Browsing Posts in Grammy

The directions were very specific. Turn off from highway 321 onto Dollywood Lane. It will turn into Upper Middle Creek Road. Turn right onto Boogertown Road which will eventually be Powdermill Road. Turn right onto Manis Hollow Road which will turn into Loafer’s Glory Way. At the stop sign at the top of the mountain, […]

Yesterday I got on the train to Boston and realized that I did not have my phone. It had been in my pocket and apparently slipped out as I was getting out of the car. I don’t think that I’m addicted to my devices, especially my phone. It is true that I send a few […]

Swedish Apple Pie

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Our grandson Hunton is in his first semester of college in Colorado. His mom has been sending him Care packages of apples. He texted me last week asking for an apple pie recipe. By chance, that same day my friend Cheryl in Norway had sent me a recipe she called Swedish Apple Pie (not sure […]

A Little History

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It’s thirty-nine years since we bought Goodale Orchards and began our farming life. The orchard had already been operating for nearly fifty years and didn’t bear much resemblance to what exists today. The apple trees were few, old, tall, and gnarled. The section for pick-your-own was at the far end of the orchard, with a […]

Döstädning

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The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is a book I recently read. It was written by Margareta Magnusson who says that she is between 80 and 100 but she has no plan to die soon. Sort of like me. She has five children and doesn’t want them faced with the chore of getting rid […]

Milestones

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We are feeling a sense of loss today. Hunton, our youngest grandson, left for college Friday.  Six other grandchildren have also gone away to college but it seems like this one is especially bitter-sweet. He is the only one who had grown up next door to us. We will miss him popping through the door […]

The heat this summer seems more oppressive than usual. It is hard to find the energy to do much more than the bare essentials. All spring I looked forward to summer bounty from the orchard and gardens and now it seems a bit overwhelming. Peaches still cluster on tree branches despite the bushels that have […]

I’m certainly not in the Anthony Bourdain or M.F.K. Fisher food adventuring league but I’ve eaten some interesting food in many places around the world. In the past thirty years, I’ve eaten meals in forty-five different countries and enjoyed most of them. One that stands out as perhaps the best meal I’ve ever eaten wasn’t […]

Water

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No water! Not a drop for two days. The sink is full of dirty dishes, drinking water is coming from melted ice cubes (thankfully a good supply in the freezer), the counter has honey all over it from refilling a honey bear. When I made dinner last night, I became aware of how many times […]

Wedding

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In 1995 I was volunteering at the International Institute of Boston where I had been trained to teach English as a Second Language. I was assigned to Kleng, a Vietnamese refugee woman. Her husband and four older children were attending classes in ESL but she was at home with a small child. I went to […]

“Someday people will be able to talk on the phone and see each other at the same time.” My father used to say this during our very brief and expensive telephone calls after I married and moved twenty-five hundred miles away from home. My father was a milkman with a high school education, He was […]

My father has been gone for fourteen years but I still miss him. He was the sweetest, most gentle man I’ve ever known. Daddy taught me by example. He was a man who always tried to see both sides of an issue. If someone was rude to him he’d say, “I don’t know what kind […]

Eulogy

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My brother Charles passed away yesterday after a long struggle with COPD. Just a few weeks ago he had moved to South Carolina to live near his son, Brad. Throughout his last week he was surrounded by family. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren visited often, his granddaughter Nicole spent nights by his bedside and his wife […]

Any grandparent will tell you that one of the greatest pleasures in life is spending time with grandchildren. Over the years we have delighted in watching our eight grandchildren negotiate their world. There has been much laughter, occasional tears, and always enthusiasm and energy. From preschool sing-alongs and library story hours to soccer games and […]

Malta

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Photo albums fill my bookcases. One for every year since 1974 and one for nearly every trip I’ve taken. I have just been going through the photos taken over the winter. Hundreds and I will have to choose a few that are representative. I’m not sure how we decided to go to Malta but it […]

Last year when I visited Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, I saw this stunning tulip. I had to have it for my garden. It’s in full bloom now.   In early January we were in Las Terrenas, a town in the Dominican Republic. We’ve gone there several winters. It’s a time for reading and relaxing and […]

Yesterday morning when we got up, there was a Baltimore Oriole on our deck railing. While eating dinner, we saw the first hummingbird of the season. Our first oriole sighting last year was on April 30th but given the cold spring, we were expecting the birds to be late in arriving. They must have amazing […]

The fragrance of apples as I walked through the orchard jolted me into the realization that summer is waning. Already the nights are cooler and the days just perfect with warm temperatures and low humidity. In the orchard store, the scent of peaches still predominates but that will soon be overpowered by the presence of […]

The first week of July I spent a few days on the island of Vieques just off the coast of Puerto Rico. The rustic lodge was in the rain forest with the sound of frogs peeping lulled me to sleep and the chirping of birds wakened me. There I feasted on tropical fruits. Every morning […]

Oh my, June is nearly over. Today we have blue skies, temperature just under 80° and almost no humidity.  A perfect day. Although we’ve had a lot of chilly wet weather earlier in the month is seems to have been fine with our home gardens. The roses are flourishing and shrubs blossoming. Starting with daffodils […]

I often find myself commiserating with my peers about how aging isn’t any fun. Just recently I’ve realized that isn’t true. I have as much fun as I’ve ever had. It’s true that there are some physical limits to the things I can do but whatever I do, I have fun. We’ve just welcomed our […]

A few weeks ago when I went to Pennsylvania we stayed in the town of Intercourse. It is a name that often causes snickers or raised eyebrows. It seems incongruous for a town that is in the heart of  Amish country. Apparently in the 1700s the town was called Cross Key after a tavern by […]

The birds that feed outside our dining room window keep us entertained. Three years ago, for the first time, a Baltimore Oriole arrived in May chirping outside our window.  We were thrilled and immediately set out orange slices and grape jelly. He stayed with us for a few weeks and then disappeared. Since then, one […]

It’s that time a year again when everything feels fresh and new. Every day the leaves are bigger on the trees, daffodils sprinkle our vista and to our surprise and delight, there are peach blossoms. We were certain the freeze in March did them in. The orchard opens today and we’re looking forward to seeing […]

Thanksgiving

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The Sunday after Thanksgiving is Russell Orchard’s traditional closing date for the year. The apples are all harvested and the cider pressed. It’s a time for reflection and looking ahead. The orchard family will scatter now for the winter. The Russells have some time for a well earned rest before they begin planning for next […]

The annual Polish Picnic occurred in Ipswich a few weeks ago. My friend Ann Fessenden told me that she’d bought some galumpkis at the picnic. “What are galumpkis?” I asked. It turns out they’re Polish stuffed cabbage. I’ve actually made them a few times but not in many years and I just called them “stuffed […]

I was a child during WWII and can remember listening to President Roosevelt’s reassuring radio broadcasts. Perhaps that’s why I’ve had a long fascination with the Roosevelt administration and the family. I’ve read many books about the Roosevelts and the War by historians but I recently read three books written by employees. The first was […]

Surprises

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A week of surprises and now I’m trying to come back to earth.  Monday last week I arrived home to find my sister Beth in my kitchen, “Surprise!”. Beth lives in Michigan and was last here in May, I hadn’t expected to see her again until next year. She said she had come to take […]

Some final words on Food Waste. Yesterday’s New York Times Opinion Page features a debate about how to reduce food waste in the United States. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2016/09/21/keeping-food-on-the-plate-and-out-of-landfills/ease-hunger-with-a-better-food-rescue-system.  I’ve copied the section that suggests things that we, as consumers can do. 1. Curb overbuying. A packed fridge may be comforting, but rarely do we eat everything in […]

Food Waste II

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I am in an Irish pub eating cottage pie, one of my favorites. I’ve eaten less than a third and I’m stuffed. “I wish the portions weren’t always so big,” I say to the waitperson. “They didn’t used to be,” she replies. “It’s because of the American tourists.” Sometime in the late 1960s I went […]

Food Waste

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I’m on my soapbox here. I’ve read a number of articles recently that discuss food production, consumption and waste. It doesn’t seem to be high on the radar of many people. Water and energy use are major issues but few consider the amounts of both needed to produce food and how they are also wasted. […]

When I leave the office every day, I make a detour through the veggie room picking up some corn or tomatoes or berries. Whatever looks good. Thursday I found purslane bundles in the refrigerated case. I’d never heard of it. A brief research told me that it is a weed often used as a vegetable. […]

Emily’s Garden was the name of a writing retreat I attended last weekend in the historic village of Essex, New York on Lake Champlain. This lovely garden was designed with the poet Emily Dickinson’s garden in mind. The retreat was held at the home of author and university teacher Kate Moses. I joined Kate, her […]

Heat

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The heat this summer has been reminding me of my childhood. There was no air conditioning in those days and Michigan could be brutally hot in July. I remember lying in front of my bedroom window at night, trying to get the smallest puff of a breeze. The sound of those summers was hearing the […]

It is fun to travel and fun to come home. We arrived late Tuesday night after missing a connection and hanging out for five hours in the Toronto airport before getting another flight. Here are a few of the photos (out of hundreds). We traveled south from Dublin sort of following the coast. We were […]

We’ll be heading home in a few days. I have so much to say about our Irish adventure but need to organize my thoughts. I’ve mentioned the weather. I’ll mention it again because our photos can’t do justice to the beauty of the country. So often we see the sun shining across spectacular landscapes but […]

Travel is always interesting and often educational. By chance we’ve ended up in a place where a special event is occurring. Today we are in the Northern Ireland town of Carrickfergus. July 1 is the centennial of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. It was the Great War, WWI, and 20,000 British […]

Ireland is so green! So many shades of green. Understandable since there is a mix of sun and rain every day since we’ve been here. The south was notable for narrow roads lined with hedgerows right to the edge of the road making it difficult to see what was behind them. Hillsides are divided into […]

Dingle

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The Dingle Peninsula is reputed to have some of Ireland’s most stunning scenery.  We are in a Dingle hotel overlooking the harbor but we can’t attest to that. We’re in the midst of what, in Ipswich, we’d call a Nor’easter. Gale force winds, upside down rain and no visibility. No matter, the people are friendly, […]

I wrote last week about the joy of anticipation and planning a trip. Twenty-five years ago I spent two years planning a six month round-the-world trip. I read travel guides and essays, wrote away for brochures and information, telephoned airlines and travel agents and spent hours on the research. I took a class on solo […]

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” Anonymous The planning and anticipation of travel is a pleasant and important part of a trip. This summer we will be spending a few weeks in Ireland. I’ve spent hours on the internet, have several books including the AA Ireland Road Atlas showing the […]

Friday night we went to the Hart House for dinner. I was craving comfort food, something they do well. We were seated at a table for two in the far end of the tavern section. The room was nearly full and busy but in our corner we were able to chat and enjoy the meal. […]

Last weekend was a highlight of the year for us. We were once again blown away by Miranda Russell’s annual show. One song was to have been sung by three generations. Miranda’s mom Daisy Nell and her daughter Cecelia had planned a trio with Cecelia also accompanying on the cello. Unfortunately Daisy developed laryngitis and […]

Loss

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One of the difficult things about getting older is the number of friends and family that we begin to lose. Last week our dear cousin Marlene died after a brief illness. She was a stunningly beautiful blonde of a certain age (as the French say) who was a talented artist, fabulous cook, devoted wife and […]

I recently spent a a couple of days in Washington DC. It is one of my favorite cities and a nearly equal distance away from Boston and Beckley, West Virginia where my best friend Theresa lives. We try to get together at least once a year. We both came by train, eight hour trips. The […]

From my desk window I can see clumps of yellow and white daffodils, our magnolia tree in bloom and the guys, finally here from Jamaica, pruning the raspberry bushes. I think spring is finally here. It is nice to look over the orchard and see what is there today compared with what we started with […]

Spring ?

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The calendar says it is April, the lilacs are beginning to leaf out, the apple buds are swelling and our daffodils are in bloom. There are other signs of spring; Down River Ice Cream is has reopened, Periwinkle in Essex is open again and we’re getting flyers and emails telling us what shows are coming […]

Christmas in DR was pretty low key. The shops catering to Europeans had twinkling lights and some holiday displays but the local shops looked pretty much the same as usual. The town park had a straw nativity, strange for us to see it with the surf in the background. A family from Slovenia neighbors were […]

“Bento is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container.” (Wikipedia) A bento box in the Dominican Republic? Yes indeed, it was my first meal after arriving last week in DR. I’ve eaten picnics from […]

Photo Memories

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It’s raining this morning, only a few oak leaves cling to the trees and it is pretty dismal outside. I’m cheering myself up by putting photos in my 2015 album. Twenty-four years ago I started making a photo album for every year. Since then, I’ve gone back through boxes of old photos to make albums […]