Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
January 2011


This used to be our garage.  A three-car garage.  With plenty of boxes, tools, and miscellaneous junk, that like poor Oliver, had been turned out into the cold.  It had a concrete floor, and no insulation.  There was spilled oil on the floor.  In short, it was a mess.

But times have changed!  As my new favorite drag queen Shangela Laquifa Wadley would say, “Hallelu!”  Six months after moving to Ohio, the boxes are being unpacked, the furniture is finding permanent homes, and the Bed and Breakfast has kicked into high gear.  No more watching Animal Hoaders and waiting for construction to end.  The day has arrived.

This is what we moved into this weekend. Granted, it’s not all in place, and there are things still to be done, but it still ain’t no garage!  My patience, our patience, was at a breaking point.  Living in two rooms for six months with three dogs can be quite daunting.  But what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.  And today we are supermen!

All that is left to do is teach Wally how to climb up and down the spiral staircase.  The other two have learned, he has not.  He is “special.”

The biggest winners in this move are the cats.  No longer confined to the laundry room for most of their day, Ms. Kitty has taken to reclining on the bed and Jack has started chasing the dogs around.  All is as it should be here at Orchard House.  The Bed and Breakfast can finally take precedence!  (Until the sheep arrive in a few weeks that is!)

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Bob Evans by the Fire.

It’s been quite cold, not only in Ohio, but around the country.  It’s only natural that Bob Evans would search out a fire to warm his massive paws.  Paws that have been clomping around in the snow, collecting tiny snowballs between his Edward Scissorhand-like talons.

That’s not a real fireplace though.  But Bob Evans doesn’t know.  It’s electric.  While Orchard House doesn’t need any external sources of heat (the fireplaces are built right in), my house would love to puff out delicious smelling smoke from the hearty limbs of the Tree of Souls.  But they are expensive.  And I need new bathrooms more that wood stoves right now.  And furniture.  And box wine.

Priorities are a difficult thing to, well, prioritize.  Today, I walked around an antique store and saw things I wanted to buy.  The previous me would have bought them.  I love beautiful things.  I love being surrounded by them.  (Hence the cute red puppy in front of a cute fake fireplace!)  In the end, I bought nothing.  Because I need to spend that money elsewhere.  How adult.  How grown-up.  How boring.

But don’t worry.  I’ve still got my flare.  The puppy for instance.  (When you come stay, ask Don about the arrival of Bob Evans – he will gladly tell you while he slowly stirs his gin and tonic.)  And I bought a picture the other day Don doesn’t know about.  Secrets can be fun.  And they will all be revealed in the end.  So sleep Bob Evans, and enjoy your dreams.  I’ve got some yummy treats in the cabinet that you don’t know about yet.  Secrets, secrets, can be fun, and, no, not all secrets hurt someone!

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Waiting. Overrated.

I have no patience.  Waiting is tiresome.  And it stops forward motion.  I have been waiting for weeks now to move, every week bringing the promise of action.  And then, just as the plane makes its way onto the runway, the engines drop off.  Back to the hanger for repairs.

This week, I think, we’re going to move in.  Or so I’ve been told.  But I grow weary of empty promises.  I’m in an abusive relationship with an unfinished carriage house and my contractor is the enabler.  What one must endure to get beautiful things and an inhabitable living space!

I’m also waiting for some packages in the mail.  Waiting for weeks now.  I’m waiting to open up a bed and breakfast.  Waiting for temperatures to unfreeze themselves.  My life, and I’m guessing a lot of other people’s lives, is full of waiting.  So what are we to do?

We embrace the present.  And we hold dear the here and now.  I guess waiting, in the short term, can be exciting.  The promise of something new.  Anticipation can be a wonderful thing.  But as time moves on, it becomes annoying.  That wonderful anticipation morphs into anger.  And what was once the promise of something new, turns into an annoyance.

This week will be THE week!  I face the end of January with the steely determination of Scarlett O’Hara and the small feet of Frodo Baggins.  And next week, when I’m complaining about how nothing has changed, I can only hope the stewardess has given me the whole can of diet coke.

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Friendly competition.

I love competition.  And I love it even more when it’s friendly.  Well, at least when the other competitor thinks it’s friendly.  ‘Cause, gurl, you can be sure I’m taking my hoops out and putting my curly bangs up in a pony tail.  This innkeeper is coming out swinging.

The bed and breakfast industry is cut throat.  Hmmm, to be honest, I can’t speak exactly to that as I haven’t really opened up a bed and breakfast.  But there are a lot of them.  And some of them do the same things you do.  They have beds!  They serve breakfast!  They use the Internet.  It’s all the same and yet, it’s all so different.

Hear ye, hear ye, I have an announcement.  We are going to distance ourselves from the friendly competitors.  We are genius.  We have an idea that will rock the bed and breakfast world.  I dare not mention my innovation here on the Internet.  There are spies about.  Yes, I’m paranoid.  Not really.  We, at Orchard House, are going to offer “experience” weekends.  These include, but are not limited to, horseback riding, winery, and antiquing tours.  Delicious.  And worth the destination visit.  Need to pick some eggs, come and grab a wire basket.

And so we meet the friendly competition head on.  And one up them.  There, take that.  And I dare you to do me one better!  Because I love the competition.  Where would regular butter be with the threat of apple butter.  Chocolate sauce is constantly watching it’s back, where is that darn caramel?  And don’t get me started on the frenemy behavior of challah and brioche!  It’s a tough world.  But we’re gonna make it, after all!

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City Mouse, Country Mouse, and every Suburban Rodent in between.

I apologize for my lack of blogging over the weekend.  We were in the city.  Washington, D.C. to be exact.  For a wedding.  And then we visited my parents.  After 31 years of marriage, they finally bought a pool table.  With mini-cues so they don’t put any holes in the wall.  Mini-cues.  Yes, the kind Little People, Big World would use.  But my parents are regular size.

The city was fun.  You can walk almost anywhere!  Can you believe it!  Want ice cream, take a walk.  Need gin?  It’s around the block!  It’s amazing.  This is instant gratification at it’s best.  Commercialization and consumerist Nation all in one.  Albeit a luxury not available to most, in the country, you can pick various things and make things by yourself, without the help of Pinkberry or Georgetown Cupcake.  Here, ice cream is far away. (Not really, I gots me some Whit’s about 5 minutes away and it’s delicious!)  Gin is miles away.  (Again, I exaggerate, about 5 minutes away.)  But it’s more fun to try and make your own.  There’s something about feeling the need to make your own in the country.  I’ve even ordered my own quinine to make tonic water.  I’m the 2011 equivalent of Karen Blixen.

Why is there this need to make your own in the country?  Having lived in a city, many cities in fact, I guess when you have everything available and, probably have a busy job, you just don’t have the time.  There is always the new hotspot with this crazy drink, or that fabulous drag queen.  In the “country” (and I don’t really think I live in the country), it’s a hassle to get to those new hotspots.  Better to stay at home and create.  With a slower pace comes the opportunity to bake and cook and distill.

I have a sewing machine.  It’s still in the box.  I have a yogurt maker.  I’ve made yogurt.  I have llamas.  I do not milk them.  I am getting sheep.  I will not milk them.  A little bit of this, a little bit of that.  Trade-offs.  The time is coming when I will have to build a turkey house.  A home for turkeys.  That will mean that I can also build an insulation-free home with a ramp for myself one day, should the need arise.

Wondering about Orchard House these days?  We’ll be moved into the carriage house this week!  Amahzing!  I have actually moved my clothes in the bedroom.  There are some lonely Bergdorf scarves waiting for daddy to come home.  Once this move has begun, Orchard House will take it’s true shape.  And I believe it will be the shape of Balmachie Black Bear H050, one hell of an angus bull!  And crazy expensive as well – $75,000gns (about $100,000 today).  We are country after all, and our expenses are determined in farm animals.  And with a boy and a girl, we can make our own.

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