the gregarious homebody

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Present to You, Fern, The Wonder Glider

Below is the story I sent Design Sponge for their Before and After series (thanks for the idea, Judy!)

Ever since I saw my friend Betsy’s red-painted metal glider that had belonged to her grandmother’s, I knew I had to have one.  They’re so charming and who doesn’t want to be rocked while potentially lying down?  Betsy’s was, I think, from the 40’s and solid metal with no need for cushions.  While searching and searching ebay, Craigslist, and vintage glider websites, the only ones I could find like hers were not only super-rusted (I expected that) but also $400 and up (I did NOT expect that).  And most of them were at least 3 hours away from my house.

Then, halleluiah, I found Fern.  That’s what I call this little beauty, below: 

I found her on Craiglist at a house that was right around the corner from where I work AND she was owned by fellow alumni of my grad school, AND she was $75!  I’m not sure what I love more—the Bakealite handles on the ashtrays (ASHTRAYS!) or the chrome on the sides that makes her look like a ’57 Chevy.  Though she was rusty, it was only surface rust.  And though most of the cushion covers were in good shape, they weighed a ton so we figured there was a lot of potentially moldy cotton filler in those bad boys.  Everything but the Bakealite handles had to be redone.

Renovating her was a group effort; I decided to have her professionally sandblasted and powder-coated and then I painted her with trusty Rustoleum spray paint, my husband shined her chrome accents (with wet aluminum foil) and my friend Kris who owns One Green Poppy made the cushions.  I even got over my own sewing fears by making some throw pillows for her!  Now she looks like this:

I may never get up again.

Sources:  Fabric: Richloom Wilder Cabana; foam/pillow inserts: Joann Fabrics; paint: Rustoleum Ultra Cover in Satin Eden, glider: Craigslist

Friday, July 8, 2011


The garden is starting to get that bursting-at-the-seams look that can excite and bewilder.  Everything's growing exponentially because of a recent rain after some good hot days.  The weeds too, unfortunately.  But ever since I realized Square Foot Gardening was the way to go (thanks, Mommy), weeding isn't too bad.  

Understand that I am a fair-weather gardener; I sweat just standing still so if it's really hot, there's no way I'm spending any real time Out There.  I have five 4x4' boxes and I can weed all 80 square feet (math!) in about 20 minutes.  Even I can deal with that.  Not that I'm going to today because, hello! It's H-U-M-I-D out there which is worse than hot.  Wet underwear weather, people. 

(too much?)

HOWEVER,  I did spend 3 minutes picking today.  Here's what I picked:

What's more than a bunch?  That would be a shit ton.
Woo-hoo!!  This is the very best part of vegetable gardening, apart from the eating.  Is there nothing more miraculous than planting an itty-bitty-teeny-weeny seed (and carrot seeds are even smaller than that) and getting something this big THAT YOU CAN EAT?

I know!!

And I haven't always had the best luck with carrots so this is even more exciting.  Here are some more pictures of the beauties.

Small, Medium, and LARGE!

Here at Topp-Down Organic Farm, we specialize in Saucy Mutant-Limbed Carrots!

And more demure mutant-limbed ones (who might have to go to the bathroom)
And sea creatures!
And there are still pretty many carrots still out there growing in the garden!! How will I ever be able to use this many?  HOW??!!

SERIOUSLY??  Is that ALL??  Let's break it down:  $2.50 in seeds to wait 2 months to grow the amount of organic carrots I usually spend $3 on at the grocery store?!  

Clearly, not a bargain.  (And how do carrot farmers make ANY money?)

SO MANY CARROTS!  not really.

However, I'm also clearly not just in it for the cheap.  I love the planning, the watching-it-grow, and the harvesting.  It's psychically satisfying.  And I know I'll be really really happy when the tomatoes ripen and I'm no longer spending $2 on one decent tomato.  

Tomatoes are a bargain.

And lots of ...compost material!  Even Rosie looks perplexed.

 What's on the horizon for this garden:

Potatoes are located in that ka-lassy tire back there.  Check out this space-saving technique!
Tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, more arugula, more chard (and more chard, and more chard), basil, lemon thyme, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, canteloupe, pumpkins, blueberries, sunflowers, asparagus (in 3 years), potatoes, lettuce, acorn squash, and more carrots!  

And that's just this summer!  I'm determined to try my hand at some carpentry with a cold frame from old windows to grow some winter greens, beets and broccoli.

Until then, I'll be making carrot salad, arugula topped pizza, artichoke and chard dip, and many many platters of caprese salad.  And more things topped with chard.  And arugula.  And chard.  You get the picture.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Planning Our Route

I decided to invest in a guidebook my friend Judy has been using successfully for years. 

I am so happy.  

Our vacation isn't until August but I am READY.  And now that I have this guidebook I'm ready to go even more.

Why, you ask?  Because said book offers all the great places to soak up the history of our forefathers and mothers that is New England?  Because it divulges the places to get the best deals for antiques and folk art?


Because THIS guidebook tells me where to get the best of these:

From Dottie's Diner in Woodbury, CT

or the best of THIS:

From the 52nd Annual Hillbilly Day in Mountain Rest, SC

Or, for all things that are holy, THIS!

Belt's Soft Serve in Stevens Point, WI

Try as I might to wish myself a different person sometimes, food and the enjoyment of food is a big part of me (ha. ha. ha.  Insert self-effacing joke here).  I truly believe that food, the preparation of it, the serving of it, and the enjoyment of it has huge anthropological import.  Really!  If you look at our blended society, for example, one of the things people cling to is their culture's food. And what's more satisfying than *ahem* learning about a local culture by eating its food?

And, clearly, I'm no food snob.  My favorite place is a Mom-and-Pop place.  There's love (or something) in that food.  It's real.  It's friendly.  And,it doesn't waste effort being fancy.  

So, I will let Jan and Michael Stern be my guides and just make sure I do lots of hiking to balance it all out.  Here they are now---and don't they just look like fun?!

 And, much as I would love to have their life--Steve and I would be great at it and he would be able to talk to strangers for a living---me thinks the picture above foretells the tale of the inequity of life that would most definitely be my fate.  

Damn men and their metabolism.

All photos from the Roadfood blog

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What I've Been Up To

Riding around in a pick-up truck with these knuckleheads

To get these
To make this

Look more like this

And FINALLY, after much looking, finding this

And making plans to turn it into an After  so we can enjoy more of this

tending to this

 So I can make more of these.

I hope your Summer is as sweet as mine is so far!


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