Posts Tagged 'pioneer valley'

2009 Garden Tour

Saturday, I attended the 16th Annual Friends of Forbes Library Northampton Garden Tour with Katie, Mom, and Grammie.  This year’s only tying theme appeared to be Goshen stone work.  We made it to 7/8 residential gardens before I had to report to work.  I learned some new vocabulary along the way:

potager – a French kitchen garden

espalier – to train a (usually fruit) tree to grow on one flat plane, often against a wall in a symmetrical pattern, with careful pruning

bosquet – a formal planting of trees in a gravel court

Continue reading ‘2009 Garden Tour’


Happy Birthday, Hadley

This year is my hometown’s 350th anniversary, and today is the HUGE celebratory parade. It promises to be the hugest parade Hadley has ever had with 18 bands, 26 floats, and an $80,000 budget. I’m stuck at work, and feeling kind of grateful for an excuse to opt out. I kind of loathe militaristic parades from my days in the high school marching band. I satisfied my curiosity by altering my commute this morning. At T-minus 1.5 hrs, Route 9 was lined with lawn chairs, balloon and snack vendors, signs for residential parking fees (two bros were charging $10/car!), and stray band kids, presumably walking to Burger King for breakfast. I wish Hadley would have used $80,000 for something a little less lame…

Hey, I’m trying to stay positive, this community raised me. So here are some of my favorite things about Hadley:

– Hadley “Grass” (asparagus) and sweet corn – abundant in the summer
– The Montgomery Rose Greenhouses – lit to an orange-y glow at night, spectacular in the wintertime
The Porter-Phelps-Huntington House Museum – supposedly haunted; The sunken garden is where I want to get married if I decide to get married
The Norwottuck Rail Trail – especially the lattice truss bridge over the Connecticut River where “EB U R THE 1 4 ME” is tagged
The Hadley Salvation Army store – impressive size, selection, and organization
– Frequent hot air balloon sightings – once one landed in our backyard! I was at soccer practice
– Mt. Warner pond – I fell asleep to the sound of crickets and bullfrogs
The Food Bank Farm – amazing cutting flower garden, great cause
Flayvors of Cook Farm and The North Hadley Sugar Shack – local maple syrup (get Grade B! I learned my lesson) and maple syrup ice cream
Moody Bridge Road – protected as conservation area under the leadership of Keith’s boss
Hadley Garden Center – Indeed, “Everything You Need To Make Your Garden Grow”
Lakeside PYO Strawberries – one of the fields borders on our property, and my sister still sneaks out for berries after dark

Show Off

I can’t believe I’ve never been to the Trading Post of South Amherst before now!  It’s in the same building complex as the Moan and Dove.  The ladies are really nice and cut me a deal on my purchases, probably because they want me to come back.  But also because they really liked my new “retro” glasses:

I bought them at Fabulous Fanny’s while I was in NY, and I went through hell to have the correct size shipped to me!  Guess which Bardian works there?

Anyways, here is my new mirror from the Trading Post mounted above my bureau.

Here comes a myriad of photos of new things.
Continue reading ‘Show Off’

First Harvest

Grammie bought me a Delphinium.

My first mini harvest: baby lettuce greens, thyme/dill, cherry belle radishes. Used these in a delicious tuna salad for lunch!


Lilacs at my dads

Lilacs at my dad's

One of my favorite flower tricks: To make cut lilac blossoms last a little longer, hammer the stems of your cuttings, splitting about an inch of the wood stem.

Lilac season is fleeting, and over for this year. Place I didn’t make it to: Lilacland in Pelham, MA. The good news is my gram gave me a couple suckers to start in my yard! This will be a landscaping experiment.

Stout Cake

My good friend Dave turned 21 on Wednesday, which happens to be our weekly LOST get-together night.  He doesn’t really like straight up booze, so I made him the next best thing: a Guinness cake.  It’s my most successful layer cake to date!  Probably because I used a couple of useful tricks:

– Line bottom of cake pans with parchment paper.
– Bake cake layers at a lower temperature for longer.  They will be flatter and easier to stack.
– Freeze cake layers for up to an hour before stacking/frosting. 

Guinness Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Other updates:

– It’s been one year since my beloved cat, Boo, passed away. I still think about him when I cross the Calvin Coolidge bridge and spot graffiti on the parallel Norwottuck Rail Trail. It read “EB U R THE 1 4 ME 4EVER + ALWAYS ❤ BOO” until recently, when it was altered to say, “EB U R FREE ❤ BOO”

– I’ve been regularly dipping into my precious perfume samples…ever since I learned to open the vials without spilling (more difficult than you’d think). I tried Serge Luten Fleur d’Oranger today, and I realized I’m not as fond of white florals as I once thought. I wore Piguet Fracas to David Sedaris and Caron Tabac Blond to Esselon Cafe.

– I’ve also been enjoying wearing my new $30 prescription glasses from The prescription is a little off, but I probably deserve that for being such a cheapskate.

– I am building a wattle fence and trellis for my garden. Stay tuned.

2009 Spring Bulb Show

I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils

And now, a few photos of the 2009 Smith College Spring Bulb Show.  But first, a little background:  All the bulbs are potted by Smith students in the Horticultural department as a lab exercise and forced into bloom simultaneously.  For two glorious weeks in early March, you can enjoy the colors and scents of thousands of flowers in the Lyman Conservatory: tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, jonquils, freesia, peonies, anemones, crocuses (croci?), forsythia to name a few, punctuated with Walter Crane illustrations….Perfect while it’s still muddy and kind of cold and lackluster outdoors.  I went twice to perk up my winter soul.  Admission is free, but donations are welcome. Actually, it’s over now, so just forget it until next year.  (Man, I am really plugging Smith lately, I should probably just go to grad school there already.)

Continue reading ‘2009 Spring Bulb Show’