There was an article in Southern Living about three or four years ago about planting a chair and since then I've been really wanting to try it. The whole project took less than 20 minutes.
Next, unroll a length of chicken wire over the open seat, push it down to make as deep a 'bowl' as will be necessary for your plants, and cut with tin snips. Take this smaller, more manageable piece of chicken wire, and further mold it around the open area:
Cut again with snips, and begin stapling the form along the outline of the chair:
Take the coco liner (this is great for keeping all the soil in but allowing for good drainage) and fit in the chair. The big folds will tell you where to cut small sections out so there is a bit of overlap but not too much. If you cut while the coco liner is in the chair, you'll see exactly how much to remove:
Next, add potting soil and plants, water, and it's all set!:
When I uploaded my pics to Flickr, I took a look to see other planted chairs and found several.
Love this one. And what about this!?
I love revolving table restaurants: the kind with the giant lazy susan in the middle, where you sit at a giant table with people who are at first strangers, then fast friends.
While we were in Chattanooga, we went to the only revolving tables restaurant I know of outside Mississippi: Bea's.
The Times Free Press had an article about it earlier this year; the restaurant is now 60 years old. The piece read in part:
"So Bea and Bill put in the lazy Susans for the plant workers to get them in and out in 30 minutes," Doug Bradshaw said.
The tables look the same, though the Formica tops have been replaced with new Formica and the lazy Susans now sport sneeze guards -- state law. But the condiments arranged on the top shelf of the lazy Susans are the same -- jars of Tabasco peppers, chopped onions, pickled beets, chow-chow and hot sauce alongside pitchers of water and freshly brewed tea. And the main shelf is always filled with food that keeps coming hot from the kitchen as long as you want it.
"My first 'date' was at Bea's," said Chattanooga resident Tina Harvey Crawford. "I was in the fifth grade. We went to church, then Bea's. You gotta love a lazy Susan."
Not much has been added to the menu through the years -- just strawberry cobbler when berries are in season.
"And we started doing fried catfish on Friday nights," Doug Bradshaw said. "We don't change a whole lot."
But one thing hasn't changed: It's all made from scratch, starting at 5 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
"The recipes were in place when we got here," Mike Bradshaw said. "And along the way, they were smart enough not to mess with them."
Here are all the dishes - fried chicken, barbecue, salisbury steak (I think), potatoes, beans, rolls, potato salad, dressing, and more:
Well, I have to be honest. We must have gone on an 'off' day because I didn't like almost any of it. And neither did the boys (although Av did enjoy the chicken). The peach cobbler was the best thing served, and (ouch) it could have been a lot better.
Shug wanted to take the beans home to see if they would grow like the Jack and the Beanstalk story. Shugie realized that he could put an entire roll on a fork.
Everyone else there seemed to really enjoy what was served, especially including the people at our table eating the very same food. And a gentleman that I met on the way in was positively giddy when he heard this was our first time and how he had been eating there forever and how terrific it all is.
Maybe it was just us!
Now here's what's *really* wonderful. There are three other revolving table restaurants that I know of (are there any others? Please email me or post it in the Facebook page if you know of one.)...
Walnut Hills in Vicksburg:
Aspic! Oh, my. Greens, coleslaw, fried chicken. Limas. Yes, yes, yes.
The Dinner Bell in McComb:
Creamed potatoes, chicken, rice, carrots, green beans, creamed corn, blackeyed peas, okra, and their famous fried eggplant...delicious.
In Columbia, MS there's The Round Table. We haven't been to that one yet.
Any others that you know of?
Nationwide on Monday evening, Citizen Architect, the documentary about Sambo Mockbee and Auburn's Rural Studio, will be aired on public television stations.
The film is described this way:
Citizen Architect explores Mockbee’s effort to provide students with an experience that forever inspires them to consider how they can use their skills to better their communities. Revealing the philosophy and heart behind the Rural Studio, the documentary is guided by passionate, frank and never-before-seen interviews with Mockbee himself.
The film follows Jay Sanders, a young, first-time instructor at the Rural Studio as he leads a group of students in the process of crafting a home for their charismatic client, Jimmie Lee Matthews. Known within the community as Music Man because of his passion for soul music, Jimmie Lee maintains a healthy zeal for life, blasting R&B from his vast collection of used stereos and boasting that he “ain’t never met a stranger!” Over the course of the project a powerful bond forms between Sanders, the students and Music Man.
Citizen Architect supplements Mockbee's words and the students' experiences with perspective from other architects and designers who share praise and criticism of the Rural Studio, including Peter Eisenman, Michael Rotondi, Cameron Sinclair, Steve Badanes and Hank Louis. Their dialogue infuses the film with a larger discussion of architecture’s role in issues of poverty, class, race, education, social change and citizenship.
Folk Fest is this weekend in Atlanta, beginning today. It looks as though there are just almost 100 exhibitors (meaning artists alone, and gallery owners who are bringing works by multiple artists).
This is who I'm most looking forward to, in no particular order:
Anton Haardt - she emailed me that she'll be bringing pieces by Jimmy Lee Sudduth, Mary T. Smith, James Purdy, Sam Doyle, Howard Finster, Sybil Gibson, & many others. Another thing I'm excited for Anton about is that she just finished a new book about Juanita Rogers. She will be bringing copies of her Mose T book also.
Marcia Weber Art Objects
Rising Fawn Folk Art
Ginger Young Gallery
Main Street Gallery
Now, here's the thing: if you are looking for contemporary folk/outsider/self-taught/visionary art - and you know who you are interested in and you can attend festivals that they appear at, then Folk Fest may not live up to your expectations.
Some gallery owners (and some self-representing artists) will be bringing art that you may very well not consider folk art. You can scroll through a list of the exhibitors here.
Some artists will be over-represented. For instance, last year it seemed as though we were on Cornbread (John Anderson) overload with so many galleries bringing his work.
On the other hand, many of the galleries brought artists with them and of course that is terrific. What else is terrific is that so many of them have the better pieces of vintage art that you really can't find elsewhere.
If you like to see what/who gallery owners find new and exciting that you may not know about - or you're interested in work by an artist who has passed away, whose works will be shown by these galleries - this is a great opportunity. The galleries are coming to you once a year here at Folk Fest, rather than you driving all over to do your collecting.
Here are some pics from last year's Folk Fest:
Jimmy Straehla was there with his bottlecap truck:
We like not taking the interstate. This past weekend, we took the boys back to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga and took some 'back roads' up through NE Alabama.
Here was a place selling 'bbq wood' that had an honor box so you could get as much as you need at whatever hour and leave the amount due in the container:
Loved this sign:
At Head Springs Cemetery:
These two monuments were side by side for different family members. Looks like there was a revision on the design:
Oh there were *so* many great barns advertising Rock City!
On our way to lunch (an upcoming post) we passed by this used car lot. Would you buy a car from Big Hearted Smitty?
...and we just couldn't be in Chattanooga on a Sunday without going to the Chattanooga Market to ooh and aah over the fresh organic fruits and vegetables, plus handmade furniture, art, some beautiful orchids, and frozen strawberry lemonade for both boys:
...and those jellyfish at the Aquarium - I could have just sat and watched those for a couple of hours. Have you seen those jellyfish aquariums for home use (if you can get over the maybe-too-serious-about-a-jellyfish-aquarium photographs on their website)? These are really nice.
The Chattanoogan ran an article today about freshwater jellyfish in the Tennessee River. Their scientific name is 'Craspedacusta sowerbyi' but they are also called 'peach blossom jellyfish'.
I'll go with 'peach blossom'.
This has nothing to do with Chattanooga, but my friend Lorie is one of the ten finalists in the nationwide Mission Tortillas Menu Challenge. So proud of her! If you're interested in any of the recipes, they can all be found by clicking in the middle of the main page for voting. Lorie's is the "Tilapia and White Bean Taco Salad Bowls with Creamy Avocado Dressing and Pickled Red Relish". Can't wait to try it!
...so... that's kind-of a strange thing to say.
But he *is* back home. Well, his body is, anyway.
Last week, Rev. Howard Finster's body was exhumed from Silver Hill Cemetery in Georgia (he had been a pastor at Silver Hill Baptist for a time) and moved to Head Springs Cemetery in Valley Head, Alabama so that he could be closer to his family.
Howard's wife, Pauline, has been requesting that since all their people - from both sides - are in that cemetery, that he, and she when the time comes, be there.
“Before I knew it, it was done. It was kind of like daddy had a hand in it. It all happened too easy. Do you know what I’m saying?” Ms. Bradshaw said.
Pauline, who’s living in Atlanta with Ms. Bradshaw, came up to watch the journey.
“I had mother there at Silver Hill when they dug him up. Then we followed the truck over to Head Springs and (Pastor) Ken Johnson had a prayer over his grave when they buried him in Head Springs. She was sitting there in an air-conditioned car when they buried him,” Ms. Bradshaw said. “She says I’m so glad we’ve got your daddy moved. It’s not bothering her now. She’s at peace now.”
Well, we were on our way to Chattanooga this weekend and Valley Head is not far off the route at all, so we went by...sure enough...
There's some Paradise Gardens news going on too. The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation put it on its 2010 Places in Peril list. And back in March, Chattooga County was considering purchasing it:
The county recently received a $70,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to put toward buying the property. Mr. Winters said the rest of the purchase price, which has not been agreed on, would be privately raised.
He said buying the property would use "zero county dollars." After buying Paradise Gardens, the county only would have to provide normal maintenance service such as clearing drainage ditches and would not be renovating any of the buildings, he said.
Tommy Littleton, who runs Paradise Gardens Park and Museum, said county ownership probably would help with securing grants. He said such funding has been the gardens' "primary hurdle" because donors said they wanted to be sure their beneficiary is stable and secure before giving.
I love Elvis.
A friend sent me a list of restaurants in the Clarion-Ledger last week stated were 'must-eat' restaurants in Mississippi. It was funny that they mentioned nine restaurants and we've been to six of them....don't these look good...
Pie from the Crystal Grill in Greenwood:
Tamales from Doe's in Greenville (this is the pic that I sold for use at Gourmet when they did a feature on Doe's):
Fried chicken at the Old Country Store in Lorman (how did I not get a pic of the actual chicken!?). This is the chicken that Alton Brown went on & on about - a list of all his stops during the 'Feasting on Asphalt' shows are here:
The little biscuits - along with my mint julep - at Stanton Hall in Natchez:
Caramel cake at Primo's:
Beef ribs at Leatha's in Hattiesburg:
The three places we haven't been to yet are Tom's Original Fried Pies in Jackson, The Shed barbecue in Ocean Springs (there are six locations now!), and po boys at Lil' Ray's in Gulfport.
Another friend who likes the show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives sent me the link to all the places that have been featured, with a nice Google Map here.
The September issue of Food & Wine has an emphasis on Southern Food. The back page features Chocolate-Peanut Butter Moon Pies by the pastry chef at Nashville's City House. "She models hers on the classic, but also on the excellently named Goo-Goo Clusters, a peanut candy invented in Nashville in 1912. She spreads crispy sugar cookies with chocolate and peanut butter, then sandwiches them around a marshmallow filling." Nice!
Today's lunch was a little cornbread biscuit filled with chicken salad (lots of Vidalia and dill!):
Next Thursday, August 19, there will be a meeting at the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation in Vicksburg about the future of Margaret's Grocery.
It's been deeded to Miss Margaret (who passed away) and Reverend Dennis' church, but real preservation work will need to be done, best by those familiar with the process.
Rev. Dennis will be at the meeting at the SCHF. The meeting is described this way:
"Join the Mississippi Arts Commission in a grassroots campaign to preserve Vicksburg's unique visionary art destination: Margaret's Grocery.
If you can attend, you can RSVP here.
I spent yesterday afternoon with my friend Wade Wharton, the gentleman who the city of Huntsville had taken to court over his art environment a couple of years ago. He's been working on many new projects - can't wait to show:
This is going to be Jack and the Beanstalk made from rakes - he's going to start making the Jack figure soon:
(thankfully we didn't get any chigger bites but mosquitoes got me at least ten times)
He's known for his bottle trees - he probably has the most and largest bottle trees in the state - but for this one he used those gorgeous old insulators:
Bombay Sapphire Gin bottles - so pretty:
My favorite is the Volkswagen man:
This dragonfly is so much larger than it appears here:
A set of several pics here and from a previous visit are here in my Flickr set.
The entire property is this lush garden full of bamboo, flowers, bonsai:
Incredible handcrafted outdoor rooms, giant metal mobiles, a greenhouse... Just look how this rock is planted. I need to have the number for the photography department at Southern Living programmed into my cell phone.
Here he is...
What would the world be like without dreamers and do-ers? Here we have both. Love you, Mr. Wharton!
P.S. Mr. Wharton welcomes visitors. You can see him at the end of Nassau Drive in Huntsville, Alabama. He also sells blue bottles for fellow bottle tree aficionados, and bamboo too. He's been a treasure to the Botanical Gardens up there - even helped start their fern garden - and is a font of information on plants.
P.P.S. You'll love him too.