Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
November 2011

Something good about a B&B…

Here’s something good about owning a bed and breakfast – specifically near a university. Our house is filled, pretty regularly, with high school students visiting colleges and planning their next four years. There’s something fresh about the whole thing. I remember going and looking at schools. For some reason, I was nervous. And they are too! It’s cute. Knowing what we all know now, there’s no reason to be nervous. But we were. And they are.

Some are very inquisitive. Some shy. And it’s fun to meet their parents too. For a few, they’ve done this already with older siblings. They’re tired of it. You can tell when the student looking is the first-born kid in the family. Everyone’s nervous. By the third kid, it’s become routine.

I’ve been very retrospective lately, looking at where I’ve been and how it brought me to where I am. Watching these kids begin their journey only heightens my thinking. What would I have done differently? Or the same? Like anyone, there are things I would change. And things I wouldn’t. That sounds like some kind of Mitch Albom/Chicken Soup nonsense. Something Melissa Gilbert would say in a Hallmark Channel movie.

All our guests are fun, but anyone in the midst of a major life transformation is exciting. It’s dramatic! Cheers to all those high school junior and seniors passing through the doors of Orchard House, in search of the next phase of their life. We’re happy to give you a comfortable bed and warm breakfast on your journey, because we know you have bigger things on your mind.

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A turkey pardon, of sorts.

I tried to raise a turkey this year for Thanksgiving. Alas, there was a fire at the hatchery and I wouldn’t have received them until June. And anyone who’s raised turkeys knows they won’t be fat enough for dinner in November by then. So I guess, in my own way, I pardoned a turkey or two.

There are, of course, holes in my story. We are having a turkey for Thanksgiving. But I didn’t know him (or her). I didn’t feed and raise my dinner. And I certainly didn’t eighty-six the individual. (Although, I hear from Martha that best way to do it is to feed them a martini before you do it because it relaxes them and makes them loopy, like me after a few.)

I guess when you really think about it, there was a fire at the hatchery, so those potential turkey dinners were roasted at an early age. So those turkeys I ordered were all cooked, a bunch of tiny meals for tiny people, like The Littles or The Gummy Bears. SO maybe I haven’t really pardoned anything.

Next year, we’ll do it for real! I’m raising turkeys, and then eating them to celebrate the Europeans coming to North America. Or perhaps I won’t. I don’t know if I have the stomach for it. But if the pilgrims could do it…then I might be able to. And then there won’t be any turkey pardons going around, fake or otherwise.


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It’s officially freezing!

The cold weather has officially arrived. This morning, every water bucket, water container, and duck pond was frozen. Frozen like an ice cube. All this cold water means winter has officially arrived. No longer will I be able to ignore a llama watering source. Ice will have to be broken. My fingers will have to freeze. Today, it was about 1/2 inch thick. That’s thick ice, yo!

Let me apologize for a few days of no blog reporting, but I’ve been in New York City, sipping white wine and missing the llamas. Granted, it was raining. And that made the city a bit of a bummer. You can’t’ walk around like Mary Tyler Moore with full bags from Macy’s and Mui Mui in the middle of a down pour. It’s not chic. All you can really do is huddle in-doors, eating and drinking your way through a broken heart – for shopping is a non-option.

I once thought New York City was the place for me. But really, all I would do there is spend money. Years ago, I actually got into graduate business school in NYC. I choose, as some of you may know, to chase Prince William in Scotland for a year instead. In retrospect, that was my moment to live in the city. Freedom, pre-llama, pre-law school, and before life became complicated. But it wasn’t to be. And I don’t think it’ll ever be. I’ve got a baby llama with a 25+ year life expectancy. While it ain’t no parrot, that certainly is a long time.

I warn you, prepare yourself, for this winter there will be a lot of whining from me about carrying water buckets and tromping through the snow. But don’t believe a word of it. I secretly love it. But a) I wouldn’t be Jewish, and b) I wouldn’t be able to garner the pity from others to make me drinks and cook me dinner, if I didn’t whine a little. And so I’ll trudge through the ice and snow…if for no one else (p.s. I love you llamas), then for me. But ugh, I hate it!

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Poppies, beautiful poppies!

I took a wonderful flower arranging class today with Evelyn of Artiflora in Granville  – We learned how to work with branches and how to make an asymmetrical “Dutch garden” scene. It’s something delightful to learn interesting facts about design and then have all the tools (i.e. gorgeous flowers) available to play with! I want to thank Evelyn for a wonderful day. We’re happy to highlight her work at Orchard House quite regularly. Soon, we’ll have a gorgeous Williamsburg Christmas display with pineapples. I’m giddy waiting for it!

The class was held at Amy Hamilton’s house. An incredible farmhouse in Granville. Amy’s an accomplished milliner and her studio was something amazing to behold! ( We worked in a restored horse barn/carriage house. It was jealousy inducing. And as I dropped leaves and stems and flower parts all over the floor I relished in my environment even more. There’s something to be said for the pristine Country Living home. There’s something noteworthy to be said about the same space that can be used and lived in. Sweep up the rose petals and make a gorgeous hat. That’s a kind of heaven. My kind of heaven!

Today was great. A much needed break from the B&B. Some wonderful soup, delicious bundt cake (pear and cranberry, that I made thank you very much!) and a day to worry about flower placement and the joy of color and texture combination. And now, I’m sipping on some gin (and juice) and watching The Waltons, as there’s a fire a-brewin’, and the dogs are sleeping. And, to boot, there are two gorgeous arrangements in the B&B. All in all, a champagne wishes and caviar dreams Friday!

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Trolling the web.

I’m an Internet troll. I search constantly for new things. I put on a robe, grab some cheesy puffs, plug in a tropical air effects and get logged in. Hello craigslist, my old friend. Am I looking for that lost connection? Nope, my connections are always found. Also, not looking for any antiques. I think you’ve got to be desperate to buy an antique on craigslist. Go to some potentially crazy person’s house with money, hoping there are no cracks in the stone wear jug. Please! If you’re looking for me, I can be found in Farm & Garden.

I like looking at the animals. I like looking at the farm equipment. And I like looking at all the things people try to sell. Sketchy things. Broken things. There are a lot of horses for sale. Horses of all sizes: large, medium, pony, miniature, and tiny. The tiny ones are cute but they look a little mental. Like they should nay in a squeaky voice and poop tootsie rolls.

There are, for sure, a lot of different rabbit hutches out there too! But none are cute. Granted, bunnies are sweet, but even their cuteness can’t freshen up a depressing wooden box. Also a lot of mowers. And farm land to lease. You can buy fresh brown eggs, decorate your patio and purchase miscellaneous mower parts by the ton! The best part? This is all in one place! It’s amazing. Better than the supermarket. Better than those big box stores. Even better the TSC!

So if you’re looking for me at night sometime, I’m probably on the ‘list. Looking at the goats, and wondering what I can do with 500 cedar shingles and a rare spotted pig. At the moment, I don’t know, but I believe magic is in the air!

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