20 February 2014

Cocktails At The Burn Pit

We do love a good cocktail.  Recently there has been much talk, trash talk, scholarly discourse about that elemental addition to cocktails -- namely, ice. Well, we are not big on ice.  There is a great scene in the old movie, The Year of Living Dangerously, when the British ambassador is served a gin and tonic in a ice-filled glass.  He states in a prefunctory manner, "If I had wanted gin and tonic and ice, I would have ordered it."

Don't get us wrong, we would love to have one of those Japanese, brass ice ball makers, but at $1200 we simply haven't hit the Powerball.  We do however, have a vast array of ice makers, 2 inch balls, 2 inch squares, 1/2 inch squares, ice shooter glasses, even an ice Titanic and companion berg!  Now it seems that bartenders want larger and larger ice cubes to fill their glasses. 

Really, one doesn't need extra equipment, simply fill your glass with water and freeze.  You will have the biggest ice cube your glass can hold.

Now we come to our new favorite cocktail.  We call it, Smoke on the Water.  It is basically whiskey on a big old piece of ice.  But not just any whiskey.  We use Corsair's Small Batch Triple Smoke. 

We love it.  It is rich and smokey, triple smokey!  Now we have seen many cocktails that use Triple Smoke, but frankly, we just haven't been able to mix it with anything.  It is superb straight.  Since we drink it straight and we wanted a big, gigantic piece of ice, we improvised and the rest is history...

Smoke on the Water

1 large thick walled glass

Fill the glass about 3/4 full of water and freeze.

Remove glass from freezer and immediately pour a large shot, hell pour a double shot of Corsair's Triple Smoke on top.

Drink at your leisure.

19 February 2014


We love the 1920's.  We love group biographies.  We loved Judith Mackrell's first biography, Bloomsbury Ballerina.  So Flappers was a no-brainer.

We have read extensive and multiple biographies of all six women Mackrell features in her book:
 Josephine Baker, Tallulah Bankhead, Diana Cooper, Nancy Cunard, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Tamara de Lempicka. Having them all in one book set specifically in the 1920's is just too fun.

The women are framed by a history of seismic shifts for women.  We could tell you about gender, race, and sexuality or we could share with you these photos.   Just one look and will want to read the book.

Josephine Baker

Diana Cooper

Nancy Cunard

Tallulah Bankhead

Tamara de Lempicka

Zelda Fitzgerald
Of course you might just know that two of these "dangerous" women were raised in Alabama.  Bless their wild little hearts.

18 February 2014

Tuneful Tuesday

After waiting forEVER...St. Paul and the Broken Bones finally dropped their first full CD, Half the City.  It dropped just after midnight on iTunes and I couldn't sleep!

This CD is great.

Have you ever watched the Grammys and said,  "Who is that?"   Well next year when you watch the Grammys you will say, "I've been listening to these guys forever."  And well you should.

Lead singer Paul Janeway came to music through the church, like many an R&B singer.  He doesn't drink.  He doesn't smoke.  Which lead to the sobriquet, St. Paul.  But, sing, oh boy can this guy sing.  There is some Sam Cooke.  Some Chicago.  Some James Brown. Some Billy Graham. Some Otis Redding.  It is fun, fast, and funky. St. Paul and the Broken Bones have already been written up in Garden & Gun, Paste, and NPR

Give it a listen and I bet you'll buy it and hit the "repeat" button.

15 February 2014

The Trouble with Photographing Snow

Today's snow looks like...


Valentine's Day snow. Yesterday's snow looks a lot like the Thursday snow.


Thursday's snow looks like Monday's snow.

This week's snow looks like last week 's snow.


Last week's snow looks like last month's snow.



And snow it goes...


11 February 2014

Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life

Yes, we are having a bit of a garden obsession.  The last green thing we saw was moldy bread! So bear with us.

Today's garden fantasy belongs to the ever popular Beatrix Potter. Marta McDowell has assembled Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life, a collection of gardening photos, vintage pictures, writer's diary, watercolors, and botanical prints that would leave even those with black thumbs, delighted.

McDowell was not a childhood convert to Potter's work.  At her wedding shower, she received a Mrs. Tiggy-winkle cookie jar.  She thought the fashionable hedgehog was a porcupine.  She has no memory of who gave her the jar, nor of that husband! She came to Beatrix Potter after visiting Hill Top Farm, Potter's beloved home. She was smitten.

No wonder the tiny animals of the hedgerows became such beloved characters.  Could this be a descendant of Flopsy, Mopsy, or Cottontail?

It is bad enough that there is snow everywhere, but finding a garden that is beautiful in winter -- I am so jealous. 

I just keep going back and forth looking at the photographs.  McDowell offers a glimpse into Potter's very hands on gardening style as well as the vivid imagination that built Mr. McGregors's Garden.  The problem with the book is that I seem to concentrate on the pictures and often lose the narrative train of thought.  It is hard to overcome, the next picture is so inviting...

08 February 2014

Virginia Woolf's Garden


Have we mentioned lately that there is snow and ice? What to do? Stay inside and read about gardens. Caroline Zoob lived in Monk's House, the former home of Virginia and Leonard Woolf.


An experienced embroider, Zoob, made maps of the garden.


Photographer Caroline Arber was a frequent visitor to Monk's House. These modern images mixed with archival prints makes this a must have for students of Woolf and gardens.



Not to mention it is great way to spend a snowy Saturday.


06 February 2014

Cocktails At The Burn Pit


Not to sound like a big old broken record, but it is cold. It is snowy and miserable. Working outside is out of the question. If we ever needed a burn pit it is now. So, let's have some cocktails.


We are, however, advocating virtuous drinking. Yes, there is alcohol, but there is juice too.


So, one day, while juicing carrots, I realized there was an excellent opportunity for a cocktail. When I bought the juicer I had healthy reasons. The second I cranked up the juicer, I realized its profound use as a cocktail agent. I feel the same thing when canning. Yes, jams and jellies are great on toast, but they are even better after a toast.

Put them all together, and you have a cocktail.

The Bunny Mary

4 carrots
1 orange, peeled
1 small knob of ginger
1 teaspoon marmalade
2 ounces grapefriut vodka

Juice the carrots, orange, and ginger. Mix in the marmalade and stir, then add the vodka and give it a final stir. Garnish with a bit of orange peel.

The Bunny Mary, breakfast of champions! And lunch of champions.


04 February 2014

Everyone Needs A Blankie

When I first came to West Virginia, Laura McClure visited and brought me a throw she made for me. For,years I have dragged that throw around from room to room, especially during the winter months.

It has been a throw, a blanket, a chair cover, a tablecloth, a shawl, even a rug. Here is the problem. A throw is meant to be "thrown" over your feet or shoulders, but it is not meant to be a whole nose-to-tail covering. This is the fundamental problem with a throw. From corner to corner, I could almost get it to cover me if I pointed my toes and bent my knees.


The last time Ann was here, she watched me drag my throw from the bed to the couch and back, so she called Laura and asked her to make a new "throw" that would be long enought to cover me up from tip to toe with room left over for a cat,or two.



So, I got my big ol' blankie! Everyone loves it.





Recently, when I had to be out of town for a while, I carefully folded my new blankie and put it away as I did not want any accidents or deliberate malfeasance to occur during my absence. Upon my return, I went to fetch the blankie and what did I find?


Yes, Teddy had found my hiding spot and made it his personal space because, as Linus will tell you, "Happiness is a warm blanket."


03 February 2014

Six More Weeks


If I find Punxsutawney Phil, he's one dead groundhog!


02 February 2014

Kitten Bowl


Got caught up in the Kitten Bowl. Who won that other game?


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