Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
October 2010


I’ve been trying to buy a bed.  A white one.  Wrought iron.  Sexy.  The kind of bed Elizabeth Bennett and R. “Dubya” Emerson would have woken up on after a long night of witty quip hurling and passionate love making.  The kind of bed a quilt would feel comfortable on.  The kind of bed one would feel at home in reading a copy of Walden.  So far, no luck.  But my quest continues.

A few days ago, I feel asleep in a field.  It was only for a few minutes.  And probably not the most responsible move as the dogs were roaming free at the time.  But it was warm.  Oh, it was warm.  And the smell of country (and you know what I mean) was super Fabrezey that day.  When I woke up, there were three vultures circling over head.  Luckily I woke up when I did!  With all the vultures in my (and your) sky,  I often wonder if there is a dead horse in the neighboring pasture.  I don’t think there is.  At least, I hope there isn’t.

A good bed is as important as a good gin and tonic!  We recently replaced our personal bed.  I haven’t had a good nights sleep since.  You would think moving to a king-size would be a problem solver.  Instead, it’s given more room for the dogs to stretch out and relax.  I’m so happy the dogs are comfortable.  My back, on the other hand, may or may not have been hit by a sledge hammer.

And so, I look to find the perfect bed, both aesthetically and physically.  You’ll have to come to Orchard House and test it out once I find it. Oh, and I will find it!   And I promise it will be great!  As soft and sweet as an orchard field in the fall.

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Today I got lost. Intentionally.

I know I’ve talked too much about living in the country.  Loving the rural life.  It’s what the French would call de trop. Well, too bad I’m an anglophile.

I got lost today.  Gather ye ’round and listen to the tale.  After buying paint – green – for the Walden Room, I decided to see what was up a road.  After driving for 10 minutes I had no clue where I was.  And, to confuse the situation, there was a rather large blue Ford F5000 trying to mount my baby Scion on a small country lane.  So I kept driving.

Beautiful it was.  Colorful leaves, old barns, long-horned cattle, and country roads at their finest.  (Insert John Denver reference at leisure!)  After loosing my car’s new boyfriend, I turned down another road – a numbered route that I vaguely remembered.  Et voila, 45 minutes later, I arrived in Granville, on a road I had yet to travel, driving through Denison University, a campus I had yet to see.

I am Thoroughly Modern Country.  The city is great, but when I lived there, I never seemed to experience all the opportunities that were at my doorstep.  I can get a pizza quicker in the country.  I can learn how to be self-sufficient in the country.  Need to get the ph right in your soil?  Step aside city dweller!  If I need the city, I can drive for 30 minutes and be slurping cosmos with the gliterati of Columbus.  But I can drive home, smell clean air, and watch deer eating the bark of my newly planted peach trees.  (Don’t worry, they’ll get theirs!)

Some of you out there are city folk.  And guess what, you can come and stay at Orchard House for the weekend.  We’ll have the farm style, but the modern comfort.  And if you’re a country mouse, come on down!  There are chickens to tend, new baby bunnies to hug, and soon, there’ll be ruminants enough to make even the most addicted NoDoze patient work double time.  You can even make you’re own apple butter – a memory you can later spread all over your city muffin for breakfast.

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A sneak peek.

I’m nice.  Very nice.  And to show my sweetness, I’m giving you a little preview of the Orchard House interior.  Our motto is “Farm Style/Modern Comfort.” What does it all mean?  A good question.  It means farm simplicity. Beautiful natural colors, gorgeous woods, and furniture that’s been handed down from generation to generation.  The picture above is what the dining room fireplace looked like when we bought the house.  Charming I guess.  The wallpaper is kind of fun and freaky, but it just didn’t work with the theme.  So it had to go…and in the process, I discovered 5 other pattterns of wallpaper, peeled away like the layers of a croissant.

And here is a picture of the new dining room fireplace. Some new paint, a cedar shelf mantel, and a color pallet designed by my good friend Martha Stewart.  We’re pulling it all together slowly but surely.  And learning things along the way.  For instance, I’ve never made a shelf mantel and installed one before.  Although, I’m not sure if I really learned anything as I just guessed along the way.  (Or better said, I used my builder intuition.)

We do have a new painting to place over the mantel, but you’re going to have to visit to see it – or at least wait for the brochure.  I said I’m nice, but I’m not that nice.

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Have I told you about Bob Evans?

Have I told you about Bob Evans?  Not the sausage man, of course, but my new puppy.  He’s about 14 weeks old now. He was 8 weeks when we got him.  The day after we moved in to the new house. A good idea?  Hmmm.  There are differing opinions about this.  For one, getting a new puppy before the snow started was smart.  And getting a new puppy before opening the bed and breakfast was smart.  But…and this is difficult…it may have been slightly irresponsible to have gotten a puppy so early.  So soon.  He is all shark teeth and bladder.

He is half Irish Setter/half Brittany Spaniel.  He is sweet, adorable, and clumsy.  He loves being outside.  He loves food of any kind.  He loves tormenting the other two dogs and jumping on them from the sofa.  Yes, he can now get on the sofa.  He is going to be huge.  Davey Crocket had bear claws hanging on his walls that were smaller then Bob Evans’ paws.

Today, while poorly attempting to teach Bob Evans how to “come,” he sat down in the grass, really low, and began to chew.  Deer poop I thought.  I ran over to him.  Lesson over!  Eating deer poop is a no-no in this house.  It may be delicious.  It may be like Pinot Grigio.  But, as I’m sure Zsa Zsa Gabor had to say more than once, “there is no scat play ici!”  (Although, I will say, when he tilts his head back, and his eyes roll ever so slightly, he gives a wonderful Gloria Swanson “I’m ready for my close-up” impression.)  Anyway, when I ran over and opened his mouth, a dead mole dropped out.  A dead mole with his (or her) guts on the outside, like a haggis that was just cut into.  I gagged a little.

I don’t know if Bob Evans killed the mole or not.  And that doesn’t matter.  (He is so cute though, how could he ever kill anything?!)  The real story is that something new happens every day in this house.  For sure, we are on a schedule.  Pee now.  Eat now.  Sleep now.  (Please!)  But, exciting things can break the routine.  And yes, a mole literally dropping out of my dog’s mouth is exciting!  He’s usually biting on apples, like a stuffed pig.  He loves biting large dirt clumps.  A small intestine is something new.

When you come to Orchard House, Bob Evans will greet you.  He will give you kisses.  And if you’re lucky, he’ll cook you up one of his famous sausage biscuits.  Yes, he is that talented.

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Fall has SPRUNG

The trees are red, orange, yellow, green, and brown.  

Apples are falling in the orchard, with their worms in residence.

Birds are swarming our trees.  Blue jays, cardinals, wood peckers, and miscellaneous LBJs are in the trees, in the fields, and eating the last of this year’s bugs.

It’s beautiful.  The house is beautiful.  The trees are beautiful.  The sunsets are beautiful.  Dried flowers make beautiful arrangements!  It’s a new world.  A country world.  A world full of color.  A world that hints of the cold to come.

The seasons must be changing.  I’m drinking more red wine.  I’m buying pumpkins.  I’m seeing Christmas decorations for sale at the local market.  A quick trip to the local arboretum the other day showed some local residents actually PUTTING UP their “Merry Christmas” signs in their yard.  Too soon! Too soon!

So we’re just celebrating the change of seasons here at Orchard House.  We’re building a barn.  The renovations are beginning.  I’m buying art and furnishings.  Things are moving quickly.  But there’s always time to sit and watch the deer or listen to the geese as they fly south, and away, from our impending Ohio winter.

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