Monthly Archives: September 2009

Osborne & Little “Kishangarh” Wallpaper

From JH:

in blue

in blue

I’m feeling it’s time to replace the wallpaper that I have framed in my living room with something new. Osborne & Little’s new Sariskar Collection by Henry Wilson is outstanding, I think. And the Kishangarh composition of perfume bottles set against a trellis is so delightfully bizarre and beautiful to me. But blue? Or coral?

in red

in coral

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Raw Materials, Simple Syrup

Fancy Sweatpants

From DW:

oak pleated sweatpant

oak pleated sweatpant

I have to say, the idea of the impending fall and dire prospect of winter  has me feeling melancholy in terms of my biking commitment, particularly. I love the heat and the ease of dressing in the summer, and I am a wimp about the cold. However, the idea of biking to work  bundled up in these cycle-worthy trousers actually has me a little excited for a crisp Autumn morning!

Buy them here from OAK.

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Clothes and Accessories, Gift Ideas

Wallbark

From DW:

birch bark collection

birch bark collection

While JH was off in the wilds of the West Coast, I had a staycation hiking and camping upstate.

One of my favorite things to do while hiking is birch bark collecting. I have specimens from all over the northeast; Yellow Birch bark from the White Mountains, Silver Birch bark and White Birch bark from the Catskills and River Birch bark from the Berkshires.  I often drag SS off trail in search of unusual specimens. Then, back at the camp, I shake out the decomposing tree center from a perfectly intact piece and soak the bark in the stream in an effort to remove the earthy remnants. I have even scanned them to make into Christmas cards.

I hope to one day have enough to bark a whole room.

sunapee specimen

sunapee specimen

Ummm… yes, that is a sage smudge stick.

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Filed under Do It Yourself, Raw Materials

All I Want for Christmas is A Compost Bin

From JH:

My rule is this: If you’ve cleared Labor Day you can start thinking about what you want to give and get for the holidays. Personally, I like to ask myself the following questions to determine what to put at the top of my list:

1. What do I want, but don’t necessarily need?

2. What do I want that I don’t want to spend my own money on?

3. What object/deed/accoutrement would improve the quality of my life, and also the quality of someone else’s life?

My answer to all three this year: A compost bin. Really, it’s about time. And though it’s not something that the beautiful borough of Brooklyn makes easy, it isn’t so hard, either. What’s more challenging is deciding which one to get. I’ve pretty much settled on the less-laborious “tumbling” variety, but in that category there are many choices…and sizes. Here are the ones I’m considering:

Mantis 4000-00-002 Compost Twin

mantis 4000-00-002 compost twin; $500

The Cadillac of composters––The Mantis Compost Twin is a beauty, no? But maybe too much for my modest urban garden?

:

back porch compost tumbler; $242.50

back porch compost tumbler; $242.50

I found this one at PlanetNatural.com, which has a most extensive selection of organic garden and greenhouse supplies. The size of this one is perfect, and the simple design appeals most to me. Plus, it yields finished compost in 4-6 weeks.

:

Tumbleweed 100% Recycled Plastic Compost Bin; $189.00

tumbleweed 100% recycled plastic compost bin; $189.00

Yes, it’s a big, black blob, but it’s made from 100% recycled plastic and it’s on sale here.

Variations on these three bins are also available at BackyardComposters.com, probably the most helpful site I’ve found so far. I’m going to have to think on it (and consult with JB, who will no doubt have an opinion), but in the meantime, I’m pretty sure that I want this kitchen compost keeper to store my kitchen scraps in between trips to the main attraction:

grip-ez satinless steel kitchen compost keeper; $35.50

grip-ez satinless steel kitchen compost keeper; $35.50

Clean, simple, sturdy. It’s useless without a mama compost to unload into, but I’m tempted to buy it right now!

Do you have a compost bin? If so, please share. I’d love some recommendations.

p.s. Into composting? There’s a blog for that: TheCompostBin.com.

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Filed under Raw Materials, Recycling

Chicken Love

From JH:

If I could, I’d keep a coop of my own, but because my life isn’t conducive to raising farm animals, yet, I stare longingly at picture books devoted to beautiful chickens, instead. Extraordinary Chickens by Stephen Green-Armytage has been a longtime favorite of mine. Then, today, I discovered The Fairest Fowl: Portraits of Championship Chickens by Ira Glass (author) and Tamara Staples (photographer). NPR’s Ira Glass on prize-winning chickens? His humor and heart are rivaled only by Staples’s exquisite pics:

photograph by tamara staples

photograph by tamara staples

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photographs by tamara staples

photographs by tamara staples

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photograph by tamara staples

photograph by tamara staples

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photograph by tamara staples

photograph by tamara staples

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photograph by tamara staples

photograph by tamara staples

p.s. Total coincidence––the NY Times has a story about a chicken-raising children’s book author and her home in the Berkshires today. Read it here. See the slideshow here.

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Books

Cortes Oysters

From JH:

fresh from the pacific

fresh from the pacific

So. Oysters. I wasn’t planning to eat them by the dozens when I arrived on Cortes Island, but seeing as they were, a.) readily available, b.) free, and c.) fresher than fresh, I couldn’t help myself (and why would I?). The preparation of choice: Grilled. Just put the oysters in their shells straight onto the barbeque and let them cook in their own salty sea juices until their shells pop open. It’s easier than shucking, and if you have any reservations about eating raw shellfish, this should put you at ease. To accompany my oysters, I made three dipping sauces, all from scratch and with what I had the kitchen already (again, not planning on oysters, but in truth, they don’t need much). Might I suggest:

1. Classic:  1 tsp minced shallot mixed with 1 tbsp champagne vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil, pinch of sea salt

2. Spicy:  1 tbsp finely chopped radish mixed with 1 tsp Sriachi hot sauce (any hot sauce you have on hand will do), 1 tbsp olive oil, pinch of sea salt

3. Citrus:  1 tbsp dijon mustard mixed with 2 tbsp lemon juice, splash of olive oil, sprinkling of chives

All three sauces are simple, really, but they make surprisingly delicious additions to a pretty perfect meal.

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Filed under Cooking Chronicles, Do It Yourself

Back from BC, Back to the Blog

From JH:

the coast of cortes

the coast of cortes

OK, true: I’ve been back in the States for almost three weeks now, but circumstances––an assignment in VT, more work in NYC––made posting impossible. I do plan on catching up over the next few days, but in the meantime, can we just enjoy the view from what was my skiff? Yep, it looks just like the Discovery Islands Atlas images, I know. Only the atlas doesn’t say that the beaches on Cortes Island are terrific spots for oyster fishing, I found out. I make it sound like a sport. It’s really just a matter of reaching down between the rocks and pulling them up in numbers. The glassy water makes the oysters’ gnarly shells easy to see from above. Catching fresh Pacific oysters for an early supper? Highly recommended. Cooking instructions and sauces to come…

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Filed under Aspirational/Inspirational, Simple Syrup