embroidering sketches and golden vintage china from around the world

  I feel like one of the cats curled in the beams streaming through the window, seeking warmth.  Beyond the glass, across the lawn heavy frost sparkles.

The thermometer read minus 5 this morning before sunrise.  Pipes are frozen at the kitchen sink, as is the faucet outdoors we use to water the animals.  This means hauling water from another part of the house, out to the barnyard.

It is too cold to stock the cooler with eggs at the farm stand – they will freeze, I’ve left word for folks to come to the house to get their eggs.  Only a few will do so, I think most rather the convenience and anonymity of using the farm stand.


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a new season

I hope that Y’all came through the holiday season with blessings and all good things.

I in my elf slippers and Mr. Cottage in his flannel, we snuggled in on Christmas eve for a day of just doing for us.

Mr. Cottage and I have had a long tradition of cooking a special Christmas Eve dinner – something a little fancy.  Since the passing of Mother Cottage, we have invited Father Cottage to join us for Christmas Eve supper.  I’ve made various steak dinners these past few years.   This year, Father Cottage announced that he had other plans for Christmas Eve, so we talked about what we would do, for just the two of us.

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the next day I turned the smoker into a planter

Ok – do you know the difference between a gratin and a casserole?

I had to look it up because I wasn’t sure if it was just some snooty word that meant casserole.  Turns out there is a difference.  Casserole is a recipe that you  bake all in one dish which may or may not contain cheese.  A gratin is a dish that contains cheese.  And just incase you aren’t confused enough lets throw in au-gratin.

Recently around Coral Cottage, a little of this and little of that has been going on.

We smoked a pig.

This old rusted junk heap has done us proud for a lotta years.  I bought it at an auction at least 15 years ago, paid $5.00 for it.  One of the best $5.00 investments.


For the past several years we have used a tree branch as a handle for the top.  Now the side handles are all but gone too.


The gauge has been stuck on Ideal for a number of years too.


I made a dry rub of brown sugar,salt, pepper, hot paprika,garlic, fresh turmeric and I don’t remember what else.  That marinated on the butt, for about 14 hours.


Adding the rest of the pan drippings after about 3-4 hours


close the lid


1-IMG_4556 1-IMG_4560

About 6 hours later. I pulled it off the smoker and wrapped it with foil and let it sit for an hour or two.  Then it was ready for pulling.  I made both a sweet tomato based sauce and a vinegar with fresh herbs and garlic.  I like to mix the two sauces.

Once I pulled the pork, I put on a dish of baked beans.

They were on the smoker for an hour or two.


I have to admit, I’ve never done the beans this way before.  I don’t know what I was thinking, but this bowl used to be white.  The smoke completely covered the outside of the dish I thought it was ruined.  The beans turned out excellent and the next morning when I came down to see the aftermath, Mr. Cottage had worked magic on that bowl and you would never know it had been used in the smoker.


Smoked Pig = Luau  = tiki party

Actually we have had so much rain that we are now growing mosquitos and the tikis are burning full flame what seems all the time.

I don’t know if they help or not.

Really, I’m not complaining.

Okay, yes I am.  We have had TOO much rain.

Our high hopes of a big harvest this year have been dashed in so many ways.  Many of our plants have died from the rain and or have rot/mildew and other undesirable issues.

Breaks our hearts.

This week we will have too much heat and humidity and I’ll be complaining about that.

Bounty from the vegetable garden.

Squash and cukes

Squash and cukes

For every squash, and cucumber I’ve managed to pick I’ve done a little dance.  I will also admit they have been very good.

She sugar snap peas, Yum I stand in the garden and eat them straight off the vine.

As is often the case, I had a lot of squash ready all at one time.  I’ve cooked many squash casseroles over the years – they are usually pretty much the same.

Here is a recipe that I got from Cook’s Country – my new favorite recipe source.  This one is different, and not soggy.

Summer Squash Gratin.

Summer Squash Gratin

Summer Squash Gratin


Mr. Cottage does not like olives, I know, what is wrong with him?  When I made this, I omitted the olives.  The second night, I put aside a smaller serving for myself and added the olives – WOW amazing what it does to this dish.  So if you are debating if you should bother when them or not and you like them, do add them.  AWESOME!

The tiki burns into the wee hours of the night!

The next day, I turned the smoker into a planter.

smoker turned into planter

smoker turned into planter

See you later Bye!


dirt glorious dirt

Here at Coral Cottage we spent the entire weekend digging in the dirt.   Some of it was good, some not so much.

Mr. Cottage tilled up additional garden space.


Mr. Cottage tilling away

Mr. Cottae tilling more space

In addition to more tomatos, and peppers, I put in seeds for sugar snap peas, wow my mouth waters at the prospect of going out and picking fresh sugar snaps!  For the first time, I put in Swiss Chard, a variety called flamingo, just because I love the name.  Hopefully mine will look this good.

swiss chard - flamingo

swiss chard – flamingo

these too for the name – purple tomatillo – the seeds were a serious pain in the you know what to deal with.

purple tomatillo

In keeping with my companion planting, I sowed nasturtium seeds around my cucumbers. I love the pepper smell and taste of nasturtiums.  The flowers are a beautiful bonus.

A section out on the north 40 was started for the corn field – we will plant corn later in the week.

future sight of corn field

future sight of corn field

The lettuce I planted last week is making an appearance.

hoo-ray lettuce

hoo-ray for the lettuce remember the toilet paper from last week?

The cats have been enjoying digging in the fresh dirt and I’m glad to not have to empty the litter box as often.


As for the bad part of digging in the dirt, Mr. Cottage had to deal with that on his own.

We had a water leak out by the studio.  A couple hundred dollars and several hours of digging and he got the job done.


the dirt pile just keeps getting bigger



We harvested the first of the spinach that was planted last month – most excellent.



Several tasty salads were enjoyed this week.  Tomorrow I think I will make braised spinach with onions and cranberries.

Hope your weekend was amazing.

See ya later, bye