Welcome & Valentine's Heart Cookies

Welcome & Valentine's Heart Cookies


Welcome to the very first blog post for A Foraged Nest Blog. I am delighted that you are here and are choosing to join me on this exciting journey.


 The idea for this blog began as a small seed many years ago. It began as a niggling in my mind after my grandmothers' passing almost five years ago. The thoughts came as "How do I continue to carry on her legacy in my life?" This was the most important thing I knew I wanted to do to honor all that she had given to me. In addition to that, I knew I needed to surround myself with her food. Her home, her cooking and her life were some of the most prominent constants throughout my life. As a result, her gifts and her love will be woven into the fabric of this blog.


 Food and everything about it will be a large ingredient here. (see what I did there?...unfortunately that's my sense of humor.) The two most important women in my life were dedicated to making real food. Food that nourished and provided real sustenance. My mother made all of her meals from scratch and abhorred boxed or frozen food. As a result of these women and a life of receiving homemade food, I learned that this makes for a rich life and they knew this before I did. To be a child in the middle of this, was a very good life.



Gardening is also very much my passion. As a child, my grandparents had a very large garden where they grew much of the food that they canned. In it they grew tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers (for pickles), leeks and garlic. My grandparents would call me on a Thursday night in Spring and say "We are putting in the garden Saturday!" This meant come spend the night Friday night and Saturday we will plant it together. This was always a very important day for me. My grandfather loved teaching others as well as me in the garden. My favorite memories of he and I are of me barefoot in the garden, mud squishing between my toes. My grandfather would talk about how deep to plant the green beans. How to make the hole for the tomatoes and pour in water before the plants. I would bend down and bring the soil back to the plant gently securing it in it's new home. How valued I felt. How special it was to have a grown up take so much time with me. Now as an adult I think about how it could have been so different. Would I have that much patience or take the time? These are the legacies I will explore here.




Nature and the natural world is my window into heaven. As a small child, I would climb large maple trees and sit inside their arms with their branches all around me wondering, "How do I get higher?" Only once did my father have to come rescue me! As an adult, I re-entered this world at a time when our homeschool hiking club gathered to explore the woods and prairies of Wisconsin. These hikes came at a time of much needed healing. Healing that I thought I knew we needed, but by no means knew how much would give back to us. We walked through the four seasons in snow, heat, sun, rain and ice. A mere small feat for us native Wisconsinites. Our children ran, walked, climbed, explored, and waded into the waters. Our lives became more whole than we ever knew they could be inside those walks, as we entered into the solitude of God's created world. This was the time my camera became a tool in my restoration. Every time I looked upon something of wonder, my heart beat just a bit faster. When I looked through the lens, a little more. When I sat editing, enlarging and in awe of the details---even more. This is how I became a full time artist as a photographer and began a journey I never saw coming.



Small, slow, simple living is something that many people have been talking about for a long time. In a world of technology, it seems many of us are growing weary. For me this doesn't always mean less or uncomplicated. Anyone who's ever cooked a homemade meal or grown a garden knows this. These things are work. Sometimes long and complicated. But it is simple in ways so many other things are not. I will be exploring the thought "If I can make it, why buy it?" That doesn't mean I will always be making things. It does mean that I will spend thoughtful time exploring the possibility and trying it.




Local, small business has also become a common thread for us Americans. Some of us are wondering how to sustain the origins of the things we spend our hard earned money on, and how to value what we exchange our dollar for. I will be talking about beautiful hand made goods and quality goods from companies that have stood the test of time. I will also be showing you many of my favorite hand made items in my home that have added a level of joy and beauty to my life. I will be visiting local small businesses to highlight what it means to shop and have a small business in America. At the same time, I will be talking about the complicated relationship I and others may have when we need/want things that can only be ordered from large, big business. What are the pros, cons? How to live with it and why.



My special treat for you today just in time for Valentine's Day is the recipe for Valentine's cut out cookies from my grandmother. These are wonderful fresh, but may I say that they are even better frozen out of the freezer??


Valentine sugar cookie cut outs

1/2 cup butter softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon water

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350'

Cream together butter, sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla and milk. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Roll thin and cut out. Bake 8 minutes. Grandma liked her cookies thin and crisp!




Things to come: Winter garden planning, my grandmother's famous Granny cake, a few of my favorite things.



 All images are copyright@MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC

 What I recommend to read this month: Anatomy a love story by Dana Schwartz

In honor of Valentine's Day I am recommending this book that I just fell in love with. I don't want to give too much away but it is beautifully imagined in a historical era when women had to fiercely fight to learn and gain knowledge in equality with men. The fantasy aspect of this book was intriguing . As a plant lover, I enjoyed references to plants and their medicinal qualities. It was a book I wanted to be much longer. Thankfully there is a sequel. Perhaps a third is on it's way.


I would be honored if you chose to take this journey with me through life while I take us wandering into woodlands, garden, prairies and kitchens.



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