I've added a new link to my list of foodie blogs (which is sorely lacking, if you haven't noticed - please send me your favorites) - Once Upon A Plate.
Marisol emailed me a while back, oh I want to say a year or so, because she recognized a park that I had photographed because she grew up around here. We determined that we missed each other by a couple of years but had very similar haunts.
Well she emailed me again yesterday and said that she had started her own blog. And good lord if any of you have already clicked on the link then I've lost you forever. I spent hours pouring over it yesterday. Every time I read a new post, a new recipe I wanted to make it right then and there. Her photos are incredible and her recipes are varied and, well just go see for yourself.
I made two recipes from it last night and they both were big hits - stuffed zucchini (we normally make zucchini boats around here so we dubbed these zucchini dinghies) and her version of Ruth Chris BBQ shrimp.
I also really covet her plates. Actually she has a LOT of plates but the ones I really covet are the Rooster ones above. Available at both Neiman Marcus and Horchow (Horchow has a better price on them). Go look for her recipe for chicken pot pies and you'll see why.
Since I am suddenly enamored with all things chicken I also want this rooster egg holder (with the adorable little chicken salt shaker). Is that not the cutest thing? I can see my hardboiled eggs sitting prettily in it.
And finally - I want this milk glass covered chicken. I'm going to have to haunt the on-line auctions if I want to find one though.
The Wine Maker's Wife
Of all weeks to leave my camera at home. Evan and I went up to the Cottage yesterday afternoon to see the chicks and the bees.
Rosie is front and center in the picture I swiped from Sara - it looks like she is having a conversation with Bella (who may have been renamed as soon as we left). Right behind Rosie is Giada and in the way back is Georgina.
They are so unbelievably soft. I held Rosie for a minute and she just blinked at me and then decided to fly away so I put her back. It was hard not to put her in my pocket and just leave.
The bees aren't so soft and cuddly but they are fascinating. The hive is up behind the cottage and as we walked closer to the hive (staying a safe 15-20 feet back) you can see the activity. I must say that it would take nerves of steel to approach any closer, even wearing a bee suit. Instinct tells you to get the heck out of there. Sara says one never approaches the front of the hive - you want to come around from the back. And of course we were all dressed in black which just annoys the heck out them and they want to express their sartorial opinion by stinging you.
I took a few additional pictures of the chicks with my cellphone and if I can figure out how to download them I'll post them.
I have a chicken. Or, actually, I have a chick. A little Rhode Island Red named Rosie. Rosie doesn't live with me. She is being boarded at the Cottage with three other chicks. You can see a little YouTube video of them and see her sweet little self.
I have wanted chickens for years now. Rick and I used to take a walk through our Los Altos neighborhood and there was one house that always had a few fat chickens peacefully roaming around the front yard. Nothing fenced them in and nothing appeared to bother them. They just happily spent their day picking at bugs in their pretty front yard.
Then a friend of mine was telling me about her childhood pet, a Rhode Island Red with the unfortunate moniker of Lunch. Lunch was an only chick and she dearly loved her people. She would come running as soon as any of them came into the yard and wanted to be held and petted.
She never did live up to her name, I am happy to report.
Doing a little research I've read that Rhode Island Reds are a friendly type of chicken. So when Sara said I could keep a chick at her house I knew that was the type I wanted.
I haven't seen Rosie yet but I am going to go this afternoon and nuzzle her.
Rick and I have been thinking about turning the Goat Palace into a Palais de Poulet. It would require getting rid of Josephine, William, Antoinette and poor little Delilah. When we got them we figured we would have little worker goats that would keep our property clear of brush. The only problem is they are total homebodies and will not leave their little corner of the property.
We shouldn't have made the Goat Palace so comfy. They flat out refuse to go anywhere else and they have totally denuded that one corner so we have to supplement their diet with grain and alfalfa. Which kind of defeats the purpose of having them.
We may have found someone that will take them. A couple that has ten acres, other goats, a couple of llamas and a horse. I would only feel right about getting rid of them if they were going to a better situation. One does have an obligation to ones animals, after all.
So if they do go then we'll put some nesting boxes in the Palace and put a door on it and get a half a dozen chickens. We'll eat as many eggs as we want and I have a friend that goes through 12 dozen eggs a week and I told her she could have the rest.
Or I could set up a little roadside stand and sell them.
Jack Delano for the Farm Security Administration, 1940
We had our annual Halloween Soiree last night. I must say it was an exceptional party. *I* had a fabulous time, anyway - and by the looks of things so did everyone else.
The very, very, VERY best part of the night was a surprise guest. My sister Trish has a passel of kids that travel with a pack of their friends and when an unknown, masked partyer showed up with them we didn't think much of it.
Except WHO was it? The person appeared short and I assumed it was my niece Emily. But I was assured it was not. Then I figured it was just one of their friends, again - assured it was not. It was suggested I hug this person. So I hugged Edvard Munch's scream and it was a little more substantial than my niece Emily (who must weigh about 95 lbs. soaking wet).
I went in for a second hug (dearly hoping it wasn't some mortified friend of my nephew Scott's) and felt a tell-tale braid.
It was my sister Mary from Wisconsin! Secretly flown in and a surprise to everyone except my sister Trish.
The night was just fun fun fun. Lots of food, drink and laughing. Great sound track courtesy my sister Kate.
I'm the one in all the cheesy MySpace poses above (no. 2, 4, and 19) if anyone wants to know what I look like. We even had one of the Vice Presidential candidates show up, with a rolled pumpkin cake (won't tell you if that swayed my vote or not).
This is just the most fun party. Everyone is so clever with their costumes. And I am stuffed full of tootsie rolls and jalapeno poppers. The one day of the year I allow myself to eat them
I'm procrastinating on the mantel so for now we'll just stick to the outdoors.
Rick made me this pyramid trellis a few years ago. Before we ever put our house on the market I am going to have to dig up the jasmine and hide the whole thing so potential buyers don't think it comes with the house.
My favorite part is the glass doorknob at the top. That door knob came from our house in Los Altos.
So, yeah, deck is still blue. It didn't magically turn grey/green overnight. Maybe over winter.
It is supposed to be 85 degrees F. today. Where is our Fall weather? I need changing colors and sweater temperatures.
I will eventually get back to the mantel. It's just not cooperating the way I want it to.
Mario Testino for Vogue Magazine
You must click on the above photo to see it larger. Actually what you must do is go buy the November US Vogue magazine and see the entire photoshoot of Natalia Vodianova and her family by Mario Testino.
I just love that picture. So enchanting. The man in the picture is the husband of the model. He reminds me a little of the Wine Maker. I think it is the hat. Sara, we must buy the Wine Maker some stripey pajamas so he can serve you your morning tea properly. And you must lounge about in your peach silk nightie (maybe ditch the matching Converse).
What I really covet, other than a pajama clad butler, is the bed. Even without all the moss and other flora. What I wouldn't give to have that in one of our guest rooms.
First I need to convey the acreage that is our back deck. Oh it seems all nice and intimate and a normal size until you have to sand and stain it. Then it gets humongous.
Here's Belle, supervising the project. I tried to convince Rick that the managerial role was mine but, yeah, that didn't pan out. So Belle's in charge.
The above shot is from the back corner - what little glimpse of the house you see is the dining room (where I am right now!). The deck is 1200 sf if I haven't mentioned that eighty-seven times already. Our last house was 1140 sf.
So this is before sanding. The picture below gives you an idea of how far-reaching that 1200sf deck is. There is a big, main area on the left where we normally have our big outdoor table. In front of the big picture windows is a six foot wide area that connects the main deck to the deck outside our bedroom. And there is Belle, supervising.
I'm supposed to mention that we are planning on painting the house. We're thinking a grey/taupe color with creamy white trim. Right now it's tan with darker tan trim.
Here it is all sanded. I freely admit that Rick did all the sanding. I acted as errand girl and made lunch and went out for more sand paper.
Is this boring? This is probably only interesting to me. Rick would be interested but he's passed out from all the sanding he had to do.
Look at that pretty wood. This deck is at least 20 years old. Maybe older. It's held up pretty well. We haven't done anything to it in the 7 years we've lived here.
You can see some discoloration in the pictures above. There are just dark spots that will not sand out. So we decided we would use a semi-transparent stain in a greenish/grey color that would blend well with the surroundings and with the color we are planning to paint the house. So we picked out a color called Drift Grey (from Behr) that had decided grey/green tones. We bought five gallons of it. And when we tested it out it was very definitely a light blue color. In the can it looked greyish/green. On the deck - blue.
We aren't blue people.
So we went back to Home Depot with our five gallons and they monkeyed with the color the best they could and it looked darker and greener.
So we stained. And now we have a blue deck.
Okay - this picture looks kind of grey but believe me - it's blue. And can I also mention what back breaking work it is to stain a deck. I didn't get to be errand girl today. I was slave girl today. I kept trying to convince Rick I was a delicate flower and this was too much for me but he wasn't buying it. Then he told me how red my face was getting and still didn't buy it with that kind of irrefutable proof. I'm too delicate for manual labor out in the sun.
So our plan is to see how it weathers over the winter and if it stays blue then we'll re-stain it with a solid color rather than a semi-transparent. We will also be painting the railing a creamy white to match the trim on the house (when we paint it).
Where is management when you need them?
I removed all the creamy white from the mantel and I've been fiddling with the arrangement of new objects.
It's just not there yet. I'm not getting the layered look I want. It's turning out to be shades of black and old silver.
I'll keep plugging away at it. Meanwhile Rick is outside sanding the deck. 1200sf of deck, I might add. He says whenever I come up with a project like this he'll be deep into it and he'll look up and I'll be sitting at my computer like a modern day Tom Sawyer.
I better go see if he needs a soda or something.
I discovered and fell in love with Greengate about two years ago. It's certainly an unrequited love since they are a Swedish company and I can't read anything on their website.
I did manage to stumble across their online catalog which can be downloaded in a pdf format (you can even select which pages you want to download). Makes it easier to long for things when you can really see the items in detail
What initially attracted me to Greengate is their soft, clear colors against white. Very clean yet romantic. They still have that but they are also featuring this lovely palette of pale taupes, greys and silvers which I'm really liking for Winter.
I haven't changed my mantel decorations since last January. I think it's time to pull off some of the white and incorporate more mercury glass and tarnished silver. Let's see what I can come up with and I'll post a before and after.
I'll also post pictures of our big project this weekend. Refinishing the deck - I bet you can hardly wait.