Thursday, November 21, 2013

Window Box "Replant"

A few weeks ago at work we did an event that needed pumpkins and gourds for centerpieces. We found what we needed at Young's Greenhouse, a local, family owned greenhouse that has been around for 126 years and is in it's 5th generation. The next day we had, well, about a hundred little pumpkins and gourds left over and we split them up at work. I knew exactly where I could use my portion.
I could fill the dreary, ugly, full-of-bare-dirt window boxes!

Much better!

I'm not sure if you can see them from the street or not. (please excuse my toes)

But from the inside looking out on a rainy day like today it is a major improvement. Now what to do out here for Christmas...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Daycation, All I Ever Wanted

Monday night I headed South to Indianapolis for a visit with my friends Erin and Phil. They were wonderful hosts and they fed and entertained my friend Abby and I all night and the next day. Thank you so much to the Bristows for making my Daycation to Indy such a blast! There are so many things I should have bought, I need to go back!

We arrived to a beautiful, home cooked Indian dinner.

Followed by a taste of one of their local breweries. Then it was time for euchre, beer, wine, Taboo, more beer, etc.

Bright and somewhat early the next morning we headed out for some sightseeing and shopping. It was fun to see how things have changed since my last real visit, which was before all the Super Bowl anticipation brought quite a bit of money downtown. Our first stop of the day, however, was the Midland Arts and Antiques Market.

Where do I begin? This is just a small section of two enormous floors chock full of awesome finds. There were four little lustreware pitchers, all very cheap due to chips at the rim, but would have been perfect little vases. The furniture is all wonderful. There are two chairs like this at the theatre that I have always had my eye on. They are beat up, but could be nicely refinished.

I found a ton of yellowware bowls, I just don't know if I've decided to commit to collecting them. I have a few at home, but haven't added to them in years.

This jardiniere was only $45. I should have bought it. It's not the more intricate, Roseville pottery jardinieres that can cost anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of dollars, but it was in excellent condition.

I DID buy an old Martha Stewart collection glass acorn for $3, though!

I spotted these Haeger candle holders and immediately called out to Abby. I bought some of these from her at a VERY reasonable price, and they were marked $24.50 here and one of them was chipped. She's going to post them on eBay.

I set down the candle holders and scanned the room. Low and behold, beneath the church pew, I spied something I'm always on the look-out for. Faux Bois.

This is a big regret. It wasn't anything that old or fancy, just a plain old, concrete, faux bois trough planter. It was only $25 and I passed it by. AAAARRRRGH! I just knew it would be a pain to get home. It weighed a ton, and would have taken two people to carry it up to the Penthouse. I really could kick myself for not coming up with some way to bring it home. If it's there when I go back, then it was meant to be.

Vintage and antique holiday decorations were out in full force.

From there we headed over to Fountain Square. The Fountain Square theatre played host to the wedding reception of my hilarious and dear friends Rachel and Jared many moons ago.

Rollerbladers are the low man on the totem pole. As they should be.

Leaving lunch and taking a look downtown. We also stopped by the Indianapolis Downtown Antique Mall. I almost spent too much on jadeite, but stopped at a nice piece of pottery and some vintage Christmas ornaments. Erin, however, made some big scores, like a complete Fire King lustreware eggnog bowl and 12 cups, as well as some new lustreware plates and a cream and sugar set. All 50% off! Here's a little video of the place. They do a good job of keeping out the "junky stuff".

This pretty much sums it up. What a great day of sightseeing and shopping. Thank you, Erin and Phil, for a wonderful Daycation!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Last Flower of the Year

Sunday was a strange day. Storms were predicted for the afternoon, and as the morning turned to the noon hour, things seemed to be lining up to be worse than originally expected. Tornado Watches were issued (in November!) and the temperature continued to rise. From the safety of the Penthouse I watched as the storm hit, then slightly panicked as the tornado sirens went off and I couldn't see across the street for the wind and rain. Was a tornado really coming? Where are my shoes? What do I want to wear when I am homeless and all of my other other clothes are blown away? I admit to being a wee bit nervous for a few minutes.

Before all that happened, though, I took a stroll around the Garden.

Hosta leaves flattened by the frost.

One of the Autumn ferns still happy and green as can be.

The skeleton of the climbing hydrangea.

All of the Hydrangea Border was wiped out by the frost. I wish I would have picked those last flowers!

Out in the vegetable garden the asparagus fronds have turned a bright coppery-blond.

The little white azalea needs it's burlap coat soon.
Hey! There's a patch of mesclun looking as good as can be!

So many different colors in the Berry Patch. The gooseberries turned a really vivid red this year.

And there she was, knocked over and shivering. One lonely little delphinium. Of course I took her home.
After the storm the sky was rather amazing. I couldn't see anything in this shot when the sirens originally went off.

So beautiful.

The glowing colors were amazing.

And the entire time that storm was raging and then the cold wind was blowing, the last flower of the year sat cheering up the kitchen counter.

Meatless Monday : Black Bean and Almond Soup

We are in the home stretch. One more soup for Meatless Monday and Souper November (souper cheesy?) will be over. I actually already have that soup planned, which I really cannot believe. I mean, I always thing I plan ahead and am organized, but as I type this I should be packing for a quick trip to Indianapolis. However, because I didn't plan ahead on my posts, well, I'm totally unorganized right now.

This soup looked to me like a "pantry" soup since every ingredient, aside from the avocado and cilantro, are pretty much pantry staples. Who doesn't have a few cans of black beans languishing away on the shelf?
This is actually a two for one post, since I made some green rice puree while the soup was simmering. The soup recipe itself comes from the November issue of Martha Stewart Living, and you can find it here.

Once again I used vegetable stock rather than chicken.

Maybe I didn't have ALL of the ingredients. I only had one pretty small red onion, so I used it and an equally small yellow onion.

When you add the garlic and cumin make sure you let the cumin cook. Raw cumin is nothing but nasty.

Rinse the beans, throw them in the pot. Add the veg stock.

While the soup simmers, you can toast your almonds.

And while you toast your almonds you can prep the cilantro for the soup and the green rice, as well as chop up the ingredients for green rice.

Tomatillos, green onion, a white onion, some lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, and jalapenos. 
Puree it all together and add some salt and pepper. Here's the actual recipe if you don't want to eyeball it.
Once the soup has cooled, puree it in a blender in batches, adding the almonds and cilantro.

Reheat and serve it up. There is some Greek yogurt buried under all that avocado somewhere.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Game of Hide and Seek Right Outside My Window

Early last week, before the leaves had all been blown from the trees, there was quite a ruckus outside the living room windows. I went to see the cause, and ended up testing out my zoom lens quite a bit.
Before all the wind and rain knocked the foliage from the trees, West Berry Street looked rather dazzling.

I thought there must be Chickadees in the big old pine tree. These tiny birds were flitting around so fast.

Then I realized they didn't have the markings of a Chickadee at all. There were about 10 flying and jumping around the tree, so I wasn't about to walk away to look them up.

It turns out they are Golden-Crowned Kinglets. And are only 3-4 inches long. A group of them are referred to as a Court, a Castle, or a Dynasty. 

I took way too many pictures that require actual hunting to spy the bird.

Here's a good shot at how they get their name. They seemed like such social, happy little birds.

Just hanging out at the top of a pine tree, surveying the scene.

Strange fact, the Golden-Crowned Kinglet's nostrils are each covered by a single, tiny feather. 

Soon the others had all moved on and this was the last Kinglet hanging out. I'll keep my eyes open for another visit, however, since this is their Winter habitat. I hope they come back!