Good Neighbors Blog

From quirky extras that didn’t make it into the magazine to behind the scenes looks into the making of Country – we’ve curated photos and stories we think you’ll enjoy. Won’t you be our neighbor?

Some of the Oldest Living Trees Found in White Mountains

World's Oldest Trees

 

Story and photo by Dan Blackburn

The White Mountains on California’s eastern edge are home to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, site of the world’s oldest living trees.

These trees, some of which are more than 4,000 years old, were growing when Ptolemy ruled Egypt. The oldest of them—aptly named Methuselah—has been here for over 4,700 years.

I have hiked and skied among these trees and camped beneath their branches. Their age-wrinkled bark and twisted limbs have sheltered me from the storms that sweep across these rarely visited mountains. In winter the temperature can drop below zero, and in summer the heat of the sun bakes like an oven. But the trees seem impervious.

As you walk among these oldest living trees, the sense of antiquity literally surrounds you. It seems as though ancient voices are whispering in your ears. Their words may be muffled, but the ages of time embrace you.

Simplify Your Life: 8 Household Tips

 

RDA GermanyLAZI & LAZI RDA GermanyLAZI & LAZI

 

  • Remove buildup at the bottom of narrow-necked vases by pouring in some coffee grounds. Add water and swirl.
  • Use baby oil to remove grease, paint or glue from your hands.
  • Get rid of odors in your antique chests by placing a box of dyer sheets in the bottom drawer.
  • When painting inside, a little bit of vinegar in a jar in your workspace will help neutralize the odor.
  • Stretch a thick rubber band across the top of your open paint can and use that for scraping your brush instead of the side of the can.
  • Keep empty feed sacks. They make great winter mats for scraping those dirty boots.
  • Fill a clean sock with table salt or dry beans and warm briefly in the microwave for an instant heating pad.
  • Cut off the foot of an old ribbed white sock, and use the remaining portion as an elbow or knee bandage.

How to Paint a Barn Quilt

 

How to transfer a 12” quilt block to an 8’ x 8’ board (actually two  4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood):

  • Measure each section of the quilt block and multiply by 8.
  • For a simple nine-patch quilt, each section will measure 4” on the 12” block, 4” x 8 = 32” on the 8’ plywood square.   32” x 3 = 96” or 8 ‘)
  • For a more complicated quilt block, copy the pattern onto a 6 inch square of 1Ž4 inch graph paper  (24 squares x 24 squares).  Each square of the graph paper is equal to 4 inches on an 8’ square of plywood. Transfer your graph paper grid and pattern to the plywood square.

Be sure to read our story about a barn quilt-raising in Wisconsin!

Friday Funny Photography: Phooey!

Friday Funny Photography: Phooey!

Friday Funny Photography: Phooey!

Our Country Friday Funny Photography snapshot for October 17, 2014 was sent to us by Roslynn Heggie of Raymond, Alberta. Just look at this photo and try not to smile!

Happy Friday!

The Best Cajun Food and a Dose of New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Arnaud's has welcomed diners since 1918 in the French Quarter.

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Antoine's Restaurant opened its doors in 1840 and is famous for inventing Oysters Rockefeller.

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Make sure you get a reservation for jazz brunch at Commander's Palace, located in the Garden District.

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

The streetcars still run through the city of New Orleans.

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Spend a few hours walking around and admiring the magnificent historic homes in the Garden District.

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

The cemeteries in New Orleans have a quiet beauty.

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

A cornstalk fence surrounds a private home in the Garden District.

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

A guest room in the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

St. Louis Cathedral

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

Feast on the Best Cajun Food and New Orleans History

The Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast

    By Lori Vanover
    Senior Editor

    I know New Orleans is not the typical “Country” get-away-from-it all destination. It’s a bustling city that is roaring back to life after Hurricane Katrina. But if you’ve never been there, I want to make my case — go immediately. New Orleans is truly an American original, steeped in history — and oh, the food, the glorious food! If you take the time to get enchanted by its charms, you’ll want to return again and again.

    If you’ve ever worked in the restaurant business, you know how hard it is to succeed. But in New Orleans, it’s common to find restaurants that have been serving patrons for more than a century. Once you try their food, you’ll understand why diners keep coming back.

    Antoine’s, located in the French Quarter, opened in 1840 and is run by the fifth generation relatives of the original founder, Antoine Alciatore. It claims to be the country’s oldest family-owned restaurant. Treat yourself to a sit-down fine dining experience, or if you are just looking to graze your way through town, at least stop by the historic Hermes bar and order the Oysters Rockefeller – Antoine’s invented this dish, and they still make it better than anyone else.

    Arnaud’s, located just off bustling Bourbon Street, is a welcome respite from the touristy bar scene. This restaurant is a first-class — but far from stuffy — institution that has been open since 1918. My favorite thing on the menu is actually a side dish — the soufflé potatoes, which are delicious and fun to eat. The glamorous French 75 bar is the perfect spot to hide away from the crowds and sip a sazerac — or anything that cocktail extraordinaire Chris Hannah concocts. The restaurant also features an interesting Mardi Gras museum upstairs.

    If you know anything about New Orleans’ food, you’ve probably heard of Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse. Both of these renowned chefs worked at Commander’s Palace before they were famous. They’ve both long since moved on to run their own restaurants in town, but this grand dame of the Garden District is still turning out spectacular food. I snagged a reservation for their famous jazz brunch, and honestly it was one of the tastiest — and most entertaining — meals I’ve ever eaten.

    To work off your big meal, I recommend walking around through the Garden District to admire the stunning homes. Walking tours are available, or you can just stroll at your own pace. The picturesque neighborhood features opulent examples of Italianate, Greek Revival and Victorian architecture .

    If you’d like to stay in the Garden District, check out the Grand Victorian Bed & Breakfast. This lovely Queen Anne mansion is conveniently located along the St. Charles streetcar line. It is also within walking distance of Magazine Street, a renowned shopping destination, and hauntingly beautiful Lafayette Cemetery.