Sunday, November 11, 2012


I spent my summers at my grandfather's house in Lutherville, Maryland. He lived on the last farm remaining in that area - forty acres saved from development, surrounded by houses on all sides. It was literally an oasis on top of the hill. He had horses, chickens, fields and barns to play in, a big old house perfect for treasure hunts or hide and seek, and perhaps most importantly, a swimming pool.

It's difficult to put into words my memories attached to that place - Meadowvale Farm. My brother Wayne, cousin Genny and I held meetings in our "secret hiding place" (the linen closet) on top of an old trunk piled high with blankets and pillows. There was not a corner, drawer, closet, tree, nook, or cranny of that entire property we left unexplored. It will always hold a special place in my heart and my memories.

It has since been sold and has finally become a housing development as well - a victim of too high property tax and "progress". The move out process was long and brutal. The house was built in the 1800's and had never been moved out of. What started out as a summer house, because a permanent residence. Someone would move in with all their possessions, live their life, and pass on. The next occupant did the same thing, resulting in packed basements and attics littered with old furniture, china, and silver. The barns were even full of antique furniture, saddles, trunks full of clothes, and boxes full of discarded books, glasses, and framed artwork.

Some of the treasures we discovered were quite interesting. Perhaps the best part is the old furniture we salvaged - furniture needing new upholstering or repair of a broken arm or leg. Some furniture was in amazingly good shape for spending decades in a barn. Many of the pieces don't even need repair just a good cleaning from their years of spider web and dust collection.

I thought I'd begin to share some of those items that lived the beginning of their lives at Meadowvale and will now spend their next chapter with us, at our new "old" house. Many of these pieces are similar to our house in fact - old, full of character, and a little rough around the edges but hopefully salvageable and with a little time, TLC, and elbow grease, can have new life! It may seem odd to incorporate these things into a food blog, but my life now includes fixing up old things as well as cooking. And that is what life is about, right? Taking each new challenge as it comes and holding on to old passions as new ones present themselves. It might not be that far off after all. I am a self-taught cook in the kitchen and this house is ensuring that Ian and I are becoming self-taught DIY-ers as well.

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