Jun 27, 2014

New Music: Stax Singles

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.

A few months ago I wrote about visiting the local Stax Museum. A few months before that I downloaded the Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration albums and have been listening to it when I'm feeling funky. Currently I'm reading Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon. It's rekindled my soul and R&B listening.

I'm not too far into the book yet, only a few chapters, but as the author writes about specific songs I find myself bookmarking and then looking up the song to listen to before continuing. It's been an enjoyable experience. So it's sort of natural that this week I wanted to listen to more. Did you know that Spotify has a the complete singles available to listen to?! Seriously, all of them. 244 songs! Yikes!

There was no way I listened to them all this week, especially as I started on Thursday morning, but I did listen to tracks 1-17, which is about where I am currently in the book.

One thing I love about this period of Stax (not that I'm familiar with the later years yet) is how diverse the music is. From the funky, cause-you-to-dance sounds of "Last Night" by the Mar-Keys to the dreamy, wistful songs of Carla Thomas. There's a little something for everyone.

When to listen: a casual dinner party, cooking or putzing around the kitchen

Jun 20, 2014

New Music: Little Big Town

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 been slacking the last few weeks by not listening to new music. The last few weeks have been marked by doing only what I have to to get by. A little less than the bare minimum has been happening around here. Not proud of it, but it's about all I can do.

On Saturday evening is the first Live at the Garden concert of the year. This year they are building a big new fancy stage. I'm anxious to see how this changes our viewing. The stage is now in the area we have sat in the past.

Little Big Town is the first concert. I have not heard their music before. So this afternoon I sat down, turned on Spotify and listened to their top songs. Their latest release is called "Day Drinking" which is something I can relate to.

While technically a country group, I don't mind their more rock sound and I especially love the vocal harmonies. Strong vocals are just not something that every band has. Gotta appreciate that when you see it.

Jun 17, 2014

Welcome to the world, Cade!

On Friday we received a precious nephew!

Meet Leeland Cade Johnson!

We are so excited to get to know and love on this little boy.

Jun 16, 2014

Quick Garden Update

A quick update this morning as I ran out of room to take pictures on my phone and now I'm too lazy to go back out there. Keeping it real.

On Saturday we harvested our first pepper. I thought it was supposed to be a chocolate pepper, but it tasted like a regular one. Bryan sauteed it last night with dinner.

Our blackberries are starting to turn in color this week. I'm hoping for blackberry cobbler in the next week or two.

While I don't think our bushes will be able to produce enough for a whole cobbler this year, I can supplement from my parent's bushes. We are definitely seeing an increased number of fruit over last year though. Progress!

Look! A baby cucumber! We have several of these. Pickles will be here before we know it! I'm super excited to try my refrigerator pickles with the fresh dill I'm growing this year.

I have 5 green jet start tomatoes growing slowly. I always forget how hard it is to be patient on those first few tomatoes to turn.

My other tomato plants are FINALLY starting to grow! I dissolved some epsom salt in a gallon of water the other morning and watered the slow tomatoes and peppers with it. I don't think I killed them!

What's happening in your garden right now?

Jun 11, 2014

Memphis Marine Hospital Tour

Bryan and I have been fascinated with this old building next to the Ornamental Metal Museum. We haven't heard anything in the news about it so we always talked about what it could be, or picture ourselves rescuing it. Or just sitting on the front porch.

This massive, old, abandoned building sits high up on the Mississippi River Bluff. Across the street are historic Indian mounds and next door is the Ornamental Metal Museum. It's a little out of the ways from Downtown Memphis and can be difficult to find. Half the time we go to this area (known as the French Fort area) we end up going to Arkansas.

Our architectural group, AIA LuniTects, was invited to tour the space last week. We were super excited to finally get a glimpse of this building.

And it's surrounding structures. The building above was original to the property and was used as a nurses building. We weren't able to go in as it is structurally unsafe.

Through that opening straight ahead you can access the grounds of the Metal Museum and one of the best view of the bluff.

A glimpse inside the nurses building.

Inside the hospital - which was a merchant marine hospital, not the armed forces marine hosptial - it was pretty rough. While the structure is mostly concrete and in good condition, paint is chipping, ceiling tiles crumbling, broken glass every where, and tons of salvaged materials from other places stored inside. Lighting was bad, so forgive the blurry photos.

We met with an owner/developer of the grounds and an architect who has designed future plans for the building and surrounding area. The plan is to turn the old hospital into apartments or condos. They have big plans for the whole area that will be exciting as well. This room, on the second floor, has the best river view. Mom has declared this apartment hers.

This is the same room, just a wider angle.

The back part of the building, which was actually the original part of the hospital, had more hospital-ly rooms.

A massive light.

A place for things sanitary or unsanitary.

At some point the hospital was owned and run by the Army National Guard.

Also on the grounds was a maintenance building pictured below.

The big windows in this building remind me of the apartment we lived in at the Lenox School. I think something similar would be perfect here.

The plans to renovate this area start next year when the city has agreed to make the area more accessible. The greater plans also include renovations of several other abandoned buildings near by, a river front restaurant, and new buildings.

I can't wait to see how this area develops. It is certainly an under utilized area of Memphis that deserves some attention.

Jun 9, 2014

Monday Garden Update

Greetings from the garden. Seems like every day the last week we've gotten morning and/or afternoon rain. We had a rain shower this morning which prevented an earlier post. And we're expecting rain any second now.  At least I don't have to water!

This is just a mess of potatoes.

On the left hand side my jet star tomato has outgrown the tomato cage. The other day I tried stapling string  to the fence to keep it held up, but it fell and I have yet to fix it.  The cherry tomatoes are starting to take off. I even had to take off a sucker today.

The sunchoke in this bed is blooming.

Over on the right hand side my chocolate pepper is doing well an I have one growing well. The iceberg lettuce is weird. I thinned it out last week. The cucumbers plants are starting to look like cucumber plants. I've seen a few small cukes growing off the flowers.

My lemon tree is still growing after being repotted. The jalepeno plants are still tiny.

The fig tree is putting out a new leaf every other day or so! Won't be long until it will outgrow this pot and be put in the front yard orchard.

In the back bed the tomatoes are still small and the herbs are growing like crazy.

Green beans and lima beans are climbing well.

Trying to train the soy beans to climb, but I don't think they are a climbing variety.

Last week I read up on what I think is going on with the tomatoes. I'm worried the new dirt we brought in is a little high in ph level for tomatoes to thrive. I was planning on dilluting epsom salt with water to put on the tomatoes and peppers, but we've had too much rain. So Sunday morning I sprinkled a pinch full around the base of each. I hope that helps. We will see in a few days if it helped or hurt.

I harvested some lettuce last week, but that's about it.

Jun 6, 2014

New Music: Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires, Dereconstructed

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.

This week's new music was brought to my attention by this article from The Bitter Southerner. I couldn't not listen to the album after reading the first half of the article.

Anyone who has read this blog knows I'm a fan of all things Southern, Southern Rock included. (I downloaded Southern rock bands Houndmouth and JJ Grey and Mofro last week and have been listening non stop.)

Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires has a bit of a harder, constant rockin' sound and more lyric based. I'll really need to listen through another few times to truly appreciate this aspect of the album.

And can we talk about how awesome a band name Glory Fires is? It's pretty awesome and I'm jealous I didn't think of it.

When to listen: Friday or Saturday nights, road trips, boating

Jun 3, 2014

Our First CSA

For the last few years I've made an intentional effort to buy at farmers markets and Easy Way. Local food is better food and it's better for the environment. I've considered doing a CSA the last couple of summers but have shied away. You see, I'm a bit of a control freak. Especially when it comes to my kitchen and what happens in it. Down to where things go in my fridge. It's really a problem. Anyways... I meal plan. And not having the ability to select what food I receive each month terrifies me.

This year I decided to swallow my fears, put aside my control issues and just go with it. I signed up for a classic plan with Bring It Food Hub back in March. I've been eagerly waiting my first CSA share since. And last week we finally got one! 

Let's back up, what is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Support Agriculture. It's paying it forward to the farmers for the food you will receive over a set time period. Basically it helps the farmers know how much to produce and gives them some much needed consistent cash flow. In return you get delicious veggies and fruit. Win/Win! 

Here's what was in our first bag: 
1 lb red potatoes
1 pint strawberries
1 large head broccoli 
1 large head of lettuce
2 leeks
1 lb swiss chard
1 lb red onions

I received an extra pint of strawberries because I helped pack up the bags. I already had half a pint at home. They were looking a little on the sad side so I decided I needed to deal with them right away.  First order of business: Strawberry Ice Cream following the recipe from How To Cook Everything. Next, strawberry freezer jam.

Wednesday night I made something called "the dish". I pulled it from an Edible Memphis magazine a year or so ago. I used one of the onions - onion and greens - and kale for this dish. It was hearty, healthy, and delicious.

Thursday night I steamed some broccoli as a side dish and I used another How to Cook Everything recipe for the chard. Chard is related to beets! I didn't know that. We shall be having more chard in our future!

With Memorial Day and Levitt Shell concerts we didn't even get around to the potatoes and leeks yet, so I made them the following week in a frittata.

I still have a few onions leftover from the first week. Need to do something with them, but not sure what yet.

Have you done a CSA before? Where do you find recipe inspiration? 

Jun 2, 2014

Monday Garden Update

Good morning. We've gotten a little bit of rain everyday for what feels like the last week or so. No need to water, which is nice.

The potatoes in the bed are officially blooming. I still don't know what that means. I really need to look that up.

First tomatoes! The jet star tomato has really taken off. My cherry tomatoes are starting to grow, but the others are still really little. I wonder if they don't get enough sun.

First chocolate bell pepper. Also my pepper starts are pretty small as well. What happened to all my starts?!

The lima beans are starting to climb. I've had to sort of train them, but once they grab hold they take off.

Same with the green beans.

In other news, there appears to be a mushroom/fungi infestation in the right corner of the new bed. How do I handle this? Also, notice the tiny tomato plants.

This weeks' assignment is to research potatoes when they flower and mushrooms in garden beds.