Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wellington's Wonderful Walkability

You can't make mashed potatoes without potatoes. Of this fact I was never more acutely aware then on Saturday evening while making a yummy dinner of mock chicken pot pie. The chicken was stewed and the home-made biscuits were ready be be rolled and cut. Daughter went to the pantry for the potatoes and voila. Empty potato sack. Not a spud in sight. In any other situation one would have to change the dinner plan: steam some rice; boil some pasta. But not at Wellington! Instead, the daughter took over the biscuit prep, I grabbed my purse and my handy shopping trolley and was back before the biscuits were out of the oven.

When you live in a town like Benicia, it's just a shame if you don't have a shopping trolley like the one above from Anthropologie. Or the one shown in my post A Walk in the Park. I love my trolley! And as the post shows, I can fit a lot in that little guy.

The one above is just so cute, I had to shove it on the blog.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Big Ol' Comfy Chair

I don't care who says differently, I love this old recliner in my front room. It's so comfy and special. And the colors go great with the interior paint we picked out for Wellington. Those of you who have been inside Wellington know that when we bought it, the interior paint was PINK (Cinnamon Toast, to be exact). And while some of us think it's okay to leave the bathrooms that color, luckily those same people spent days and days painting all the other walls either Charro or Chadwick by Kelly Moore. He's a good painter, too. Wellington's walls look professionally painted, and they weren't easy! At least that's what I heard. I mostly provided refreshments. This is a close up of the fabric. Isn't it cute?
This is Wellington's front door. I had a pic of it in this Christmas post, looking inside at the Christmas tree. But here is a shot from the inside looking out. Today we're supposedly going to see some sun so I might be able to check up on those nasturtiums. I'll let you know.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

West Elm Owls

I don't normally post about things for sale, but is this the cutest butter dish ever? Yes! It's only $16 (plus free shipping!) at West Elm (http://www.westelm.com/). I drove by their Emeryville store a couple of times when the mom, the daughter and I were at Ikea. I absolutely LOVE Ikea. I'll have to post sometime about my two favorite Ikea purchases. Next time I go to Ikea, I'm going to swing in to West Elm and get me a owl butter dish. Wellington would absolutely LOVE this.
As special proof of just how much Wellington would love these owls, take at look below. A year ago, while waiting for Wellington, I was in search of some kind of countertop container for my tea bags. Since we brew tea every morning, we need our tea bags within easy reach. When I happened on this lovely, perfect, vintage tea pot with an extra wide mouth I decided it was just the thing. It was prestine! With not a single crack! It was only $8 at The Hospice Thrift Store on Diablo Road in Danville. Don't let the name fool you. They have a lot of great vintage finds! (And the nicest people work there, too.) For instance, this little yellow vintage bowl was purchased there also, but just two weeks ago for less than $2 (they were having a 20 percent off sale).Are they so perfect together? Unfortunately someone (we won't say who) was making tea a few weeks ago and dropped the teapot lid on the granite countertops. Being the mother, I couldn't cry. Plus it wouldn't change anything. The lid was broken and that was that. But only in three pieces! So I glued it together with Crazy Glue and almost never even think about it. Just once a day when I make my morning tea. And sometimes when I'm cleaning the kitchen. And just now when I took this photo. But really, almost never besides that. Poor daughter. She didn't mean to, it slipped. She's only 21.

This afternoon we had the most glorious lunch. It was porridge made with honey and raisins and cranberries and topped with bananas and walnuts and a little brown sugar. Incidentally we have this for lunch about three times per week. Sometimes five. YUM! (It's called "oatmeal" in the states, by the way. But some of us are English by marriage and so we say "porridge".)
At Wellington this morning, we're trying very hard to relax and enjoy ourselves. Some of us have to work tomorrow. With that in mind, we have done nothing but eat oatmeal - oops PORRIDGE - and read. And write in the blog after coming across these owls. We had a fire and we have a kitty cat who is almost 15 years old, so there was nothing for it but a whole morning of relaxation. If the sun comes out long enough we're going to see what's sprouting (which will undoubtedly be nasturtiums) and maybe walk downtown. That's life in Wellington.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Googling Benicia

I've been wasting time lately googling one of my favorite topics, Benicia. Ooo, I love my new home town. I found this very interesting photo. I remember this site when we lived in Fairfield and would often cross the Benicia Bridge. Traveling south, as you looked to the left you would see this sight, which is now the north bound lanes of the Benicia Bridge. The old bridge now makes up the south bound lanes. I'm glad someone captured this for posterity. The photo came from here: http://www.city-data.com/.

Recently I read in RealSimple magazine about a website: http://www.sepiatown.com/. This is an archive of old photos from all over the country. You put in a city name and when the map pulls up, all the old photos they have of that area appear on the map. I thought it would be a perfect place to find some old photos of Benicia.

I was wrong. There is not one photo of Benica on that site. But it's still a cool site. It looks like they get their photos from people who uploaded them and apparently no one has uploaded any photos of Benicia. If I had one I would. The oldest one I have is an old photo of Wellington 1.0. (The old Wellington who was chopped down to form the new Wellington.) And technically I don't own the photo. Plus it's only five or six years old and I don't think that counts as "sepia". It's in color, too. It's somewhere on this blog already.

But there was a really cool picture of Kearny Street in San Francisco that I swear is the daughter's building in sepia tones. But the caption says it's looking up Kearny from Bush, which is not where the daughter's building is located. I sent it to her for research because I think they're wrong.

I also found this local author: http://www.heidiashworth.blogspot.com/. She had photos of a day she spent in Benicia years ago. I'm not sure where she lives, but it's apparently 30 minutes from Benicia. Her photos are really cute and I love her writing. Her blog post from August 14, 2009 is regarding a day spent in Benicia. She ate at Captain Blithers, which is now Sailor Jacks. And she bought yards of vintage fabric. A lot has changed since she was here. She should come back. I'll tell her.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wellington Update

Just a quick one to show how gorgeous Wellington is looking. Please note the Forest Pansy Redbud in bloom. He looks so cute!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Figgy's Baby

The first real sign of spring. Figgy's baby with his little leaf waving in the morning air.
Here's one of the lttle bench decks. It's just a little oasis as you meander down the arbor walk. There will be another on the other side. And there's one like it as you enter from the front yard. One more will have our outdoor table on it, right outside the kitchen. Then my little arbor walk plants planted all around. And the trees, of course. Because, hello? Arbor? Trees?

Speaking of trees, look at my little Snowberry. He was positively dormant all through the winter, but now he's getting little leafy bits. And from what I understand, his flowers will pop up underneath. That's why they say you should shove him on a hill so you can look up at his flowers. That's why I'm thinking of putting him outside the shed some day. The best part about this little guy is his hanging balls. When I bought him he had all the little ballies dangling from his arms. He was so cute. The balls eventually burst open and spew forth these black seeds, but we won't talk about that part. I'll keep you posted on the flower issue.

This next picture shows not only how happy this little lavender guy is, but also look how great Herbert is at taking pictures!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Benicia Harbor after the Storm

I already posted today, but just had to add one more because it was so beautiful down by the water this evening This pic was taken March 20, 2011 at around 7:00 pm with my new camera phone (HTC Freestyle). You can just make out the lights of a plane flying towards me in the clouds. It was a little calm moment. But the storm isn't over, apparently. At least 10 more days of rain. But the plants love it!

Arbor Walk Update

It has been positively STORMY for absolutely DAYS. See? But here at Chez Wellington we love, love, love stormy days. That's because we can always think of lots of things to do. Some of us snooze by the fire. Some of us bake banana bread. And some of us wait for a spot of sun to zip around the house taking pictures with our new phone to make sure he works good.
Okay, photo number 1, above, is an update of the Arbor Walk. So far we have most of the flagstones in. (By "we" I mean, the husband put them in while I stood there watching and keeping him entertained.) We have the bases for two of the mini-decks built, and one of them embedded, awaiting its decking. You can see one of the little weeping Japanese Maples on the other side of this deck foundation. After this mini-deck is built, the bench will go on top of it.
Oh! Guess what! I found this little baby Gingko Biloba tree! Is it so cute? I think he needs to go into the Arbor Walk even though he gets (don't tell) 100 feet tall! But not for a very long time. And meanwhile he will be absolutely gorgeous.
Here are a few of my plants waiting very patiently for springtime. I think the bigger ones are ganging up on that little one. Here's what they are, left to right: glechoma, sedum blue spruce, glechoma, glechoma and blue fescue. In the back is a piece of ivy I pulled up last year and am hoping to train around this wire shelf. The sedum is brand new from Morningsun Herb Farm. He's just busting to get out of his pot. I was thinking of putting him in a big pot with this new huge aloe I bought. But now that I see him next to these other plants, I'm thinking there might be a place for him in the Arbor Walk, because we have the blue fescue going in there. I bought six blue fescues in a little six-pack then repotted them - some in one gallons - so they will be bigger when we're ready to put them in the ground. That way I got six for $2.50 which is something like 41 cents each! It's probably not really 41 cents each but I don't feel like taxing my brain and I'm too lazy to open up my calculator, so we'll just have to be satisfied with 41 cents.
Here's another shot of the Arbor Walk. You can see the other frame for the other mini-deck. And there's my little mini-nursery of plants awaiting their permanent homes. They were all either six-packs repotted or my own propagated plants.

The following two pictures are similar to ones I have taken before, but I took these with my new phone, Herbert. Herbert has a lot of work to do starting next week, so I thought I'd try him out on something fun.
The little shed across the alley. And my new flower box out front, which seems to be surviving the storm just fine.
All of these pictures were taken with my new phone. Good job, Herbert!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Walk in the Park

Let's just say you needed all of this:You'd get in the car and zip up to the grocery store, right? I mean, you might walk to the store if you ONLY needed the pasta and maybe one gallon of milk. But they make you buy two gallons of milk to get the discount. So okay, you could probably handle two gallons of milk and a box of pasta. It's a quick walk. But your arms would be sore by the time you got back. What if you needed the milk, pasta and a little fruit. You might think, I can grab a quick orange. Or an apple, maybe. If you were feeling particularly strong. Probably not a banana because it would get bruised. Cheese would be pretty easy, but hard to juggle with that box of pasta, two gallons of milk and one orange. And forget about the broccoli, and potatoes. But a whole BAG of oranges, a whole BAG of apples, five potatoes, three heads of broccoli and all the rest of it? That's just ridiculous.

But what you might have overlooked is this:
It's my little trolley. And YES I can fit ALL of this inside. The trick is you stack the heaviest stuff at the bottom and work up. As long as you can close the flap at the top, it's no problem. You just sort of drag the little guy behind you and walk home. He'll follow and you can pretend like you're taking a walk in the park!

I just love living in Benicia.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Garden Update with New Window Box Inside

Here is the new little "window box". Isn't it cute? I should have taken a pic of the overall effect on Wellington, but I didn't. Here's what you can picture. On the right side of the stairs is a DIFFERENT window box that looks nothing like this. But it all balances. This one has, from left to right, campanula, lemon mint, lamb's ear and a rose. Underneath is the bougainvillea which is coming along quite nicely. And look how gorgeous the Shoe Button Spirea is! It is not what I ordered from Mid City Nursery, but I like it and I'm keeping it. In fact, I might get another one to put on the left side, who knows?

The Lady Banks Rose is blooming! The Lady Banks Rose is blooming! And remember how we couldn't remember if we put in white or yellow? We put in yellow! It just opened today. Just a little bit. Way over on the left side. The rose on the right side fence still doesn't have buds. Oh well. Time to go get some stuff done for crying out loud.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Benicia in the Winter plus Googling Wellington plus The Daughter's New Job!

Early mornings are beautiful in Benicia, even in the winter. This is a view from the Benicia Marina back towards the condos on East E Street. Here is a view towards the water. I hardly ever even notice this marshland. It's at the end of East 2nd Street at East E Street. There's usually so much going on along the street here, plus the water is just on the other side, so the marsh takes a back seat. I'll have to explore it more later on.

I can't wait until Google puts the new maps up and I can see the new picture of Wellington. It still looks like this. I'm figuring this picture was taken in the early spring, around this same time of year, because of the clover in bloom. Jeanne next door says the kids call it "sour grass" because if you pull a flower and chew on the end of the stem it tastes sour. She's right about that part. It kind of tastes like a sour apple. But the daughter made me take it out of my mouth before I could form a definite opinion.
OMG I absolutely LOVE that darling daughter. Tomorrow she starts her CAREER! We are so proud of her we can hardly sleep at night. Some of us are a little disappointed that we don't get to go with her and watch everything she's doing and promise to stay very quiet so that you hardly know we're even in the room. But there's no help for it, I wasn't invited and I have to stay behind. But I'm hoping The Daughter won't be so tired by the end of the day that she can't tell me absolutley everything that she does and what she eats (catered lunch!) and where she sits and who was nice to her and whether they really and truly give her an iPad and a computer and maybe a little iPod for her mom. I'm not holding my breath on that last one, though. Mostly because I made that part up.

The husband is working away at the Arbor Walk. I'll put in updated pics sometime soon.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Robinwood Reclaim

My new favorite site: http://www.robinwoodreclaim.com/

Go ahead - click on something.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Back Gate Benicia

A beautiful Saturday morning in Benicia and I just had to take a walk. Few people were out. Some joggers. Some dog-walkers. I strolled some of the back alleys and found myself taking pictures of people's back gates. I like the feelings the back gate evokes. Curb appeal is one thing. But back gates are more intimate. Special little places seldom seen by outsiders.
Some are well tended, others have a sort of incidental quaintness. Old moss. Rusty hinges. Rotting wood.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Benicia in March

After our last work day, the daughter and I were driving down the hill in Southampton and the view was so pretty I had to sort of angle my car in the middle of the road and shoot this picture real fast before someone hit us.

Today it's sunny, and that's nice too.