February 26, 2015

The Next Room to Get the Martha Touch

There is one last space in the building we call the Gym Garage that we are finally turning into something useful. It has been used for years as a storage space, but as you know from several earlier blogs, a lot is going on with “storage” at the farm, and as the organizing bug has bitten me badly during this terrible cold, cold spell, so has the “decorating bug.” In the next month or so, you will be seeing some painting refreshing, some new decorations, some newly restored pieces of furniture, and some new spaces created out of older, less useful rooms and places on the property.

Since we have reordered the “headhouse” of the big greenhouse, the place where gardeners traditionally sow seeds, plant seedlings and cuttings, and prepare orders and talk to vendors, we have discovered that there was no longer room to store the growing Gardeners’ Library of research books, no where to store little used tools, seeds, and fine planting pots.

Right across the main driveway from the greenhouse is a long two-story building called the Gym Garage. On the second floor is my wonderful gym, a gift from my daughter Alexis, where I try to work out several times a week. On the ground floor are two bathrooms for visitors, garden guests, and others; a two-car garage; and a very well-organized DIY homekeeping room, stocked with tools, and everything one needs for minor home repairs and picture hanging and packing and shipping. The last available space is also on the ground floor, and once was used to house the goats of Mrs. Sharp, the former owner. It is a perfect heated space for the Garden Office and Library.

Enjoy the "before" photos. More to come as the room is transformed into a much more useful and practical area.

February 24, 2015

The Great Reorganization: In Progress

This month of the arctic vortex, sub-zero temperatures, many feet of snow, and inability to work in the woods or gardens, encouraged me to set on a course of no return—that of a complete reorganization of many places on the farm that looked fine ostensibly, but upon closer examination, were very much in need of a reorg, a redo, a face-lift. There were/have been/are five major areas of interest: the winter house basement, the summer house library, the Maple Avenue basement, the stable garage loft and ground floor, and the greenhouse/headhouse.

I have assembled a bunch of photos of the before and the "in progress" to show you. These projects should make any of you feel good that even Martha Stewart can get into serious trouble with disorganization and messiness. Nothing was disgusting, or even very dirty, just 12 years of gradual disintegration of a once excellent organization plan into something resembling CHAOS!

Enjoy. As we do get things in order we will share photos and comments with you.

February 21, 2015

Judging a Delicious, Fanciful Cake Baking Contest

Will Cotton, an American artist born in 1965, is fascinated with sweets and has become very well known for his surreal paintings of Candy Land, populated by nude or seminude pop icons or pinup-style models. To quote the artist: "These paintings are all about a very specific place...a utopia where all desire is fulfilled all the time."  Indulgence and desire, candies, ice cream, cakes and pastries, clothing devised of candy wrappers and other deliciousness—these are Will Cotton's underlying themes to support his painting of fantasy and imagination.

Every year, Will hosts a cake contest in his Soho studio, where invited guests bring what they hope will be devoured and chosen as the most creative, delicious and beautiful sweet cake on the crowded table of entries. I was asked to be a judge this year, and my daughter, Alexis, was asked to enter a cake, which she did. We all had a very sweet time at the party. Enjoy!