Thursday, May 29, 2008

another treasury

Oh, yay, another treasury on etsy (thanks artofthemoment!):
Here are our summer tea bowls. Well, we named them that when a tea shop bought some of them for tea, but we actually use them for ice cream and lots of other stuff.
This is the ultimate in blog posts for the lazy and/or too busy blogger. Yup, that's me.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nearly Geeky Chicks

The chicks have just about reached the stage where they have lost their fuzzy cuteness and look fully geeky for a few weeks. But not yet...they're still cute, as you can see. When it gets a little warmer and they are a bit bigger they will join our Arucana and Golden Sexlink outside:Where they can forage in their favorite spot- under the lilac (where birdseed spills over from the terrace wall):
And also poop on the terrace, where the tulips are looking particularly lovely contrasting with the Japanese maple:Pretty soon, we will commence training them to do this:

Fans of little chicks can get a pretty sweet button from Belle & Boo:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Treasury

Mick's stack of bowls is on the front page on etsy in a treasury:
The page views really go up when this happens: fun? yes! And I like the company we're keeping- Diana Fayt (i have a thing for little birds post), Whitney Smith (the perfect vase post)- you've met them both right here. We are swaddled in orange together, sweet!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pears

pears communing with rocks and birdseed
Mick is always bringing back interesting chunks of nature from hiking in the woods around our house. One time, he brought home a tiny, perfect little pear from a tree in an abandoned homestead. He formed some clay around it, cut it in half, and bisque fired it.
At night, after dinner, he sits in the kitchen and makes little press molded pears from the mold.
Sometimes, he puts a little ball of clay inside.
the press mold
In the morning, I find a row of pears sitting on the counter.
I cozy up in the inglenook and burnish them with a stone.
They are thick and heavy and feel wonderful to hold.
They accumulated on our windowsill, awaiting a decision on how to glaze them.
A designer friend dropped by, pounced, and bought all of them on the spot.
Aha! No glaze necessary! Problem solved.

She wanted to call them 'therapy pears' because they are so soothing and calming to hold.

Another friend dubbed them 'grounding pears'. We liked that name and promptly stole it. She sometimes uses the pears in her workshops. (*Visit her great website called stress happiness which is about the art and science of mind and body and spirit and stress and happiness and creativity and more...)
This is the text of the card that goes with them:
Hold this little pear in your hand, close your eyes, and remind yourself of the calm centered place at the core of your being. Feel the smooth surface, the heavy weight, and relax completely. Swirling the little ball hidden inside will help release your tension and focus your concentration. The more you handle the pear, the more ki* it will develop. The unglazed surface will develop a patina specific to you over time. You can paint it, dye it, wax it, or steep it in tea if you like, to make it more your own. Whether you use it during your daily meditation or simply put in a special place, we hope our ‘Grounding Pear’ will help connect you to your true nature. (*spiritual energy)
pears sunning themselves outside the studio
These beautiful glass pears are by Antony Biancaniello.

Here is a recipe from a Cook's Illustrated article on Italian fruit desserts sounds to easy to be good, but it is our favorite way to eat fresh pears. Unless you count crepes. Very simple and elegant.

Pears with Mascarpone
3/4 lb. Mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese, but I feel like putting a little sad face here if that's all you can get)
1/4 c. hazelnut liqueur (I keep a bottle just for this dessert, great stuff)
1 lemon
2 qts. water
3 tsp. mint, fresh, minced
4 pears, whatever the local farmer's market has, or Anjou, or Bartlett (but not canned, yeetch)
8 walnut halves
4 sprigs mint, fresh

Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the 2 quarts of water and add the two lemon halves to the water also. Peel, halve, and core the pears and place them into the lemon water and refrigerate.

In a mixing bowl, beat the Mascarpone cheese, hazelnut liqueur, and minced mint together until smooth. When ready to serve dessert, drain the lemon water from the pears and arrange the pears on individual dessert plates. Top each pear half with 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture. Garnish with 2 walnut halves each and a sprig of fresh mint. Serves: 4.

Pear sculpture (corten steel) by George Baldessin near Australian National Gallery in Canberra, Australia.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New Chicks

An escapee from the box.
Every spring, I get two new chicks for our flock. Except, Tawanda Faye always comes along and her motto is 'if two is good, three is better'. *see results below.
I get them from Linnton Feed and Seed which is owned by one of my oldest friends in Portland. We went on a study abroad program to Brazil, back in the day. When I last stopped by the feed store, Dan showed me a mug of mine that he has been using to heat up his soup every single day for the past fifteen years. Needless to say, it was somewhat the worse for wear, what with banging around a feed store for so many years. I went home and dug through the archives and found one from the same series:
This is a really enormous mug, it holds a full quart when filled to the brim.
I gave it to him and he gave me:
50 pounds of layer feed and 25 pounds of chick feed... and three little black australourps.
These eggs are from our Auracanas, a type of chicken that lays pastel green or blue eggs ( I know they kind of look white in this picture but they are really very pretty in person, as are the chickens)
I like to make frittatas, a kind of Italian omelette with my nice fresh eggs. I didn't take a picture the last time I made one so this is Martha Stewart, not me with the skillet. It's very simple to make a frittata for a quick and easy dinner:

6 eggs, beaten
2-ounce Parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup leftover cooked potaotes
1/2 cup leftover vegetables (broccoli, or...)
optional~leftover cooked chicken or sausage
1 tablespoon chopped parsley or tarragon leaves
Preheat oven to broil setting.

In medium size bowl, using a fork, blend together eggs, Parmesan, pepper, and salt. Heat 12-inch oven safe saute pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil to pan. Add onion and saute until lightly caramelized. Add potatoes and vegetables and anything else that looks good and heat through. Pour egg mixture into pan and jiggle it around to spread over the vegetables. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until the egg mixture has set on the bottom and begins to set up on top. Place pan into oven and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and fluffy.

Remove from pan and cut into 4 servings. Serve hot or at room temperature.

I find it a very useful method for cleaning out the refrigerator.
And if you can't keep chickens where you live, you can buy this adorable little chick and maybe few of her friends from Rachel at Yarnigans.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pagan Summer

May 1st is the first day of pagan summer. Reason enough to break out the outdoor chairs, no?
And get the moths out of your summer clothes.
*Su Blackwell (above) has the most gorgeous, evocative artwork I've ever seen.
And get a new tile for your collection.
You do have a tile collection, don't you?

And, if you have a little extra time (3 minutes) and don't mind breaking your heart a little, you can also discover a new favorite singer and song and video: