Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday Night Supper - Brazilian Rice

May has been full of wonderful visitors to Lowfields!  Our friends Anna & Larry Davis visited the farm recently.  They own a brazilian restaurant in Oklahoma City so I coerced Anna into sharing some of her amazing Brazilian cooking tips/recipes.    A staple is Brazilian Rice and she graciously made it for us while they were here.
Ann & Larry with Charlie on a walk along Bremo Creek
Brazilian Rice
1 cup rice (TIP:  she rinses rice in water prior to cooking)
Olive Oil
3 cloves of garlic

Saute garlic and rice in olive oil FIRST and then add 2 cups of water to cook as usual.  This rice was amazingly fluffy and delicious!
Anna preparing Brazilian Rice for our supper! 
To complete the meal, we took sautéed some onions and added some chicken stock and then added some rinsed lentils.  Cook until lentils are tender then add some carrots and cook until soft.  Serve over the rice!
Saturday Night Supper - Brazilian Rice with Lentils & Carrots
Along with a salad made with avocado and radishes from our garden, this was a perfect Saturday Night Supper!  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Vintage Gardening Books

As you know, I love anything vintage and I also like to group things together and maybe go a bit overboard when "collecting" a certain item.  The story is the same when it comes to vintage gardening books.  I actually got on a kick where I had to find gardening books that were all green, of course to match the cupboard in which they live!    My gardening book collection resides in Whimsey cottage and is one of my favorite places to have a cup of tea and look through my books.

Whimsey Cottage - Garden Book Library
I love finding old obscure gardening books -
you will be amazed at what you will learn from them! 

Who wouldn't want to flip through "10,000 Garden Questions"? 

The book covers themselves are beautiful
The cover of a book that I got in France - gorgeous! 

As the "backsplash" of the cupboard, I have 4 beautiful etchings of all the seasons.
  Crazy to think that I got them at goodwill 15 years ago!  

I love adding pictures and small objects in front of all the books

My very favorite book - aren't the illustrations beautiful? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spring Bouquets

With the visiting season just starting up, I wanted fresh flowers everywhere to greet everyone who comes to Lowfields.  In addition to Dave & Linda Nicholson, we have had a few other visitors so far this month.  I had a visit from my wonderful Pilates teacher, Sue, and she gave me a great routine to do while at the farm - Thanks Sue!  We also had a visit from Nutmeg's parents, Bob & Joann Carroll, who were in the area visiting family. Bob is an awesome photographer and I can't wait to share some of the pictures he took of the farm!  

Spring is a great time for my bouquets as there is plenty of inventory to choose from around the farm.  Here are a few pictures of some of the bouquets I put together.  

Filled with spirea and feverfew

A lovely blue vase

Instead of flowers,
 I decided to fill tubby Toby with flowered pencils! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

April Showers Bring May... Visitors!

We were very excited to have a visit from Charlie's family, Dave and Linda Nicholson.  They were visiting from Florida now that Dave has retired as Chairman and Professor of Physics from the University of Central Florida.   We had a wonderful weekend of good food and family.   A lovely way to enjoy this fabulous weather!

Dave & Linda Nicholson visit Lowfields

Linda brought some pretty outdoor china - perfect for barbeque!
How did she know I would love these?  

Lunch al fresco

Dinner - Lowfields Beef of course! 

Dessert - Charlie torching the creme brûlées 

I used Le Cirque's Creme Brûlée recipe - super easy and delicious!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Makin' Hay

Spring means many things at the farm, but the biggest thing it means is that it's time to make hay.   We use the beautiful weather to cut hay so we will have it for the winter.  Obviously with the mild winter we had, the farm looks lush and green this time of year which makes for great hay!   Refer to an earlier post in August of last year to find out all that goes into making hay, but here are some recent pictures from this week.  
Happy cows in high grass before it gets cut

Filiberto cuts schoolhouse field

Finished fields

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dixie Chicken

Nutmeg recently told me that one of Cutty's favorite songs to dance to is "Dixie Chicken" by Little Feat...Obviously an eclectic music taste for a 17 month old but I approve of this great song.    I immediately thought of the pillows I currently have on the front porch of the Main Hall... wouldn't he just go crazy over these?     Donna & I made these a long time ago for a photo shoot.  The hens are made from vintage blankets and the chicks from felt.  We decided to add a little "crazy" by making the awesome crazy fried eggs from taffeta covered with organza.   I can't wait for him to see these when he visits this summer!  
Dixie Chickens

Crazy fried eggs! 


Monday, May 14, 2012

Chocolate Custard

I'm always looking for easy desserts that take little time and also can use up ingredients I already have available at the farm.    We always have eggs and we always have chocolate so I decided to make a chocolate custard.  Originally I thought it would be a pudding but when I threw it all together and cooked it, I thought it was more custard-like.   

Chocolate Custard
12 pieces of your favorite chocolate - can be dark, milk, etc.  
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup strong espresso (left over from breakfast)
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar

Melt chocolate, butter and espresso in a double boiler until smooth.  Remove from double boiler and let cool slightly.  Beat egg yolks and sugar together and add to chocolate mixture.  Be careful it's not too hot or the eggs will scramble.   Place bowl back onto boiler and heat through until thickened.   Pour into glasses and chill for 5 to 6 hours.  Garnish with fresh berries and mint! 

Melting the chocolate, butter & espresso

I used my favorite candy that Rebecca sends me for my birthday
(thank you Rebecca!)

A perfect end to a meal

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bald is Beautiful

Mr. Bingley is going bald!  
Still a rather striking and beautiful creature...even with a bald spot.
Mr. Bingley

New Residents at Lowfields

The baby peacocks have hatched!  How cute are they?  Still contemplating names so stay tuned...
Sweet lil peacocks

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spring Gardening

Spring is my favorite time of year...  I know I probably say that about every season when I am in it, but spring is really a lovely time at the farm.  Everything is fresh and new and the weather is such that I can be outside for hours at a time and the heat won't kill me like it does in the middle of summer.    

It's great fun to see the perennial gardens returning and it's even more fun to plan out new things.  A perfect morning for me recently was sitting down with my coffee surrounded by seed packets and planning out my next garden project.    I've also included some pictures of what's blooming and thriving in our gardens.  

A lovely morning of garden planning

Looking forward to getting into the dirt

The fun little perennial garden between the Hall & Whimsey

Very soft Gertrude Jekliy colors - lavenders, pinks, whites

Baptista or False Indigo -
my southern answer for delphiniums which don't do well here

Old urns give gardens structure -
this one filled with Hyssup & nepata

It's so great to look out and see all the beauty

Everything is so green and lovely

Just planted by the pool -  can't wait to see how it develops!  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not Your Average Commute

I often get asked how we travel back and forth from Raleigh to the farm with 5 dogs and all the necessities needed.  Let me tell you, it's no small feat, but we have it down to a science.  I thought it would be fun to document and share with the blogosphere world!  
My staging area at Sunset for everything we need to bring

The start of load-in with spring plants
and of course a cooler for food transport

Everyone has assigned seating -
big dogs in the back and little ones in the front 
Clara Belle is ready to go!  

My co-pilots - Floyd & Clara Belle 
And we're off... 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tiny Rooms = Big Impact

Over the years, I have done a lot of very small rooms. Just because a room may be small, it doesn't mean it can't have a big impact.  My purpose is always to make the space functional but at the same time to keep it beautiful.  One "trick" is to use one tone of color, preferably a light one,  very little pattern and bring in a lot of different textures.  

A favorite small room of mine is our guest room at Sunset.  It's a 10x12 room covered in vanilla!  
The vanilla guest room at Sunset
The window in the room has been visually enlarged by having suede and damask curtains covering the entire wall.  This also acts as a headboard/background for the suede covered daybed which is accented by pillows made from old angora sweaters.  Everything is brought together by the fluffy wool shag carpet. 

On the other side of the room is a dressing table that Donna found which started the entire theme of vanilla, one of my favorite flavors and colors!  

Dressing table that started it all! 

Pillows made from old angora sweaters

Close up of darling vintage lamp