Who Needs Grass? Brookland Gardener Chose Carefree Variety Instead

Those of us who live in rowhouses with “postage stamp” sized front lawns know that good things come in small packages. My fellow rowhouse owner and neighbor Damali transformed her grass lawn into a lovely bounty of flowers and plants that create a lot of character, texture and flair to the front of her house. She decided to go “grass free” because weeds had overtaken her lawn.  At first, she hoped to preserve the grassy look, but when she read up on everything it would take to get the plush lawn she wanted, she decided to look for alternatives.  She considered rock gardens or something similar, what ever it was, it had to be easy. Happily, she has found that the flowers she planted take almost no time to maintain other than light weekly weeding and watering as necessary. So, she has decided to stick with this option. Her mix of perennials and annuals has filled out nicely over the summer, and next year she plans to add more. Bravo Damali!

Brookland Grows The Best DC Produce- Prove It At The State Fair!

Many people may not be aware of it, but DC does have a state fair. The event has been growing in popularity every year; this year culminating at the Barracks Row Fall Festival on September 22nd. As a novice vegetable gardener, I love the idea. I am spreading the word on this because I am sure Brooklanders with their savvy gardening skills can win in at least a few DC State Fair contests. To check out what contests are open for entries and find the entry forms go here. Be warned, some contests have entry limits or deadlines before the Fair itself in September. For example, the first contest, the Tastiest Tomato Contest, will take place this coming Saturday, August 18, at the Columbia Heights Community Marketplace. Winners get bragging rights for a year, cash, a blue State Fair ribbon, and a 1-year subscription to Washington Gardener magazine. Don’t worry about having any competition from me though, all the  tomatoes I’ve grown so far this year  that weren’t eaten by squirrels were cracked, sunburned messes!

Real Estate Watch – Brookland Home Value Index Up 19% Over Last Year

Lately it seems like Brookland is seeing increasingly expensive houses hit the market, so we decided to look at the numbers. Sure enough, according to Redfin and Zillow real estate sites, the median sold price in Brookland is up 34.7% over this time last year.

I’m no expert, but from what I understand, the more telling figure is the home value index. This figure is calculated by taking the median sold $/sq.ft. – and this is the actual value of homes that are sold. Basically, this number is a better representation of what someone is willing to pay in our area. Check out the home value index for Brookland over the last 10 years, you can see that we are definitely recovering from the downtown in the market; although I would suspect we still need a few more months of data to proclaim a full rebound. In any case, the take away is that the home value index for Brookland is up 19.1% from this time last year, and I’ll take that happily. Any comment from the real estate wonks out there?

Brookland Zillow Home Value Index

Art Enables Annual Inventory Show – Original Artwork At Great Discounts

 Art Enables, a non-profit art gallery on the edge of Brookland kicked off their annual inventory show yesterday. I picked up this beautiful piece, a color pencil on paper drawing entitled Forest Walk by Michael Schaff for a mere $47.50. It came very nicely matted and framed to boot! It instantly found a home on one of our paprika-colored accent walls. I just love how the wall color brings out the depth of layers and colors in this piece. The cashier I spoke with indicated that inventory older than 1 year is 50%, and the sale should extend through the end of August.

 Art Enables represents over thirty artists with developmental disabilities. The organization provides the artists the resources they need to become visual artists and 60% of revenue from sales. Check it out! Art Enables is located at  2204 Rhode Island Avenue, NE 20018 and they are open from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Takoma Park Farmers Market Offers Tasty Food Just A Short Drive Away

One of the things that’s great about Brookland is it’s central location to just about anywhere in DC. That includes a place I love to get to on a lazy Sunday in late summer and fall: the Takoma Park Farmers Market.

Just a ten minute drive from Brookland up Eastern Avenue, a cornucopia of luscious produce and other farm-made goods await you. Whether it’s heirloom tomatoes, all kinds of fruit, fresh baked bread and churned butter, powerful herbs, or even meats and cheeses, you can find it all at this bustling market.

The Market’s 23 vendors are required to be producers themselves, meaning that they must grow whatever it is they are selling. Therefore most of the food available is locally grown, which is great from a quality and sustainability perspective.

The tomatoes you find here deserve special mention. The incredible flavor and diversity of types (yellow, pink, red, orange) will beat anything you will find in a supermarket, hands down. To me, they make tomatoes bought elsewhere pale by comparison.

I also love the breads sold here, which are equivalent to what you would expect to find in a bakery: very fresh, and made with wholesome ingredients. From stoneground wheat to rosemary bread, you can find it all.

Lunch after today’s visit to the Market was sandwiches made from very tasty whole grain bread, heirloom tomatoes, cheese, and a touch of fresh basil. Delicious!

So if you’re looking for something to do on Sunday, get yourself and your family out to buy some of the best that local producers have to offer. Before you go you can check out their website to see what is currently in season and being sold. But they have a strict no-dog policy, so leave the pooch at home!

Enjoy the pics….

Takoma Park Famers Market 1

Takoma Park Famers Market 2

Takoma Park Famers Market 5

Takoma Park Famers Market 3

Takoma Park Famers Market 4

Menomale Introduces Outdoor Seating!

Many Brooklanders have longed for the day that we could enjoy a dining establishment with outdoor seating. Well, wait no more! As we speculated earlier today, Menomale now has outdoor seating. Just look at these happy Brooklanders enjoying their pizzas, salads, sandwiches and beer! For those of you with little ones, the booster seats they have fit really well on their outdoor chairs, in keeping with Menomale’s kid-friendly reputation. More great news, Leland, one of the owners, tells us that they are exploring ways to keep the outdoor seating going year round, perhaps by adding thick plastic walls to the existing canopy frames. This is seems like pretty realistic plan, as people were seen dining outside nearby establishments like Boundry Stone all through last winter.

Brookland’s “Church Porch” Art Show Opening A Success!

Last night the ARTland/Brookland Arts and Culture Temporium Project show Church Porch had its opening reception. What a delight to enjoy fantastic artwork, engage in conversation, sip on wine, and nibble on some cheese – all in the heart of Brookland! I must confess, I was surprised by the space – full of natural light – it really looked like an art gallery despite being a “pop up” style art show. 

There are ten artists represented in the show, with a wide range of styles and mediums. My favorite was Lisa Mundy’s abstract paintings, I loved the colors and movement she captured. Another standout was Daniel Hitch’s photography, with compelling images from Senegal, DC, Chicago and Baltimore. Ray Allard, an artist working in linocut on paper displayed the tools and steps involved in developing his work, which added a dimension of

The Burning Bush, a sculpture by Thomas Rooney

interest for me as I was unaware of the process. The sculpture pictured is by Thomas Rooney, who produces sculptures made of items found in nature. The space was packed last night, I recommend stopping by and supporting our local art scene.

Info:

ARTland/Brookland Arts and Culture Temporium Project 
3500 12th Street, NE, Washington, DC 
August 10 through 26, 2012  (Open Friday and Saturday 5 – 8 and Sunday 3 – 6 )

Outdoor Seating At Menomale? Not Confirmed, But….

While driving past Menomale last night, it looked like they were setting up for outdoor seating. Be still my beating heart. If so, it would be HUGE for Brookland, as we have a dearth of outdoor dining options. Through conversations with the owners, I know they have been planning on having outdoor dining for quite some time now. So far nothing new has come across from Menomale on Twitter or Face Book, so fingers and toes crossed for now.