Andrew's Blog


A City Boy Making His Way in the Country

The new chandelier…

We have a new dining room chandelier here at Orchard House.  Much thanks must be given to Jimmy Brennan for his help with installation.  (He touched all the dangerous electrical stuff…and made it out alive!)  And his first foray into electrical installation ever!  As you can see, the old chandelier was “brass” and just fine.  Although, if I’m being honest, as I was taking it down, there was a horrible, sticky film covering most of it.  Like it was hanging over a griddle at Waffle House for thirty years.

If you want this fixture, it’ll be on ebay.  Or we can make a quick deal on-line.  I’m open to any offer.  And, if I’m being honest, it will be sticky when you receive it.  It’s odd that this fixture was in the house, as many have been replaced with acceptable Lowes-esque lights that will remain for the near future.  Lighting is funny, you know what I mean?!  Wrong lighting can ruin a room.  Good lighting, in my mind, often goes unnoticed, because you’re focusing on other aspects of the room.

Now this is a chandelier!  Mind you, it’s not on.  As the photos with it turned on were a bit blurry.  You’ll have to visit Orchard House to see it in all it’s glory!  (P.S. please ignore the mess in the background – we haven’t moved into the carriage house yet and our house is a bit Hoarders at the moment.)

We purchased this light at The Great Indoors.  If you knew us at our Takoma Park location, it’s the same place we bought our dining room fixture.  Both are sexy!  This one is farm chic!

Happy Hannukah to all our friends!  And mozel tov to our new chandelier!

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Batten down le hatches!

Snow is imminent.  Tell Laura and Mary to bring in the horses, Pa will be home soon.  Get Johnboy to check on the neighbors – they need provisions!  Who forgot to put anti-freeze in the tractor?  Ught-oh!

Four out of the next 5 days it is predicted we will see some snow.  How exciting!  Do the chickens have a heat lamp?  Check!  Bunnies safely indoors with a heat lamp of their own?  Yes!  Dogs as annoying as ever?  Of course!

The Christmas lights are up, the pantry is full, the snow shovels are accessible, and the tractor is irresponsibly left open to the elements.  Bring it on Senor Winter!  I fear neither you nor your teeth chattering temperatures.  I have puppies, a new washer/dryer, and four Granny Smith apples.  I’ll be just fine and dandy.   And Lord, let’s pray for a hard candy Christmas!

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And so the Hot Toddy’s begin…

With the weather now decidedly re-living it’s twenties, that wondrous time of year is once again upon us.  The time for the Hot Toddy.  Sure, Egg Nog is the star of the season, the perennial Bieber, but, girl, I don’t need those calories!  A Hot Toddy – coming I believe for our dignified relatives in Ireland (at least that’s the one place I could order it at the bar), – this drink contains the right balance of alcohol, sweetness, deliciousness, and healthiness.

This is my recipe – the one I’m sipping right now -

1) One tea bag.  Not the ignorant “political” “”activist,”” but a favorite flavor of your choosing.  I find black to be the best.  I’m in my Constant Comment with Green Tea phase.  The best of both worlds!

2) A healthy teaspoon of honey. Any flavor will do.

3) A healthy squirt of lemon juice – fresh or from the little plastic lemon.

4) A light grating of fresh nutmeg.  It is the holiday season after all!

5)  The whiskey.   I only use J&B Scotch Whiskey.  Sure their website says it’s the “world’s party whiskey,” but I drink it because it was the flavor of choice for Truman Capote.  And that’s just sexy!  (Mind you, when I want a real scotch whiskey, I’m all over a single-malt highland!)

6) And finally, some hot water.

With these ingredients combined, you have the Hot Toddy.  Variation, of course, does exist.  And do what you will to ensure this concoction is your holiday favorite.  I’ve been thinking about adding some bitters recently…aren’t I naughty!

Try something, and let me know how it turns out!  And if you’re ever in the neighborhood of Orchard House, stop on by.  We’ll sit around the fire, sipping our Toddy’s and discussing the time we both looked into the heart of an artichoke.

Alas, my Tod is getting cold and I mustn’t neglect him any more!

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Thanksgiving…and all that jazz!

These are Royal Palm turkeys.  They have a heritage.  They already have their invite to Kate and William’s wedding.  Will you be eating any of them for Thanksgiving?   Probably not, but they’re gorgeous and very tasty.  Interested in a leg?  We’ll have some on the farm this time next year.  Come and shove some tequila down it’s throat and chop-chop-chop away.

But that’s cruel!  Well, not really.  They get drunk, have lived a Zsa Zsa Gabor existence, and get chop-chop-choppped away in a matter of seconds.  They’re turkeys after all.  For some reason, possibly because of their feathers and urge to flock like dinosaurs, they rank very low on the level of animal intelligence for me.  I don’t eat cows.  I eat pigs seldom.  And I only buy free-range poultry.  Could I chop-chop-chop a turkey’s head off – one that I’ve raised?  I don’t know.  But I’d sure be willing to try.

In my mind, it’s better to see a turkey go the humane way rather than face the wrath of a slaughter house.  Eat hormones.  And live in confined spaces.  Every one loves a shot of liquor – no matter your species – and we’re all going to die sooner or later.  Some, like Beth March, like to die at home.  And some enjoy being stuffed with cornbread and figs.

Happy Thanksgiving from everyone at Orchard House – Andrew and Don, Auggie, Wally, and Bob Evans, Jack and Ms. Kitty, Catnip and Cantaloup, Chompers and Mustafa, Lady Bird, Mamie Eishenhower, Hillary, and Frances, and Lady Diana, the Princess Royale, Young Victoria, and the Duchess of Gloucester.

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Living La Vie de Beekman

I love the Beekman Boys.  We are the Beekman Boys. Now, believe me, I don’t steal people’s identities (except for that one time in February 2002), and I live my life carefree of others, but this show is my life (and, obviously, theirs).

For those of you who don’t know…the Beekman Boys are Josh and Brent.  Brent was a high-powered Martha Stewart executive who gave up his job to move to the farm (er, actually, I think he was let-go).  Josh, a high-powered ad executive, has kept his job.  They saw a gorgeous house in up-state New York, bought the property, and started a farm.  Brent lives their full-time, working on farm things and starting their goat milk soap business and branding the Beekman.  Josh kept his job, and lives during the week in New York City, and commutes every weekend to the house.  They complain about money – please!  They have money.

The more interesting topic of the Beekman, and the pervasive under-current, is the contrast between their work.  Brent works on the farm all week, doing chores, maintaining the house, and making everything Martha Stewart perfect.  Josh works late-nights and long hours in his high-pressure, competitive position.  On the weekend, when he “visits,” he wants to relax – it is his second home after all – and he has worked all week.  Brent has other ideas, asking him to pitch-in with the chores.  It’s the eternal fight – the working man wants to relax and the other working man – the one at home – never has a day TO relax and wants some help on the weekends.

Donnie and I, to be honest, face this very same dilemma.  And so do millions of other households.  Sure he works 14 hour days, sleeps little, and is our sole source of a reliable income.  I clean toilets, care for animals, and cook 3 meals a day (for two, so that’s 6).  My job doesn’t end when Saturday comes.  His does…er…sometimes.  And sometimes he works through the weekend.  But so do I!   It’s a battle of wills…who will win?  I admit it, he will.

June Cleaver never complained!  Neither did Olivia Walton or Caroline Ingles.  It is my lot.  It is my life.  And I wouldn’t change it for anything.  I like taking care of things.  Sure, law school was fun, and yes, the job at the White House was amazing, but I think, really, I’m just good at cleaning.  Oh, and decorating and making things fabulous.  And I like taking the dogs out and laying in the field, digging gardens, and painting great colors on stubborn walls.

Life is funny where it takes you.  And gin and tonics are the medium that helps you understand.  I was in the center of power.  And was unhappy.  Now, I clean up chicken droppings and get excited about the barn being built so I can adopt a blind horse (who, according to craigslist, will be put down soon).  And, mostly, I couldn’t be happier.  Sure I’d like to fully unpacked (ahem, contractors), and I would love to live in a house where a puppy doesn’t pee everywhere, but life stills moves on, the improvements continue, and soon, the small lighted Charlie Brown will be in my courtyard after Thanksgiving!

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