Shoe Shine | Thursday, April 30, 2009New York, New York--Again | Wednesday, April 29, 2009Bigger Paintings | Tuesday, April 28, 2009New York, New York | Monday, April 27, 2009What Will It Be...Can We See? | Friday, April 24, 2009
right back atcha Karen.
Warm Weather on the Way | Thursday, April 23, 2009Thank you Cine! | Wednesday, April 22, 2009Meyer Lemons, Key Limes and a Quail Egg | Monday, April 20, 2009
Right after we got off of the train at Penn Station in NY, Danny and Jay Jr. headed directly to the shoe shine stand. I love that they still do that...meaning that you can still get your shoes shined like that.
Today I met a new chicken friend Jen, in Churchville, just above Morgantown. We met outside of Shady Maple. I haven't been there in years, which is weird, because I used to go there a couple of times a month with Diane Komorowski and all of her kids and my kids, a total of nine kids, in my station wagon...before mini-vans and seat belts. We always had so much fun. After Shady Maple we'd hit Goode's for fabric and notions, to make "jams" for the kids. Hawaiin-type shorts that were so easy to put together and sew. Then we'd go to Hartz's Farm for whatever organic meat that I didn't raise. Like organic beef cubes, hot dogs and bacon and other pork products. Also cheese and other dairy, but not milk. We had goats for that. Well Shady Maple is all done up now with a separate smorgasbord restaurant that's like a Walmart. The food is different too. It's pretty much the same menu, but the mashed potatoes are fake. The broasted chicken was great. I wanted to go shopping there and also stop by Hartz's, but there was no sign there and I ran out of time.
Found a deer tick on me today....ugh....I have to find a better way to repel them. I can't go through this Lyme disease thing again. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so hopefully some ticks will drown and I can work on the big paintings some more.
After we had Mojitos and a couple of great snacks at Jean Georges' on Sunday, we went back outside to stroll around. The weather had dramatically and thankfully cooled. I got this shot of the boys, but not the typical one of them holding the globe like Atlas, which was close by.
I started collecting the herbs and peppers for the garden this year and got a bunch of annuals today. I had to meet a woman about chickens in Newtown Square this afternoon, which also brought me close to Gentile's Market. I was thrilled to see the place loaded with flowers.
This morning I took Jay Sr. to the AT&T store to get him an iPhone for his birthday. Somehow I also wound up with one for Mother's Day. Smart, very smart. Really, it was, since we were due for an upgrade and they were on sale. We are both extremely technically challenged, but we're already having so much fun with these things. The photo quality is really impressive compared to our last cell phones. I'm headed out to Pennsylvania Dutch Country tomorrow on another chicken mission. I'm planning on lunch at Shady Maple. It's been many years since I've done that and I'm really looking forward to it. I'll give you the low down tomorrow night.
Since I'm prepping and working on some larger paintings, the paintings di giorno will be put on hold for a while and be replaced with photos. You'll get to see and know my family and even my chickens better. Thank God the weather will cool down tomorrow, albeit the rain will return, but I'll accept that instead of 90+ degree weather. Last night when I locked up the chickens, a fox ran past me. It was the local, dominant male. He was big and looked very healthy. I have mixed feelings about that. I'm happy that he's not sick and rabid, but I for sure don't need another big and strong predator around here. He reminded me of Winslow Homer's painting "Fox Hunt". He was running in that same position past me.
The photo is one I took at Chanticleer recently of an urn with the inside painted black, filled with water and harbingers of spring--daffodils and forsythia-- floating on it. So pretty and dramatic. They always have such good ideas like this.
Back in December when it was Danny's birthday, he said he wanted to go to New York. Jay Sr. said the same thing in March when it was his birthday, so we left early by train and went yesterday. Jay Jr. took care of making the restaurant reservations. We had Lunch at Bar Boulud, which offers a great charcuterie. We always order a lot of different dishes for all of us to share. The food was outstanding and we sat for at least two hours sampling everything.
Then we walked to Central Park found a seat and baked in the shadeless sun, until we left and went to Jean Georges' for Mojitos, which couldn't have been more refreshing. We also had a snack of tuna tartare and a bruleed fois gras, both of which were spectacular. The bartender, Justin, gave us his father's business card for a connection to his Italian restaurant and factory. Jay Jr. has all of the info, but I can't wait to check it out. I'm also really looking forward to going back to Jean Georges' for lunch or dinner. So after our cool down there, we cabbed to Washington Square and went to the park, listened to some music and just hung out. We left there and walked around. We discovered a mews where I took some reference shots in hopes of doing a painting or two of it. Very charming. Then we stopped by Otto, Mario Battali's place on Eighth St. It's a glorified (in a very good way) pizzeria, with a cozy, european, trattoria feel. We had some proscuitto, olives and bread there with some wine. Another winner that I'd like to go back to and taste more.
We left there and searched on foot for Babbo. We found it, and went in where we met John at the front desk, who knew our name before we told him. He's from Bala Cynwyd. We were led upstairs and seated for the fabulous to begin. Mark was our waiter and Marla our sommelier.
Everything you've heard about Babbo is true, down to the nerve-biting music. I'd just finished reading the book, "Heat", by Bill Buford, so I already had a picture in my mind of what was going to happen, but I was wrong, really wrong. It was so much better than I had anticipated. I had read about the back of the house in Buford's book. I wasn't prepared for how great the service and the rest of the front of the house was going to be. The chef generously sent out the buffalo mozzarella with grilled ramps for the table. I still am craving those ramps. The mozzarella was an event in itself, being so deliciously creamy. Everything we had was above and beyond, but truthfully if you go, get as many pasta dishes as you can. I have never....please forgive me Grandmom...ever, had any, any better, anywhere. I mean I stood next to my Grandmother and helped her make fresh, homemade macaroni and ravioli. I've made it myself, but nothing near as good as what I had last night. Now I know why it's so good, I read the book, but I was foolish enough to think that it was going to be comparable to my Grandmom's or mine. Not. Now I'll be on a mission to try again, because not only do I know how to do it better, but I personally have the secret ingredient. It's what will make the difference. It's my obsession, it's the egg. The kind of egg that my chickens lay. The only kind that will work. So it's perfect that tonight's painting di giorno is an illustration to make my point. The fresh, raw egg in the painting has an orangey, well-formed, firm yolk, with a substantial, but not rubbery, white that doesn't run in the pan. It is literally, the best egg you'll ever taste. My Ameraucana hen laid that egg, that day, but my Marans and game hens lay the same quality and intensely delicious egg. I'm tempted to write a lengthy page on what makes that kind of egg happen, as opposed to eggs from the store or even some farm eggs. Instead of a comparison, I'll just tell you what happens here. During the day my hens that produce our eating eggs, run around the yard with no boundaries, they scratch around in the leaves for bugs...chickens are not vegetarians. They're omnivores and eat a lot of protein in the form of bugs, worms, and whatever meat, dead or alive that they can find. They also eat grass, greens, fruit and vegetables. We never treat our lawn or plants with pesticides or herbicides, nothing, ever. We have a creek behind our house, they drink from there and from the waterers (which have organic, apple cider vinegar with organic garlic steeped in it added to the water) that I provide for them. I feed them whole, organic grains, seeds and supplements. The chix get a starter mash, but again, it is totally organic. All of them get kitchen scraps. They don't get soy.
They're locked up after they go to bed and let out in the morning to do the same thing. Now if I'm not going to be home all day to protect them from the hawk, fox, etc. then they stay in their pen, but that's not often. This is the kind of egg that you need to get the kind of pasta, fresh or dried, that they make at Babbo. I'll try again. " Raw Egg on a Blue Plate and a Meyer Lemon", 8"x8", oil on gessobord, $150., framed.
Well there it is...an image. Same one I tried to upload yesterday and the day before. Who knows? This photo is of my dear friend Karen Morss aka the "Orchardess", aka, the Lemon Lady". She's the woman that has www.lemonladies.com in Emerald City, California. I've known her since high school. She's no bigger than a minute, but loaded with personality and a tiger packed in there somewhere. She makes me proud to be a woman. If you've seen the movie "Yes Man", she's a "Yes Woman", she's done it all. Notice all of the beauty and color around her. A very beautiful and colorful person in so many ways. This photo is from when we went to visit her one afternoon while we were in California last summer. She made cold cucumber soup for us. Uh! Was it ever good. Then she made a warm plum tart for dessert. Amazing, just like Karen.
My painting is finished, but I wanted to try this photo first, so I'll post it on Monday.
Jay just came in from smoking his cigar, which means it's movie time. Enjoy your warm,summer-like weekend.
Thank you for being a friend!
right back atcha Karen.
Every year it feels to me, like spring will never come and then when it finally does, it's like boom, it's here. With the fall and winter and this past month so dreary, I have mixed emotions about it being 85 and 87 on Saturday and Sunday. I feel like with all of the rain, we'll all need blood transfusions with the swarms of mosquitos. Even with the chill in the air today, the sun felt good and the chickens loved it, so I went out and took some photos of them and Gussie, the duck.
Let's see how Blogger feels about images tonight.
Well, not good I guess. It won't work. I'm happy that my painting isn't finished, it's more disappointing when I can't upload paintings than it is of photos. I'll try tomorrow on the upstairs computer. Hopefully the painting will be finished tomorrow. I used a different medium this time as an experiment and I can't put any more paint on because if I dab even the slightest bit too hard the layer underneath lifts off. I hate it when that happens.
A really busy day. Went to meet a student in Lansdale this morning that needed quail eggs for his African Egg-Eating snake. Wow, that sure brought back memories. I used to have a young one when I did reptile shows with my petting zoo. The snake partially swallows the whole egg, crushes it and drains the contents of the egg and then spits the shell back out. I believe other snakes just swallow the egg whole and digest the shell.
After that I went to a farm where I used to get all kinds of animals and supplies for the "Funny Farm" petting zoo. More memories. I still love that place.
Tonight I met with Cine to give her the painting she bought from Margot Pierce at the art show Friday night and she also bought the painting I did of eggs and their conversation about Henri's feathers. I really do appreciate it Cine, thank you very much. More Cuckoo and Black Copper Marans chix hatched yesterday. Today some seriously dark brown ones are in the process.
As my granddaughter Josie would say, "I'm wiped out"! So it's the 22nd of the month and I'm noticing that Blogger has big trouble uploading images this time of the month. I've already tried four times to upload. I'm too tired to fight, so we'll catch up tomorrow.
We have plenty of birthdays in March. Jay Sr. is 58, Krista is 36, Jeanie is 30, Isabella is 4 and Gabriella is 4. Happy Birthday everyone! As my father used to say, "I hope you live to be 100 and the last voice you hear is mine".
Krista, the hotel finagler got a reservation for a suite for the "girls"--Jeanie, Celeste, Krista and me--at the Ritz Carlton in DC, to celebrate Jeanie's big 3 0. It was during the Cherry Blossom Festival and even though the weather was miserable, we had a great time.
We got out to the lake for a nice walk and then went back to our suite to get ready to go out to Corduroy Restaurant for dinner. It was really, really good. I love an open kitchen, so we got to see the chef working and after dinner, he told our waitress to send Jeanie back to talk with him. Celeste went with her. He was very nice. The atmosphere is wonderful and the service was great.As we were leaving, Jeanie put on a hair demonstration for the table next to us. We had more fun than is usual for us.
The photo above, right is of Jeanie and Krista among the cherry blossoms.
Right after Jeanie was born and Jay took me back to my room and the nurse took Jeanie to the nursery for clean up, a young man came into the room and just stared at us. He said that he just had to see the parents of the most beautiful baby he had ever seen. He said that he was in awe of her. I still am.
Thank you God.
I have too many chix happening here. They're taking up so much of my time. I'm a hatch-a-holic.
In all honesty, they're not the only things keeping me away from the easel. I've had the grandchildren here off and on for weeks. Truth is, they get a lot more painting finished than I do!
We've been having lots of fun. The older they get the more fun they are.
We had the March birthdays at Krista's house. It was the best time. Jay Jr. cooked for Easter here. What a treat! The Johnson grandchildren were here for the week and helped me make the Easter bread and Spetzatto.
Jay Sr. and I have been spending a lot of time with the boys, Jay Jr. and Danny, Celeste and Torri also. We've hit some really great restaurants....Parc, Cheifa, Heng's, Bamboo and Trattoria San Nicola, which was just OK. I can't remember the rest right now. Jay Jr. has done some incredible cooking here and now he's the sous chef at Firecreek Restaurant and Bar. It's only been open for a couple of weeks at the most, but it is really good and the appetizers are a great value. My favorites are the calamari appetizer and the pork ribs appetizer, but the others are very good also. Seriously, you could make an entire meal out of the ribs for $9. It's huge and comes with sweet potato salad. The ribs are saucy and tangy just the way I love them. There's tons of good stuff on the menu. It's a steak house in a rehabbed old building, which was a paper mill. It's the perfect mix of industrial and quaint. Cine, Penny and I went last week and sat at the chef's table. They make great margaritas...oh, and don't forget to try the apple cider donut, bread pudding. We're going to NYC this weekend for Danny and Jay Sr.'s birthdays. I can't wait.
I had an art show last weekend at Church of the Saviour and sold the star fruit painting. Lots of interest in my art these days, which is a real incentive to get back to work.
Jay Sr. and I went to see the Cezanne exhibit thanks to Melissa. Such a nice thing for her to do. thanks again Melissa.
I'm going to have to fill in the events as we go along this week since I didn't tell you about the Cherry Blossom Festival that we went to for Jeanie's 31st birthday....and the kids got me on Facebook, another thing I don't need, but I sure do like seeing people's faces and keeping up. My Aunt Jeanne has contacted our family in Italy. Sadly, they were some that lost everything when they were hit with the earthquake. They're alive though, thank God.
So today's painting is "Meyer Lemons, Key Limes and a Quail Egg", 10"x8", oil on linen, $250. framed. Sold. The bowl is glazed with blue. The Meyer lemons are really orange. I'm going to make lemon curd with them and also make lemonade on Saturday, since it's going to be in the 80's. Wow, hard to believe since it's 47 degrees and raining now. The Key limes will be for the Vodka tonics that my Aunt Jeanne got me thinking about, or maybe some caparinhas.
- "Honey Bees and Honeycomb" & "Toad in My Yard"
- Terrific Reception!
- Sneak Peek For the Gryphon Cafe'
- More paintings and YOU Are Invited--December Artis...
- New Paintings for the Holidays
- Getting Ready for the Weekend--Chanticleer Koi #2
- Such a Slacker
- Toad In My Yard--Congratulations to Danny!
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