Tag Archives: Upstate

Flyin’ The Coop

6 Nov

What a week!  Oh what a week…

In celebration (okay, not really, but it feels like it), Isaac and I are heading west to celebrate “Western Orthodox Christmas” with his family.

To keep you company, here’s a few our neighbors, including Maybel the chicken.

(Who I’m considering adopting.  Anyone out there have experience with adopting a rogue chicken?)

I’ll be back next week with pictures and stories.

The Beet Goes On

9 Oct

Fall is finally here.

My waking days have quietly slipped into a gentle grayness.  Instead of being greeted by wide beams of golden yellow sun streaking through the front window, my mornings are spent in a cozy half-light.  And as the financial crisis rolls on, the last rosy radiations of the setting sun, that just last month greeted me as I left the the office, are becoming weaker and weaker.  Each night it’s a little darker, a little grayer, a little more obvious that summer is really truly over.

I’m fine with this, and in fact love it.  Fall in New York is the most glorious time of the year (even if the Yankees decided to act more like the Knicks and less like the Giants thus robbing me of one of my favorite autumnal traditions).  The air is crisp; the sky is the most glorious, searing, pellucid blue.  It’s scarf and stockings with riding boots and plaid wool skirt weather.  The greenmarket is bursting at the seams with the last of summer’s bounty as well as the radiant oranges, yellows and reds of squash and pumpkins and root vegetables.

And then there’s the weekends upstate.  Walking out the back door is like stepping into a Frederick Edwin Church painting.  The leaves on the trees are just beginning to change, some into shades of orange and red that shouldn’t be possible in nature.  And the smell! Oh the smell.  Dryness and earthiness with a hint of smoke.  Five seconds of breathing it in makes up for all the early mornings and long nights I’ve spent toiling away this past month.

Though we still have a hole in our house from the foul fowl, it looks like we just might (cross your fingers, knock on wood) get that fixed this weekend, and then we can go back to living a normal, turkey-free life (at least until Thanksgiving).

This past weekend was spent planning for the future.  I planted bulbs, which is no mean feat.  Our house was built directly on some geologic feature that makes it impossible to dig any hole without hitting a rock every quarter-of-an-inch.  I’m tempted to name the house “Rockfield.”  It sounds just a wee bit snooty, but is based entirely in truth.  While I was scratching away at the earth, Isaac raked the yard,  also no mean feat.  The house is surrounded by mature and magnificent stands of maples and oaks and birch and elm which are prolific leaf producers.

After all that hard work, we deserved a break, and a delicious dinner.  So we took a drive over to the Hawthorne Valley Farm Store, by the back route, through Spencertown, possibly the most beautiful New England town in all the world that isn’t technically in New England.  From there, we went to visit a farmer I noticed at the greenmarket last Friday.

I had asked Dan, the farmer, where I could buy his beef in Columbia County, since it seems foolish to buy it in the city once its been driven down from upstate only to put it back in a car to drive it back to where it came from, and he said that they sell at the farm on Saturdays.  So we dropped by, got a tour and bought some eggs, sausage and and two chuck eye steaks.

Fully provisioned, I hit the kitchen to make some borscht.  Everything was going along just swimingly until I began peeling the beets Isaac had bought at the greenmarket.  With each swipe of the blade, the beets became less rosy, and more, well, white.  Dammit!  He bought me chioggia beets!  Well, at least the back-up beets I had procured at Hawthorne Valley would be red, I thought.  And then I started peeling my beets… Ach du liebe, scheisse! I had done the same thing.  We had been bamboozled by the beets!

Ah, well, nevermind.  So the borscht was a little pale, and a little, well, less beety.  But Dan’s beautiful beef really saved the day.  The fat and amazing, clear flavor really, uhm, beefed *groan* up the soup and gave it depth that it might otherwise have been lacking.  I served it with some wine-braised cabbage and big chunks of rye bread.  It was fortifying and delicious, which was good, because we had another big day of yard work ahead of us.

We’re planning to move the garden next year.  It’s technically on our neighbor’s property (though he doesn’t seem to mind) and a little too close to the blackberry bramble, and it’s overrun with weeds and blackberries and we have too much yard, so we’re going to start over.

I brought up a huge stack of Wall Street Journals and New York Times‘, the detritus of the crisis.  We put these down on the lawn in a big rectangle, wet it and then made a huge pile of our leaves on top.  We’re going to do it again this weekend, on an adjacent rectangle of land.  Come spring, all I have to do is put a little compost over top, and dig right in.  Or so I’m told!

So, I’m alright with it being fall.  Things feel like they’re slowing down a bit.  And though my days in the City are a little gray, my weekends are full of joy and color.  It’s a nice balance, even when the borscht isn’t quite the color it should be.

Head below the jump for the recipe for Borscht, Of Another Color.

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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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Spring Cleaning

19 Jun

Isaac and I have been spending a lot of time Upstate recently.

Red, Green, Bike

First there was Mother’s Day and my step-sister’s new baby. Then there was Father’s Day. And there’s been a few other trips as well. It’s wonderful to spend time in the country, but it can also make the weekend feel even more compressed and shorter by adding six hours of traveling.

Feather, Birdbath, Reflection

On Sunday, we arrived at my mom’s house bearing gorgeous dry-aged steaks from Piazza Mercato for my dear old step-dad. He happily grilled them to perfection while I whipped up a batch of grilled radicchio, but that’s the most cooking I’ve done in a week.

Lilys, Ferns, Rhythm

We had planned to make a big picnic sandwich and a kale salad and pull up a spot on the hill in the park on Saturday to watch the sunset, but alas, the weather had other ideas. It rained and rained and rained and rained, so, even if it had paused just long enough for us to run down to the park, the earth would have been far too soggy for lounging. So we scuttled those plans and went out for curry instead. Flexibility! It’s what’s for dinner!

Purple, Flouncy, Transparent

So rather than a recipe this week, I figure I will indulge in a little spring cleaning. Plus, it’s an excuse to finally post all these pretty Upstate pictures I’ve been saving for just such an occasion!

Lacy, Sparklers, Celebrate

First, I’d like to send a huge virtual hug and a very real, very warm thank you to Ximena, of the always beautiful and entertaining Lobstersquad, for the wonderful drawing she sent me. It was the most wonderful surprise and I can’t wait to give it pride of place in my kitchen!

Leaf, Water, Trough?

One of the things I never expected when I started writing this blog was how fun it would be to trade “things” with people that I “meet” on the Web. First there was a beans for pickles exchange with Christina. Then there was a Helprin for M.F.K. Fisher exchange with Lily. Now, mushrooms for… what? I’ll need to think this one through.

Fronds, Fractals, Unfolding

Next, it seems like everyone is making pizza these days. Okay, maybe just three people–Luisa and Deb and me–but three’s a trend, no? I’ve discovered the joys of substituting pizza for bread in a meal. I’ve been making The Bread Bible‘s dough a day in advance, allowing it to proof and develop flavor by rising overnight in the fridge, then topping it with herbs and salt and olive oil, almost like a focaccia, as an accompaniment to, well, just about anything.

Stripes, Curves, Motion

It’s quick, easy, requires no stand mixer, is light, fluffy and incredibly tasty. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt anyone if you chose to throw some fresh mozzarella on there. Or perhaps some tomatoes. Or maybe a little sausage and peppers. Or a few mushrooms. Or maybe a little pesto. Or… Or… Or… The possibilites are endless. But one thing is for certain, the pizza dough in the book is perfection. If you have the book, try it. You can thank me later.

Hot, Soft, Perfume

Finally, I don’t know if anyone cared or ever even looked at it, but I’ve 86-ed one of the auxiliary sites that I started over the winter, the Granny Cart. I just didn’t have time to keep up with it, as I’m sure you four friends of My New York have noticed. I’ve been a bad blog mommy! But, it’s on my list of things to do, right after going for a run every morning, not staying at work too late and drinking more good wine. So, you see, I’ll get to it soon!

Twists, Turns, Peas!

So I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures and I hope you’ll try the pizza and I hope you’ll forgive me my lack of attention to the other site. I also hope that any of my readers along the Mississippi and in other flood-affected places are okay.

Round, Straight, Art

Have a lovely week everyone!