Strong Women and Whiskey

not for the delicate palate

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Location: Oxford, Pennsylvania, United States

I've found that if you speak as if with authority on nearly any topic, most people will believe you. This frightens me.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

As promised....

Welcome to Barnhenge

So this is the spot. This was once a full barn -- we wanted to keep the foundation because it was just so pretty. It'll get put to good use.

Moving day. The tarpapered area is going to be our new kitchen. The hoopty moving truck has since been returned. As you can see, windows and siding are a must!

Again, proof that windows and siding are needed (contract in the works). The front porch, with all that trim is great. Doug and I eat dinner there a few nights a week. Something about friends hanging out on the front porch chatting is just a happy thing.

Dining room. No really, those windows look out into .....another room! Apparently the room beyond them used to be a sun porch. Doug and I are going to do something cool with the windows, the sun porch will eventually be a bathroom and mudroom. Currently it is referred to as "the hardware store" since that's where the tools are kept. The previous owners did a great job painting the downstairs, thought the floors need work.....
...and the upstairs have great refinished floors but cracked plaster walls. This casement with the light coming through is the first thing we see in the morning, provided a starving kitty is not in one's face."One long staircase just going up.....

and one even longer coming down." (treacherous!)
As if the symbolism were not blatant enough, the thought of painting it flesh-tone has crossed my mind. We like the silo though, it's not going anywhere any time soon and attracts bats. Sounds like a winner to me.
As far as the eye can see is our property -- well, up until the mowed area starts. This is a close up of one side of the barn ruins taken from the top of the driveway. From the driveway, they seem sunk down, however that's just because the old barn was built into the side of a hill.
Lovely lovely arches. One day this will be a patio area and outdoor kitchen.Master of his domain. I love this picture of Doug, of course, it may have been taken just BEFORE he signed the mortgage papers.
Yes, it's purple. No it didn't come that way. My honey indulges my whims where permissable and the girls love it. Of course, the coop almost ended up pink-and-purple camo. Now I just have to make some curtains for the windows :)

Doug thought that the chickens needed a special welcome mat of their very own. That and they might not realize it was the same coop.

This is the low pasture. (where I broke the mower) This one is so secluded-- and probably the flattest place on the property!

This is the high pasture. We used the word pasture even though nothing grazes there. They look like something out of "Camelot", the picture does it no justice. The pastures are covered in wildflowers. This one, I think, will be used as goat pasture as needed within the next few years.
Some local fauna. The butterfly bush is a whirlwind of activity. Also just about every evening the hummingbirds go nuts over the moonflowers in the overgrown areas. Tonight I saw about 15 out there.
I have never seen a thistle this tall. I am nearly 6 feet tall and this thistle was considerably taller than me! I'm absolutely enthralled by them, having never seen them grow all the way up....
...and then puff into seed pods.
chicken!!!!!!! mistress of all she purveys.
New kitty. This is Gigi. She's a Russian Blue and is very quick to let you know when she's in the room. She loves to announce her presence loudly and attack toes. She adores Doug and tolerates me.
Poor Collette, she is still jumpy at all the extra noises in this big house and knows it's safe under the bed. She's getting better. At first, Gigi (who is little) intimidated her because she is so vocal. I think she's getting out of it, they even play now. Just the other day she body-checked Gigi on the way to her food bowl. NOTHING gets between Collette and her food bowl.
Meet Pierre Rabbit. He's a 3-4 year old lop-eared bunny of some variety. Pierre loves to play with the cats. His first night here he chased Gigi around the couch several times. Instead of a dog and pony show, we had a cat and bunny show! They all seemed to enjoy playing together. Pierre lives in his cage unless we are around since he enjoys electrical cords. I think he's getting used to us. He's kinda scruffy but sweet tempered.
Dinner for two on the front porch. MMMMM. Potatoes with goat cheese.
I love this picture -- the way the barn ruins seem to rise up out of the overgrowth like they will always be there -- hopefully, so will we.

oh internet! I've missed you.

I think I've browsed the neglected blogs of folks that I've poked in a while. Tomorrow I get to catch up on emails and post a real entry here.

Well this IS real, I know. I had to do some shopping online tonight and got caught in some stuff. Have finally purged the digital camera of it's house-picture guts so there will be many many pictures for your viewing enjoyment. Hopefully I'll get them posted over coffee or something.

MMMMM coffee. Why am I not tired? Well, the kitties are wooing me to bed, so I might as well go. Another day of lawn and garden mayhem ahead. Have I mentioned the killer case of poison ivy that D and I are recovering from? Massive, miserable stuff. I'm still scabby, ick. We have found some wonderful products to combat it though-- Tecnu and Cala-Gel are my new favorite products.

by the way, I'm currently addicted to this track -- check it out here.

Friday, August 19, 2005


I did not call you last night
as the midnight whipoorwill mourned
my chocolate frosted lips - unlicked-
and the coital scent of cocoa
saturated the air.

I did not miss you last night--
did not recall how your shoulders eclipse
the kitchen light and my shadow
did not fight to exist. My cheeks
did not burn
against the humid song of crickets.

I did not dream of you last night
feral and crouched
over my perfect chocolate cake.

Friday, August 12, 2005

and then there were four

I came home yesterday a dead chicken in the driveway. Not just any dead chicken, but the one chicken that has a name. Lucky. Probably the most "tame" and my favorite. There were four clumps of feathers and a dead Lucky. An eerie silence prevailed, I was sure something had gotten the others.

After my initial freak out (calling Doug near tears) one of the chickens appeared. I was convinces something had carted off almost all the chickens except her and Lucky. She wouldn't let me anywhere near her. So I went upstairs and changed out of my work clothes so I could go hunt for carcasses, I could hear her in the side yard "bocking" her head off, as if she were calling for her friends and didn't know where they were. I had no idea what to do for her, since chickens have trouble knowing how to, well, be chickens, without other chickens around.

But by the time I came downstairs (20 minutes) the rest of the chickens had sifted out from hiding. Welcome to farm life. I bagged up Lucky for a proper burial. She'd obviously been mauled by a dog, the place where the most damage was between the neck and middle of the back. It just shook her and chased her and shook her and chased her until she stopped moving and it got bored and left. I wouldn't be as upset if it was something that at least ATE her, or part of her.

So the chickens are penned up today, they have a small chicken yard around the coop, Doug and I are considering expanding it, and getting a few more chickens. Then we'll only let them out when we're there. It's a shame though, because they like to roam.


But, there are 4 chickens which is better than one and better than none and Lucky had a proper burial.

Oh and we got a really cool package in the mail, too. E2 you absolutely rock. I've smudged every place I've ever lived and hadn't gotten around to the new place yet. I freaked out when I saw what was in the package -- I was like "how the hell did she know?" Thanks so much.

I'll have to return the favor. Can I mail fresh eggs?

We're getting settled now. The cats are getting a little more used to each other. We're waiting for the happy kitty glade plug in to arrive to help Collette. She still prefers to hide most of the time.

Aside from the house, no really deep thoughts. I understand now, how things change -- with so much to do every day -- the really deep thoughts just dribble away when we pass out at night. I think though that it gets better. It feels like as we get more settled, I can pick stuff up again. Poetry is calling to me. So are my books. We have our books and CD's unpacked (fully integrated, no "his" shelf or "her" shelf pretty wild, eh?) and the books are calling to me.

We will not have internet until the 23rd of August at which point someones in FL, the UK, and NH will get in depth response emails. Maybe sooner if I work it right. After that point, I think I'm going to start a food blog. I'm getting a real kick out of food blogging, it's so entertaining. If you get a chance you can check out my favorite food blog "Dispensing Happiness" (in the sidebar) and see what I mean.

We have some friends coming up this weekend. The original plan was to go out to dinner. Lately I'm more interested in being home. I mean, the property is huge, the house is big, and I love to cook -- why go out? No air conditioning is part of that, but we're pretty much getting used to it. I would like to cook.

So these folks have some serious food issues. One of them is a picky vegetarian and the other has some stomach issues and both of them are admant in their likes and dislikes of foods. Like tomatoes. I love tomatoes and the tend to end up in many of the things I cook that are worthy of entertaining. But it was a challenge to come up with a menu that should satisfy everyone.

Here's what I've got for my fancy picky dinner party. Outdoors of course. And there will be a campfire to bring in the evening.


iced white tea infused w/ lemon balm syrup and lavender
pear nectar w/ seltzer and mint

chilled cucumber-dill-yogurt soup

mixed spring greens & sorrel w/ toasted almonds
blood orange/pear vinaigrette

frosty shot of Sambucca

Roasted red potatoes w/ chevre and herbs de provence
Grilled Eggplant and Vidalia onion slices

Lemon braised artichokes w/ drawn butter

"Drunken goat" (aged in port wine), plain chevre, and brie
melba toast rounds

grilled peach halves w/ fresh thyme and honey glaze
stuffed with dried blueberries reconstitued with green tea
and a dollop of creme fraiche

Spiced Apple Wine and S'mores later in the evening

hopefully this all works out!

Friday, August 05, 2005


We are in place at Barnhenge.

Wednesday we arrived at the new place for the final walk-through just as the skies split open and poured. Unusual for this area, it immediately cooled off at least 10 degrees. So despite the humidity it was much cooler -- so we decided to pack the truck overnight. I think we went to bed between 5 and 5:30 a.m.

(this is where I praise Raven for sticking around until 1:30 to help us after running around with me in the heat all day)

Thursday we got a call from the owner at 9:30 saytng that the closer called him and they wouldn't be able to go until 4:30 p.m. instead of the 11:30 it was originally slated for. He told us to go ahead and get started. That was so incredibly cool of him. So we headed to the house. Doug and I unloaded the damned thing ourselves -- fortunately, we could back the truck up almost to the door and it remained somewhat cool throughout the day.

At some point I freaked out and said I just couldn't do anymore because I was exhausted and kept bumping into things. Doug is so sweet, he just listens patiently for me to finish and talk myself out of it and hugs me if I need it. Realizing that we really did have to keep moving, I put on a Give 'Em the Boot CD compilation which kept me going -- and so I got my 5th wind.

It's so amazing walking into a house and realizing that it's yours -- in this case, ours -- which is an even bigger thing.

After we got the first truckload unloaded we kept shuffling things around, getting things upstairs that needed to go and so forth. Erica showed up with her little girl, so I *had* to take a break and give them a tour of the property. This involved me having to sling her daughter, Eve, over my shoulder for most of the trek, since we got briar-logged. My legs are still shredded.

Of course this was an excuse to play with the hose and chat with Erica on the back steps for a bit. Raven showed up with her husband and we started working after a chill out session on the front porch (! porch !). Erica, bless her, started putting my kitchen together -- the niftiest part of that is I picked up later where she left off and she did absolutely everything the way I would have. That's just so cool.

Doug went to closing and spent lots and lot and LOTS of money.

He came back. My brother Devin came over and he and Derek and Doug went for the last load (insert heartrending separation of Collette and Cheshire here. Okay, Collette more than Cheshire was upset).

We got the truck unloaded and back to the U-Haul place around 1:30 a.m.

Friday we get up and get moving to unpack more stuff. Collette is now living under the bed. It's safe there.

It started to warm up some -- did I mention this house has no AC? Uh huh. There is a window unit in the bedroom. But it's not too bad. I also get to feed the chicken and collect the first eggs! Yay eggs. We go to the apartment to set it up for Courtney who will be staying there during a tattoo convention -- air mattress and stuff.

Get back at 2:30 and leave for the airport. Somehow we get to the airport despite backups on the back roads. We get there at 4:01 and our flight is at 4:20 at the furthest section of the furthest terminal. Somehow, we made it in the door and on the plane in 19 minutes. Amazing.

Fly to NH where we are picked up by some lunatics who take us on a cross country joyride complete with strippers, booze and crazy misadventures. Okay well it was Jon and Turtle, wearing the latest in fashion, the Doug Shirt. I'll post a picture, after we go online at home but lets just say it's quite creative. Well, they thought they were being creative, but it might have been instigated by the fumes from the spray paint.

bonfire beer friends nice time fell asleep in the dirt around 11 p.m.

Went to Newicks for lunch on Saturday and had my first lobster roll! Then went to this wonderful witchy shop called Misty Meadows with Jen. I loved that place -- found some yummy herbs that I'd been looking for and got all kinds of ideas for the new place. This shop is a learning center, as well and the owner has a huge property used for herb growing and so forth. I was very impressed and really wanted to stick around and chat some more, alas, they had to close for the day.

Spent the night at Doug's parent's house. Well, one of them, anyway. They're such cool people. Doug and Jon and his Dad went and got the U Haul -- only to be told there were none. 2 hours later they had given up on U Haul (they did have a reservation, too) and had gone to Budget when the U Haul people called and said they might have found a truck. I think he told them where to stick it.

They loaded up furniture from his parents -- the furniture his grandparents bought when they first got married in 1938 not in perfect shape but very nice and well, we like it.

We drove from Maine to our our apt in Delaware, rounded up the last items, chatted with Court a bit and then headed to the house. Unloaded all the furniture and passed out.

Somehow we made it through the next few days of work. We've been going to bed late every night, and spending evenings moving and assembling furniture and so forth. Oh and did I mention it's been up near 100 degrees each day since we got back. Superspecial.

But there is so much good. Like watching the chickens run helter-skelter out of the coop in the mornings and being able to actually do laundry without going to the laundromat (i LOATHE the laundromat). I'll touch on those things later.

Eventually we'll have the internet set up and all that stuff. Collette has com eout from under the bed. Mainly because we got another kitty who decided that under the bed was the safe place. This kitty is a bit younger than Collette and hisses. Collette does not have a foul mouth like that and is quite put off by it. The new kitty is GiGi and she will probably end up being quite sweet. She is just scared-ish right now.

Anyway, that's all for now. Seems very just the facts-ish but I'll add more.

*note - I stumbled across a pile of moonflowers last night. they ringed around an ashy circle from the barn burning down. like white faced phoenixes, the silky petals were just starting to open as the sun set low and red through the haze of late summer. just beyond them was the biggest thistle I've ever seen, looming beyond the brush - a prickly guardian.

both of these plants are personal totem plants to me -- there was something so right about it. I was finally able to exhale all the stress of the past months.