Friday, October 30, 2009

home before dark

this is the first weekend all month we haven't had a wedding or two to do at the flower shop. (though why no one wants to get married on halloween is beyond me. we could have done fantastic flowers.) as soon as i arrived home i saw fantastic flowers in the yard: roses still blooming, berries glowing, and buds setting on the gardenia. there were fat bees buzzing round the caryopteris and beautiful leaves tinged red on a hydrangea. the time changes this saturday, i'll miss the light.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

comfort and joy

it's been a week of comfort food here in the small but charming house. german girl is having a bear of a week at school, the normal 12 hour days (counting commute time) and then hours studying or writing a paper. so, i do what i like to do best, walk the dog and cook some life enhancing meals. she gets home so late, and hungry, there's no time for pictures. well, i did get one of a beef stew with mashed potatoes, but everything else can only be seen in the smiles on our faces and the inch on our waists. rereading "more home cooking" by laurie colwin, one of my favorite food writers and she says "you want comfort; you want security; you want food; you want not to be hungry; and not only do you want those basic things fixed, you want it done in a really nice, gentle way that makes you feel loved." amen to that!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

happy birthday to you.

marie, sending you flowers on your birthday. thanks for being such an inspiration and helping me to realize every moment of your day can be beautiful, delicious or meaningful.

Monday, October 26, 2009

pink with envy

our neighbor nelda has quite an impressive collection of salvias in her garden. this summer i ooohed over the size and name of " red neck girl", yesterday i fell head over heels for a mexican sage "el butano". it's big and bright and very pink and full strength blooming in late october. plant delights nursery here i come. in the interest of full disclosure ( i do live by the pentagon) i'm also desirious of her mt.airy fothergilla. sweet flowers in spring, lovely leaf shape all summer and fall colors, wow. we share a backyard with a swath of grass ( or some green weeds that have to be mowed) ,we both have berms planted with tall evergreens shielding us from the alley but there the similarities end. her plant selections are colorful and adventurous and always exciting to behold. and she still has some tomatoes growing. sheesh.

something for everyone

once again, we all spent sunday outside. the lawn was mowed for the last time in 2009. weeds pulled, and pulled and pulled, perennials moved, and even a bit of raking. on saturday morning i got a picture of our trident maple in full golden color. sunday morning was another picture, leaves gone, gone , gone. why, hello neighbors. our japanese pussy willow, grown from a rooted branch, is full of fat catkins. our own fat cat lounged in the sun and the ever alert lab saw a SQUIRREL

Saturday, October 24, 2009


today was a doozy. weather, weddings and occasional bursts of laughter and nerves. ah, saturday in a flower shop. despite too many lattes, too late a lunch, and one big slip and fall (due to an errant ornamental kale stem on floor), all ended well. no tears, beautiful bouquets and centerpieces, and a tired but happy staff went home.

Friday, October 23, 2009

scenes from the garden

of many

still doing yard work, grabbed a couple of hours with german girl last night. but the sun sets so early, we were gathering tools in the dark. has anyone seen my favorite clippers? before i head to the bath and dinner, i want to look at a few moments in the late october garden. a self seeded castor bean plant, i weed out 1000 a summer and let one grow. next year i will have 1001. one of 3 ginormous mushrooms clumps from last weeks eternal rain. and the euonymus plant, turning redder as the temperature drops. against advice, i yanked out a boxwood to plant this, and i have never regretted that leaves, red berries. heaven on a notched stem.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

cream of the crop

actually, the last of the crop. now that the weather is sunny and warm again, i'm stealing every moment i can to put the garden to bed for the winter. today i was working in the vegetable beds and cutting down some perennials. my labors were rewarded, as always in a garden. i got a handful of peppers, 3 more gourds and an armful of flowers to make bouquets. the tall vase has cosmos,fall blooming anemones, callicarpa berries, purple hyacinth beans, blushing limelight hydrangea, baptisia foilage and verbena. the shorter vase smells delicious. it has bronze fennel fronds, au tumn joy sedum, baptisia pods, nandina berries and one coral geranium blossom. rewarding and appetite inducing. pork and peppers for dinner?

Monday, October 19, 2009

magic hat stew

hanging out in the kitchen this afternoon with our friend kate who has recently returned from istanbul. i was browning cubes of beef tossed with salt, pepper and flour, chopping onions and carrots in big chunks, mincing garlic, sauteing vegetables in same old cast iron pan. i was strangely reluctant to open up a can of italian plum tomatoes and crush them, maybe because i had just washed the floor. then i thought , belgium and beer and stew! not having any belgian ale in the house, i deglazed the pan with a magic hat#9 (their "not so pale ale"), put in the meat, added some beef broth, bay leaves, thyme from the garden, a touch of crushed red peppers ('cause they're my signature) brought it to boil and let it simmer for the next 2 hours or so. this would be perfect with an arugula salad with a simple oil and lemon dressing and some pasta or rice. i made corn bread, then german girl got home and requested pasta. carbo loading for no good reason. better take extra long walk with dog.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

rainy days and sundays

it's sunday morning and it's quiet, the rain has stopped. only the cat and i are up. she's outside surveying the jungle. 3 full days of rain will grow that for you. it's cold and windy out there, but it's warm inside so my latte is still iced. work was busy these last few days and i've been spending a lot of time revamping our flower shop blog. here are a few shots of one of yesterday's weddings. the bridesmaids bouquets were to be wildflowery, in creams and rusts, the centerpieces were to feature the bride's colors of purples, blues and rusts. and the orange roses? i just couldn't resist 'em!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

alice waters: arlington needs you!

so there i was at the 7-11 about noon today trying to buy the new york times (gotta have the food section) when i realized i was surrounded by teens from one of our local high schools buying lunch. well, not really lunch, they all had a can of red bull, some were going to drink it with doughnuts, others were feasting on 7-11 chicken wings, others had some deep fried roll things filled with i don't know what. i was properly horrified, yada, yada, yada. and marched out with my times prepping a blog post in my mind. so i arrive home tonight about 6:00pm, get taken for a very brisk walk by the lab and mull over my own dinner. i had leftover chicken from a roast i had made last night. i thought about a delicious, nutritious soup filled with homemade chicken stock and lots of vegetables. got over that and decided to make chicken enchilidas. i shredded up the chicken, mixed it with a can of chopped hatch chilies, half an shredded onion, and lots of cheddar and pepper jack cheese. i spiced it up with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and a jalapeno from the garden. the HomesickTexan blog taught me that enchilida sauce is otherwise known as "texas gravy" and very easy to make. i softened the tortillas in the micro for a minute, poured some texas gravy in the bottom of a baking dish, had enough filling for 5, rolled them up, placed seam side in dish, covered with more "gravy" sprinkled with the mixture of cheeses, the remaining chilies, set up the rice steamer, popped the enchilidias in a 350 over for 20minutes while the rice cooked, took picture, took a big bite. double yum! doesn't look too fancy in the picture but tastes mighty fine. somehow i blame this meal on my exposure to the teens today. i did not drink,nor have i ever, a red bull. also, don't forget to season EVERYTHING with the picante sauce of choice at the flower shop," el yucateco chile habanero salsa." caliente.

Monday, October 12, 2009

sunday, sweet sunday

just back from a fast trot (not my speed of choice) down and up the hill with the lab. i'm enjoying the view of the capitol, the washington monument, planes coming and going from regan national airport. it's quiet, only the 2 of us out. remembering sunday, and the equality march. tens of thousands of people in the street, chanting, singing, trying to stay ahead of the BIG yellow banner, we were sure would wrap me up and take me away. it was sunny, we all had an iced grande skim latte. when we reached the capitol, we settled ourselves on the railings surrounding grant's memorial. and we looked out at the thousands and thousands of people, of every gender and color, race and religion, who had come to demand equality for all. behind us, the streets were filled ,for blocks and blocks, with more people coming, holding banners, and balloon arches and chanting. i was humbled and awed and giddy and hungry. and hopeful, always hopeful.

isn't it ironic?

so ironic, don't you think? last sunday, i was horrified by an article i read in the ny times about the e coil virus that may be present in commercially ground beef. so horrified, i rushed out and bought a grinder. it was 35.00 at sur le table. it's cast iron, clamps onto a table and comes with a sausage funnel ( much potential fun this winter), and looks exactly like the grinder my mother used. sentimental and practical. perfect. then, on saturday night we go out to dinner with our friend larry to restaurant nora. nora is 95% organic, everything that can be is made on premises, breads, ice creams, desserts, carbonated water, you name it, nora does it. so what do german girl and i split as a starter? steak tartar, of course. it was delicious, studded with the tastiest little capers, served with nora's bread sticks, local arugula, thin slices of parmesan and fennel. the braised amish pork, on the other hand was a wee bit chewy. but, oh that raw beef. so. we're alive and happily sated, and looking forward to puting our own noses to the grindstone.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

friends: coming and going

missing friends and neighbors in the 'hood tonight. one left for china today. i got home in time to say goodbye to another off to kabul. we have a friend in south carolina prepping for a year of defense contracting in iraq and another in costa rica on vaca. BUT, and this is a big one, the boys from new york are on their way! for this sunday is the equality march in dc, and people are pouring in from all over the country. our friend , larry, of Fischbach Gallery in ny, last seen lounging poolside at his fabulous house in fire island , along with that ubiquitous lab, will be here wining and dining us at restaurant nora, dc's only recognized organic restaurant. then on sunday, we'll march with him, his boys and local friends. hopefully, i'll get a few good pics both of the food and the march. hopefully, we'll make a difference.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

i'm just a walking the dog

when you have a dog your time is no longer your own, at least if you live in a city. here, the alarm is set for 6:25 am, one of us gets up and makes espresso, that one is not the dog. i turn mine into an iced latte, we (the humans) both throw on a motley assortment of clothes. i grab my coffee, she grabs the dog. we're off! the lab sniffs, and points (sometimes nele points too), runs to keep up with groups of jogging soldiers ( we live by a marine base) ,and stops short to hunt for MICE or maybe tears off after a RABBIT, sometimes there are SQ'S (squirrels to the uninitiated). we say good morning to people hurrying off to work, watch the sun come up and occasionally i snap a pic. this happens again as soon as i get home from work and again after dinner. no wonder i ordered thai food tonight. here are a few pictures of what we see when we are walking. now i've got to run; time to walk the dog.
p.s. the cat, who sleeps in the laundry basket in the closet, asks me to tell you she finds all this fuss about the dog really annoying

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

more moments from eden

did i forget to mention the magnolia grove, the fruit trees, the dahlia bed? the steamed edamame from the garden, the tomato and mozzarella salad with the greek basil? the pot roast with a 1/2 jar of horseradish in the sauce? how about the strawberry rhubarb pie? the vases of freshly cut flowers all over the house? i haven't forgotten. nor has my heart or my stomach.

Monday, October 5, 2009

down on the farm

i should be in my usual monday morning cleaning frenzy, but i'm sipping iced latte and looking at pictures from yesterdays' visit to our friend's farm in maryland. sad i'm such a sorry photographer, i would love to be able to capture the scope of all 5 acres of beauty: the orchard, the nuttery, the long beds, the vegetable beds, the pond full of open water lilies and the peacocks perched on every railing, the roof and wandering in and out of flower beds. the woods are full of blooming cyclamen ,the viburnum rich in orange and red berries and iris are reblooming everywhere. since i can't capture all this on my little sony camera, i'll content myself with eating a soft boiled egg from their chickens, eating a piece of toast spread with honey from their hives and posting a few shots of our garden walk. more later.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

the crop is in!

i am trying to make salmon cakes for dinner, still eating from the pantry and garden this week. went out to pick a pepper and realized the gourds wanted to come in! so i picked as many as were on our side of the fence, rushed in, arranged in bowl and took pic. i'm so proud of our crop! lab wants to go for walk, gotta run.

october- inside and out

in the home ,in the shop, in the garden, both the richness of autumn color and the decaying grandeur of october is so appealing to me. while the shop is filled with the reddest of rosehips, the brightest of berries and the newest of roses, the garden is full of fading glamour. in the house, a small vase with a new (to us) rose, "latina". in the shop. a beautiful fall arrangement created by betty, one of my co-designers. in the garden, october disarray. nice not to feel i have to keep it looking perfect anymore, nature is having her own way and doing it beautifully.