Wednesday, June 26, 2013

storm damage

Words cannot really describe what my street, neighborhood, entire city look like after a devastating storm last Friday night. So here are some numbers and photos instead.

130-year-old (someone counted the rings!) Elm tree, which hit 2 cars on its way down
Just one of three trees on our block to fall all the way across the road

Three garbage bags full of food I had to throw away because the power was out from Friday night to Sunday night (and I was at a cabin in Wisconsin with friends, having a delightful time in my ignorance of what was happening back home). By the time I got back Sunday afternoon, most everything was beyond salvage.

Over 600,000 Minnesotans without power (some still don't have service back).

One major intersection between my house and the freeway still blocked by a tree and live power wire, a full five days after the storm.

Early estimates say that we lost more trees in Minneapolis during this storm than we did when the tornado hit the city in 2011. 

Luckily, I also had:
0 ounces of water in the basement
0 trees on top of the house
0 instances of external damage whatsoever

We're especially lucky that dad had borrowed the car for the weekend to drive to Wisconsin, because normally I park it right where that tree fell...

Continue your prayers for Mpls please! If that's your thing. Warm fuzzy thoughts welcome too.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Story of a Thursday evening:

1. I bought a new lawnmower (!) and tonight while I was mowing the backyard, I found this:

If you're too lazy to click on the link (even though it's worth it...), I'll tell you: a den of baby rabbits, in the middle of the lawn. And yes I mowed right over the spot just moments earlier.

They're adorable. Don't even have their eyes open yet. I probably ensured their demise by getting my human smell all over the rabbit fur that was covering them up. We shall see. I don't love having rabbits in my garden, but I do have a serious soft spot for rabbits (ask my mom what happened to the rabbit I had as a kid, and ask BFF Alissa why she calls me "little rabbit.") So for now this is fun, but it could turn traumatic soon.

Oh, and here are the older siblings of these little guys, spotted a few weeks back:

2. Watching the Spurs-Miami game -- Go Spurs Go! -- on my TV. But not in the basement. Upstairs! Never got around to blogging about this change because it wasn't really intentional. I just brought the TV up to the living room back in January so that me and some girlfriends could watch Downton Abbey on Sunday nights, and I never took it back down. I kind of like having it in the corner of the living room, at least for now. I might do something different with it down the road, like hanging it on the wall or putting in a different entertainment center. And I don't have cable, so it's not like I use it very often (I still watch 95% of my shows on my iPad or Mac via Hulu, Netflix of Xfinity Player).

3. And then, I got this awesome picture from fellow-blogger-BFF Kelli and her new bird, Tiko:

And it made me happy to trade stories about bunnies and birds and watch the Spurs game "together" via text message (we grew up in San Antonio together).

4. I have new next-door neighbors, and we totally do the whole "yelling thru screen windows" thing, so I made a racket about the baby rabbits and they came over to take a peek. Gotta love fun neighbors.

And at the end of a really hard day and a really long week, I'm feeling less far away from loved ones. Thank you bunnies & lawnmowers & instagram & iPhones. 

*bonus life points if you know what coniglietti means and your name is not Alissa or Bethany.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

a recipe for a cherry moment

"Cherries don't have a season, they have a moment." 
- someone (I dunno, Google isn't helping?)

I heard it somewhere, probably The Splendid Table. And it reminded me that I've had this Cherry Clafouti recipe stashed in my binders for years, untried. Well I've tried cherry clafouti ... it's one of my all-time favorites. Just not this recipe.

Friends, it did not disappoint. Run to the store and buy the last bag of perfect cherries, and don't go to a lame grocery store because you need creme fraiche. Then come home and make this and tap your feet while you wait impatiently for it to cool, and scarf down half the pan as soon as you can eat it without scalding your tongue.

That is my advice to you. Listen to me and not your personal trainer.

Oh, and hi dad! Happy father's day (again). I know how much you love cherries ... I promise to make you one sometime, you'll love it.


Cherry Clafouti
adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine

Prep time: 15 min
Total time: 45 min.
Serves 4-6

Clafouti is best served warm, so bake it just before you serve dinner. Scoop it into bowls topped with a spoonful of creme fraiche.

Unsalted butter, for dish
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. creme fraiche, plus more for serving
3/4 c. whole milk
1/2 c. granulated sugar, plus more for dish
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
12 ounces cherries, halved and pitted (if you don't have a scale: enough to fill the bottom of the baking dish)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Butter a 9-inch diameter 1 1/4 inch deep baking dish. Coat with sugar; tap out excess. 
2. Whisk eggs, yolk and flour in a medium bowl (hand whisk is fine -- don't need eggbeaters). Next whisk in creme fraiche, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt.
3. Arrange cherries in prepared baking dish. Pour batter over cherries -- they will rise to the top, this is ok. Bake until browned around edges and set in the center, 30-35 min. Let cool slightly. If desired, dust with powdered sugar. Regardless, serve warm with creme fraiche. Is also delicious cold, perhaps for breakfast the next morning...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Homeowner adventures: alarm edition

Your alarm system won't stop making an annoying beeping sound. It's not actually the alarm -- more like a warning tone, like when your smoke detector battery dies (except, continuous beeping). And it has something to do with a cell tower/radio transmitter, according to the error code.

A) Call the alarm company multiple times and try all the crazy codes and tests they give you
B) Turn the entire system off, leaving you and the house unprotected
C) Stuff a sweatshirt over the system box and barricade yourself in the farthest bedroom, in hopes of getting some sleep before the alarm company arrives in A WEEK. 

Definitely C. 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

landscaping maps

Hand-drawn maps. Boom.

Hat tip to my cousin Tamara who helped me ID a few of these. When I moved into the house, the previous owners had left me a labeled map of most of the plants in the backyard ... but not the side or the front. So it's been a long overdue (and time-intensive) project for me to track down and map out everything in the yard. Check! Off the list.

  • A - Arborvitae
  • AL - Alyssum
  • As - Astilbe - Vision in White
  • B - Beets
  • BE - Black-Eyed Susans
  • BG - Begonia
  • BH - Bleeding Heart
  • BL - Basil
  • Br - Broccoli
  • BS - Brussels Sprouts
  • BSA - Black Scallop Ajuga
  • BT - Baby Tut Grass
  • BW - Bridalwreath (officially: Vanhoutte Spirea)
  • C - Clematis
  • CB - Coral Bells (Berry Smoothie)
  • CBLM - Coral Bells - Lime Marmalade
  • CDP - Columbine - Dark Purple
  • Cl - Cilantro
  • Cm - Columbine - mixed (seeds)
  • CO - Coleus
  • CR - Croton (pot)
  • CS - Cushion Spurge (technically, it's a kind of grass! who knew!)
  • CT - Candytuft (seeds)
  • CTL - Catalpa Tree
  • D - Dianthus (seeds)
  • DA - Daffodils
  • DF - Diamond Frost
  • DL - Day Lily
  • DR - Dracaena Spike
  • FCA - Flowering Crabapple
  • H - Hosta
  • Hy - Hydrangea Tree
  • HyB - Hydrangea Bush
  • I - Iris
  • K - Kale
  • L - Lilac Tree
  • La - Lavender
  • LAN - Lantana
  • LC - Lemon Cucumber
  • LM - Ladies Mantle
  • Lp - Lupine (seeds)
  • LV - Lemon Verbena
  • M - Maple
  • MG - Marigolds
  • MGC - Marigold - African Crackerjack
  • MGS - Marigold - Snowdrift (seeds)
  • ML - Mixed Lettuces
  • MT - Mint
  • Mu - Mums (Chrysanthemums)
  • N - Nasturtium
  • O - Oregano
  • P - Polygonatum
  • PP - Peppers
  • Py - Peony
  • R - Raspberry
  • RC - Red Comb Celosia
  • Ry - Rosemary
  • S - Sedum
  • SA - Sage
  • SC - Swiss Chard
  • SD - Shasta Daisy (seeds)
  • SM - Snow on the Mountain (Aegopodum)
  • SPV - Sweet Potato Vine - Marguerite
  • ST - Silver Dust
  • SVB - Salvia - Victoria Blue
  • SVP - Salvia - Vista Purple
  • T - Tomatoes
  • Th - Thyme
  • Tp - Tulips
  • Y - Yarrow

Monday, June 3, 2013

mystery plants

Do you know the names of these trees and shrubs? This is not a quiz. I'm looking for your help! Thanks :)