WHEN IT’S NINETY-FRICKIN’-FIVE DEGREES, and the air is choked with humidity, I cool off by looking at wintertime photos of my house and gardens. As you can see in the picture up top, my porch steps were barely passable after a blizzard struck in December, 2010. Here are more images from that storm, followed by this burning question: What’s the weather like where you are?
Winter, 2010: I was amazed (and amused) by the Canadian geese who frolicked in the icy creek behind my Woodland Garden. Just now, while sitting in my un-air-conditioned (and consequently stifling) Writing Room, that water looks rather appealing.
Just as they do during most winters, the pair of three-tiered fountains in my Rose Garden transformed themselves into wedding cakes. Who else feels like grabbing some of that snow, mounding it in a paper cone, and then cloaking it with blueberry syrup?
After the storm, I took a long-handled broom and attempted to knock the heavy snow off the arborvitae hedge (you have to do this to protect fragile limbs). Can you guess what happened? I lost my balance, and then slid — on my derriere — all the way down the steep slope. Well, I can laugh about it now.
At the end of the arborvitae-row is a replica of Venus de Milo. What a clothes-horse! Click the photo above, and you’ll see that she’s dressed to kill in frosty-white ermine and matching pill-box hat.
Standing next to Venus, looking down at the Herb Garden. The snow had just started to fall. In case you’re wondering, that’s the Music Room on the right, the old Kitchen Wing (built in 1794) on the left, and the main house (built in 1826) at the rear.
I learned to cook in the parlor fireplace that winter. What fun! In the crock on the left are navy beans with aromatic vegetables and a bit of smoked pork. In the cast-iron skillet is Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. Open-hearth cooking is a great skill to have when the power goes out on a stormy night. Perhaps, next winter, I can discuss the lost art of fireplace cookery in detail. Let me know if this subject interests you.
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