Archive for the ‘friends’ Category
As another summer comes to a close, it seems an appropriate time to look back on the house as it appeared when I first arrived here in Round Hill in April 2010 (see below – click on all photos for larger views).
What do you think? Four summers of plenty of sweat and elbow grease has made quite a difference! When I first arrived here, the old place was in a shambles. As many of you may remember, I bought it sight unseen other than through photos and video clips. Upon arrival, I wasn’t dismayed. In fact, the state of the house barely registered as I was still in that peculiar state of seething fury that sustained me during the first three or so years after Don’s death. Perhaps it’s good that I felt that way. Otherwise, I might well have abandoned this project as there was just so much to do in order to make the house even passably inhabitable. The truth is that living here has been a pretty spartan existence. Fortunately, that didn’t bother me much. Most of the time, I was entirely oblivious. I expect that my few-and-far-between visitors wondered if I was off my stick for staying here. Well, perhaps I was.
Anyhow, things are better now. Great strides have been made this summer. I won’t go into a detailed enumeration, but suffice to say that the house is looking and feeling much happier these days.
And, things are finally to the point that I’ve even been inspired to get creative – painting floors and fish on doors – and so on.
One of the nicest projects was to get some new windows for the brook side of the house. The best of the original windows could then be added to those that I had been rebuilding for the front of the house. When I arrived in 2010, most of the front windows were a rotting, unsalvageable mess. However, now with the extras, I was able to assemble enough for the three front windows. I even had enough of the rippled antique panes of glass to fill all of the upper sashes. They look wonderful from inside the house – like looking out into a slightly watery impressionist painting. In daylight, the same panes throw beautiful shadows and reflections on the interior walls.
The collapsing cellar entrance is now well shored up with concrete and reinforcing rods. No longer must I worry about a cave-in on the way into the basement!
All in all, it’s been a terrific summer — between playing music with friends, cooking up the bounty of the prolific vegetable patch, and seeing the completion of a number of projects. It’s all been good. The forlorn old house has grown into a much happier place.
As usual, it’s taken me forever to update the blog. I’ve had most of these photos uploaded and ready to assemble into a post for over a week, but it seems that there is never enough time to stop and write about what’s going on. Gardening, hiking, going to the farmers’ market, cooking, playing music, painting the floors of the house (more about that project in an upcoming blog post).
However, today, I wanted to share some of the good things about hanging out in this part of Nova Scotia in summer. Let me give you an illustrated tour beginning with a recent pie made from locally grown Cortland apples (see above). Larry has been visiting and trying out the local apples. He started with Golden Russets and then the Cortlands. I made an experimental pie out of each. I think we agreed that the Cortland pie was the winner. This weekend, I’ll be baking a pie from Ida Reds to see how that compares. Next to the pie in the above photo is one of my old folk art pieces. I used to do a lot of carving at one time and these fish were some of my favourites. I’ve got a few boxes of my carvings left over from the occasional studio shows back at the farm, so I’ve been gradually unpacking them and putting the pieces around the house to enjoy.
For the past three summers, one of my weekly rituals has been a visit to the Annapolis Royal Farmers’ Market – at least until my own vegetable garden takes off. I’ve been to the first three of the season since the market moved from its winter quarters over to the market square by the waterfront. It’s great to wander around checking out what everyone has to offer and stocking up on local maple syrup, vegetables, eggs, baked goods and preserves. Upon arriving home, I try to come up with a dish that incorporates some of that bounty. A generous serving of sautéed fiddleheads (young shoots of ferns before they unfurl), and a quiche made with free range eggs, green onions and green garlic from my friends, Nicole and Stewart at Whippletree Farm. They are just down the road from me – they farm with horses and have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program in which members receive a share of the weekly produce – read about that here. They have a nice blog – check out a recent post which features lots of photos of their up and coming vegetables.
Another weekly tradition has been to buy a loaf or two of bread from one of several bakers who has a table at the market. Although Larry and I both enjoy baking bread, it’s hard to resist loaves such as the olive or sourdough from Boulangerie la Vendèenne of Mahone Bay.
Visitors often ask me about dulse after seeing signs for it, or packages in local shops. In fact, throughout the summer, down the road from me, there is a cardboard box marked “DULSE” sitting on an old wooden chair by the roadside. You can stop, put your money in a jar and take a bag. After arriving here, Larry asked about dulse, so I picked up a bag of “Fundy Dulse” from the local grocery store. If you’re curious about dulse, ready more about it here. Above is a photo of the bag and, yes, another of my folk art carved fish.
The weather has been quite changeable this past few weeks. However, we finally seem to be into warmer weather. The garden is beginning to grow – especially the potato plants and various greens. I’ve been making more salads like the above potato salad made with fresh eggs, baby spinach leaves and green onions from Nicole and Stewart’s farm. I’m looking forward to the day – coming soon – when the garden here at the house can provide most of what is needed for every meal.
One last photo. As most of you know, I love to garden and have a growing collection of perennials, rose and rhododendron bushes. A couple of weeks ago, it was the Champlain Garden Club’s annual plant sale in Annapolis Royal. Many of my favourite plants were purchased at past sales. More plants were added this spring. As always, the prices were so low and the size of the plants so generous. Larry noticed a huge chunk of hosta – the kind with immense, blue-green leaves – in a large plastic sack with a price of ten dollars. How could we resist such a bargain! We brought it home and Larry divided it up into several good pieces to populate the shady sections of the garden under the lilacs and locust trees.
Okay, enough for now. I’ll try to get another post together soon — about the painted floor project going on here at the house.