Brookland’s List – A Great Idea Idea Goes Underutilized

If you read the Brookland listserv with any regularity, you notice that like clockwork there are repetitive posts requesting recommendations for roofers, plumbers, veterinarians, etc. One industrious reader decided to solve the need for this type information by creating “Brookland’s List“. It is a spreadsheet on Google docs where Brooklanders can add reviews of local services such as handyman, electricians and the like. Given that there are thousands of people living in the area, and most of us living in older homes, one would think this idea should have taken off like wildfire. In any case, just though we would pass along if you hadn’t heard about it yet.

Brookland’s Own Chocolate City Beer Interviewed On CNN

You may have heard that the White House has been brewing beer, causing a stir from home brewers and micro-brew lovers who are clamoring for the recipe.  Today the story hit home as CNN visited the good guys over at Chocolate City Beer and asked them to weigh in on the issue. Check out the video here. Way to go CCB!

Chocolate City Beer Obama Story
Gratuitous photo of President Obama sipping beer

Brookland In Photos: The Sheds Of Brookland, Part 3

This installment of our ongoing photo series of Brookland sheds should be Shed #4 Washington DCcalled the “mystery edition”.  I saw this group of “sheds” while I was walking down the alley next to Yes! Organics. I was so intrigued! I can’t tell if they are actually sheds, obviously they are very old. I wish I knew what their function was/is. They are too narrow to be garages, besides the doors are not garage doors. They seem to be associated with one (vacant) lot – so why not one big shed instead of 6 distinct “sheds”? 3 of them are still numbered – so perhaps they were assigned to a person – or my guess – they were horse stables? I don’t know a lot about stables, so I could be way off with that guess. Anyone out there know anything about them, or have a better guess?

Garden Photography – Contest And Tips

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is photograph my garden so that I can do ‘before and after’ comparisons with how things looked in the spring. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment. But, I’ll be the first person admit that I don’t have very good photography skills. Mostly I just click away with my iPhone and hope for the best.

I came across this article on the Behnke Blog, full of tips for photographing gardens, and I thought I would pass it along. If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, here is a summary of their tips:

  • Play with blocking out overly bright sun with an umbrella or a thin plastic cutting board.
  • For shooting close-ups, try use a tripod and/or a wide-legged stance instead of the zoom feature. 
  • To highlight a subject in the foreground it’s helpful to throw the background out of focus. Do this while taking the photo by using a wide aperture, or later by using software such as in Photoshop. Or, just place the subject at a greater distance from the objects in the background. (Assuming it is potted plant or something moveable.)
  • Sometimes having a blurred object in the extreme foreground, like a few leaves, brings more attention to the subject.
  • Try putting a tissue or a piece of plastic over the flash to soften its effect. A piece of colored paper could also be used – in a color like orange that would warm up the photo if that’s the effect you’re looking for.
  • Try experimenting with backlighting.

Now that you are equipped with all these great tips, you may consider entering the International Garden Photographer of the Year contest. Even if you don’t sign up, the stunning photographs from previous winners are worth a look. Here are some low-tech photographs from my personal garden.

Brookland In Photos – Tuesday’s Farmers Market

Here are some photos from Brookland’s Farmers Market yesterday. The produce is supplied by Licking Creek Bend Farm, a sustainable farm located in Pennsylvania. What a selection! In addition to the amazing produce, there were others vendors selling breads, home-made granola, pastries and more. I encourage Brooklanders to come out and support our farmers market! The market sets up every Tuesday from 4:00m – 7:00pm under the Michigan St. Bridge north of the Brookland Metro.


Real Estate Watch – Brookland Home (3 Bed, 3 Bath) Sold For $500,000

This Brookland home sold yesterday for $500,000. But what is the real story here? On June 26th it was listed for $600,000, but clearly the market wasn’t ready for that, and it sat. On July 23rd the prBrookland Housing Market Heating Upice dropped to $525,000 and two days later it was under contract. Yesterday it finally came across as sold at $500,000.  After looking through the photos of the home, it confirmed what I have been thinking for the past few months; the Brookland market is hot, but still, homes in the $600,000 – $700,000 range better be spectacular. Don’t get me wrong – this is a great house. It has obviously been well cared for, has really nice outdoor spaces, and a garage!  The problem is that it was built in 1980 and it looks like it hasn’t been updated since. With so much “home flipping” and new developments popping up, it would be hard to compete with brand new fixtures, and sparkling granite countertops.

Love Trees? Learn How Advocate For Them In A Free Casey Trees Class

Free Class At Casey Trees In Brookland
We planted this lovely Yellow Wood tree with the help of Casey Trees. We just love it!

For me, one of the biggest joys of living in Brookland is admiring the gorgeous mature trees throughout the neighborhood. We are also fortunate to have Casey Trees headquartered right here in Brookland. If you are interested in learning ways to protect our existing trees and advocate for better care and planning for newly planted trees, check out this free course offered by Casey Trees. Here is the description:

“Take action and advocate for trees in your community. You will learn what tools are available through the District’s municipal services, then hear success stories and receive advice from community members who have on the ground experience in effectively increasing tree canopy in their neighborhoods. Participants will learn about issues related to urban trees including power line conflicts and the Urban Forestry Administration Reorganization Act.

The course is offered this Saturday, August 25, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Casey Trees Headquarters, 3030 12th St NE , Washington, DC 20017. Attendees will be provided breakfast and lunch to boot! Sign up here.

Brookland Is Blessed With Buses

I live close enough to Metro that I can walk, but far enough for a walk to be annoying when I’m in a hurry or there’s bad weather. That’s why I looked at the bus stop just steps from my house with a mixture of hope and suspicion shortly after I moved to Brookland from Virginia. I mean, it was an urban bus, bound to be uncomfortable and dirty, right?

Then one day the issue was forced on me by having to wear a suit and tie to work and facing the prospect of walking to Metro on a 100+ degree day. No. I decided to brave the bus, and I realized then how silly I’d been all along.

Brookland is blessed by Metro buses that are comfortable, always air conditioned, and reasonably clean. Most of the lines criss-crossing the neighborhood debark at either the Brookland-CUA or Rhode Island Avenue metro stops, making just about any corner of Brookland easily accessible to Metrorail and other points. Some important lines are:

  • brookland dc wmata busThe H8 bus corridor, running from Brookland-CUA to Rhode Island Avenue metro stop by way of 12th Street, and which goes as far as Mount Pleasant.
  • The 80 bus, coming down 12th Street on the north side of the neighborhood, turning on Monroe, down Michigan Avenue and ultimately going to Metro Center and points beyond by way of North Capitol Street.
  • The G8 bus, coming from Michigan Park down Monroe and debarking at Brookland-CUA metro stop, and also heading downtown by way of Rhode Island Avenue.
  • The H6 bus, serving most of the 14th Street corridor and stopping at Brookland-CUA.
  • The E2/E3 buses, serving Brookland’s eastern border along 18th street and heading to the Fort Totten metro stop for connection to the Green and Yellow lines.

You can view a city wide WMATA bus map or a route-specific bus map to figure out where to go.

What about catching the bus in the nick of time? For Android users, there’s a fantastic app called DC Metro Transit  that lists all DC bus lines and informs you when the next one will arrive at your stop. It is accurate down to the minute about 98% of the time, but once in a long while there seems to be a glitch somewhere (probably on WMATA’s end). I don’t know what the equivalent iPhone app is, if you know then please list it in the comments.

So enjoy your buses, Brookland, they’ll take you just about anywhere you need to go from just about anywhere in the neighborhood!

Bloomingdale To Get Spanish Tapas And Italian Restaurants

Every now and then things happen outside just outside Brookland borders that we think you will be interested in. The area around Rhode Island Avenue and 1st street NW in Bloomingdale is already popular with Brooklanders because of hotspots Boundry Stone and Rustik, and yoga studio Yoga District. Be prepared to trek across North Capitol street even more often in the coming months. According to the Prince of Petworth blog, a  Spanish Tapas restaurant, Costa Brava and an Italian influenced restaurant are coming to that area.