Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Feast

Not my finest pictures.  Imagine hobbling around a table, ace bandaged ankle shoved in a flip flop, followed closely by a hot, hungry horde. Trying to keep my balance while attempting to point and shoot. It was a little scary.

It was also a little hot, temperatures in the 90's and given a choice between mowing the lawn or bringing the air conditioners down from the attic, we smartly chose the lawn. Small, charming and sweltering.

All signs pointed to salads.

I was excited to try a recipe from Plenty, the grilled zucchini salad tosses with handfuls of green
and purple  basil, ( straight from the garden ;-), splashes of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper.  I skipped the hazelnuts because of course we had a guest who was allergic to tree nuts.

Luckily not to ground nuts so he could load up on GG's favorite DanDan noodles.  Spicy with chili paste, crunchy with chopped scallions and radish these Mark Bittman noodles are the hit of every summer party.

  I cobbled together a Persian cucumber salad with  smashed garlic, scallions, salt , pepper, a handful of parsley and mint and a splash of rice wine vinegar.

  Another guest was allergic to avocado which was an integral part of a roasted beet salad tossed with mint, olive oil, fresh lime juice and flavored with salt and pepper.

No matter, I knew he wasn't a beet loving kind of guy.

There was also a heaping platter of grilled chicken but once I took off its wrapping I got the hell out of Dodge.  They may have been hot but they were hungry.

We finished the evening in he most perfect way possible. Iced coffees, strawberry, rhubarb crumble straight from the farm and the piece de resistance?

They took down my dead crepe myrtle tree!  GG in a sundress and the boys from the farm took that sucker down.  They also left 3 suckers standing so we have the beginning of a whole new tree.

It's gonna be a good summer.



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And The Beat Goes On.

I know, I know, you would think I would have all the time in the world while lolling about with this sprained ankle.

But no, aside from staying home on Wednesday (actually taking a cab to work on Wednesday then being scolded and sent home with the driver by my workmates), life has carried on as usual.

Weddings, ankle up, planting urns inside and out on site ankle up, standing in one spot at work designing designing, then ankle up. No stairs though, okay only once or twice a day. Oh and then hobbling home and ankle up. Up with ice?  Heaven. Unfortunately I visit heaven too infrequently and as temperatures have risen into the 90's so has my cranky level. Though I have not yet become what we refer to as work as a BOB (big ole bitch). Well, only once and then I apologized to GG. Profusely.

So no zumba, no gardening, no walking to work, no nothing.  Except we did have our annual Memorial Day party. Apparently cleaning, cooking, fluffing house and garden are acceptable behavior with a sprained ankle.  But I laughed so much and the company was so appreciative and the food so delicious it was worth every Advil.

Next up: the food.

And the garden?  looks like it's doing fine without me.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Further Food For Thought

I just finished getting dressed and I'm thinking about body sizes.  I'm a small boned person. For most of my life my weight has been in the low 100's, except in times of stress when it dips below 100. 

But now I have the double edged sword hanging over my head: aging and stopping smoking so the low 100's are gone. I'm in the 115 range.

Apparently smokers heartbeat can have an extra 10 to 20 beats per minute, hence the higher metabolism.

Stop smoking and your heartbeat slows down and your chance of a heart attack lessens but the chance of weight gain doubles.

Now you all know I've been working my tail off both in the gym, at Zumba and on my daily walks.  Actually my tail isn't a problem, my abdomen is.

I have never had a diet so full of greens and more greens.  I pull out a carrot to snack on as naturally as I used to light up a Camel.  I do eats nuts daily but I believe their goodness overcomes their caloric intake.

My breakfast is my homemade granola, fruit and yogurt.  I bring a salad for lunch, mixed greens or spinach, a touch of goat cheese or feta, some of those nuts and maybe a avocado half.  I dress it with a splash of olive oil and a salt.  This is accompanied by a half sandwich on whole grain toast with maybe a bite of turkey and cheese and a scraping of mayo.  Dinner is often another salad but with the addition of garbanzo beans, tomato, perhaps an apple or a mango, toasted walnuts and avocado served with a few slices of that very grainy bread toasted.

Writing all this down is making me very hungry but also putting some perspective on my life.

I have probably never been this healthy.  The end of this month will be 7 months without a cigarette except in my smoking dreams.   I guess a few extra pounds and a larger waistline are a small price to pay for the ability to breathe deeply and move quickly.

But sometimes when you're trying on a pair of shorts you've worn for years and you have to squeeeeeze to zip them up?  You wish the glass of health was a little less full.


Monday, May 21, 2012


It feels like a week, oh it has been a week.

We've been busy with 3 deliveries this week.

#1  Mr. Baby who picked me up at the shop for our monthly pedicure.  He gets swung in the air, kisses, applause and a nap. I get the bill.  Then he swung by the house to hang with the Lab.  Guess you could say he's a swinger.

#2  5 yards of mulch. Delivered by the county, piled in the driveway, spread by us.  

Aeriel ( back porch) views of the newly expanded back bed.  This formerly housed the large maple GG took down last summer.  We planted a new peach tree, three lavenders, rose bushes and moved over  a few clumps of shasta daisies and fennel  from another bed.  I will live to regret both these choices.  The fig  tree is to the left of the path.

Both the peonies and the baptisia had struggled in the shade of the tree.  They had a triumphant return this spring. As did the fig, tall, leafy and green.

Fennel, invasive, and yet I love it's clouds of smokey goodness. This is the bed that holds the new lilac.

I'm not allowed to plant any more fennel. Okay, okay.  I'm not allowed to touch the grape again either.  I had a battle with it yesterday while trying to get up the back steps.  I won.  I got in big trouble. I'm sorry.

#3  My friend Susan appeared for a very short 3 day, 2 night visit.  There was animated conversation,  too much food, garden walks, laughter and very little sleep. And we got invited back to her house on the Cape this summer. Hoorah!

As soon as I get this laundry folded I'm off to see what you all have been up to.

I've missed you.

xo Jane

Monday, May 14, 2012

Smoking Hot

 And how did we recover from a busy Mothers Day Saturday? Don't you know the minute GG and I got a few extra pence in our pockets and an hour to spare we were off to a nursery?

We spent many hours in the garden yesterday but it didn't seem like we had quite enough plants. So we piled into the truck with the Lab and headed off to a small family run nursery about a half an hour from us.

This nursery is always in a bit of a shambles. Some plants are thriving, others dying for a drink.  But if you root around for a while you can manage to find a few treasures.

GG: a rock, a rhubarb and a sensations lilac bush.

Me: black velvet petunia, mini white zinnias, a delicious vanilla scented heliotrope, a pinstripe petunia and a moonflower vine.

I can't seem to get enough dark or smokey colored plants this year.

The nursery owner seemed tickled by us when we referred to our "dead peach tree bed".  So much so GG got her rock for 1/2 its price.  I think he was also impressed that she casually heaved the 120 lb. boulder into the back of the truck by herself.

Blonde, blue eyed and strong: talk about a knockout rose.  And a provider.

She grew tonight's dinner!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

To The Florist Belong The Spoils...

The handful of peonies and heavily scented garden roses hastily wrapped up at the end of the day and quickly thrown into a vase at home just before

sinking into a hot bath where a handful of freshly picked strawberries are proffered and eaten with many sighs of happiness and exhaustion.

The customers were plentiful, one child was deafening, lunch was delivered by a local business Lebanese Taverna to thank us for creating such beautiful flowers all year round and working extra hard today. 

What a delicious thank you.  You are very welcome.

I want to wish all the mothers out there a happy day.

This includes all the birth mothers like myself who had a child and for personal reasons were unable to raise them so opted for adoption. Happy Mothers Day to all of us. We're still mothers in our hearts.

What we did for love, eh?

xo Jane

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mothers Day Update #1

This is my bedside table.

I wish I were lying next to it.

Though I did wake up at 5:00am and fret about all the work we have to do today for tomorrow.

So now I have tomorrow's circles under my eyes today.

But my hair looks good.

xo jane

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Heard: Out Of The Mouths Of Babes....

Or the raggedy band of boys, ranging in age from 7 to 12, who live on the street behind us.

"They have the best garden"

"And the best dog".

Our hearts fluttered.

Thanks boys. 
Now don't let me catch you climbing over the fence again next time you lose your soccer ball.  Walk around the block.

Oh what the hell, best garden and all that.....

Just don't step on the plants.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Emil Goes To The Farm

He brought his two aunts, his parents and his grandmother just in from India.  Both labs were invited but as ever it was suggested they stay on leash for the garden tour.

Because while we were introducing Mr. Baby to Geoff and Chuck who have created this garden of eden from acorns and seeds, many of then planted 30 years ago, other critters were preparing a welcome show.

We all looked up.

And around.

We smelled the peonies and iris, lamented over a lost cherry and marveled at all the new beds dug and planted since our last visit.

The blueberry bushes are loaded, the strawberries are just ripe and the 21 tomato plants are in. A small crop this year.

We dined on their asparagus and lettuces.  The pie was appropriately enough strawberry, rhubarb.

And that floor show I hinted at earlier?

First by the long borders.

 Then in back of the hen house.

with the strains of "bend over let me see you shake a tail feather" floating through our minds came the showgirls.

 Follies Broadway, country style.