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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Of Grass and Blooms and Spotted Fawns

Welcome! The last day of June, summer is in full swing,
and there's lots of life going on outside That Old House.

Remember those ripening tomatoes I so proudly showed off last week?

We had 4 or 5 beauties . . . and couldn't wait for our first tomato sandwiches of the summer.
Good bread, Hellman's mayo, and ripe garden tomatoes; heaven on earth!

Turns out the chipmunks beat us to it.

Our gorgeous, ripe, red tomatoes, ruined!
. . . sigh . . . .
We got a few cherry tomatoes; all the other ripe ones have been gnawed on.
We're tying the fruited branches as high off the ground as we can,
hoping to thwart our cute but ravenous little rodents.

Anyone got a spare pea-shooter? I could use some target practice.


So what is happening outside your home on this summer Wednesday?

We've got hydrangeas, petunias, day lilies:

. . . and daisies! Pure white daisies, well tended by happy bees:


And also outside --
our shutters!

Real shutters, the kind that could actually close over the windows . . .
that's if there weren't so many layers of old paint on the hinges and pins.

Our shutters define "shabby chic."
Well, honestly, they more truthfully define just the "shabby" part. There ain't no chic in these old fellows.

When -- in that mythical someday -- the house is painted,
we'll also have the shutters repaired and repainted.

Our shutters have worn so many coats of paint for so many years that they will probably shudder apart
from sheer embarrassment when they are stripped, poor dears.

Also outside . . . for the first time in years, Howard has been mowing the lawn himself.
Doing a nice job, too.
That's our side yard, the one you look at from the dining room bay windows:

We don't water our lawn. In the words of my father, "If you water a lawn, you'll just end up cutting it!"
But that's not why we don't water. We practice tough love with the lawn.

Grass is an amazing plant, designed by Nature to withstand drought.
It does something very smart; it plays possum -- stops growing, turns brown, looks dead.
It is not dead.
One good rainstorm sends that chlorophyll surging right back into those blades and presto! the grass is green again.

We are okay with occasional brown grass; it saves us thousands of gallons of water,
and means we don't have to keep moving a sprinkler all over the yard.

Because this little freeloader is no help at all in the garden:

This fawn and a sibling came trotting through our yard Monday morning, tasting shrubs.
Luckily for us, they liked our neighbor's bushes better!

**************************** Linky Parties! ********************************

Visit Faded Charm for White Wednesday.

Check out Wednesday Is Rednesday
at It's A Very Cherry World!

And at A Southern Daydreamer,
it is Outdoor Wednesday.
Go visit!

Have a lovely Wednesday. Our heat wave has broken, and we are in for several days of picture-perfect weather. Hooray! I just may join Dion DiPoochy in a celebratory munch on some raw broccoli! -- Cass

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Don't Turn Around; Saint Nick is Gaining On You!

Take a look at your calendars, my friends.
Read 'em and weep.

It is only six months till Christmas!

On Friday I gave you a picture of our bare and dismal looking front porch, so I'm balancing it today with pictures of our porch all decked out for Christmas. Can you hear the carols?

I hope you enjoy my Sunday Favorites blast from the past!

(First posted December 2009)

What's Red And White?
Christmas, inside and out, at That Old House!

On Saturday it started snowing.

Anne ventured out into the cold to take pictures of the front door:

Alida and Anne put up the white pine roping, I tied some big bows for the corners,
and Anne poufed and snaked the ribbon ends down the sides:

It's lovely to have some talented and cooperative Elves to help with the decorating!

No front door wreath this year. Local fresh wreaths were skimpy and spindly looking.
So I took clippings from our conservatory Christmas tree, and the girls and I just
bunched them together, tied them with twine, and added red ribbons.

I like the simple look on the front door, and the free price tag as well.

Now what are you doing still standing out in the snow?

Let's leave the cold white outdoors. It's much nicer to be inside, looking out:

It snowed for a long time.

But we are snug inside, and can enjoy our Christmas reds!

Ribbons on stairs and newel post:

You can see the red dining room from the front hall.
Upstairs, another tree on the stair landing:

There's a little tree, with lots and lots of red ornaments, next to the front door:

In the red dining room, a spiral tree:

Our girls' tree, in the study, laden with ornaments that will someday be in their own homes:

If you read the story of our 1999 Hurricane Floyd flood, you may remember the Noah's Ark that was the only
Christmas ornament to survive. Here it is, on our parlor tree this year:

Look closely, below; you can see a thin dark line, right under the window.
That's where it broke in two -- that line goes smack around the whole ark --
so I could clean and disinfect it and glue it back together.

(Read more, here.)

A Noah's Ark that survived a flood. Where have I heard that before?

Back to the present!

I know it's blazing hot right now in most of the places you live, but it is fun to look
back at Christmas, and realize that those dates on the calendar are closer than they appear!

Now, click on the logo to the left, or on the
highlighted words, to visit other Sunday Favorites
today, at Chari's blog, Happy To Design.

Have a lovely day of rest, and remember . . .
We're halfway to Christmas! --- Cass

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Red Or Blue, What Say YOU?

'Way back in late January, I wrote about my brother Lindy's giving me what he calls Uncle Marty's Inca Treasure. It is a small tile-topped wrought iron table, just right to hold summer drinks.
Story here if you are curious.

The Inca Treasure arrived here this past Sunday, and has been hanging out on the front porch
with Lucy Ricardo, the old metal lawn chair we bought earlier this month off Craigslist.
That story here.

Except for Lucy, who is still wearing her chipped coat -- or more accurately coats --
of green paint, the other porch seating is fire-engine red.

You know I love and trust you, as I'm showing you our front porch, warts and all.
And Craigslist tables waiting to be painted!
A beautiful front porch and I have yet to decorate it. My bad.

Anyway, I planned to paint Lucy red as well.
But what do you think?
Should I let the Inca Treasure dictate a new color scheme? Blue, green, white?

Or stick with red for the chairs, and let the Inca Treasure fit in as best it can?
It will still hold Martini glasses, won't it?


Among some other things Lindy and Carol don't want to move to
North Carolina when they sell their Long Island house, was this:

Years ago, when Lindy was walking home from grammar school,
he found it put out to the trash at a neighbor's house.

Thus began his long career of curbside shopping and dumpster diving.

My mom lightly painted the wood a sort of gold, and kept it filled with plastic grapes for years.
Stay tuned for where it will end up at That Old House.
For the time being, it's hanging out in the conservatory.

In case you don't come from a family of bootleggers, this is a wine or cider press. They crop up on eBay pretty regularly, and for pretty nice prices, too. But I'm keeping this one; it's been in the family for hundreds of years, since my big brother was a little kid.


Now, it's show off time!

We have our first ripe tomatoes:

They are only cherry tomatoes -- very large cherry tomatoes -- and Howard
brought them to my Dad, so he got the first taste of our homegrown tomatoes.

Our heirloom variety is beginning to blush:

The others are just growing bigger; no red yet.

On Wednesday, Howard pulled renegade vines off the grapevines,
and exposed more of the fruit to the sun.

Now are they cute, or what?
Is there anything more beautiful than fruits and
vegetables growing in your own garden?

I hope you enjoyed my Show and Tell for this Friday.
Skip on over to Cindy's My Romantic Home blog for more!

While Claudia at Dipity Road hosts Finding Beauty on Fridays. Visit!

Have a wonderful weekend.
I have been a terribly lazy blogger this week,
but hope to visit lots of you today, and be inspired. -- Cass

Lindy and Carol,
delivering Uncle Marty's Inca Treasure
and other goodies
to That Old House last Sunday.

Dion is giving them the Big Sniff,
hoping there is REAL turkey in that
bag of Thanksgiving decorations
Carol is holding.

Dion is out of luck.

. . . And . . .

. . . he wonders
(and who can blame him?)
why this contraption was delivered,
and not a boatload of
freeze-dried liver.

Humans are a mystery,
aren't they, Dion?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's Pops and Pots -- Again!

It's Sunday, it's Father's Day, and I'm re-running a post from last June.

Thanks, Chari, for hosting the Sunday Favorites linky party at Happy To Design.
Pop on over for more re-runs!


Last year I rummaged through my photo files and came up with some pictures of my Dad, my husband, and my husband's Dad. I'm re-running that post for Father's Day this year!

So, Herb, Howard and Milt... great Dads, all ... this one's for you!

I have lots of pictures of my Dad, but I only had two of my father-in-law -- one from Alida's college graduation last year, another from going out to dinner after Annie's college graduation this year. See what happens when Zayde lives in Florida, but Pop-Pop is just 6 minutes away? A serious imbalance in camera time!


And now.... pssst. Pssssttt.... You! Yeah, you. C'mere. Lean in, I gotta question for you. . . You got any pots? No! Not that stuff! Pots, pots, like you cook in. Pots! Yeah, me too.

I like pots. I like to see them out and populating (potulating?) a kitchen, not hidden in dark cabinets, stacked in untidy piles, getting banged up and scratched. I don't think there is any finer kitchen decor than pots and pans. They belong.

I have always managed to hang our pots in our kitchens, no matter how tiny or goofy
that kitchen may otherwise have been (and we've had our share of tiny or goofy).

For a whole year I've been trying to find the right spot. With 4 doorways, a stair case,
counters, cupboards, freestanding storage -- a big-enough kitchen can seem too-small.

Then ... inspiration. At our last house, we hung pots from a shelf above a window.
We only have one window in this kitchen, and it's over the sink. But, why not?

Whatcha think?

Howard anchored a 4 x 4 between the two cabinets, and screwed in great big stainless steel hooks:

Ta-Da! I can hang enough pots to free up space in my corner cabinet to house the gorgeous stainless steel roasting pan
I bought on sale at Macy's on Friday, and still have room for more stuff!

More stuff . . . was there ever a lovelier phrase? Plus, we already had the 4 x 4 from a previous metamorphosis that
I haven't blogged about yet (not quite complete) so the pot rack was nearly free as well . . . leaving more money for more stuff!

Thanks Howard!

And Happy Father's Day to ALL. -- Cass

P.S. Dion can't do a thing with his hair this morning! Time to go back to sleep.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Anne Cooks -- Greek Style Pasta

Some of the rewards of having children. . .

They are adorable when they are babies:

They are funny and cute when they are growing up:

And someday they will cook for you on hot summer nights:


Last night, dear daughter Anne cooked a Greek-inspired pasta dish.
Which made her Mom and Dad very happy.

Anne's Greek Pasta.
Serves 6

Olive oil
1 red onion
2 peeled cloves of garlic
Cooked chicken -- about a pound
(You can use cut up raw boneless skinless chicken, and cook it in with the onion & garlic)
Artichokes -- 1 can, chopped up (or one jar marinated, preferred)
6 oz feta cheese
2 small ripe tomatoes or one large, chopped
Dried oregano to taste
Juice of one nice lemon
Pasta -- Anne used bowties.


Ruthlessly slice up the onions and garlic, till they beg for mercy:

Put olive oil into a hot skillet or wok, add the onions and garlic, and fire up that burner:

When the onions begin to lose their backbone, take the cut up chicken:

and add it to the mix.

Looking good already!

Proceed to massacre the artichokes:

And into the pot they go.

Add in the oregano. No measurement. . .use your excellent judgment!

Now, about that feta cheese:

Slice and dice it. Sneak a taste . . . .

And chop up those nice red ripe tomatoes that have been lounging on the kitchen windowsill:

You guessed it -- into the pot with them!

Now's the time to squeeze the juice of one nice large lemon into the pot.
Lemon really sparks up the flavor.

While you've been slicing, dicing, chopping and stirring,
a pot of pasta has been keeping you company on a nearby burner:

I had voted for thin spaghetti -- Anne chose bow ties.
Cook 'em, drain 'em, and mix 'em into the chicken-and-feta:

It was all delicious.

With enough leftovers for the next day's lunch. Which would be . . . today!

Have a lovely Foodie Friday, and a fabulous weekend. -- Cass

And join in more Foodie Friday fun at Designs by Gollum. Go visit!