Brass Frond Earrings $45 US: This Australian jewelry designer makes gorgeous and sustainably produced wearable art that is inspired by nature. Her work reminds me of walking along a beach or through a field picking up little bits of water-worn glass and pebbles or beautiful leaves and putting them in my pocket to be rediscovered later. I love everything she makes and splurged on a pair of these simple oxidized silver twig earrings a few months ago so I can personally attest to the quality of her work.
Water Right’s Ultra-light Drinking Water Safe Polyurethane Hose $59.95 US: No, it’s not cheap, but it is worth the investment. I was convinced to take the plunge back in September when I had the chance to hold one in Margaret Roach’s garden. I could not believe how light, yet sturdy it was. A local shop had them on sale and I was lucky to get the last in my preferred colour, olive, as they had very nearly sold out the previous day to attendees at our workshop who were also sold upon seeing them in real life.
Recently, the addition of an island/counter that has suddenly provided me with more counter space than I have ever had before, as well as the well-timed arrival of an indulgent purchase of newly published cookbooks has us spending whole days in the kitchen. I am always drawn to the kitchen in other people’s homes. It’s the room I always seem to migrate to and camp out in for the duration during a party. I can’t express how happy I am now to have a counter that offers me the chance to spread out a little while I cook and can, as well as the space to perch and socialize when Davin is doing the work.
Now, on those books. I’m slowly making my way through the pile, savouring each one. I began first with two that feature South East Asian home cooking: Burma: Rivers of Flavor by Naomi Duguid and Vietnamese Home Cooking by Charles Phan. The first, “Burma,” is my favourite sort of cookbook, with as much put into telling personal stories and offering a small window into a culture through beautiful images as it is a manual for cooking good food. “Vietnamese Home Cooking” is not a travel journal, but it does have a personable element to it that includes beautiful photographs taken by photographer Eric Wolfinger. I have already used the advice in this book to successfully purchase my first set of cleavers and tightly wrap a proper spring roll.
Emboldened by a cleaver buying guide in the book, “Vietnamese Home Cooking,” I set off to Chinatown on Friday afternoon with the intent to buy a cleaver.
As a teenager, I worked a handful of sweaty kitchen jobs where I was taught proper knife skills and somehow, through the experience of chopping a hell of a lot of produce, developed an interest and appreciation for kitchen knives. Twenty plus years later and I find that I genuinely enjoy chopping vegetables and herbs, and as long as I am not slogging my way through a pile of teary onions, I can chop and chop all day long. It’s a meditation in motion.
I recently purchased the wide angle/macro lens to use with my iPhone. I bought it specifically for the macro lens as I find that the built-in camera lens is wide enough. There are other cellphone lenses available; however, I bought this one because it was affordable at $20 for the pair and looked to be of good quality.
Japanese Maple and Persicaria virginiana flower
Here’s how it works:
I’ve been sick with a virus this last week, hence the lack of posting. As it is hard to do much when you are laid up in bed with the plague, I spent much of my quarantine watching historical re-creation reality shows on YouTube. It began with a re-watch of my favourite show in this genre, Tales From the Green Valley and spiralled into a marathon viewing of every one that I could find online: The 1900 House, The 1940s House, and Coal House at War. I even made my way through the less educational and more socially dramatic American programs Frontier House and Texas Ranch House.
Unfortunately, these shows (other than Tales of the Green Valley) are disappointing in their lack of information, re-creation, or experimentation with historical garden practices. I would have loved to have seen the people of the “Texas Ranch House” using the garden that was provided for them and exploring the wild edible possibilities in the landscape around them. There are a few shows that do delve into gardening and kitchen gardening more specifically. The Victorian Kitchen Garden is one that I have enjoyed in the past. Also in this series are The Victorian Kitchen, The Wartime Kitchen Garden and The Victorian Flower Garden that I am yet to watch in full.
If you’re interested in farming shows that are also educational and along the lines of “Tales of the Green Valley” (including cast members) I’d also recommend The Wartime Farm, The Victorian Farm, and The Edwardian Farm.
Plenty to entertain and educate yourself as you lay on the couch choking up a lung or blowing your brains out through your nostrils this fall and winter season.