Monday, June 9, 2014

House party, 2014

We do this party every year, and this was the best one yet. Each year is different, of course, but there are some common threads. Good people. Incredible generosity. Rings of lawn chairs, and vases of flowers, and wine bottles lined up like soldiers at roll call. We had flawless weather. We had my usual Mediterranean pressed sandwiches (which I started doing the first year and have always done and will always do, because they are delicious and easy and a big hit). We had a vat of potato salad from the mother in law, and a vat of incredible chickpea salad from the mother, and a vat of macaroni salad from our friend Mary, who is not related to us but brings macaroni salad anyway. 

The kitchen was a hit.

I had a multitude of proud daughter moments when people asked "where I got my cabinets." Dad. Dad did them. Yeah, he's amazing. I love getting to say that. I also loved getting to brag on my FIL, who did the floor, and my husband, who did everything else. 

I was a more relaxed hostess than last year. I made myself relax. Last year, I bolted out of my seat whenever new people came down the driveway. But I really don't need to do that, I told myself. People have been here before. I waved and hollered, "Food's in, booze is out! Welcome!" They got it. 

As a result, I got to take pictures this year! Pictures are the best. 

A lot of the new attendees this year were from our still-thriving Tuesday night potluck group. Every year, our circle evolves a little, deepens and strengthens, and this party is a wonderful, wonderful way of marking those shifts and keeping us rooted in our "timeline" here. 

Another thing I had time for was small people introductions. I had never done that before. The Gilbertsville kids-- my sweet neighbor Mia, and two other gals both named Maya (seriously. Gville needs some girl-name variety!) were introduced to Zoey, also sweet as can be, who lives in Binghamton. "Mia, this is Zoey. She really likes Delmer, too, and she likes to feed the chickens. Do you want to go feed the chickens together?" It's that easy. Within minutes, the kids were a pack. Awesome. They caught fireflies after dark.

The other thing that made this year stand out for me was the presence of our friend Andy and his new toy. He has himself a real, bonafide drone-- not the armed kind, obviously!-- for taking video and aerial photos. He flew it four or five times throughout the day, much to the amusement and fascination of all the kids, and many of the adults, too. 

Seeing your place from the sky is the most amazing thing. It's like, BOOM, this is all the work you've done in the past three years captured from above-- and to me it looks damn good. In a way it makes it look small, but in a way it makes our work here look more special and important than ever.

And the spirit of the day he was able to capture... that's just beyond words. The campfire part, especially. 

Oh man. I'm going to be loving these photos for a long time. 

What a day. I'm still savoring it.

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Julie Hunt said...


Kim said...

I have been reading your blog for a while, have never commented, although.....I love this and it really was inspiring in many ways, I especially love the notion of ; relaxing and enjoying your company and always your home and property look gorgeous....If you happen to have a minute, I would love to hear about the menu especially the pressed sandwiches and chickpea salad recipe.....sounds so yummy! I could not help but laugh about " bolting " out of your chair to greet everyone, I can so relate to that.....I am taking your advice there.....No More Bolting here....:)

Kristina Strain said...

Hi Kim! Thanks for commenting. The chickpea salad was my mom's invention, but I think it was mostly chickpeas, roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes and parsley in a simple red wine vinaigrette. She talked about tasting it and retasting it to get the salt/sugar/oil/vinegar ratios right. The sandwiches are super easy-- grocery store Italian bread, provolone cheese, pesto mayo, some simple tapenade (I bought it), and stuff 'em full of marinated bell pepper/zucchini/eggplant slices. I did roast the eggplant slices briefly, because raw eggplant is no bueno. I really take it easy on myself for these parties, food-wise. The layer cakes and pies and salads with eleven ingredients are for other days. :)

Becky said...

Such a beautiful gathering!

Kim said...

Thank you so much Kristina! Have a blessed weekend...

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