Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wild Plum

My in-laws came over for dinner Sunday night, and my father-in-law said he had some wild plum trees that I could have. My FIL dropped by with a tall wild plum tree on Monday. Chip was off on Monday, so he dug the hole and planted the tree. And this is what it looked like when he was done.

Now, I hate to pick on Chip. I know it took him a long time to dig a hole big enough to accomodate the large taproot. But, c'mon. That's really crooked.

So, during my lunch break yesterday, I did what any gardener would do. I dug it up and planted it again. Straight this time.

I plan on working on this neglected portion of my back yard this spring. I've got lots of work to do, but a tree is a great place to start.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Newest Furniture Project

For the longest time I'd been looking for a sideboard for our entry way. I wanted something with lots of storage space and two or three doors with drawers. I browsed all of my favorite shops - Country Originals, Antique Shops of Jackson, Interior Spaces, and the High Street Antique Mall in Jackson. I visited Pette's Place and Bon Chic in Clinton. Each time I was in Oxford, I hit up the Mustard Seed and Sugar Magnolia. I never found what I wanted. Eventually, we began looking at the usual suspects - Pottery Barn, Wisteria, Ballard Designs, and NapaStyle - and I picked out a few that I liked.

The Benchwright Buffet from Pottery Barn...

The Solare Sideboard from NapaStyle...

But, the thing is, I wanted something unique and old, and these were both in the upper end of my price range, so I held out a little longer.

On a whim one Saturday, I went in Pette's Place again after yoga class. They are always so sweet in there! It was my lucky day, because I found exactly what I was looking for. It was a great deal, so I snatched it up.

This is what my new sideboard looked like on the day they delivered it. I didn't take an interior shot before I cleaned it out, but let me tell you, it was nasty. A family of mice seemed to have taken residence in one of the upper corners, so I had quite a time cleaning out all of the dust, dirt, and mouse poop. Maybe that's why I got the great deal? It took me two evenings to strip out all of the shelf paper, scrape off all the mouse poop, and wipe it down with Murphy's Oil Soap. Once it was clean, I decided to line it with folded burlap held down with brass tacks.

I relocated one of our paintings from the dining room to rest on top. I love this painting, but it hadn't found the perfect spot in our home until I set it on top of the sideboard. I am so happy with the placement now. This painting is by Sarah Robertson. She is a local artist and will be selling her work at Oxford's Double Decker Arts Festival in April.
Next, I added an orchid in a mirrored pot that I already had. Then I found a beautiful demi-john wine bottle in a old wooden crate at Interior Spaces in Jackson. I've seen these in all the catalogs lately, and I just love them. I placed the bottle on the sideboard. I put our green vase in the crate on the floor. I added a woven runner to tie in the burlap lighting, and then this area was coming together... I just needed one more thing.
I had been eyeing this little lamb at Wisteria, and I decided that she finally had a place in our home...

After I got all of this together (seriously, it took the entire month of February to find all the right pieces), we ended up getting new floors in the living area, entry, and dining area. The original plan was to rip up the stained carpet in the living area and replace it with hardwood to match what we already had. But projects like that rarely go as planned, and we couldn't find any wood to match. We ended up replacing the carpet and the existing wood with new wood.

I am so happy with my new furniture! I love all of the great storage I get with this piece. I am so glad I waited for exactly the right piece and didn't settle. So, here is the finished project (with new floors)...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


With all this warm weather, the weeds are taking over my shady side garden! Agh! Somebody get in there and weed it! Somebody? Hello? Anybody?

Ok, I guess I'll do it myself.

What is this ugly weed anyway? Because my right shoulder is sore from yanking it out of the ground.

- Posted from my iPhone with BlogPress

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Spring Veggie Garden in Progress

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the spring garden.

garden letters from VivaTerra

On Sunday I seeded sugar snap peas, arugula, baby bok choy, and mesculn mix lettuce greens. Earlier this year I ordered early spring veggie starts from The Tasteful Garden. The Tasteful Garden is located in Alabama, just a little over 300 miles from my house. They aren't certified organic, but they grow their plants using organic techniques. I am happy with that. The store I ordered from last year - Mountain Valley Growers - is certified organic; but it is also almost 2,000 miles from my house.

My veggie starts arrived on Wednesday, and I am thrilled about how beautiful they are. The broccoli, fennel, and leek transplants were surrounded in cardboard, then the pots were wrapped in plastic.

I actually had forgotten that I'd ordered leeks this year. I guess it is time for me to fire up all those delicious Barefoot Contessa recipes with leeks.

Broccoli is my favorite vegetable. All I do is microwave it in a glass, covered dish for 3-4 minutes with a few tablespoons of water. Then, I'll top it with lemon juice and salt.

My favorite fennel recipe is from Giada. You can find it here.

I watered the pots after work today, and I'll put them in the raised beds on Saturday. Spring really is coming, y'all!

Monday, March 01, 2010

A Weekend In New Orleans - Day 2

On Day 2 we started out early with breakfast in The Sazerac Restaurant at our hotel, The Roosevelt. We had drinks in the Sazerac Bar on our last visit to New Orleans, and decided we had to stay in this historic hotel which first opened in 1893. The lobby of the hotel is impressive. Our room was small but well-appointed. We didn't love the location - a little too far up Canal Street for our preference. We probably won't be staying here next time. It was expensive and definitely a splurge for us.

We did some window shopping on Royal Street and stopped to watch many of the street performers that New Orleans is famous for. We saw a jazz band playing from the heart and soul and a quartet singing The Temptations.

We strolled past the huge line for muffulettas at Central Grocery, hit up Greg's Antiques on Decatur Street, then decided we would have lunch at Bayona. On our way to Bayona, we laughed and gawked at the decorated porches, all celebrating Mardi Gras and the Saints. ANNOUNCING: HELL FROZEN OVER + PIGS FLYING... I love it!!!

Saturday lunch at Bayona was a fantastic choice -- one we will be making again. The food was exciting and the meal itself was leisurely-paced. Perfect for a sunny Saturday. We were seated in the courtyard, and (surprise, surprise!) I had a sparkling rose. The Saturday lunch menu features three courses for $25. I started with a simple bibb lettuce salad with a delicious, mustardy balsamic dressing and fine Parmesan cheese. My second course was Indian-spiced fish and chips with lentils and yogurt sauce. I was so happy that I ordered this. The portions were just right. The fish came out hot and was such a great compliment to the cool yogurt sauce and lentils. For dessert, I tried the smoked duck and cashew butter in puff pastry drizzled with pepper jelly. I loved the dish - not too sweet, but just sweet enough to finish a lovely meal.

After a little shopping in the afternoon, we headed back to the hotel to rest. I took my book (but, unfortunately, not my camera) to the cute roof top pool and patio at our hotel. Had it been warmer, it would have been packed, I'm sure.

Dinner Saturday night was at Restaurant August. I've been writing a lot about John Besh on my blog lately. We truly love his restaurants, and our meals at August are always wonderful, but the highlight of Saturday night's meal was the half bottle of Billecart-Salmon Rose. Yes, more sparkling rose. We are obviously addicted! And I really wish I could afford to be addicted to champagne! Just read this description from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The NV Brut Rose is beautifully balanced in its layers of perfumed red fruit, berries and flowers. Clean mineral notes frame a silky, sensual finish. Billecart-Salmon’s NV Brut Rose is one of the most consistently delicious roses readers are likely to find."

As with every trip to New Orleans, I came home from this trip loving life. People there know how to live! Heh - or maybe it is all the lively places that people have to get buzzed... I don't know. But I do know that I am happy to live so close, and I can't wait to get back to try a few new places. Katie recommended Coop's Place and Pravda, and Ginger is trying Green Goddess (it looks delicious).

We don't have any trips planned for the near future. Memorial Day weekend we are visiting with Casey and Leah at Casey and Michael's home in Savannah. Then, in June we are headed back to the Smokies for kayaking classes at the NOC and some backcountry hiking on Gregory Bald. Something tells me that our Big Easy trip will tie me over.