Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas (a bit delayed) and Happy New Year! Travis and I hosted our first Christmas at 765 and it was pretty awesome getting to be in our own home the whole weekend. We made Christmas Eve dinner, enjoyed a very entertaining midnight mass which included champagne at the Italian priests home afterward, and leisurely opened presents well into Christmas afternoon. A few highlights from our holiday - hope everyone's was fabulous!

{My favorite Christmas cookies}

{Christmas Eve dinner, with our new plates!}

{bag of compost leaves turned nest}

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's Christmas Time!

Last weekend we began the preparation for our very first Christmas at 765! The weekend started with a trip to chop down a tree ourselves. We pulled up, an eight year-old handed us a saw, and we walked the paths to find our perfect tree. They all varied between six and nine feet, with prices increasing with height. While most of the seven-foot trees were in the $50 range, we came across one that was full and bushy, a tall seven feet, but only $38. This MUST be the tree for us! So we chopped it down, took a picture and were on our way.

{what a deal}

{tree farm}

Then we got home.... As we attempted to put this perfect tree in its stand nothing would keep it from falling crooked. This led us to examine the tree a bit better - a trunk that made a meandering  curve all the way up, so what looked like it was straight was really crooked. Yes, we were the suckers for the $38 crooked Christmas tree. A chop saw, some bricks, and a few screws later our tree was really bringing in the holiday cheer as our neighbors chuckled in obvious jealousy, while we cursed the need to buy a locally grown tree, wishing we'd done like everyone else and bought the one on the side of the road, stand and all. The tree made it though, and is now perched in our living room, decorated with ornaments and lights with only a slight tilt. (Just don't touch it, please.) Next year we'll suck it up and get the $50 tree.

 {lessons learned}

{still standing}

Hanging the lights went better, as we learned our lesson and got some eggnog daiquiris for getting the job done. 765 is shining with the best lights in Spanish Town, and it's only year one.


Christmas projects continue as I make the stockings for everyone that is celebrating the holiday with us. A large chunk of mistletoe fell from our neighbor's tree right into our yard and is now adorning or doorways and wreath. Keeping a curious puppy from chomping any more ornaments (4 down so far) is a constant task. Presents are starting to pile up around the tree. A pint of eggnog is in our fridge and perfect for warming up our bellies when our home is frigid. It's beginning to look alot like Christmas at 765.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Little History

It's funny how growing up in different parts of the United States leaves Travis and me remembering vastly different parts from our U.S. history classes. Missions, the Gold Rush, the railroad, and even the Zoot Suit era seem to ring clearer in my mind, whereas Travis can manage to rattle off names and dates of the Civil War that sound vaguely familiar to me. I guess for good reason. The Civil War took place in Louisiana and that history is still present in so many ways here in Baton Rouge, including Spanish Town, and even 765.

{Spanish Town}

As you can see in the sign above, Spanish Town was developed in 1805 by Carlos de GrandPre for the Canary Islanders to continue living on Spanish owned soil when their original home in Galvez Town (20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge) was taken in the Louisiana Purchase. It is now the oldest neighborhood in Baton Rouge and still includes some architecture from the early and mid 1800's. A few blocks away are the Pentagon Barracks, built in 1823 on the site of the British fort that began in 1779. In 1810 the British turned the land over to the U.S. and it became an assembly point for American troops. The U.S. expanded the site and built the barracks, along with an arsenal depot to serve the southeastern states. The area remained a military post until 1861 when the state of Louisiana turned it over to the Confederacy, becoming Fort Williams shortly after. Once the Civil War ended the Barracks became owned by Louisiana State University and today they house the office of the Lieutenant Governor and are apartments for state legislators. 

All this is to say there is alot of history here and it's not a huge surprise what we found in our front yard:

{three ringer}

Months ago there were rumors that a neighbor had found a Civil War button in his yard - a rare one - that was worth a good bit of money. It wasn't the next day that groups of people came hunting around Spanish Town yards with metal detectors, searching for a piece of history (and money) for themselves. Travis and I happened to be out front when a two men and a boy came by our house and asked to do just that. Travis allowed them, under the condition that the first bullet they find on the property was his - anything else was fair game. It was a deal and detecting they went. The younger boy was scouting out the front yard and it seemed he wouldn't find much more than some nickles and screws, until we finally moved the metal security sign. A loud beep. The kid started digging, and less than an inch under the dirt sat a bullet. A "three ringer" from the Civil War era to be exact. He was absolutely ecstatic because this was his first "three ringer" and he needed it to add to his collection. Sadly, a deal is a deal and the poor guy had to give it up. So the bullet sits in our living room, a little piece of history that leaves us wondering what we might find if we looked under the house...

Spanish Town history
Pentagon Barracks

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The turkey has been carved, everyone is stuffed, we lost at Bocci Ball, and now the Saints are playing. A little more time to relax until the shopping madness tomorrow.

{The feast}

{enjoying the car ride!}

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yellow Orange

We're anxiously awaiting...

{yellow orange}

The oranges are starting to turn! Now, between the dogs and the chickens if we can keep them on the tree to ripen it will be a miracle.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Living Room Lived In

Finally, an interior update!!

If you've had the opportunity to visit 765 you know that our living room is one long, big space. We've been lucky enough to have some gracious family members give us furniture to help fill this oversized space. But no matter how we organized it, the space always felt more like a furniture show room than a place to plop down and enjoy company.

{living room - before moving in - this is only half}

Our latest furniture addition however, changed that. Deborah and Mark gave us their old dining room table that was the perfect length to fit right in front of the fireplace. After the table was in place we started playing musical sofas until we found a layout that worked - for now at least. The long green room has now become a dining room and a living room with plenty of space for a dinner party or the monthly Spanish Town Beautification meetings.

{dining area}

{living area}

{chicken pillow}

We also had a chance to put our Anthropologie gift cards to work on some amazing deals. I scored a large area rug for in front of the couch and tv, (yes I said tv!!) along with a funky pillow that pays tribute to our late Gumbeaux and Pot Pie. Add in a few free house plants I got from work and it's really starting to get cozy! As always it's still a work in progress, but in the past two weeks we have used the green room more than we had in the past eight months, combined. I call that a success.

p.s. See the gold lamp in the before picture? If anyone is interested in it please let me know. I despise this lamp (it came with the house) and can't manage to sell it on craigslist. Anybody, anybody?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Random Little Things

Halloween night we had a very big event at 765. Travis carved his first pumpkin! With the pumpkin carving kit my mom sent us (thanks!) he finished it off in probably less than 10 minutes and made me, the one that carves religiously every year, look like the amateur. The pumpkins have spent the past week sitting happily on our porch and lasted this long with some help from the cold snap. Until Saturday. We came back from the LSU game (did you see the score?!?) in the early evening to find this guy sitting in the corner of the front yard as if he was staring at his buddy still on the porch. It gave us a puzzled chuckle and we've left it sitting there to see if it might venture somewhere else. That's Spanish Town for you.

{watching over 765}

I've mentioned it a bit in the past few blogs so I figured I'd show off what we see nearly every day: hatching butterflies. As caterpillars they covered our passion vine on the fence and have nearly devoured it to sticks. Now cocoons are gracing nearly any surface they can find and butterflies are popping out daily. Way more exciting than the butterfly box we kept in kindergarten.

{just hatched}

Check back soon (and I really do mean soon, because we FINALLY got internet!!!) for an interior update!

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Last Sunday Travis and I hosted the monthly 'Spanish Town Supper Club' at 765. The hosts cook the main meal while all guests bring a side or dessert and something to drink. With the theme being "From Your Hand" it was obvious we would make the chickens a part of our meal. Saturday morning at around 6am Gumbeaux made his last "cock-a-doodle-doo".... For those of you that find this terribly gross and inhumane you might want to stop reading right now. (and add Food Inc. to your Netflix queue immediately)


While I was in the house preparing everything else Travis caught Gumbeaux and put his duck hunting skills to use. By the time I got outside most of the feathers were gone and nearly looked like a whole chicken you buy shrink wrapped at the grocery store. After plenty of cleaning and trimming he made it directly to the BBQ. Travis headed off to the neighbor's house to pick up Pot Pie. Same process again. 

{prepped and ready}

{getting there...}

An hour or two on the pit and it moved its way to the dutch oven for a day of cooking up as gumbo. When we tell people where the chicken in our gumbo came from most seem disgusted and saddened that we have 'eatten our pet'. Simply put, we named our 'pets' after food with a wholehearted intention of raising them for food and eggs. Not only do these chickens have an enjoyable life in our backyard, but they live off the food a chicken is supposed to live off. Not antibiotics, steroids or hormones in these two guys. And they lived to be the ripe old age they should for cooking, unlike a storebought chicken that is about that same size in just a few short weeks. If that isn't enough reason to know where your meat comes from I don't know what is.


With plenty still in the freezer this meal will be lasting us a while. Honey and Cosmo are happily pecking at the yard without a rooster constantly mounting them, laying eggs daily and learning to fend off a bounding puppy. Hopefully little chickies will be popping up in our yard sometime soon to add to our farm.

{Juju Bee says hello!}

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Incredible, Edible...

It has been weeks of checking the yard's nooks and crannies for one of our ladies' prizes and now I can finally say it: WE'VE GOT EGGS!! Travis and I returned home from work one day to find it sitting casually in the cage, left their as if she couldn't quite decide what to do next. Now we find them almost daily in the neighbor's yard, hidden in between fence and weeds, precisely where Juliet can't sneak her head in. So far we think it is likely Honey because of the egg's color, but hopefully Cosmo will follow her lead shortly.


Travis and I are saving up the eggs to use this coming weekend for the Spanish Town Supper Club we are hosting at 765. The theme, "From Your Hand" is in an effort to get as many neighbors to bring something they grew, raised, harvested or cooked for everyone to enjoy. Yard eggs seem a perfect addition to what our main course will be: Gumbeaux. And what will make the whole preparation of the supper so much easier? Our brand new BBQ! It is completely put together now, every screw accounted for, and just waiting to be fired up. Thanks again to everyone that got it for us!

{I can smell the burgers now}

It seems this colder weather (again, only 80 degrees) has sparked some new growth in alot of things. We have eggs in our yard, a new puppy getting bigger daily, caterpillars and cocoons all over our walls, lettuce starting, and amazingly we have tomatoes. After months of gorgeous plant but no fruit I had nearly given up hope and stopped watering. Now there are tomatoes falling over the fence and into the street. I guess that just goes to show you, patience is a virtue. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

September is Gone, Hello Fall

I say this with more excitement than most of you would imagine, but FALL IS FINALLY HERE! At least for the next week or so here in Louisiana. With a low in the forties tonight I'm pondering the idea of breaking out my Uggs, but am a bit scared to jinx this good fortune. For now I'll be happy with the comforter back on the bed. Celebrating this crisp weather (crisp meaning in the mid 70's) we've spent nearly every moment we could outdoors: BBQing (Grilling-out for some folk), a few house projects, and.... playing with the new puppy!!!



Juliet made her arrival at 765 last week when Anthropologie hosted their Sit.Stay.Love event and the Denham Springs Animal Shelter brought in six pups they hoped to find homes for. She is a Catahoula mix that flew out of the car and into my arms and obviously I couldn't let her go, even though we had planned to hold off on a pup until after the big day. So far she is an amazingly well behaved dog - she chases the tennis ball AND brings it back, is getting pretty close to being potty trained, herds the chickens but doesn't eat them (yet), and has limited her puppy destruction to only things paper. Fingers crossed it remains this easy.

{Existing framework, no roof}

This afternoon we did a little project on the house. The side door had the wood structure for an overhang but no roof over it and we were left with a bit of extra tin from the shed project, so we put it on up. It is nothing major, but it will allow for a new dry entrance if it's raining and will hopefully block some of the hot morning sun in the summer to keep the house a bit cooler. We had hoped it would show off the tin a little more but the angle of the original structure wasn't much more than flat. Probably not permanent, we'll be happy with its functionality for now.


And I promise I'm not forgetting.... We have made a few purchases with the Anthro gift cards we got at the CA wedding shower. I'll show off my favorite buy yet, the Coat of Arms mirror - slightly girly but Travis still approved! The mirror is hung in our bedroom and inspired a cleaning and rearranging of the whole space. It's rather amazing what a mirror can do to make it feel like a bedroom instead of just a room with a bed.

{It's larger than it appears!}

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September Is Here

Things around here have been a bit slow on the project progress. It seems we've been gone for nearly every weekend lately, leaving little time to actually accomplish anything. Not to mention is is now September, which means football and hunting are now upon us. We did however manage to get all four walls up and the door lockable on the shed. This means our dining room is back!! Everything is cleared out and beginning to find its home in the shed, though getting it organized is the beginning of a whole other project.

{orange door makes its return!}

{door trim}

Between the loaning of tools, knowledge and physical labor, tons of people have helped us with this shed. But we decided we couldn't bum everything forever so we finally made a purchase: A chop saw. And it has already been removed from the box and put to good use by BOTH of us! (Though mostly Travis) We spent this morning working trim for the orange door, which has officially made its return.


Our yard hasn't seen much love lately since it is mostly a staging location for shed work. The tomato plants are absolutely huge but we haven't gotten one tomato. The eggplants have been producing but I think they have about seen their days. Three green oranges are still hanging on. To make up for the lack of production, out of nowhere came a bulb popping out along the fenceline. Hurricane Lily/September Lily/Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata just for you Jeff) made its first appearance earlier this week and are known for staying underground all year until September. Right on time.

{September Lily}

I have a few Anthropologie home purchases to post later and I promise it won't take me 2 weeks!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It's funny, when people ask me what I did last weekend, and the weekend before, and every night after work, it's the same response: "We worked on the shed". It has gotten to the point where they are often responding, "STILL?". Trust me, I know it's been a while, but I don't quite think people realize the scale of this so-called shed. This is no six foot tall throw your shovels and broom in shed. This a 400 square foot home for tools, boats, trailers and everything else that is lingering in the house. It's a beast. All that is to say, it's not done yet folks. We're getting there, but you can't rush perfection.

 {window - BEFORE}

The roof went on fairly quickly after the structure got built - we couldn't leave that tin just sitting around burning up our lawn. The walls however, took a bit more time. Initially we had planned to reuse the tin that was on the original shed. After a bit of further consideration we opted for some shiny new tin instead. We might as well make this look as shiny and new as it really is! While much of the work on the shed only had room for me as the assistant, I did find one project to call my own - the window. The old cypress one from the neighbor is in need of some sprucing up, and with a little work with our brand new sander, it's on its way to looking as shiny and new as the shed. 

{back wall - DONE}

Getting these 10 foot tall panels of tin lined up perfectly top and bottom was a challenge, but so far it's looking great. Before we got all the walls up one of the bigger projects was running power to the shed so we could get rid of the orange extension cord running across our yard. With some amazing help from Dennis and Jeanne (Thank you guys!!!) we now have power! Actually seeing every step of the process, from digging the trench for the conduit, to connecting the wires to the light, then finally flipping the switch (and it actually working) was very exciting.


We've got a bit more wall that needs to go up, but we'll save those pictures for the final unveiling so everyone can get the full effect. Just wait... it may not be only an orange door that returns! All we can say is these ladies approve:

{Gumbo, Pot Pie, and Cosmo enjoying the shed}

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Good Old Fashioned Barn Raising

Okay. It's been a while, I know. But trust me, the long wait was all for good reason. We took on our biggest project yet, the shed - and let's start out by saying this NEVER could have happened without the help of Mitch, Christine, Nick and Abby, along with Momma Moore, Han and Big. Of course we went and picked one of the hottest weekends of the year, with temperatures well over 100 degrees, which really goes to show you just how awesome they really are. Travis and I really can't tell you enough, THANK YOU!!

So, here it is, in just a few quick pictures:

{shed: before} 

For obvious reasons the shed had to go. It is amazing to me it was still standing, being that half the beams were not much more than powder from years of being used as termite food. Add in that it had become a home for wood bees, roaches and probably a few other things I would rather not know about. And so, in an attempt to fix all those problems, in sort of just.... fell. 

{shed: mid-fall} 

All the tin was removed, that may be used on the exterior when we are finally complete. Old timbers hauled off, and it is time to start fresh. 

{shed: gone - the boy's shirts follow}

{Shed: beginning to form}

Day one ended with the framing of two walls and the beginning of the rafters. Not surprisingly the boys did nearly all of the grunt work. BUT, I was still the first to shed blood as I whacked apart the bamboo taking over behind the shed. That stuff is rough.... A few beers and it was an early night to say the least. 

{Day 2: Ready for the metal walls and roof}

The new structure is almost exactly the same, except for a new (old) cypress window that came from the neighbor across the street. Our next purchase may very well be the fan you see above, quite possibly the only way we all survived the heat. 

{shed: front view - future double door entry}

Thanks to Mitch's impeccable construction knowledge, this shed won't be going anywhere. Designed to meet and beat the highest standards and regulations, this shed comes complete with all the nuts, bolts and hurricane straps to make it likely a safer place to be in a hurricane than the house. Roof tin will be going up this week and the walls will hopefully make it up by the end of the weekend. Then we can move the fertilizer, paint, and power tools out of the dining room and into their permanent home!! 

Special thanks to Bayou Moore's for their contributions! Boppy and Reggie - your gift card made the header above where the large double doors will be going possible!

Stay posted: we'll keep posting pictures of the progress. 

And again, a million thanks to you guys for coming down and making this thing come together. We'll be there for any help your place needs!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Bit of Press!

We made the newspaper!! The Advocate, the newspaper for Baton Rouge, periodically features articles on historic neighborhoods throughout the city and discusses their culture, community, and why they are so successful. Today's front page of the People section featured 'Spanish Town Thriving' with Travis and me on the front cover painting our orange door!  View the article with all of Mr. Moore's quotes, and be sure to check out the multimedia link to the left with all the pictures.

     "Moore, a landscape architect planner, is even getting married a block outside the neighborhood, at St. Joseph Cathedral. “We live, work and play downtown,” he said.

      "Moore loves the fact that he can walk or ride his bicycle to his downtown office. “We share a symbiotic  relationship with the state buildings and downtown,” he said. “I made a lifestyle choice not to sit in traffic 30 to 40 minutes a day.”
He has an edible garden and is raising chickens in his backyard.
“We trade with our neighbor — cucumbers for blackberries,” Moore said. “That’s the way a neighborhood should interact. Spanish Town is not some cookie-cutter development that tears up some tract of land. We’re investing in a home some 90 years old that has a lot of work to do. That’s right for the environment and the lifestyle that comes with it.”

 It does a wonderful job of explaining why we all love Spanish Town so much. Thanks to our neighbor and Advocate photographer Liz for coming by to take the pictures!

Spanish Town resident Derrell Cohoon, left, walks his dogs, Magnolia and Jasmine, with fellow Spanish Town resident Shawn O’Brien and her dog, Hazel.
{Spanish Town residents! Photo by Liz Condo from the Advocate!}

In other news, we are loving everybody commenting on the blog and interacting with us as we document our projects. The other day we received two surprises in the mail: chalk and eraser for our chalkboard from Deb and Dwain, and a giftcard for Home Depot from Boppy and Reggie. THANK YOU!! We are preparing for our next big project and that card will surely come in handy! 

{We love the chalk!!}

Tropical Depression Bonnie passed over us last night. Our emptied rain tank gained 150 gallons and the thunder and lighting shook the house a bit in the early morning hours I'm told, but all in all it was fairly uneventful being that I was snoring away. Not that I want some huge storm, but hey, for someone that is used to earthquakes, these storms are new territory and kind of exciting. Maybe next time it could come by during they day so I could see it??

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Project Dreams

Major improvements both inside and out have taken a bit of a back seat this past week to cooking, cleaning, and It has however, given us a chance to ponder the living room, the arrangement of all the pieces of furniture that have been accumulated, and how we can fit a dining table in there, thus beginning new projects.

We all know I have a thing for chairs, and at some point I will get my hands on the ones sitting in the kitchen area. Maybe something a little like this I stumbled up on Design Sponge:


Mary passed along some backyard projects from Sunset that were exactly what we had been talking about. SOMEDAY when we are done rebuilding the shed, putting on a new roof, and planting our edible front yard we'll start to think about the deck we are going to construct off the back door. It will most definitely include this shower, built off of our rain tank for an au-natural shower, in more ways than one....

diy outdoor shower
{rainwater shower}

And if the whole front yard being transformed into our personal produce stand isn't quite enough, lets include these modern wall planters to add some space and spruce up that shed we will have finished. 

Modern hanging baskets
{old rusty orange siding: like}

But for now we'll leave those on our inspiration board, we've got sinks to unclog and mosquitoes to kill.