Archive for December 7th, 2011

High Water


I think I’ve got a clogged pipe where the creek runs under the driveway.

(That’s supposed to be a very tiny creek that runs between the driveway and the field in front of the barn–not a pond.)

We had a flooding rain today, and school was dismissed four hours early due to high water concerns. Back at Stringtown Rising, I would have been in a panic wondering how I was going to get across the river to pick up Morgan from the bus or if she’d think to take the other bus and go to my cousin’s house. Today, she just came home and the bus dropped her off in front of the house. It’s so nice.

And now? It’s snowing a little bit!

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Mexican Mondays and Other Things


I’m working on learning to love my kitchen.

If the kitchen at Sassafras Farm was perfect, I’d have to pinch myself all the time because then everything would be perfect. And that just wouldn’t feel real. This kitchen is like the Ornery Angel. It’s here to test me.

Every time I go over to Stringtown Rising Farm, which right now is two or three times a week because I’m still cleaning out over there, I have to stop and sigh over the kitchen for a moment because I loved that kitchen. It was actually no bigger, with no more counter space or cabinet space, than this kitchen, but it was open to the dining room and living room, with high ceilings, so it felt larger and was very airy. It’s the thing I miss the most about Stringtown Rising.

If you love to cook and bake, kitchens are important rooms. Eventually, I want to restore the original kitchen here, but for now, I must learn to love the narrow galley kitchen remodel that is here and that reminds me of apartment kitchens I cooked in when I was 18 years old. I cooked Thanksgiving dinner in this kitchen a few days after I moved in, so I know I can cook a big dinner here. Someone asked what was the first thing I cooked here and if it was Grandmother Bread. Yes, it was! Now, with Thanksgiving past and life settling down at least halfway, I’m trying to get back into more home cooking. I haven’t cooked a lot lately. While I was packing up at Stringtown Rising, I got to where so much of my kitchen was packed up that I could no longer cook real dinners there and we ate a lot of sandwiches or frozen pizzas or takeout for a few weeks. That was fun for a few days, then it got old, and I really missed home cooking. Now, I’m still struggling to remember where I put this or that, having periodic panic attacks because I can’t find something basic like baking powder, but I’m cooking again.

And I know that is what my new kitchen needs. It needs cooked in. That is what will make it feel like my kitchen, along with memories, like our first Thanksgiving here.

Some time back, Morgan had this idea that she wanted to have Mexican Mondays. This really never took off, for a few reasons. One being that she was always in sports and a dinnertime routine is difficult when working around sports. Another was that not everyone likes hot, so that caused some conflicts over cooking for different tastes. Now we are here, just Morgan and I, and we both like it hot, and she’s not playing basketball this winter. (A decision she and I made together to take a break during the time we are settling in here.) So she asked if we could have Mexican Mondays again. Monday, I made quesadillas. Then we decided to have Italian Tuesdays, and last night I made pepperoni and mozzarella paninis. For Wacky Wednesday, we’re having breakfast for dinner. We decided on Fried Fridays, but we couldn’t come up with anything for Thursdays. (We’re taking weekends off for free choice.) If anyone has a good idea for Thursdays, let me know. For some reason, Morgan really loves this mealtime structural thing! And it’s fun and a challenge for me to come up with fresh ideas within the structure, so why not. But….. Thursdays? What about Thursdays? Help.

And yes, next stop on the Sassafras Farm tour will be the studio so I can show you the unbelievably gorgeous space I have now to create my commercial kitchen for classes. It is AWESOME and helps make me feel better about the kitchen in the house. I’m going to have the most amazing kitchen ever OVER THERE!

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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