Monday, June 30, 2014

Tasty Tropical Treats

I remember one of my second-grade school books had a page with four pictures on it. The four pictures were of a backyard as it would look during the four seasons. One of the pictures showed the tree just bursting with oranges (why an orange tree would be in an Indiana school book is beyond me).

When I saw that picture of the orange tree laden with fruit, I knew I wanted to live where that tree lived. I wanted to have an orange tree in my backyard too one day.

Well, I do live where orange trees live and I do have one in my yard (front not back), but I think it will be a few years before it produces some fruit, if it ever does.

I have a different tree that is currently in the throes of producing fruit. It is my largest banana tree.

The tree put out a large, heavy, maroon pod. As the leaves of this pod curl up and fall away, a little hand of bananas is exposed beneath.

As the bananas grow larger, the flowered ends become smaller and eventually disappear. The bees and wasps sure love the nectar from the little flowered ends. The nectar can be seen dripping away from the pod.

So far there are four hands of bananas exposed. I am eager to see how many bananas will be produced and how they will taste.

I have another pineapple growing too. They always take me by surprise. I have several planted around the place and never know when (or if) they will produce fruit. They are so cute as "babies", so are the bananas.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chalk This Up to Pretty

Yam has been in her own apartment since November 11, 2013. As you know, The Colonel and I have made her old room into a guest room now. I was going through her old closet (which still has some of her things in it) and decided I wanted to reuse the chest of drawers that was in there.

First, I would have to empty it of some of Yam's old clothes and then get it out of the closet. The chest of drawers is made by Cargo Furniture. I had forgotten how heavy that furniture is! I had not moved that chest of drawers in 7 years.

Well, I got the chest emptied and out of the closet. I had to ask for The Colonel's assistance to get it downstairs and out to the garage where I would commence the painting.

I wanted to try my hand at painting with chalk paint. There is no messy stripping or sanding a piece of furniture before you use chalk paint. Perfect. So, I did some looking on line and found Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It is a bit pricey. The Colonel's eyes got as big as saucers when he saw the price tag on the can's bottom.

I chose to paint the chest Duck Egg blue. I wanted the drawers to have a slight color graduation to them, so I also purchased some white chalk paint that I would add to the blue as needed, to achieve the look I wanted.

I began with a brush to get the areas my roller would not be able to. The Colonel really liked the color and so did I (he was beginning to see the wisdom of my "big ticket" purchase).

The piece of furniture would take two coats of paint.

I had to let the second coat of paint dry for a day before I applied the Annie Sloan Clear Wax. The wax would help to protect the painted surface.

Once the wax was applied, The Colonel and I manhandled the chest of drawers back into Yam's old room (but not back in the closet this time).

I did not want the old, wooden knobs back on the drawers. I had glass knobs in mind. I found some on ebay. 

They looked just as I imagined they would.

I liked working with chalk paint. I have a couple more pieces of furniture I would like to "makeover". I think I did see that The Home Depot sells chalk paint at a lower price than does Annie Sloan...that should make The Colonel's eyes less saucer-shaped when I have to buy more paint.

NOTE: I decided I wanted different glass knobs for the dresser. I ordered some reproduction Victorian Era glass knobs to replace the round ones. I like this look better (anyone need barely used glass knobs?).

The new knob is the one on the top.

Here is the dresser's new look with the new knobs.

Much better!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hollywood Leftovers

I do declare, I believe this is a first for The Colonel and I. On May 29th, we had lunch in what was once a set for a Hollywood movie. The movie I speak of is Fried Green Tomatoes (1991).

The movie is based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (I remember her as a semi-regular panelist on the game show Match Game in the 1970's).

Director Jon Avnet chose to film his movie in sleepy, little Juliette, Georgia. When the film crew arrived in Juliette, they renovated the kudzu-covered buildings on main street for sets and created the Whistle Stop Cafe set from what once was a hardware store at the end of the street.


After the filming of the movie in Juliette was over (only 16 days worth!), the sets/buildings used for the movie town's main street were renovated again into a tourist district, complete with a fully operational "Whistle Stop Cafe". Just what the little town needed. Several jobs were created once the film crew left.

The Colonel and I had seen the movie when it first came out. His memory of it was much better than mine. As we dined in the cafe I told The Colonel that we needed to see it again. He grinned and said uh-huh (little did I know, he had the DVD ordered and it would be waiting for us when we arrived back home).

Of course we had fried green tomatoes (the best I have tasted thus far, nice and crispy) and Bar-B-Que sandwiches (the secret's in the sauce) for our lunch. We washed it down with iced tea (unsweetened, sorry y'all) that was served in a jelly jar.

We sat at the table that was looking out of the cafe's famous window.

This a view of the inside of the cafe from our table.

I walked around the cafe taking pictures. No one seemed to notice or care. I'm sure they see it all the time.

The three men at the counter are the Juliette Fire Department. We saw them standing at the little fire station as we were leaving Juliette.

After lunch we walked around the cafe to the back yard where more scenes from the movie were filmed.

Here is Big George's Bar-B-Que pit.

And of course, Frank Bennett's final resting place...or is it?

The Colonel and I did not have time to shop in the cute little buildings across the street from the cafe. We will just have to come back one day.

Down the street, behind the cafe, stood the Whistle Stop Depot. According the the movie's director this was the original depot building for Juliette. When the film crew came to Juliette the building was in the woods and overgrown. The director had it moved and renovated for the movie. The depot building was moved to the end of the street, in front of the cafe and across the railroad tracks for the movie. Once the filming was completed it was moved to its current location.

Across from the depot was the movie set for the bank, now more tourist shops.

I am currently reading Fannie Flagg's novel. I usually will read a book first then watch the movie, but it just didn't work out that way this time.

I would have liked to have seen the movie again before I visited and dined at the Whistle Stop Cafe, but not having done so, did not diminish my excitement or the "this-is-so-cool" factor I felt while there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Our Historical "Hotel"

The Colonel and I are back from a trip to Indiana. I flew to Indiana mid-May and The Colonel drove north about a week later. We try to visit my family at least once a year and I also visit with dear friends.

After the visits, we began our driving trip back to Florida. We were not in a hurry and made a few stops along the way. All stops will be revealed in following posts.

This post is about where we spent our first night after leaving my Mom's house.

The Colonel and I found the Starlight Country Cabin on the Internet before we left for Indiana. I sent an email to Jerry Finn, the owner, asking if the cabin was available for the night we were going to be in the area. He said it was and that I was to send him a check (he did not do credit cards).

I heard no more from Jerry. We drove to Starlight, Indiana (we didn't even know there was such a place). I had neglected to print out a map to the cabin but knew it was near Floyds Knobs, Indiana (love that name and again, did not know it existed, but apparently my mother did). With some luck and directions from a lady with bad arthritis in a gas station, we found the cabin in the hilly, curvy country roads of Starlight.

We saw the sign for the cabin and turned right onto a gravel lane. We saw a big log cabin to the left but I told The Colonel that it did not look like the one on line (it was Jerry Finn's restored, 1859, ancestral, log cabin home). We continued straight on the gravel lane. Finally, I saw the cabin from the Internet. We turned right onto a little grassy drive, past an old chicken house and coop and this is what we saw.

This 1830's log cabin was to be our place of rest for the night. No one was around to welcome us and to make sure we were at the right place, I called Jerry. He let us know that we were at the right place and that it was open and we were to go on in.

The two-story, 1400 square foot cabin was a blend of old and new. The hand hewn logs are native chestnut oak. The chinking between the logs was mud an straw. You could still see all of the ax cuts made by the original owner and builder of the cabin.

Francis and Theresa Schmidt, early German settlers of Starlight, built this cabin on a farm next door to where the cabin sits today.

The living room has the original fireplace made from massive hand cut sand stone.

Jerry Finn found the cabin in this state before he moved it and rebuilt it.

Over the years the Schmidt family had made changes to the original 1830 cabin, but the cabin was still hiding within the changes and additions.

Jerry performed a miracle restoration.

Inside the cabin Jerry had a binder with the history of the cabin as well as photos of the cabin before, during and after the restoration. He also had two guest books that were filled with words of praise and thanks for his restoration of the cabin and sharing it with others. The Colonel and I left similar words behind in the guest book.

Here are some pictures of the inside of the two-bedroom, two-bath cabin.

I am glad we stayed in the cabin while there was warm weather (although there was some lightening and thunder that did not amount to anything) because some of the chinking was missing in the kitchen and sunlight was pouring through the holes.

Our stay at the cabin was very peaceful. We sat on the porch and listened to the birds and watched the sun set. When it was dark out, hundreds of Lightening Bugs surrounded the cabin as they flew around the yard. It reminded The Colonel and I of our childhood.

The Colonel even got to feed a cat (he had a bag of dry cat food in the car's trunk). The cat returned for breakfast before we "checked out" of the cabin which entailed making sure the lights were all off and the A/C was set to 80 degrees. We didn't even have to lock up behind us.

As we were driving away from the cabin, The Colonel and I both confessed to one another that as we laid down to sleep, we had thoughts of ghostly visits in the night (you always think an old place is or can be haunted). Perhaps a German-speaking ghost from the Schmidt family would make an appearance. It didn't happen of course, but if it did, I was thinking The Colonel's two years of high school German might have come in handy.