Friday, January 28, 2011

Brunch At The Coop

We are so excited about our upcoming Brunch At The Coop,
and we want you to join us!

My husband, David has been working on making the best quiche and we have come up with a winner!  For those of you who don't know...he is a fabulous chef!  So come join us as we share in the harvest together and enjoy really fresh organic food.  I will be there to answer any questions you have about chickens, fruit trees, compost or gardening.  Our hope is that you will be inspired to start eating from your yard too!

To purchase tickets Click here
 Early bird gets the worm because seating is very limited! 
A map will be emailed after purchase.

We hope you all can join us!  It is going to be fun!

Caroline & David

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award!?!

Wow!  A big thank you to Kelley from The Polished Pebble for awarding me with the Stylish Blogger Award.
  Coming from her it is a true honor and I humbly accept it. 
By accepting this award I agree to the following rules: to share 7 things about myself and to
Award it to other "Stylish Bloggers".

So here I go!

7 Things About Me

1. Sweet Peas in the spring are one of my faves.

2.  I did not grow up on a farm or live in the country.  But I have always loved the idea of  a "gentleman farm", on the outskirts of the big city.

3. I still have no doors on my master bedroom closet...that's right...13 years ago when we were remodeling we took them off and have yet to replace them with something! I know.. I am an Interior Designer but I like to think of it like the shoemaker whose kids have no shoes. 

4.  Whenever I am under pressure from a work deadline, family, company, etc...I find myself doing random projects.  An example of this would be instead of cleaning my house for the 20  people who are coming over for dinner, I organize my spice cabinet, pantry or hall closet instead.

5.  I have a thing for Stuart Weitzman loafers... 

I don't go crazy with shoes, I am practical with them,  a few good pairs of Weitzman's or Pliner's and I wear them till they fall apart. I just love the design, the quality of the leather but most of all the fit of their shoes. 

6.  My favorite places in the world to be are NYC, London, Paris and Grand Haven, Michigan.
Why??? The joy and energy of being in the heart of Gotham,
London for all the memories it hold for me and my husband, Paris because as an artist it is the red soil of Tara for me, and Grand Haven because I spent my summers there as a kid and it is part of me.

7.  I love to go out to breakfast. It always reminds me of being on vacation.

Enough about me!

Drum roll please...and the most Stylish Blogger Award goes to...

Barn House
Neighborhood Garden Party
Sarah Elizabeth
Willows Home and Garden
La Maison et La Jardin
Parisienne Farmgirl
Belgian Pearl
Heather Bullard
Bright Bazaar
Absolutely Beautiful Things

There are many more wonderful blogs but these are some of my favorite!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fruit Tree Planting: A Family Affair

My future farmers

 January is a busy month for us on our little Bohemian farm. For the desert gardener it is the time to prune and plant roses and fruit trees.  This past weekend we planted eight new fruit trees and I still would like to get two more in the ground by the end of the month.  We have really got a good system going which includes the whole family!

My husband digs the holes,

 I mixed the bone meal with the amendment and make a mount.  Then I carefully separate and trim the roots.

The kiddos back fill with the "black"dirt as Boo calls it and Sissy shovels in the ground soil.

  After that we all tap down the dirt around it and I do the final check of making sure the trunk flare is right at soil level.  Then finish off with some compost on top and the final step is watering. 

I took some Master Gardening classes taught by Master Gardeners and in the tree planting class the arborist told us that the most important part of planting a tree is the height--it needs to sit tall and proud--like this picture, courtesy of the ISA--International Society of Arborculture.

This was one of the most important pieces of information I learned that year.  Trees can survive through a lot but it is the kiss of death for a tree if it is planted too low.  It will not thrive and be susceptible to all kinds of disease.

If you want more info on how to plant bareroot fruit trees for your own home orchard click here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ladurée Macarons- The Gift of gifts!

Last night around 9pm there was a knock on our door and there was our dear friend Dave.  He just arrived home from a business trip in Europe and after flying 16+ hours, drops these treat at our house because he did not want them to be stale!

(What a guy!...This is another great point about living in the city...we live 10 minutes from the airport..if we lived in the suburbs, this probably would not have happened.)

 He showed up with a box full of love--Ladurée macarons...just seeing that pink and green packaging can make any girl's heart flutter...

  Then, Dave pays me the highest compliment when he says " If Caroline had a shop, it would look like this one!" And then we talked on and on about the pure other worldliness of my dear Ladurée...the design, the marble, the "perfect" green...which shop he got them was glorious!  In an instant, we were transported back to Paris!

Then, we opened up the box and with childlike anticipation, proceeded to cut them up into quarters so we could try all the flavors.  I saved my favorite, rose petal, for one of the last and then blissfully went to bed in a sugar induced sleep coma that I can only say was dreamy!  There has to be Ladurée macarons in heaven, because they are perfectly divine! are the best friend a girl can have...hugs and kisses to you!  I am thinking of having a few with my coffee this morning, that would be a start of a beautiful day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Viola! The living room is now the drawing room

Well during the crazy new year cleaning spree I moved all my furniture out of my living room to clean and instead of moving it back in, I rearrange it and turned it into a cozy reading/drawing room.  The inspiration came from the Pelham Hotel, they have the coziest little drawing room that my husband and I love to take our evening Pimms in when we stay.  The designer of the Pelham is Kit Kemp, she is fabulous, not afraid of color and very whimsical...which I LOVE.  But I digress...

The two custom wing chairs I found at market years ago-now I see them everywhere, but I still love them.  The way I see this space used; is my husband and I having coffee in the morning, reading a good book,the light is perfect for reading in this room--I love the light in this room--during the day it is bright and sunny and at night it has a warm glow to it because of the brown in the yellow walls.  Then at night we can have a glass of wine and talk about our day.  During the day you can come over for some tea and we can drink it here too. 

I love color and how they play off of each other.  I love the mixing of color...I have tried to go neutral and to edit my collections...but I like color and stuff and I had to make my peace with it and say that is just brings me joy! This is another great part of being over 40, you finally stop looking to trends and instead, look to what speaks to you.  What is your own personal style? Mine is English Country mixed with French and then throw in a little whimsy and some junk and I am at home!


Books, books and more books...we do love our books around this house!
We especially like old books, classics, the kind that smell musty with age.

One of the best things about this post war house (1951 to be exact-which in Phoenix is old--I know--ha, ha!) is that we still have the wonderful original plaster walls.  Can you see the texture where the light hits?  I LOVE this about my drywall here.

In true drawing room style I have the reminds me of a Bronte or Austin novel where the "accomplished" women would play the piano forte in the drawing room.

I also moved the settee into the breakfast nook and put some art on the wall.  The two paintings on the right my daughter painted for me, the pink flower one for Mother's Day and the one of the Eiffel Tour was my 40th birthday present.

Here is another picture of the breakfast nook.  The new drawing room is just to the right.

We have some changes we are going to make to the kitchen--nothing big--we are keeping the 1950 galley but just making it more functional for our family. This drawing room conversion is part of that evolving process.  This is what I love about home design.  It is always changing as our families change to meet the needs of those who occupy it.  It is not static around here!

PS.  I just read on a blog about living rooms being in for 2011--good thing I don't follow trends anymore!

Have a great rest of the week!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Have you ever thought of getting some milking goats?

I am in the middle of a crazy after Christmas cleaning spree, but I just want to write a little post about something "Santa" put in my stocking...

I am seriously chewing on the idea...For one my son can not have cow's milk and for two think of all the wonderful cheeses we could make and three raw goats milk is just about the healthiest thing for you.

Just a few Pygmy goats I am thinking...the city let's us have livestock under 650lbs as long as our lot is over 10,000 square feet...I know...I still live in the wild, wild, west!

Well, I have to go and continue cleaning up this little farm, work on a design board for a new client, oh and take care of a three year old too, then drive the soccer carpool!

Let me know what you think of getting some goats.  Do you know any tips?  I'd love to hear them!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Making Chèvre

Chevre rolling in herbes de Provence, plain and rolled in lavender
(not show is the one rolled in couldn't fit on the plate)

This chevre is so good!  My husband says it is better than any we get at the store.  We had it last night with flatbread and a French Pinot and it was fabulous!  Here is the recipe:

 ( can not be ultra pasterized--nothing will happen--because the milk is dead)

Heat the milk to 86 degree F.  Add starter and stir till combined.

Cover and let set at room temperture not below 72 degrees for 12 hours.
Tipdo this at night before you go to bed and it will be ready to drain when you get up.

Line a colander with cheesecloth and gently spoon the curds into the colander.  Tie the cheesecloth into a knot at the top and tie to the kitchen faucet to drain.  Drain for 12 hours.

 Remove curds from cheesecloth, place on plate and divide into 4 parts.

Form them into logs and roll into the herbs of your choice and cover them with plastic wrap and it will keep for 10 days.


Do you have any good goat cheese recipes?  Or any  cheesemaking recipes?  If you do, send them to me! 
I LOVE a good recipe!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fruit Trees

I am so excited because I am going to pick up eight new fruit trees today!  In Phoenix, January is the time to plant your fruit trees, bareroot roses, and prune your existing roses down to about a foot.  So as soon as you put away the Christmas and clean up the house, you go right into is something I LOVE about the desert!

Here is what I am picking up today at the Phoenix Permaculture Guilds annual fruit tree day:

2 different types of cherry trees

Violette du Bordeaux Fig

2 Garden Prince Almond Trees

Catalina Plum

I am also getting a Flavor Delight Apruim, it is 3/4 apricot and 1/4 plum  and I have heard it is very sweet and good to eat right off the tree.

I am off to get my trees!  Dreaming of making many pies, crumbles, tarts, jellies and jams...oh la la...I can not wait!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dreaming of the South of France...

I received this postcard before Christmas and loved it so much I have put it up with my favorite things in my bedroom so I see it everyday and draw inspiration from it.  I looked at the picture today and thought to myself "this picture makes me want to like the color orange." 

Here is what it says on the back:

"Ils sont tous là, reunis sur la terrasse pour un petit déjeuner aux effluves d'orange fraîche, dans la chaleur d'un soleil éclatant. Leurs rires s'accordent à là partition des vagues sur les falaises... instant à revivre à l’ infini."
"It was the kind of moment you  would want to revisit.  Everyone was here, gathered on the terrace for breakfast, and the scent of fresh oranges was diffusing in the yellow heat.  A symphony of their laughter and waves hitting the cliffs played in the air."

I love things that transport me to another world...and summer in the South of France is definitely another world but it is a dreamy one! I long for its simplicity and beauty!

I am working on the Chevre today and will be posting soon, it is a 3 day process to make this cheese but it is worth it.  I am making it three different ways; plain, rolled in herbes de Provence and rolled in red and green peppercorns.  We will be serving this same goat cheese at our Brunch @ the Coop on February 12th.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year 2011!

This New Year has started off with a cold snap!  I know 28 degrees is not cold for some...I did grow up in Chicago... but for us in the desert, it can be disaster to all the frost sensitive trees, plants and tender veggies.  So, my whole family including my visiting folks, run outside around 4 pm every evening and place sheets, tablecloths and quilts over all my little "babies" and then in the morning we take it all off and do it all over again at night.  We have some damage but most have faired well, even my tomatoes...I am keeping my fingers crossed!

We look forward to all the adventures this new year holds for us and am excited to walk into it!  I wish you all the possibilities that the spirit of the new year brings--a fresh start, a new day!
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