Sunday, May 29, 2011

Maters Make Me Happy

See that tomato there in the back? The biggest one, the most orange, the first one to appear months ago? I've had my eye on it since it was a teeny little green tomato-ette. After a week of very hot temps and some nice heavy rain, it has finally started to turn red. Apparently, a watched mater never turns red. Or something like that. I can't wait to pick it, slice it, top it with a slice of fresh mozzarella, basil leaves from the herb garden, and a little balsamic vinegar. Homegrown tomato goodness.

A bonus picture: the flowers from the last post, blooming nicely after the same high temps and rain. Memorial Day isn't until tomorrow, but summer is definitely here already!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Herb/Tomato/Butterfly Garden

I've mentioned this before, but part of living in an older home is the older vegetation outside. Which is really wonderful. We have great big tall hardwood trees all through the backyard, the 2 (Supposedly, according to the Clemson Extension Service) tallest palms in the upstate, and 2 beautiful and stately dogwood trees in front. The result of all this treeness is an abundance of shade - and not many sunny spots for vegetable gardens. So in the one dependably sunny spot, we have a collection of sun-loving plants: pepper and tomato (there are *15* tomatoes on that biggest plant, along with a lot of blooms), some herbs, and our butterfly garden. My shade-loving plants, tender basil, impatiens, and some others, are in pots on the shady brick patio on the other side of the house. So here you have our sunny garden, at various times of today, including one shot through the wavy old glass window of the dining room. I'm going with wavy glass instead of dirty glass 'cause that's an advantage of living in This Old House.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chocolate Pound Cake

Today I made a chocolate pound cake. I have no idea why, except maybe because it's Monday. And rainy. A rainy Monday needs a chocolate pound cake.

The recipe was very easy (but don't tell my family! Let them think I worked for hours and hours):

I have a feeling there have been a lot of pound cakes made in this house over the last century or so.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What do you know?

This yard is an adventure. There are so many things growing, I never know if I'm pulling up a weed or some exotic plant. There is a tree stump over in the side yard that is regrowing a young tree. Chris cut it way back last year and there was nothing remarkable about it. Then this year, we noticed that Scout was very interested in it - and when we looked closer, we saw some berries on it - very similar to blackberries. After a little Facebook research, I realized that the berries are mulberries and we have a mulberry tree. So we have a tree covered in mulberries on one side of the house and a tree/large bush on the other side of the house that's covered in figs. Free fruit, gotta love it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Success, Part 2

The second fountain is repainted and functional. Cherub's head has not been sighted.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Success! (or How I Spent Mother's Day Weekend)

It's been a long while since I've had a Saturday at home to work in the yard. Or any day of the week for that matter. Our backyard is very formal - it's not really all that big, about 1/2 acre, but it looks big because it's divided into sections. The previous owners told us that the back was used for wedding receptions back in the first part of the 20th century and was featured in an issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine in the 1930s. We can still see part of that in the back and we were told that doves were released at the receptions - we still see doves in the yard frequently.

In the center of the yard is a little square garden with a large fountain. When we moved in, the fountain didn't work and the owners told us they'd not been able to get it to work. As it turns out, it just needed a new pump. There's no telling how long it's been since the fountain was operational, and it was a mess. After talking with the experts at Lowe's, we chose a metallic finish in oil rubbed bronze and spent a good bit of yesterday cleaning and removing the old paint and repainting it. If I were a better blogger, I would remember to take before pictures before the before becomes the after, but I didn't so you'll just have to take my word for it when I say the fountain was a big mess. Anyway, we (and by we I mean Chris and Reid) put it back together this afternoon and what do you know? It works! We still need to work a little on the leveling, but the water is so nice and refreshing on this hot day. Next stop: refinishing the headless cherub fountain. Rumor has it that the head is somewhere in the carriage house, but I've been too afraid to look very hard for it.

Bonus picture: the ginormous piece of chocolate cake Brianna had at the Mother's Day Brunch at The Fox. Actually, we each had a piece - I think our family ended up eating the entire cake. It was good.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

And dinner......

A favorite dinner: asparagus and crash potatoes waiting to be roasted. Also, an after pic: tilapia with mango salsa, roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese and lemon juice, and crash potatoes (thank you Pioneer Woman!)

Action Shots

Finally, Jacob's birthday present is going up....and up.....and up. Don't worry, we're putting the safety fence around it (even as I type) but I wanted a couple of jumpy shots with a clear view. Reid was invited to attend the jumping party, but he's taking a long nap after a couple of exhausting weeks with school and soccer. Gotta love some blurry trampoline pics!