The Emperor's New Barn

We broke ground on our barn yesterday. Hooray!
There's nothing like coming home from your day job to find that your lawn is now a giant hole.
There it is! The new barn! Can't you see it?
Stay tuned for progress reports, when I'm not busy jumping up and down and clapping my hands with glee.
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Moon Flower!

I am a killer of houseplants. It's not that I forget to water them. Rather, there is some perverse impulse in me that will look at a thirsty houseplant and deliberately not water it. Between these neglectful urges and a history of herbicidal cats, even plants that are widely touted as indestructible have died on my watch.
I need the help of Mother Nature. The garden, with the help of unlimited sun and occasional rain, is generally fine, and now that I live in a house and not a city apartment, I can bring my houseplants outside in the summer. As a result, I have managed to keep a few of them alive for years. Years! Maybe I'm turning over a new leaf. Haha.
The latest and greatest addition to my houseplant collection has been absolutely enthralling. It was a gift from my good friends Frank and Scarlet, the proprietors of a lovely cottage business in plants and flowers. You definitely want one of these, so here's their website:
And here it is, the enchanting, entertaining, and extremely fragrant MOONFLOWER!
Above, Moonie on Sunday, just starting to unfurl


Early Encounters

Anyone who grew up in upstate New York probably remembers the Catskill Game Farm. You could get up close and personal with baby animals and even feed them from little bottles.
Here's a little gem my mom uncovered of my first encounter with the caprine kind.
I think maybe that goat was a little TOO close and personal. Either that or I'm gazing into its eyes and seeing a future of getting up very early, trudging up a hill in the snow with a five-gallon bucket of water, and spending countless summer afternoons inside making pounds and pounds of cheese.

Of course, there's really nothing I'd rather be doing. I mean, just look at me now.

I guess I haven't changed that much.
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There is a lot going on in the garden right now, and out of the garden too. Definitely time for a Cotton Hill collage.

Outside edges, clockwise from top left: Raspberries about to bust; my favorite garden bed right now: yellow marigolds and yellow melon blossoms; being patient with tomatoes; sungolds aplenty; nascent eggplants and onions; pretty flowers; moonflower waiting for full moon; Bird with some of the potato harvest: look at the giant one on the right; baby baby watermelons; superlate beans and romaine; the garlic harvest curing in the woodshed; giant green pepper, please turn red.

Inside: cool cauliflower, crazy cukes, and cute chicks!

Life is good. Recipes coming soon.
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Haunted Hill

One amazing thing about our house is that it does not seem to be haunted. Although I'm a pretty grounded person, as insensitive to the supernatural realm as I am to most things (thanks again for putting up with me, old friends), I have experienced places where I felt spectral presences. Hearing footsteps when nobody was home, lights turning on and off, feeling like someone is watching you - all that mildly creepy type of stuff.

In a 160-year-old sprawling farmhouse one would expect to encounter all manner of phantoms, but any apprehension I've felt in that moment before I turn on a light has been utterly unwarranted so far. The basement is damp and the attic has what looks like a noose over one of the rafters, but overall, the house has pretty good vibes. Or so I thought...

Good Vibes?