Saturday, June 9, 2012

Royals in a Playful Cable Car

George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Brilliant. I would love to know the history behind this vintage photo, wouldn't you? via

Tree with Orchid Blossoms | Catalpa

I have two towering Common (or Eastern) CATALPA trees that are in full bloom right now back in the lower reaches of my property. The ground around them is covered with blossoms that have fallen.

The clusters of flowers look rather orchid-like, don't they? According to my tree identification book, these trees are common in the south but have migrated as far north as New England. Later in the year, long seed pods will be hanging from these trees. They are rather messy so I'm glad they are in an area where they can 'do their thing' in a naturalized setting. The leaves are huge and give new meaning to 'falling leaves' each autumn. [iPhone photos are mine]

Friday, June 8, 2012

Have a Relaxing Weekend

I know that's a tall order this time of year. I don't know about you but I really don't know how to pace myself. I alternate between killing myself and doing practically nothing the next day. Wouldn't it be better to do a normal amount of work every day? Yes, it would but the weather lately has not allowed this. I mowed for about 6 hours straight yesterday and got almost all of it done after weeks of rain. Progress has been made but I have had no energy at all today. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel energized. Fingers crossed. via

Garden Shed with Roses and Chickens

Isn't this a nice place for the chickens to hang out? I'll bet it smells wonderful inside with the fragrance of the roses wafting inside the open awning-style windows. If it were mine I would figure out a way to put a screen door on the building so I could see outside while I was working inside. via

Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe


Recipe from chef, Scott Peacock (Watershed Restaurant in Decatur, Gaorgia) courtesy of The New York Times

Making your own baking powder by combining fresh cream of tartar and baking soda will produce biscuits with the most lift. Don’t be afraid of the hot oven temperature either as this will allow the heat to get on the biscuits quickly and sufficiently brown their tops. When forming the dough, mix in the buttermilk until the mixture just holds together. The last thing you want to do in this recipe is overwork the dough and ruin the biscuits' flaky, buttery texture.


1 tablespoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
5 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed lard or unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
2 cups chilled cultured buttermilk, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Place a rack in the upper-middle position of the oven and preheat to 500°.
Make your own baking powder by sifting together the cream of tartar and baking soda.
In a large bowl, whisk together the salt, baking powder and salt. Add the lard or butter and quickly work the pieces into the flour with a pastry cutter or the tips of your fingers. The pieces should be coarsely blended and resemble large peas.
Make a well in the center of the bowl and pour in the buttermilk. Quickly mix the ingredients until the mixture just comes together and forms a shaggy mass. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of buttermilk if the mixture seems dry.
Immediately turn the dough out onto to a generously floured surface and quickly knead the dough about ten times until a ball forms. Gently flatted the dough and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll the dough out a thickness of 3/4 inch.
With a fork that has been dipped in flour, pierce the dough at half inch intervals before using a fluted, 2 1/2 or 3 inch biscuit cutter to stamp out the biscuits. When you have run out of room to stamp out more biscuits, carefully reform the dough and press out as many as you can.
Arrange the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes.
Remove from the oven a brush the tops with the melted butter. Serve warm with butter, honey and/or jam.
Makes about 10-12 large biscuits

No matter what you like to put on your biscuits, rest assured that if you follow this recipe, you will be rewarded with outstanding results. Photo and original inspiration from here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cottage Lawn and Garden

Portfolio photo of a Water Mill (Long Island) project by Mabley Handler Interior Design

Otter Water Bed

Another image to illustrate my love for otters. Floating and sleeping -- no problem. Carrying a passenger on your belly while doing the latter -- no problem. Looking adorable at all times -- no problem. via

Best Sliding Barn Doors Ever!

These doors are spectacular, aren't they?

Read more about the interior and exterior designer Barbara Colvin here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gardening Under Glass

Do you yearn for a greenhouse? Would you rather have a screen porch or a sunroom or a potting shed? via

My Virtual Breakfast

I wish I could snap my fingers and have this story board appear in front of me. I already have the coffee. All southerners love home-made biscuits. via

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

La Maison

La Maison. Fenêtres éclairées, 1900
Henri Le Sidaner

Small Stone Cottage

I love the look of this small stone cottage. The size of the main house looks perfect for me. Anything that doesn't fit can go in the long addition in the back. One of the rooms back there will be a potting shed. Another will be a guest room. It's very charming, isn't it? Low maintenance too. Just wonderful!!!!! via

Portrait of Queen Elizabeth by Pietro Annigoni

'Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Regent' by Pietro Annigoni, 1954-5.
Copyright The Fishmongers’ Co.
I love this portrait; she looks very Napoleonic, doesn't she?

"The Queen: Art and Image," organized by the National Portrait Gallery, comes to London following a highly successful tour to Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff.
“The Queen is the most represented individual in history, but she remains an enigma. All we really have are images. This exhibition explores the creation of the queen’s public persona and the way such images reveals a world of changing ideas and values,” said Paul Moorhouse, curator of "The Queen: Art and Image," and 20th-century curator at the National Portrait Gallery. Read more...

Monday, June 4, 2012

19th-century Wardian Case

Isn't this the best architectural-form Wardian Case you've ever seen?  It reproduces the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851. via
Terrariums are generally credited with being invented by a gentleman named Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward. He invented them during the Victorian era and created a style of glass case with a metal frame that was very popular during the era. These terrariums were called "Wardian Cases" after Ward.

Double Decker Porch

When one porch is not enough, stack them. via

Cooling the Pies

If you close your eyes and inhale deeply, you can smell these pies cooling on the windowsill. via

Ivy Covered Dream House

Here is another classic country house with more cooperative ivy than the last one I posted. It's lovely, isn't it? I woke up to another cool rainy day. It seems the British weather has come to America. I enjoyed watching bits and pieces of the Queen's Jubilee yesterday with similar weather. Have a great week. via

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Jessie Wilcox Smith illustration

This looks like a good idea. Hope you had a good weekend. Goodnight. via

Moth on Window Screen at My Cottage

I still use my Nikon SLR for photos like this. I couldn't have captured this moth on the screen in my bedroom with my iPhone. It's good to have more than one camera. 

Piglet Rescues Tiger

Piglet cures broken heart of Tiger Mom. Click here for full story. Awwww.

No Mow Cottage

I'm drawn to this image since I spent the better part of two hours late yesterday afternoon 'mowing' my front lawn with my electric weed trimmer. The grass so long after all of the rain we had I had to whack it before I can mow it. This looks like a great solution, doesn't it? via
I must say this delightful photo makes me dislike house numbering in certain areas. Thank goodness we have normal house numbers where I live thanks to the town fathers that refused to go by the system shown on this old house. One can imagine this one is located is a very rural location and not in on a street where there are 1,014 houses before you get to this one. Maybe it's 1,015 miles to town center. Who knows? I think it deserves a lower number because of its age, don't you?

Best Sunroom Ever!

Deborah Leamann Interiors - From the floor to the ceiling and everything in between, I love it all. Have a lovely Sunday.