January 31, 2011

Me and Daphne at home

During daphne's too short blooming season, I like to maximize our time together by carrying a fragrant little sprig with me from room to room. So for Jane's idea for Flowers at Home Mondays, here's Daphne in various parts of the house through the morning: at coffee, my dresser, and work on the computer. Thanks for the great idea Jane!

January 28, 2011

Leafy greens

Often I will get a whole bunch of paperwhite bulbs started for my sister's Christmas gift. Inspired by all the buckeyes I was using to decorate wreaths and such, I thought I'd pot some up for something a little different this year. My plan backfired when Christmas Eve came and my ten little buckeyes were still just ten little buckeyes. I didn't give them away, but I didn't give up on them either. A few days later they started to shoot out giant roots, followed by delicate little leaves, then great big ones. Now we have a tabletop buckeye forest, and I know what my sister will be getting for Christmas next year.

January 26, 2011

Yes, please

 One of my account likes really crazy flowers- things that look like they came from another planet, tropicals, wonky orchids, wild branches, weird fruit and the like. So when I occasionally go to the market, I always try to find them something really out there. Such was my intention when I made the trip this week. But how could I say no to the local spring beauty which awaited me? Needless to say, my folks got plain old springy goodness, including some double narcissus from Pescadero. Here are a couple,  combined with three other varieties of narcissus we have growing here at our place.

January 22, 2011

While the sun shines . . .

 Remember how I said I'd literally been making hay while the sun shone? Well, I should clarify. I wasn't actually making hay, but I was being mad hott productive while the weather was sunny. So mad hott productive, that by the time Liz came down for a surprise visit I was much in the mood for a garden retreat at my godmother's place in Petaluma. Here it is in all its decadent glory, complete with delicious pears and local cheeses, champagne, and al fresco scrabble. It was so warm and sunny we even had to break out the sunscreen. I love California in January!

January 21, 2011

MN 3 of 3: Eye on the Sky (Ways)

I've always been fascinated by the Twin Cities' skyway system. Connecting over 80 city blocks, Minneapolis's is the largest continuous network of them in the world (Calgary's got the largest noncontinuous one). My interest was indulged as we scurried along snug and warm through the elevated passages, first to the snazzy Foshay Tower for drinks, then to Vincent for one of the most enjoyable fancy dining experiences I have ever encountered.

Thank you, Ben's Family, for the amazing visit!!!

January 20, 2011

MN 2 of 3: Fathers in City Hall

We took a bus and the light rail from St. Paul to meet Ben's father in downtown Minneapolis. Since we were just near City Hall, we stepped inside to see the grand architecture. I was especially impressed by this GIANT sculpture by Larkin Goldsmith Mead, "Father of Waters" - a very appropriate gent to watch over the public offices of the City of Lakes.

January 19, 2011

MN 1 of 3: Tea, Cozy

Oh my, what a lapse. But once again I have an excuse. Two excuses, in fact. First, I was recovering from the  wonderful hay-making frenzy of Christmas with an amazing vacation out to Minnesota, where I enjoyed the kindness of Ben's family and the comfort and beauty of their lovely home. And second, I was back in California making hay again, this time literally while the the sun shone. More on that later. For now I give you a study in coziness in the face of charmingly bitter cold, the first of three snippets from my Midwestern escape.

January 4, 2011

What a Difference Some Rays Make

Sophie the cat is infamously unfriendly, but set up bookkeeping on a sun drenched table top and she's more than happy to "help" with even the most tedious paperwork (above).  Daffodils also respond nicely to the sunshine; those on the hill catching the full morning rays (below left) are weeks ahead of those in the shade (below right). The compost pile, too, is hopefully benefiting from a little extra warmth from the sun. It's been pushed to full capacity with all the winter greenery, so it needs all the help it can get (bottom).

January 2, 2011

Road Trip!

Usually I don't get out of Napa and Sonoma counties too much. But when an extremely nice gal I met at the summer farmers' market asked if I could make a few holiday deliveries about the Bay (above), how could I refuse? Liz and I needed a little mini road trip, anyhow. Here are a few of the things we brought along:

Above is Liz trying out one of the hand-tied centerpieces as a bouquet, and below taking in a welcome dose of fresh sea air at Pacifica. Note the Carhartt gear and ribbon. I think Liz is the only person I know who could pull off that ensemble (or would even think to try it).