Archive for June, 2012

the first tomato

The giant tomato plant mother couldn’t resist buying has continued to grow and the several,

“Beefmaster” tomato on the vine, June 2012

little tomatoes that were already on it, when it was planted, have hung on and grown. While it’s been a heavy drinker, it’s also been putting out some impressive growth. The big surprise was to see that one of the tomatoes has not only gotten fairly large but has already ripened! We had no expectation of anything, except for some of the cherry tomatoes, being ready before the middle of July so it was a pleasant surprise for this one to turn red. Last night, we picked it. Considering that the “Beefmaster”

“Beefmaster” beefsteak tomato, June 2012

is a new variety for us, we did a simple tasting and cut it up while still warm from the plant then ate it plain. Even with it being such a deep red, once she cut into it, Mother thought it might have still needed another day or so, since the flesh was paler than the skin but it seemed to be fully ripened. The flavour is good, with a strong, almost fragrant tomatoness. The flesh was firm but smooth, and low in seeds, like a beefsteak should be. It’s low acid, so was suited to being eaten in slices, like the fruit it is. It’s looking like the plant should be fairly productive so it’s good to know that it’s a tasty one, even if the fruit are a bit on the small side for a beefsteak, and it’s amazing to have one in hand so early in the year. We’re all hoping it’s an early start to a great season!

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What comes in can be random, but in the end it’s all about the look of it.

pair of vintage glass sconces

Mother found this great pair of vintage, glass scones and I’m thrilled to have them out in the shop. They’ve got a great set of glass panels and drops as well as decorative rosettes. I can’t be sure about the state of their wiring, but it wouldn’t be all that hard to replace, if it is past it’s prime. (it’s possible that their buyer may want to change the sockets anyway since they are fitted for the small chandelier bulbs) In these cases, it just doesn’t make much sense for us to do the rewiring, since we can never predict what people will want them for.

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I did my teapot garden as usual this year, but played it safe in terms of what went in.

borage in teapot planter, June 2012

Most are the mini roses and two other types of flowers. (the petunias are doing especially well) I’ve developed a pretty good idea by now about what works, but the kind of weather we get plays a part. I decided to gamble a bit that it will be hot and fairly dry. Even with that as the plan, I couldn’t resist going for a few more experiments. The biggest one was to see if I could get borage to work in a pot. I’d had some last year, on the other side of the house, and they self seeded so I had three seedlings. Two got left, to make sure we had some that would succeed. The third went into my biggest pot. It’s been a bit of a water hog, but otherwise has done well and has already started to flower. We don’t tend to do much with the flowers, aside from adding them to salads for a bit of colour, but they are a pretty plant.

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I just finished a new group of the traditional Venetian masks.

silver Venetian mask “Liberty”

I’m nearing the end of the supply of the lace I’d been using as the upper edge on a number of the feathered masks but I wanted to use what’s left and also try out a new style. I recently found some lace that had these great points and I wanted to see how they looked as an openwork crown, against feathers. I did one in the silver leaf and one in gold. I was really happy with the look and the silver one got the natural brown and white feathers that look so good with it. For the gold, I went with the some of the longer, hot pink coque feathers I’d found a while ago. In both cases the points give a great enhancement to the crown effect of the feathers. I decided to call this one “Liberty” since it reminded me of the statue.

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Most of the group of W.A.Black paintings we got in are florals.

W.A.Black painting “Lilies”

They also are almost all flowers that can be found around Southern Ontario. Most are wild or at least semi-wild. This one is of the most common style of day lilies. He’s perfectly captured the colours and shape of the flowers with a very realistic style, but has kept the greenery and background abstracted. Framing it was another easy decision since the deep oranges of the flowers is an exact match to a solid cherry molding. I’ve always loved this Fotiou frame, but they’ve discontinued all of the colours of it, with the orange being the last to go. I was lucky enough to score the last pair of molding sticks at the sale and used one to make the frame. (the art is 16×20, so I figured it was a good gamble, in case someone decided they had to have the frame, that it’s a standard size) Hopefully, it won’t come to that, since it’s unlikely I’ll find a better frame for the painting, and someone will fall in love with the complete unit.

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We went for something different in the garden this year. Peas.

snow pea, June 2012

It’s not really worth it unless you can go for at least a moderate sized mass of them. We all love them, but didn’t really have a good spot to try some. Last year we got a couple more of the half barrels and they were put in near the house. It turns out that the barrels are great for starting seeds. With the super early warm weather, I risked starting a flight of peas back in early April. It seemed like a pretty safe gamble since we also all like pea greens and figured we’d be making stir-fry, if they froze. Even with the couple of cold snaps, the peas sprouts were fine. (I guess the warming qualities of raised beds/large containers weren’t exaggerated) I transferred them to the empty space next to the sorrels (now protected by a temporary fence to ward off the bunbuns) and they’ve done well. For support, I put in a barrel-shaped hoop around 3′ high, and they’ve been happily climbing it. Something a bit taller would be better, but it’s still provided enough support that we’ve had a decent crop. The second flight got left in the barrel and is working it’s way up it’s own hoop, but has just started producing. I’m pleased with how much we were able to get, considering the lack of a properly prepared space for them!

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Last night, all three of us went out and saw “The Pirates of Penzance”at the Avon Theatre.

Steampunk found item collage

It was number one on all our “must see” lists so we were happy to get tickets for so early in the run. It’s the Gilbert and Sullivan piece that I’m most familiar with and so I knew almost all of the songs, even if the lyrics were changed a bit for a couple of them. (and I had missed some of the rather barbed political satire in them) The performance was everything we had hoped for. It was very high energy and the cast projected a great sense of fun. Amy Wallis (Mabel) has a stunningly lovely voice and both Sean Arbuckle (Pirate King) and C. David Johnson (the Major-General) really ran with their roles. (even if Johnson had to work under some pretty heavy ageing make-up) the other fun part for me was that both the set and costume designs were heavily driven by Steampunk style. The pirate costumes were where they ran really wild with the steamy designs, but there is an overall influence to the whole production. (I especially loved how they dealt with the Major-Generals introduction) I guess it just goes to show how very mainstream it’s becoming.

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