Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Post Storm Adventures Continue

This storm has turned me into some crazed blogger who can't stop posting.

I was gong to title this fifty shades of orange and show you the pumpkin muffins I made this morning, using, ahem, local honey from our friends' hive instead of sugar and the pumpkin granola I baked next ( gotta do something with the other 7 ounces of pumpkin, right?) BUT we had a lttle incident in the night that deserves press.

We had a pretty painless storm. The power went out about 11:00pm, just in time for bed and came back on in the middle of the night. Lucky us.

We did though lose one of our leyland cypress trees, all 30 feet of it. It came down between our house and our neighbor Nelda's, leaving a large window into the alley right behind our house and the very unattractive hotel across the street. There had been a beautiful viburnum sweet spice in front of it, this also hit the dust.

But where the states have FEMA, I have GG and GG has a chain saw. 

I applied for assistance and she responded, quickly,

The tree is cut up into county approved lengths and is waiting curbside for Friday removal. The viburnum is standing and the questions remains what to do about the other 7 leylands.  Some have half of their root ball pulled from the ground and all are leaning to the left. They're planted on a berm so they have a shallow root system.

If we don't have any more high winds we can take a few days and maybe wait for the boys from the farm to come for dinner on the 11th and weigh in on the matter.

You've heard of a barn raising? Anybody want to come to an old fashioned tree removal party?

Any suggestions other that giving GG a well earned muscle relaxer?

xo jane

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

And Now An Update From Storm Center Virginia

Feverishly cooking our way through Sandy.  GG made beef stew and egg noodles.  We just stuffed acorn squash with onions, garlic, zucchini, ground turkey, parmesan and ricotta and will serve it with a brown rice/ black barley/ daikon radish seed pilaf. 

I know, I know, we're such hippies.

I'm rolling the idea of pumpkin muffins around in my head but don't know if near hurricane conditions allow  me to break the ban on eating sugar.


And if the power goes out?

Not sure. We picked up a couple of cans of sterno and figure we can rig up a heat and eat station.  We are our own caterers.

I also have a pot of espresso made and ready to drink.

It seems so odd to think of the government shut down, airports closed, no buses or metro running. Guess they want us all to stay home, huh?

Unfortunately with the government closed there  is no early voting in Maryland or DC today or tomorrow.

And we all know every vote counts.

Thank all of you who came to FITH and than invited us to your house. It was a great distraction and I got to go to Australia and see a bowl of lilacs, all purple and beautiful, just sitting there screaming spring.

Thanks. I needed that.

And before I go, in case you were wondering what the kittens have been doing to help in our time of worry and stress.

Cleaning the bathtub.

And hanging the new liners.

And we need new liners why?

Maybe cause they liked to hang on the old ones.


We have just lost power once and the light are flickering away.........gotta run.

Talk soon?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Flowers in the House of Stormy Weather: October 2012

Oops! You can stock your pantry, you can storm proof your garden, you can batten down your hatches, but you can't control a migraine.  Imagine the weather map depicting Sandy. Now imagine that storm swirling around in my head.  I am a human barometer.

But storm or no storm, migraine or no migraine, we need a few flowers around the house. 

The last of the hydrangea, our own hypericum berries, fennel and ornamental brown hibiscus, spruced up with a few roses and hips from the shop.(Lucy is sniffing around right now trying to get into the picture)

And of course the inevitable nose gay, full of opal basil, yarrow, geranium and one of our favorite hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla 'Nigra'.  It turns out it's beautiful at any time of the year!

And now I will pick up the nose gay in one hand, my cup of tea in the other and retreat to the bed room to do what all of the other sensible critters are already doing...

     I shall be out to join the party
                    in a few.

       p.s.- thanks to GG for typing

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Changes In Attitude

But no changes in latitude.  We stayed.  Logging 12 to 14 hours on 95 in two days seemed overwhelming.  Especially with pre storm jitters.

The last time we drove back in a tropical storm, the road crews were using snow plows to keep the roads clear of water.

Times like that call for a xanax. 

So we're here doing the prestorm workout.  Shoppng Trader Joes with 100's of our closest friends.Stuffed acorn squash is in our near future.

We bought batteries, matches,candles and shower curtain liners.

GG is mowing the yard and we're storing the pots and trellises in the basement.  Hanging baskets will come down and hopefully the kittens can be wrangled inside.

I'm about to do a big cutback of annuals and a few remaining perennial flowers. Plus I bought a few roses home from the shop. This begs the question, should we party on as usual on Monday?

I'm going for it. I'll post late Sunday night and pray for power on Monday.

Come on by, I have lots of food and the Lab loves company.

Game on?


Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's 5 O'Clock Somewhere

Flying in the face of our own best thinking, we're off to Connecticut for the Hai's birthday this weekend.

We aren't totally ignoring the words "storm of the century" though. 

We'll party on Saturday night with the usual cast of scientists, journalists, fishermen and nurses.  There will be 4 dogs, 1 cat, Mr. Baby and some drunk yacht club boys. ( they are a new addition in their flag patterned belts and Nantucket reds)

On Sunday we'll go to brunch in the sweetest house on the Sound and meet the latest addition to the extended Guilford family, a baby girl.  Mr. B's all pumped up.

Then we'll hop in the car and drive back down to Virginia, quickly, quickly, where we'll reunite with the kittens and hunker down for some weather.

The forecast doesn't look good and neither does the possibility of FITH.

Perhaps we can show and tell the following Monday, the 5th of November?

In the meantime take a gander at flowers in a customers' house. Herefore to be known as FIACH :-)

Pour me something tall and strong, make it a hurricane before I go insane.

Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and expecting different results.

For those of you on the east coast: stock up on batteries, red wine, candles and water.

Your roving weather reporter, Jane

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Seasonal Disorder

Our house faces East and if the sun is shining and the skies are blue with a touch of wind, it always feels like spring.

Especially when you're planting pansies, picking lettuce and smell like sun screen.

But then you look to the left and instead of wearing bright pink blossoms the ornamental plum is covered in red leaves.

Backed by the limelight hydrangeas now blushed with pink and hanging under the weight of their heads.

The front door is sporting a rose hip wreath.

And the stoop: a new welcome mat.

Come on, how many posts did you think I'd write without an animal in it? 

If you said one you're correct.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Happy Days Are Here Again

It is the time of year when even the most jaded florist, the "I've been doing this for over 20 years type" comes alive.

When you are surrounded by flowers and berries in shades of reds and golds and purples and you have persimmons and lemons and artichokes for the picking, life is suddenly richer.

The skies are  bluer, the wind is cooler, the customers are back in town and throwing parties.

It almost feels like an election year:-)

And if the guest of honor is a politician you don't see eye to eye with?

Kill him with  kindness and ornamental cabbage.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Oh What A Beautiful Day!

To the happiness of our neighborhood ( fervently expressed by our neighbors on either side) our late fall clean up has finally begun.

Between the African foxgloves and the Sambucus black lace we were nearly hidden from the street.  Though the bind weed had no problem finding us.

We chopped and pulled and dug and raked and weeded. 4 hours, 1 bed all done but the mulch. 6 to go.

We conquered the wilderness.

And today our muscles pay the price. Ouchy.

While we kept our noses to the grindstones, others patrolled the treetops, keeping us safe from the enemy.

(How many cats can you see in this picture)?


( Dismount appears to be difficult.)

We have beets, bok choy and red cabbages planted.  Perhaps this fall we will finally put in some new bulbs and scatter some seeds for spring blooms.

But honestly, this post was just an excuse to show the pictures of GG and the kittens.

And to ask how your Sunday went.

xo jane

Monday, October 8, 2012

So Long Farewell, I Hate To Say Goodbye

Two days of chilly, rainy weather. Halleluiah. Garden remains unattended, by me, GG mowed on Saturday before the rains came.

After early Sunday morning at the gym with trainer, we met Tini and Mr. Baby for coffee.  Both were cruising on only 3 hours sleep.  He was absolutely giddiness with happiness at waking up in the car to find his aunties clustered around him cooing and snapping pics with Instagram. The baby mama was a bit dazed but happy to be sporting a pair of jeans. Real jeans, BE,before Emil jeans.

She reluctantly listened to the tip from my trainer and cut down on sugar. It's working. The same for me. Jeans are zipping up and staying up. I've lost 2 pounds.

I also listen when she tells me a serving of quinoa is only 1/4 of a cup.

I've just made my first batch of baked oatmeal and I added some walnuts and pistaschios and cut down on the dried fruit, 1/4 of a cup and the sweetening agent, in this case maple syrup, to 1/8 of a cup.  It's plenty sweet, but now with a little crunch from the nuts.

We brought Mr. Baby and the svelte Tini home to visit with the kittens.

And visit they did.

In between pictures he speed crawled after them.  Gus got a taste of the medicine he doles out to Nika daily.

And appeared estatic to see them go.

Continuing my daily exercise, I might have to go out for a brisk walk and end up at the mall.

If you have any questions, Gus will be manning the phones.

xo Jane

Friday, October 5, 2012

Spa Time

How long do the effects of a lovely hour long massage last with a sore shoulder?

Certainly through the 2 minutes spent waiting for the bus, the 20 minute ride home and thru the initial happiness in greeting and being greeted by the Lab and the kittens.

Then we all tumble outside: much sniffing, leaping and chasing of bumblebees. sunshine, rainbows and babies, you get the picture; Disneyland, shoulder feeling good.

But then the neighborhood cat known as the big gray cat appears.  Nika chases her off, good dog.

We move en masse to the back yard where
the kittens climb a Leyland cypress.

And discover the neighbor's shed.

It was still fine when I thought they would come back home, immediately

But then there came the hurling of themselves off of roof.

Now the neighbor in the back alley is waving a stick trying to keep them on my side of the fence and Lucy has come back but is cornered by the big gray cat and Gus doesn't know how to return and is crying, crying and I'm on the phone with GG assuring her all is well, totally under control.

And the back?  Tighter, tighter, turn of the screw, ah, back to normal.

A one hour massage lasts one hour.

Good to know.

And this is not whining. Really, they are so cute, they are forgiven all sins instantly.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

In The Summertime

My friend Renee, whom I called Peaches (and still do when I think of, talk about her) is an engaging if inconsistent blogger.

She wrote a post about summer(s), then and now, and in particular one spent on Nantucket many moons ago.

How it helped her become the person she is now.

I was there too but what I remember becoming was a smoker, and a drinker, tequila to start, too many to count, still remember the aftermath.

I also remember Peaches and I sitting in the kitchen of the house we rented and between puffs of non filter cigarettes, Gauloises for her, Players for me, blowing out a dozen eggs so we could cover them with tiny feathers to hang on the Christmas tree.

 And quickly painting the living room raspberry because it would make a pretty backdrop for the tree.

And once we hitched a ride from NYC to Nantucket and ended up in a car with a singer from Sha Na Na who sang oldies with us right to the ferry.

I didn't know who he was then but I remember telling him what a great voice he had :-)

I just googled them and it turns out they played at Woodstock. OMG.

But wait, I did begin my cooking career on the island and when summer turned to December and Peaches decided to leave and venture off to California, I was good to go with a bag in one hand and a career, cooking, in the other.

Our flying into LA when we meant to go to San Francisco is a whole other post as is the story of our travels heading north from LA.

I may have always taken the long way around but life has never,ever, been dull.

xo Jane

Peaches,thanks for the memory jog  and joining me on parts of the journey.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sunday Supper

Trying to wax lyrical  here on Sundays and autumn but with a cat on the keyboard and another in my lap I'm having trouble focusing....

I know the endorphins got to bubbling after an hour with the trainer in the gym.  Working out first thing in the morning, and by that I mean 9 or 10am, sets me up for a day of sheer happiness.

The air smells fresher, the skies are clearer, all food tastes especially delicious.  And when you can come home and fling the windows and doors open and let that breeze blow through the house even mundane chores are pleasurable.

These days are the memories I  keep to unearth  in the darkness of winter.

Mr. Baby and family were coming for dinner so between loads of laundry, GG mowing the yard and the kittens frolicking outside for their best day ever, I toggled together my first stew of the season to be served over red quinoa and accompanied by the most delicious slices of acorn squash.

I cat the squash in half, scooped out seeds, sliced it into 1/4inch thick pieces, tossed those with olive oil, S&P, crushed red peppers and spread them out of a baking sheet and cooked them at 375 for 30/35 minutes. The recipe called for a 1/4 cup of maple syrup to be added but I skipped that though I'm sure it would give the squash a beautiful brown crust.

Mr. Baby enjoyed both the quinoa and the squash, though I'll bet it was the spiciest food he's ever eaten.

He also enjoyed his after dinner book and roared with laughter hearing about the BIG elephant and the other BIG animals under the BIG top.  I've learned how to say monkey in both German and Telugu.

I am now being spoken to in dog and walk is the word I'm hearing.

Perhaps we'll walk on over and see how your weekends went.

xo Jane