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.

Friday, May 30, 2014

It's Nice To Have a Friend . . .

Actually, it's nice to have two friends!

As all of you are aware, just before the Lunch Bunch
showed up last fall I heard a noise in the breakfast room
And went in to find . . .

That a shelf had collapsed

And the contents . . .
The Johnson Brothers Indies

Were on the floor
Most of them broken

But there were a few survivors

I decided that instead of replace all that I was broken, I would just
replace the pieces to give me the little "tea for two" set that I had
originally bought in England 20 years ago
the teapot, sugar and creamer
two cups and two sauces and two tea plates.

And I replaced them
And used them mostly when I had tea just for me
(for it is a wee teapot and holds just two cups!)

Friend Bernideen
contacted me that she had found a set in her town
And it was marked down
Way down

But I was adamant 
After losing so much china
I was happy to be basically back where I was 20 years ago
(with extra plates and salad plates)

That is until this morning

When Friend Rita called
And said that there was some china at the Catholic Church's Mega Yard Sale
And I needed to come quick!

Without fixing breakfast for Husband Jim
Alas, not even a cup of tea for myself,
I went

And friend Rita had put them aside for me

A small set of Indies
Obviously originally a set for 4
But there were four plates, three bowls, three cups, three saucers
and four tea plates

All for $25.00

Of course, I had to bring them home

And this afternoon, I baked my tea treat for the week


And this afternoon on the porch . . .

I had tea . . . with my Johnson Brothers Indies
And remembered dear Friend Rita
who looked after me this morning!

Oh, and it is always a good sale!

I brought home other treasures --

Some violets
One of which is blooming
I'm a sucker for African violets

But then I grew up with them
Mom, it seems, was a "violet whisperer"
Give her a leaf
And she'd have a blooming plant in no time!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Dinner In The Garden

Our weather has been iffy
Rain -- threat of rain
And sometimes heat

But the other night
All the cosmic forces came together
No rain
No threat of rain
And it was pleasantly cool

Perfect for dinner in the garden

One of the patio tables, topped with a lace cloth
And blue and white, of course
Spode Blue Italian
And my homespun blue and white napkins
A Guy Wolfe pot filled with white geraniums

Potato Salad with new potatoes, green onions and bacon and a vinaigrette

Accompanied son-in-law's award winning smoked pork

It was a perfect night
We lingered over dinner
And the dessert of strawberry shortcake
with whipped cream

The dogs shamelessly begging at our feet
And Husband Jim being the soft touch that he is, they were rewarded!

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Flower of the Week

Purple Japanese Iris

It's Wednesday and I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday

Monday, May 26, 2014

An Old Fashioned Tea Treat

It's Strawberry Time on the prairie
And I'm on my second flat
They are so good,
so sweet,
so red

And with these sweet local strawberries
I wonder why I ever buy the ones in the store!

Friday I used part of them to make a pie

A fresh strawberry pie
The recipe I've had before my marriage
It was always served at lunch counters and tea rooms and cafeterias
at strawberry time . . . and only at strawberry time

I make at least one a year
With our local berries.

Friday, we were meeting friends for dinner
And then they were coming back to Linderhof
for dessert and coffee,
hence the pie.

And Friday afternoon, when I took my tea

In the breakfast room
(Sometimes I indulge myself with a Spode teapot
instead of the crockery one)
tea for me!

And the tea treat

Pie Crust
I'm sure it has a fancier name but that's what we called it.
The little scrapes leftover from a pie,
buttered, sugared and cinnamoned
And baked along with the pie.

As a child, I think I liked the "pie crust" better than the 
dinner pie!

And it was as good as I remembered
With a pot of Earl Grey,
the warm cinnamon sugary buttery pie crust was perfect!

And I didn't even tell Husband Jim that it was tea time
I didn't share!

And after dinner at our favorite local restaurant, Crooners,
we came back to Linderhof

for coffee
and slices of that strawberry pie
topped with a big blob of whipped cream
and a perfect strawberry!

It's Tuesday and I'm sharing with:

Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday
Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Decoration Day

Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest
  On this Field of the Grounded Arms,
Where foes no more molest,
  Nor sentry's shot alarms! 

Ye have slept on the ground before,
  And started to your feet
At the cannon's sudden roar,
  Or the drum's redoubling beat. 

But in this camp of Death
  No sound your slumber breaks;
Here is no fevered breath,
  No wound that bleeds and aches. 

All is repose and peace,
  Untrampled lies the sod;
The shouts of battle cease,
  It is the Truce of God! 

Rest, comrades, rest and sleep!
  The thoughts of men shall be
As sentinels to keep
  Your rest from danger free. 

Your silent tents of green
  We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
  The memory shall be ours

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

A New Planter Box

This time of the year the Amish bring flowers
to our Farmers Market.

And this planter just "spoke" to me this morning
planted with an assortment of annuals
It is made out of logs

Just right on the low brick wall outside of the wooden fence

And the amazing thing is that
planter and plants was only $20!

I think it is perfect!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake

What do you do with a flat of strawberries?

Have strawberry shortcake, of course!

Husband Jim likes those little spongy cups at the grocery store
My solution?
A ricotta olive oil cake
It is so much better than those little cakes
And like those little cakes it soaks up the sweet strawberry juice
Served with whipped cream, of course.

The cake, was originally a gift when Jim had a procedure
It's from the Smitten Kitchen
And it's a good cake too
No matter what you do to it!


butter or oil for the pan
1 cup ricotta
1/3 c. olive oil
1 c. sugar
1/2 t. freshly grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt

Preheat oven to 350.    Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment.    Butter pan and parchment.

Whisk ricotta, olive oil, sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl.    Add eggs one by one and mix in thoroughly each time.

Sift the flour, baking soda, powder and salt right into the wet mixture and mix with a spatula until just combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.    Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reprise: Paperwhite Luncheon

We've been busy at Linderhof
dealing with kidney stones
Meals have been catch as catch can some days
And, alas, there is no company either!

I'm reprising my very first tables cape Thursday post
From February 4, 2009

I can't believe what a long way I've come 
in my photography
over the last 5 years!

Every month a three friends come to Linderhof for lunch. We've finally settled on the first Tuesday of the month. We've been doing it for ten years and I thoroughly enjoy the luncheons. These ladies are "foodies" and food is the topic. I get to try new recipes and I've yet to send out for pizza.

I called this a paperwhite luncheon as paperwhites were the centerpiece and my four bird "vases" each held a spray of paperwhites.

The plates are some of my Spode blue room and I used my white overlay tablecloth and white napkins as well.

The cutlery is stainless -- English hotel is the pattern -- they don't match which suits me fine!

The glasses are actually parfait glasses that we got at a restaurant/bar show in Las Vegas. They truly have been workhorses.

At each place is a menu -- a souvenier as well as knowing what the next course will be!

The silver napkin rings are part of my extended collection of Victorian and Edwardian napkin rings. ALL have either names or initials and are used daily.
Gathering four birds took four years -- the first came from Nell Hill's in Atchison. The second bought a couple of years later came from a garden shop. Both were what I considered pricey! The last two were bought on my birthday in a gift shop in a little town about an hour north. They were on sale for half price! Finally, I had my four!

It was a taste of spring in a rather cold Febreuary day. A simple tabletop but a welcoming one.

This is my first Tabletop Thursday and I was eager to share. It's sponsored by Susan at Between Naps on a Porch

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

We Welcome Back Old Friends

Old Friends
The Fruits of Spring . . .

The first of many flats of local strawberries
Mostly for eating as is
They are the sweetest!

Strawberries for breakfast, lunch and dinner!


A pot of roasted rhubarb
Made all the better with a splash of red wine and some vanilla beans

Who needs meat
When you have Spring food like this!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Last Change?

A burlap tablcloth
under a square lace tablecloth

  A week ago Friday
I rearranged the breakfast room
On Sunday
I traded tables
The English walnut oval one for the small round front porch wicker one

When I first moved the little round table in
I put an old green damask tablecloth  over it
(to hide the wicker -- for it didn't seem like a wicker room!)
And layered a beige round over that
And then a white bridge cloth over that
(for Husband Jim tends to be messy!)

I like the smaller round table
It's cozier
It is a breakfast room
And it's just the two of us!

And in looking at the space, I felt that the tablecloth to the floor
really looked good in that room
A room with all hard surfaces
Three walls of windows, a brick floor, a leggy sideboard and a leggy stove
and two leggy chairs!

I didn't need to see table legs!

But the old green damask cloth . . . 
Not a forever -- just a place holder!

I looked on line for either linen or burlap tablecloths
And found some very pricey ones!
But on Etsy, I found a faux burlap
(husband Jim, remember)
And at a reasonable price.
it came in the size I needed -- 90 inches!

I ordered
It came
I put it on 
As well as the old square lace tablecloth
And I like the look.
The burlap is textural which is what that "garden room" needs
Something earthy and real
The lace adds more texture
And I like the neutrality of it all.

I'm not sure that I will even look for another table.

For I think this little table
And it's new cover
are perfect!

And until Fall, when the plants come in,
this room has had it's last change!


It's Monday and I'm joining:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Out In The Garden

After the Farmers Market,
I've been out in the garden
Tidying, alas, not planting!

The garden is really full
And there isn't space for much

But May is a beautiful time in the garden
The roses and the peonies and the wisteria are in bloom!

The William Baffin Rose
Soars to the sky and is loaded with pink roses
I planted it early on in the garden
With a thought -- with the rose being bookended by wisteria
And this, is the first year, that it has happened

For the wisteria on both sides of the rose is beautiful!
Purple, pink, purple!

It was so lovely out that after a morning of garden work . . .

We enjoyed lunch in the garden

Nothing special,

Just egg salad sandwiches with garden dill and a big glass of icy tea!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Rite of Spring -- Wilted Lettuce

One of my spring favorites was the wilted lettuce.
Mom was not a big gardener,
keeping a small garden mostly of tomatoes
But she did plant spring things --
radishes, lettuce and green onions

And until they were all gone
(i.e. the lettuce "bolted")
we had wilted lettuce salads for dinner
as often as we could.

I don't vegetable garden
preferring instead to buy my produce at the Farmers Market.
But I do sow lettuce in my flower pots in February
That way my March and April garden doesn't have empty pots.

And like my mother, I mostly sow black seeded simpson.

Alas, there are no radishes or onions in the garden
But they are readily available at the Farmers Market

It's a simple salad, wash and spun dry garden lettuce
thinly sliced radishes
green onions
and bacon

The bacon is important you see
for it is what's left in the pan that forms the basis for the dressing
Warm bacon dressing

My mother always used this little skillet when she made wilted lettuce.
It was one thing I wanted when she passed away
(She also always fried my egg in it for an fried egg sandwich --
it's just big enough for one egg!)

To the bacon grease, you add the same amount of sugar and vinegar
And stir and warm until the sugar is dissolved and the dressing is hot.

Then you upturn the skillet over the bowl of vegetables.
And let it steam a bit

It's a tasty addition to a meal of cheesy potatoes, ham, and roasted asparagus.

We eat wilted lettuce as often as we can for once the season is gone,
it's gone.
No store lettuce produces the same flavor as just picked garden lettuce.

It's a rite of Spring!

It's Friday and I'm joining Michael at Rattlebridge Farm for Foodie Friday.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The First Meal . . .

With the changes in the breakfast room,
the first meal had to be special!

The table -- just perfect for two (although it will seat four)
layered with three tablecloths --
green, beige and white

Roses in the centerpiece echo the roses on the needlepoint chair seats

And the flowers in the Aynsley Pembroke china

The china that I admired for years and years and found a few pieces over the years
And then in January . . . at a flea market . . . a service for 8 for $30
Which I passed up!!!   Yes, passed up!!!!
(It was one of those what was I thinking moments --
but I had just did closets, cabinets and drawers and had no room!)
The week after, I rearranged, found room and so went back to the flea market
Hoping it was still there -- it was!!!!
I was lucky!    But it was January and there isn't as much traffic!
And since I gave my wedding china to Daughter Sarah, this sort of takes it's place!

China because it is a celebratory meal
The good silver as well as antique wine glasses
And the tablecloth that I bought in the Azores when we sailed for England
a few years ago to spend the Spring there.

It was a Spring meal

A light white pinot grigio,
Keith's Asparagus Soup
Chicken with morels
(the last of the morels)
White and wild rice

Rhubarb Fool for dessert

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

And because Kathleen is using fine china for May, I'm joining Cuisine Kathleen for Let's Dish

Monday, May 12, 2014

Leftovers for Tea

This morning I was out and about in the garden
Sadly, not weeding or planting
But rather picking

For the iris is in full bloom!
A basket brought into the house
To fill vases with this noble flower

And after a good clean of the house,
And ironing of the pillowslips,
I sat down for tea

In my newly rearranged breakfast room
And watched as the rain fell

With a bouquet of iris on the table
Husband Jim and I shared a pot of tea

And a nosh of leftover
"Mother's Day Cookies"

The sunny bright  "black eyed Susans" and "Daisies"
made the dreary rainy day seem a bit brighter!

It's Tuesday and I'm joining Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and Bernideen  for Friends Sharing Tea.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Big Changes Afoot In the Breakfast Room

The breakfast room -- an addition we made to Linderhof in 2007

We had no casual dining area
And what started out as a floor and a door
ended up being a real room.

Our intention was to make it look like a porch we enclosed
And I think we succeeded for often people will ask us about our
"enclosed porch"

We furnished it simple 
seven years ago

We started with this table
A game table, I think, because of the shape
And four chairs
Because a table needs four chairs!

In 2008, at an Estate Sale,

We found this darling English walnut oval table
We liked it much better than the original one!

And at the end of the room
against the south windows

We placed a baker's rack
Perfect for plants and plates!

However, one fateful day at an antique shop,
we found

This beautiful 1870's sideboard
at a ridiculously low price.

We didn't get it
(We're famous for that -- not getting something and having to go back)

And once home, we figured out that it would work in the breakfast room
So a quick call, another trip, and home it came.

This spring, however, I have felt that the walls of the breakfast room were closing in
The plants, I thought.   The plants
For it is where we overwinter the citrus, the geraniums and the other assorted house plants
that summer outdoors.

However, as I would take my breakfast or afternoon tea
I would sit and stare

Mostly at the wall of glass that was really covered up.
How sad, I thought
But . . . what could I do with the sideboard?

And so I thought some more,
came up with a plan
And last week, I executed that plan

After the plants were moved outside!

I moved the sideboard . . .
not to another room 

But to the brick wall
Thus opening up the south wall of windows.

And the table which had been in the middle of the room
got moved next to those south windows!
And several weeks ago, I put two of the chairs in the basement.
Most of the time, it's just us -- when I have company, I can always
appropriate two chairs from the dining room
And if I need to, I can always bring the others up.
(Which means an occasional cleaning of the chairs rather than a weekly ones --
you know how chair legs attract cobwebs and dog hair!)

It seems more spacious
(But then the plants are outside now!)

And, of course, it is brighter,
And we can see the south garden
(in all of it's needy and weedy state!)

But then I felt that the table was too big!
Not too wide but too long -- it just didn't feel right!
I needed a smaller table
And a round table!

And os I brought in the wicker table from the front porch
And covered it with layered tablecloths
(Wicker and the black 1870s sideboard are too different, I think)

I think it fits the space better
And is perfect for a breakfast (or lunch or dinner) for two!

The sideboard looks good against the brick
(but anything looks good against brick!)

And I love the feel of the new space!

I am not a furniture mover
(well, maybe I'll move the living room chairs around but that's the extent of my
furniture moving!)
Unless a new piece requires some rearranging.

So I gave it some thought
Lots of thought
And I drew it out on the breakfast newspaper more than once.

And once the plants were out,
I made the move!

I think it is a perfect solution!

It's Monday and I'm sharing my new breakfast room with Susan at Between Naps On the Porch for Met Monday and I'm joining Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday.