Browsing Posts in Grammy

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 […]

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 […]

Halloween

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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 […]

Iceland

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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 […]

Herring

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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 […]

Babies

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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 […]

Survivor

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Three years ago when we were in Las Terrenas we were told about a Turkish Survivor TV episode that had been filmed nearby. A local restaurant had provided all meals for their crew. This year, passing that restaurant we see a sign, Closed except for Survivor Crew. The restaurant is one of several with a […]

Scenes

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It is surprising how soon we become accustomed to sights that a couple of months ago would have seemed unusual. Two of the people we see nearly daily are the coconut man and the banana lady. The coconut man is tiny, he carrys a burlap bag full of coconuts almost half his size. He must […]

Contrasts

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It’s hard to get our heads around the kind of winter that Ipswich is experiencing and our warm days in the tropics. We’ve had a few days of heavy rain but it is always warm and doesn’t last long. I’m sure the view of our house in Ipswich is only too familiar but I have […]

Making Friends

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A year ago when we were in Las Terrenas, we made friends with Caroli a little six year old girl who lived a few doors from us. Her father is Swiss and her mother Dominican. She speaks both French and Spanish. She often came by with her Dominican cousins. Laura spoke to her in French, […]

Our daily walks on the beach are pretty much the same each day. We pass other walkers, sunbathers on chaises in front of the hotels and a few beach side bars. A few days ago we came across two unusual sights, children making sand structures. Although there are often children on the beach, it was […]

Our Storm

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We’ve been watching the news from the snowy Northeast. I’m a little sorry to be missing it, I like snow when it’s fresh and white and the sun glistens off on it. I don’t like it when it gets dirty and sloppy and it’s still cold. We had our own version of bad weather here […]

Just outside our gate is a relatively new complex built in the old colonial style with caramel colored stucco buildings, terra cotta tiled court yards and pillars. There are a few shops, a restaurant and an intriguing little oven that sits on a stand in front of one of the shops. A hand written sign […]

Las Terrenas has many hazards to make me cautious. There are zooming motor bikes, irregular sidewalks or the occasional gaping hole in the walk to name a few but I never expected to be injured by a cat. We had gone out for a birthday dinner Saturday night at a charming beach restaurant in the […]

Welcome 2015

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It’s a long time since I’ve made New Years resolutions. I never seemed to get past the first couple of weeks without breaking them. The past few years I’ve tried to spend some time on New Years Day thinking of the highlights and lowlights of the year. I’ve been so lucky that the highlights always […]

Baltimore

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The closing of the orchard is the perfect time for a short get-away. It’s also the time of year I try to get together with my best friend, Theresa, who lives in West Virginia. Our yearly excursion took us to Baltimore this year. This was my first visit there. I’ve decided that the “Charm City” […]

A Rant

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The past few months I’ve realized that I’m “tuning out” as far as keeping up with world news. Between the Middle-East, the Ukraine and other hot spots, I just don’t want to read or hear about it anymore. I read about failing infrastructure, corporation lobbies buying government and melting glaciers. Our returning veterans aren’t being […]

TART RECIPE

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I learned to make pies by watching my mother and grandmothers. The pastry was a pretty straightforward affair, a three to one ratio of flour to shortening (ex: 1½ cups flour to ½ cup shortening) with just enough water to hold it all together, 2½ to3 tablespoons per cup of flour. Don’t work it too […]

Fish Cakes

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“Did I ever tell you I like fish,” Max would say whenever we passed the fish counter in the supermarket. His way of suggesting we buy fish. I like fish but cooking it can be pretty monotonous. I can bake it or fry it but feel like it’s a bit boring. I have developed some […]

Celebrations

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This is my favorite time of year. From my desk I can look out over the orchard and watch people arriving by the wagonload to pick apples and enjoy the change of season. Picking apples is a great family activity. When our children were growing up we usually made a trip to Applecrest Farm in […]

“Why is that big house here on this farm?” As I left my office in the old farmhouse yesterday I was surrounded by children here for a school tour. They looked to be six or seven years old and had arrived by bus from an inner city school. They had taken a hay ride, picked […]

The Storm

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Growing up in the midwest we were familiar with violent storms and tornados. It was before television but when an especially strong storm was expected my father would sit up all night monitoring the radio weather report. We were warned that if he woke us my brother and I were to run to the cellar, […]

Our days and weeks seem to pass in a flash. It is nice to remember that there are places where life goes on at a more leisurely pace. We just returned from Maine where we celebrated our middle son Doug’s birthday at West Branch Pond Camps in Kokajo, Maine.  The camps are ten miles off […]

I’m embarrassed to say that I have lived in Massachusetts for 54 years and never eaten oysters— until the weekend before last. I was invited to celebrate my friend Sadie’s birthday in East Dennis on Cape Cod. Gail, another friend came up from Rhode Island where her son-in-law is an oyster farmer. She brought a […]

It’s always hard to decide which vegetable is most welcome when it ripens. The first asparagus from the garden welcomes spring. It’s followed by the sugar snap peas, so sweet and good it’s hard to get enough of them. Suddenly tomatoes are ripe leading to BLTs and fresh salsa and often, just slices with a […]

We’ve left the land of raspberries and blueberries for a week of pineapple and papaya. Our daughter Laura has bought a little place in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. She and I arrived yesterday for a short visit. The weather is just a bit hotter than home and sticky but the beach is gorgeous and the […]

Strawberries start our fruit season on the orchard. The first berries are large and beautiful and full of strawberry flavor but it is those that come this time of year that are best. The berries are smaller and it takes more to fill a basket but they are as sweet as candy. The best ever, […]

Confit

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Chef Efren’s description of making a confit was so simple that I had to try it. In France duck is common in all the markets. One can buy duck legs or duck breast easily but here I see only whole frozen ducks in the market and then only occasionally. The duck legs are cooked slowly, […]

The final week of our European trip was spent on a hotel barge on a canal parallel to the Marne River in the Champagne area of France. The Merganser II was built in the 1930s. Its purpose originally would have been carrying freight. There are 5000 miles of navigable waterways in France. At one time […]

Sunday dinner was a special meal in my childhood. During the years of WWII meat was rationed, a pound of hamburger could make two meals for our family of four and meatless meals were a necessity, not something chosen for health or ethical reasons. But Sunday dinner was different, always meat and often chicken from […]

Two years ago when we came to Paris our friend Betsey highly recommended the Brasserie Balzar for a meal. We didn’t make it that trip so decided to have lunch there our one day in the city. It has survived since 1886, undergoing updating over the years. The restaurant is elegantly understated, very simply decorated […]

I ate too much in Germany but it was always different and good. We were a group of 50 so the meals were prearranged with only vegetarians or people with food allergies receiving different foods. We ate Turkish; Italian, three kinds of raviolis, all without meat but delicious; Vietnamese; traditional German meatballs with boiled potatoes […]