Saturday, June 23, 2018

Seeds and neighbors






The herbs are all growing nicely. All planters are by the front walk, so neighbors can pick. Thai and Italian basil, English thyme, rosemary, tarragon, lavender. Several neighbors are good cooks who are happy with fresh herbs, just take what's needed for today's cooking.



And one, who's talking about making lavender ice cream using my lavender, made me a present. Bought the copper tops, created a fitted base for each, removed old fence tops, replaced with these lovely additions to the patio. And the lovely new deck, ahem...

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Midsummer lunch, and little visitor


Lunch today, hot summer weather, local peas, steamed with carrots and homegrown thyme, tuna salad with homegrown tarragon, local strawberries with mango yogurt and chocolate drops. Followed by Vietnamese coffee and Goya cookies.



Then a tiny visitor came to play on the deck, safe from the active local foxes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The pitcher's final journey to the well

So if you're one of the afternoon tea guests over the years chez Boud, who've worried in case yours might be the hands in which the valuable Wedgwood Queensware pitcher might meet disaster,  your troubles are over.

Yesterday a cheap old saucepan lid fell into the washing up bowl I'd just put the pitcher in, ready to wash it. And this is the result.



It's retired for flower duty, sigh. Served me well. I can probably glue the handle back, but it won't work as a pitcher you can trust not to dump the milk on your guests.

Sic transit gloria Wedgwoodi.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

But there's always home cooking

Midst shot and shell, home cooking definitely helps the spirits.

New batch of hot biscuits, with golden raisins in, chocolate button on top, to be split and spread with homemade strawberry preserves from local berries, and labneh. Anywhere you'd use cream cheese, labneh works.



These went over big-time with handsome son visiting last evening to hear the latest dispatch from the plumbing front.

And my deck builder received a little pot of the jam and rushed off to try it.

Afternoon tea on the (beautiful new) deck features these, too. The biscuits, not the son and builder.

Another day, another flood...the plumbing saga continues.

So yesterday, finishing up a load of laundry, upstairs, I was in the living room, downstairs, having a peaceful cup of tea.  When suddenly splatter, splatter, sploosh, a cascade of water joins me in the living room, through the ceiling,  all over the floor and the cat, and requiring an instant basin.  The shutoff for the house is right there in the closet, did that, called the plumber who blessedly was at home, and came in five minutes.

After a bit of detective work and trudging about he diagnosed it as a clog in the washing machine drain.  Which accounted for the waterfall downstairs.  As it spun dry, the water rose up, over the drain, down the wall, and directly into the room below.  But he said not a clog, mor likely a small object had fallen, been dropped, in the course of installing the washer a couple of months ago. I also wondered about the plumbing and other handy work done since and wondered if a small tool had fallen down there. It took a bit of dislodging, but he finally managed it, and all is now well.

He tells me the ceiling won't fall.  Which is something, I guess.  My heart and my wallet are struggling to keep up with the excitement around here.

I have to rest on the (beautiful new) deck now and read something quiet and peaceful like a murder mystery.


Friday, June 8, 2018

Tea outdoors, and strawberry jam happens

The weather veering wildly from summer to fall, complete with high winds, and back again, any afternoon that allows for walking then tea on the deck is welcome. 

 
Here's the last slice of banana bread with a nice spoonful of labneh, great contrast, between the sweeter, fruity bread and the tart labneh, a favorite of mine. And a couple of shock horror, bought cookies! Goya Maries to be exact.

The book is Second Honeymoon by Joanna Trollope, great deck reading.  This is one I got enough of before the end, though, since there's a lot about actors and their lives, and it's sadly tedious stuff, as theater is to me, when it's just talking about it.  I've known quite a few actors over the years, and they're most interesting when they're on stage interpreting other people's words and thoughts.

And strawberry jam happened. I remembered having frozen a couple of containers of strawberries after eating some fresh, and last evening thought it would be good to have a little something to spread on bread.  Also to give to helpful neighbors who have been very good lately, what with setting up my washing machine after the plumbing adventure, the kind of job that's too small to get anyone to do for pay, but way beyond my strength to just do.  You need burly relatives or friends, and fortunately I have burly neighbors.

They are both mad for my bread, and the preserves, sooooo, a breakfast kit is going to happen for them soon.  And I need to buy more strawberries before the season ends.  Next jam plan is ginger and lemon, already prepped and in the freezer, the ingredients, that is.


Making jam, or in this case preserves, whole fruit in there, is not a big deal.  This small batch took half an hour start to finish.  It's just a matter of remembering to do it.  It used about one and a half strawberry containers.  Small batch is not only good to make, it's very good to taste.  And it's well received, since homebaked bread and jam is just not available even at the poshest stores.  Boutique food, even the best, has been packed and shipped.  Mine travels about fifty feet to its destination. I like this.

Friday, June 1, 2018

June is here! white rabbits, and the deck almost ready for summer loafing.



And, since you're already reading here, please note the following.

As you probably know, the EU GDP (General Data Protection) laws recently went into effect, and you have a right to know how and if they affect your participation in  my blogs.  Though the law applies only in the EU, it's important to know that my own policies have always respected personal information, and here's my assurance on that.

Your privacy is important to you,  so the statements below outline how I handle your personal information. First of all, thank you for visiting my blogs, following my blogs, and for leaving comments on my blog posts, all of which I so much appreciate. 
According to the new laws in effect regarding the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there must be a disclaimer available on these blogs.  You have the right to know how your personal data is being processed, and particularly, that any information on you is handled respectfully and appropriately by me, as the only person with access to the navigation tools for these blogs. 

ABOUT MY BLOGS
"Field and Fen" and "Art the Beautiful Metaphor" are independently operated blogs created, written and run by me (Liz Adams) and within which I share a range of subjects, including my creative work and process along with book reviews, art exhibit reviews, recipes of my own cooking, adventures with my character dolls, the Dollivers, and my forays into DIY, and my own photos of the work.  I am the owner, creator and only administrator of this blog. I do not have any advertising contracts for these blogs.

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So that's where we are!  Same as we always were, in fact.
Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Potatoes in full bloom

 Potatoes are blooming busily now.  This means new potatoes by about mid to late June.  With any luck, to coincide with farm peas. Weather permitting.

The flower is very interesting, one solid petal with points.









Monday, May 28, 2018

Memorial Day 2018














A quiet Memorial Day visit to the local memorials, where the pavers inlaid in the walkways do not celebrate and glorify war, but rather urge peace. They remember WW1, Korea, Iraq, and 9.ll

And a final dedication of a tree to an old friend who died in great old age a couple of years ago, also a veteran.






Friday, May 25, 2018

Man at work.

Replacement deck in progress. Hoping my plantings will recover. Mike is an excellent contractor,  not a gardener. But Nature usually prevails.



I'll be out this afternoon with my knitting pals, so I won't be agonizing over the deck. Which will be lovely when it's done.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Teapots and pitchers, accidental collections

The subject of accidental collections came up recently, the kind you didn't intend, and might not even realize you have until someone mentions it.  And the friend I was emailing with said she liked the sound of my pitchers, would like maybe to see.  So I thought, good idea.  And there are teapots..




My afternoon teas, solo or with company, are an almost daily chance to enjoy this stuff. Not quite Downton, but who's counting.


Here are the markings on the underside of one fish one, probably says dishwasher safe..I also bought two cups with the fish design. They're elegant mugs really,  don't need saucers. And my afternoon teas are an almost daily chance to enjoy this stuff. Not quite Downton, but who's counting.
 
And this is a Chinese coil pot, with a bamboo handle, fave of Handsome Son when he visits
 
Chinese porcelain pot, but with Western design for export
then my biggest one, a Japanese porcelain, with brass handle, and markings too faint to read


Below are: One small hand made Japanese clay one, makes wonderful tea, pours fine if you approach it boldly -- the stream is a wide arc -- and has no markings. This came to me through the antique trade. The little fish one is a favorite for tea, too, and the one on the right I reserve for coffee. They all have a filter in the design, no need for strainers.


 My pitchers are more historic. So I thought you'd like to see the markings if any.

Here, reading from the top and around clockwise are a Wedgwood Queensware one, early 19th century, an Irish Belleek, old, but not antique, a pretty Staffordshire china, modern, but traditional design, a blank Lenox, as you see. But once you see it upright, the color and glaze and shape are unmistakable.

Known as backdoor Lenox, that company being near here for its long history, a lot of locals worked there, and sometimes seconds or unmarked pieces found their way home, and eventually into hands like mine. 

This is a pottery region, the clays being excellent and varied.  A lot of English potters found their way here hundreds of years ago.  And the seashore clay was used by Lenni Lenape Indians to make coil pots.  I've dug some at Cape May, and created small items from it to show local kids at community events.

The Dutch pewter one is part of a wedding present, early 60s, the set including a coffee pot, teapot and sugar bowl.
 


The pressed glass, in the middle, unmarked, probably Depression glass, belonged to a friend's grandmother, so I use it in her honor.

 So this is the slightly more elegant side of life chez Boud.  And I really think these accidental collections are complete now.






Sunday, May 20, 2018

Spring or something, planting, making discoveries

With a sudden onset of hot, humid weather, it was time to look around at the sudden growth outside. 




This included a sighting of these blossoms on what I had thought was a cherry tree, from the State forestry people. But these aren't the cherry blossoms I expected. Urgent tweet to Quinn Piper, my guru in things tree related. She suggested prunus serotina, one I'd never heard of, but checked and it is. Still a cherry, black cherry, so that part's good. However instead of the twenty or so foot mature height I was replacing, my old wild cherry, this will grow to upwards of eighty, that is not a typo, feet. I am unlikely to be there for it. But the blossoms are lovely. This is the first year of flowering, very exciting.



Onward to notice a few blossoms on the chives, which come back year after year, unprotected all winter. Usually they don't get to flower because I snip them younger.

And the potatoes are just booming. And the roses




In the course of searching for a flashlight to shine into the hole cut in the wall for the plumbing, to see if it was dry now, never found the flashlight,  but did find saved seeds, Italian basil, Thai basil and honesty. I planted the basils in containers out front so neighbors can pick when they cook. The honesty is now in the strawberry pot in the hope that marauding chipmunks won't reach up and bite them off this time.

Lunch for sudden onset heat, caraway walnut biscuit split with tuna salad, chives and tarragon added. 


Succeeded by sudden onset Duncan, who had already had his share and wanted to make inroads on mine, while my hands were occupied.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Never mind the cold wet weather, it's Summer.

It's summer, so fruit salad is the requirement for lunch. Here nice crisp apple, banana, raw almonds, sharp cheddar, dates, plain yogurt. All assembly, no cooking.

 

Friday, May 11, 2018

Exciting Day, started out innocently...

Today was supposed to be a quiet day, music partner not able to play, so free time to regroup.  Then, taking a morning cup of tea, I glanced up.  And saw an ugly wet stain on the ceiling.  New. Since yesterday. Right below the bathroom and laundry area.  This put paid to my plan to shower and do laundry.

Two neighbors later, measuring and confirming that the problem was most likely shower or washing machine.  And that, since everything visible was bone dry, it must be inside the wall.  Or floor.  One of the neighbors is my friend and contractor Mike, who said they may need to cut into the wall to detect the source, but don't worry, I can create a new access hatch for you, using the hole they cut.  Good for future use, too.

Then a fruitless morning trying to raise the plumber, all the time the stain spreading...they were having phone problems. When I finally got through, they were here in twenty minutes.  Probably grateful I hadn't given up and got another plumber.

And, after insisting, repeatedly that I did not mind cutting into the wall if that's what it took to find the problem, plumber reluctantly did so.  Either he thought I would freak out if he cut up my walls, or he didn't fancy all that work. 





Anyway, cut he did, detect he did.  And after many tries, finally found that the problem was indeed behind the wall, a pinhole in the copper pipe.  Invisible to the eye, but since under pressure, emitting a tiny little spray, probably for ages now before it became evident.  Unfortunately he had to cut into another wall to get at the pipe to cut, replace and solder it.  Which involved moving a large washing machine.  Which involved my bothering my saintly neighbor again, to ask for help, since it's a two person job.

So that bit is done.  The washer is in the hallway, glad I can slip past it.  And two neighbors will replace and rehook the washer this evening, after my contractor friend has repaired the wall.  Then I can do the laundry.  But at least I got a shower this morning, the shower's innnocence having been established despite the plumber's insistence that the problem was I was splashing water over the shower, yeah, right, he didn't get far with that, try as he did.

While I was at it, I booked the plumbing people to replace a toilet that's ready for it, and to investigate why my second shower causes a damp patch downstairs.  Which is why I couldn't shower yesterday until the first one was cleared.  Sigh.  It's all go. But I
may as well get a few big jobs done while I've got my wallet open.

In fact one reason the contractor neighbor was here was to give me a price on replacing my deck, which he's repaired recently.  May as well do the whole thing and enjoy it.  So that's going to happen. But I know  he will just tend to business, no protesting that it doesn't need done. He's already done the measurements and will price lumber this weekend. 

This place will be fully functional if I live to see it!   My logic is that now that my body is no longer considered a disaster area, I can turn my attention to the fabric of the house. Too bad there's no insurance for house repairs caused by wear and tear. Or on the householder, also under wear and tear.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Asparagus is in!

Celebrating the new asparagus season.  Here are a few spears, briefly simmered, and added to this salad of local mozzarella, apples, cheddar cheese, almonds.

 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Spuds ahoy!

I'm sure you remember vividly the post in which I talked about planting potatoes? no? how will you manage the quiz at the end of the post, I ask?  You may be headed for failure with a capital L, as one of my teachers memorably said one day, poor lady.

Anyway, back in February we had a deceptively mild day, and I had a couple of potatoes sprouting on their own in the kitchen, so I planted them in containers.  Then a lot of weather ensued, which kept them pretty much wet and frozen for weeks, neither of which conditions suits potatoes.


 
But a couple of warm days, and we see that, contrary to my expectations, they are sprouting rapidly, and there will be a harvest.  

 
Even my backup one is coming up despite the squirrels digging everything up multiple times.

So maybe in June, along with green peas from the farm, there will be new potatoes, too.  I'll be sure to show you the harvest if there is one.



And here's my little red maple, new foliage, lovely color.  I use the leaves in fall for dyeing purposes, and recommend them as a natural dye source. Even fallen leaves, if they still have some pigment, can work.  Aside from the fact, says she hastily, that it's a beautiful tree for your landscaping..I tend to get carried away with utility in these things.

Speaking of which, the ficus, which I took outdoors perilously early, did indeed drop a lot more leaves, no help from squirrels climbing about, but I notice also signs of new growth, so that's hopeful.

I had already decided that if she didn't survive this year,  I would spray her some interesting color and use her as a home decor feature.  Maybe she heard my plans and thought, hey, not so fast, lady. Waste not want not...

Saturday, May 5, 2018

New learning at the knittting group, and WW Farmers' Market 2018

Yesterday was a meeting of the knitting group, always fun, and three new members showed up. One was in the throes of a broomstick lace project and she kindly showed us how it's done.  I'd heard of it, but this was a first in action



 


And I had brought Ellen Wilkinson in for a field trip




Today was the opening of the WW Farmers' Market for the year.  So I was there earlier than I usually manage, couldn't wait. It's always a lot of fun.


 Bottom line, this is today's haul, first asparagus, wonderful chicken sausage, local mixed greens, handmade mozzarella from the sausage place, mixture of crimini and shiitake mushrooms. Several excellent meals here.


This handsome feller, complete with spring clip, had noted that here and there interesting bits of food get dropped, so he kept his nose alert just in case Dogs love the farmers' market.
 

Two young audience members, in plenty of time for the live music tuning up

  
This baby cracked me up, intently studying his father taking pictures of the labels on garden plants, important stuff


  
And here's the brother of the two young audience members, jamming briefly with a member of the performing group

  
Always look for the mushroom display, this being not far from Kennett Square, home of the mushroom around here

 The knife grinder discussing the technicalities, and reminding me that I hate grinding my own knives so it would be good to remember to bring them and have him do them


The musicians getting under way

Once home, it's all about prep, washing, drying, slicing, wiping, generally setting up in the freezer ready for a week's good food.

So that's us.