Our family enjoys water many ways. Exciting ways on the Deerfield River and
paddling peacefully on Lake Champlain.
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As a liberated woman I have made sure that my grandsons have had a few cooking lessons over the years. Rory was 13 when this photo was taken, but it is not his first lesson. Perfect scrambled eggs was probably an early lesson, but by 2009 he had moved along to the perfect omlette.
Saumon en papillote, a Julia Child recipe, amazingly simple, but a dish with dash, has become Rory’s specialite.
I cannot begin to tell you how many blue ribbons this family has won at the Heath Fair in August.
We made a lot more things for the Fair than pickles. Cookies are also always on the list.
I told you he made cookies!
Making real caramel is quite an operation, but he is up to it. When we are cooking for the Heath Fair, the rule is that I can instruct and advise, but I cannot touch anything. That rule has carried over into all our lessons.
Rory’s younger brother followed in his brother’s footsteps.
I bake a lot of bread. It is fun to do. I tell all the children that they have to think about all the people who will enjoy their cooking while they work. That love gets cooked right into the dish.
If you have a raspberry patch, you must make raspberry jam, and Tynan did.
I know Tynan did some baking every year, but there does not seem to be a photographic record. However, creativity comes in all forms – many of them are found at the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls.
Because Anthony and his younger brother Drew live in Texas we got them both at the same time in the summer. Less cooking, more field work like picking raspberries.
Of course, we take all the boys touring locally at historic sites like the Hawley kiln, and art sites like MassMoCa. There is lots to do at the End of the Road and all around western Massachusetts. I think these boys have gotten fewer cooking lessons, but they are Boy Scouts. They need to cook around the campfire.
The boys are getting ‘old.’ They’ve got jobs and less time for cooking lessons and frolicking. Fortunately, we have Bella, a great-granddaughter, who has moved close enough to start her cooking lessons.
Sometimes you have to show off your pleasure and delight. Wordless Wednesday is the perfect opportunity. Grandson Rory has been visiting. He may be taller and have new skills – driving!
But the general attitude doesn’t change at all. Pretty nice gate, don’t you think?
For more (almost) Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.
A sizeable work crew showed up to help prepare for the Annual Rose Viewing, but it was impossible to get a photo of them all working together. Diane directed the weeding of the Peony Bed that was in great need. Henry took direction as well as the girls. Eveyone felt the 90 degree heat.
Granddaughters Caitlin and Tricia couldn’t even spare time to look up from their labors.
I directed the shed clean up. Lola and Bella were ready to take up this job. Collecting all the nursery pots and categorizing them.
I’ve never seen pots so well categorized. By size.
Time to catch some breezes, and celebrate in the Cottage Ornee. Lola was 4 in May, and Diane will be ? in two weeks. Cake and birthday books! The Little Yellow Trolley Car by Marie Bartlett and All Creatures Great and Small by Ashley Bryan for Lola. The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman for Diane. Diane’s book has three wonderful sisters in it, and Lola’s books include local history and the beauty of our world.
And the roses continue to open. Peonies, too. All is nearly ready for the Annual Rose Viewing on Sunday, June 30, 1-4 pm.
W 1s for Water, and for Dr. Betsy our fourth child, second daughter, and Queen of Water. That actually isn’t her title, which I don’t remember, but she has been working for the Mass Water Resources Authority for a number of years, as the scientist on the staff, although she also has administrative duties. Why is it we parents never understand our children’s jobs anymore?
Anyway just in time for her 50th birthday celebration, she has been given a promotion and will now not only be responsible for clean water quality in Boston and environs, she will be responsible for waste water. In and out, you might say. Congratulations, Betsy.
After reading Who Really Killed Cock Robin by Jean Craighead George when she was in 6th grade she decided she would be an environmentalist. Certainly there is nothing more basic to our environmental health than clean water. I don’t know when she really became interested in water, but when she was in the Peace Corps in Kenya (1987-1989) she was given the job of helping a mountain village get water into the village. Up to that time women had to collect and carry water from a mile away. At her birthday party her sister asked how she knew how to do things like lay a gravity feed water line and build a huge water tank. She said, “I read a book.” Music to a librarian mother’s ears.
When she returned to the United States, she went back to Clark University where she earned her PhD in Microbiology. Her dissertation was titled Microbiological Pretreatment of Industrial Wastewater. One of the other mothers at the graduation ceremony said Betsy’s dissertation was the only one with a title that she could understand. I understood generally, not specifically. I kept asking what she had the microbes do? She said she trained the microbes to eat the hazardous waste in the water. Do I understand how you train a microbe? No. Surely there are no whips and chairs that small.
She then served as a Congressional Fellow for Representative Edward Markey (now trying for Senator) but eventually found her way to the MWRA and I think even Sheryl Sandberg would agree she is leaning in.
Of course, Betsy is not the only skilled, talented, energetic, forward thinking woman in the family. We all gathered to help celebrate Betsy’s birthday. We drank a lot of water. Other stuff, too.
To see what else begins w ith W click here.
K is for Kids at the End of the Road Farm. There are always projects and chores. Rory is collecting food for the worms. He and his cousins built our worm bin for vermicomposting, and have helped keep the worms fed when they are here. We’ve had the worms for five years now.
Sometimes we have special events like riding lesssons at Birch Glen Stables. All the boys got lessons, and most of them were enjoyed. I like getting their rotted manure for the vegetable garden. Horses have all kinds of value.
There are chores, too, of course. Fortunately, getting to run the equipment is fun. So far.
Our neighbor has goats and sometimes the boys get to feed them at milking time. We love homemade goat cheese.
Raspberries and Blueberries to pick.
Now we are looking forward to getting the GREAT Granddaughters into the garden and everywhere. They used to live in Florida, but now they live near!
I do have four granddaughters including the mother of the two great-granddaughters, and the younger girls now 26, 22 and 18, but their years at the End of the Road were pre-digital photos.
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Celebration Season this year has been quite lengthy. We had one rowdy family Christmas on December 22, but then a quiet adult Christmas on December 25 with only one child and his lady, and a dear friend who always joins us for Christmas dinner. On December 29 the Heath Gourmet Club celebrated Christmas with a theme of Looks Like a Wreath to Me! Nearly every course was wreath-like. My savarin pans came in handy for the main course which was grape leaf covered rice and beef, with roasted cauliflower in the center and braised kale with colorful dice peppers surrounding it. My Green celebration bread was a big hit. Gourmet Club has been serving ourselves for over 31 years! Wonderful food with never a single failure, and friendship.
The finale was not a Buche de Noel but a Wreath de Noel with lots of fabulous chocolate ganache, pistachio marzipan (home made) and topped off with a fondant ribbon.
Yesterday, we drove throught the nearly 20 inches of snow that the last two days have brought for a final family Christmas. The eating continued with some of the Butternut Squash soup I made for Gourmet Club, and delicious pumpkin pie. The children all agreed that pumpkin is a vegetable and they were very happy to eat their vegetables. It is impossible to get all the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren together anytime except in the summer, but we had a very nice showing. They even stopped moving long enough for a posed photo.
There were a few quiet moments. Reading Aloud. Lola, the youngest, got a new copy of Maurice Sendak’s Nutshell Library. Happy reading. Happy day. Happy family. And a happy new year beginning tomorrow
Thanksgiving Day dawned mild and sunny. There was little left to do in the morning at daughter Betsy’s house so there was time for a stroll and for The Major and grandson Rory to have a tete a tete.
Things got a lot busier at daughter Diane’s house, especially in the Thanksgiving kitchen. Cooks and kibbitzers gathered near the stove to be there when the turkey came out of the oven.
It is impossible to get everyone in the frame at the Thanksgiving table but all 15 of us were there. We couldn’t reach the Texas branch of the family who were in Pittsburg (?) with the Lawn family but a toast was drunk to family and friends, near and far.
Post Thanksgiving weather was cold, breezy and raw. This morning we woke to snow. The flurries are slight, the air is still, and the temeprature is up to 32 degrees, but the ground is covered.
We are poised for a peaceful moment, but time does not stand still.
The Christmas wreath is hung and the dance towards Christmas has begun. The halls must be decked, the oven fired up and beds prepared for guests.
When we finished the remodel of our kitchen a few months ago I took Mr and Mrs Vegetable out of the drawer where they have been living for the past two decades. I remember these from my childhood when they hung on the kitchen wall in New York when I was about five (1945) and then in the farm kitchen in Charlotte, Vermont. My brothers and I found them in a big storage closet along with our childhood Christmas ornaments after my mother died in 1990. We split up the ornaments, but neither of my brothers wanted Mr and Mrs Vegetable so there was no bickering when I happily took them away.
However I never put them up on the wall until now. Now my kitchen wall is worthy of these wonderful ‘sculptures.’ My husband and I have taken to greeting each other with open arms when he arrives home at night. Somehow, after some months, this still makes us laugh. Two silly people. What can we do?
This morning as my husband prepared his morning coffee he gazed at Mrs Vegetable and said her head, and Mr Vegetable’s head, and declard they were garlic bulbs. Garlic bulbs? I don’t know if any American housewife c. 1945 even knew what a garlic bulb looked like.
All the other vegetables that make up their bodies are easily recognizeable: potatoes, tomato, carrots, lettuce, peas, green pepper and beans. I never gave it much thought but always assumed the heads were some kind of turnip. We disagreed, but by the time he left for work I was coming around to his way of thinking, and he was coming around to my way. What do we do now?
Do you have vegetable sculpture in your kitchen or dining room?
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