bookmark it

Busy bees over here.  Would you believe we are about knee-deep in Christmas inventory and decor for the shop?  True story.  But I’m not ready to jump the gun and share photos of Christmas just yet.  We are, however, stocking more books this time of year as they make the perfect gift.  I am very excited about the selection of garden to table books we have at The West End Garage in Cape May.

garden to table book inventory at West End Garage-4717

The newest release is the The Kitchn Cookbook from Apartment Therapy’s sister website, The Kitchn.  I’ve been paging through it the last couple of days.  This isn’t just a cookbook but more of a textbook with some really practical lessons like knife skills and kitchen layout.  The Kitchn Cookbook

I truly enjoy all of these gardening, cooking and cocktail books and reference them in my own home.  They live right in the kitchen.  We recently picked up a potting bench that we’re using as a microwave cart.  It is a fantastic addition to our kitchen.  Check out that zinc top!  The drawer holds linens and the shelf neatly organizes those books.  In addition, the pegs on the side allow tea towels to hang.

zinc top potting bench as microwave cart

We also started stocking Philadelphia-made diagram tea towels from Girls Can Tell.  I love their quirky designs and am especially drawn to the garden themes.  The evergreens are new in store.

Girls Can Tell for sale at West End Garage-4719

And while we’re making the rounds of new inventory, I must tell you about my latest obsession.  P.F. Candle Co. has the most delightful scents.  We’ve got some seasonal scents such as apple picking and pumpkin spice.  I can’t decide which is my favorite.  The simple packaging and branding make me very happy.  Check out the cute little amber jars.

autumn soy candle at West End Garage

We pulled the trigger and got these adorable ceramic egg crates in as well.  I’ve been using mine for years and am glad to share this novelty in the shop.  The egg crate makes a perfect gift paired with The Fresh Egg Cookbook for under $25!  Just sayin.

egg crate

So that about covers the “new” inventory we are stocking.  We are rolling out more and more vintage pieces every week.  In fact, we are running a sale on select furniture currently at The West End Garage.  Come in and check it out!

Fall Furniture Sale

I’ll leave you with this image.  Our popular autumn wreath on my favorite old chippy door.  Love the contrast in colors!  How about you?

autumn wreath at West End Garage-4747

seed saving

seed saving-4678We had a prolific crop of bush beans this year.  It was probably the best yield in the garden, second to lettuce, with no pest issues.  We planted three rounds of bush beans in purple, green & yellow.  The purple is my favorite simply because they turn green when you cook them.  Right before your eyes!  We’ve been eating them fresh for a couple of months and I blanched and froze some for winter.

As we continue to harvest more, I’ve grouped the pods together in bunches to dry out.  Once the bean pods are all shriveled up, they’re ready for seed saving.  The pods open up pretty easily along the seam with a fingernail or scissors. And boom, there’s next year’s seeds so we can do it all over again.  A frugal little DIY…

seed saving

I have repeated these steps with snap peas as well so we have a little stash of peas to plant next spring.  This is a fun garden task to engage kids in.  The seeds are big so they’re hard to lose although I’ve had a few pop out of the pod and fly across the room!

These seeds are, in fact, the actual bean.  As in, the dry bean you buy from the store so we could always soak them and eat them this winter.  It is just another way to preserve the bean harvest.  I think we’ll plant a bigger crop next year so we can produce a decent amount of dry beans.  At this point, we have a few dozen – enough to plant but certainly not enough for a bean soup!

seed saving jar

Speaking of next year, The Old Farmer’s Almanac for 2015 is now available at The West End Garage.  I took a sneak peek at the weather forecasts!  Let’s just say that we may have been spoiled by our mild summer weather this year.

The Old Farmer's Almanac 2015 now available at The West End Garage

welcoming autumn

autumn

 

 

 

We’ve been soaking up the changing seasons here with walks on the beach, bike rides, flower picking and wood stacking amongst our usual work. I am a bit smitten with a field of beautifully decaying sunflowers.  Their great big heads full of seeds ready for sowing next year (or snacking this year).

All of the marsh grasses are in bloom showcasing a soft pink hue as the sun catches them waving in the breeze.  Honeysuckle has faded on the beach dunes making way for cheerful goldenrod which has always been a favorite roadside weed.  And the sunsets… phenomenal.

What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?

 

goldenrod autumn sunflowers

autumn equinox

field trip

One of the things I love most about living in Cape May is all of the natural beauty around us.  Sure, we have the beach and ocean and, of course, the most fantastic sunsets.  That is a given.  But what many visitors don’t always see is the vast farmland that Cape May possesses.  Many of the farms are on preserved acres of land.  There are vineyards, alpacas, flower farms, vegetables and hens.  Lots of hens.

Beach Plum Farm-4473

Beach Plum Farm-4474

Ryan and I joined the Egg CSA at Beach Plum Farm this year.  It is a 20 week Community Supported Agriculture program where we pick up a dozen fresh eggs straight from the farm.  I look forward to visiting the farm every week and subsequently the hens.  These ladies run a tight ship – looking for snacks and checking out the visitors. I suppose the hen does rule the roost after all.  Beach Plum Farm Hens

Hens

After a short visit with the girls, they typically lead me right to the piglets.  It’s fun to see the personalities of the animals.  The hens anxiously peck along keeping everyone in check while the pigs are much more laid back.  They’re so darn cute with their muddy snouts and squeaky snorts.  I can’t help but to think of Babe, one of my favorite movies as a kid.  “That’ll do pig, that’ll do.”

Beach Plum Farm

Have you visited Cape May’s farmland lately?

 

hello september

Oh September!  How did you sneak up so quickly?  Quite bittersweet.  I do love fall however so I’m sure I’ll be ok. We’ve been catching some fantastic sunsets lately, a bit earlier than I’m comfortable with but they sure are stunning.

harvest sunset

Cape May celebrated Labor Day weekend with the annual Tomato Festival.  We had an impromptu tomato festival of our own at home after coming into 25 pounds of ripe, locally-grown tomatoes for a steal at a farm stand.

roasted tomato prep

We made pasta sauce, roasted tomatoes, tomato polenta, tomato salad and tomato omelets.   We’re a bit tomato-ed out here but we’ve got enough to last us into the winter, I think.  Nothing like seasoning each dish with complementary garden fresh herbs.

garden fresh herbs

I’m also enjoying our newest book that we just introduced to the inventory for harvest season.  Drink the Harvest has fantastic recipes for drinks made with more of your fruits, vegetables and herbs.  I think mint may be up next on the chopping block over here!  The new book is available at The West End Garage.

DrinktheHarvest

Let me also introduce this little guy.  He has a bit of a moody warmth about him…just in time for the changing season.  Kind of like your favorite slouchy sweater.

MMS typewriter, boxwood & brass mid-century nightstand

I love, love, love the unique brass hardware.  The bottom was painted in MMS milk paint boxwood and the rest is MMS milk paint typewriter with shutter gray peeking through.  I applied antiquing wax over the typewriter to really darken the color.  This nightstand is available at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.

petal pushers

Have you ever thought about taking a floral design course before? Have you cut flowers from your garden and wished that you could do more than just haphazardly plop them in a vase? Do you have any idea how you can make the cellophane wrapped supermarket bouquet look like a million bucks?

Now is your chance to learn how from an award-winning, professional floral designer!  And for the mere cost of a floral arrangement which, in turn, will be donated to our Bike MS: City to Shore team.  The funds, not the arrangement.  You get to take your floral arrangement home!  Fresh flowers and a good cause.  Does it get any better than that?

If you’re local to North Wales, PA, I hope you will consider Petal Pushers and join us for this awesome fundraiser on August 14th.  Please register in advance as space is limited.  As always, let me know if you have any questions.

Petal Pushers Bike MS Fundraiser

 

P.S. Pennsylvania friends, I will be conducting a milk paint demo on Sunday, July 20th at 1 pm at Serendipity Shops of Doylestown.