Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Quilted on the porch Saturday morning.

Let Diesel, the cats, and even the chicken loose in the yard (not simultaneously).

Drank my first margarita of summer.

Waitressed two shifts: slow-and-mellow Friday, and crazy, slightly-overwhelming-but-still-fun Saturday. Met lots of townsfolk.

Reveled in a long day spent with my favorite ladies in Ithaca.

Attended my first parade in Gilbertsville.

Survived a long weekend sans Patrick with only a modicum of melancholy.

Celebrated my sweetie's return with lawn-lounging, afternoon-napping, and watching the fireflies together before bed.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A day at home

I had to stay home all day yesterday, to wait for the Home Depot delivery truck. The stacker kit for our washer and dryer was on its way-- they gave me the inconvenient 11am-3pm delivery "window"-- and I needed to be there to sign. When it finally showed up at nearly 2pm, about five ounces of hardware in a box twice the size of a deck of cards, I wasn't too upset. Being home for a whole sunny May day in Gilbertsville wasn't too bad.

It was wonderful.

I woke up early, I let Diesel out. I dragged Genevieve's pen over onto the grass and fed her handfuls of snails I'd pulled off my irises. She loves escargot, that chicken. I dug through the sod pile for worms, fed her those as well. Got quite a start when I lifted a layer of sod to discover a smug and corpulent toad grinning up at me. Oh, hello.

Baked blueberry muffins with the kitchen windows wide open. Chose mourning dove cooing over NPR. Unpacked odd boxes while the muffins baked. Planted two hazelnut bushes (a housewarming gift). Planted beets. Grubbed weeds from around the blueberry bushes. Changed my shoes. Spray-painted curtain rods we got on clearance ($5 each!) with oil-rubbed bronze paint. Cut and nailed two small planks over the dining room doorframe, to make a little display shelf. 

Ate lunch on the porch. 

Post-delivery, I made a quick trip to the nursery and came home with 18 tomato plants, 6 peppers, 3 basil, two foamflower and two coral bells. Planted everything. Neighbor came over to inform me he's labeled me "Hardest Working Person on Spring Street." I smiled, but really, how could I do anything but work? It's May. We're finally here. I've waited my whole life for this time, and there is so much to be done.

I might get over this feeling soon, I don't know. I'm hurrying through each little job completed, like a kid gobbling Easter candy. I know I should be savoring this, I should be thoughtful. But it's all so irresistible, I can't slow down for the life of me. Gobblegobblegobble.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Garden in progress

It might not be the most beautiful thing known to man (yet), but at least it's in. Eventually, this garden will expand to a 50 x 50" square surrounded by a 6-foot lattice fence, but for this (busy) year I kept the actual tilled ground down to what I knew I could actually care for. It's about 20 x 20, plus a long asparagus bed (not pictured) off to the side. I dream about how it all will look in two years, or ten. Perhaps the cucumber vines and the squash vines and the morning glory vines will twine up the lattice and open their flowers in the early morning sun. Perhaps the perimeter of the fence will be lined with blueberry bushes, and raspberry canes. Perhaps it'll look just a tiny little bit like Eden. You know, someday.

Initially, I was gunning to get that fence built this year, but it wasn't in the cards. The reasons, as follows: no time, no money. So, for now, our generous neighbor (the same one I mentioned yesterday) has loaned me deer netting, which serves. Methinks he may be due for another pie.

In the ground so far: broccoli, peas, lettuce, spinach, arugula, chard, kale, and a whole bunch of herbs (right corner). Each year, the tilled area will grow, and grow, and grow. Raised beds will be built, Jerusalem artichokes will be planted. I even have a corner where I'd like to make a formal herbs-greens-and-flowers garden, complete with parquet brick paths. Ahem. We'll see about that. Thoughts like these are what keep gardeners going, though. Each year will always, always be better than the last.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

On the brink

The weekend came, the weekend went. We hauled a mattress. We hauled a washer. We hauled a sofa. There were cats waiting for us, in the windows, when we pulled into the driveway again each time. We savored scraps of front porch time (for quilting & picking), spliced between long stretches of boxes-unpacking and drawer-organizing and mowing and digging. Some rooms are starting to shape up. Some are not. The bed frame awaits a box spring. The dining room awaits a table. So it goes.

Slowly, we are finding new patterns. Over the winter, Sunday evenings revolved around long, dark drives back to Binghamton, and long hot soaks in the tub, and quick-and-easy dinners out at Denny's. Now, things are different. In place of the long drive and the quick-and-easy dinner out, there is dinner in and a long evening to savor together. I cooked-- correction, we cooked-- on a Sunday for the first time in forever last night. There was wine, and a guitar, and maybe a couple of mosquitoes, and it was absolutely perfect.

It's that "on the brink" feeling that's so intoxicating, I think. Slowly, our new life is taking shape inside. Each week we chip away a little bit at the outside-- digging a couple of saplings out from the foundation, planting a quick row of arugula, scraping paint on the porch-- and each week we find more things that make us happy to be where we are. Take this, for example: our neighbor jogging across the street Saturday morning, eager to trade me the empty pie tin in his hands for my (admittedly sagging) end of our queen-size mattress. (I had baked him a pie to thank him for tilling our garden, but I figure a homemade pie is probably enough to cover both the tilling and the mattress lifting, so I relented.) It's like that. We picked a good town.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

It's just right.

The old blog got a bit spruced up yesterday.  Fonts have been played with, all the photos now feel like you're in them, and Patrick's asking me when I'm going to start paying Diesel royalties.

It's all still a work-in-progress, of course (I keep finding things with the old background color) but I'm most excited about the link bar. Check out the new About section, links to Pinterest and my Amazon shop (so neat!), as well as a compendium of links to posts about completed projects, tutorials, and recipes. That last one is something I've been meaning to get to for awhile, something to make it easier to see projects past (if you're craving inspiration) and provide links to them all in one tidy little place.

To put it together, I just started from the beginning of the blog and started working forward. Pretty neat, really, to see every meal, project, adventure, and event we've lived go zipping past my browser window. Sort of "It's a Wonderful Life," in a way. Minus the angel.

We've been riding together to work-- miles and miles of rolling hills and pastures (cows! sheep! ducks! goats!), very beautiful this time of year. We don't get home until six or six-thirty, which is an adjustment. The house is lovely, but an adjustment. It has been raining for like ten days straight. But. The truth of the matter is, I don't care if the commute takes three hours each way. I don't care if we never get moved in, or if it rains for another month. Just being here, being with Patrick, stepping out of the car and smelling lilacs and cut grass and cow pasture (yes, even that) is what it's all about.

It's just... right.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cats on the move

The cats (Olive, left; Ophelia, right; and Pete, not pictured) rode out to Gilbertsville on Sunday morning. They yowled, in stereo, the entire time. Maybe you could hear them. Pete was by far the loudest, and, alas, since we were short a cat crate, he was also the one most likely to let loose straight into your ear from his perch on the back of the benchseat. 

Since setting them free inside, it's been nothing but smooth sailing. Olive, the shiest, hasn't been hiding under things. Nor wetting on things-- another disturbing possibility. She even came to visit me in the kitchen last night. Pete and Ophelia, perennial terrorists in our last house, have been mostly ignoring each other here. In the evening, Pete goes roaming around the big empty rooms, smiling his cat-smile at me and purring. I like to imagine he's thinking, "Good choice, mom! I approve." But it's probably just the catnip.

There are two windowsills in the great room, and so many times I've walked in to see Pete curled on one and Ophelia on the other, placidly watching the birds and the lawn and perhaps contemplating the possibility that they will someday be set free with those birds, and that lawn. Someday they will.

Everything good is still ahead, for them and for us.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hey, this is easy

I'm beginning to appreciate the beauty of a six-month move. Most people, I think, tend to spend the second day post-move lugging, grunting, and unpacking like a fiend. Yesterday evening involved cooking for the first time in the new place, a twilight stroll with Diesel, and a bottle of champagne. We capped off the festivities by hauling two dressers out of the truck and up to our bedroom (because well, we had to do something productive).

Moving has been slow, and (dare I say it?) even relaxed. Saturday, I was expecting to confront this Big Dramatic Pile of boxes-- we've stored much of our books, decor, and other non-essentials in the garage all winter-- and instead ended up with oh, maybe fifteen in a tidy little heap. I unpacked six or seven into the bookcase. I sighed. That was it. No chaos. No drama.

I focused on the Great Room. I'd bought a big old rug for it months ago (had also been sitting in the garage all winter) and couldn't wait to roll that puppy out. Then I hung curtains. Ahhh.

The move is far from done, but we're content with keeping this leisurely pace. Every evening, Patrick will bring some more goodies from the old house (since he's commuting there for work anyhow), and each day things will get more organized and more established here. My main desire right now is a cutting board-- I diced onions last night on top of a flipped-over baking dish-- but hey, it's times like these that make you appreciate the little things. Cutting boards. Cheese graters. 

Twilight strolls, too.


Monday, May 16, 2011


// 27 boxes unpacked
// 13 worms fed to Genevieve
// 62 drywall screws gathered and disposed of
// 3 confused and terrified cats
// 4 amps skulking in a corner of the music room
// 2 appliances lugged up stairs
// 1 night home.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Looking back :: looking ahead

This weekend, we will drive out to Gilbertsville with dog, cats, and chicken. We will unpack boxes. We will set up the kitchen. We might even hang some curtains. We've been working towards this for six months. We are elated. 

But first, before we go, a little slideshow. I call it 'Binghamton: The Early Days.'

Four years ago I moved in to this house. My boyfriend's house. I brought a cat, a craft room, and novel concepts like "utensil drawer" and "grocery list." We'd been dating about a year. Pete was barely full-grown. My engagement ring had been ordered, and Patrick was waiting for the "right time" in which to propose. The anticipation was driving me absolutely bonkers. 

 Boyfriend became husband. Empty house became full house. In between, we loved and goofed and cooked and ate and drank wine and yelled and jammed and danced and lived.

We were always waiting, always dreaming, always doing a little more looking ahead than looking around, because we knew someday we'd find a house we could move in to together.

Turns out, we'd just been waiting for Gilbertsville this whole time. Well. Wait no more, the time is finally at hand.
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