Browsing Posts in Grammy

A joyous occasion the weekend before last when we said goodbye to summer with a wedding in our garden. Our oldest granddaughter, Crystal, married her fiance Bruce (Bo) Howes. Grandpa Max had the great honor of officiating at the ceremony. It was a small wedding, with the exception of four friends, it was just family. […]

Bright spots

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We’ve had a bright spots in this lonely summer of the pandemic. Before she left for college mid-August, Cecelia gave us a porch cello concert. We had two celebrations the last week of August. Our son, Doug, celebrated his sixtieth birthday. It was a pretty subdued party, we gathered in his backyard, socially distanced, masked, […]


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I was in my fifties when I got my first passport, and started traveling. Whenever I was away, I sent a postcard to each of my grandchildren from each place I visited. It was the way of keeping in touch. There was no internet, and telephone calls were difficult and expensive. I traveled alone so […]

In a couple of weeks, Cecelia will leave for Colorado Springs where she’ll enter Colorado College. Social distancing, masks, and other concessions to the pandemic will make a very different experience for her than it was for her brother, Hunton, two years ago. Cecelia’s final weeks of her senior year meant online classes. The All-School […]

There aren’t any. This is the first summer in memory that we haven’t been making plans for a vacation trip. We won’t be driving to Michigan to visit my sister Beth. We won’t be taking the ferry to Nova Scotia, and then on to Cape Breton to see the breathtaking coastline. We won’t be driving […]

Walking through the orchard store today seemed a little surreal. There are major alterations to the interior, designed to keep customers and staff safe. New walls, plexiglass panels, hand sanitizers, and curbside pickup. Like so many things in our newly changed world, it will take some getting used to. We hope it won’t feel too […]

This morning the sun is bright. From the window behind my desk, I can see clumps of yellow daffodils, the pink blooms of my magnolia tree, graceful branches of golden forsythia waving in the breeze, and in the distance, the first pale pink peach blossoms. All are encouraging signs of normalcy. Otherwise, things aren’t normal. […]

Forty Years

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This space has not been updated since the spring. Our summer was marked by some travels and a major change. Our grandson Alex with his wife Jessalyn and their two children are now our next-door neighbors. They’ve bought our house while we will live in the attached guest house. With aging comes change and for […]


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The abundance of fruit makes me anxious. I should be doing something with it. I should be freezing and canning and baking. Once my freezer would have been packed with berries, cherries, and peaches. There were jars of different varieties of jams, jellies, and chutneys. It has been a long time since hungry teens, our […]

Is there anything more annoying than trying to get a purchase out of its ironclad plastic packaging? I recently had a drippy cold that I thought some Vicks Nyquil Liqui Capsules might help. It took heavy scissors to cut through the plastic and then I had to pry them out with fingernails. My new oven […]

May wasn’t quite as bad as April but it was cold and raw. It rained 21 days in April and by May 12th, it already rained 7 days. Enough already! So far in two months we’ve had 32 days of rain. The May flowers did bloom and when the sun shines the garden looks lovely. […]

Tech 1

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“You must pair your device with your television,” read the directions on Max’s compilot. That is a small gizmo to wear around his neck while he watches TV. It is supposed to transmit sound directly from the television to his hearing aids. He can even hear it when I turn the sound down so that […]

The crew has been busy for the past few weeks getting ready for opening day. There is always excitement and anticipation when we open the doors on May 1. The barn is again redolent with the fragrance of baking pies and frying donuts. Fresh coffee, cider, and other goodies wait for the return of our […]

A friend in Norway sent me this recipe.  I sent it to Hunton who made it for his roommates, he pronounced it a winner. On his recommendation, I made it for a group of friends, definitely a winner. It is incredibly easy. No crust to make and roll out, no need to peel the apples, […]

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 […]


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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 […]


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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 […]


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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 […]


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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 […]


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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 […]


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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 […]


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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 […]