Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December 4. The tree.

So we went looking for a tree in 65 degree weather which was a little weird. It was a beautiful day though for most of the day-This morning I walked in a TANK TOP! On Dec 4th!  (I'll clarify that I walked for an hour so I was only in the tank top after I worked up a sweat.) but I figured it was the last time my arms would see sunlight until probably February so I'd better take advantage of it.

By the time we got to the tree place though, it was raining. And no one could agree on a tree. I got voted down on the Douglas Fir for a long needle tree. We got a concolor which smells a little like oranges. I didn't go on the the tree excursion last year and the tree last year was a little, hmmm....on the short side. So this year though I didn't get a Douglas Fir I did get one that ends about an inch below the ceiling!

Score!



Still looking!



Found it!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

December Photo Project 12/2

GCV&M is by far the prettiest place I've ever worked. We've been decorating for 2 weeks for our holiday programs. And when I say "we" I mean mostly other people.

If you don't feel in the holiday spirit when you leave then you're just a plain old humbug! This little vignette is right outside the gift shop. But our whole site is decorated like crazy.

We are rocking the Yuletide spirit. (ask me if I still am in three weeks though.)



Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Photo Project

It's been so long since I've blogged. However, the other day I saw something about the December Photo Project and remembered how much fun I've had participating in this in the past so for Dec at least I'm in. Maybe I'll stretch my blogging muscles again and like it!

Today I worked for much of the day and came home to this newly decorated tree in the gazebo this evening. What a nice sight to come home to.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Deer Proof Gardens

Deer Proof Gardens.

Is there any such thing? Not usually, in my experience.

But I'm giving it a valiant effort this summer.  I'll admit, it did cross my mind today that I miss my vegetable garden quite a lot. But in the midst of all of my deer proof plants I planted 2 tomato plants-You know, just to see. And I had to laugh when I went outside today and one of them was lopped right off! With deer proof plants all around them. (Apparently you really can't have everything in life all at one time. It's funny how mother nature often teaches us life lessons that we'd probably learn faster if we just observed & listened.)


So far, my deer proof gardening success consists of this bed right next to the back door of my house. It's deer proof mostly because of it's location & the fact that I've been vigilant about spraying the hydrangea with Liquid Fence (which you cannot spray food you are going to consume.)

There is also lavender, moon flower (which are crazy beautiful when they bloom-I've had one so far) and lantana (but you can't see them from this angle.) and some pineapple sage.

Inpatients which are the pink flowers that you can see above are flowers I usually don't bother with-They always remind me of the 1980s since that is ALL that seemed to be planted in my neighborhood growing up) but perhaps I've underestimated them. I got them for free and proceeded to completely neglect them until they almost died, so that I would feel justified in throwing them away. But my husband watered them and brought them back to life and by then I felt like I couldn't throw them away...They are workhorses though-Bringing patches of color and growing quickly and are usually really cheap. (Even when they aren't free.)





And also this mixed boarder next to the driveway. (You'll have to excuse the picture quality, I've been playing around with Instragram lately.) At any rate, this bed is truly deer proof. I was pretty ruthless last fall when I removed anything that the deer routinely destroy.  I'll update this post as the summer goes on because there is all kinds of stuff in here that you can see from both sides and I only took it from this angle. But this bed makes me happy every morning when I go to work or water it and most evenings when those garden lights are going on.

This bed contains:

Lady's Mantle
Lavender
Chives
Oregano
Bee Balm
Lemon Balm
Russian Sage (which is going to be too little to make much impact this year, but will be awesome come next!)
Thyme
Rose Campion (which must taste like poison to deer because they NEVER eat this-That's the silvery plant with the pink flowers-This plant is also super easy to take care of and spreads easily, but is not invasive.)
Hellebore
Foxglove
Purple Cone Flower
Iris
Sage
Daylily (stella d'oro)
And there are a few more whose names I can't remember and flowers who haven't bloomed yet.

My other gardens are not looking all that great yet (lots of rain and sunshine and no mulch, means lots of weeds) but I'm having no trouble with deer with the following:

Potato
Cabbage
Broccoli
Garlic
Onion
Parsley
Loveage
Basil
Dill (delicious wonderful fresh dill....)
Marigold
Cosmos
Zinnia
Coleus
Rhubarb

Monday, June 18, 2012

Fresh Free Range Chicken- Fisher Hill Farm

So here I am after a long absence.

I feel like I just took a long slow breath to collect my thoughts. (maybe it's all the vitimn D I've been getting outside lately. ) But rather than tell you those thoughts, I'm going to tell you about something else.

Free Range Chicken.

This weekend, in an attempt to start substituting  the vegetable garden I didn't plant this year (save, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and a host of various alliums and herbs) by consistantly going to the farmers market (Something we are hit and miss about when the garden is full) we headed out to the Webster Village farmer's market.

It turned out to be a poor excuse for any kind of market. It was terrible, interspersed right on main street in Webster.  The vendors were sparse, placed between cars parked on the street. There were TONS of signs for this thing, parking signs, market signs. There were more signs than vendors....One vendor told me there were not a lot of vendors because the farmers don't have that much food yet??? There was one woman with a compelling booth of handmade soaps and lotions but she had an overbearing customer who was bugging me so I couldn't stick around. We won't be back to that place.

This is a trip that could have certainly ended in disaster without the graceful pivot that my family was able to make. (I mention this only because this is NOT a skill any of us possess in large quantities.)

But pivot we did as I looked up the Pittsford farmer's market on my phone. We also decided to eat by the Canal in Pittsford because it was a gorgeous day.

Apparetly the farmers in Pittsford had more food avalible to them than the ones in Webster, because, while this was still a fairly small market, it had everything you'd need to eat well this week. We bought strawberries, lettuce, garlic scapes, some kind of strawberry juice for my girl, a large onion, free range eggs and A FREE RANGE CHICKEN from Fisher Hill Farm.

Not only was the chicken free-range, it was.... I don't know how to say this any other way..... butchered the day before. And never frozen. It was $4 a lb, which is a lot for chicken, but not as much as Wegmans charges for a free range bird.

I have a complicated relationship with Organic chicken. I look at those little tiny Organic chickens from Wegmans and it's hard for me to pay $15 for them. It really is. This chicken weighed in at a respectable 4lbs, which equaled $16. It was a larger chicken though, though not huge like a factory farmed roaster.

Today was chicken day! When I opened up the wrapper on this chicken was beautifully prepared, with nary a stray feather on it. It was free of any remnant of the butchering process if you know what I mean (though the neck was a little long for my asthetic taste.) It just seemed like it was really well handled.

I tossed it in the oven this afternoon using the BEST ROAST CHICKEN RECIPE EVER. And tonight we feasted on AMAZING CHICKEN LOVLINESS. Jeannine told me once that the chickens she had in Italy tasted different. Like real food. I bet they tasted like this chicken. I don't know if it was the fresh part of it, or the organic or the free range, but I'm betting it's a combination of all three.

This evening my husband was the one making stock out of it, I would have but he beat me to it. We're not wasting an ounce of that delicious (expensive) chicken!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Your New York State Tax Dollars at Work-Fun with The New York State Liquor Authority

Folks that live in NY State, I'd like to tell you about how some of your tax dollars are being spent.

Exhibit A-I give you Erica from The New York State Liquor Authority.

Let me give you a little background, earlier in the week I was working on renewing the liquor licences at the museum and contemplating adding and changing some of the current ones. This is no easy task. If you click that link above you can see the myriad of licencing options that you can choose from. None say "Licencing food establishments at museums." or "WHAT TO DO ABOUT licensing 750 acre pieces of land." Even renewing the same licence you already have is difficult because of couse, the forms have changed from last year. And as much as you feel yourself a literate individual, as soon as you start filling out one of those forms you scrunch up your nose and ask yourself, "What the heck does THAT mean." over one of the many many run on sentences on the form.

Which is why one might call the actual liquor authority to get some professional input.

The first time I called I got some guy who was completely exasperated at my utter ignorence on the subject of liquor licensing. He was ok excecpt for the fact that he couldn't keep his contempt for my stupidity out of his voice. His answers were short and if the answer to "Do I need this form?" was no, he never offered up what form it was that I needed. So then I'd ask. It was like tennis.  It was draining.... For both of us I imagine... This lead me to hang up without asking one last question.

So I called back. And after navigating layer upon layer upon layer of the phone system, I finally got a woman who said "NY State Liquor Authority." followed by absolute silence.

"hi, this is Christine from The museum, what's your name."
"Um, Erica."
"Ok, I have a few questions about xyz...."
"Awwright." You can't hear the completely bored and annoyed manner but trust me...
"Ok, Um Erica, can I speak with someone else."
"Whys that?" And now she's really pissed.
"Well because you aren't very nice."
 "I didn't know my job required me to be nice."
"Oh really? Ok then, Can I speak to your manager now?"

Seriously? You're a phone rep whose job it is to answer questions.... You don't think that your job requires you to be nice??? What the hell? What is wrong with you? Is it the government employee malaise we always hear about? Is this lack of training or upbringing?

WHAT IS IT?

You know, I admit I can be high maintence at times. I have high expectations. But having just waded through tedious legalease of the trying to sell beer I had one of those headaches borne only of government bureaucracy. I wasn't even in a fighting mood. I was defeated. I just wanted a nice friendly person to explain the information I needed to know. So when her manager got on the line I simply told her the story and asked her if she thought she could answer my questions in a friendly manner. 

Imagine that, I had to ask if there was someone there who thought they could be nice to me????? She was mildly miffed over the story of Erica and her job requirements but not so I thought that Erica might have a talk with her supervisor before lunch. It was more like "Oh...PAUSE....Ok".... And then she answered my question well enough to get me off the phone.

None of those people gave a damn. And their information was crucial to what I was trying to do, and it's not like I can go anywhere else for a liquor licence or for the information.

NY State Liquor Authority, basically, you suck.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Do Not Try This at Home. Home Haircolor Warning

This past fall I needed a highlight and my regular girl was busy-No big deal I thought, how hard can hair color be??? Apparently a little hard because the girl did highlights and low lights and put a big chunky dark piece right IN THE FRONT.... I'm not getting my hair colored for dark pieces near my face mind you... I need something that brightens me up a little.

But I had already gone and paid for it and I'm kinda cheap and I was already $100 into it. (you'd think at this point common sense might prevail and dawn on me that I should have spent a little more to protect the investment a little.) But instead I decided that since I had done box color in the past, how difficult would it be to just use an all over color ON TOP of the highlights, reasoning that everything would just get a little lighter.

WRONG.

It all turned BROWN.  Enter ANOTHER BOX of hair color (Seriously? you ask.... YES.) A lighter box. Which turned my hair a warm honey color....

Which may not sound all that bad but I'm really a cool blond (yes, Mrs Accongio...I AM FINALLY...)  and the color was awful and I couldn't figure out why. My makeup looked all wrong with it.  And my hair was very dry. It was at that point that I determined that I needed to BACK AWAY FROM THE HAIR COLOR for a while before my hair fell out. A few days into it, my husband turned and said "Your skin, you kind of look like you're glowing (Mercury perhaps???), but maybe it's just your hair color."

And then it dawned on me. MY HAIR WAS THE EXACT SAME COLOR AS MY SKIN. No kidding. My hair was a little honey colored and my skin is a little honey colored.....OMG. I looked kind of one dimensional. I didn't mention this to very many people because when I DID mention it, you could see that realization come over people. That it was, sadly, true....Before that they probably couldn't place what looked wrong on me. (Ok, I'm probably fooling myself with that line, it was fairly obvious that my hair was the wrong color....)

Finally, this weekend, I decided that I've given my hair enough time to grow out and relax a little (and besides, some gray hair was showing.) And she did a fine job. Since it was still mostly honey colored she did way more cool blond highlights than normal to counteract all that brassy color and now I look a little more Hollywood blond than I am used to, but at least there is some depth to my face now. You can see cheeks and a nose now. And my eye makeuplooks a little less like a 7th grader applied it.

The lesson here folks is DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Box hair color almost never works out. Can't you spot box hair color a mile away? I know I can. You might think you will be the exception to this rule when you stand in the supermarket with all of those enticing boxes of hair color with their pretty models who I really believe have NOT used the product.  You won't be.....