Browsing Posts in Grammy

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 […]


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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 […]


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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.  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 […]


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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 […]


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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 […]


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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 […]

More Apples

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A few weeks ago my sister visited from Michigan. Our usual breakfast is cereal but I thought I’d like to do something a bit nicer for one morning. I made a German Apple Pancake, a family favorite that I had put in the Grammy’s Kitchen cookbook. Unfortunately, I forgot to add the flour. We had […]


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Halloween is now second only to Christmas for the amount of money spent on candy, decorations and costumes in the US and Canada. The custom appears to have come to North America with the Scottish and Irish immigrants in the early 20th century. In the past two decades it has spread to Europe and Australia, […]

One of the great pleasures of living in Ipswich is the wealth of community activities and the enthusiastic participation of its people. I grew up in a small town but lived for some time in cities. Although there is so much available in a city, theater, music, museums, etc. Small towns have a kind of […]

A photograph has the power to evoke memories in a way that few other things do. Last week we found a photo taken in December 1979 in front of the orchard barn. It was the year we bought the farm. The sign on the doors say Goodale Orchards. It wasn’t until another ten years that […]

October Colors

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These are busy weeks at the orchard. I could use that as an excuse for such a long time between postings but it’s really that I haven’t been inspired to write. I have had time to read three volumes of the Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante. When I opened the first one, My Brilliant Friend, […]

Apples, Apples

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After being away for a couple of weeks I walked through the orchard Tuesday morning. The lovely fragrance of ripe apples greeted me. The apples hang heavily from the trees with colors ranging from the yellow/green Gingergolds to the bright red Empires and every shading in between. This morning the heat wave has broken and […]

More dessert

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One of the best food discoveries from our trip to Stockholm was the dessert, Pannacotta. It is apparently an Italian dessert that is quite common but I’d never eaten it. It was so smooth and light and delicious that I kept trying it in different restaurants. Once home I was determined to replicate it. I […]

Once upon a time, say from the time I was born until my children left home, dessert was a necessary part of every dinner. It could be simple, cookies or some fresh fruit but more often it was pie or cake or some other confection and if it was buried in whipped cream, so much […]


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All good things must end and so our adventures in Sweden and Iceland are now just memories. The final part of the trip took us to Iceland where we were awed by the magnificence and grandeur of the landscape. It is vast and rugged and wild and beautiful. I had thought that I’d feel about […]

In addition to reindeer herding, my Swedish friend, Sonja, arranged a unique trip for us. Sixteen women from six countries were introduced to the Sami culture in several ways. We crossed the Arctic Circle on the first day of our trip. We would not stay in hotels or eat meals in restaurants. Our first night […]

Reindeer herding isn’t the usual sort of topic for Grammy but this was an experience I have to share. I have a friend who is one of the Sami people, the indigenous people of Lapland. Lapland is an area above the Arctic Circle encompassing northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. Originally nomadic, the Sami now […]


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It’s hard work being a tourist. So many things to see and do, decisions to make and advice to follow but we’re managing. We are in love with Stockholm, it is a beautiful city with many parks and museums with water every place we turn. The meals that we’ve eaten have been wonderful, it’s hard […]

Stockholm at Midsummer sounded like a fun place to be. A number of years ago I had spent Midsummer’s Eve in Vilnius, the main city of Lithuania. It was a lively place. Shops and museums stayed open all night with concerts and festivities going on throughout. I had imagined this was a custom in the […]


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We have sweet additions to our barnyard. Daisy a miniature donkey and her baby, Gingergold arrived the end of last week and settled in quickly. Baby Ginger is pretty cute, she wanders away from Mama for a few minutes and then runs back to her. Earlier in the summer our geese presented us with a […]

In a few short weeks the orchard has been transformed. From rabbits standing on snow drifts nibbling treetops to trees loaded with tiny apples. Unfortunately full bloom occurred while we were visiting my sister in Michigan so we missed it this year. The orchard in bloom is a stunning sight. One day there are little […]

Last year we were surprised by the arrival of a Baltimore Oriole on May 11th. It was the first one we’d ever seen in our yard. I quickly put out an orange and hoped he’d stay. Only a week with us and then he disappeared. I prepared early this year, putting out an orange slice […]

Our year at the orchard begins this Friday when we open for our 36th season. Courtney and Vanessa have stocked the shelves, Sarah’s getting the kitchen organized and Tina has filled the wine rack. Devan has greens ready in the green house and is getting the garden planted now that the ground is warmer. Snowy […]