Peacefulness and Chipmunk Portraits

Another Gorgeous Mountain ViewIMG_6381Little House in the Rockies is our tiny cabin retreat in Colorado.

We love it. It is sooooo very peaceful.

I can sit for hours and watch the birds and wildlife.

I was there recently, and pretty much just watched, and thought, and wrote, and photographed.

Of note were the chipmunks. They posed for me! When I looked at the photos later, they reminded me of high school senior pictures. You know, the incredibly attractive youth with the bright future posing in the sunlight for the professional photographer that Mom paid to get a great photo for the graduation announcements? What do you think?

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© 2018, Glover Gardens

Lonely Future / How It Be, According to The Storyteller

Glover Gardens is not a political blog, but the publisher (that would be me) does have opinions.

The post that I’m linking to here from The Storyteller blog really resonated with me. While its author wasn’t specific about which “regulatory roll backs” he was referring to (see below), I instantly went to my environmental concerns. Here’s part of what he said:

I call it this picture, “Lonely Future.” It’s about all the constant regulatory roll backs of the current United States leadership. No people. No cars. Just weirdly colored skies.
It’s not a Sunday picture, Well. It is. Sorta. A long time back I use to publish “Experimental Sunday.” It was a sort of predictable Sunday feature when I posted images that I was… (click to read more )

Again, this is not a political blog, but I don’t think anything about protecting our environment and the animals and people who live in it should be political. How can caring for something that benefits us all be a partisan issue?

Perhaps I’m too simple and idealistic.

Perhaps I’m not smart enough to understand how short-term economic or material gains could outweigh long-term benefits for the health of our ecosystem and all of its components.

Maybe there’s some greater good that I can’t grasp about relaxing regulations against pollutants.

Maybe I’m an idiot to feel that the loss of even one more endangered species puts the world as a whole in a little more danger.

Maybe.

Or maybe not.

Anyway, the dystopian nature of the artistic Lonely Future picture from The Storyteller took me to this place, and now I’ve pulled you into it with me. But I stick by my assertion that Glover Gardens in not political. Look for more stories about memories and food tomorrow. Or a haiku. You seem to like my haiku.

Source: How It Befrom The Storyteller Blog

Mountain Sunset Haiku and “Enviation”

purple serenity
soothing summer evening sky
clouds that drift and sigh

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Photo credit: Nancy L.

My friends stayed at Little House in the Rockies last weekend, and one of them snapped this lovely picture.

We get their photos from social media and feel oh-so-happy for them. But we also feel a little jealous because they’re there and we’re not. I like to call that feeling “enviation,” a mixture of envy and appreciation.

Enviation. That’s how I feel right now. I’d like to be on that porch at Little House in the Rockies, looking at that sunset, feeling the mountain air, shivering just a little.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

An Early, Bitter Tanshi from a Most Cheerful Girl

where o where
did you hide my anaconda?
i need that snake

Bitter over some teenage breakup, I wrote that tiny little poem in my high school journal. For some reason, it has always stuck with me; it’s so bitter and melodramatic that it makes me laugh.

I remember the poem but not the boy who broke my heart, which is probably as it should be.

I’ve just learned the term “tanshi,” which means “small poem” and I guess that’s what this is.

I’ve never liked snakes and probably just used the word anaconda because it sounded cold-blooded and mean. I just looked them up and there’s no way I could use an image of that scary-looking reptile here in the annals of Glover Gardens. I’ll probably dream about anacondas because of the few I just saw on Google, eating large mammals. Yuck.

But I have to have an image for the post. So I found a picture of myself from that period, a scan of a yearbook photo someone uploaded to Facebook. I was the female winner of “Most Cheerful”. Yep. Not “Most Likely to Succeed”, “Most Popular” or even “Most Likely to Start a Blog in Her Late 40s”. But now, I’ll take it! I love being known as a cheerful person. I chose this picture to balance out the bitter tone of the tanshi, the sting of the anaconda. I really was a happy kid. Still am.

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No anacondas were harmed in the creation of this post, and no, that boy is not the one that broke my heart.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

 

 

Haiku: Marching to a Different Drummer

Haiku is becoming a family thing.

Many of our millennials were here with us at Glover Gardens this weekend – yahoo! In casual conversation over appetizers last night, we noticed and remarked on similar patterns in the clothing several of them were wearing. The Girl Who is Always Hungry told us how on one recent day, all 17 members of her grad school cohort were wearing blue shirts. Eerie! She told us this in a couple of short, pithy statements, and I said, “wow, that’s almost a haiku”. Hmmm.

Before I could go on to restate her story into a haiku, the Musical Millennial (who was not dressed like anyone in the group and resembled only Waldo in his red and white stripes), interrupted and said, “no, I got this; this haiku is mine“.

After a very brief moment, he came out with:

everyone’s in blue
nah, this must be some omen
i gotta get out

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That’s my boy! No automaton life for him, or any of our millennials, for that matter. They are all incredibly unique individuals.

Thomas as Waldo
The Musical Millennial in his Waldo stripes, with Godfrey the Cat

© 2018, Glover Gardens

 

 

Edinburgh Farmers Market – Jazz and Memories in the Shadow of Edinburgh Castle

NFMW2018_MGbannerIt’s National Farmers Market Week and I promised to share, so I’m unearthing more farmers market memories. Today, we’re in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Just last summer, I had this amazing experience in Edinburgh. Only a few weeks after my Dad died, I was on a European business trip which required a weekend stay-over, and the location happened to be Edinburgh. Lucky me. In a hotel that looked out to Edinburgh Castle. Double-lucky me!

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The hotel is in the center of town, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. That was the (zoomed-in) view from my hotel window. Wow.
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Photo of Mary King’s Close from the Guardian by Murdo MacLeod

My colleagues and I did touristy things together on Saturday morning, including a macabre underground ghost tour that taught us all about how the Scots of way back handled the plague, and then we split up, some of them headed out to castles in the distance, some of them shopping, and me – just wandering around and thinking about Dad.

Getting back to the hotel and in desperate need of a nap, I was amazed to learn that the city’s month-long music festival had taken up residence right outside my hotel, the street blocked off at both ends to hold three stages and various food and drink vendors.

Score! I shucked off my inclination for a nap like a new year’s resolution on Jan. 3 and flung myself headlong into the crowd.

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Have you ever heard live jazz, in Scotland, in the shadow of a castle? I hadn’t … wow, what an in-the-moment experience.

Festival in the Shadow of Edinburgh CastleIt was the end of the performances for the day, sadly. The first – and last – tune I heard was, unbelievably, When the Saints Go Marching In.

Here’s a little bit of video of that performance.

Oh. My. Gosh.

The connectedness. The synchronicity. The serendipity. The simple, awesome experience of enjoying delightful live music with an appreciative crowd.

Saints is a tune that is important in my family. My Mom always loved the New Orleans tradition of the second line parade after funerals, that lively and joyful conclusion after the pre-funeral dirges. We made sure it happened just that way after her funeral; I will always be grateful to my friend / ex-husband for bringing his whole jazz band and playing their hearts out in her memory. Joy in sorrow, joy in sorrow.

Before this Scotland trip, I had been at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, when Dad was still alive. I had happily heard When the Saints Go Marching In about 10 times over a long weekend, including once by the legendary Herb Alpert. OMG, he is awesome! Dad and I texted each other during the Herb Alpert performance at Jazz Fest, when the Grill-Meister and I were awestruck at how vibrant he was at 80-something; Dad said, ‘your mother and I saw him ’round about 1965. Good times.” (Another story for another day.)

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Herb Alpert and his wife Lani Hall brought the house down at the NOLA Jazz Fest

Just three weeks prior to the Edinburgh trip, the venerable Saints tune was the joyful conclusion at my Dad’s funeral, just like it had been at my Mom’s 17 years earlier. Just like it will be at mine when it’s my time to go. I’m partial to that song, you might say.  🎶🎶🎶🎶 “O Lord I want to be in that number, when the saints go marching in.”

So, to be in Scotland on a business trip and just stumble into a live performance of Saints was almost too much.

The connectedness. The synchronicity. The serendipity.

I felt Dad’s presence on a grand scale, and my heart grew too big for my body, just like the Grinch’s when he saw that Whoville would still have Christmas without presents and food. It was a transcendent experience.

Back to the the Farmers Market

I haven’t forgotten, truly I haven’t – this post is supposed to be about the Edinburgh farmers market. My journey there tonight took place via music and reminiscence.

As I said, I hit the ground at the music festival at the tail end of the performances. Sigh. I jammed and jazzed to Saints, but then, sadly, the musicians began to break down their gigs and pack up. I was just getting started!  I noticed that there was a farmers market on the other end of the street … hmmm. Curses, is it about to close, too?!!? But no, the stalwart vendors didn’t ‘up and leave’ when the music was over; they were on their regular Saturday market schedule.

And what a lovely market it was. It had everything: produce, cheese, a bridal couple (he wore a kilt), dogs galore, arepas, paella, olives, breads, leather goods…a plethora of products to peruse while people-watching.

I’ll be in Edinburgh again soon, and will likely fall more deeply in love with it. Watch this space!

Related Resources

© 2018, Glover Gardens

Farmers Market in New Orleans – the Real Deal

I’ve been telling you how we love farmers markets here at Glover Gardens, and my Dear Readers, I did not exaggerate.

NFMW2018_MGbannerA farmers market is a must-stop on any road trip for the Grill-Meister and me. And sometimes even when we’re traveling by plane and can’t take home any foodstuffs or plunder, we still seek out farmers markets, just for the fun of it. I’m going on about this because it’s National Farmers Market Week and I promised to share, remember? (Of course you do – you read yesterday’s post, right?)

Crescent City Farmers MarketOn a recent anniversary trip to New Orleans, the Crescent City Farmers Market beckoned to us. The Saturday version, downtown, at the corner of Carondelet and Julia streets.

We knew we’d love this market even before arriving in the sultry summer morning, just from online list of vendors. I read it out loud to the Grill-Meister as we made our plans that Saturday morning, my voice rising and squeaking with each new exciting description.

Wild catfish, alligator, softshell crabs, crabmeat, alligator, frog, crawfish, turtle meat!

Heirloom strawberries, tomatoes, eggplant, okra, broccali, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, mustard, radish, tamales (veggie, cheese, jalepeno, bean), salsa (red and green), pico de gallo, tortilla chips, muscadine grapes, eggs

Assorted sourdough bread, baguettes, and pastries including country boules, Pain de Mie, swirls, Fougasse, and more.

Saddle up the Uber, we’re on our way!!!  “Spoiled for choice,” as that old saying goes. No one would go to this market seeking fresh food and come away disappointed. It is a “real” farmers market, with almost all of its space allotted to farmers and merchants with locally grown or locally produced food products (seafood, produce, honey, condiments, etc.) No tchotchkes, doodads, gewgaws, knickknacks or trinkets here – just fine NOLA foodstuffs and friendly folks, and some fantastic music. Just what you’d expect in the Big Easy.

Enjoy the photos, and put this market on your list the next time you visit the Crescent City. They have a market in different places around town every day except Sunday and Monday and sometimes there are cooking demonstrations in addition to the exceptional vendors and delightful music.

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Love the lettuce spilling out of this Green Bragg Bag, and the ice pop to beat the heat. She really exemplifies the farmers market vibe.

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The music from this duo was a delightful add to the festive market atmosphere
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Little Miss in her bright orchid sundress was a sight to behold, and she might’ve had the best time of all. She knew she was rocking that outfit with the matching bonnet. (You see things like this at farmers markets.)

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Resources

© 2018, Glover Gardens

 

National Farmers Market Week!

Who doesn’t love a good farmers market? Fresh produce, homemade baked goods and artisinal foods, interesting crafts, happy people and sometimes a dog or two – all these make for a great way to spend an hour and an even better way to spend some of your grocery coin.

Show me a farmers’ market and I’ll show you authentic growers and artisans, folks who care about what we put in our bodies and lovingly make foods and crafts by hand. (from a Glover Gardens post about the Austin Farmers Market)

We are big farmers market aficionados here at Glover Gardens, visiting our local Tomball Farmers Market as often as we can and seeking out new ones when we travel. They’re fun!

logoThe US Department of Agriculture recently released a proclamation making August 5-11 National Farmers Market Week with the goal to increase awareness of the role local farmers markets play in creating healthy communities and in building prosperity among farmers and small businesses. Sounds good to me! In their “Why Farmers Markets” flyer, the Farmers Market Coalition has assembled some pretty impressive stats (see below), and it’s great to see that the number of farmers markets is increasing exponentially.

The infographic below is also a product of the Farmers Market Coalition; don’t you just love the slogan, “Put Your Money Where Your Farmer Is”? And also, “Shake the Hand that Feeds You.”

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You’ll see more about farmers markets on these pages over the next few days during National Farmers Market week. I love ’em!

Do you have a farmers market close by? And do you love it?

© 2018, Glover Gardens

From Food & Wine: “The 50 best Southern restaurants in America, according to OpenTable”

Food & Wine Magazine sends me emails fairly often, but I don’t usually have time for them unless the headline catches my eye. This one did: “The 50 best Southern restaurants in America, according to OpenTable.”

Hmmm. I’m in the South – I wonder if I’ve been to any of these ‘best Southern restaurants’, I wonder what the selection criteria was, I wonder ….”

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BBQ Shrimp at Mr. B’s in NOLA

So of course I read the article, and of course I’m sharing it with you. I’ve only been to two of the 50 spots on the list, Brennan’s of Houston and Mr. B’s in New Orleans, both of which were excellent, in my humble opinion (that extended Brennan’s family just knows how to do restaurants). In fact, I have a Mr. B’s post half-drafted to share with y’all one day soon in my Restaurant Rave series – it’s all about the barbecued shrimp. And the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had was at Brennan’s in Houston. Stories for another day…

The methodology for selecting this list of top Southern restaurants was based on analysis of OpenTable reviews of restaurants in the Southern Cuisine category over a certain period of time. It’s interesting that the restaurants aren’t all located in the South; they are simply “Southern restaurants”.  I guess that’s all right, but I feel a little uneasy about it. It’s cool, though, and not surprising, that New Orleans had the most establishments on the list with 8.

photo from Yarbird Los Angeles

Did your fave make the list?

I want to check some of these out! Watch this space for more restaurant raves, if they live up to the hype.

Read the article here: These are the 50 best Southern restaurants in America, according to OpenTable.

© 2018, Glover Gardens

 

3-Pepper Haiku, or 3 Haiku about Pepper, or the 411 on Peppercorns

Haiku

A few pepper-related haiku for you:

“That’s too much pepper,”
said no one in our family,
at any time, ever.

~ or ~

the pepper grinder
might have a flat tire ~
we need a spare

~ or ~

How many grinders
does one little cabin need?
Apparently, three!

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Backstory

It made me smile when I realized that we have three pepper grinders in one tiny 2-bedroom log cabin. Why? We love our pepper! At Little House in the Rockies, Glover Gardens, or anywhere else that we take a meal, there needs to be pepper. Freshly-ground preferred! I have a pepper grinder in my desk at work and sometimes carry one in my purse. You never know when you’ll need it! 

Colossal Pepper Grinder in London

Imagine my delight when I saw this pepper grinder recently at an airport hotel restaurant in London. Bring it on!!!

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That’s my colleague snapping a pic to show his wife. The waiter, a marvelous fellow from a faraway place, was excited about being in the blog. I want to go back to show this to him, and to get some more pepper from that appropriately-sized grinder!

Why More than One Grinder?

A good reason to have multiple pepper grinders is to dispense multiple types of peppercorns for different pepper needs. (I’m serious here, pay attention.)

  • One grinder might have just black ones, for those times when you want a straightforward, traditional pepper hit. A weeknight, for instance.
  • Another grinder might have 3-pepper blend, a mix of black, green and white peppercorns, when you want that all-over-the-tastebuds, broad pepper experience. On a steak, or grilled fish. Or atop the cream cheese on a bagel (try it, you’ll like it!).
  • 81lVYxALZOL._SX355_A third grinder might have a special mix that includes the rarest of peppercorns, the red ones, or perhaps you’d put the Tellicherry peppercorns in it. Tellicherry peppercorns come from the same plant as regular black Malabar ones, but are larger in size, having been left on the vine to ripen longer. They have a more complex flavor and hit different taste buds. They rock.
  • And maybe you’d need a fourth grinder – don’t forget about Szechuan peppercorns! They’re not from the same plant as the others, but also pack a potent pepper wallop.  If you’re a pepper fanatic, that 4th grinder for Szechuan peppercorns (also spelled Sichuan) might be a necessity.

The 411 on Pepper: Did You Know?

Other than salt, pepper is the most-used, most-traded spice in the world. It is actually a fruit and has medicinal benefits. Really! It is an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial substance, and can increase the absorption of some nutrients (like Vitamin B and selenium). It is also said to be thermogenic, meaning that it increases the rate that you burn calories.

No wonder I’m addicted!!!!

Did You Further Know?

Pepper has been with us humans for a long, long time, possibly as far back as 1200 B.C. It has been called the “King of Spices,” AKA “black gold,” and I couldn’t agree more. Some ancient cultures used pepper for currency, and some treated it as a delicacy to be enjoyed after a meal, like a mint. It was used in the mummification rituals with the pharaohs.  It was also known as a remedy for cold and flu because it helps to dry up congestion. And still is!

What a wonder-spice!

What Did Chef Paul Say?

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Available on Amazon!

You might know if you’ve been following Glover Gardens for a while that Chef Paul Prudhomme is a family hero. My Mom, an oil and gas kid who grew up all over the country living wherever her geophysicist Dad was working, came late but came hard to the joys of Cajun-Creole cooking. Chef Paul was her teacher, via his cookbooks, along with Justin Wilson and his TV show.

Chef Paul’s introduction in his Louisiana Kitchen cookbook (which I highly recommend) has a wonderful description of how to use the different peppers. A gift from my Mom, I treasured Chef Paul’s seminal cookbook when it came out in the 80s and read the intro multiple times to understand and absorb his philosophy.  Here’s what he said about the different peppers.

I try to make my food “round” in taste. We have a variety of taste buds in our mouths and when food is “round”, it touches all of them in turn. One way I make food “round” is to use red, white and black peppers in the same recipe, which you’ll see I do frequently (as a matter of fact, not just frequently, but in nearly every recipe except desserts!). Different peppers excite taste buds in different parts of the mouth, and this makes you feel that you want another bite – that you just have to have another bite. The peppers also cleanse the palate and keep the food interesting by making it change with each bite. This keeps your taste buds happy!

Viva la Pepper, the “King of Spices”!

I like that mantra from Chef Paul above: Keep your taste buds happy!

© 2018, Glover Gardens

~ with thanks to our friends Carl and Rose for the baseball bat-shaped King Pepper pepper grinder in the centerpiece of the 3-peppergrinder picture