Friday, July 29, 2011

A Slightly Different Kind of Gardening

As you can see in our previous post, my mom’s flowers are the prettiest things outside the Kensington Gardens. Maybe even more so. Perusing our backyard is like taking a stroll through the Secret Garden. But even better, because we aren’t recovering from Cholera and didn’t need to sneak past anyone’s cranky uncle or dig up a key to get there (I’m talking about the book here). It’s the serene palace of plants back there...until a hungry doe takes the head off a hydrangea, of course. Mom will flip her lid if a deer or other ambitious animal messes with her foliage, and there’s an elaborate system of netting, repellant and flower tents in place to prevent this from happening. It usually takes place at night, in the dark, with the assistance of Cottage Guy, and is highly entertaining. Though as evidenced by her photos, it is beyond worth the effort .
            While my mom has the magic touch when it comes to flowers, I, in contrast, was born with a complete lack of green thumb. My hydrangeas die within three hours of purchasing, my vases are never the appropriate shape for their contents, and every time I get within five meters of a rosebush I manage to prick myself. I would make a terrible Bachelor contestant; the Rose Ceremony would be disastrous. So gardening is clearly out of the question for me. I also don’t have a balcony, fire escape or significant windowsill to grow anything on here in New York, so that’s also a deterrent. Instead, I pop on down to my local Bodega to snap up a pretty little bouquet and hope I don’t mess up the floral arrangement too much by the time I get home. And that’s what I did here:

Shade coverage for the pretty little lilies that are under there somewhere.  

My bodega man who was nice enough the allow me to take a snap while he prepped my bouquet. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Summer Blooms in Charlevoix

 Welcome to a partial tour of the gardens at the Cottage! Over the years I have developed a love for gardening and devote a large part of my summer days working in them. I like the cooler colors of the garden, lots of pinks in every shade, purples, blues and white to keep things calm and to brighten dark shady spots. To name just a few of what is planted, we have: Roses, Clematis, Begonias, Snapdragons, Petunias (a Charlevoix speciality, they line the streets in town), Bee Balm, Peonies, Zinnias and my new favorite, Hydrangeas. My other favorite - beautiful green grass! I also have shady areas that hold a variety of Hosta, Woodruff, Foxglove, Astilbe, Ferns and Primrose. Like a lot of gardeners I do battle with the deer, they ate a whole flat of Petunias before I could even get them in the ground!

 This post primarily focuses on the Hydrangeas (which are glorious right now). Somehow I missed taking great pictures of the Roses, there is always next year. Enjoy the tour!

This was not color enhance, isn't this a beautiful shade of blue!!

Again the color of nature, is it any wonder that I love pink!     

Hope you liked the 50¢ Garden Tour, I think it might have been worth at least a dollar! Thanks for visiting! Tell us what is in your garden.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sugar, Sugar, Yum, Yummm

So after pondering our last post for a bit, I decided it was dismissive of me to dedicate my entire half to ice cream without so much as mentioning one of my absolute favorite candy shops. So here it goes: it's Papabubble! Isn't that a cute name? The ultimate purveyor of hard candies, Papabubble sells delectable little drops of cooked sugar in bright colors and fizzy flavors like strawberry and lemon-lime. The shopkeepers (or candymen, if you will) sculpt the sugar into whimsical designs like red-and-white-striped hearts for V-day,  sandcastles for summer and sabertooth tigers just for the fun of it. I once asked them to craft a princess crown made of sugar for my friend's birthday (because how else would you celebrate a 24-year-old lady's day of birth?) and they didn't even flinch. They even had a giant candy squid in their window display for a while. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I do not have pictures of these fine masterpieces. I'm sorry for teasing you. But! I do have a few photos of one of their most popular treats - sugar drops! So look. Enjoy. If you ask nicely, I'll even send you some. 

To The 5 Boroughs - a jar of candies that the Beastie Boys would approve of. A super cute gift for new Manhattan transplants.

The Bronx, as stated. How sweet (pun-intended) are these? The writing is tiny...and my friend's nail polish is chipped. Don't judge her.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Treat Time

OH MY GOD. It's summer! Did you know that? Because I kind of forgot. But then I remembered this week when it started to get ridiculously hot out, like really hot - to the point where the only thing I can do to keep my mind off the heat is a have a sweet treat, something that tastes so absurdly delicious that I forget I'm sweating while standing in place. Preferably one of the cooler kind.  Below are a few such treats brought to you by mother and I.

As I have mentioned before Kilwin's in Charlevoix is one of our favorite places to go for sweet treats or ice cream. There are sooo many yummy things to choose from!

When daughter comes to visit we always pick something with dark chocolate.

These are GIANT peanut butter cups, I think only a 12 year old that is playing lots and lots of sports could eat one of these.

I was lucky and caught them making fudge one day. Lots of butter, sugar, chocolate, vanilla and other special ingredients. Mackinac Island is famous for making fudge and it has be transported over here to the mainland. Fudge making started on Mackinac Island in the years following the Civil War. It has remained a tradition ever since.

The fudge being poured out on a marble slab, this helps it cool.

Adding walnuts!

So yummy!

But this is my all time favorite treat, Chocolate Jordan Almonds. An almond in the center, covered in chocolate, then a hard candy coated shell, the almonds makes it healthy right?

They look so pretty in milk glass candy dishes, but they don't last very long!

Our view walking back home with our treats in hand. Sunset and the Charlevoix lighthouse.

...And now we're back in New York where I have been slowly dying. Melting, more specifically due to the nearly 100 degree weather going on for almost a week now. I might have mentioned that earlier in the post.  Luckily, the ice cream has not melted! And there's are lots icy spots to choose from. Van Leewen is like a gourmet version of the good humor truck - just with slightly more sophisticated flavors. They even serve it in biodegradable utensils! So their truck. 

Behold: the crowds clamor to get their fix on Bleecker Street. 

The aforementioned sophisticated flavors - kettle candied ginger!

As you may or may not be able to tell food trucks (and in the summa-time fancy ice cream trucks in particular) are big doings in the city. Kelvin's Natural Slush Co. truck is one of the many, definitely a goodie. They sell slushies.   

A close-up of the Coolhaus truck.  Natural, organic, homemade and with flavors like Olive Oil Rosemary and Candied Bacon, which are nuts. And their sandwiches are based on the designs of Bauhaus and Rem Koolhaus. Ponder that while you snack. 

The most beautiful Balsamic Fig and Marscapone ice cream on a Oatmeal Raisin cookie sandwich you've ever seen. And my hand.

People's Pops, a cute little stand on the High Line and in a couple other locales, sells fresh fruit popsicles and shaved ice. It's adorable. 

Homegirl serving up shaved ice handles her next customer. I believe what's she's saying is  "slow your roll."  

Note: you will never be allowed to get chocolate or vanilla in NYC. Fancy flavors only. Except at Mister Softie. Their soft serve is diviiiine. 

I bet this lady will have the best arms by the end of summer. So toned. I took these pictures a month ago, they probably looks like Serena Williams' by now. Work it girl!
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