Archive for the 'today' Category

stalking the wild blueberry

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

The Shawangunk ridge above Ellenville is covered in wild blueberry (or huckleberry) bushes, which a hundred years ago supported a berry-picking industry.

While living in New York I never went to Times Square or Central Park unless friends were in from out of town; to this day I still haven’t been up the Empire State Building.

It’s the same here, there are unbelievable hikes and views just minutes from the house but we never seem to go unless we’re entertaining visitors. So it was a lucky coincidence when family came to stay at the peak of the blueberry season, and got us out of the house.

We went up to Minnewaska Preserve and followed a narrow path on the far side of the lake, climbing down the side of the mountain to where the blueberry bushes were plentiful.

Look down and see blueberries all around. Look up and see this view. Pick, pick, pick.

Afterwards we sat high up on the rocks where one of the hotels used to be, looking down at the lake and some long-distance swimmers cutting through the water with perfect form.

A couple of days after our guests left I cooked up a small batch of intensely-flavored blueberry jam.

So good. So unbelievably good.

summer rain

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

I love it when “water garden” is on my list for the day and I wake up to the swishy sound of tires on wet road, and the patter of drops in the gutter above the bedroom window.

Can’t help feeling pleased with myself when I’ve crossed something off my to-do list before getting out of bed.

my yard is a safe place

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Earlier this week I happened to look out the kitchen window when a fawn and her mama walked into the yard. They were nibbling the “deer-proof” forcythia. Then the fawn picked her way back to the maple in the far corner by the brush pile and curled up under it and her mom wandered away. The little one stayed nestled under the tree, almost invisible, all day.

I was a wee bit concerned and placed a call to in-the-know friends who confirmed that this is normal. Apparently does find a safe place to stash their babies and leave them there, coming back to check on them periodically. All week I’ve seen the mom come and go leaving her fawn stashed away in the weeds for hours at a time.

This morning I was making coffee when two female deer wandered into the yard, together with the fawn who raced around in the long grass. I was watching her run crazy loops when all of a sudden there were two fawns, both racing around, up and down the hill. Hilarious.

I wasn’t able to capture them both, but here’s a glimpse of one of them – a speck of fawn at speed.

The sound in the background in Noola chewing cardboard. Still.

a quiet week of spring

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I ate my first salad from the garden — arugula, spinach, lettuce, wintered-over parsley, and tiny kale thinnings. So good that I had salad for lunch and dinner.

I finally planted the asparagus starts that have been stored for weeks in the basement, waiting. I dug deep, spread the octopus roots over mounds of composted cow manure, and covered them up. An investment for the future.

The cats were too busy to help — monitoring the birds outside the bathroom window,

and killing the duster,

when they weren’t occupied with sleeping.

The last of the late tulips have faded,

but the perennials along the porch have been growing fast, with new blooms appearing daily.

On Sunday evening M went to the ice cream stand and got us milkshakes, and we sat on the porch and looked at the flowers and talked about nothing, while the children across the street rode their bikes, and someone in a white pickup waved as they drove by.

april’s almost over

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

I am still here, contrary to appearances. I’m working on a big jewelry project, and running out to pull weeds in the breaks. Will try to take some pictures and post some news soon.


Friday, February 19th, 2010

I’m back home, resting, recovering and reorganizing after my adventures in Philadelphia during the great whiteout of 2010. I promise a detailed narrative very soon…

pine cones

Monday, January 11th, 2010

It was very windy over the holidays and when I went out to get kindling one morning I ended up gathering armloads of pine cones, blown down from the Norway spruce. For fun I filled a casserole dish with them, tightly lined up side by side.

A couple of days ago I found some of the cones on the floor and thought I knew for sure who the culprits were. But last night we heard a strange sound and when we investigated, discovered that the cones have been expanding in the heat and popping themselves out and away.

Not everything can be blamed on the woozles.

happy boxing day

Saturday, December 26th, 2009

There is a “wintery mix” coming down outside and after shoveling the walks and bringing in wood for the stove we do not plan to venture out again today.

I turned the rubber plant into an ersatz tree and so far it is surviving the excited onslaught of the wee ones.

We have a fridge full of leftovers. For our vegetarian feast on Christmas Eve I made Nutmeat Paté in Brioche from the 1972 classic The Vegetarian Epicure.

(A cookbook worth checking out if only for entertainment value since many recipes list MSG as an ingredient and there are notations on what to serve after “sharing a pipe”.)

M, despite his Texas roots, was entirely satisfied. Although who can complain about any meal that ends with pie?

Today I picked some lettuce from one of the raised beds!

I couldn’t believe it when I saw the perky leaves, I had given up on them and yanked off their row cover last week.

Spring is feeling very far off so it was a treat to carry the handful of green indoors.

week of giving thanks

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving. This morning I said goodbye to the last member of my holiday visiting family and drove home from the train station in the rain, feeling suitably glum and wintery.

Some houses still have pumpkins on their stoops, but this was obviously the weekend for getting out holiday decorations – lots of glowing icicles hanging from eaves, and May-pole shaped ‘trees’ made of Christmas lights strands. Some blow-up snowman snow globes of which I will not speak another word.

My decorations are on my radar but not up yet. And the idea of getting a tree was collectively nixed the minute the word “kitten” was mentioned. I need some time to come up with a solution to that energetic, furry problem.

On Thanksgiving day we went up to Sam’s Point and walked in the fog,

and were given the gift of blue sky when we reached the lake at the top of the ridge.

There was fog dew on everything.

We came home and ate turkey and then leftovers, leftovers, leftovers for days.

On Saturday we visited the fairytale Mohonk Mountain House for lunch (and a menu change).

We got lost, briefly, in the garden maze but managed to find our way home.

It was a real vacation. We watched movies, played with cats large and small, and talked and laughed a ton. So good. It felt both long and short – how the best days always feel. I am grateful.

catch up

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Beware what you wish for – I have so much jewelry to make that I feel like I’m in a tightly choreographed dance, moving from beads to chores to paperwork and back. I am not complaining; it’s the good kind of busy, plus there’s cat play and coffee breaks, and excursions to the village board meeting and pilates class (variety is the spice).

In the middle of this twirling we’re going to Scotland and England to visit my family. A welcome break from the daily busy. Or at least it will be welcome once it’s here. I can’t wait for the moment when there’s nothing more I can do to prepare. Too bad if I’ve forgotten something; they sell toothbrushes in the UK. For this glorious “it’s too late” moment I have purchased yarn, and I plan to knit as many of these as I can. Mindless pleasure perfect for airport/airplane/visiting with relatives.

Since posting has been slim, despite my camera being full, before I leave I give you a little catch up of the past weeks here:

I made jam for the first time.

And it was good.

The kittens learned the value of a perfectly-sized box,

the importance of packing toys as well as yourself,

and the usefulness of recycled materials in lieu of those pesky packing peanuts.

The blight took out my solo tomato and all my potato plants.

My harvest was a few pounds of Dark Red Norland spuds,

and five green tomatoes which were respectfully chopped up and cooked into a chutney. (I’m hooked on canning.)

There were wonderful moments of feline détente between the young and the old.

Even, miraculously, between Miss Hissy and Maxie. (Actually I’m not sure that she knew he was there.)

And just in the last few days the leaves from the maples along the drive have taken flight.

As we’re about to do.