Reading Lists

mckaylistYou know that you’ve gotten the right people together, that you’ve somehow collected all of the right and brightest stars into your orbit when they come together in your gravity and shine even brighter in each other’s presence. We had 19 for Thanksgiving dinner, and from my end of one long table across to the end of the other I could see McKay and Rav and Ann Marie in deep discussions, laughing together, and having found the old pad stolen from the Ace in Portland in my writing desk (which was open to provide a surface to display ham biscuits) and from their long standing positions as from-what-I-can-tell-the–most-brilliant-and-gorgeous-and-preeminent-scholars-in-their-fields curated reading lists for each other. How fortunate I am to have ladies like these in my life. And how fortunate I am to have had a few of these titles given to me by these very ladies. A gift of heartswell, indeed.



Thanksgiving in Snapshots

thanksgivingcidergravyYou know it was a good time if you literally only took one picture of the whole shebang and it was this total WORK OF ART (I suppose I decided that the vision of dear sweet Ravenel deglazing a skillet of aromatic and reducing roux that becomes the base of her incredible cider gravy while a boozy put of mulled cider bubbles in the background and Nick tears bread for apple and herb stuffing and a pecan pie cools off slowly by the woodstove was worth saving for posterity’s sake, and I suppose I’m not wrong). Out here in the world of the internet, though, while one hand laments decorative gourd season and the other pins gilded pumpkin tablescapes that could/should never exist outside of Martha, I sort of like that this was the only snapshot I thought to take. When you’re dancing in the kitchen, there’s no time to stop and stage photographs. But, because you asked, here are a few shots I scooped up from a few dear ones who thought to take a moment and capture some loveliness while I was making sure everyone had enough wine. And that the bird was ready at the same time as my hairdo.susturkeysuspieIMG_1276thanksgivinglatkeshooraykitchen

To thanks…

mountainsTime flies when you’re having fun. And time also flies when it’s being blown along at a blustery clip accompanied by a 20 degree windchill. Thus this incredible week of my dreams begins. A whirlwind trip of wine and laces up to New York and back down to sweet, cold Virginny, where the leaves have been blown off the mountainsides and the hills look like brushed velvet somehow in the deep pile of their bare branches, and where 22 people are coming to our house for Thanksgiving. Today. It will the best possible time, one marked in between full moons on my almanac calendar, what seemed to be years away back in balmy September, and is now just here at the doorstep like an early guest and I feel like my hair is still in curlers. It’s what I’ve been waiting for…all of my favorite things- dancing in the kitchen, the noise of pots and pans and soul music and laughter and plenty of wine and dear friends aligned on the compasses of time and memory and family reunited-and-it-feels-so-good and pretty plates and feathers and, of course, about a million ham biscuits. And on this never-to-be-seen-again Thanksgivukkah, I’ve just got to say: infinite thanks and mazel tov, y’all. My heart is full.



Oh My. What a time it’s been. One week after our arrival, I am now solo in this house. Sweetheart has gone back to Brooklyn to work and I’m here with the woodstove (which I am learning to master, stoking and banking with purposeful and beautiful and ancient tools, waking up to a bed of coals still gleaming after the long night) and the cat (whom no one will master, especially not Buster, who he met for the first time yesterday). In the intervening seven days, we settled, nested, unpacked, corralled, toasted with funky local cider and fancy champagne, cooked up a storm, danced in the kitchen, and in the midst of it all, hosted 18 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Hooo-eee! Sweet Family, together again, bringing laughter, stories, recipes, and a plant raised from clippings from the one my Great Grandmaw always kept in her kitchen, to be kept now in mine. Dear friends bringing pink bubbles and aprons and trout-sent-by-mail and the best dishwashing hands I’ve ever seen and smoked ducks and jars of apple pie moonshine and mandolins. And Loves, bearing burdens and brunts and just now taking a deep woodsmokey breath and settling down here in the dusky twilight, the night coming on cold and clear through the bare trees, the sun setting over our darkening field, our little house a bright jewel on the hill.Such a wealth of thanks. So much heart full and deep and almost beyond words. Home. And just like the third and final page of the localist paper: news, recipes, and crop reports to come.

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