Sunday, December 30, 2007

Tree Felling at Spruce Street

We have been busy this holiday season felling trees at Spruce Street. The trees were beautiful, but HUGE. It is really nice to see the sky and have some natural light. "I'm a lumber jack ...." everyone, sing along.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

It's a warm and sunny day and we are having a relaxing Christmas at home. Bruno received a good case of the flu during our trip NYC before Christmas, so we are relaxing and listening to a plethora of new CD's from Father Christmas. We did enjoy a few days in the city with Mike and DiAnn, which included an exciting game between Duke and Pitt at Madison Square Gardens( The game ended after two periods of overtime, with Pitt ahead by ONE point. Sorry Mike. We also saw the Radio City Music Hall Christmas show which is fantastic, we highly recommend it. The theater alone is a sight, but the music, special effects, coordination of legs and costumes, oh and the live camels too, are impressive. Best wishes to your and yours this holiday season. Peace.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Spruce Street Update

Wow, time flies. Thanksgiving was our last posting. A picture (or two) is worth a thousand words they say, so here are photos of the upstairs bathroom at the house at Spruce Street. In between working and keeping the homestead at Hangman Hill running we have been concentrating efforts at the Spruce Street house. The house is rock solid, but needs some "heavy" cosmetic work. So we are doing a little wall removal here and there, and looking for creative ways to work with brown tile and pink fixtures. All suggestions are welcome!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

We woke to a warm misty morning, rolled out of bed and started the day with a brisk walk. The mist burned off to reveal a sunny day with temperatures reaching 65°F. We could do nothing but hop our bikes. We did allow time to make a few pies and then joined the Panosky's, neighbors on Hangman Hill, and their families for one of Mark and Jen's famous dinners. The rest of the weekend plans include bathroom renovations at Spruce Street and a harvest dinner with root veggies from the garden. Come on by for polenta dome and roasted veggies on Saturday night if you can.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Science in San Diego

We both travelled to San Digeo for the annual AAPS (American Association for Pharmaceutical Scientists). Sheri participated in a high school out reach program at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park to teach students about career opportunities in Pharmaceutical Sciences (, scroll down). The extra time on the weekend permitted some time to explore Balboa Park where the Science Center, Zoo, museums and theaters are located. It is lovely and highly recommended as a destination. You can see a few photos at the link: San Diego is a lovely city, the weather fantastic and a great place to hang out with or without science geeks.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Spruce Street Dumpster Project

Great progress was made at Spruce Street the weekend of Nov 3-4 thanks to one very LARGE dumpster and the help from our friends Eric and Joann. While the rain and wind from Noel pelted against the little house on Spruce Street on Saturday, we removed old carpets, dry wall, 1940's gas summer stove, tiles and more. You can see more photos of the result taken the following sunny Sunday.

Pumpkin Carving

Once again a group of friends of scientific persuasion disprove the myth that scientists are not creative. Just look at those pumpkins! A challenge to incorporate at least one "prop" into the carvings added to the fun this year. Our guests graciously humored our request and the result was a great group of 'kins. A group of hungry carvers enjoyed one of our large garden pumpkins that was converted to tureen/curry soup. Don't try this one at home kids.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Adventure in Westerly

The blog entries have suffered from recent focus on a house in Westerly that we purchased with an eye towards investment. In the long term this may be a home in a lovely town setting with many perks. The house is located only a few blocks from the park and in walking distance to the library, grocery store, post office (a fantastic building with loads of granite), cafes, restaurants and even a place to paddle our canoes. We have some major renovations to do before it is ready to rent, starting with a major clean-out (BIG dumpster!).

Going local in Vermont

Our trip to Vermont gave us the opportunity to spend time with the Thames Ski Club (SKI) cleaning the lodge and see more fall colors with peak foliage in southern Vermont and Massachusetts. We also enjoyed temperatures in the 70's, meeting some fellow outdoor enthusiasts and ski house handy people (aka home renovators). A highlight was breakfast at the Farmer's Diner in Quiche, VT on the way home. We have both read about the Farmer's Diner in Barbara Kingsolver's book "Animal, Vegetable Miracle: Our year of seasonal eating" ( The diner was also featured in the Autumn edition of Yankee Magazine. After reading about Tom Murphy and his commitment to supply his diner with foods grown by local farmers, we couldn't resist. If you are anywhere near central Vermont, you must stop by

With regards to the book by Kingsolver, we can't say enough about this book and highly recommend it! Kingsolver has helped us be thoughtful about our food, where it comes from and how much oil it takes to get us a banana from South America or even lettuce leaves from California. This book is beautifully written, humorous, has great recipes (we have tried several) and provides guiding principles about growing, harvesting and eating food that are balanced, locally grown and in season, and promotes community. A must read, but you have to buy your own, we refer to ours on a regular basis.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October Face of Produce

We continue to enjoy an "Indian Summer" (or Global Warming?) with temperatures in the 70's, and and PRODUCE galore. Tomatoes (ripening on the vine!), cukes, eggplant and jalepeno peppers come together for the October Face of Produce. Yes, October and the third week at that! The leaves are the peak of color here in Southeastern CT and we had a salad of greens, cukes and toms from the garden. We feel lucky to have hit the peak of color in New Hampshire and Vermont two weeks ago, in northern CT last weekend, and here at home this week. We are now provisional members of the Thames Ski Lodge so we are Vermont-bound this weekend to join the work crew to ready the place for ski season. It is hard to fathom cruising down the slope on a snowboard when you are sitting here in shorts and tees. It will be good to see how the colors have progressed up north after two weeks, though.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Leaf Peeping

Following respite from the hustle and bustle of Washington D.C. at HHR we headed north in search of color. We left CT on a misty Wednesday morning. By the time we reached Concord, NH our good weather Karma returned. We enjoyed mostly cloudless skies for 5 days. At Bretton Woods,NH we enjoyed views of Mt Washington for 2 straight days, a hike to West Mountain, some fine dining and yoga in the conservatory at the Mt Washington Hotel. Our travel from NH west to Vermont brought brilliant colors along the scenic (and winding!) roads. The late afternoon drive took us from fiery reds and brilliant golds to a brilliant sunset. In Vermont we relaxed at Blueberry Hill Inn with gentle strolls, some fine dining and the chance to sit and read books. We arrived back at HHR with tanned faces, relaxed minds and well-fed tummies. Excellent!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Bruno and Sheri go to Washington

The last week of September we travelled to Washington D.C. with Pam and Nick to view the sites. The weather was amazing, hot, but not too humid (really) and pristine blue skies every day. The photo of Bruno in front of the Capital is says it all with respect to the weather. With blue skies every day we spent lots of time outside at the memorials (Sheri pictured at FDR), but we did visitthe Smithsonian Air and Space, Native American and Postal museums. We were all taken with "The Castle" (pictured below). The Castle is home to the information center for the Smithsonian and has fantastic gardens. It is also a fine place for tea and paying homage to Mr. Smithson.

Nick and Bruno Paddling at Potter Hill

The weather has been good for just about anything, but certainly it has been great for a paddle. Bruno and Nick headed out mid-day last weekend to paddle the Pawcatuck River starting at Potter Hill. You can see the Potter Hill Mill in the background. The color was just starting to come in places, giving spectacular contrast to the vibrant green that lines the banks of this pristine river.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September Holidays Begin

Pam and Nick (Bruno parents) arrive on Friday and we are already off to a good start. The weather is good. There are plans for canoeing, a trip to D.C. and a little time viewing colors in New Hampshire and Vermont. Oh, and reading books, taking naps, drinking tea, having cocktails on the deck and some nice meals too..

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mimi's 90th Birthday Party

This weekend Sheri traveled to Keyser, WV to celebrate Mimi's 90th Birthday. The party was a lovely luncheon given Cindy and DiAnn (Sheri's mom). It was a beautiful day and great to see cousins, aunts and uncles. The party was held at The Candlewyck Inn, the best place to dine in Keyser. The Candlewyck is a lovely Victorian style Inn on Mineral Street and the owner Fred and his wife Sherri are well known in town to Mimi's friends and to her visiting relatives too. I caught up with many cousins, including my first and dear cousin Christy (see photo) from Texas. I also heard from David and Tammy a tip on some bluegrass talent in the family , Travis' progress on the local car-racing circuit, local country politics in Capon Bridge from Uncle Bill, and so much more. It was a very fast 48 hours, but well worth it! I hope I am having as much fun when I am 90 (see Mimi and my Mom, DiAnn below).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Just Peachy

Every year the garden is a little different, which makes things more fun and more challenging. There are moments of frustration, like when your potato plants have succumb to a Colorado potato bug seemingly overnight. Then there are moments of joy like when you spend a Tuesday evening preparing peaches pulled from the tree in your own backyard. The pink and yellow peaches that are revealed when you pull away that rough skin, mmmmm. Visions of peach pie, peach crumble, peach preserves, peach in our heads. Come on over, we'll be serving peaches.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Canoedooling in September

This posting on our Labor Day paddle (Sept 1st) is a little late in coming, but better than never. We had a beautiful day with blue skies and warm temperatures to explore a new section of the Pawcatuck River. It was a bit scratchy at the start. Okay, let's say we did a lot of walking while trailing our little canoes behind us. Occasionally this involved lifting the canoes completely out of the water for a bit. This is the beauty of a 12lb canoe. It was spectacular, nonetheless. We shared the river with a few turtles, a blue heron (maybe someday we can get a photo!), and some funny creatures wearing rubber boots to their waists and who made annoying grunts as we paddled past. Fly fishing in RI... well I never! You can check out the remoteness of this route at Google earth (<,+ri&amp;amp;ie=UTF8&t=h&om=1&ll=41.546231,-71.705875&spn=0.0952,0.159645&z=13&layer=t>). It is amazing you can be so close to I95 between NYC and Boston and be surrounded by a wilderness that seems untouched.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Biking to Work

If you appreciate environmentally friendly news, biking, living in Wisconsin, or folk music check out Peter Mulvey's concert tour this fall ( We saw Peter Mulvey perform at the Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret CT earlier this year and really enjoyed his music. It was impressive and encouraging to learn of his plan to bike to his tour venues in Southern Wisconsin this September. This story also brought nostalgia and envy since we have fond memories of biking in countryside outside of Madison during the fall. We hope you have the chance to hear Peter Mulvey, take a ride on your bike, wherever you live, or find a small way to reduce your impact on the place you live.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

September Produce Face

September 1st! Where did the summer go? With bright blue skies and a hot sun it still feels like summer, and the garden is still going strong. The September Face of Produce feature a carrot, a runner bean and apples. This Labor Day weekend we are filling jars with produce, and plan to bike, paddle and be outside as much as possible. S&B

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


No we haven't gotten a goat... yet! At the end of a beautiful late summer ride I was able to capture a photo of the goats at the farm just down the road. Bruno and I got to hold two of the young ones when they were just days old about a month ago. They are pretty cute at this stage and not too "goaty". SLS

Friday, August 24, 2007

Agricultural Fair Update": First Prize?

Back in July we reported on the North Stonington Agricultural Fair ( and posted a photo of our blue ribbons. This probably didn't come out in the blog (as intended), but we weren't really sure what the ribbons meant. We had blue ribbons, others had red, but no mention of "first place" or "honorable mention". This week a mysterious envelope arrived from the fair committee that contained a check for $4.75 and an "invoice" that is equally as ambiguous as the ribbons left by our produce. We aren't entirely sure, but we are taking the numeral "1" to mean we won first prize for our potatoes and black currants. Wooo hooo. Clearly we are Agricultural Fair novices! Maybe next year we will figure out the system. Just think of the seeds we can buy with $4.75....

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Yellow Buddleia

While Bruno is enjoying some time with his family over the weekend before attending a few minutes in Sandwich in Cambridge, Sheri is enjoying an ideal weekend of sunny skies and cool temperatures in CT. The garden update is a flowering yellow buddleia, finally! We came accross the yellow variety (Buddleia x weyeriana Honeycomb) while walking on the anceint walls surrounding the city of York in England and thought it would be a good addition to HH. These plants do well quite well in Connecticut, have a lovely-scent and look nice too, and most importantly they don't taste very good to deer. After several attempts, one has finally taken. I was having some help from my canine assistatant in trying to capture the photo. I never could have purposely posed Kokee and the yellow buddleia! The truth is her fascination with the plant is actually focus on the tennis ball that she is waiting with expectation for me to pitch to her. As they say on the right side of the Atlantic.... "Bob's your uncle!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vacation Report

We had a great week last week doing both ordinary and out of the ordinary things during our vacation home. One of Bruno's creative accomplishments was making a frame for a painting of Kerry's (Sheri's sister) from her younger years in school. Sheri's accomplisments included mapping out a few new bike routes and finding a new place to paddle the canoes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Flora and Fauna

During a routine "pruning" job Bruno spotted this amazing nest in our lovely Canadian Hemlock (nice tree eh?). The nest is home to the Bald-faced hornet, more commongly known as Dolichovespula maculata. According to Wikipedia "Bald-faced hornets are extremely protective of their nests and will sting repeatedly if disturbed. The main area of the body that bald faced hornets attack on humans is the facial area...." ( Thank goodness for a zoom lens! We are keeping our distance until winter.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vacation at Hangman Hill

This is the life! We are vacationing here at Hangman Hill this week. We have been sleeping in, going for walks, drinking tea, coffee, G&T's, taking naps in the middle of the day. We explored some new things in our area as part of our "vacation" from everyday life here. We paddled on the Green River Pond at sunset, had "Elevenses" (tea at 11 am for the Yankeee readers) at Somerset Tea House in Westerly, added a few new bike routes and have been working on our creative endeavors in home and garden. It is really nice to enjoy this great place we live, along with our furry friends, garden produce and beautiful surroundings without the everday routines of work etc. Gotta run, it is time for a nap!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lazy Days of Summer

We did it! We made it to the beach with our friends Mark and Jen for a Sunday evening picnic. One of the benefits of living in Southeastern Connecticut is the proximity to the seaside. Although it is only a 20 minute drive to some beautiful Rhode Island beaches, we don't seem to get there enough. But we did today. The skies were cloudless, the ocean temperatures a balmy 71°F (!) and the diminishing crowds meant no traffic and a peaceful evening on the beach. We swam, strolled and had a nice dinner. Thanks to Mark and Jen for getting us out there!

Saturday, August 4, 2007


This year we experimented with some "finger" eggplants. While we only have a few, they are quite jolly and make for a good August garden face (see July's face at We probably don't have enough for baba ganouj, but a stir fry is on the menu. The jalepenos will spice up the many, many cukes that have a future as pickles.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August Sun

It is hard to believe it is August! Time does seem to go faster when skies are sunny, breezes are warm and days are long. We have been busy harvesting great things from the garden, catching rides on our bikes and enjoying a few G&T's on Bruno's fantastic new deck ( One evening last week we realized over dinner that we were enjoying plates loaded with veggies from our own garden, Swiss Chard in the Quiche, steamed potatoes, cabbage in the form of coleslaw, a side salad of yellow beets and salad greens, and stewed gooseberries for dessert. Without even trying, we were eating almost an entire meal from our garden. At the rate the hop is growing, even Bruno's homebrew will soon be laregly "homegrown". The hot summer days are starting to bring sunflowers, tomatoes and lots of flowers on the runner beans from Nick, Bruno's dad.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Food and Culture

It was another spectacular weekend and we keep wondering when we have to pay for abundant sunshine and comfortable temperatures. On Saturday evening we went to the Eugene O'Neill Theater in Waterford, CT with the Eisenharts. The grounds are breathtaking and it is a great place to see a new works. We saw THE BOOK CLUB PLAY which might be coming to theater near you very soon. It was a play about a documentary about a Book Club whose members spent very little time reading or discussing books.

On Sunday we had a big harvest which included yellow beets the size of tennis balls! Yellow beets have been a challenge so this was victory! The beans, potatoes and hubbard squash are coming in too. So much to eat, so little time.