Friday, May 27, 2011

Birds, Bees, Blooms & Bread


Hello, my friends!

Anyone else having loads of trouble with Blogger???  I haven’t been able to sign in or leave comments for 3 days—so frustrating!  Oh, well…I’m sure they’ll fix it…again.

On to nicer things!


So much lovely springtime living going on around our house right now…

We have three little swallows nests on our house…here’s a shot of one of them, attached to a lower roofline…no birds in it at the moment…


…and another, higher up by our roof—but FILLED with life!  The photo isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be…had to really zoom my lens!


Isn’t nature wonderful?

In one of my posts from last week, I shared with you about the bees in my courtyard…here was one of the photos…


…I mentioned that I was wishing they were swarming when I took pictures so you’d get a better idea of what size of a hive we were dealing with, and just the next day…






Can you believe this?!

We’ll be getting them lured out soon, and taken to some very happy beekeepers homes, but it entails knocking down the inside of our courtyard wall—carefully—to get them all out…which is why we hesitate…it’s going to be a BIG job!

One of the reasons they love our yard so much, we were told, is that it’s filled with roses, lavender, rosemary…lots of old-fashioned, pollen-rich flowers…


…here are a few of my favorite blooms from this morning…


My beautiful, David Austen roses…I just love the way the sun highlights them in the early morning…



And bush after bush of sweet English lavender…buds just waiting to burst…


…so looking forward to their delicious scent filling my house soon…making sachets & lavender wands with my girls….heavenly!

In the same post last week, I mentioned the delicious bread I make each week, and many of you requested the recipe, so here we go:


There’s a company near where my Mom lives called “Pantry Secrets” that came up with this recipe…it’s just pretty amazing…and SO simple, you won’t believe it!

There is one specialty ingredient that you don’t normally use in cooking—at least I don’t!  I’m told you can get it in grocery stores in some areas, but you can’t in mine, so I order it from the Pantry Secrets company—Liquid Soy Lecithin.

Upon looking online, I found there are many places you can order it online.

From your first idea of “Hmmm, some fresh bread would be pretty wonderful right about now…” to it cooling on your countertop is just about 1 hour total!

This recipe makes 4 loaves of bread—very easy to cut it in half—works just fine!



10 1/2 cups white flour (the recipe calls for bread flour, but I just use all-purpose flour, and it’s great!)

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. salt

3 rounded Tbsp. instant yeast

3 quarter-sized circles liquid lecithin

4 cups HOT tap water

Mix dry ingredients.  Add lecithin and water.  Mix (I use my Kitchenaid) for 1 minute and check consistency.  If dough is too dry, add more water.  Dough should be very sticky.  Mix for 5 minutes. (Do not add flour to the dough after the 5 minutes of mixing.)


Butter bread pans.  Form loaves and put in each pan.  Cover with dish towel.  Let raise for 25 minutes.


Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Easy peasy!  You don’t have to be very specific with the amounts, either, I’ve found.  SO delicious, too!



Well, that’s all I have for you today!  Here’s hoping our Blogger woes will be over soon! 

See you soon with something new…



  1. Beautiful and inspiring garden! Xoxoxo

  2. Wonderful roses! I have never used soy lecithin before that is very interesting.

  3. I'm wondering did anyone catch the swarm? This is a second Queen Bee hatching and taking a good deal of the workers with her off to a new location. That was you could get rid of a lot of them but the old Queen Bee is still with the original hive.
    You lucky girls you to have this beautiful garden with so many plants I can't grow here, too cool.

  4. MMMmmmmmm, I can almost smell that fresh bread! Your bees have a honey-making paradise in your yard - what gorgeous flowers. Do you ever dip that delicious bread in some olive oil and your fresh rosemary? Heaven! Have a wonderful evening, and I hope blogger behaves for you soon. (Apparently the only people who aren't having trouble are those who use the Firefox browser... everything else is befuddled!)

  5. First off, blogger has been giving me problems too. I think I am logged in and then when I go to comment I am anonymous.
    Your pictures look heavenly, and as far as the bees - at least we know that there still are some living and working :)
    Bread looks delic!!

  6. I have not had any trouble with commenting at all, hope you don't anymore. I love your flowers, they are so beautiful. I am amazed that you don't mind the swallow mud nests..we had them on a house once and it was such a mess and they never would wash off. The bread looks so good! :D

  7. Hi Julie,
    I figure they're either wanting those beautiful roses--or they smell that delicious bread! Oh my gosh--what a fantastic post!! Now I'm hungry! lol

  8. Julie, I KNOW how frustrating it is to have "blogger problems" (I hate rude behavior in blogs!;) ) Thank you thank you for giving us your treasured bread recipe. I am so trying it soon! Hope you're able to get some of that golden honey all those busy bees are making! I heard it from an ol'bee keeper once that the best "medicine" for you is the home grown-local honey! I has all of the goodness to keep you healthy b/c it's made from your own climate. Beautiful rose garden too! WOW!
    Wishing you well with your blog "mechanics". Seems like all of us are having a bit of problems with our blogs in one fashion or another! And it doesn't seem to matter if you live on the West or East cost either! Must be all this crazy weather our nation is having lately! Have a great Friday!

  9. Another new look on your page Julie! How pretty! And colourful too! Loved all that you shared with us today, the swallows, the blooms,the bees, and the bread recipe!! All pretty and all amazing aren't they! I hope it's not too much trouble for you to get rid of the bees. Blogger has been a real pain lately, so I, too, am hoping it sorts itself out soon! I send you lots of love from cold, windy and wet England!! Spring has disappeared over here for the time being! XXOO

  10. Oh, Julie,
    Nothing like homemade white bread! I am now hungry. So good to see your smiling face.

  11. I feel all warm and cozy now!! I love your beautiful flowers and that delicious looking bread! Have a great weekend!

  12. Wow! I can smell roses and bread all at the same time. Just wish it was in my home. Your pictures are wonderful.
    Watch out for those bees. They're not always very friendly.
    I can post and comment but I can't "follow" anyone new... nor can I see my followers. What's the deal?
    Have a wonderful, long weekend,
    Ladybug Creek

  13. What a great and interesting post! Love your flowers. I can't wait until they start blooming around here. Shouldn't be long!

    The bread looks yummy!

    Hope the bees find a new home soon!


  14. Hi Julie.... I love your Nature post!... those little swallows are just precious peeking out of their nest!... and your garden is just gorgeous. I love homemade bread and your recipe sounds easy, thanks!... hope you have a beautiful weekend to start off the Summer... xoxo Julie Marie

  15. I can very well understand that you would like to get rid of the bees even though they are not agressive, Julie. It's a bit scary wheny you see such a huge swarm. Your roses are wonderful. I love the old English ones a lot too.
    Thank you for sharing the recipe! The bread looks very mouth watering and I'm getting hungry over here :-).
    Have a lovely weekend!
    Hugs to you,

  16. Wow Julie! Your roses are magnificent. And that lavender. How wonderful! The bees are amazing. Good luck with moving them to their new home. How ever do those swallows build a nest like taht? I find it so intriguing how each bird has its own way of nest building. So fascinating! Yes, blogger has had some real issues lately. My followers gadget is back and I can comment now without a problem, but things are loading so slow and sometime sI have to keep refreshing over and over before I can see an entire post. :/ Oh well! Have a great weekend. Best wishes, Tammy

  17. Hi Julie, DORTHE HERE---I have the blogger sign in problem too, but after reading dear Debras blog- where she tells than instead of choosing Google account, when posting, you can choose anonymous -I have no more problems commenting-then only tell at last your blog adress...
    Hope it helps you, dear-- we are many...
    Your roses are fantastic- and the bees also, but ,but,but--- I prefer living without them :)

  18. Yes, the new and improved
    Blogger is a real bugger!
    Nothing but probs for me,
    too....BUT, your sweet flowers
    and unbelievably yummy looking
    bread have totally put me into
    a better mood, so thank you
    sweet friend! And good grief,
    I hope your bee situation is
    rectified SOON ~ yowzer!!
    Have a wonderful long weekend!
    xx Suzanne

  19. Oh Julie, I know, I had trouble leaving comments too! I had you on my list to post for PARIS today, but I understand if you were not able...come by anyway and join theh fun! Anita

  20. What a lovely spring in your garden! Those roses are STUNNING,so beautiful and I can just smell the lavendar. Enjoy!