Category Archives: House and Home


I love morning on my own terms. The dogs wake me up between 5:30 and 7 (It’s a wide window. They’re dogs. What can I say?) and I make coffee and read, or go outside and take pictures, or sit and watch and listen to the birds. Once the first cup of coffee is done, it’s time to think about breakfast.

This morning is altered slightly. In between going outside to take pictures and say hello to the tiny leaves that are starting to unfurl on some of the plants and my first cup of coffee, I popped a ham in the oven. We’re going to the neighbors’ for Easter dinner (Howdy, Neighbors!) and I’m not sure how long the ham will take. I’m using this glaze from Dave Lieberman: The ham is a boneless, brined, smoked ham from a local farm, Caton Acres, up Saranac way. We’ve bought half hogs from them a few times, and are always really happy with the meat. I wish I was going to be serving it with something I had grown, but it’s still too early for that. Hopefully not this time next year, though.
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I’ve been walking and staring at our property since the other day, and have been mentally placing new trees and shrubs. I also bought the supplies to build a small greenhouse, based on the model in Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman’s book, The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook. (You can see the plans at I’m excited about this next step, since it will do wonders to extend our season. Maybe I’ll join in the competition to grow the season’s earliest tomatoes.

One recipe to share today, from The Kitchn. I love polenta for its versatility and its comfort-food vibe. This recipe highlights both, with the polenta cooked in a bread pudding/casserole-type dish. It couldn’t be any easier, and I was thinking that you could change up the ingredients to make a few different versions. Make it vegetarian with sauteed chard and mushrooms (make sure to cook most of the moisture out of the mushrooms) or swap the spinach for sauteed kale. In summer, any hearty green, mixed with tomatoes and corn, would be lovely. You could mix up the meats, too: cooked chicken sausage, chorizo, prosciutto, guanciale, bacon, salami…you get the picture. This is definitely one to play with.
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Happy Easter, to those of you who celebrate!


Winter of discontent

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If 2013-2014 was the winter of my discontent (and by mid-February, it definitely was) then this is shaping up to be the spring of my I-can’t-get-my-act-together.

There was a baby shower for my cousin yesterday.  Did I manage to send a card?  I did manage to send a gift, but how hard would a card have been?  Or did I manage to send an unwrapped childhood book that I loved for the book basket?  Ugh.  I know I can still do both–and I will–but really, is my life so busy that I can’t do these things on time?  Not really.

While I’m flogging myself, I’d like to point out that I’ve begun my spring cleaning.  Remarkably, it’s happening in spring this year.  I started with the bathroom, and now I want to put crime scene tape over the door, so that no one uses it and makes it dirty again.

I hate cleaning.  I’m pretty certain that I’d happily make every meal I ever eat again in this life if someone else would clean my house for me.  Cleaning is one of the reasons I’ve decided that I’m a one-house kind of girl.  (That and the fact that I can’t tell people we have two houses without wanting to apologize.  But that’s another post.)

I’m not good at cleaning, though heaven knows it’s not because my parents didn’t teach me how, and expect me to do what I was able from an early age.  Can you imagine how awful I’d be if I HADN’T had chores to do when I was a kid.  I’d probably be dead of some accidentally self-inflicted disease by now.  I’m not a good cleaner of floors, or shower walls.  (And really, who wouldn’t rather be a “swinger of birches?”  But the bathroom is clean(ish)(er?)(ed?) and there we go.

Right now, I’m most proud of the cleaned up light in the photo above.  It had (mumble) years of dust collected on it, so I finally decided to disassemble it and clean it up.  The shades are so pretty–I’d forgotten what they looked like under all the ick.  And you know, it only took about ten minutes to clean the whole thing.  My internal whining about difficulty is my worst enemy, I think.

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Onward to the master bedroom.  Wish me luck.