A kitchen renovation and a plan

|| I spent the early morning hours today drinking coffee on a stool in the barn while Patrick milked the cows, completely engaged by Marion Cunningham’s vivid descriptions in “The Breakfast Book”, of Apple & Cheese Toasts that, “if you get the notion,” can easily be made to carry back to bed to be enjoyed with coffee and something good to read.
"As one is softly propped up in bed the world falls away, and breakfast becomes what some poet called "a parenthesis in time".
I can’t really remember ever having breakfast in bed. But i have enjoyed my own versions of this idea almost daily and believe that it is the small moments, life at 7am on an ordinary Thursday in late October, that make up a happy existence. What is of value after all, if not the rituals that make up the vast chunk of time that is the customary day.
A perfect Autumn day, overcast with the sun peaking through occasionally in a display of glorious light to send a beaming spotlight on a dozen gold leaves still left clinging to the tree in the yard. I came in from the barn and immediately went to work making Coddled Eggs as Marion suggested. The trouble is, while i was waiting 10 min for them to sit in simmering water i started working on the weekend menu at the Inn and forgot to take them out at the proper time. So they turned out more like hard boiled eggs. Perhaps next time I’ll be more diligent. I liked them anyway with grilled steak leftover from the fridge with garlic hash brown potatoes. A perfectly ordinary autumn day it is. ||

This was written a few years ago on another blog I used to keep, the first year I lived here in Virginia. Reading it takes me back to a time and place that I probably would have forgotten about had I not written about it. I love that about writing, which is also what I love about keeping a blog; it helps me process and make discoveries about myself and the world around me that would otherwise stay hidden.
Double yoke! It's bound to be a great day.

As much as I love it, I have quite unintentionally fallen off the blogging bandwagon this year. Thinking about it now it's easy to see the reason has simply been a lack of intention, so I decided to change that by committing (out loud) to post here once a week. It may not be a lot by some standards but, considering my history, it's big a challenge and yet still quite doable I think. It's a bit of an experiment so I'm taking it at least to the end of March, and by that time I should be able to be in a good routine. If not, perhaps another reevaluation may be necessary.
It's taken me a little while to work through this. I've had a lot of different ideas. Since I mostly post on Instagram these days it often makes posting again here feel a little redundant. One day I heard an interview about a food blogger and I thought, "I should just be more disciplined and do that!" 45 minutes into that thought process I realized that would never work for me. As much as I love cooking I was SO relieved I wouldn't have to photograph everything I make and write a detailed recipe. It's just not how I think. 

The journey of self-discovery continues.

What I've realized is that I love to talk about food but I don't enjoy recipes that require me to translate what I'm making into something that someone can replicate. I may post a recipe occasionally but its the exception not the rule. I prefer to talk about it more in theory and technique.

I'm also not a DIY, or a tutorial blogger.

Sometimes it takes a lot of figuring out what you're not in order to find out what you really want to do.

I don't really want to do this to "make it big" where blogging is what I do. While I'm fascinated and find it really incredible that so many are able to do that these days, what I really want is to write and photograph about whatever it is that I do, which varies a lot from day to day.
It's been so helpful to realize that, it's what keeps me wanting to come back. So I'm here with renewed vision and a plan and I'm ready for a challenge.
"Throw back your heads, open up your hearts and sing along!" Timely advice coming from Bing Crosby through the scratchy speakers of my 7 year old laptop as I type.

Another thing that keeps me from posting is all the catching up I have to do. The best way I know to deal with that is just to start where we are today! We just started renovating a room that used to be a general store here at the Mill. We are turning it into a commercial kitchen for Hope and I to work from. We have been working together for the past few years on events and workshops. We have so many plans and projects that we want to work at but it always comes back to having a kitchen/studio to work from and stash all our stuff in a way that's organized and functional, without carrying mountains of food and dishes to and from our cars.

Looks pretty rough right now don't you think? There's lots of light and wood floors to work with though, as well as a talented crew of husbands! Where would we be without handy husbands.

Otherwise, there's still a lot of porch-sitting going on as you can see.

Amelia (above) lives in a cottage on the farm and we share many many cups of coffee, and as many ideas. She's gone for a few weeks over Christmas now and I sure will miss her.

Sometimes we spend the morning at my house and the afternoon at hers, or vise-versa.

 This was a photo from a construction project Patrick was working at on the farm. The light in the sky while the sun went down made the silos glow. Now there's a roof there.

Evenings lately have been long and leisurely, with a few nights of holiday festivities thrown in every now and then to draw us out of our cozy warm den. I'm like a bear, I like to hibernate in the winter so long nights don't bother me. I have lots of photo projects I'm working on this winter and I'm even hoping to start making a quilt soon with some fabric I've been saving. That is pretty ambitious for someone who's never made a quilt but why not shoot for the moon every now and then.
Hope you are getting lots of leisure mixed in to your holiday season!


  1. Love this, Ames...as I always love when you post your thoughts and pictures. This last picture is so cozy and wonderful looking. :)

    Love you,

  2. i was just thinking the other day, "i wonder if Amy has given up blogging." i guess not...and it makes me happy :) love sneak peeks into your intentional and cozy life!

  3. I am wonderfully happy that you have decided to begin blogging again! There is such a feel of warmth about your writing, a genuineness, and an inspiration to keep life simple, and to truly enjoy live and enjoy it. Love this!

  4. That is such an interesting bare bones look at the development of your kitchen. The most important things to consider are to make that sure the drains aren't clogged, the sinks work as they should and that you've got the pipework all in place, accommodating water flow real well, which, I believe are all in the cards. Thanks for sharing that! All the best!

    Traci Romero @ Harris Plumbing

  5. lovely potential in the kitchen~can't wait to see how it plays out!

  6. I really hope you keep up posting. Having just discovered your place, I am really overcome with how much I want to pump into your pictures-- to be on that porch drinking coffee, to eat a meal at that table.

  7. How did I miss all these posts!? I love that your back to blogging. Your photos and writing style is well... Amazing.

  8. the journey of self discovery continues....ahh yes.

    Dear Amy,

    I was recently trying to find some of the old blogs I was reading when I blogged at homegrownandbeeyoutiful. I was happy to find your blog to catch up with things further north from me in VA! I didn't see a link to email you, but wonder if you've set a date for your barn sale this September, and I have some questions about selling. You may email me at:




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