It’s a quiet Sunday morning at Northbook, after a very busy few days. We had my BFF and her kids here last week, which was a wonderful visit. They departed Friday morning just around the time the winter wood was delivered – four pick-up trucks worth of it. The WorkHorse was busy stacking it in the summer kitchen while the Girl and I dashed into town to restock our supplies before hosting some neighbours that evening and in anticipation of a visit from our good friends Don and Cathy who arrived yesterday. To make Friday more interesting, we were having a new fridge delivered. The existing fridge was a bit on the rickety side and we were after more fridge space. Now that we know what goes on at Northbrook (entertaining in the summer, batch cooking and hibernating in the winter) we have a good sense of our refrigeration needs! My brilliant plan was to sweet talk (bribe) the delivery guys into moving the existing fridge into the basement for us.
The Girl and I made it back in time to meet the delivery window, and I set to work putting the house back in order – sheets needed to be washed and changed, floors mopped and bathrooms cleaned. Plus I needed to get dinner for our neighbours ready. Fortunately I had decided on BBQ chicken, burgers, corn on the cob, green salad and a few purchased salads – nothing very taxing in the kitchen. I also made the world’s greatest brownies – both for dessert and to have for our guests this week. I did know that these would be my complete undoing. I cannot resist these brownies ever. I’ve decided to let it all go to hell for the remainder of the summer and hit the gym and the austerity program hard after Labour Day. I suspect I will regret it but what to do in the face of such chocately goodness?
When the hulking giant delivery guys showed up, the worst happened. No amount of sweet-talking or bribery could convince them to put the old fridge in the basement. So, with 3 hours until our guests arrived we had 2 refrigerators sitting in the kitchen. We had no choice but to take it down there ourselves. You know what? Sometimes life throws you an opportunity to remind you why you are married. It wasn’t easy by any means, but we did move a giant appliance down a narrow flight of stairs without an argument or a raised voice – a truly great accomplishment! And, with seconds to spare, we did manage dinner for the neighbours and had a nice evening.
Now, with two fridges, the potential for fall batch cooking and freezing has doubled – what joy! This is game changer #1 around here.
The second game changer is possibly the most perfect cookbook I could imagine. My BFF brought it as a gift when she visited the farm. While I wish she didn’t feel she had to bring a gift, I can’t say I’m sorry she brought this.
The author, Ian Knauer, writes beautifully about his family’s farm in Pennsylvania, while providing beautiful, simple, honest recipes that make use of just about everything in the garden. On the day I received it, without a trip to the store, I made a corn and potato salad for dinner as well as a gorgeous sauteed chard (the secret is in the bacon and garlic!). We feasted on Knauer’s interpretation of our farm’s harvest. I can’t wait to make everything in this book – with the possible exception of Groundhog Cacciatore (true story).
The other gamechange for me, anyway (the WorkHorse and kids have their own) is the arrival, after many months of waiting, of this:
I’d been wanting a day bed for the living room since we moved in, but a good looking day bed isn’t easy to come by. I’ve been waiting for this one for about a year, but my ship (delivery) finally came in and I’m delighted. It’s the perfect place to read, knit or nap. It’s also pretty great for watching a storm from the comfort of the living room. The Boy and I have been jostling for ownership of this new piece but I’ve still got a few pounds on him so I’m optimistic.
As you may be able to tell, I’m shifting into fall mode – thinking more about reading, cooking and napping and less about gardening. Maybe it’s the chill in the air, or that we’re down to the last hours of summer vacation. Also adding to my shifting thoughts is the dying garden – rotting pumpkins that never took or the zucchini plants succumbing to powdery mildew. While I’ve got some plants – kale, beets and more growing up in the beds, I’m mostly thinking about next year’s garden more than this year’s. The countdown for next year’s planting is on…only 8 months to go!