Andrew's Blog


A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
November 2010

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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Drama Queens.

WARNING:  This post has nothing to do with Orchard House.  I’m watching The Legend of 1900, and in a scene, immigrants are coming the United States, and they talk of the honor of being the first to scream “America” as the Statue of Liberty came into sight.  What drama!!!  Who thought to have a giant iron statue greet sea sick immigrants as they arrived after a perilous ocean voyage.  A genius!

Blah Blah Blah, I understand it was a gift from the French (and all that jazz), but you have to admit, that has style.  I can only imagine as my ancestors sailed into New York, if they were the first to announce the ships arrival.  Sure their last names may have been changed and their “old world” identity hidden, but the dramatic image seeing that huge lady must have been worth it all.

Whether it be Taco Bell, Four Loko, or Oasis of the Seas, Americans certainly have a flair for drama!  Big bathrooms, big cars, and big oil rule us.  It’s all so big!  So dramatic.  Just something to think about.

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Jumping fences.

This is Bob Evans.  He’s darn cute!  And now in his “terrible 2′s,” he grows every day, gets into everything, and chews on anything that will let him. And guess what, he can jump.  And jump high.  There was a time when he was smaller than Auggie and Wally (our two terriers), but now, he can actually stand over them.   Literally, stand with another dog under him – like a double-decker pup.

We’re getting some fences installed.  High fences.  Four feet high.  And we wonder daily, can they contain all that is Bob Evans?  Sure, they’re built to contain horses and llamas and other such wild beasties, but can they contain a 4 month old puppy?  Questionable.  But he is no horse.  And he does not spit.

Inside, ‘Evans (as he is called – or worse on occasion), can now jump over the baby gates set up to contain him.  Yes, my house is like a zoo.  We have containment areas and channels to move the dogs from room to room like a herd of zebra or surly polar bear.  But now, he just leaps over them like Jackie Joyner Kearsee.  The cat food should be afraid…very afraid.  The higher the gate, however, the greater the momentum he needs.  Cut his momentum and cut his power.  WWPXD?  What Would Professor X Do?

The reality is he will only continue to grow.  And jump.  And loom over innocent terriers.  But his biting will stop…eventually…and he is slowly learning the art of potty training.  He is…and always will be…my baby.  That is, ahem, until I get a human one.  Little Huxley Cornelius Jones-Kohn.  Baby gates won’t be able to contain him either.  But, at least, he will wear a diaper!

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