Saturday, September 26, 2015


We have been blessed with a bonus, beautiful,  post-last day of summer weekend.

Whoo hoo!

Anybody who crossed their fingers and planned a wedding, picnic, ballgame, or last fishing or camping trips for this weekend got really lucky. The rest of us are the beneficiaries of their optimism and cramped pointer and middle digits too. Get out there and play.

We're going Fall Festing. In shorts!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Gift of Plums

Became a beautiful clafouti,

and two batches of sparkling red jelly.

And gave us another opportunity to play with the jam labelelizer.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

We Heart Butterflies

We found this little guy having a siesta after a heart-healthy, milkweed munch.

Good call little larva. There is still plenty of exhausting eating and metamorphosing ahead.

Our alley monarch watch gives us reason for optimism. Many more were spotted this year than last.

Overall forecasts for the monarch population are not so rosy, but maybe, with a little help from their friends, they will get by.

Let's do it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Northern Arts

The Blue Moon Art Tour is coming up this weekend.

Our favorites.

Horse hair pottery by Reg Behrends.

Oils and pastels by Sara Qualey.

It's free. It's fun.

Cable 4 Fun 4 sure.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Froggy Kong Jr.

Sometimes heard, but seldom seen around here this very serious looking little gray tree frog 
was recently spotted hanging out on our newly acquired Kong Jr. Green Halo coleus.

Perhaps he/she has been waiting for us to provide a suitably camouflaging and photogenic plant for his lounging pleasure.

What a nice addition to the alley wildlife. 

It is possible he/she may be the little guy who hitched a ride in the next door neighbors' car trunk from a nearby lake to the West Hill a few weeks ago? 
Perhaps she/he has now had enough of city life and is patiently watching from this perfect vantage point for an opportunity to hop into another open trunk and be homeward bound.

Fun Frog Fact: 

The gray tree frog freezes in the winter! It produces large amounts of glycerol. The glycerol is changed to glucose, and then it is circulated through the frog's cells. The glucose acts like a kind of antifreeze and prevents ice crystals from forming in the frog's cells. If ice crystals formed in the cells, they would rip the cells apart and kill the frog. The rest of the water and blood in the frog's body then freezes, and its heartbeat and breathing stop! When the temperature warms up, the tree frog "thaws out" and returns to the trees! - nhptv

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Blow Out the Candles

And then douse them. And then douse them again. And maybe one more time.

Fire danger is high today.... on Smokey's birthday cake. 71 years old. Last year he had a big do.

We were there. There was cake.

And we are 100% sure that Smokey's only wish when he blew out the candles was that we all remember....

Only YOU can prevent wildfires.

Grab the kids and have some fun learning how at Smokey's Outpost.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vintage Lake Life

A few of our favorite things from the curated cabin tchotchke collection.

Never can have too many souvenirs of your own state. Big fish!

 From the mushroom decade. 1970s! Hull dripware fungus S or P needs S or P mate.

Frankoma made for the Oklahoma Golden Jubilee 1957. 
Who doesn't need a drink from a Cup O' Kindness every now and then?

We always pat down departing company and check their suitcases for this little gem that is the envy of many who have stayed in the vacation kitsch guestroom. 

Depending on the week or day you could score your own online without resorting to the old five-finger discount..

Ah yes, the grease canister. We have the entire set, but the coffee one is the most used and practical favorite followed by the grease pot as favorite in the curiosity factor category. 

Don't tell, but it is a very good place to hide things. No one suspects M and Ms to be in it and they are too afraid of finding old bacon fat to look.

Last, the vintage dish towel. Soft, absorbent, colorful, corny. Can't get enough of them. Products featured here: Frisco, Suz, 67 Sauce, and several with iconic label images or design, all cleverly avoiding copyright infringement. Perhaps the nascence of the knock-off phenomenon? 

One of these days we will actually move into this century with our decor, but the order of business at the cabin is lolling around, and even if change is going to happen, considering the pace of  lake life, don't be holding your breath unless it is because you are doing a cannonball off the dock.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grandma, What Nice Mittens You Have On

This scene seen at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville, Wisconsin 
reminded us of the one who freezes snowballs in January to throw with her Southern grandsons in July.

"The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball." 
- Doug Larson

Once she helped us collect Zamboni shavings from behind the hockey arena for a fellow summer birthday child who didn't understand why he couldn't have a snowball fight as an activity for his June party. 

Yup, she's been in the business of making kids' dreams come true for four decades, and counting.

Here's hoping she has a chance to relax and enjoy her special day, which promises to be a beautiful Wisconsin one,

 but with the grand energy level currently at an all-time high she may just have to hold on for the ride for now and collapse later.

Ready. Aim. Enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Little Cabins in the Woods

Our earthy period left a lot of scraps.

Perfect for a woodsy version of "Surburbs" by Cluck Cluck Sew.

See how the cabins creep out to the edge of a birch woods?

Perfect for a lake retreat bed.

Expertly machine quilted by the talented J. Bauer.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sewn in Stone

Santa Maria in Trastevere is very fancy inside.You can look it up.

We found the patterns in these fragments from past versions of the church as beautiful as the gilded interior walls of the current edifice.

We see quilts. Do you?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

And We're Eating...

Tusky Tuscan meats.

Here are the girls who make it all happen.

Homemade pasta with Pecorino and wild leek.

Followed by this delicious plateful. 

And sheep's milk ricotta for dessert.

This little piggy is one of the "wild" boars at the agrotourism farm.

Oh, and yes we were drinking too.

Beautiful Brunello. You know that is a true Brunello by it's orange tone.

A wonderful tasting session at Cordella ended with grappa

No one but the driver remained awake for the ride back to Rome.

That is the sign of a good day in Tuscany.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Lucky in Lunch

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. 

Well, really on the way to tour the Appian Way by bike.

We stumbled upon the Mercato de Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo and a spontaneous, fresh-from-the-farm lunch opportunity.

Chard, fennel, sausage, fava, bread, and wine in a Dixie cup.

With room left for pistachio gelato.

Possibly the most wonderful meal served on disposable dishes ever! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Roamin' Foodie

Start with your morning coffee.

Drink it standing up as the locals do.

It really wouldn't be worth your while to find a place to sit down to enjoy your approximately 1/2 ounce frothy jolt.

So when in as Kissinger did and do as the Romans do.

It costs more if you sit at an outdoor table and expect service anyway.

Take some chocolate covered espresso beans to keep you going as you proceed on the Roman Foodie Fresh Market Lunch Tour. 

Next stop, the meat market for a generous sampling of delicious meats and wine. 
Only 10:30 in the morning? No problem. 

The meat artist.

On to Campo dei Fiori market. Colorful! And the truffle sampling divine.

Sadly, the price and anticipated customs and immigration hassle were prohibitive.

On to the bakery.

Pizza by the pound. Kilo rather. The red one, sauce only, is often taken as a mid-morning snack.

 Not necessary today as our tasting marathon continued, but perhaps normally a welcome treat as Italian breakfast usually consists of only coffee and cornetti. 
But of course we had some anyway. 

That brought us to true lunch. 

Antipasti course of lentils, mozzarella, fennel salad, and bread.

Followed by pasta in two classic styles. The yellow one is carbonara.

We got to meet the nonna who did the cooking. 

And then....

it was gelato time!

Strawberry and Celery Basil. 

The perfect ending to a perfect roamin' Roman food extravaganza.