Archive for March, 2016

Rainwater channel

March 24, 2016

Since we had a few gutters installed last fall on the problematic corner of the house, we’ve been noticing that the runoff is eroding the dirt from under the downspout. This is my first attempt at creating a little channel of angled stone steps to slow down and direct the flow. We’re expecting rain this week, so we’ll see how it fares and I’ll adjust it as needed.

A place for the water to go

A place for the water to go

Baking

March 20, 2016

I have been having some very good luck with baking this late winter / early spring. It started with bannocks, a kind of Scottish biscuit, that I was trying to make from a recipe I found online. I made batch after batch of them and they were too moist, too dense, too dry—everything that could go wrong did, but I kept trying until finally I found just the right techniques and proportions of ingredients to make them come out tender and fluffy. Since then, everything I have put in the oven has come out anywhere from pretty good to amazing: rye bread, rosemary crackers, pizza, brownies. Yesterday was E’s birthday and I attempted something I haven’t tried in years: a cake.

I can’t make cakes. I just can’t. Pie I’m pretty good at, but cake just doesn’t work for me. I’d given up trying because they always came out as falling-apart hockey pucks. Well, I decided to push my luck yesterday and I attempted a chocolate sponge cake. It came out beautifully. I’m sure a proper baker could do a lot better, but by my standards this was amazing.

160320cake1

Chocolate cake, fresh from the oven

I filled and frosted it with chocolate ganache and we enjoyed our dessert immensely.

Cake topped with chocolate ganache

Cake topped with chocolate ganache

Houseversary

March 6, 2016

I realized recently that we’ve been in Heather House for seven years. (The actual date passed in February and I forgot to notice it.) That means we’ve lived here for as long as I lived in New York. (Longer for E, since I was there for a year and a half before she came to join me.)

It’s a good feeling. I think I have finally recovered from New York. I still would never want to live there again, but the thought of the place doesn’t make me cringe any more. I am happy here in Heather House. Happy with our house, our little patch of woods, our little pond, and the quiet days we have here.

It took us a long time to get here, but this is the right place for us.