Tuesday, May 24, 2011

so sweet!

Georgia peaches. The gentleman stuck these in my shopping cart last night. The first of the season. Ridiculously juicy and sweet.

And pretty enough for an impromptu still life.

I am also thrilled to tell you that our wedding is featured on Snippet & Ink today. My very favorite wedding blog! A huge honor ~ thank you to Kathryn, and our wonderful photographer Kate! Everything looks so beautiful.

Happy tuesday all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

market days

Pink peonies for Courtney! Buckets and buckets of them.

I have learned that every now and then one simply needs to give into the season and revel in the bounty. For example:

My mother tells the story of my great-grandmother making strawberry shortcake for sunday lunch. Just that, strawberry shortcake. Served on her pink-flowered Haviland china. So, when I spied fresh local berries at yesterday's market (the first of the season), I decided to continue the family tradition. Hot biscuits baked from scratch, whipped cream with a dash of elderflower syrup, and sweet red berries. All piled high. I think the gentleman was a bit incredulous when I handed him his lunch. For real? Yes, for real. . . enjoy.


Friday, May 20, 2011

trouvée: the back yard

Inscribed: "Kincaid's back yard. / Bethlehem, Pa." Date stamped: July 1954. This one pretty much sums up my personal feelings about the advent of bathing-suit season. {click image to view larger}

Better pull out my straw hat and get my summer reading in order:

* Caleb's Crossing, by Geraldine Brooks
* The Violets of March, by Sarah Jio
* and some Great Food. . . where to start? (I am leaning towards The Joys of Excess)

Warmth is in our forecast.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

up in the air

Our little garden on the roof. Anyone need basil? Because we have more than we can handle. The plants love the cool, wet weather.

Container gardening is an interesting challenge, especially 11 stories off the ground! Things don't work the way they do on (or in) the ground. We learned a lot from our mistakes last summer, and seem to be doing very well this year. I have found Gayla Trail's blog You Grow Girl to be a fantastic resource. . . and her book Grow Great Grub has become my gardening bible.

So what to do with all those herbs? Get cookin'! Last night the gentleman made bruschetta, with local mozzarella, tomatoes, big FRESH basil leaves, and a slice of avocado. And I am thinking this chilled leek soup sounds good.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Or for that matter, growing in your garden. . . ?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

hopping the pond

. . . for a bit of Georgian architecture. A snippet from my visit this past February to Dr. Johnson's House in London.

Inspired by Emily's trip in January, I decided to seek out this little gem of a house. Finding it is no easy task, tucked away in the heart of Fleet Street (in fact, had EEE not mentioned the nearby McDonald's, I think I would have thrown my hands up in despair). That the house has survived history is extraordinary. . . literally being blitzed during WWII, and now hemmed in by modernity. As Emily wrote, the house is sparsely furnished, leaving one to conjure up the past without the clutter of objects. After all, it is the stories of the personalities that inhabited the place that really matter. From an architectural perspective, however, it is fascinating to see a Georgian townhouse so intact.

Also not to be missed:

* Danson House
* Fenton House
* and a place in Wales

And I must say ~ I am so impressed by this site: London. . . shh. What a brilliant idea!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

oh, palladio!

From our adventures at Arlington House last weekend. It was a ridiculously gorgeous day for the annual outing of the Center for Palladian Studies in America. This year, Washington! From Latrobe to Mills to Thornton, it was an architectural orgy, and an opportunity for me to look at my city from a different perspective. Funny how things can become so familiar that you don't really see them.

Just a little plug ~ but I must say that the CPSA is a great organization. If you are even remotely interested in architecture, it is well worth the $30 to join. The journal alone is worth it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

trouvée: the hollyhock

Don't you wish you knew the story behind this one?! Alas, there is no inscription. But, I think it safe to say that was one prize-winning hollyhock! {click image to view larger}

Some things:

* Howard Sooley (Emile reminded me of his work the other day by mentioning Derek Jarman, whose famous garden Sooley so eloquently photographed)

* and an advance copy of this impressive tome (832 pages) just arrived on my desk! Having had the pleasure of assisting on it over the past 5 years, I can say with authority. . . it is REALLY well done. (You should order a copy.)

Have a great weekend. Cheers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


We have been enjoying the most wonderful evening skies (it's a bit distracting).

There has been good food and wine: i.e. salmon fillets with fresh dill from the garden, roasted chicken with sage, rhubarb sauce, and quiche with local spinach and leeks. Oh, and I discovered the gentleman doesn't like peas! However, for those of you who do ~ yum.

We have been reading, a lot. There are currently piles and piles of books "in progress." Our wedding registry consisted primarily of books, and we received many beautiful, wonderful things, but until recently have had no time to read them. We were also given an extraordinary library by a very special lady ~ it has now been (mostly) catalogued, and we are ever more in awe.

And the garden! It loves the cool spring rains.

Hope you are all well.

Monday, May 9, 2011

a place in the shade

We had a gorgeous weekend here in Washington. Lots of sun and green leaves. Perfect weather for exploring old houses. But, more on that later. . .

For now, two things:

* old + new on the Isle of Coll
* and are you up for editing some Dickens?

Until tomorrow, adieu.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

the language of flowers

Of the many details from last week's royal wedding, I was particularly intrigued by the attention paid to the meaning of flowers. According to the official website, Kate’s bouquet, designed by Shane Connolly, was comprised of flowers chosen for their significance to the families of the bride and groom and their meanings according to the Language of Flowers ~ lily-of-the-valley: return of happiness; sweet William: gallantry; hyacinth: constancy of love; ivy: fidelity, marriage, wedded love, friendship, and affection; and myrtle: an emblem of marriage and love.

When I put together my own bridal bouquet, I admit that I did not pay any attention to the meaning of the flowers included. So, curious to know the message carried in those blooms I turned to the gentleman’s extensive library of Victoriana which (naturally) includes a book on deportment, a whole chapter devoted to the Language of Flowers.

The translation:

* white roses: pure love
* ranunculus: radiant charm
* cosmos: beauty (derived from the Latin "kosmos")
* astilbe: “I'll still be waiting”
* blue thistle: austerity, independence, and nobility

Also in the mix were leaves of dusty miller and sprigs of silver brunia berries, which as far as I can tell have no assigned meaning. All together, I think the symbolism is quite perfect. Incidentally, my two matrons-of-honor carried bouquets comprised of the same flowers, but instead of the chocolate cosmos and astilbe, I included white and brown Queen Anne's Lace, signifying "haven, or protection" (rather appropriate, no?).

And what would a groom be without his boutonnière? The gentleman wore a blue thistle with leaves of sage, meaning "domestic virtue and wisdom," and thyme, signifying "thriftiness." After our ceremony my niece stuffed a bright pink clover flower in with everything. Clover, meaning "to live a carefree life of ease, comfort, or prosperity." She may not have realized it, but she gave us a most wonderful wedding wish!

(photographs by Kate Headley)

Monday, May 2, 2011

spring things

Some scenes from our weekend. Nasturtiums for the garden. And lots and lots of asparagus (2 pounds to be exact), which I blanched and served cold with curried mayo. There were also pungent leeks, fresh local spinach, and rhubarb. I love spring things!

Not to be missed:

* Savage Beauty at the Met (opens May 4)
* and a menu fit for royalty

Happy monday!