Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving, No Muss, No Fuss Holidays!

Started the turkey late since we had no guests, ate about 8 pm.  Waiting so long made it taste even better.  First time for Trader Joe's free-range turkey in brine, worth every penny!  Maple bourbon gravy, courtesy of the Beekman Boys recipe.     
First time to do stuffing on the stove instead of the oven, turned out ok.
Cranberry-cherry sauce, also courtesy of  "The Boys."
Next day, cut a small cedar tree on our property, part of the "no muss, no fuss" theme this xmas, and an added plus, it's free!
Small, but fragrant, light and airy as you can see by the way Bob can carry it in one hand!
Lettuce is growing for xmas salad.  Half the turkey was cut and put in the freezer for xmas turkey chili, again, "no fuss, no muss"!
Just had to take a photo of how wonderful the pansies and violas are looking.
Panda awaits the next round of turkey treats at xmas.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bob's 55th Birthday

Started the day before on Bob's birthday dinner.  Made Beatty's chocolate cake for the first time, and it came out wonderful and delicious.  I impressed myself since I'm not much of a baker.  This recipe is a keeper.
Next was making the pork buns, a recipe fromMomofuku in NYC.  This was very time consuming.  The buns have to rise several times, then have to be rolled out and oiled and folded in half over a chopstick and have to rise again.  They also turned out very nice, were delicious.
Buns rising in the oven.
Then buns have to be steamed in a bamboo steamer.
Bob's birthday brought the typical cold-front weather, and I had a job two hours away up in the mountains.  Just as I was leaving, the rains and wind came, and the tornado sirens were going off. 
It eventually cleared, but I didn't get home from doing doctors depos in a small mountain town until 8:30 pm, so I was happy I planned ahead and had Bob's birthday dinner ready to go when I arrived home.
Looks like he's enjoying the pork buns, which also have hoisan sauce, thinly sliced cucumbers and scallions.  (Notice Geisha staring down the pork bun?)
Next, the gift, a pair of new sunglasses and a bottle of Spicy Myan syrup for his coffee in the morning.  It was a nice birthday, and in a few weeks it will be my turn!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Autumn Colors

This weekend I tried to accomplish my Christmas shopping.  I may be headed North for the holidays, will just depend on my mother's test results which everyone is nervously waiting for.  As I did my shopping, I took photos of some pretty trees.  The weather is warm with no humidity, and it is very pleasant right now.
Hickory Trees
Nandinas full of berries
A street lined with Ginkos
One of my personal favorites, the Bald Cypress
The Bald Cypress deserves two photos.  The main photo is of my folk art Harvest Woman, a perfect focal point for Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Mini Hoop Greenhouse

I already have a good amount of lettuce and herbs started for the holidays, so the baby lettuce on the left will certainly benefit from the hoop greenhouse
I used 2 foot rebar and 10 foot PVC for a 5x5 greenhouse
I used wire instead of rope to go across the top and attached it to the T-bars on the outside since it is small and wind shouldn't be as big a concern
I improvised and used office clips which fit over the PVC since I didn't have enough clamps from the previous hoop house kit that I purchased last year and was a waste of money
The finished hoop greenhouse which is sturdy and large and I am very happy with.  Will construct a large one that can be walked into, but not as large as Floyd's for next year's crop in NC

Hoop Greenhouse at Moss Hill Farm

Saturday morning Floyd was kind enough to invite a group of us to help learn and construct one of his 10 x 90 foot hoop greenhouses to be used for the winter CSA.  Floyd, a former builder, had great tips for the construction and has perfected the system, and I wanted to learn so that I could construct a small version on a budget.  Justin, Bonnie & Melody are measuring and putting in the rebar every five feet
Michelle & Floyd are pounding in the T-bars which will go down the center of the greenhouse
At the bottom of the rebar is a clip for the ropes that will be placed over the plastic.  The washer is for the PVC pipe to sit on and hold the clip in place
The PVC was placed down on the rebar
Next, the plastic will go over the PVC, no small feat with the wind today!
Floyd is a fabulous farmer, just look at that swiss chard!
At either end of the greenhouse, metal was used instead of PVC for strength
Melody wants a hoop house so she can put chairs and a table inside and have tea.  It is very cozy inside one of these, especially on a cold, windy day
On the metal ends, Floyd puts "wiggle wire" in to hold the plastic.  I didn't ask him if that's the technical term for this wire, but I'm sure Home Depot will know what I'm talking about, right?
Justin putting in the wiggle wire, a better picture of it
April joined the group later and announced she is pregnant.  Congratulations!
Rope is placed on each side of the PVC then attached to the clip at the bottom
The finished product, one of many that Floyd will be constructing
Floyd's wife made vegetable soup and bread for the group.  The greenhouse only took two hours to construct.  At 2:00 there was a composting class, but I was headed out to get my supplies for my hoop house. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Am Now A True Believer!

Halloween Cemetery Tour at Historic Oakland Cemetery

You will notice that as soon as I entered the cemetery, almost every photo was blurred. I worked very hard at getting good photos, and just a few came out clear, but the deeper I got into the cemetery and as night fell, the photos got worse!  Is this just a weird coincidence? 

This night was not meant to be anyway.  I was running 45 minutes behind schedule, Bob was running over two hours behind schedule.  Dinner was a blurr so that we could get to the tour in time. 

As we stood in line, one of the hosts said not to worry about an umbrella, he checked the radar and we were in the clear. WRONG!

Of course, the rain waited until we were deep in the cemetery and we ended up soaked to the bone and chilled as well because it was the cold front that the next day brought snow to the Northeast.

At least the camera's night scene flash was doing it's job because some of these photos look like it's daytime and at least you can see the beautiful mums and asters, but yet, still blurred.

The blurring actually makes the tourists with their umbrellas look like ghosts, so I guess I shouldn't be complaining since it was a Halloween tour.

I'm not a big fan of guided tours, and at different spots in the cemetery there would be a person that is buried in the cemetery telling about their life in the 1800s.  I was hoping more for a history lesson on the different tombstones and sections of the cemetery as we stood there in the pouring rain.

This is my favorite statue in the cemetery.  It is a beautiful lion which reminds me of my beloved chow-chow Emperor Bamboo.  Now, I stood here and took several photos and made sure I was by myself, no interference, and look, still blurred!

All in all it was a night of horrors, and I would not recommend the tour, but I highly recommend walking the cemetery in the daytime because it is the most beautiful I've seen, except for maybe a few I saw in New Orleans.  I will return and get clear photos and show you what you missed.