Saturday, July 19, 2008

Versailles in the North of England

Alnwick Garden at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland.

There was the most wonderful article in the New York Times on 7/17 about the controversial 14-acre garden(s) at Alnwick Castle. This was the site of Hogwarts School in the first two Harry Potter movies. The Duchess of Northumberland known as Jane Percy is scheduled to visit Long Island, NY and speak to the Southampton Garden Club on August 22nd. This promises to be quite an event for the garden lover, landscape architect, designer, and socialite. I won't be there.

My New BFF (Best Frog Friend)...

Look what I saw peeking out of the big round black rubber tub that holds my garden hose. Sighting occurred while taking an outdoor shower this morning. Mine has hot and cold water, a big rain shower head, and a nice mahogany platform. I am so glad I put it in when remodeling my cottage. It is one of the best things I ever did. There are two extra faucets down below so I can water the garden and give the dog a bath. You'd be surprised how often I find the need for hot or warm water outside. It is right outside my laundry room so it was easy. I drain the system and turn off the water in the fall.

For ages I have been meaning to switch this orange hose with a black one that's attached to the faucet on the side of my house. I am so glad I didn't. Mr. Frog looks so handsome on a colored background.

Do you think he's a prince? Should I kiss him? Nah! I would rather have a frog or a toad.

Content in a Cottage

Full Moon Tonight ~ set your moon dials!

I am so happy that I read somewhere that there is a full moon tonight. I promptly set the moon dial and the calendar wheel on my tall case clock. If you are lucky enough to have these features on your wrist watch or clock, you should do the same. I also found a website for tracking lunar phases. I have added a permanent link for you called Moon Phases. Look around for something to scare away the werewolves. A nice hallmarked solid silver georgian meat skewer would make an excellent stake to drive through his heart!

Content in a Cottage

My desktop is completely full!

This is a photo of my computer monitor taken just a minute ago. As you can see, it is completely full. Now I have to delete a whole bunch of computer shortcuts so I can add more. I am slowly adding links on my blog for many of my favorite sites...some are blogs; others are websites. These links are really bookmarks for me but hopefully my readers will enjoy them too. It is hazy, hot, and humid in New Jersey today. Looks like I will have to pretend that I am back in Alabama again! Enjoy your Saturday.

P.S. ~ I just noticed that my desktop theme matches my blog theme. This was not intentional but shows that I have always liked the dark gray background. I have had my totally awesome 21" HP f2105 monitor for almost two years. It is the best!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Pop some bubble wrap...

Who doesn't enjoy popping a little bubble wrap? You can pop bubbles individually or go wild in manic mode. I love the voice in the background when a new sheet is loaded. Have fun here.

Content in a Cottage

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bluebird sighting...

I was lucky that my camera was handy when this bluebird perched on a bracket hanging on my balcony railing. I never tire of seeing these beautiful birds. They are very beneficial too since they eat nothing but insects. They like their nesting boxes located in areas with sparce vegetation so they can swoop down on the unsuspecting bugs. This one has the biggest weeds you have ever seen in your life to the rear and mowed grass in the front of his house. The families return every year and I see them as early as February scouting out their territory. I make sure the houses are cleaned out and ready for them. A sighting never fails to thrill me!

Mochaware Pepper Pots

This is one of my favorite images of all time! I love mochaware but don't own a single piece. I scanned this photo from a book in the Everyday Things series on Kitchen Ceramics. Amazon has if for $7.49 (I can't remember what I paid for my copy but it was a lot more). I promise I am not making one penny from this recommendation.

If you like what you see, you might be able to get it here if you hurry! This would be the perfect gift for an antique collector who loves to cook. There is a full-page color photo on almost every page and it is a real visual delight. I have a showing of my real estate listing this morning so I have to log off. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I will be back later.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Watermelon Recipes

These two great-sounding recipes are from the National Watermelon Promotion Board

8 ounces flat rice noodles
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1 pound cleaned medium shrimp
1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaf
1 cup chopped scallions
1/8 cup ketchup
1 cup seedless watermelon puree
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Place the noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand, nudging them apart with a fork, until tender. About 10 to 15 minutes. Drain.
Heat the oil in a large heavy saute pan or wok over medium high heat. Saute the garlic and ginger for 60 seconds and add the shrimp. Stir fry, while adding the soy sauce, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the noodles and stir fry another minute or two and stir in the sprouts, cilantro leaf and scallions.
Mix the ketchup into the watermelon and stir into the pan with the sesame oil. Cook until hot, sprinkle with the chopped peanuts and serve immediately. Serves 4.

• • •

1 cup minced watermelon
1/4 cup minced onion
1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey mustard
3 pounds kielbasa or sausage of your choice

Mix the watermelon, onion and cabbage in a mixing bowl. In another small bowl slowly mix the vinegar into the mustard and then pour the mixture over the watermelon/onion/cabbage mixture and toss together.
Grill the kielbasa until brown and crisp on the exterior but still juicy inside. Remove from grill to a cutting board and cool for 5 minutes before cutting the kielbasa into bite sized pieces and skewer them with a pick. Serve warm with the relish for scooping with the kielbasa. Serves 12 as an appetizer.

• • •
Note: I have not personally tested these dishes but don't they sound good?!!!

Photo from Flickr

Blueberries for Breakfast

I ran out of yogurt so I put my blueberries on cottage cheese this morning for a nice summer breakfast. Yum. It is going to be a scorcher today so I am thinking cool. Actually I have yet to turn on my central air. I am amazed that I still have been able to hold out. The AC in my car hasn't worked for years and I spent a great deal of my childhood in the deep south so it's not that hard for me. I just pretend I am in Alabama. I was born in Georgia and moved to Alabama before my first birthday. We lived there through the third grade. Air conditioning hadn't been invented back then. Or at least if it had, I never experienced it. I still love a fan and have several vintage ones with the big grills that you can fit your fist through. I can still remember seeing how close I could get my fingers to the blades before cutting off part of a digit. It is a wonder children live to be adults.

Now are you ready to learn something very cool indeed? Have you ever wondered how people put symbols in their posts? Do you ever have to type something in a foreign language and need to put in an accent or other symbol? Do you get tired of writing the word cents and wish you could just put a cent symbol? too! For years I had to do it the hard way with html. Recently I did a Google search for Windows Alt Symbols and a fabulous cheat sheet came up on someone's blog. It listed 255 symbols you can get just by hitting the ALT key on your keyboard and while you are holding it down add a number or numbers using the Numpad. That's the part of your keyboard that looks like a calculator.

These all work perfectly in Microsoft Word but all of them did not work with the font I am using in this blog. Look here to see the chart. I keep a shortcut for this on my desktop and use it many times daily! Now I have to give credit to the Blog's author, Brown Thoughts. You might also want to bookmark another site that shows these symbols in another format...though some of the fun ones are missing. Enjoy and let me have your thoughts in the form of a comment or an email. Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Miss Potter returns!

Just had to share this with you. I cannot claim authorship for a wonderful article with tons of photos of Beatrix Potter drawings on BibliOdyssey's Blog today. Please look. I have added a permanent link for this blog under my heading called Sites I Like. I will continue to share wonderful findings from time to time. This will definitely delight one and all. Here is the link. Enjoy!

One of my earlier posts was a rave review of the dvd movie entitled MISS POTTER. If you are a fan of her books and artwork, this film is a "must see". I am always pleased to receive comments. That's all for now. More later.

Content in a Cottage

Click orange square to subscribe via feed reader or email.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Good Night

Just got in from a little "midnight mowing" and it's time to tuck in. I love to mow after dinner until it gets almost too dark to see anything. See you tomorrow afternoon or's going to be a busy day.

1917 Architectural Design for a $12,500 House

This is my favorite house plan ever! Scanned from one of my 1st edition architectural books. In the early part of the previous century the white pine council published bi-monthly booklets called The White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs ~ A Bi-Monthly Publication Suggesting the Architectural Uses of White Pine and its Availability Today as a Structural Wood. At the end of the year they were hard bound. I have hard bound firsts of volumes 2, 3, and 4. They must be very rare because I have never been able to locate the first volume. I do have a complete set of the modern reprints but nothing compares to the originals!

The house pictured above is one of the winners of a contest called: The Second Annual White Pine Architectural Competition for a House to Cost Twelve Thousand Five Hundred Dollars. It was judged at the Greenbrier in White Sulpher Springs, West Virginia on May 17 & 18, 1917. My guy did not win any of the top prizes (1st ~ 4th) but he is the 5th mention for Design No. 194. I wonder if he became famous in his area? Let me know if you have heard of Benj. Schreyer, New York, N.Y. Don't you wonder if this home was ever built and if it is still standing? There are two enclosed porches on the first floor and two sleeping porches on the second floor. Oh, for a sleeping porch! The plot plan is lovely too.  I did not scan the detail sheet showing the fireplace side of the dining room, the front entrance, a couple of cornices, the north and west elevations. and the cross section.

Hopefully this design will inspire one of my readers and this home will be built again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

OCD episode at the clothesline.

It is official ~ I definitely have OCD. I put up a clothesline between two trees behind my garage recently and am loving it. There is nothing like climbing into bed on the first night you have clean sheets that were line dried. They smell like sunshine! I may never use my dryer again! But I have real issues with the basket full of wet clothes! I have to hang like things together which makes for a lot of digging through the pile. Why can't I just pick up an article and hang it up; then hang whatever is as the top of the pile beside it in a random sort of way? But not me...if I hang up one towel I have to look for all the other towels I just washed until they are all together. Same thing with the pillow cases, etc. As far as I know there is no clothesline police. Does anyone else have this problem. Or is it just me?

99 cent gas in Morristown, NJ on 8/3

Now this is post worth reading if you live anywhere near Morristown, NJ. I was reading The Morristown Daily Record online just now and noticed an article about a church that is having a Gas Giveaway and offering really cheap gas (99 cents per gallon) on Sunday, August 3rd at the Exxon station on Morris Street in Morristown across the street from the train station. Make sure your tank is empty three weeks from today! My last gas purchase was cash only @ $3.99 per gallon. See you in line at the gas pump!!! You heard it here first! Afterwards you might want to go to The Morristown Farmer's Market behind Headquarters Plaza. Sounds like a plan!

Content in a Cottage