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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


The master bedroom at Linderhof was papered ages ago.     We like the paper and the fact that a friend of ours papered it for a friend of hers.     Long before we became the keepers of Linderhof.

I spend early morning hours at the computer in the adjacent sunroom.    And every morning . . . 

I am awed by the "sepia" tone of our bedroom.    The only color being a small "pop" of pink on the loveseat at the foot of the bed.

It's a tone on tone sort of room and I think the early morning light emphasizes that.    I especially like the master bedroom in the hours just after the sun has come up.

And early morning, too, is a good time to bake.    For we've been having triple digits on the prairie.
Friend and fellow blogger, Pat, from On Crooked Creek, shared a recipe for banana bread from On Crooked Creek a few days ago.  

It makes two loaves -- I especially like that with banana bread . . . or you can do as Pat did and make one loaf and six muffins.

One loaf was a gift.    The other was wrapped and put in the freezer in case I had poets for tea again!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Triple Digits But There is Still Tea in the Afternoon -- But It's Iced!

Every afternoon at half past three, I stop and have tea.    Triple digits have been the norm for the past six weeks or so, inching up even higher and higher as the summer progresses.    Yesterday, it was 108!

Tea is now taken iced!     Even though we're inside and in air, we've usually been out and about enough that by the afternoon, hot tea seems hot!

And we've given up our beloved breakfast room for afternoon tea.    It faces west and the afternoon sun comes in the windows with a vengeance!

Neither is tea taken on the front porch whether iced or hot -- even though it is on the east side of the house and with the ceiling fan going, it is still too hot to sit outside!

So inside I must come . . . . 

The living room which faces east is cool in the afternoon.

A favorite wing chair, tea and a book.    A wonderful afternoon respite.

A book, tea and a nosh!

The tea taken iced on a plate with two madeleins for my afternoon nosh.

Madeleines go as well with iced tea as they do a pot of tea

The tea, not my favorite Luizianne/Harney's Cinnamon, but rather a black iced tea brew from Roasterie, Kansas City's coffee company.     The madeleines are orange rosemary made and taken to a "do" on Saturday.    A few saved back for my afternoon tea.    It's a Laura Calder recipe except I substituted orange zest for the lemon zest the recipe called for and added about a tablespoon of fresh rosemary.

The book, bought last weekend, Fannie's Last Supper.    From America's Test Kitchen, Chris Kimball about his experience with creating a multi-course Victorian dinner ala Fannie Farmer.

Blue and white, a plant and an oddity of Husband Jim's is a perfect tabletop

The tea and the book are temporary, but the abalone shell (a new purchase this weekend as well -- Husband Jim loves the unusual and he got it for a great price) and the topiary are not.     It's a myrtle topiary which badly needs a haircut.    It's in a hand thrown pot I brought home from England.    I bought it in April and it's August.       It's the longest I've ever had one!     I think I may have found the secret to growing myrtles -- water!    I keep it well watered and always some water in the saucer.    They're thirsty plants plus they are always in such small pots which may indicate the need for more than a normal amount of water.

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Tabletop Tuesday and Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage  for Tea Time Tuesday.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Memory Comes Home

We adore wall art.    Oil paintings, water colors, etching and even some prints.      Linderhof's walls are filled with pictures that we've collected over the last 40 years.     Our taste is eclectic (to use that trite phrase) and we don't have enough wall space for all of our art.     A bin full is in the attic.   

The guest bedroom had two pictures on one side of the windows -- a picture from an old Zuber wallpaper book which we framed and a print that I bought at a garage sale (whose provenance I don't know).    

The guest room -- before.

On the other side, a print that we got at an estate sale.    

We liked the look but . . .

Two great pictures.

At another estate sale, I found this darling watercolor of cows.    I'm not sure who did the watercolor nor whether it is English or American, but I liked it and it was only $20 (unframed).    A trip to a local antique mall and there was the perfect frame.     Hung below the picture on the right, it fills the wall better.

My grandmother had a picture that I always admired.    Done in 1814 and titled "Boy with a Rabbit" it's by Henry Raeburn Inglis.    It is just slightly less popular than "Blue Boy" and "Blue Girl" for you see prints everywhere!     "Boy With a Rabbit" slipped through my fingers but I have yearned for it since we settled my grandmother's estate.

Everytime I see a print, I judge quality, frame and price and have always passed them by for they didn't meet all three criteria for purchase.  

Then last Thursday we were at a favorite antique shop in Camdenton, Missouri . . . and what did I see on the wall?

Not my grandmother's but it is almost and I can think of it as hers!

The picture.    For only $45!    It's in a similar frame to my grandmother's (a plus) and it's colors are close to the original (another plus).     Husband Jim shook his head at my purchase but I wasn't really buying a picture as much as I was buying a memory.

It's Monday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Met Monday.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Where To Put It All

I've been "putting food by" this summer.    A bounty of tomatoes given to me by friend Kale, resulted in 18, yes 18, jars of canned tomatoes and 5 jars of tomato jam (a new treat for me).    

They looked good on the kitchen counter, but they couldn't stay there forever.   

And so, I did as my mother did and my grandmother did -- to the basement went the canned goods.

In the big old house I grew up in, there was a fruit cellar.    Part of the basement that had slat walls (for ventilation) and long rows of shelves to hold canned goods.     My parents didn't build it, it came with the house but my mother utilized it for the canned foods that she "put by" every summer.

In the heat of summer, the fruit cellar was a good place to play for it was like a little play house and my brother and I would spend time in this little "house".    We left the canning equipment and fruit jars alone, never broke anything and so mother either didn't know we played in the fruit cellar (unlikely) or since we didn't play with the jars, she left us alone.

Linderhof doesn't have a fruit cellar but in the basement we do have one of the 1940s kitchen cabinets hanging from the wall.    It's not big, but then neither is my canning.    When cleaned, it was perfect for the jars of tomatoes.

Home canned tomatoes and jam for the winter

There's room for expansion, in case I want to can something else (like pickles or peaches) and I moved the home canned jellies down there as well.    The five little jars on the right are my tomato jam.    The rest are jars that were gifts.

Looking at the shelves of canned goods, I am quite satisfied at the "fruits" of my labor!    What a treat these will be this winter.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I always love summer for there are garden flowers to fill the house.     From the first daffodil through the last mum.    The flowers follow the season and even though they are perennials, it's nice to have them "visit" for a week or two.

But then came the summer of 2012.    Triple digits temperatures arrived in June and with the temperatures, there was no rain either.

It's tough on plants on the prairie this summer!     Even the sunflowers haven't produced like they have in years past!

And so, an unheard of thing in summer time . . .

Alstroemeria or Peruvian lily.    I liked the orange color

We bought flowers for the breakfast room.    In summer!    Unheard of!    But with no flowers in the garden, it became a necessity!

Food is a feast for the body -- flowers are a feast for the soul!

The breakfast room looking "normal" again with fresh flowers on the table.      The flowers always bring a smile to my face!     And today I smiled a lot.

It's a simple bouquet and just one kind of flower.    I often do that with store flowers.    Garden flowers can be a mix of whatever is blooming.

We are still hoping for rain but, alas, there is none in the forecast.    And although watering is keeping plants alive, they are not blooming like they should.     Sigh.    We shall be very happy when this summer is over -- when temperatures return to normal and our parched ground gets some rain.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Missouri Waltz

Although I am a Kansan by heritage on one side, I'm also a Missourian by birth and by heritage on the other side.    Roots in Missouri go back to 1845 when my great grandfather came with his mother, father and siblings from Germany.    They settled in Concordia, Missouri as did other immigrants from the same area in Germany.    

I've visited the Missouri capitol, Jefferson City,  many times and am always in awe of the Benton mural in the House Lounge.   It is amazing.

But one thing I've never done is to visit the Governor's Mansion.    Not that I didn't want to, I did!   But either there weren't any tours when I was there or we didn't have time to tour for we had to head back home.

A mini vacation this week in Jefferson City, Missouri's capitol.    We were on our own time schedule.   We would be there on Thursday when the mansion was open for tour.

All the information for the tour is on the site.

I was thrilled!

Built in the Renaissance Revival Style

Unlike some state's governor's mansions, this was built as a residence for the Governor.   It was not a house built as a residence and then donated to the State for use as the Governor's Mansion.    Built in 1871, it's very typical of Victorian homes of that era.

When you come in the front door and look to the right, this is what you see.

The parlor, as seen from the front hall.     The downstairs rooms, although, they can be used by the Governor and his family are mainly used for social occasions.  

Walnut furniture, exquisite carving

A carving on the back of the furniture in the parlor.    We were told that none of the furniture was original to the mansion.    But it is of the era of the mansion.     This was a lovely set of furniture.

The rug in the parlor -- we were told it's in the shape of the mansion.

Almost all art in the Governor's Mansions are First Lady portraits.

Former First Lady Carolyn Bond.    I worked for her husband for eight years -- he did serve two terms but not consecutively.     She took an interest in the mansion and created the Missouri Mansion Preservation to preserve this wonderful part of Missouri history.

One of the fundraising projects was a cookbook, Past and Repast, which I purchased shortly after it was published.     There are some good recipes in that book as well as some history of the mansion and some of Mrs. Bond's personal recipes.    I've cooked many of the recipes in that book and it's a favorite.

One of the five fireplaces downstairs

In fact, she and her husband gave this beautiful mirror over the mantle in the music room to the Mansion.

Missouri's most famous native son and his family

The dining room features a portrait of President Harry Truman, wife Bess and daughter Margaret.    Harry was never governor but he was Missouri's only President.     This portrait has pride of place in the dining room.

It's real gold leaf which is why it's so shiny!

In the mansion, always look up for ceilings have been elaborately decorated.    This one is in the dining room.

Who wouldn't like one of these special chairs?

The dining room chairs have a metal seal of the State Missouri in their chair backs.  

If it belongs to the Governor's Mansion, it should have the State seal.

And embossed silver with the seal as well . . .

I coveted these two pieces -- but didn't bring a big enough purse!

Which is on this wonderful tea server and pot.

I always like the working side of a house!

Always a favorite place to me is kitchens and the door was ajar . . . and I snapped a shot.    How I would have loved a kitchen tour!

The lamp lowers from the ceiling so that you could sit around the table and read or do needlework.

The library -- across the hall from the parlor.    Libraries are always one of my favorite rooms in homes.    They have a homier and more lived in feel that formal parlors!

Linderhof green on the walls!

Another wonderful mirror over the fireplace and another gift from the Bonds.     The dark green of the walls reminds me of Linderhof's living room.

We had a great time in Jefferson City and after leaving the Governor's Mansion, we stopped for lunch . . .
It's not all Jim's -- lunch after the tour!

At the Central Dairy.    A banana split -- $6.00 and we think it's a steal of a deal.    Enough for two (we did share) and we felt that it covered most of the food groups -- dairy (ice cream), protein (toasted nuts), fruit (banana) and most importantly -- chocolate!

It's Friday, I'm joining Cindy at My Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday and I'm also joining Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday.    That banana split certainly counts as food!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Luncheon For Friends

Last week six friends from Nevada came to lunch.    For they were going to the poetry reading at the college later that afternoon.      We're always happy to host our Nevada friends.    And we've known Katherine and Janice for a long long time!    

Special friends call for a special table.

Just before company arrives, the table is set  and the food is ready.

Anchored by an antique lace tablecloth.

Spode transfer ware always sets a pretty table.

Blue and white Spode, my newest wine glasses, damask napkins in silver rings, and, of course, a menu!

The blue and white table made a cooling table on a triple digit day.

If the flowers and dogs look familiar it's because they were my centerpiece for my Tuesday Lunch Bunch lunch.    Good flowers always deserve a reprise!

And on the menu?

A cup of soup is always a good starter or first course.

My newest and favorite creamy tomato soup recipe.   Made oh so simply with the French canned tomatoes (sigh, my last two jars) and a bit of cream and salt and pepper.    So simple and oh, so good.    Garnished with a sprig of thyme because the canned tomatoes were flavored with thyme!

Vol Au Vent.   A fancy name for a simple but elegant dish!

Vol Au Vent.   Which is French for chicken ala king in a puff pastry shell!   It's easy and actually could be made with leftover chicken and it's really good.    The shells are homemade -- from sheets of puff pastry (the puff pastry, however, was not made by me -- frozen puff pastry is a cook's best friend!)

And for dessert?

Is there anything better than chocolate?

Laura Calder's craggy chocolate cake.    Not a pretty cake when it's unadorned!

All lined up and ready for the guests in the dining room.

However, topped with some Grand Marnier flavored whipped cream and some orange peel, it makes an impressive dessert.

Six guests, six slices.   None for the cook!

And I've made flour less chocolate cakes before -- but this one, oh, this one is my absolutely all time favorite.   I will be making this one again.

They stayed and visited and had another cup of coffee and then, they bid their adieus in order to get to the college so that they could get good seats for the poetry reading.

The party . . . after

A table to be cleared and the house made tidy before I headed to the college to hear the poets.    And it's a good thing I did for the poets followed me home for tea!


7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
7 ounces butter, softened
4 eggs, separated
1 c. sugar

Heat the oven to 375.   Line an 8 inch springform with parchment and grease and flour pan.

Melt the chocolate gently over a water bath, and then beat in the butter a piece at a time until smooth.   In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1/2 c. sugar until tick, pale and ribbony.   In yet another bowl, beat the whites to soft peaks.    Scatter over the remaining 1/2 c. sugar and beat to a stiff meringue.

Slowly whisk the chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture.    Stir in a spoonful of beaten egg whites, then pour the chocolate mixture over the egg whites and gently fold together with a spatula.   Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven.    Run a knife around the outside edge, then let sit until cool.   It will sink down and top with crack, appealingly.    Serve with a drift of slightly sweeter whipped cream, flavored with vanilla, rum or orange flower water (I used Grand Marnier)

It's Thursday and I'm joining Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Like A Good Neighbor . . . State Farm is There . . .

Like a Good Neighbor . . . State Farm is There!!!!

We're a State Farm family and have been since the 50's when my parents chose State Farm as their insurance.    When we married, we chose State Farm as well.    And when Daughter Sarah married, her father in law was a State Farm adjuster!     

Our State Farm agent is not just our agent but our friend as well.    We attend the same church and last Sunday after service, he asked if we'd like some tomatoes.

Thus, the story begins!

There with this grocery bag . . .

Like a good neighbor . . . a good neighbor is a green neighbor!

Which were full of tomatoes . . .

Full to the brim

At least 25 pounds of tomatoes . . .

Lots of varieties of tomatoes

Big. . . Small . . . Cherries . . . Yellows . . . and even green ones . . .

And what did I do with all of those tomatoes?

Sixteen jars of tomatoes.

I canned 16 quarts using the French canning method.     Sixteen quarts of summer goodness in a jar -- ready to be made into tomato sauce or soup.

And the "little guys" -- the cherries . . .

I decided to make jam --

Cherry tomato and cinnamon jam

Tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon sticks

For each two cups of tomatoes, you use one cup of sugar and a cinnamon stick.     You let them macerate for an hour, then put them in a pan and bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

Strain and put the syrup back into the pan and cook for another 5 minutes more or until thick.

All boiled down and ready to be jarred.

Then add the tomatoes and cook an additional 5 minutes.     I did add a pinch of cinnamon to the batch so that it would be more "cinnamony".

After that . . .
Good for morning toast but also as a condiment.

put them in a jar.   (And tuck the cinnamon stick in a jar.)     I made a double batch and got three jars plus a little extra.   I did a second batch and got three more jars.     Tomato jam will be our jam of choice for a while!

And what did I do with the green tomatoes?

Fry them, of course.     Dipped first in a mixture of buttermilk and egg and them dipped in a mixture of flour and corn meal.     Fry until nicely golden and serve with a buttermilk dressing (made up of buttermilk and mayonnaise, fresh basil and Green Goddess herbs).     Had the tomato jam been finished, a dollop on each one would have been perfect!

I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.   For what is more outdoor and summery than tomatoes!

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Poets Come To Tea

Never say there isn't anything to do in our little town on the prairie -- sometimes there is too much to do!!!

Thursday, I had company for lunch -- six guests and then I rushed off to the Willa and Danny Ellis Fine Arts Center at the Fort Scott Community College for we were having a very special treat that afternoon.

A poetry reading by well known American poet, George Wallace and British poet, Geraldine Green.   It was a grand hour as wonderful poem after poem was read by those two -- he read selections by Walt Whitman, our own Gordon Parks, Langston Hughes, Allen Ginsberg, Henry David Thoreau, Carl Sandburg and John Steinbeck while Geraldine read selections by  Emily Dickinson, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou and Vachal Lindsey.   

Time passed all too quickly -- the hour flew by . . . but time has a way of doing that when you're totally entertained!

After the reading, I bought one of Geraldine's books, got her autograph and since she is British, invited her, her husband Geoff and George to tea.

Photo by Angelique McNaughton, Fort Scott Tribune

With the promise of cake and a pot of P G Tips tea (we haven't had a good cup of tea since we left Britain, Geraldine told me), they decided tea at Linderhof would be terrific.

I left a bit before they and headed home so I could quickly set the tea table . . .

The tea tray on the coffee table in the living room

In the living room because there was soft squishy chairs and the breakfast room with the afternoon sun (and temperatures in the ripple digit) was not as comfortable as the east facing living room.

All the necessities for tea on a tray

Blue and white Spode, of course.     Tea pot, cups and saucers and tea plates.    Napkins and some English forks I picked up over here.   I use them for desserts as well as tea.    All brought in on the wicker tray.

As every girl needs a little black dress in her closet, every girl needs a loaf cake in the freezer.

An emergency loaf of banana cake

This one was banana and it thawed in a jiffy!    Thick slices went well with the cups of P G Tips.  

We talked and visited and that time passed all too quickly as well.     And they soon said goodbye.  

It was quite a day at Linderhof from a luncheon for 6 to a poetry reading to a tea for 4.      Never let anyone tell you that there is nothing to do in small towns.

Linderhof's doors are always open to Geraldine, Geoff and George and we hope that if they are ever back in our world, that they come not for tea but for dinner!

It is Tuesday and I'm sharing my Poets Tea with Sandi at Rose Chintz College for Tea Time Tuesday.