Monday, November 29, 2010

Viva La Revolution....The Lab Speaks

Got a minute?  I've got plenty.  There's too much work going on both in and out of the house.  Forget about  last week.

Jane was gone for hours, arriving home all dirty and "tired".  She was finally home on Thursday and spent pretty much the whole day in the kitchen cooking and though Thanksgiving is my favorite meal ( except for breakfast) I wasn't feeling so well.  I had tried to feed myself dinner the night before ( they were both "working" late) and I had gotten just a little bit of a plastic bag mixed in with my food.  Plastic bags don't belong in the trash, they get recycled. Tsk, tsk.  So I was barely up to begging.  Waste of a holiday.  Then they were gone all day Friday, 10 hours, I was in the dark when they finally returned. 

Saturday I went to work with them. Humph, didn't seem that busy to me.  Then Sunday there was more painting in that little hallway.  Making me crazy that hallway.  Barely enough room to swing a cat in there.  Jajaja.   Finish the job already.  They took all the hardware off the doors for the painting and 2 people got locked in the bathroom on Thanksgiving, bet Jane didn't tell you that!

Today Jane went to work again, I  thought Monday was "our" day.  So the hell with her. She's barely writing any posts anyway, just posting some big pictures.

This is a revolution, I've got the chair, the reading glasses and the password.  Wait till Jane sees all the new followers I'm gonna attract!

OMG she's home, I'm so excited. Gotta get my rope, no my ball , no my bone , she's home!!!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Reasons To Get Out Of Bed On A Sunday Morning

Gigi at The Magpie's Fancy asked what was inspiring us today.

I was so inspired by the question ( and possibly by the fact that I was on my second latte) I decided to answer it here.
It was only 9:25am, so I thought I should let the day unfold.

8 hours later, here are my inspirations.

A day off, truly my first since last Sunday.  Thanksgiving doesn't count as a day of rest.

A small brown bag of paper white bulbs.

The faintest hint of Christmas via a few tall vases of long needle pine branches.

Finally having the time to sit down and peruse other's blogs.

The past hour I spent uncluttering the book shelves.

The realization that today my time is my own.

A chilly but sunny day that allowed me to take pictures of what is still or is freshly blooming in the garden.  Green nicotiana anybody?

The house smelling of turkey soup.  Icebox rolls rising in the warm kitchen almost ready for the oven.  A whiff of yeast when I raise the towel to take a peek.

3 neighbors dropping by for a visit.

The sky is dark and it's time to light some candles.

Claire de Lune

Coming into a warm house after a cold walk with the Lab.

And of course, my new header.

How about you?

P.S. who is dogjacket?

Saturday, November 27, 2010


We have arranged all the flowers, eaten all the turkey and painted all the door panels in the little hallway mystery.

It's way past our bedtime and the dog still needs a walk but we can't seem to stop.

Now we're mixing it up on the blog. Begin with a picture I snapped last December of a shop window in Georgetown. Add GG, photo shop and an inordinate amount of patience on her part, stir and you get a  new holiday header.

This looks so good I might not even have to write anymore , we can all just admire her artistry.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

London Calling

By the time you're reading this I shall be......busy.

Busy as a florist during a major holiday.  Oh , that is me.  Majorly busy.

But before I sunk into the  pile of orders and buckets of flowers and phones ringing off the hook and drivers asking where they're off to next and me wondering who's going on a coffee run, I wrote one last post.

London called and I answered.  Miss Pickering, affectionately know to me as Miss Pickering, wondered if I would tell her adoring readers all about the T. Day, talk turkey as it were.  Speak for all Americans about our favorite holiday?  I was up for the challenge.  You can read it here.  Corrections are expected.  

Thank you Miss P., for giving me a chance to address your kingdom.

Your  devoted servant, Jane

Friday, November 19, 2010

How To Stuff A Wild Pumpkin

On Thanksgiving all your senses should be stimulated. We've got the taste and smell pretty well covered with dinner, the sound with laughter and conversation and though a table full of food is a feast for the eyes, a little floral beauty doesn't go amiss.

This is how we do it in Ye Olde Flower Shoppe.

We take a miniature pumpkin and off with it's head! We clean out the inners and then line it with floral foil. Then we cut a plug of wet oasis and insert in foil.

Now the magic begins. Take anything you can find in your garden, berries, boxwood, perhaps some maple leaves, and begin to fill. if you have some roses or asters still blooming, add them. Maybe a handful of herbs, like rosemary or sage. Just keep turning pumpkin and fill in all sides. If you have nothing growing go buy some, but you don't need a lot, just a sweet variety.

Have a seat and admire. Maybe make several more and use them for the Thanksgiving table. If you're in a loving mood give one to each guest as they leave.

It's all about the 3 G's, right people? Gratitude, gluttony and giving.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Customer # 12

It was raining, she was Swedish. So I gave her a pot of sunshine.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Before I Wake

An article in the Sunday NYT about a date orchard reminded me of a time, far away and long ago, when I spent the night in a date grove. I don't believe I understood how magical a place it was till I awoke. Quite a sight to behold first thing in the morning.

Another time I slept in a tree house built around an apple tree in an orchard. There were bushel baskets of apples everywhere and the smell was intoxicating. I thought, I'll never forget this. I have a bowl of apples by me as I blog and they smell like that night.

I've slept in a tepee on an Indian reservation, another night or two in a geodesic dome built by my good friend Julia, and spent a night at Arcosanti , staying with a friend who was working on the project for the summer.

And now I sleep in a small bedroom in an old brass bed with a snoring dog on the floor below me. She sleeps on a pile of sheepskins. The wall behind me is freshly painted a purple blue called mystery. The other walls are painted a white with a touch of red called pink slip. The room is on the east side of the house and the sun wakes me up each morning.

These are the best nights sleep I've ever had. There is no place like home.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Cannot Sleep

I am a soldier's daughter. November 11th was a big day when I was growing up. There was always a parade and my father marched in his uniform. Everyone wore a poppy on their lapel. There were stories told and drinks drunk, toasts made and a few tears shed.

I thought the importance of Veteran's Day had kind of faded away. It seemed just another day of BIG sales, one more government holiday and a day for florists to create red/white/blue wreaths on stands.

But today I went to my blog list and what did I find? Post after post, from Australia, from France, from England , all commemorating Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. Pictures of poppies, of statues in town squares, stories of new heroes and memories of past warriors.

Thank you ladies. For remembering, for reflecting and for making us all a part of one world, no matter what side of the pond ( or world) we live in.

I salute you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I needed a new tea pot. So on a normal Monday off/ lunching/ shopping/coffee drinking excursion, a tea pot was high on the shopping list.

We started at World Market, where I buy my weekly digestives ration. Tea pots galore, but the tops didn't seem to fit properly or the handles were unnecessarily fancy. Carrying on, we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond, no tea pots whatsoever. Sur La Table, only one and it was TOO big. Macy's sold a tea pot from Ms.Stewart but it came boxed with 4 cups. I have cups, my teapot was broken. A fast coffee break then down the street to the Asian market, where I buy my rice bowl, soup bowls and my rice. NO tea pots??? I was feeling very Goldilocks.

I wanted a little brown teapot like my mother, an Irish Canadian, used for everyday meals, fat, round and glazed. I went on line and found a Brown Betty Tea Pot, hand made , traditional in shape. I ordered a 4 cup pot, maybe I would have liked a 6. Should have checked with my tea swilling English/Irish girls first.

So here I sit, cup in hand, pounding on the ole laptop while surrounded with studying girls and begging dogs all swathed in scarves. I know not why.

Mine is not to reason why.

Mine is to add more water to the pot.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Darkest Hour

If we continue as we began, I think that this years time change may be fun. I always love waking up to the light, I'm an early riser. But, for a non driver, early dark evenings can get to be a bit, shall we say, claustrophobic?

But if last night's cooking frenzy is any indication of the nights to come, I'm on board. Our first experience cooking the lovely spring green fava bean was a tender success. We cut up our 2 sugar pumpkins and roasted them ( also a first) seasoning some to have as a dinner for a vegetable and pureeing and freezing the rest of the flesh for future baking. Will I dare to bake a pie? The suspense mounts!

Lest I forget, we also cleaned, dried and roasted the pumpkin seeds in a mixture of salt, chili, cumin, cayenne, brown sugar and the tiniest pinch of cocoa. An hour at 250 degrees, stirred every 15 minutes. Tasty little treats.

We browned and braised a chunk of beef shoulder, surrounded it with sauteed pieces of onions, carrots, garlic cloves, seasoned with S&P, bay leaves and thyme, added beef broth and a bottle of Magic Hat #9, brought all to a boil, then covered our cast iron dutch oven and slid it into a 350 degree oven. 3 hours later the meat was fork tender, we added the parboiled, shelled fava beans, heated up a half a baguette and piled some roasted pumpkin pieces on the plate.

Darkness? Bring it on! You'll find me in the circle of light in the warm kitchen, GG studying, the cat sleeping on a folded up towel and the Lab circling anxiously for any tidbit that might hit the floor. Cozy always trumps claustrophobia.

GG clearly NOT studying

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday, Sweet Sunday

This has been such a busy week. Two different house guests, one for dinner and a nights sleep on Wednesday. Dinner at a friends on Thursday and GG's best friend in on Friday from LA for the weekend.

As I'm blogging a big bowl of citrus from California sits to my left and perfumes the air. The Lab is asleep on the couch totally exhausted from a 4 mile hike yesterday and I'm about to go and join her, totally exhausted myself from a Saturday's work, dinner out and then karoke and maybe a little dancing.

It's a sunny but chilly autumn day. I am happily full of sweet cheese pancakes topped with homemade berry jam eaten at a local Eastern European restaurant. And after my nap I have a refrigerator full of delicacies from Whole Foods,including fresh fave beans, to cook.

Oh, and how could I forget, I have an extra hour in which to enjoy every moment of these pleasures.

What a day. What a sweet life.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Further Adventures Of The Accidental Chef

When we left our heroine in San Francisco, she was in her kitchen at 1:00 am rolling out a pie crust, loving her job but beginning to regret her dating choice. And with good reason....

The butler did it. The madcap socialite and her husband were in Europe that summer and yes, I was dating the son. The butler didn't like opening the front door to the heir and coming downstairs to fetch the cook. This went on for several months with me laughing off the butler's increasingly stern reprimands and veiled threats. Until one night he did it. Fired me that is.

So I packed my bags and left, flew home to Michigan to lick my wounds but quickly returned. I was hungry for more food.

I thought perhaps my days of domesticity were over so I applied at restaurants for any kitchen position. I was hired, rather unwillingly, at a small French restaurant run by a Swiss chef. He wasn't hot on the idea of a woman in his kitchen, but he gave me a shot. Soon I was slicing 25 lb bags of onions, whipping gallons of cream, ( once into butter, oops) slicing off my fingertip into a 5lb basket of mushrooms ( and the ER was surprised I hadn't brought it in with me, mushroom slice, fingertip, who can tell). I was layering baking tins with slices of barding fat and making pate campagne.

During work we drank pitcher after pitcher of iced mint tea to assuage our thirst and after work we drank glasses of wine and ate slabs of my pate. We went dancing, camping and ate out together on Sunday nights. I once was lost in a ghost town in Arizona, now I had discovered my vocation, a new family and the reassuring presence of a knife in my hand.

Now if I could only get near a stove to start cooking....

Monday, November 1, 2010


I spend so much time reading blogs from Brooklyn and England that I tend to think I'm hipper and or more British than I am. Actually I'm neither.

For those of you not familiar with the part of Virginia I live in ( or Virginia at all) here are a few pics from our hood. We are surrounded. Military to the left of us, military to the right of us.

When we take the lab for a walk we venture onto a property known as The Pentagon Reservation. It is another world from ours but easy to get to.

We leave our house and turn left, cut down the alley and take another left. We're walking down a hill between Arlington Cemetery and The Navy Annex.

Walk past the cemetery, down the hill and turn right. Next we climb up the hill up to the Air Force Memorial.

Standing under the arc we can see into Washington, D.C. The Washington Monument can be barely seen in the far distance.

Just down the hill from the Air Force Memorial is the Pentagon.

Then we go down the hill, take a right, go about a block and a half, turn right and we're home. Second house on the right.

You're welcome to join us next time you're in town. This walk is repeated 3 times a day. Just look for 2 blonds and a lab. We're hard to miss since we're not in uniform.