left on walnut

Category: Our home

Best of 2011

We were married on New Year’s Eve. Each year for our anniversary, we make the dishes we consider the best of the year. Here’s this year’s menu:

a new camera

For my 58th birthday, Tom gave me a camera. Eric helped him figure out what to buy. The Nikon came with a 321 page user’s manual, not counting the index. I’m hopelessly lost just now. I take a class next week, but for now, I’m reading the manual, watching instructional videos, taking lots of pictures, and trying different settings.

Thank you, Tom. Let’s take pictures. The autumn light doesn’t wait long.



Early this morning I stepped out on the side porch before the neighborhood woke. Before the day’s chores began. Before one thing led to another. One squirrel eyed me from an oak branch. Her day hadn’t quite started yet either.

cook stove

In the basement of our old house sits a Quick Meal gas cook stove. I googled “Lorain Quick Meal” but get recipes for quiche lorraine. I’m not certain, but I suspect this oven never baked a quiche lorraine.

peter’s boots

Saturday morning, I stepped outside to pick up our New York Times. The wicker furniture was gone. I was surprised Tom would put away the wicker so early. The kids come for a visit next week and if the weather holds, breakfast on the porch would be a summer benediction.

But Tom hadn’t stored the furniture. It was stolen. Both wicker chairs, the table, and the glass I had cut to fit the table. They climbed up on the porch rail and took the two Boston ferns from their hooks. They took my yellow mum that was just blossoming. They even took its plant stand.

The wicker chairs were a gift when I was promoted to the Provost’s office. I bought the table to go with them. They’d graced our porch for years and I cried with defeat.

Later on, I thought to check the side porch. Everything was in place. My old clogs wait for our next gardening day. Ivy still hangs from the eve. Hens and chicks still adorn Peter’s old boots.

The mum can be easily replaced. So can the ferns. Eventually, we’ll replace the wicker. Peter’s boots, though, would come around only once.

the carriage house

Fall is the time for cleaning out the carriage house. We scrub clay pots and empty gasoline from the garden tiller. We clean garden tools. Tom sweeps cobwebs down from the ceiling and leaves up from the floor.┬áMy dad’s spade hangs from its nail on the wall, in perfect peace, the long, curved blade oiled, ready to churn the soil for new beds.

our front porch

We spend a lot of time on our front porch. The porch swing offers a view of Franklin Park as well as the houses on Walnut. We live in an urban neighborhood. At least, it’s urban for a town in the midwest.

From our front porch, we see neighbors walking their dogs, a dad who jogs while pushing his stroller, and one thug who guns his motorcycle too fast. Mostly, though, we just swing, talk to each other, and enjoy a glass of wine and sometimes some supper.