Friday, April 30, 2010
Oh my god, there's babies! (baby animals of any type are enough to reduce me to a puddle of warm goo.)
Well, just one right now, but 4 eggs left to hatch.
It's Arbor Day - go hug a tree. I'll be hugging a few of mine when I get home.
Friday, April 9, 2010
On our way to the big house, we passed this guy. He was taste testing real maple syrup against that 'pancake syrup' stuff. It was pretty easy to tell the difference, at least for me. Some people seemed to be having a bit of a hard time, I'm not sure if they really were confused, or if they were putting a show on for their kids. Because, yeah, kids love it when you act a fool for their benefit. So do I.
From the tasting station, we moseyed on down the path to see what was happening over that way.
There was another demonstration going on, this one more akin to the modern day making of maple syrup.
I couldn't get enough of these little guys. We have some owls in our woods, but we never see them, we just hear the hoot-owl once in a while.
We finally made it into the actual house. John James Audubon was REALLY into birds. On a bit of an esoteric level. I like them too - we have an assload of feeders set up and I'm forever whipping out my bird book to see what each one is. Sometimes I take pictures of them. Maybe I will show them to you at some point.
His house was filled with paintings and drawings of birds, his journals, and many different stuffed and mounted specimens. (is that right? it doesn't look right)
Here we have a display of duck-like birds that are native to the property. Mr. Audubon most likely wrung their little necks himself. I can't remember if it told us that or not. I'm making a guess.
The walls of the main hallway and up the stairs were covered in this kind of cool mural that depicted all sorts of winged things.
A bat! I LOVE bats - they eat bugs. We installed a bat house last year on the side of our house. No residents yet, but I keep checking. They say it can take a while for them to move in - something about the smell needing to wear off of the cedar. Whatever, all I know is that I want me some bat residents. Please.
More drawn and stuffed (and sculpted) birds.
We got to peek in his boudoir as well. Canopy bed and everything. With macrame trim.
And bird stuff. Everywhere.
The man himself. This room had a lot of kids in it so we left pretty much as quickly as we could.
Lots of stuffed birdies in this room.
I'm not familiar with what it feels like to have an all-consuming hobby or career, so the level of effort that Audubon put into this stuff is a bit foreign to me. I can't imagine what his days were like. Although, if I was being basically supported by his dad, who knows what kind of trouble I could get into with my Hostas.
My favorite - the bald eagle. They just look so freaking badass. And they're HUGE. You can't tell it from this picture, but trust me. Big bird.That's it for the house. On our way to the all-you-can-eat pancake deal, we passed one of these birdhouses with the 'Bird Habitat' sign on it.
Turns out that you can register your property with the PA Audubon Society as a Bird Habitat, if you've got the right plants (which you can always install) and cover and food for them and available water and you're not using pesticides or anything else detrimental to the feathered folks. Well, shit. I think we might just qualify. Just in case though, I've got a spot out back that I plan to rip the ivy out of (removing invasive non-native plants - WIN!) and replant with native plants that birds and the insects that birds like, like. (vocabulary FAIL)
Then there's a test I have to take to see if we've got what it takes to get one of them there cool signs. I'll let you know how it goes.
Finally, we found our way to the pancakes. Yum. And they served them with the real maple syrup - which we then bought some of. Of course. And maple sugar candy. Mmmmmmm.
I just ate lunch, but now I'm hungry again.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I first tasted it at Chima, a Brazilian steakhouse downtown, during Phila. Restaurant Week this past January. At $13/glass*, it was one of the most expensive, if not THE most expensive cabernet on their menu. I figured we would be eating a lot of red meat - I should get a big red wine to go with it. It was love at first sip. (and Chima ain't so bad, either)
The 7 Oaks is not a huge wine, but it is round and fruity and a little weighty. It's not terribly tannic, which makes it perfect for drinking right now (yay!), but according to J Lohr's website, it can be kept for up to 5 years. This is great. I am interested in trying this again, and again, and again to see how it's aging and progressing. Good thing that we bought a case of it. At $12.99/bottle, it's a freaking bargain.
Run, don't walk, to your closest wine emporium and ask for this stuff. I don't think you will be disappointed.
*A bit of wine geekery for you - generally the price charged per glass is the price that the restaurant paid for the entire bottle. That way, if they only sell one glass of it before it turns, they've at least made their money back. This is useful in determining if a particular wine is something that you might want to pick up a bottle or 3 of the next time you're at the local (or not so local) wine and spirits shop.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Validation - I gots it.
What's happening in my garden you ask?
Grape Hyacinths. For the most part, these were here when we bought the house. I've added a few, but I can't take credit for the majority of them. Around the other side of the tree, I'm trying to create a 'river' of them, but it's not coming about as quickly as I'd like. Not sure if these little guys naturalize or not - I think I'm just going to have to plant a whole bunch more and then over plant with some sweet woodruff (or as we call them - daisylooking plants), as grape hyacinths don't last for too long, in fact, their 'leaves' emerge full force in the Fall, get all shitty over the winter, then the flowers show up in the Spring. Then they die back. Such is the cycle of life.
Below are some Stars of Bethlehem. I love how they burst out of the leaves (see all the leaves? they're part of my weekend plans, yay me.). They'll get a bunch of little white star shaped flowers on them after a while. The flowers close up at night and open up again in the morning. These were already here too. We've got loads of them. A bunch of them are growing in the dirt patch between the front beds and the street. I'm slowly digging them up and moving them into the beds, so they don't get trampled.
More bursting. More leaves. Jesus, that's a lot of leaves. Luckily, they all sort of fuse together and peel up off the ground in these big leafy sheets. Which exposes all the worm poop below. Our earthworms are PROLIFIC. They have been hard at work over the winter, and they make the best dirt. Luckily, CrabbyC and Tex are coming over on Sunday and I'll have some help getting the leaves up. I'd love to leave them on the ground, but they are a tough barrier for a lot of plants to get through - it's sad to uncover anemic looking sprouts, and sometimes the leaves get caught around my tulips and create a kind of choke-hold on them.
Vicious bastards, those leaves. So, we have bursting and choking. FUN.
Here we have Red October:
The success I've had with this guy (one of CrabbyC's legacy hostas) in a container has got me considering potting up some more this year. This one has come back for the last 2 years.
This is a hosta.
You see the problem.
Because of my addiction, I regularly scour the racks at our local nursery for new babies. I picked up a few items on our last trip. We went in for praying mantis egg-things and came out with more hostas, and no eggs. Story of my life.
This guy is 'So Sweet'. Aw.
And this is 'Regal Splendor'. I have this guy already - maybe even 2 of them. One isn't looking so good out back, so I may be doing some replacement work.
If I don't have a chance to post again before Sunday, everyone have a happy Easter or Passover or whatever you happen to celebrate.
I celebrate chocolate and champagne. And hostas.