Coop DeVille

A little more about this later, but I’ve promised pics of our chicken coop for a while now — this is the run being built, where the girls spend most of their day when they’re not sleeping or laying. We have a (metal) screen door at the end so it’s easy for us to enter. The slope of the tin roof keeps water away

Our Chicken Coop

It’s surrounded by concrete patio stones so predators can’t dig underneath to get in.

Their “house” is a play-pretend house like one would have in a backyard. We outfitted it with nests for egg-laying and dowels running the length for them to sleep on.

Our Chicken Coop

et viola! This was built in 2014 and has done so, so, so well. This year, we reinforced the bottom of the playhouse with plywood for protection against coyotes and raccoons, which we have since there are woods behind our home.

Our Chicken Coop

This is the late, great Nelle Harper Lee, who I named because she really did enjoy her privacy. She was an Americauna and layed beautiful blue/green eggs.

Nelle Harper Lee

Her sisters are Tallulah and Zelda, who are 8 years old now, old for a bantam hen (their life expectancy is 4-8 years). Many sources will discuss how bantams only lay for 2-3 years, but our girls layed for over six years. Even now, Zelda will lay the occasional egg! I know it’s her because everyone else either lays brown, peach, or blue/green eggs, and hers are beautiful white and more oblong.

We use sand as the floor media as it dries so quickly and we almost never have to do anything to it. No smell. It’s great. Any questions, just email me!

Atlanta Origami

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

We had a fun time at our visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden — they’re hosting Origami in the Garden, an exhibit of 18 installations of ~70 sculptures. I was glad we were able to use our reciprocal priveliges (we’re members at the Huntsville Botanical Garden) as tickets for entry at Atlanta are almost $25pp on weekdays.  Our family membership in H’ville costs $125/year so it’s easy for us to have the membership pay for itself multiple times over the course of a year.

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

If you’re interested in membership at a botanical garden, the reciprocals are through the American Horticultural Society, with relationships at 345+ gardens in the US and Canada.

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

The gardens here were established in the 1970s and are on 30+ acres.

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

It’s really a lovely site, and was terrific to see an outdoor demo kitchen in their edible garden area.

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

My favorite area was the greenhouse featuring all kinds of orchids

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta GA

Etched in Stone

The NYT had an article late last month called Family Recipes Etched in Stone. Gravestone, That Is. They say you can’t take it with you, but recipes do disappear when loved ones die. These families have found a novel way to record them for posterity.

It included this monument in Castor, Louisiana for Peony Watson that includes her recipe for peach cobbler. Another, Kay’s Fudge on this monument in Utah.

Not the same, but I think of Nora Ephron, whose recipes from her personal collection were distributed to those at her funeral.

I was leaving Nora Ephron’s memorial, perfectly planned by Nora herself, when a mutual friend rushed up to me. “Here, Liz!” she said, clutching a loose piece of paper. “Nora included your recipe for biscuits.” Instructions for random dishes—22 in all—had been tucked into each of the programs handed out at the service. “Let’s see what you got in yours.” It turned out to be a confounding pâté recipe, which I quickly exchanged for my own biscuit recipe.

There’s actually a peanut butter cookie Norah was crazy for — it was from the Dahlia Bakery in Seattle:

This may be the most sought-after cookie recipe in the book, the cookie that makes it into Seattle Metropolitan magazine’s food lover’s guide year after year. Once, when director, screenwriter (When Harry Met Sally), and novelist Nora Ephron was in town, she stopped by the dahlia Bakery and bought a few of these cookies. Later she e-mailed me, saying this was her all-time favorite and asked for the recipe. Naturally, I sent it to Nora along with a big package of cookies. When I asked Nora if I could name the cookie after her in my cookbook, she said, “Are you kidding me? This may be the greatest cookie ever ever ever.”

Of course, I got the cookbook. Norah Ephron is one of my favorite directors (not to be the crazy person, but there’s a tv in my office, and when it’s not playing Sunset Boulevard, the original Mildred Pierce and the Mildred Pierce series from HBO, I get in several screenings of her You’ve Got Mail each week — it’s this super familiar soundtrack to my working week. It’s like how I use Ken Burns’ documentary series on The Roosevelts to put me to sleep. My brain is filled with lines from FDR, Teddy, Eleanor, Mildred, Norma, and The Shop Around the Corner’s Kathleen Kelly.).

Anyway, you know this already. I made the peanut butter cookies. Not a fan of Skippy so hello Peter Pan, but yes. And they are terrific.

Peanut butter filled cookies, from the Dahlia Bakery cookbook -- the Nora Ephron

Can’t think of a recipe marker that I’ve run across, but I do know of a marker that’s almost like a resume or list of achievements, in Cullman County, Alabama:

Hopewell Cemetery, Hanceville AL

and this one, an acrostic, in Etowah County AL

Whitesboro Cemetery, Etowah County AL

statements of being the best, like this one in Walker County, Alabama, for “the greatest man G-d ever made”

"The Greatest Man G-d Ever Made" Kilpatrick Monument, Goodsprings Church of Christ Cemetery, Walker County AL

and #1 wife mother and grandmother, in Etowah County AL

#1 Wife, Mother, & Grandmother Monument at Noble Hill Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery, Attalla AL

also, a big fan of listing the family, like this one in Dekalb County, Alabama

Head Springs Cemetery, Valley Springs AL


Huge aside, but back to food and cemeteries: the Tennessee Pride Country Sausage mascot is present at the Odom family’s plot in Nashville.

Rewind: Ornate Monuments — Zinc and Traditional

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

I wanted to repost this 2009 cemetery visit from because I was going back through some images from that month and was so taken with how artistic some — many — of the monuments here are. Also, there’s a really terrific white bronze monument:

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

One of the really terrific things about these white bronze (zinc) monuments is how much detail stands out, even after all these years (this monument is for someone buried in 1885).

The monuments are hollow and could be customized, as they were ordered via catalog with a variety of motifs.

Below is the option called ‘The Last Voyage’ (page 12 of the catalog) and the company could even make a large one of these appropriate for the entrance to a cemetery, at dimensions of 3’10” x 5’4-3/4″ and offered the option to gild the raised portions with gold, even. It was the work of Archibald McKellar.

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

These white bronze monuments were only made between the 1870s and WWI; the factory at that time was converted for war munitions, and after the war made other non-ferrous objects. That Bridgeport CT plant closed for good in 1939. There were other companies making things in white bronze, but apparently only this facility in CT made grave markers. More about zinc sculptures here at Smithsonian.

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Identifying these quickly is really pretty easy: in the older part of a cemetery with monuments earlier than 1915 or so, look for the ones that retain this nice coloring and detail — they’re so good about staying ‘clean’ even though the company would sandblast the stampings to give more of the look of stone and would sometimes even do a stamping to purposefully look like the monument was made from stone.

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Elsewhere in the cemetery, more traditional monuments:

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Death loves a shining mark. It is truly said, and seeks the brightest victims for his dead. The gifted mind, the youthful form with all the grace of nature seem the first to fall. T’was thus with Evelyn, pure without alloy; gentle and kind, she was her parents’ joy. Daily devoted to her Savior’s cause, secured in her, obedience to His laws. Let those who loved her sorrow not in vain for G-d will surely raise her up again. By his degree the fatal shaft was hurl’d to take her spirit to a brighter world.

This was for Sarah Evelyn Watkins, daughter of Dr Samuel Watkins and Martha W. Vaughan, born March 12, 1831 and died September 14, 1852

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL

Old Cemetery, Dayton AL


Actually, while we’re on it, here are some pics from the Riverview Cemetery in Demopolis AL — it’s about :20 from Dayton, and also has some really incredible monuments:

Glover Family Mausoleum, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL

Here are the Library of Congress images of the Glover Family Tomb from 1934 — and drawings for the ornate metal fence/gate around it.

Glover Family Mausoleum, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL

This is the gate for the Enners plot. This is a Robert Wood ironwork fence from Philadelphia. An image of the foundry here. The inscription in the middle is: Mrs H.F. Enners Demopolis ALA. May 1875

Enners Family, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL

Henry A. Enners was born August 19, 1834 in Osnabrueck, Germany (which is gorgeous) and died March 14, 1874 at Demopolis. In the 1860 census, he’s listed as a planter with $12000 in real estate, $33000 personal estate. I only just noticed this, but his wife Harriet is several years older than him: born in 1818, in South Carolina.  In 1860, he had 280 acres improved, 120 unimproved.  Four horses, six donkeys or mules, eight milk cows, four oxen, 20 other cattle, and 30 pigs. In a year, the estate amassed 1000 bushels of indian corn; 46 bales (400lbs ea) of ginned cotton; and if I’m reading the federal census non-population schedule correctly for the following page,  5 bushels of peas; 50 bushels of Irish potatoes, 600 bushels of sweet potatoes. With the disclaimer again that I’m hopefully reading this correctly, the slave schedule in 1860 lists 31 slaves under his name, 16 of whom are female, in six houses; in age they are from 65 to 5yo. In the 1870 census, he’s listed as a merchant with $22000 in personal estate belongings, and the real estate box is empty.

Enners Family, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL

Enners Family, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL

Enners Family, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL

By 1872, he’d gone into business with Morris Mayer, and they set up shop in a two-story building on the SW corner of Washington and Walnut St downtown. If I have the compass set correctly, here it is:

And this is the Bird monument. I knew Jim Bird who has the amazing art environment in Forkland would do something special for his wife:

Bird Monument, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL

Bird Monument, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL

Bird Monument, Riverside Cemetery, Demopolis AL