Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pimm's or not to Pimm's...

Ten years or so ago, while in Nassau, The Bahamas, I bought a bottle of Pimm's Cup No.1. Garnished with a slice of orange, apple and cucumber and mixed 1 for 1 with Ginger Ale, it is a delightful drink. Hoping for a major buzz? This is not the drink for you. Alcohol content is only 50%,though gin-based. It has a sort of mild caramel flavor accompanied by the sweetness of the ginger ale. It was a favorite beverage when traveling in the UK for me ( no iced tea, there)!

So, my question is:

This bottle has been sitting in my home for ten years, unopened. Is it safe to open up and serve?
Comments, reactions and responses, please.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Carolyne Roehm's yard sale

This weekend, Ms. Roehm is hosting a yard sale at her home in Sharon, CT. I so wish I lived close by as I would so be there! She needs to "clean house" so to speak, I guess. If anyone is lucky and fortunate enough to attend, may I be a mouse in your pocket and let me in on your purchases, please?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday morning Pumpkin blossom and Moonbeam Coreopsis

Pumpkin blooms arrive this morning, golden yellow unfurling blossoms. In Japan, the blossoms are picked, dipped in tempura batter, fried gently for a delicacy. Grown in a big pot, my hope is that mine will produce a plump pumpkin in the fall.


Moonbeam coreopsis, aka tickseed

Thursday, June 21, 2007

In the summertime when the weather is hot...

Today is the first true day of summer!

Summer months bring a gray tree frog known as "Peeper" here at my home. With bugs abounding by the back porch light, Peeper has lots to do and eat while he clings to the window at nighttime.

I disturbed his resting location while watering my pots yesterday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Can't wait for this one!

Another Bunny Williams book on its way. Available in
October, 2007.

Monday, June 18, 2007

A find with a history

Over the weekend, after a ride out into the country, I made a purchase at an antiques shop. Well, it is really only a flea market filled with things that have been purchased up at local estate sales and then placed on sale in booth-like arrangements. Here is a jar, vase, jug or biscuit barrel (?) shown here filled with a pot of African violets. Not sure exactly what it was originally. My guess is that it was a biscuit barrel, at present lacking its lid. It consists of creamy porcelain with a blue transferred pattern and originated in England. I adore the two knobby handles on the sides which are in exceptional condition. It is quite large, standing 10 inches tall. It's amusing to suppose just where and under what circustances this piece has been. Anyone want to take a guess as to its original use??

The markings on the bottom reveal that it is a Doulton Burslem dating from 1891-1902. The marking contains four D’s enclosed in a rosette and topped off with a crown, which was added to the mark following the appointment of Henry Doulton as the official potter to H.R.H., The Prince of Wales' (later King Edward VI 1). The O surrounded by four dots was probably the unique symbol of the individual potter signing his or her piece.

John Doulton, Henry’s father, began making pottery in Lambeth, South London, in the early 1800’s. Lambeth, being the setting for my most recent read, Burning Bright, by Tracy Chevalier. In his factories there, and later in Burslem, Doulton produced jugs, water bottles, whiskey flasks, pitchers, beer bottles, figurines and other table wares.

Perhaps I should send photos off to Ms. Chevalier. Only she could write a rich and enlightening story inspired by this find with a history!

Monday Morning Dooley Hydrangea

In full bloom this weekend in my gardens are the Dooley Mophead Hydrangeas. Named for the former football coach and athletic director at the University of Georgia, it produced a huge showing of blue and slightly pink blooms this year. Apparently, Mr. Dooley, a master gardener, found the hydrangea growing in his backyard. He also has a camellia named for him. They grow to about 3-5 feet in height, require little care and are cold-hardy.

"I don't play golf," he said. "Gardening is my golf."
~Vince Dooley~

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to Dads everywhere.

Monday, June 11, 2007

It's just the pits...

Avocados, aka alligator pears according to Florida vernacular (perhaps because the skin resembles that of an alligator), are tasty when used to make guacamole. Yes, it looks unpleasant, but go ahead… try some on a salty tortilla chip…delightful and so good for you. A splendid by-product of guacamole is the pit or seed of the avocado. Take care not to damage it as you remove the edible portion for the guacamole. Follow the instructions. I have done this with a number of pits and am never disappointed…a relatively inexpensive plant follows. During the summer months, I place some outdoors. Occasionally, a hungry bug will nibble on the leaves, but mostly the plants thrive. I once saw one in the office at a school that grew so huge, it had to be replanted in an aluminum garbage can!

A little Scottish moss grows below this one.

Double trunks

This plant is several years old and is flourishing.

Something I might say...

"A woman is like a teabag,
you cannot tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water."

~Nancy Reagan~

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Sleepy time favorites

Made by Natori, my latest jammie purchase is soft, cozy and fits great. Small knotted buttons on the cuffs add attention to detail. An oriental design of varying shades of pink and turquoise make for a very classic look. Who knew pajamas could be so much fun?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Monday morning Clematis and Oakleaf Hydrangea

Freshly washed by rains leftover from Tropical Storm Barry, here are this morning's blooms.
Twisted around the mailbox, this Henryi clematis is severed down to approximately 12 inches of remaining growth each winter. By late spring, this plant has grown and white blossoms appear. The clematis is nearly indestructible given plenty of water and sunshine.

The Snowflake Oak leaf Hydrangea bursts with panicles of lacy, cream-colored florets. Slow to mature for me, it blooms well each year and offers fall color in the leaves and bark as well.

Innocent or experienced?

I recently completed the reading of Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier. Never having been totally interested in history, her stories reveal much to me of a time past. Motivated by a piece of art, literature, tapestry, grave-marker or other article having survived a preceding era, Ms. Chevalier generates characters, many previously-existing, others fabricated, which unveil the essence of the period that they lived in. The lurid and garish Astley circus, the craft of button-making, hand-crafted Windsor chairs, the functioning of a printing press, peculiar habits in the life of William Blake are disclosures of the culture all set in Georgian England, outgrowth of the revolt taking place in France.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience, a book of poems by Blake motivates a resounding theme of opposites throughout the novel. There is Maggie, the loud, street-wise, sassy gal of the big city, never fearing to venture out. Jem, differing, is the close kept son of a chair-maker and carpenter who finds himself in the hazardous, hostile, often intimidating and unfriendly city of London after spending his early years in the lesser village of Piddletrenthide, countryside. Along with members of their families, the escapades begin. I enjoy reading of times long-ago in this format, historical fiction, a great deal more than mind-numbing (yawn) history books. Ms. Chevalier, through her rich, full characters, expressive settings and vivid language carries me back to an earlier time to pay a visit.

Ms. Chevalier is writing yet another book. On this occasion she is inspired by the life of Mary Anning who discovered pre-dinosaur fossils on the shores and cliffs of the English coast. She Sells Sea Shells has grabbed my attention!

Next in the pile of books to read:

Nature Girl
by Carl Hiaasen