Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm Backkkkk....

I've been so occupied with other things...the garden, overflowing with tomatoes, making soap so we wouldn't run out while I was away....AND packing to go away.

I'm in Northern Ireland with my brother, sightseeing and checking out our roots. My great grandfather came from Derry.

So, finally tonight I figured out how to blog from his computer, with my iPhone camera. My battery already ran out on my camera and I can't recharge it. Forgot the charger. His won't work on my battery.

So, here we are in Derry (Londonderry) at a place he booked which could be Faulty Towers!

John, bartender, got our drinks and entertained us with humorous stories....
(he even looks a bit like an older John Cleese...)

And...here's the bed you get when you're the older sister:

Ta, ta for now. Tomorrow we're off to the city of Derry and the Giant's Causeway.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Too Hot to Blog?

I feel like we're living in the deep south. It's been hot for as long as I can remember. (well for the past month at least, with no relief)

I have air conditioning only in my workshop....so I've been working a lot.

Too hot to work in the garden, but here's what's happening there:
Remember this....from May
Now it looks like this....

That's a Giant Belgium...almost ripe:

And San Marzano plum tomatoes....for sauce:
I'm off to mix up lye for soap....where it's cool!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

please bear with me....

But I'm a sucker for Nea.
We played hooky today. Sarah and Eric came up with Nea to spend a day by the pool.
Not sure about entering via the steps.
Practicing the dog paddle.....before the race.
Nea jumps the gun.
Sarah's ahead by an arm.
Good dog!
Ohhh...shake off!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

return to the first harvest

I've been in Bermuda for a week...on a cruise.
My favorite way to relax and get away. Read lots of great books...including the final Millenium Book: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest. Loved it!

Back to soapmaking and gardening!

Look at these beauties: French Breakfast Radishes!

How should I enjoy them??

With butter and salt as recommended by the LA TIMES?
or as Molly describes on Orangette?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

a new soap mold...

one that doesn't need to be lined!

Now that's something that I can get excited about! Here is the soap block that slid out of that new mold...with a new special coating that Pentti came up with.

You know how much more time I could have for Mah Jongg if I didn't have to fold the paper and line all of those molds??

Still a few kinks to work out.....but definitely going to work!
Good job, Pentti!

Friday, May 28, 2010

now that's what I'm talkin' about

Finally...the unbearable heat on Wed. brought these beauties into full bloom! This is the 3rd year for these two peonies and they are spectacular this year.

Sarah arrived yesterday morning and we made our annual trip to Rudolph Gardens.
Bought a carload of gorgeous perennials and came back to my house to plant:

Mock Orange by the porch door so we can enjoy the lovely fragrance:
Yellow digitalis grows wild in my garden. Sarah planted some in and around the Etruscan pottery relic I found last year at Erie Basin! That's blue bell flower behind.
More yellow digitalis and a new variety added to it...
Sarah composed this lovely color combo with a red lupine, pink/yellow columbine behind some lambs ear...and more digitalis...and a euphorbia myrsinites on the rock...
We had a lovely day even though it was a bit of a busman's holiday for Sarah.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

planting day

It all finally came together today.

Nice weather, garden finally ready and the seedlings I started in February ready to go in the ground. I hope we have a good tomato year. I have 45 plants here.

Some cucumbers, too...and radishes and swiss chard seeds planted! Oh, my achin' back!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Here's a peak

at my daughter Sarah in the June issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Sunday Best

so excited to see it on the newstand today! A mom can brag a bit, can't she?

Friday, May 14, 2010

after 2 flower school classes....

I'm ready to venture out on my own. I took a second class at the little flower school on the Saturday before Mother's Day....it was a mother/daughter class...so I 'had' to attend.
My arrangement from that day is gone....(OK I forgot to add water and then I wondered why it wilted)

But today I did one on my own. With some help from Saipua flowers that have been out on my 55 degree porch since Monday. And this time I changed the water and clipped the stems to keep them going.

So I started with a base of Mountain Laurel from my bush out by the front step. It needs to be pruned anyway:

Then I added some "show" flowers. Gorgeous tree peonies....

And then I filled in with solomon's seal, lavender, rosemary sprigs, lambs ear and white iris (from my garden) and more peonies and some garden roses.
Here is the result: (oh and a couple of ranunculus for 'gestures'....)

How'd I do Sarah?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

my very own crazytown

Sarah may be back from crazytown....but I've been there all week.

Just so you know...it's not that easy to totally rebuild your computer info on a new one...even if you DO HAVE a back up hard drive!

Almost there, but this mother crashed on Monday.....

and did I mention that everyone wants soap before Mothers' Day?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

finally photos from Easter

(these from Sarah's camera)

got out the good china and Sarah made a lovely centerpiece upon arrival

menu was on an earlier post.

we served the 'ramp' biscuits with Amsterdam cheese during cocktail hour.
(subbed scallions for ramps)

assembling the pea salad on pea shoots for first course
our guests

no photos of the leg of lamb, but it was scrumptious as were the potatoes with caper butter!

Friday, April 9, 2010

back to our regularly scheduled blog...

just one more photo of Nea and her happy reunion when Sarah and Eric returned last night.

Now to soapmaking, food and flowers!

I made 4 batches of soap this morning....I hate lining the molds...so tedious.

This part is so much easier....white grapefruit in the mold....

Cleaning and organizing the workshop is also not my favorite part of soapmaking.
Bread pudding, a comfort food from my childhood ready for the oven for pot luck Mah Jongg tonight.

And...my garden is going crazy with this unusual heat. everything is coming up so fast.
Here is Fritillaria that Sarah and I planted last fall.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Field Trip

I promised Nea a trip to PetSmart....
So much dog food!
So many toys:
We got a new toy and some Pork Chomps! And waited SO PATIENTLY at the check out...that Nea got a treat from the cashier!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

its all about Nea...

really, I'll post about something else soon, but she is such a sweet dog.

She's not so mopey today, and eats her lunch al fresco like such a lady.

Now we're going to the park!

Later, blogsters.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday PM

Sarah and Eric left for VT today and left Nea here with me.

She's been a little sad since they left, so I had to let her come up on the couch and watch Damages with me tonight.

She's feeling better now. I think she likes the big screen TV.

I also promised her a trip to the park tomorrow!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Menu

...from Sarah

Roast Leg of Lamb with Tarragon-Mint Butter

Golden Potatoes with Caper Brown-Butter Crumbs

Pea Salad with Radishes and Feta Cheese

Ramp and Buttermilk Biscuits with Cracked Coriander

Buttermilk Spice Cake with Pear Compote

I'm working on all of the above...with my own adaptations....no orange peel in slits in the lamb....I like garlic.

No pears for a compote, I have raspberries and red currants in the freezer from the CSA last summer...I'll make a compote with those.

Sarah's arriving with the pea shoots and fresh radishes. (my store only had radishes in a plastic bag)

It'll all come together sometime later this evening! Photos to follow.

Happy Easter to all!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Yesterday, Pentti and I celebrated 30 years of married bliss*

Yes, we were married on April Fools Day. It's a long story. But he always remembers our anniversary!

* i use the term loosely....after all, who could take 30 yrs of TOTAL bliss....
but we're enjoying a great life together.


for Passover:

I made these to take to a Seder earlier this week. Recipe here. They were pretty easy once you got past the 12 minutes of cooking and stirring. Don't skimp on that. I think it was really important.

Yes, they're shaped like pyramids.....and some I dipped in chocolate.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mar. 25, 2010

my makeshift greenhouse

produces first sprouts:
Those pots still in the big plastic bag haven't sprouted yet. They're heirloom tomatoes. Cucumbers are quick to come up. As soon as they sprout they need to come out of the 'greenhouse' and into the sunlight.

Hoping for a good garden this year.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

flower girl

Sarah arrived yesterday for the afternoon and evening bringing all sorts of flower goodies from Saipua.

1. forsythia cut from my 'wild' bush in the back.
2. johnny jump ups planted in the pot by the front door.
3. new hellebores for my garden...she planted them, too.
4. last years hellebores coming up....she found it for me.

later a dinner of Penne with Lamb Ragu....thanks to Last Night's Dinner.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

dragon tattoos

Wed. night I had the chance to see an advance screening of the Swedish film version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

I loved the book...the film was great. read it. see it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My favorite tuna salad

This is how I make it.

Open the cans. (I always use 3) Will there be any for us??

Drain and save the water. Make the salad. Is it ready yet??
Line up now....there's one for each of you.