Welcome to American Homestead. I'm happy you have found my blog. Make yourself comfy and see what's been happening around here. I write about the things that interest me ~ creativity, travel, food, nature and a happy life. I'd love to read your comments.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Laurel Club

The Laurel Club was a club for women
who worked for Johnson & Johnson in
New Brunswick, NJ.  It started in 1907
and lasted until 1925.  According to the
Laurel Club charter the purpose of the
club was "...to create a center where all
may find opportunities of enjoyment and
education."  They charged a 25 cent monthly
dues which helped support charity work and
among those charities were helping local
orphans and entertaining WWI troops from
a local hospital.  Lunches and dinners were
provided for members and cooking classes
were held twice a week.  They had a basketball
team, a Glee Club and a lending library.
Here is a photo of the basketball team
and in the back row, second from the
right is my namesake, my Grandmother,
Nellie (Ellen) O'Rourke Taylor.  I  remember
my Mum telling us about this club and she
always said the mother of the poet Joyce
Kilmer was involved in running it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Finding History

I should have a bumper sticker that says:
I Brake for History.
Recently we were out in the middle
of nowhere driving along the old
Lincoln Highway somewhere near
Ligonier, Indiana when we spotted
this old tavern.  We pulled in and asked
some people who were building a log cabin
on the property if we could take a peek inside.
They unlocked the door and let
us explore it on our own.
If I had this I'd make pies everyday...
The tavern was built in 1839 when General
Mad Anthony Wayne and his men widened an
old Indian trail northwest of Ft. Wayne to make
wagon travel possible.
The tavern became a place for "quilting bees,
town meetings, post office, stagecoach stop,
jury room, jail, dancehall and rest stop for
the weary traveler or drover."
The Stone's Trace Historical Society was
founded in 1964 to preserve and restore
the historic property and to "give the
past a future".  I'm glad they did!

Monday, August 27, 2012

On Eating Well & Living Well

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well."
                                    ~ Virginia Woolf
Mr. Wonderful and I spent a lovely weekend
in Michigan exploring the country back roads.
On Friday night we went to a Greek Festival
where the food was (of course) delicious.
On Saturday afternoon we were heading through
an Amish town in northern Indiana called
Shipshewanna and decided to stop for lunch.
We went to a place that is said to have great food...
This was my lunch.  The best thing I can say
about it is I'm glad I got the half order.
It was at this lunch that we made a pact,
to NEVER eat bland, boring food again...
This was dinner on Sunday when we got home.
Balsamic chicken with mushrooms, asparagus
and grape tomatoes and freshly picked corn.
It was divine.
You can't just eat good food.  You've got to talk
about it too.  And you've got to talk about it to
somebody who understands that kind of food.
                                ~ Kurt Vonnegut

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Stitch Like an Egyptian

The Tentmakers of Cairo
As soon as I heard the Tentmakers of Cairo
would be at the AQS show in Grand Rapids,
I knew I had to make the trip to see the exhibit.
It was spectacular, if you ever get a chance to
see this wonderful show, don't miss it!
Here are a few photos from the exhibit.
The use of color and intricate designs were
so inspiring, I'll be dreaming of these
great works for a long time.  And I can't
wait to get back to Cairo.

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's Greek To Me

While shopping for ex votos in the antique
markets of Monastiraki in Athens, I met
Achilles.  He started speaking to me in Greek
and I asked him if he spoke English.  He said
he thought I was Greek and when he found out
I was from America he said of course I must be
a Greek-American.  That's when I realized I
could be Greek, the dark hair, the dark eyes...
So sometimes I become Eleni Maria.
I am in Grand Rapids, Michigan today and
I found out there is a Greek Festival.
Oh yeah ~ time for Eleni Maria!
We checked out the food selections.
We had a delicious dinner of spanakopita,
moussaka, Greek salad and those fabulous
Greek green beans.  During dinner I even
met one of my friends from home.
After dinner it was time for dancing!
And to finish off the evening we split a
Baklava Sundae ~ sinful.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What Is It?

While on a hike last night we came across
this hanging in a tree.  I only had an iphone
with me so the picture quality is not great, sorry.
I have never seen anything like it.  It looks to
be the partial wing of an owl, I think.  So, if
there are any serious birders out there, please
let me know if you can identify it and if anyone
has ever seen something like this before.  I'm
thinking this is either from a Barred Owl or
 a Great Horned Owl.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Nature Girl Report

I love nature, I love to be out on the
trail and to see the changes that take
place every day. 
Recently, I met a man on the trail and
seeing my camera he asked if I was
getting some great shots.  Enthusiastically,
I said, "Oh yes, since we finally got rain
the fungus has been fabulous!"  The look
he gave me showed that not everyone may
share my enthusiasm...  I have a friend who
thinks my photos of fungus are disgusting.
Sorry, but I find beauty in the shape, form
and color of nature.  I always think of a
Dale Chihuly sculpture when I see the type
of funghi shown above.  So, here is fair
warning, that this post is about what I see
while out and about in the woods.

I love that the deer never run away from me, I
think they know I'm as much a part of these
woods as they are.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

22 Years

22 years ago today I married Mr. Wonderful
and it has been, well... wonderful!

Te amo, Roberto.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Country Livin'

This city girl traded in her high heels decades
ago for a simpler, quieter life.  I thought I'd
share some photos I took today while driving
in the countryside near my American Homestead.
It is a part of the country many people who live
in the USA will never see, because they think
there is nothing out here.  But for me it stirs my
soul to see the beauty of the open country and
old barns, the animals and so much sky...

All of these pictures were taken from my car
on the country roads of Madison County and
Grant County, Indiana.
I hope you like them.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Talent For Life!

Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Yesterday would have been Julia Child's
100th birthday, so of course we had to
celebrate!  When I was a little girl, we
always watched the public television
 station Channel 13 in New York and Julia
came right into our living room.  I can
remember her so vividly, I had never heard
a voice like that before.  I grew up with her and
when I started cooking I often referred to her
books for guidance (still do).

I have always said one of the most interesting
biographies I have ever read was Julia's.
What a life!

I have visited her kitchen at the Smithsonian.

I've read lots of books about her.
Yesterday I got the new bio, Dearie.

And last night I made a layered ratatouille
over couscous with a coin of goat cheese.
It is not her recipe but it is French...

I also made a few "petites" for lunch
today, perhaps I'll enjoy one while
reading a chapter of Dearie.

I've always loved this photo of Julia
and Paul, I hope that Wonderful and I
will end up just like this someday,
working together at a long table, side by side.

Bon Appetit!