Showing posts with label outside my kitchen window. Show all posts
Showing posts with label outside my kitchen window. Show all posts

23 October 2010

The Scene from the Kitchen Window

After a spate of golden days with that lightness in the air that only comes in fall, our weekend has begun, cold and dreary. No matter: For the past three weeks, we have awakened to the sound of gunshots from the marshland to the west and fallen asleep to the honking of geese along the river to the north.

It is time to turn away from the glories of Indian Summer to the gray and gold days that make up November.

Since Labor Day, we have eaten our share of caramel apples, sharing them after the hearty dishes we prefer in the fall. There are pumpkins on the red bench near the side door, and a display of fall flowers and gourds in the garden. I look out at the horse barn and see a riot of color.

Every season brings its small moments of delight: Mine came on a quick trip to a resort, when the managers treated me to a sunset pontoon boat ride up and down a meandering river. The islands were reflected in clear water, looking as though they were suspended in liquid and air.

Then there were the simple, seasonal delights that have sustained me for more autumns than I care to reveal  online.

I have driven down country roads on sunny days, past fields of haystacks and farmyard pumpkin stands. I have left work to the chatter of starlings in the ancient oak and maple trees in the park behind my office. I have returned home at dusk, walking up my little hill and breathing in the aroma of woodsmoke from my neighbor's fire.

My home has been a silent witness to 115 autumns now, and if I close my eyes and I can imagine the sounds and aromas of all the years that have passed: The clip clop of horses' hooves, the tinny horns of Model Ts, the rattle of souped up jalopies. The wine-rich smell of dying leaves, the crisp nose-tickling feeling on fall mornings as the season wanes - all these are a satisfying part and parcel of this lavish season.

The sun is angled now, and it washes the old buildings in our town with a coppery light. I love this time of year and hope that my work load lightens up so I can spend some time in the kitchen.

15 October 2006

The View from the Pantry Kitchen

My chef father may have cooked in the kitchen, but he maintained a small office area in the pantry. Here he could sit with his morning coffee and peruse cookbooks for new ideas. He kept a pad and pencil for jotting down ideas and even articles he wished could someday write. (He yearned to be a writer, not a chef. I write for a living, but hope to become an accomplished cook.)

After reading Lydia's Oct. 12 post at The Perfect Pantry — in which she poses the question, "When you think of a pantry, what comes to mind?" — I started thinking about that kitchen office. Our pantry was large and had built-in, floor-to-ceiling shelves on one side of a long narrow room. At the end was a high window and a counter. The window overlooked a gravel driveway and our backyard. There my father pulled up his high stool.

Unwittingly, I created the same sort of perch for myself when I bought a high stool that can be pulled up to the kitchen counter. My own window overlooks a copse of cedar trees and a 110-year-old horse-and-buggy barn (pictured above).

In spring and summer I can watch birds of all kinds at the feeders or in the copper birdbath. In fall, I watch the garden turn to russet and gold and often see migrating birds flying above. One cold day I spotted a group of trumpeter swans undulating across the sky.

In winter, I watch cardinals, chickadees and juncos eat the sunflower seeds I put out for them. There are plenty of squirrels and rabbits but also the occasional wild turkey or fox.

It is a relaxing place to sit and dream, to conjure up new recipes or even pay bills. I expect it was for my father too.