Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
April 2011

Rain, rain…eh, you know the rest.

This rain is the pits. And not of the Brad variety! I was watching an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond the other day. A show my father loved, so I, naturally, despised it. In retrospect, it’s funny. I get it. But why is their bedroom a nasty gray? Who does that?! Anyway, it was an episode where the wife described how she liked to have a good cry every once and a while. A sort of body cleanse. Like drinking Naomi Campbell’s cayenne pepper mixture. Only for your soul.

Maybe it’s the weather, but I find a tear in my eye every now and then. Primarily from watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Teen Mom. The former because people who could never have imagined owning a Pottery Barn house, get one. The latter because I love drama in all it’s forms. Even though I feel a little dirty after watching it. But nothing a little Franzia doesn’t help get clean. Naomi can keep her cayenne pepper.

While I may not like the rain, it seems Orchard House doesn’t mind it. The plants are growing. The lawn is more lush than the shag carpet at Graceland. Our ducks are in heaven. The llamas even seem fine. They just sit down and look annoyed. And I’ll admit, after watching Sarah, Plain and Tall, that I appreciate the rain is also replenishing the well. That’s responsibility. But I think about it while watching Teen Mom so don’t be too impressed.

The rain should be coming to an end by the weekend. A few dry days, and maybe we’ll get the flooded barn worked out. Maybe we’ll get the duck pond dug. And the llama shade structure can finally be finished. It’s ironic that the llamas need a semi-permamnent structure to escape the rain but it can’t be built until the rain stops. But it’s nothing to cry about. Let’s save those emotions for an especially touching episode of The Waltons. Or True Life.




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A busy day…busy like a bee!

Today was a busy day! Like I was Donald Trump working the tea party in Des Moines. I’m tired. And wearing wet clothes trampled on by a sweet lamb. But not tired enough to write something special…and watch the finale of RuPaul’s Drag Race. So the day went something like this…and mind you Donnie is in Denver. Lucky bastard.

  • I woke up to a call from the Orchard House lawyer. Do not fear, all is well.
  • A call from our wonderful guests asking if they could come over around 9:30 to rest in their room. No problem. Feets don’t fail me now!
  • Feed the animals.
  • Clean the rabbit cages.
  • Oh, Donnie’s brother Dan has arrived to help me with the tractor. Change some oil, inflate a tire, and replace a filter. I’m not a car man. Maybe one day I’ll be one. Today I got one step closer. While wiping oil from an inquisitive lambs face.
  • Grocery shopping. For both home and bed and breakfast.
  • Lunch. 2:30 p.m.
  • Need a new baked good. Fail proof cookies. Always delicious. Today was no different.
  • Feed animals 2.0. Both farm and house animals need to eats their afternoon meal. Two piece and biscuit ASAP!
  • Back to the cookies…they were cooling…and then sweep the house. It’s muddy out! Turn down the rooms. Make sure all is well with Orchard House.
  • Dinner. 7:30 p.m.
  • Jelly making. Violet jelly. The picture above is the raw material. Picked from the fields of Orchard House. It’s a labor of love…like harvesting saffron. Ugh.
  • Lock the animals inside for the night. The ducks are getting better at finding their home at night…as I chase them with a rake. The secret? Leave a flashlight shining on the opening to their home. If you light it, they will come.
  • Back to the jelly. The jars need attending.
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race. 10:00 p.m. Go Manilla. Although I like Raja too. Please not Alexis. Something tells me it’s going to be Alexis.

Still to do:

  • Give the rabbits some hay for the night. Everyone have water?
  • Close up Orchard House for the night. Lights out!
  • Get the dogs to pee.
  • Brush my teeth.
  • To bed. I need my beauty sleep. And there’s a new breakfast recipe to be tried tomorrow morning. Fear not, it’ll be delicious. Would you expect anything less?
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Technology has done me in…again.

I tried to take video of the farm today. I swear! But technology, this darn 21st-century “it” thing, has foiled me at every turn. The lamb and Bob Evans were racing back and forth along the fence line, with Waterloo doing his best bucking bronco every few seconds. I saw it. Tonight, you won’t.

The dogs were wrestling while making their characteristically insane noises. I saw it. Tonight, you won’t. Although, if you know us, and know the dogs, you’ve heard it before. And probably never want to hear it again. But why spare others the joy? And the pain.

But technology will not win today. Maybe it did yesterday, when I got an iphone. And maybe the day before when I played Angry Birds on the iPad. But not today! I type free from the constrains of a “smart” anything. It’s just me and my laptop, and the WiFi, and Word Press. Just us luddites sitting around bashing all these modern day conveniences.

Tomorrow, however, I will again embrace all the technology of the world. We certainly do at Orchard House. We have it all, and then some. T.V.’s, gaming devices, “smart” things, and robotic vacuums. It’s awful hard to yell at a robotic vacuum. They don’t care if they’ve missed a spot, and don’t work for minimum wage. Money means nothing to them.

I will take more video tomorrow. And it will work. It has to! This is America after all. And I live in Ohio, the most American of the 50 states. Waterloo will be a bucking bronco tomorrow. The dogs will make their high-pitched squeals tomorrow. And it’s Easter. Lambs and duckings and chicks on video?! So it shall be.


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A million daffodils and not a tulip in sight.

We strolled tonight. Through a million daffodils. They were of every shape and color, size and variety. I like these white ones. I think they’re called “Ice Queens” or “Ice Wings” or something spectacular. And there was delicious food. And wonderful wine. It was cold. A little like Thanksgiving in April. But we strolled with great friends, and met some new ones along the way.

As our Facebook recently posted:

“What a wonderful evening attending the Daffodil Stroll at the Griesse’s beautiful farm. We were delighted to win at auction an exquisite holiday dinner party hosted by the Greisse’s at their home with our contribution going to support the Robbins Hunter Museum, a local cultural and historical treasure. Thank you for a wonderful time, old and new friends!”

On a personal note, I find daffodils to be interesting flowers. And I can’t say why. Perhaps it’s because they look like the Mario Bros. monster that shoots fireballs from its mouth. Maybe it’s because they’re the first colors of the year to blanket our lawns. It’s odd because they don’t smell especially wonderful. Once cut they last about as long as John Travolta after spending three days at sea. But they’re vibrant, they reproduce, and they’re harbingers of a summer to come. And oddly enough, a million daffodils, and not a single tulip in sight.

We awoke the fireplace in Orchard House tonight. It’s that cold. I look forward to the days when warmth will once again greet us and shun the clouds of doom. Baby Waterloo seconds the motion. He’s tired of Gene Kelly-ing it through the pasture puddles. But the ducks are loving it. Like they’re back in the Indonesian rice paddies. I love them. And they love water. And I let them in the water, so, i.e., they love me.

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The Beekman Boys.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Beekman Boys. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Planet Green Tuesday night at 10 p.m. or visit But I’m growing a little hateful of them. Like I hate my best friend or favorite Teen Mom. They’re creating a show about something they don’t do. Farming?! More like CEO – the overseers of a soon-to-be empire. They’re idol is Martha…and they’re becoming her. With the outsourcing and all.

Do the boys take care of the goats? No. They have a farmer who does that for them. And I love how that llama now blogs for Henri Bendel. If only the Beekman Boys actually knew the vaccination and feed requirements for her. And the goats. And the chickens. I don’t wanna hate. I just want to call a farmer what a farmer is. And I don’t think the boys are farmers. They’re like Scarlett O’Hara’s father…or her mother.

And the drama with the product sales. Jesus. I bought the soap in the Granville. They’re doing just fine. They’re bickering is part of the drama that makes them watchable. Heck, Donnie and I bicker non-stop. It’s our own personal drama. No camera crews involved. They have connections that any farmer would dream to have. Rosie doesn’t just decide to show up in a small town in New York and buy cheese.

But don’t worry, I’ll keep watching you Beekman Boys. Please just be real. You have connections. You’re doing well. Gay farmers everywhere ask you to drop the fabricated drama and talk about your successes and your failures. I can get arguments elsewhere. And your constant bickering about money when you are better off that 99% of people in this country is starting to ache a bit. If you’re really a farmer, do a show about your garden and amazing things you’ve learned. Don’t show me a ridiculous photo-shoot for Food & Wine that just highlights glamour shots of Josh in his garden.

Bitter? Perhaps. I’ve been strangled by a llama. My barn floods non-stop. I have Amish enemies. This all would make great T.V. And I wouldn’t need to fight about money or discuss poor planning for a festival to make it dramatic. Gays in the countryside naturally breed drama. No need to pepper it with an overly negative attitude when you’re lucky enough to be delivering lambs to Martha’s estate. It’s like saying you need food stamps because your heritage zucchini were attacked by a heinous mold. Embrace all that you have been blessed with and leave the Debbie Downer drama on the production room floor. It’s annoying. It’s fake. And you’re better than it.

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