Saturday, December 19, 2009

Wish You Were Here!

SNOW! Doesn't this photograph of Cape Coop look like a vintage postcard? Our little Cape Coop is so sweet, in every season!
La Principessa went out and took these photos of our cozy Cape Coop this morning. The snow had begun to fall a few hours before. When we awoke at *:00 AM or so, we found ourselves surrounded by a soft and chill blanket outside.
Gray, white and black have overtaken the world.
These photographs ARE in color. What is the name of this unusual color, you might ask? First Snow.

Oh! This snow is so soft! Very cold, white, a heavy blanket of powder on every surface. I shoveled the front walk and cleared off the post box a bit later, in hope of attracting the mail carrier. The snow practically floated off of the walkway- it is that soft and dry! We are enchanted.

Our little car, Kim Chee Kia, is even MORE buried now, as it hasn't stopped snowing as yet at 5:00PM, and these photos were taken at 11:00AM. 21 ½ inches so far, according to my tape measure.
Our neighbor's son came by and shoveled the alley for her this morning, and we gave him a hot cup of oolong to warm his dear self. We have heat, we have lunch and tea, and, oh, the world is lovely and quiet.
I look out of my window here and see a flock of birds flying West. I feel sheltered and peaceful.
The world feels so calm and sweet as I look upon the snow outside, there just isn't a proper phrase come to mind to explain.
So, yes, I am homesick, for the warm, the endless summer that is our home state of Florida, but NO, I am not weary of this adventure in Salem, New Jersey. I do not tire of the seasons and the challenge, the lovely of it all. Wish you were here!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Insert Disappointed Sigh HERE

Today I ripped at the dining room carpet a little bit, to see WHAT WE ARE FACING.
Um, not good, it seems.

The dining area is Cape Coop's North front room.

In the rear it is the kitchen, which has cloud gray vinyl stick-em-down tiles. I suppose that the flooring will be a double room job now. Bleagh. (Pay no mind to the odd placement of the refrigerator- PLEASE. And, don't get excited over the five feet of cabinets- they are in scary disrepair.

UNFORTUNATELY, the floor beneath the carpet is NOT lovely- but isn't this photo close up of the disaster gorgeous? I can't discern even if this is wood, or some other odd sort of surface material that is something like cardboard. The hidden surface is covered in swirls of old flooring glue, dusty and dark brown. I imagine that I can pull up the carpeting and either recover the floor in some stick-em down tiles (we're not enjoying carpet in the dining/kitchen area!) or, even, just clean up what's there now, if it turns out to be something usable (I fear not!). I'm not inclined for now, because my secret hope is to eventually do a remodel of the entire area, turning the dining 'room' and the kitchen into one large, more cohesive area- an eat in kitchen/family room sort of idea is in my mind. An old fashioned kitchen similar to the main rooms of colonial times- although NOT in a colonial theme. SO, I would like to cover both floors with ONE material, returning them to their original singular state- because I do believe that the chicken house did not have multiple flooring surfaces, unless the lady of the main house liked decorating that much? Or thought to inspire the chickens to a happy mood with a variety of decor choices? I can imagine a woman thinking to herself whilst choosing floor coverings "Ah, THIS vinyl will be the perfect accent for the West side, and THIS lovely wood for the East!"
FORTUNATELY, although she DOES have a virulent dislike of the 'Horrid Carpet', La Principessa does NOT have a sense of time, or urgency, regarding these things- my darling Kiddle is in no hurry to GET THINGS DONE.
This will be a daunting job, and I will need to ruminate. For AGES, I think.
Again, FORTUNATELY, today is bank day- our monthly adventure to the city of Glassboro- and we have been invited to dinner by new friends... yes, a 40 minute drive is what we consider to be neighborly here- we're thrilled!

ALSO, FORTUNATELY, we had these sweet whole wheat biscuits for lunch, while my cake offering for dinner baked in the oven, warming the kitchen up to a toasty 52 degrees Fahrenheit!

Photos of the cake may or may not be forthcoming- it is a naked cake, and while fruity and moistly delicious to eat, Kiddle may not feel inspired to photograph it.

Can you tell that I'm having difficulty figuring out layout code? Yipes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Away from Marlboro TO Marlboro Anew...

When we moved here to our new home, we moved FROM a small town in New Jersey that is near Marlboro Township- a so called 'bedroom community' of NYC- where the people work hard to acquire the trappings of America's financial upper middle class-everyone is beautiful, and their homes are beautiful, glossy as a magazine cover, as fashionable as the malls will allow, and then some!
There are 2 farmer's markets in the Marlboro area, both as glossy and citified as the people require- and we rarely indulged ourselves of their bounty- for the prices reflect the preciousness of having a farmer's market in such a fashionable township.
Imagine, now that we are in Salem, we find that just down the road another Marlboro has come into our lives, but a very different flavor of Marlboro-a real country farm!
Marlboro Farm, with a market, open year 'round, called, appropriately enough, Marlboro Farm Market. We have been going there every week or so, since we found the market on one of our leisurely "what will we see if we go in that direction" drives.
The vegetables, fruits and plants- they are beautiful!
Just as the Marlboro Township folk, their homes and their farmer's markets are beautiful, so is everything at Marlboro Farm Market, albeit an entirely different kind of glossy beauty- the timeless beauty of nature- the beauty of vegetables and fruits freshly arrived from the land- a gorgeous sight to behold.
The market is a rustic building, with foot worn cement floors that are a companion to our own foot worn wood floors at Cape Coop, and a rustic theme that belies the modern refrigeration against the back wall- and the computerized registers that the smiling young ladies who ring up purchases at the center counter depend on.

We walk around and look at all of the always varying produce, and we sidle to the back of the market and fill our basket with the discounted "yesterday's" produce that the farm puts into bags every day- 2 pounds of yellow string beans for half a US dollar, an immense purple cauliflower for 75 cents, a 10 pound bag of sweet potatoes for $4.00- 6 large local apples of various varieties for another dollar. We spend almost all of our weekly food money at this market - and we eat the most delicious meals all week with the finds that we have acquired!

Of course, there is always the local squash, the riotous colors and frenzied shapes calling to La Principessa, and we do indulge- at a dollar or less a pound- it's an affordable adventure- the multitude of gourds and soft skinned beauties calling to us, their colors just DELICIOUS to the eye- their shapes offering no clue to the shade or flavor of the flesh therein.
We roast or bake the lovelies in our kitchen, we eat the flesh in simple ways- with a drizzle of maple syrup, or a dusting of cumin- sometimes I will keep aside a cup of the squash meat and make a soup of it, or a tiny stew- with onions- and lots of Kiddle's favorite spices, so sumptuous! With homemade croutons atop the dish, or a hunk of our own kitchen's bread, what a feast for lunch on a cold day! We roast the seeds and snack on them- so much pleasure from these many globes of such amazing shapes and colors!
And that is where we are going today- Marlboro Farm Market-our new neighborhood Marlboro- and one which is a bit more in tune with our own sensibilities, humble as they are. I wonder-what mealtime adventures will stem from the upcoming visit? I hope that you all have a local market to adventure in, as we do in our new hometown- and, if you don't, don't fret- come for a visit- and we will take a drive down the road together, to Marlboro Farm Market- we'll spot you a fiver for a treat, and I'll cook it for you, in Cape Coop's kitchen.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Box by Box...

As you can see from the accompanying photograph, we are getting the boxes up the stairs and Out Of The Way. The front room actually has space for Kiddle to set up her easel and paint, and for me to sit on the carpet and go through my papers. Always, I am busy with these boxes of papers- shifting them from one box to another, for I'm always meaning to do something with the reams of paper information that I acquire, but how can I even begin, when there is so much to do?
We have hung a few pieces of art on the walls, but only where there are already nails- I have discovered that I know NOTHING about how to put a nail into a plaster wall! So, there are dozens of paintings in the dining area, leaning on the credenza, awaiting a place.
We have yet to decide what to do about bookshelves in the house either- we have thousands of books, but of course! Unfortunately, we are supposed to be Grown Ups and so, more Grown Up cares are forcing themselves into 0ur minds for now. Heat is the thing that we are going to focus on for the winter- not shelves.
Heating! What a terror! The weather is already icy here and we have yet to figure out the heating system. We have OIL HEAT- and that means that one must choose an OIL SERVICE- and there are so many- how to choose? And, then, of course, one must buy a full tank of oil in one go- that's 275 gallons- a LOT of oil, perhaps, but also a lot of money. So, we are waiting, and as I always say when I am confronted with a challenge to my wits- we will Take Care Of This Soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Our Dimmet Promenade Yields Clouded Beauty

It had been one of the first days that we'd officially had the means to call Salem our new hometown, and we decided to take a walk, during the dim time of day, to fill our lungs with the scent of fall and our eyes with the beauty of the dimmet sky. We walked for over an hour, throughout "The Avenues", which is the name that locals have for our tiny neighborhood- all avenues, not a "Road" to be found. We looked at the homes and compared our tiny and bare yard to the various garden habits of the neighbors. We strolled along cobbled walks and cement ones, narrow street crossings and wide, and we enjoyed thoroughly the fact that we now live in a town that was built during our nation's colonial times.
The spires on the churches- so tall, so stately! The wood and stone facades of the oldest homes, the bricks of the newer homes, and the turrets and gingerbread of the 'younger' Victorian homes in our neighborhood- all were a wonder to our eyes. And, then, it grew darker, the air became still and quite chilled. We came to our quiet and wonderful Cape Coop. La Principessa looked up as we headed to the side alley near our property and said "Oh- this is the reason for our walk tonight!" and there, up in the night, was a breathtaking, gorgeous, violet and blue sky view. Now, I, Mommy, know much better than my Kiddle, the heart of the reason for our dimmet perambulations- it is to be together, to share things in each others companionable presence- and, for me, to soak up the experience of watching my sweet daughter experience everything around us. But, for her, how lucky- to now feel so safe that she takes this companionable time for granted- the singular wonder of this night's sky is what we should notice tonight. And that is the heart of the beauty of this place and time, clouded to Kiddle's view, perhaps, but not to me, not to my heart. I know the true beauty that is clouded from view by a nice walk in an interesting neighborhood, underneath a purpling night sky. It is that my daughter feels happy and safe, and we are together, and we have love. And here is what we saw, right above our heads.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


We drove past a neighbor's home, a lovely, simple place- next to a pond. A small, handwritten sign, on a post out front, states simply- "Fresh Brown Eggs". La Principessa surely must see this- she has not eaten a truly fresh egg since she was a wee one in South Miami- and doesn't recall the experience. She trod carefully past a few ducks, no doubt denizens of the pond, and knocked on the door- a kindly, sleepy man shuffled out, gave her a nod and a box of eggs- "$1.75 fer the big 'uns- you'll save a quarter if ya' take the smalls." She was so excited, she sprung for "the big 'uns".
And, here they are- lovely, freckled and speckled things.
I taught her how to break them into a bowl, to be sure they aren't fertile, before pouring them lovingly into a skillet, bubbling with a slick of olive oil. Sprinkled with a bit of coarse salt and a few rosemary needles, they fried up right lovely. We laid these lovely, luscious egg jewels on pillows of skillet toasted challah in our favorite green glass bowls- so truly beautiful, fragrant, so good! So, don't fret about coming for a visit now, my lovely loved ones! We may not be unpacked, we may be without some amenities (a table! a sofa! shelves!)- but you are assured a lovely fresh egg, on lovely fresh toast, anytime.

Friday, September 4, 2009


The realtor was amazed to sell us the little house- we were his first out of town internet buyers!
Our friends were amazed that we had found a safe place.
Our family was amazed that we were considering moving into the house.
The inspector was amazed that it was standing.
The attorney was amazed that we WANTED it.
The closing agent was amazed at the tiny price and the tiny buyer.
La Principessa and her dear friends packed our belongings, in an Amazing & Interesting Fashion, and we moved in.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The First Visit

When we first saw the interior of Cape Coop, we were stunned to find carpet in the front rooms of the first floor. Weirdly thick and squishy carpet it was, too. La Principessa announced that she could not abide to walk on such a surface. The stairwell and stairs were also covered. After falling in love with Cape Coop and it's price online, La Principessa suddenly balked at buying the chicken house. This is a lass who has had to view one of our previous homes by entering through a window, only to find a tub full of excrement in the solitary bath, and still beseeched Mommy to "take this one, it's homey!".
I had, up until this moment, been unsure about her desire for this house- it was so far from the hospital where I need to be seen weekly in NYC, it would take every penny that we had to purchase! But, something hit me, right then. I watched her run through the rest of the tiny house and I knew that she wanted it. My Kiddle so wanted to feel safe, and we had a long journey to get to that shore. I walked to the southern wall of the living room, laid down my cane, grabbed at a corner of the carpet- and PULLED. There was a firmly and thoroughly stapled down layer of rebond pad underneath. I tore at it, and pulled a bit more. A lovely shade of honey glowed beneath my stare. Kiddle was entranced. Wood- she dreams of wood floors that she's played on in years past. The house was a GO, once again. Never mind that the floor was uneven under most of the carpet, and there may be a gaping plywood hole hidden somewhere under the camel hair floor. This could be homey. This could be HOME.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cape Coop, and how we got there!

This weblog will share the story of Cape Coop, our tiny house in the country, how we got here and the history of our little 'chicken house', along with our history, all enmeshed in a rambling, somewhat colorful and unbelievable, yet true story.
PS: There will be run on sentences. And exclamation marks!