and coffee
And steel cut oats
Nothing fancy
But eating on the front porch
made it a special meal!


There were two who thought they should join us!
They  didn't like the glass separating us from them
For there could have been breakfast treats
And they are hard to get from the inside!

Besides gardening, I found time to pick some flowers

Hyacinths and grape hyacinths in Waterford vases
On the table at the bottom of the stairs
(along with some English barley twist wooden candlesticks)

A mirror image for there is a mirror at the bottom of the stairs!

It was a glorious weekend until the storms rolled in last night . . .
But that's spring on the prairie!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Bunny Brunch

 Easter and Lent is such a good time to host a brunch
A favorite for me is 
"The Bunny Brunch"
Where the bunnies are on the table 
NOT  on the plate!!!

Three bunnies encircle a crystal vase of white tulips

Four seems my favorite number for lunch
(and brunch)
A lace tablecloth
and old damask napkins in silver rings

The Pembroke Aynsley sets a pretty Spring table
Spring is both birds and bunnies
And as I love blue and white transfer ware
I also love birds!

And since it is the Lenten season
One of the rabbits has an Easter egg!

Brunch is breakfast and lunch
all combined together

The breakfast part of a brunch is some form of eggs, fruit
and muffins (in this case "bunny" ones --
carrot muffins)
The lunch portion is a vegetable and dessert!

We enjoyed

A frittata of potato, peppers and onions and cheese
sprinkled with parsley

Fresh fruit with a tequila lime syrup

Roasted asparagus

Bunny Muffins
(aka Mimi's Cafe Carrot Muffins)

And dessert
More bunnies

In the form of a decorated cupcake!

I'm joining Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Tablescape Thursday and Cuisine Kathleen for the Bird Challenge -- there are more bunnies than birds but the plates do feature a bird!    It's very subtle!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Morning Light

As I was coming out of the kitchen this morning
towards the breakfast room
I loved the shadows and light
that the morning sun created in the dining room

Highlighting the bouquet of white on the table
And the Easter Egg tree on the sideboard

A few minutes later

The sun had moved
The sideboard was in shadows
And a lengthening shadow of the dining room chair
was cast upon the
heirloom lace tablecloth!

I love mornings
I love watching the sunlight come into the house
with the first morning light

On Wednesday  I'll join Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday