Apr 04

2013

Farm Food: Spring Cooking

Although I love love love to cook, I don’t usually post recipes because I don’t feel like they’re mine. I am definitely a recipe girl. I need a cook book. That’s how I learned and continue to learn how to cook –  I buy a book that appeals to me and cook all the recipes that look good. Then I buy another book and do the same. I’ve cooked through Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, Nigella Lawson, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Ina Garten, Tamasin Day-Lewis, Jamie Oliver, the Smitten Kitchen blog, and at the moment I am obsessed (along with the rest of the world) with all things Ottolenghi...


Mar 30

2013

Happy Easter

The first Easter we spent in England, I drove myself crazy looking for white eggs for my children to dye. I searched every food shop and farm stand and soon discovered they simply don’t exist in England. Do not exist. (What are white eggs anyway? Are they brown ones that have been bleached??) So we settled for dying brown eggs and discovered a lovely surprise. The artificial colours produced by egg dye actually look much more relatable and lovely when applied to brown eggs...

Mar 07

2013

It has become a tradition in our family, and seemingly in families all over the English countryside, to take a good long walk outside on the weekend. Saturdays are busy for us, with football (soccer to my fellow Americans) practice, riding events, getting homework out of the way, and doing errands. But Sundays always consist of a leisurely and often quite social lunch, and then an ambitious walk in the fresh air, no matter the weather. ..


Feb 27

2013

Life on the Farm: Dizzy and Eartha

You may really think I’ve lost it now. I mean the chickens, horses, pigs, donkeys, and sheep are one thing. And let’s not forget Ginger, the most photogenic dog there ever was. But dedicating a whole post to my cats?!? I don’t think so.

The truth is – I’ve been holding this post for a while. Every time I would think of bringing it to life, I would tell myself, “Amanda, you cannot do a whole post on your cats.” But then something unexpected happened that gave me the impetus to do so...


Jan 30

2013

Life on the Farm: SNOW!

When we first came back to England in January, I felt that the gloomy weather might finally get to me. It was grey, wet, and dark for the good part of every day. There had been so much novelty in the fall leading up to Christmas – blackberry season, apple season, the changing of the leaves, the first frost, the first hard frost – and now I just felt like everything was dead, and that it would be a while until new life emerged...


Dec 24

2012

I experienced my first English hard frost last week. I have rarely, if ever, seen this in America. I was on my way to pick up my mom at the airport, so I was crossing my fingers for good weather. On the morning of her arrival, I had woken up to thick fog that morning and figured it would clear by lunchtime. Instead of clearing, the fog only got soupier throughout the day. It was kind of amazing as we went out for a walk in the afternoon, but I was actually scared to drive to pick the kids up from school in the fading light. It was the slowest I have ever driven. Slightly bummed that the weather had not cooperated, I went to bed hoping for a better day that followed. The next morning, the sky was clear, the sun was just rising and, at first it looked like it had snowed. Everything was white. I went outside in my pyjamas to take a picture of the garden and then wandered down the bridle path to the horse field and then all the way back up the hill to the view from the pillars at the old entrance to the farm. The difference between the frost and a snowfall is that snow just dumps down leaving a heavy blanket over the land, whereas the frost gently and delicately just lines everything in white. Every blade of grass and leaf on every tree is visible, yet frozen and shimmering. It turns out that the humidity in the air from the fog had settled into the landscape and then frozen over night. Mom and I agreed it was one of the most beautiful things we have ever seen.


Nov 28

2012

Life on the Farm: The Fog

In England, the fog is one of the the first signs that autumn is coming. This year it started in the beginning of September, so early in the morning that you could easily miss it if you slept in. The first time I saw it, while looking out my bedroom window at the crack of dawn, it took my eyes a minute to adjust to the fact that it wasn’t water flooding the valley below us. Now that I’ve seen the fog on quite a few mornings, I have noticed that it starts as a thick, flat blanket deep in the valley with the hills rising up through it like the humps of a sea monster...


Nov 12

2012

Life on the Farm: Autumn Landscape

Although I have spent time in England every year for the last 16 years, the one season I have never witnessed is autumn. While the pictures may look similar to an American fall, in reality it is completely different. Nature in England makes it’s evolution slowly and individually, with each tree seemingly at it’s own pace, whereas the American version seems to hit you over the head all at once. The result of which may be more spectacular, as you get the peak of the color all at once, but I am enjoying the more gradual change here...


Nov 05

2012

Life on the Farm: Catching the Sun

Here’s the thing about the dreaded English weather. It’s not that bad. Really. You just have to get the hang of it, which entails dropping everything (no matter how important) to run outside when the sun is shining. As long as I get my hour or so of outdoor time each day, or even just most days, I am fine. The trouble is, you don’t know when that is going to be. Take last Friday for example. The kids were home on their half-term break so I planned to ride with them in the morning when the sun was even just hinting at coming out...


Oct 18

2012

While we’re on the subject of Stella McCartney, I was in the Taschen store in Paris the other day and discovered her mother Linda McCartney’s book called “Life in Photographs.” I was SO inspired by them, especially by the ones of her family in the countryside, for obvious reasons. They are natural but stylish, in the most unpretentious way. And they transcend celebrity – they would be intriguing even if they were of a family of people we didn’t know. I’m going to attempt to recreate the family portrait with animals for our own family Christmas card. Do you think we can get all our animals to hold still for long enough? Or maybe its fine if they all wonder around us. That’s what I loved about Linda’s photos – she caught a natural moment. They are not posed, but they are perfectly composed.