Tag Archives: Hudson Valley

A Turkey On Every Couch

2 Oct

You’re never going to believe this.

So I’m going to promise right off the bat that I haven’t moved April Fool’s Day or Halloween.

It’s often very hard for me to get out of work by 7pm-ish so that Isaac and I can get a jump on our drive Upstate, but this last Friday, I did it! I was so excited and ran to meet him.  I jumped into the driver’s seat and we set off, even managing to make it through the UN General Assembly mess and some very thick pea soup fog around Hudson without much effort.

And then we got to the house.  We opened the door, and it was cold, and smelled a little different, but it was late and we were hungry, so we continued to unload the car.  As Isaac cracked open a growler of beer, I headed upstairs to turn on the heat.  And then I stopped.  That odd smell was even stronger upstairs… And then I heard a little noise.  I froze and veeeeeerrrrry slowly turned my head.

There, on the couch, was… something.  I screamed (Isaac said later that it was so blood curdling that he expected to come up the stairs and find a hockey-mask wearing chainsaw-weilding mad man threatening me).  And then I looked again.  And then I screamed again, “THERE’S A F*CKING TURKEY ON THE COUCH!!!!”  Isaac laughed, and headed upstairs behind me, and said “Oh my god! Take a picture!!!”  All I could do was think, Oh man, he so does not get the gravity of the situation.

It was just at this moment that the turkey decided that she didn’t like the look of us at all and started trying to fly away, only to run repeatedly and with gusto into the ceiling and and living room wall.  It was awful.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.  Thump.

I grabbed a towel and opened the sliding door to the backyard.  And then started talking very softly to the turkey.  Heeeeeere turkey turkey turkey.  Oh please stop flying into the ceiling turkey.  Oh turkey, how did you get in here? I used my most soothing voice.  I clucked and hummed and cooed and tried very hard to get her to come towards me and to please stop flying into the ceiling.

It didn’t work.  She started freaking out even more.  And then she ran.  Down the hall.  I followed her and almost fell.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaa! Glass! Everywhere!! That’s how she got in! Through a double-paned window at the foot of the stairs to our bedroom.

There’s a little nook there, with a window and beautiful wainscotting and bead board.  The window was shattered nd every square inch of the beautiful moldings were covered in mud, shards of glass and turkey sh*t.

This is where my mind began to shut down a bit.  I was tired, hungry, and at my wit’s end about what to do.  I have no memory of how she began running down the hall again, but she did, and this time towards the door! I was so happy! Yes! it was almost over!! But, no.  Apparently she didn’t want to go back outside where turkeys belong, and instead decided to go downstairs.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in case you’ve ever wondered, turkeys can use stairs.

So there we were, in the kitchen, the very place I hoped she would never go, and what does she do?  She heads for the laundry nook and wedges herself neatly behind the washing machine.  Great.  Now what?  She seemed happy and calm behind the washer, so I got a chance to think.  I spotted my gardening gloves and decided to take some decisive action.

Together, Isaac and I got the washer moved, and then, I grabbed her.  I didn’t get a good hold of her, but I had her.  I ran towards the front door, but she began to panic, and twist and freak out. I kept squeezing tighter and tighter.  Then I felt something under my fingers; the softness of her flesh, the hardness of bones.  She made a little noise, tried scratching me, and then I lost it and dropped her.  I felt nauseous.

She was hopping about like I had hurt her, holding her wing like it was broken and moving in a jerky fashion.  With a jerking gait, she trotted into the small room off the dining room, and stopped.  It was over. She had had enough. I calmly walked up to her, grabbed her wings very gently, kicked open the front door and set her down.

She ran away, but I was broken.  All I could think was that I had killed that poor turkey.  I’ve never needed a glass of beer so badly in my entire life.

I was covered in turkey sh*t and feathers, as was my house. I felt filthy and intensely depressed.  I had brought up two sandwiches for our dinner; ham & brie, and you guessed it, turkey.  Isaac gamely ate the turkey one, and I tried to eat the ham, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t stop running the last 40 minutes through my head. I kept coming to the same conclusion, that I’d killed the turkey.  After a few bites, I had to stop and cry.

The next morning, there were no obvious signs of her anywhere, so I began to feel better.  Maybe she had survived?  Maybe she was faking injury?  We had to drive up to my mom’s house to borrow her vaccuum, and she, being an amateur wild life expert as well as gardener, thinks that was the case.

We have a few theories about how the turkey got into the house.  The window that she came through is under the deck off the master bedroom.  We think she might have been taking a nap under the deck when something scared her–the weather (it was very stormy), the volunteer fire department’s siren (which sounds like an air raid siren) that is near by, or possibly a coyote or rogue dog (there’s a lot of them)–she then burst from the ground, hit the underside of the deck and crashed through the top window.

After spending the day cleaning and vacuuming and trying to figure out how to get our very, very old window replaced, I whipped up a nice, vegetarian pasta for dinner; because, while this whole adventure isn’t enough to make me a vegetarian again, it sure has put me off turkey, and to a lesser degree, meat, for awhile.

Ed’s Note: One. I’d like to thank Lisa for the able assist on the title of this post.  My feeble idea was to call it Wild Turkey, but in an email reply to my story, Lisa said, “Oh my! You should start a second blog about your adventures Upstate and call it a Turkey In Every Living Room!”  And thus a post is born.

Second. I’m not a huge fan of swearing in my writing.  At work we eschew it because there’s usually another way to get the point across.  That said, there are certain people like Michelle and Carol who use it to such amazing effect that I bow down before their cute little cussin’ asses.  And, given that, in real life, I am a prolific, creative and liberal user of epithets, I figured, for accuracy’s sake, to leave the swearing in this post.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Pasta with No Turkey and Glazed Brassicas with No Turkey.

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Labor Of Love

28 Aug

Summer is almost over, and for me, it’s going out with a sniffle.

I managed to catch some crummy summer cold, probably not helped out by the insane pace I kept up while up at the house last weekend. I arrived and immediately plunged into planting a variety of leafy greens from Silver Heights Farm in the one reclaimed garden bed.

I planted butterhead lettuce, merlot lettuce, arugula, olive arugula, lacinato kale, tuscan kale (I’m not sure what the difference is either) and rainbow lacinato kale. I’ve been watching the weather obsessively online and it looks like it’s been really dry up there all week. I hope they survive.

And then after running some errands and hitting some farm stands I was home and the sun was starting to set and I was alone. It was daunting. I couldn’t figure out what to do next. So I walked over to the radio and flipped it on. And, what do you know. Out came the opening strains of my very favorite piece of classical music ever; Dvorak‘s ‘New World Symphony.’ As soon as I heard that watery, calming opening line of the largo movement, baaa dum dum, baaah dee dum… I knew everything was going to be alright.

The corn (from Samascott’s) was spectactular. Seriously, it’s a good thing Obama wasn’t trying to pick me to be his veep, because if video of what I did to that corn ever got out… I also made a quick fresh tomato sauce out of three humongous Brandywine’s I picked up from a stand off the Milan exit of the Taconic (I also got a beautiful braid of the most delicious garlic for $7) and Luisa’s version of Heston Blumenthal‘s broccoli.

It was a good meal, but aside from the corn, not earth shattering. But, the leftovers have kept me fed all week, which is a good thing. And I enjoyed cooking it on my electric stove. I never thought I’d fall for an electric stove, after the early, formative and not-so-positive experiences with the one in the house I grew up in. But this one? It’s delightful! It does what I ask it to. Has real highs and lows, and since it’s one of those flat-top ones, cleans up a dream. I never knew electric stoves could be so wonderful.

Sunday morning I went for a run, scared my neighbor’s horse, had a wonderful breakfast in town and then went to the nursery. I can predict that nurseries are going to be my new kitchen stores. I only went in to look; to judge how much Japanese maple trees cost (turns out, a lot), but, I walked out with a bag of compost and a score of plants. Sigh. I am not to be trusted.

So rather than spending my day poking about in used book stores and snooping around yard sales, I nearly broke myself planting plants. A lavender for Isaac and some foliage for me (I’ve developed a very unhealthy obsession with hostas). After a warm shower and a clean sweep of the house, Oliver and I found ourselves barreling down the Taconic once again. It was too short.

But we made it home in time for Mad Men, which, seriously, is all that matters on a Sunday night. And so, tomorrow Isaac is back! We’ll spend three days in the country, puttering and planting and going to the County Fair. I can’t wait.

I hope you all enjoy your last weekend of summer, hopefully sniffle free.

The Coop

21 Aug

Remember when I told you that there were going to be some changes around here? When I introduced you to Oliver and asked you to sit tight, that I would explain all in due time?

Well, it’s time. And no, Annie, it’s not a baby. I’ll leave that to Ximena. But someone did guess correctly. Yep, Robin, you were right. Isaac and I bought a house. (Must be that you guessed right since you have real estate fever too!)

I’d like to introduce you to our new coop.

The Coop.

It’s a very, very old farmhouse, built into the side of a hill a few hours north of the city in the Hudson Valley. Hopefully, someday, we’ll be able to move there full-time, but for now, we’ll continue to rent an apartment in the City and go upstate on weekends and holidays.

Sun setting over the garden.

And it has land! Oh glorious land! The previous owner had a garden in which she grew mostly flowers. There’s little plastic markers for plants, like tomatoes and peppers, but the only evidence that she had a green thumb for anything other than nasturtiums and sunflowers is one very sad, very abused looking summer squash whose vines gave me a rash while I was attempting to rescue it.

Summer Squash.

There’s also endless acres of high-bush blackberries that are just beginning to develop into transcendental, inky, delicious love bombs of juice and sweetness (if the deer don’t eat them first that is).

Blackberries, all the way down.

And then there’s peace and solitude and privacy and quiet, and a big kitchen and two big decks facing the sunset and lots and lots of empty rooms. It’s going to be a bit of time before we can have guests up, but I can’t wait.

The view from the kitchen.

For many months now, Isaac and I have been quietly looking for a place to call our own. We didn’t expect to find anything for quite some time, but the minute I saw this place, I got goosebumps all over my arms and my heart felt tight, in a good way. I knew it was the right house.

Storm movin in

Storm movin' in.

Back in the car Isaac asked me if there was anything he should write on the salesheet, and I said, “Write down Ann *hearts* it.” It took a little time to convince him of its charms; the ceilings downstairs are very low, and it tends to be a little damp, what with being built into a hill and all, but we finally realized that it was just those sorts of quirks that can be overcome and that make a house worth loving.

There are morning glorys everywhere. I know theyre basically a weed, but I find them mesmerizing.

There are morning glorys everywhere. I know they're basically a weed, but I find them mesmerizing.

So we made an offer, which was accepted so quickly it made our heads spin. And then everything else happened lickety split, until it was time to schedule the closing. For some reason, that took forever. But, then it happened, and then, all of a sudden, the house was ours!

One of the trees in the front garden

One of the trees in the front garden.

And so, last weekend, we spent our first weekend there. We sat in the sun and pulled weeds and grilled burgers, drank champagne and ate the delicious chocolate cake our realtor baked us. Basically, we soaked it all in and enjoyed the hell out of padding about in something that’s actually ours.

Our first dinner: burgers, salad, champagne.

And this weekend I’ll go back up there, sadly alone though, as Isaac has gone to England for work for two weeks. It’s going to be a very strange experience, rambling about in a big, empty house, all alone, just me and the deer and the coyotes, but I’m looking forward to it.

This is what the garden looked like before.

I’m hoping to plant some perennials and to scout out farm stands, to eat corn on the cob while watching the sun set, and then sitting on the hand-me-down couch with a glass of wine and a pile of my mother’s old Organic Gardenings to plan next year’s garden.

One solitary raised bed of the garden, after.

But don’t worry. We’re not planning to spend every weekend up there. There will still be plenty of New York City ramblings and pictures and stories.

Nasturtium, Morning Glory, Dew.

So, I hope you’ll stick around for our next chapter, because I can’t wait to share it with you!