Browsing Posts in Grammy

Downsizing, 2

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The task of downsizing goes on. A couple of months ago I wrote about the pain of deciding what cookbooks I could part with, eighteen cartons of fiction, non-fiction and the cookbooks were sent off to the library and other book depositories. There were lots of other things that had to go so that we […]

Sunday in Boston

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Trinity Church in Copley Square is an imposing landmark. It is one of Boston’s premier tourist attractions, visited by thousands annually. It is also a thriving church community. I don’t know why in the fifty years that I’ve lived in or near Boston and the dozens of tourists I’ve shown around the city, I’d never […]

Thanksgiving is the most American of holidays and one that families of all faiths can embrace. Food is a major component and at this time every year I’m happy to stay in and cook. I don’t actually make the dinner anymore but I contribute something to the meal and even more, it starts me thinking […]

Bulb Planting

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It’s the time of year to put the garden to bed. We’ve transplanted some perennials, mounded dirt around the roses, covered the fish pond with mesh to keep the leaves out and now we’re looking ahead to spring. That means planting tulip and daffodil bulbs. Last week we bought a couple hundred assorted bulbs to […]


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In New England seasons mark the passage of time. It seems like only a few weeks ago we were worrying about whether the trees would bloom too early after hot March days and then when it got colder again, whether the bees would come out to pollinate. The trees did bloom early but escaped the […]

A Full English Breakfast is a pretty amazing feast. We recently returned from a brief visit to the UK where we stayed in a charming B&B and enjoyed this meal. It provided fuel for the entire day. The breakfast begins with a sideboard laden with cereal, museli, dried fruit, fresh fruit, yogurt, and juices. Those […]

“Right now there are probably millions of towels being washed in hotels [around the world]. And imagine the tonnes of water and millions of watts of electricity that are used day in and day out.” This is the sign in the bathroom of the hotel where we are staying in England. This sign or a […]

One of the great pleasures of travel is experiencing the food and customs of other cultures. A recent surprise email from a friend in Kyrgyzstan reminded me of our experience there a few years ago. We had volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. For two weeks we scraped paint, stripped wallpaper, plastered ceilings and painted. We […]

A Tribute

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It’s been several weeks since I’ve updated this blog. Three weeks ago I went to Michigan to visit my younger sister and ended up being there for her husband’s final illness. His health had not been good for many years but this summer was especially difficult for him. In the end he succumbed to a […]

Ode To Julia

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Julia Child probably had the greatest influence on my culinary aspirations and accomplishment. Last week was the 100th anniversary of her birth. Television and newspapers have been celebrating her life with a series interviews with people who knew her and reruns of her early French Chef shows. I’ve been thinking of how she changed my […]

It’s amazing to think that one can live in one area for fifty years and miss some of it’s richness. When we arrived in Massachusetts with our little family we set about to see everything. The Freedom Trail, Martha’s Vineyard, the coast of Maine, Battleship Cove in Fall River, the Boston Museums. We had a […]


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It seems ironic that we spend a good portion of our lives accumulating things and then spend more years trying to get rid of things. Downsizing, divesting, whatever it’s called is a lot of work. Books are a good example. I had filled a wall of bookcases and reached the point of getting rid of […]

Home again from our European holiday. It is always nice to go away and nice to come home. Our last ten days was spent in Germany traveling by car part of the time and visiting a friend in Munich for several days. Things that impressed us: Both France and Germany seem to be incredibly energy […]


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Paris is big and grand and enchanting, Strasbourg is small and charming. It is filled with 16th century houses and lots of tourists but still small enough to walk to through the entire old section. Our hotel was in the Cathedrale Square. The cathedrale itself dates from the 13th century. “it is widely considered to […]

The typical restaurant that we’ve found in Paris is small and intimate and doesn’t open until 7:30 or 8. People seem to spend the entire evening over their meal. There isn’t any pressure from the wait staff to “turn the table over”. It’s not unusual to see people still lingering over wine or coffee close […]

We’re nearly a week in Paris. We’ve been visiting the obligatory tourist sites, Notre Dame, Les Invalides, Rodin, and the Louvre. We’ve also been exploring the neighborhood of our apartment. On the weekend there was a “marché du pays”, one of the wonderful markets that appear in different areas with vendors of all sorts. A […]


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It’s Saturday morning in Paris and we are happily settled in an apartment in the 17th arrondissement, one of the 20 neighborhoods that make up Paris proper. Our apartment is up three flights of stairs, 58 in all according to Max who’s been counting them. We are enjoying the fact that we are surrounded by […]


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The very unusual weather of this spring made us very much aware of the importance of bees. Without them there would be no fruit since pollination requires that they do their thing, traveling from blossom to blossom carrying pollen. The fruit blooms came early followed by cold days when bees didn’t venture outside their hives. […]

Last November I wrote some of my thoughts and frustrations about the constant barrage of appeals for money from charitable organizations. The ones that I have chosen to support are ones where I am sure my money is being well spent. Most but not all of these are local. The topic of charitable giving came […]

It’s time for the first harvest of the year. It isn’t rhubarb, asparagus or strawberries that starts our harvest season but dandelions. This unusual winter and early spring hasn’t been kind to the berries and fruit trees but the dandelions are thriving. Anyone passing by can’t help to notice the cheerful yellow flowers blooming in […]

Time Flies

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Thirty-three years ago this month we started restoring and renovating Russell Orchards. At that time it was called Goodale Orchards, a name it had carried for fifty-nine years. In 2000 we decided that it was time to give it our name. We were a suburban family; an aerospace engineer, a nurse, and five nearly adult […]


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Last week we joined a sell-out crowd to hear Miranda’s concert at the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport. For the second year in a row she mesmerized the audience in that beautiful venue with her repertoire of rock, folk, and ballads. Several people mentioned to me that she just gets better and better. It’s […]

We arrived home just in time for 80 degree temperatures, it felt hotter than it was in DR. I’ve been catching up and getting settled but before I begin writing about life here in Ipswich I’m sending a piece that I wrote from Florida while we were enroute home. We are in the land of […]

This is a magical place and we are sad to be leaving. We have loved being in a real Dominican neighborhood where children play and people live their lives in the street. We will miss the beach and watching the fishermen. We’ll miss the wonderful food, eating meals on the beach with the glorious green […]

Excursions in DR

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Las Terrenas is a perfect place for tanning on a beach or eating great food but it is also possible to take part in lots of other activities. Diving, windsurfing, kiteboarding, horseback riding, snorkeling, and hiking are all readily available as well as excursions to the beautiful Los Haitises National Park and the hidden beaches […]

Dancing in DR

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Our daughter Laura left on Monday after two weeks with us. Our usual schedule (rut perhaps) was drastically altered. She was eager to be doing things and I was happy to join her. We went on excursions, checked out the nightlife and stayed up late watching old movies on TV. Laura took some dance lessons […]

Fishermen Again

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The fishermen hold endless fascination for us. As I wrote before, several times a week we end our beach walk/swim with a drink at the little cafe on the sand where the fishermen roll their boats up. Once the boats are high out of the water a man will hoist the engine on his shoulder […]

Our neighbors

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The street that runs behind our apartment is a poor neighborhood. Tiny houses line one side of the street. On the other side is a sort of wooded area. It has tall palm trees and lots of shorter vegetation. A triple barbed wire fence encloses it and is used as the clothesline for the women […]


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This seems to be a town of artists. The streets are lined with paintings; everywhere we look we see paintings. Giant paintings, they are huge, I can’t imagine how large a room/house would have to be to hang one. There are paintings in small tourist type shops but mostly they hang on the sides of […]


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Another beautiful day. We walked on the beach, Max swam and then we watched some of the fishing boats come in. I took a picture of the little bar/restaurants lining the beach. There are more elegant places but we like this place because of the local color. Walking down the beach we came across a […]

Fishing Boats

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Along the beach here in Las Terrenas there are a series of little bar/restaurants with a few plastic tables and chairs in the sand. We like to sit there and watch the fishing boats come in. They start arriving late in the morning. The horizon is clear and then a dot appears. They get closer […]

Life in DR

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Days pass slowly here in the sunshine. We take a walk each morning and sometimes have lunch at one of the many little restaurants nearby. We like a little French bistro on the corner of our street. There is a tiny bar and a few tables and chairs under a thatched roof. The menu is […]

2012 is here, a new year, a chance to see new things, try new foods, meet new people be open to adventures. Happy New Year. It’s already mid-January and my last post was Christmas Cookies. Christmas was a fun time with the family and suffice it to say I’m a bit behind in posting. The […]

One of the Christmas traditions that I enjoy is making Christmas cookies. When the children were in elementary school I spent weeks making cookies and freezing them. The last day of school before the holidays an array of a dozen different kinds of cookies were arranged on trays and taken to their teachers. The year […]

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, catalogs and fliers in every mail delivery exhorting us to buy, buy, buy. I know it’s good for the economy but just where does this fit with Christmas? You know, peace on earth, goodwill to men. I understand that Christmas sales can make the difference between success or failure for retail […]

Birthday Party

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Birthdays are special occasions and in our family most of them seem to come in a relatively short period of time. From August 25 to November 30 we have thirteen birthdays to celebrate. This year the celebrant’s ages ranged from 75 to 10. Wednesday was the last birthday until January. Cecelia is ten. The occasion […]

Thanksgiving Day

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The pies are cooling on the counter and we’ll leave soon to join our Andover family for a day of feasting and fun. It has been years since I’ve gotten up at dawn to stuff the turkey and get it in the oven. One of the benefits of having the next generation host dinner. I […]


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After the frantic pace of September and October, I always think that November will be quiet. When it finally rolls around and I turn the page of my calendar, I see that it is not going to be such a laid back month after all. There was the Wine and Apple Festival the first weekend, […]

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a fund raiser for the Essex Art Center in Lawrence. The EAC’s focus is to empower children by enabling them to explore their own creative resources, allowing them to recognize their self worth. Lawrence’s schools are consistently rated among the lowest in the state. The EACs after […]


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Lists. My life has been ruled by lists. Years ago there was the grocery list that I made up every Thursday when the newspaper arrived with the weeks supermarket specials. There were three markets in town and the menu for the next week depended on these specials. The shopping list was divided by market and […]

Pumpkin Time

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Outside the window of my office are the bright orange, rotund vegetables that have become synonymus with Fall. Pumpkins, rows and rows and bins and piles. Pumpkins everywhere and where there are pumpkins, there are children. I can see the delight on the children’s faces when they spy them and watch while loving family members […]

Birthday Cake

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Hunton’s twelfth birthday was Sunday. Ten year old Cecelia and I were entrusted with baking his birthday cake. As is the custom in our family, the birthday honoree chooses the menu and the cake for the celebration. Hunton requested a three layer cake. He wanted the bottom layer to be a banana pecan cake, like […]

For as long as I can remember food has been a big focus of my daily life. I think about the next meal or the one I’ve recently eaten or one I’d like in the future. I love thumbing through cookbooks and still check/cook my old favorites frequently. I also look up recipes online, reading […]

I’ve just had a milestone birthday. I would have been happy not to notice it but after being feted and fussed over, it’s not such a bad thing. It’s absolutely amazing how quickly the years pass, every year seems shorter than the year before. My birthday greetings came in many forms: in person, handmade, whimsical, […]

Chicago Visit

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I took a break from baking and cooking last week and spent several days in Chicago with friends from Boston, London, and Cologne, Germany. I fell in love with the city and its wonderful museums, Lake Michigan, beautiful parks, elegant shops, ethnic neighborhoods bursting with energy and vitality, and so much more. It has all […]

Travel has been one of my passions since getting my first passport at the age of 52. Since then I’ve had the good fortune to be able to visit 43 countries. Early on I started making photo albums of each trip. I’ve posted a bit about markets in Japan and Thailand. Looking through some of […]

I don’t know how it suddenly became mid-August. Soon the berries will be gone and we’ll be deep in apples. Last week I realized that I hadn’t made any strawberry or raspberry jam, our favorites, and now it’s too late. For many years I made the freezer version from recipes supplied by Sure Jell or […]

In past years we struggled to keep berries and veggies fresh in the heat of July. Some of our customers remember when, in desperation, we had fans blowing over ice to keep things cool. Every night anything remaining had to be transported to the cooled basement of the barn, then brought up the morning. This […]

The abundance of fruit and the July heat is doing me in. I can’t keep up with all the recipes I had sworn to try this summer. I bought a freezer a few months ago and have been trying to freeze some of the bounty since it’s too hot for baking. I’m looking forward to […]

It’s the season of Farmer’s Markets and roadside stands brimming with fresh fruit and vegetables. At the orchard we are in the midst of our mid-summer abundance and I should be making jam and freezing berries but it’s too hot. I started thinking about markets that I’ve visited in other countries. One of my favorite […]