Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

A Visit to Frost’s Spring House

Happily we’ve gotten up to the country almost every weekend this summer. It makes up for not being able to spend a couple weeks up there. The house looks quite good and things are pretty ship-shape.

Thought I would share some of it…Let’s take a walk around the place.

Welcome to the Spring House

A couple years ago we made the radical switch from white with black shutters to this sort of sand color with blue shutters. We also put in a new welcome light for the front. And then there’s the welcome dog. Actually, he makes such a ruckus, any passerby thinks he’ll take their leg off.

The back terrace

When we bought the house this was just some grass with a couple giant rocks to step on. Jeff, who takes care of the place, built this patio and we love to eat out on it. This year my perennial gardens looked fantastic all summer. I have a lot of trouble with weeds growing up between the pavers. I read on line that boiling water is the best organic way to kill the weeds. It works. One woman on line said she always saved her corn water for the back and that’s what I do, too.

Our back yard

Our back yard has changed a lot over the years. When we bought the house, it had a big metal drum for burning garbage. Not so nice. It also had large overgrown arbor vitae. There were two huge trees, a catalpa and a fir tree, right about even with the baby catalpa.Then we added a swingset and sandbox. About three years ago a microburst of wind knocked down both the big trees. We decided it was time to deep six the swingset and sandbox. Now we have the baby catalpa, which came all the way from Pennsylvania, and the pretty stone wall. The hammock is one we got in Mexico two Christmases ago. Many, many years ago we were cooking dinner when we heard a very odd noise. We rushed into the back (this was before the patio even) and there was a hot air balloon thirty feet in the air. It was truly other worldly. I often think about it when I am cooking dinner on a lovely summer Saturday night.

Looking from the back of the house to the pond

One of the all time best views. Standing behind our house looking out at the pond and the side yard. Just off to the left of the pond is the gazebo–the best place in the world for an afternoon nap.

The tin roof is our woodshed. It is full of wood which we bought for $100 when we bought the house 28 years ago. Might just last our entire lifetimes.

Swinging chairs from which to view the pond

We’ve had these old wooden swinging chairs for at least twenty years. Good place to sit with a gin and tonic and contemplate the pond.

Walking down to the pond

To walk to the pond you descend some stone steps and walk across this lawn. We love this big old maple tree and the stretch of stone wall.

 

The Gazebo

 Here’s a good peek at the gazebo. It is nestled under a stand of slender birch trees. It is always shady and when you sit in it you can look out at the pond, back to the house or up to the woods and a field. Sometimes deer wander by if you’ve been still for a long time. It is always cool and breezy.

The pond and the dock

Jim built this dock during Alex’s first summer. That means it is 23 years old now. It is a tremendous place to sit and watch the pond and listen to the frogs. When the kids were little we spent hours circling the edge of the pond on inflatable boats to visit the frogs. One time a frog jumped into Jim’s swimsuit and I couldn’t tell you who was more undone the frog or Jim. The frog hopped out and sat on the boat trying to catch his breath and Jim was doing much the same. The guys used to go skinny dipping after dinner until we saw the giant snapping turtle crawling up the bank of the pond. We don’t swim in the pond that much anymore, but we still love its proximity.

View of the house from the pond

Here you can see the stone wall, the woodshed, the stone steps and the house. Ellie’s room is in the top dormer. She has the best frog noise in the summer. This house was a tavern in the 18th Century. This is the old side and you can see the bones of that old building. There are stories about troops overnighting in the nearby woods on the way to or from the Battle of Saratoga. There is supposed to be a ghost of a soldier who died. The story is that he was buried with a headstone, but one generation of farmer got tired of messing with it so he threw the stone on the wall. Our house painters swore they saw the ghost. I never have. The old well used to scare me and I had it blocked up with stone so the kids wouldn’t fall in.

Dakota

Dakota enjoys the country. He is a bit gentrified, but he does like running around the yard in crazy puppy circles. He also likes to scare the frogs at the edge of the pond but he never swims. He fell off the dock once as a puppy and I think that that ended his swimming career.

Let's head back to the house

Dakota will lead the way. Probably time to start dinner anyway.

Sunflowers

This house has changed so much over 28+ years. I guess we have, too. But it always feels like home and it is a peaceful and relaxing place. Sometimes in the dead of winter when the eaves ice up or some horrendous thing goes wrong, we feel it is a burden, but on a gorgeous evening or a brilliant summer day, it is the best place on earth to be.
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August 27, 2011

Hot summer and the tomatoes are plentiful

Fountain of Sunflowers

This has been an unusually hot and wet summer. The tomato plants don’t seem to know if they adore it or not. They are bursting with fruit and I can’t keep up with the production, but it seems to me they are quitting earlier than usual.

The garden looks great overall.  The herbs are plentiful and you can see the basil in the foreground. I have to make some pesto this week. Nothing tastes as wonderful as homemade pesto in January. It still has the sunshine in it. All of the herbs seem to be doing well with the exception of the cilantro which bolted immediately. I also have sage, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and some dill. The other day I diced potatoes, cut handfulls of various herbs from the garden and drizzled them with olive oil. They cooked in a 425 degree oven and smelled fantastic. They didn’t taste at all bad either.

The Green Zebra Tomatoes are just coming in. I had one enormous heirloom tomato with marbled flesh which was unbelievable. It was the only tomato that plant yielded which was sad, but it was worth it. Even though I swear I planted fewer this year, the Black Pearl Tomatoes are more than plentiful. The rogue tomato plants which sprang up from last year’s seeds have also produced. They are a bonus especially since some of them are varieties I didn’t plant this year.

The sunflowers look fantastic again but I think I have waited too long again to harvest the seeds. It doesn’t really matter, I just love the way they look.

I can’t believe this summer has sped by so quickly.

August 21, 2011

Ladies Who Lunched

Thursday was ladies day for the Frosts. Ellie needed to get her hair cut before heading off to Smith and it was about time for me as well so we decided to make an outing. Ellie also lamented that she had never been to Le Relais de Venise and everyone else had so, for old time’s sake, we planned a lunch before our haircuts.

We headed in to Manhattan on the train. It was great fun and we chatted and knit the whole way in. (Ellie has decided that Smithies must knit, this is more than captivation for me). It was a perfect summer day and a great way to make a special time together before she heads off to school.

A word on Le Relais de Venise. The summer we spent a month in France for my sabbatical, we ended our time with a week in Paris. The whole trip was magnifique, but one of our favorite things in Paris was to eat at Le Relais d’ Entrecote. There were three of them I believe and they only served one thing: very tasty steak with an amazing mustardy sauce. We discovered this treasure quite by accident. We were wandering in St. Germain- des- Pres and it was lunch time. We saw an inviting restaurant and wandered in. It is now Frost legend that when the waitress asked me something I clearly didn’t understand, I responded “Du l’eau avec menthe.” Only a Parisian can make a face mingling confusion and disdain with quite such conviction. Apparently, the question was, ” how did I want my meat prepared?” ” To what degree did I want it cooked?” My response was both bewildering and sadly typical of a dumb American. We got beyond that difficult start and fell madly in love with the fare.

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August 8, 2011

Field Maneuvers– USMC

Haven’t blogged recently. Too much to do, but wanted to share this photo with everyone.  Sent from the field. I am allowed to post this photo, but I can’t tell you any more than it was hot and they slept under the stars. He seemed to have a really great time, but he was tired.

Lance Corporal

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