Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Sunday in the Park (Grant Park, Atlanta)

Sunday morning we woke early and hopped on our bikes. We by-passed the Grant Park Farmer's Market and headed 8 miles out to Your DeKalb Farmer's Market. With paniers in place we planned to do our weekly grocery shopping while also getting a work out and enjoying the mild sun of an early summer morning. 

Back home a few hours later, we rested a bit with lemonade-beers before heading out into the now blazing sun. Our goal: rip out our fading summer plants and clean up the yard. After prepping the soil I planted seeds for a few late-summer/early fall vegetables. Fingers crossed for brussel spouts and radishes!

In the evening Oliver canned the dozen remaining banana peppers that had been harvested earlier that day. He paired them with our homegrown carrots, okra and grape tomatoes. (I'm hoping they'll make a great Bloody Mary mix/garnish later this fall.) 

Dinner was grilled Amber Jack, brussel sprouts, okra and a Founder's jalapeno mango beer. As of tonight, Tuesday, our little lettuce seeds have already started to sprout!  I'd write more - but I'm exhausted... Good night.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Why Grant Park is So Great

The end of this summer marks the start of my sixth year in this Grant Park home. More then ever Oliver and I feel Grant Park is the neighborhood we belong in. Though this part of the city is best known for being home to Zoo Atlanta, the Cyclorama, Oakland Cemetery and the Braves Stadium - it's something else that really makes me love Grant Park. It's the spirit of places that only locals seem to know about; places like Grocery on Home and Augustine's.

Grocery on Home is a music venue that falls into the "house concert" category. (House concerts are generally intimate shows put on in someone's home; the cash collected goes directly to the performers.) Grocery on Home may technically be an old grocery store but the worn brick walls, warm wood accents, low lights and comfortable couches make it feel more like a welcoming, eclectic coffee house. A few weeks ago I saw Catherine Feeny perform there. She was AMAZING. Her voice and lyrics are beautiful blend of Imogen Heap and Sia. When she approached me after the show to chat I was truly tongue tied and starstruck. Everything about Grocery on Home is exactly what I love about Grant Park: the atmosphere of relaxed creative thinkers treating everyone like an equal or a friend in a charming, historic space.  To keep up to date with Grocery's show schedule I recommend "liking" them on Facebook.

Augustine's is a craft beer bar. Housed in a former gas station this place is our version of Cheers (what character does that make Tom Houck?). Not only does it offer a great and extensive selection of craft beers on draft it also has darts, bocce and a patio. I think most people overlook Aug's. If they want fancy beer they go three miles away to the Porter and if they want food they go two blocks down to the strip of restaurants across from Oakland. But Aug's is a great bar full of interesting and chatty neighbors and we're happy it's only a few blocks from our home.

Of course, Grant Park is more then just collection of cool places. It's the people that give the neighborhood it's spirit. This couldn't have been more obvious or more appreciated then at Atlanta City Hall this past Thursday. Thursday night was a zoning meeting in which 10% of the neighborhood (623 people) showed up to fight something that is inherently out of place in historic Grant Park: a Big Box international chain retailer with a sprawling parking lot built directly across the street from a newly renovated high school ON THE BELTLINE. The proposed development would have been the antithesis of everything the eagerly anticipated Beltline is planned to embody. The neighborhood's show of support to stop the big box development was successful on Thursday but we all know fighting an international coporation is never easy. The battle has just begun and needs everyone's support. To learn the details and donate to the lawyer fee's please visit this website: http://smartgrowthatlanta.org.

To everyone who cheered and boo-ed from the lobby (after being asked to leave the City Council's Chambers because it was well passed standing room only) THANK YOU for being the type of neighbor who cares enough to show up and make a difference (with a special thank you to GPNA president, Lauren Rocereta, for speaking on behalf of us all). You guys are the biggest part of what makes Grant Park truly great and I appreciate having you as neighbors.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Blooming Artichokes & Bumble Bees

The garden's chaotic state is evidence of my busy few weeks. As you can see, the artichokes bloomed and a herd of fuzzy bumble bees moved in. A few of them seem to have overdosed on the pollen and died wedged into the flowers. Since these photos were taken the plants have turned black. I'm hoping to pull them out this weekend and replace them with something for the fall.

I'll post an update soon with pictures of where I've been (Detroit, Port Huron and Grocery on Home) and what I'm planning (a hootenanny).