Monday, July 14, 2008


Melitta and I were sitting on the deck, drinks in hand…


“I know.” I said

“Oh, Barbara”

“I know”


“I know!”

“Wait until Chris sees this!” she said


“This is just…oh…Barbara!”

“I knowwwwww!!!!!!”

This conversation went on like this for most of our first cocktail and a good part of the next. The reason for it is quite simple…

Chris and I are the proud owners of a cottage in Maine!!


In Owls Head!

True story: last September in Dijon, France, we all rubbed the belly of a small statue of an owl for good luck. The owl is the symbol of Dijon and this little figure on the side of the church has been rubbed for luck for over 500 years.

I guess it works! I am a doubter no more of old French legends.


A cottage! In Maine! On the water!!!

I have been dying to blog about this but I am just superstitious enough I wanted to wait until it was a done deal. The closing was last Friday. We have been looking for a small place for five years. We have missed out on two other properties - one by a day and one by a couple of hours. So, once burned, twice shy, as they say. We put in a bid almost within minutes of the house being listed. As several people said over the weekend, we missed on the earlier purchases because THIS is where we are supposed to be!

Melitta came with me for the weekend as Chris could not get away. Over the weekend, we hit a mess of garage sales and scored some major furniture deals. It took three trips on Saturday to haul all the loot. Next we checked out paint colors and decided on a palette for the interior. That led to some power shopping for kitchen towels and other appropriately colored accessories followed by a stop at the (one) local furniture store to finish out living room seating needs. At the end of each day, we would relax on the balcony of our hotel room before dining at one or another favored restaurant. Melitta's company made the whole weekend so much more fun. Besides, I needed someone to keep pinching me just so I could be sure I was not dreaming.

I can show you these pictures, but until you are sitting there watching the sun and clouds play across the water…

Looking at hundreds of gently bobbing lobster trap buoys, their gaudy colors reflecting in the sunlight one moment and blending seamlessly into the soft silvery gray water’s surface the next…

Hearing only gull’s cries and the soft lapping of the waves on the beach…

Smiling companionably when far off someone laughs as they prepare to relax for the evening…

Taking in a deep breath of pine trees and salty, sea damp air…almost tasting it…

Contentedly tracking the progress of a wind jammer or a day sailer weaving in and out of the islands or a lobster boat chugging for home port, wondering if the trip brought a successful haul that day…

Until that moment, you just cannot imagine how truly perfect is this little cottage on Mussel Ridge Channel on the Maine coast. These pictures and my words just cannot bring it to life, do it justice, make you understand.

Here are a few pictures. Just a cute little one story, 1955 ranch with the original knotty pine kitchen. But the view, the place, the feeling…there are no words! But now when I say “We have a cottage in Maine,” I have a greater appreciation of the emotional words of Karen Blixen: “I had a farm in Africa…”

Is this kitchen not adorable? These pictures are from the realtor's listing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

June Happenings

I know, I know…it’s July. I meant to get this onto the blog in June…Really I did.

Sooooo, June was a quiet month here for us. And we enjoyed the heck out of it. Taking the time to read and even sneak in a nap every now and then.

I made a quick trip to Maine early in the month, but I can’t reveal the reason just yet. Stay tuned for a surprise. Don’t ya just love a tease? I stayed at the Hartstone Inn in Camden. Michael and Mary Jo have a beautiful inn which you can see on their website here. Michael added these charming, rustic kitchen garden beds this year at the back of the inn. I had a few questions on their construction and Michael answered them in his blog here. Just scroll down to the May 12th entry.

Two years ago, I planted a Delphinium elatum ‘Green Twist’ in one of the garden beds at the back of the house. Apparently it is VERY happy as this is a bouquet from this 6’ giant perennial. Actually, it is half of the flowers on the plant. Impressive! Just after I cut this bouquet, we had a flood of rain and the rest of the blooms broke their stalks from the weight of the water.

The Sergeantsville Farmers Market has started up again. Here's a shot of just part of it.

The first week I bought summer squash, baby lettuces, garlic scapes, radishes AND I found a resource for organic pork and chickens and fresh eggs from Blue Jingler Farm. Blue jingler is a type of native stone found along the banks of the Delaware River separating NJ and Pennsylvania. It rings like a bell when you strike it was a hammer, hence its name. The owners, Jack and Cheryl live a couple of miles from us. Pig rules in our house so I’ve ordered a half for the fall. The chickens are pasture raised in large, open shelters and the eggs are head and shoulders above store bought. Chickens, by nature, are omnivores. That is what lends richness and flavor to their eggs and why organic store bought eggs, which are usually the product of a vegetarian diet for the hens, are not as tasty. Also, a recent study from Tufts University found eggs from flocks allowed to forage were up to 1/3 lower in cholesterol naturally. Cool!

They were screaming hot and Chris LOVED them…the radishes, that is. I just served them up straight from their refrigerator hot tub - cold tub? - with a pile of kosher salt. Thankfully, the salt takes a bit of the bite out of them. I also found a tasty and addictive recipe for radish spread here. A mouthful of summer…

The vendor selling the garlic scapes gave me a recipe for garlic scape "pesto." He offered it as a sauce for meats or egg dishes. I used it over grilled squid with some pasta. Make this as thick or runny as desired for the application. I added ladels of pasta water to the pan when I was tossing everything together until I liked the consistency.

1 package of garlic scapes (about half a gallon size bag or 3 dozen scapes)
2 cloves garlic
handful of parsley leaves
handful of fresh basil leaves
2 t. kosher salt or to taste

whiz above in food processor to a reasonable mince. While motor running, add

half to 1 cup evoo

until consistency is what you like.


You can see the bags of scapes in this picture...

Wendy’s mum and dad - “P” and “G” to their grandkids…no, I don‘t know why - have been visiting from England. We just call them Graham and Gwen. I must find out from Wendy how it comes to pass her father can deliver a most stirring grace before dinner - in LATIN! I felt really blessed! I volunteered to make the dessert for Katy when she and Michael had us all over for dinner. I decided on a fresh raspberry and blackberry tart with pastry cream and butter crust. The golden raspberries were a boon from the store and heavenly sweet. I just wish they had been organic, but that’s not going to happen at the local supermarket.