Few travelers whizzing through the Flint Hills today on I-70 have any idea people actually live in those gently rolling hills that go on forever, but Jemm of the Flint Hills is one of them.
Jemm and her family just moved into the stone house built by her husband's great-great-grandparents on their ranch in 1892. Grass fires are all too common in the Flint Hills, hence the house was built partly to survive them and partly because in 1892, limestone was plentiful and trees were not.
My own great-grandparents settled near the Flint Hills because the area looked like the part of England where both were born.
Somersetshire, home of Chez Sophie.
Sophie's first attempt at making strawberry jam
brought back memories of my mother doing the same
with strawberries from our garden in Kansas.
Doesn't Sophie's jam look simply yummy in the jars she's
been collecting all winter from flea markets and boot sales?
She used the simple recipe from the back of the Jam sugar. (Note: Jam sugar is an extra-fine sugar available in the UK for preserving that contains citric acid and pectin. The American equivalent would be regular sugar and fruit pectin.)
Continuing the berry theme - though not intentionally - Blueberry Heart takes us to Worcestershire and some of the shops in Worcester's High Street. Her favorite was New England Country Store.
Call it my quirky sense of humor, but I find it ironic that a shop only a few miles from the Bard's birthplace sells items from the American Colonies. (On the other hand, a McDonald's at the Tower of London is just plain tacky....)
Worcester, of course, is the home of Worcester Cathedral, founded in 680 - yes, six hundred and eighty - and described as "possibly the most interesting of all England’s cathedrals, especially architecturally".
I won't say it's the most interesting, but definitely worth a visit.
Pixie Dust at Faerie Nuff has a wonderful recipe for that uniquely summer treat, homemade Custard Ice Cream. The good news is it can be made in an ice cream freezer, but doesn't have to be. Your fridge's freezer will work just fine.
My taste buds are in overdrive imagining several creamy scoops of this topped by dollops of Sophie's strawberry jam, or some of those heart-y blueberries!
From England, we pop down to southern Spain's Mediterranean coast to meet one of its most delightful and adorable residents, the Lovely Lola.
With the help of Nora (her mostly useless PA), Lola dishes out divine advice on a variety of subjects at The Johnson Diaries: Life On The Edge. Her photo should tell you that in spite of the address, she adores all things French!
Remind me to send the divine Lola a huge basket of doggie treats for pointing me to Lucy Fishwife's Life Happens Between Books, the musings and tribulations of a London West End bookseller married for 17 years to...surprise...Mr. Fishwife, who doesn't "see the point of fiction" and likes to record and replay televised rugby matches for the same reason book lovers re-read a favorite book. Or maybe only a Brit at heart can fully appreciate Lucy's take on Life...
"Un Couer en Provence", French for "A Heart In Provence".
Exactly where my heart landed on seeing Laeriss's gorgeous site several weeks ago - and then I lost the link! Perhaps that was a blessing, because between then and now she added a wonderful Olfactory Tour of Grignan, a village whose streets are filled with the scent of lavender. Elsewhere, she tells how to make lavender sugar to flavor one's tea.
If Tuscany is more to your liking, she takes us there twice: Holiday in Tuscany #1 and Holiday in Tuscany #2.