Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday Funday?

I did so hope we could do FITH tomorrow.

But then I remembered it's Labor Day weekend and many people are places other than their house and garden.

I'm off as usual Sunday and Monday but not only do I have a house full of disobedient cats, I'm dog sitting the lovely Lab this weekend.

Lucy loves her, Gus always has to show her who's boss and the little roommate was afraid of her but after some private time together on Saturday he too is a fan. Even though she are a box of his date bars.

Just let that though sink in for a moment, date bars eaten by a dog. Rice has been added to meals, walks are frequent and highly profitable.

She has a cast iron stomach. And I now realize telling someone whose first language isn't English to put all edibles up on the top shelf in his room isn't enough of an explanation. "What is edibles" should have been my first clue.

But we survived.

Now hoping to survive this weekend. After a suspiciously beautiful summer, the Virginia heat and humidity has arrived.  It was all I could do to water the plants at 7:00am, eye the weeds and apologize to the few plants drying up in their pots I had promised a forever home this weekend.

Ain't gonna happen.

I even have all the air conditioners turned on and I'm of the belief that if you keep windows open, clothing to a minimum and stay hydrated, you can live without ac till bed time.

Not today folks. I have my Sunday Times, cold sparkling water, myers lemons, turkey bacon and ripe ripe tomatoes.

I foresee an afternoon of BLT's, reading, napping, and very short dog walks.

Not a day fit for humans or animals to be outside.

Except for Gus, who's been MIA for the last two hours.

He's either burrowed under the box woods or lurking in the creepy basement. Either way he's dirty and happy with a piece of duct tape stuck to his  abdomen.

Oh don't even ask. It's Gus.

Wish I was Here.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Prairie Home Companions

Really? Do I only post on Mondays now?

I've been busy digging holes.

Adding grasses, echinacea, butterfly milkweed and sages, subtracting Queen Annes lace that over took the baby love rose and almost killed it. 

Taking out dead hypericums and hydrangeas that didn't survive that last winter.

Turning my garden into a prairie.

Next I'll be making my own dresses out of calico.

But I'm so happy with the new look of the back berm, I'm moving slowly from bed to bed. Dividing iris, giving away  some of the invasive but beloved pale pink lily of the valley to my new garden conscious neighbor, changing it up.

Hopefully plantings that will require less water in the future.

Though I just did the math and thought, am I actually going to be digging up these grasses in three years and dividing them?

Highly doubtful but we can dream.

Dream someone else will do it.

The amazing part of all this is that I can do the digging.

I just "graduated" from shoulder surgery today.  6 months out. Passed all my tests, paid my 20.00 co pay and left the office with tears in my eyes. It's over.

I asked the Doctor if I could salsa dance now.

"Could you salsa before you tore your rotator cuff" he asked.

"Yes I could", I said.

" Then dance away", he said.

Maybe I'll go clogging instead, seems to fit my new prairie lifestyle better....

Special thanks to my friend Gwen who shot me a text to tell me I had misspelled prairie in the blog title.


Monday, August 18, 2014

The Great Escape

When I advertise for a roommate, I mention several things. One, of course, is how small but charming the house you know where my blog title comes from.

Another is you must love cats.

And I can't stress that strongly enough. When people write me back extolling their virtues or stating their needs, I often write them back and ask but do you like cats?

I got the nicest email from my current roommate, he said he was quiet, clean and respectful ( and who doesn't like to hear that) and then he said, but most importantly I love cats.

I immediately set up a time to meet him.

And he turns out to be all of the above. And then some.

He has more picture of Gus and Lucy on his phone than I do. He takes selfies with them. He waits up for Gus to come home and lets Lucy in and out, in and out.

And he leaves his room open so they can wander in and take a little cat nap if desired. On his clothes naturally.

He moved in about a week before the window problem was solved.

While I was on vacation, the two little rascals, as their last sitter calls them, decided they needed to be in control of their own destiny.

So they ripped holes in the vinyl wall panels on the side of the window air conditioners and proceeded to go in and out the window whenever the hell they felt like it.

The first morning my friend Rina was outside watering she saw Gus walk by with a mouthfull of something....what the what she thought.

She ran in the house to find Lucy peacefully lying on a bed of sunshine so went back to the garden.

Only to find Lucy sitting on the fence behind her.

I knew what happened when I got her text. It happened before when I was on the Cape and Elle was in charge.

We replaced the old panels before I left for Fire Island and I thought the fort was secure.

I was wrong. Again.

This time I called in the neighborhood troops and after a trip or two to Home Depot, my neighbor Carlos made sets of very thin cedar panels that cover the vinyl and so far have kept the little darlings in.

At least until they figure how to use a screwdriver.

Hell hath no fury...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Armchair Traveler

I've had a new housemate for a week now.

I think he's only here for the month of August, we shall see.

He's a 26 year old Syrian doctor, who's been in the States for 2 years doing rotations at different hospitals around the country and will be applying for resident positions in September.

He has a younger brother so was forced to leave Syria before conscription into the Army.

If you're the only son, they don't take you. If there are two or more, they make you.

He didn't want to fight against his fellow countrymen.

I've been getting quite an education.

When we're not talking politics, we're talking food.

He tells me about a favorite dish, then we're both on our computers googling away in English and Arabic, translating pomegranate or eggplant.

I make him fattoush, he brings me chicken kabobs from his favorite carryout.

Catholic, Muslim whatever, a love of food has brought us together.

Today I made a batch of turnip and beet pickles, he just keeps admiring the color.

 The color of his childhood, in vinegar. Give them a week, I'll let you know how they taste.

One of my neighbors gave me his CSA box so I threw the white eggplants on the grill then whipped up a baba ghanoush, I roasted peppers and covered then in olive oil and garlic. I can't seem to stop cooking.

  My boss told me the Universe takes good care of me.

She's right. I try to be grateful. For such a reluctant traveler, I get a lifetimes worth of education just sitting around the table in the garden, eating, listening and learning.

The world is ours. It's often full of unexplainable horrors but if you look long enough you can see the beauty.

Thank you Universe. I'll try and keep my eyes open.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Fantasy Island

Sorry I've been gone so long. It's just so hard to be inside on a summer night. My patio umbrella is strung with lights, so even when it gets dark out I can continue reading, or talking with friends or even just be there, sipping icy cold mineral water and feeling like I own the world.

Summer will do that to you.

Vacation was so much fun. If you've never had the pleasure of being the only woman in a beach house with four gay guys, I suggest you rethink your holidays.

These pictures are of a friends house in another community on Fire Island called Water Island.

It's a 45 minute walk at low tide over hard packed sand, an annual pilgrimage to check on the incredible garden and house that these two friends have been working on for 20 years.

Considering every stone and bag of dirt, plant and pillow have to be brought over by barge it is a true labor of love and obsession.

                                                      Not to mention the ironstone, or the two blenders now that I've enlarged the picture.....

Or the pottery.
I can't even bear to show you the Fu dog collection.
Back in our beach shack there were guests for lunch and guests for dinner.

Lunch is at 2:00, dinner 9ish.

Larry brought printouts of his favorite summer recipes, I prepped them, we all cooked.
(Better to be the cook, then you don't have to do the dishes.)

Everyone but me drank bottles and bottles of rose and ate carton after carton of sea salt caramel or pistachio ice cream.

I read like I was starving for words and slept like I'd been up for months.

And then I came home.

Vowing once again to bring that feeling of vacation home with me.


And get a little more festive in my dress.

xo J

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Vamos A La Playa

And I'm off again, tomorrow morning.

This time to Fire Island Pines. I take a train, then we take another train, then we take a jitney to the dock, then we take a boat, then we fill up a little red wagon with our belongings and pull it along the boardwalk to the house.

Then we breathe. No cars, only walking, or jogging or swimming.

One of my most favorite places on earth.

I'm bringing my camera (thank you Susan for the speedy return) my IPad and that pesky poison ivy.

I haven't been able to shave my legs or use a moisturizer since this was identified.

Not my usual beach look.

And I'm going to stay with my most style conscious friend.

Ah vanity.

But I'll be back next week, hopefully with pictures of paradise, though you can be sure I'll be photo bombing IG.

Well if there's wifi.

It is an island.

And the deer run free. I'm sure lymes disease is readily available this summer.

No thanks, the PI was enough of a souvenir.

I'll leave you with a few pictures of my favorite nursery in Falmouth,Ma, Brick Kilm Farm.Wish we were there.


Monday, July 21, 2014

And The Beat Goes On.....

I just said av revoir to Elle and her family.

Sadness lingers.

She was a constant bubbly joy.

I loved her, my neighbors loved her, my friends loved her.

She will be greatly missed.

We had a farewell dinner last night.


I made a heirloom tomato salad with watermelon, Bulgarian feta, fresh mint, salt, pepper, splashes of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and garden mint.

We grilled sausages and served them with my so called French potato salad.

Then my neighbor Nelda knocked it out of the park with a peach, blueberry and raspberry cobbler with whipped cream.

Some say it with flowers, we say it with food.

The French are off on a three week adventure, getting their kicks on Rt.66, from Chicago to Santa Monica.

Then they drive to San Francisco, overeat, and fly home.

As I write this there is a moving van parked in front, moving the neighbors across the street, who had rented for a year.

I will miss their energy, soccer balls everywhere, the little boy who kept a diary, the young wild dog Rocky who would chase Lucy around the yard while she scrambled over fences and ran up trees.

So again, changes.

I try and embrace them these days.

My life has been enriched by all the different people who have filtered in and out of it.

Thanks to Elle, I could get these pictures off my new phone and put them on the blog.

I can light a grill, make a pastry crust and tie a scarf , but I still don't speak a word of French.

And to her grave disappointment, I still don't have enough "products".

The shower is empty without all her scrubs and rubs.

And our house is empty without her.

But our hearts are bigger for having known her.

Bisous Elle.