Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Steaks on the Barbie

Does anything scream summer more than steaks on the grill?

I love entertaining at my house anytime of year, but summer is fabulous. There is no chance of snow (the worse that would happen is that we have to retreat indoors from the mosquitos); the yard looks terrific with all the flowers blooming (we have had a lot of rain this year); the kids can run around the yard exploring the flowers and bugs (There was much excitement over a Monarch butterfly) and the parents can relax with a glass of wine and catch up.

The theme for dinner this time was herbs. (You know I have a weakness for themed dinners.)

Tomato basil bruschetta
Grilled mini pizzas with choice of toppings.
Ribeye with Chimichurri sauce
Parsleyed new potatoes
Cesear salad.
Homemade vanilla bean and mango ice cream


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Flowers in the long light

I love taking pictures of just about anything in the long light of a perfect summer evening. On a walk around around the flower beds in the front of the house, I was entranced by the light.

Towering Yucca blossoms

Variegated Phlox that has reverted back to its wilder self.

Flaming self-sown Butterfly Weed

Mahogany Lilies glowing in the sun.

Ah, summer.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Waiting for the Repairman

I paced the house, coffee cup in hand waiting for the contractor. He had said 9 o'clock on Sunday morning and it was already 9:15. I had been stood up many times before. Sighing, I went outside to look at the door again. I could no longer avoid the fact that the trim on the door needed serious help. It is beautiful, but aside from needing to be scrapped and painted, there was rot.

The phone rang. I dashed inside, sloshing coffee on the front steps on my way in. Jamie, the contractor was not late, but lost. I should have guessed. It is impossible to find the house. I stayed on the phone with him until he arrived in the driveway.

I showed him the rotting bits and we discussed the various options. He said it would take at least 2 days. He would know more once he started to pull the overhead and panels off. There are two seriously bad bits.

He fingered the side panels, the split on the mounding around the side windows and spoke of silicon caulking. He tapped the tin drip edge and thinking out loud, wondered if it needed replacing. In the end he asked for patience in fitting in his schedule and said it would likely be a few weeks before he could get to it. All I really want is to come home one day and it is done and spectacular and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg. Stay tuned

Thursday, July 9, 2009

70th Anniversary of Gone With the Wind

For the 70th anniversary of arguably the greatest movie classic of all time; The Tarrytown Music Hall will be having a showing of Gone With The Wind on the big screen. The fact that it will be shown in the same theater where throngs of people saw it in 1939 adds to the experience, in a ghostly shades of the past kind of way. I'm looking forward to stolling the streets. poking in shops, maybe having an ice cream, then sitting down for a 4 hour show. They just don't make them like they used to.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Eco-cleaning the deck

You know it is bad when the deck not only gets slippery from the accumulated algae but the slugs start to feed and leave trails where they have noshed their way across the boards. For me that is the sign that it is time to deal with it. And, that we are so having way too much rain.

Last time, I had someone powerwash the deck, which was great, but cost money. The time before I scrubbed it on my hands and knees with one of those chemical deck strippers. While explaining my staycation plans to an old friend, I mentioned the deck dilema and she heaved a 70 year old sigh (I'm sure she was rolling her eyes too, but I couldn't see it through the phone.) She told me to use vinegar. Huh! I went out and throw some on the deck. Nothing happened. Then shades of a 6th grade erupting volcano project reared its head. Silly me. There also needs to be baking soda.

I bought 2 of the biggest sizes of baking soda and 2 gallons of distilled vinegar. A sprinkle and a glug and voila! chemical reaction. Safe, eco-friendly deckstripper.

But, of course, there still is scrubbing involved--on your hands and knees. Can't get away from it. The algae and the baking soda turns into a slimy-yet satisfying-green ooze. So I sprinkled, glugged, waited 10 minutes, scrubbed, and hosed it down. Repeat, over and over.

It is not quick (took me 2 days to do 2 small decks) but it is safe to breathe, safe to handle, safe for the plants and bugs. Now if only it would stop raining so I can put on the sealant, which, alas, is not eco-friendly.