Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Trick or Treat

Ghost Goodies
What a nice surprise to come home today to find this bag of treats on our doorstep!  A big thanks to our neighbors in the next block, the Robinsons.

It was especially nice because I was lugging heavy bags in the rain and grumbling as I climbed the steps.  Our street is STILL torn up.  We can't park in our driveway or on the street at all.

In fact, we don't get to have Halloween.  It is too unsafe.  The street will be closed.  Boo hoo.

Nonetheless, we are very grateful that we had minimal storm damage around here ---and that we live is such a nice neighborhood with such thoughtful neighbors.

Inside the bag, there were four ghosts --- Nutter Butters dipped in white chocolate with mini-chocolate chip eyes.  Now there are only three. 

Happy Halloween!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Reminder: Time to Order Turkey

It's not too late if you want to have a locally grown, fresh turkey this year for Thanksgiving. 

I just ordered ours from one of the local farmers I met at the local foods event last February sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension.

I chose to buy from John Stierly because the chicken I bought that day was excellent. 

He is a 10 year old 4H member, who started in 2010 with a small flock of laying hens.  Today with the help of his family he has a rapidly growing business of eggs, chickens and turkeys. They have pasture raised pork now, too. 

His mom will deliver the turkey to your door in our area on Tuesday or Wednesday, just before Thanksgiving.  About $4.00/lb. And a $20 deposit.  They average 12 to 18 pounds.

There were about 20 left when I spoke John's mother, Christine.

You can reach them at JohnsChickens@yahoo.com or 607-742-5860. They are from Addison, New York. 

They also have a new batch of chicken --breasts, legs and thighs, and some wings -- available for sale now.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Sets are Not Always the Best

Overflowing in Cups and Saucers

Another little big thing that I am changing is the mentality that I have to keep something just because it is part of a set.

I remember the first time I encountered the notion that sets are not always the best

This was many years ago, but it is still relevant. 

I ran into the mother of one of the French families living here and she was planning a summer party in their new home-away-from-home.  She was dismayed to find that in the U.S. dishes were only sold at sets. 

Today this is not true but it was back then.  Martine told me that in France we buy plates!  not sets!  What do you do with all of the extra cups and saucers you don't need? 

How smart, I thought!  Things don't have to match. The French buy only what they need and keep only what they use.   Yes, I would rather have 16 dinner plates than a 16 pc. set of dishes with cups and saucers I would never use.  (We are mug people.)

So, as I put our kitchen back together I am forcing myself to:

The Pot We Never Use

1) giveaway pieces from a set which I rarely, if ever, use.  In particular, pots and pans.  Do I really need to keep that extra saucepan which is the wrong size?  How many times have I used it in the last year(s)?

Grandma's Plates -- Just a few, then packing away the rest
2) pack away the dishes which I am still attached to, but keep a few out --- like soup bowls or salad plates --- to layer on top of my white plates.  This way I can use a few of my grandmother's dishes to feel connected to my past without them taking up all of my storage space. 

Shop for New, Worn Out Items
3) replace the really sad looking things, worn out from wear and tear.  So far, I have a new salad spinner and have replaced the rusty cheese grater.  Next, I am looking for a new hand blender.

As I put everything back I am creating a giveaway pile, then "living" with the feeling of an item being gone.  If I regret it, I go back and fetch it, but I have been fine with letting most of them go.

Lobster platter is moving to my sister-in-law's in New Hampshire where she serves lobster and collects Jan Pugh ceramics

In some cases, if I just take a photo of it.  I don't need to keep something I don't use just because a dear friend gave it to me.  A photo to remember it is enough to help me let go of it. 

Bye-bye cups and saucers.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Little Big Things

Little Big Things:  Using Cloth
During the time we were kitchenless, there was plenty of time to be reflective about daily habits we have created, or --- have just let happen over time.

And then, to be thoughtful before we just put everything back the way it was.  What do we keep?  What do we change? 

For example, we are going back to using cloth napkins on a daily basis.  It's one "tradition" that fell to the wayside over time.  Paper is easier, more convenient. 

But cloth napkins are simple way to make everyday feel special and to be "greener" at the same time. 

Plus I have a big collection of napkins that I started back in my Dansk days--- which was going unused.  Why save them for special occasions?

We keep our napkin at our place at the table until it is soiled, then I switch to new ones.

It's actually less expensive over time to buy cloth napkins and wash them, than to buy disposable paper napkins.  You can buy cloth napkins on sale or watch for them at places like TJMaxx. 

I think it is important to buy 100% cotton.  Stains are easier to clean in cotton napkins, and they get softer and softer over time.

Of course, this is not a black or white decision.  There is no right or wrong.  We will use paper, too. :)


Monday, October 15, 2012

Before the Frost

Anemones Before the Frost
Last week, before the frost, I picked most of the flowers left in the back yard, and brought them into the house to enjoy.  These are a perennial called anemones, or wind flowers.  They flourished for the first time since I planted them three years ago.  What a joy they have been.  I can't get enough of them. 
We moved back from the lake and are now at home, and have made great progress on the kitchen upgrade.  As you can see in the photo, there is lot more light coming in since we cut down the trees between us and our neighbor. 
However, the ceiling lighting is not yet installed, and the new cabinets don't arrive until after Thanksgiving, which delays the backsplash. Aarrgh. And no window treatments yet.  The new pantry doesn't have shelves.  The list never ends, it seems.
Nonetheless, we are already enjoying the new, improved space.  As soon as the stove was hooked up again, I made no-knead bread and a good soup (Italian Sausage with lots of veggies).  We eat by candlelight -- which has been nice.
And Tom is back in the kitchen, too.  He is going to make meat loaf today.
Things are returning to a new normal.