Jul 25, 2014

New Music: First Aid Kit Stay Gold

As part of my 30 before 30 goal I wanted to spent more time this year immersing myself in music, specifically new to me music. I hope to post a few of my findings here for you. I'm not a music reviewer so don't expect any titillating review or anything.

I've heard a lot of mentions of First Aid Kit in the last few months. Their latest album, Stay Gold, was this week's listen.

The sister singers have a folksy, haunting sound. I can easily see myself blasting this album while riding country roads with the windows down, wind through my hair.

Favorite Songs: Master Pretender, Shattered & Hollow, Heaven Knows

When to listen: getting ready to go out, especially with girl friends, road trippin.

Jul 22, 2014

Pink Cat

Last week we had some family over and the "kids" played with sidewalk chalk on our back patio. It was a good distraction for them. They even did this cute Roux outline:

However, the next morning Motley cat decided it would be a fine idea to roll in it.

Our neighbor was concerned thinking it was dried blood. Whoops.

Let this be a lesson: white cats and sidewalk chalk do not mix.

Jul 21, 2014

Monday Garden Update

Good morning! Last week was unseasonably wonderful. One day we didn't even get into the 80s. Bryan and I did our quiet time on the back patio nearly every day. One night we even had a fire. It was glorious. This week we should be back to normal Memphis in July weather and I guess that's okay.

This morning's harvest included: 1 jet star tomato, 2 chocolate bell peppers, 4 cucumbers, 1 green bean, and a handful of edamame.

The real story in the garden right now is tomatoes. As in they are finally growing! Hallelujah!

There are a ton of baby tomatoes in this mess.

Lima beans are finally filling out a little bit as well.

The green beans are looking healthy, but we are only getting 1 or 2 at a time.

The good news is that I'm not battling weeds right now. I am battling an overabundance of cucumbers. Please, someone remind me in April or May of next year to NOT PLANT SO MANY CUCUMBER PLANTS! Two weeks ago I put up four pints of pickles. There are a number of smaller cucumbers on the vine and I'm going to have to make more in the next day or two. Related: what's your favorite pickle recipe?

Jul 18, 2014

New Music: Old 97's Most Messed Up

As part of my 30 before 30 goal I wanted to spent more time this year immersing myself in music, specifically new to me music. I hope to post a few of my findings here for you. I'm not a music reviewer so don't expect any titillating review or anything.

On Sunday the Old 97s are playing at the  Levitt Shell. I've loved their music for years, but haven't had a chance to listen to their stuff lately. I thought with the concert coming up I'd dedicate some time to listening to music I might not have heard yet. Turns out they have a new album, Most Messed Up.

This album sounds just like their older stuff. Same rockin' alt-country feel. Several songs feature drankin' such as "Let's Get Drunk and Get It On" which is fun. And there's some language, such as "Most Messed Up". But it's a fun album.

When to listen: pre-gamin, weekends, porch times

Jul 17, 2014

We Partyin'! Taste Off

One of our favorite New Orleans musicians is Kermit Ruffins. We try to see him at the Blue Nile on Frenchman when we can. One thing he continually says that gets the crowd going is "We Partyin'!"  You kind of have to be there, but here's a clip I found online so you have a frame of reference:

Anyways, earlier this week we had my family over for dinner. It's the middle of summer here which means our gardens are booming and our CSA is full of fresh veggies. This is awesome, but sometimes we are over run with peppers, cucumbers, and tomatoes. More than we can possibly eat just the two of us. So I decided maybe it would be fun to chop up the different varieties and do a taste test.

A few years ago Bryan and I were at the downtown Memphis Farmer's Market and they were doing a tomato tasting. There were tons of different varieties and you could taste them all and vote for your favorite. I never found out which one won, but I remember loving the idea. Why not have it on a smaller scale at home?

I cut up 4 different varieties of tomatoes, 4 varieties of peppers, 2 varieties of cucumber, and opened 4 different jars of homemade pickles.

I wish I had taken a better picture but halfway through the evening I remembered to take this one with my phone.

I printed off ballots and made everyone taste everything and vote. Okay, well not everyone. The kids didn't care so much. But most everyone did and they enjoyed it. And then we talked about which peppers and tomatoes were our favorites and why. It's great conversation fodder.

After dinner I tallied up the votes. Pickles and cucumbers were a draw. The bullhorn pepper was the favorite pepper. But the Bradley tomato was the clear winner of the evening. It scored all the tomato votes. Both the Bradley and the bullhorn pepper came in our latest CSA bag.  Which I guess means, they will need to be on my "to-plant" list for next year.

You don't have to do four different things or even four different varieties to do a taste off. But for your next party or gathering, consider using some of the fresh produce to sample the different heirloom treasures this season provides. It may open a guests eyes to heirloom vegetables or just a new variety. At the very least it helps clean out your fridge!

Jul 11, 2014

New music: Fox Images '74-'84

As part of my 30 before 30 goal I wanted to spent more time this year immersing myself in music, specifically new to me music. I hope to post a few of my findings here for you. I'm not a music reviewer so don't expect any titillating review or anything.

I was in the car listening to NPR a few weeks ago (a rare occurrence these days) and heard a story about a band and I liked the music they sampled. At the next light I quickly jotted what I thought was the band name on my Evernote list. This week I eagerly pulled up artist "Fox" on Spotify and listened to the most recent album, Images '74-'84. Huh, I thought, that's an interesting album name. Turns out, this is not the same band I heard on NPR, but a British band from the mid 70's. I won't tell you how long it took me to figure this out.

But I guess the cool thing about that embarrassing story is that the music sounds totally current. The main singers voice is a little higher and sharper than I normally enjoy, but it's not off putting.

Favorite songs: Only You Can,  Love Ship

When to listen: dinner party, porch times

Jul 9, 2014

See Ya Later Side Yard

We have a narrow side yard. Well, more of a strip of land between our house and the neighbors drive way. It had gotten way overgrown in the last year or so.

See how those bushes had started growing above the window sill? And yes that's a 6' ladder for scale. Those vines creeping up the house also added a classy touch.

On Saturday Bryan felt inspired to take them down. He grabbed my grandmother's Maddock and went to town.

There were some scary thick vines mixed in with the bushes.

Not afraid to dominate!

There were several smaller bushes scattered further down the side of the house which he also took out. We are leaving the tree for now. But it will need to be limbed up sometime soon.

Here's how it looks for now. There are some stumps that will need to be pulled out and weeds pulled out, obviously. And once those vines dry a little bit we'll pull them down. But so far, so much better!

In the fall I'll start thinking about what to plant here. I'm considering adding a few more blackberry bushes and maybe some blueberry bushes as well. The back part gets mostly shade so we'll find some low maintenance shade loving plants for back there.