December 25, 2016

Making the Best of it, at Christmas

I could have cleaned the glass better on this cloche, but with the amount of stone dust around here. this gives you an idea of what I am dealing with. Still - no stopping Christmas and Hanukah!  A few clippings from the cold greenhouse bring a bit of fresh winter cheer indoors for the Holidays. Camellias, Nerine and some tender winter-blooming greenhouse shrubs.

As the kitchen remodel comes along, the Holidays (the original deadline) seemed to have beat us out. So rather than cancel our traditional Lithuanian Christmas eve fete, we kept our invitation list open, cleaned-up a bit, and cranked up the stove to make lots of yummy food, since we know what friends and family really care about - good food and good drink. Along with great friends, this is was the Holidays are all about, right? Thanks too, to the greenhouse, which helped as I scooted out just before sunset last night to grab a few bits of greens, herbs and winter blooms from the early camellias and sub-tropical shrubs which do so well in a cold, winter greenhouse. A few Nerine sarniensis were also in bloom along with a large acacia tree.

Merry Christmas everyone!  Here are a few pics from last night, as our kitchen remodel continues - ( I certainly won't bother you with that nonsense! f you've been through one before, you know exactly what I am talking about!).

Camellia 'Yuletide' tries to distract house guests from walls being torn down. I was pretty effective, except that my brother thought that I has wired some flowers to the stems of some branches.

I brought in many plants from the greenhouse to help hide construction.

A very special gift from my dear friend Abbie (Zabar) - one of her infamous hand-made potholders (we both share a family story and memory bank regarding this vintage simple weavings. I love them, and adore this one even though I know it will eventually get dirty from use (hey, I'm a foodie and a cook!), she understands - once sending me laundering instructions.

So this Christmas day, the kitchen remodel which involved combining two rooms to create one great space, it coming along, but no complete - we just had to make the best of it. Here is a shot of our new concrete-topped parson's table (Crate & Barrel), and the Bodbyn cabinets from Ikea.

The dogs are adapting well to all of the changes. Daphne here doesn't care where she eats her Christmas dinner, and even our new dog ( a temporary visit from a dog named 'Bob' a rescue from France who will be staying with us for a while. He is blind and will be going to Tufts Animal Hospital for evaluation).

One of the new cabinet units awaiting hardware for the drawers and doors.

This window seat will be painted then set with copper trays with gravel so that I can use it was a large display plant window, but painting won't begin until next week once the board and batten walls are installed/ These will be painted white,  the plant window in a dark slate grey, and the beadboard which runs along the upper part of the walls, in a light grey.

I can't wait for everything to be complete, until then, I am driving our builders (Joe's nephew Curtis and his friend Phil) crazy by bringing in plants.

...and Christmas decorations. Even though I have only used a few.

Last night we celebrated our traditional Lithuanian Kuchia's (sp?) a Christmas Eve dinner with traditional foods from Lithuania, Scandinavia and other northern European countries. Friends and family dined on many fishes, beef, herring rye, salmon and sweets. Not to mention cocktails enough to keep everyone happy.

Cake decorator extordinaire my friend Jess, created this masterpiece in homage to mix-match Holiday decor. I loved it - it reminded me of my mom's old tin of vintage buttons that she would dump out on here bed when I was a toddler to play with. How simple times once were, right?

Acacia (Mimosa) blossoms from the  greenhouse helped decorate a side table with rye and smoked salmon. Our countertops won't arrive until early January, so we had to improvise with bits of chopping blocks and old countertops balanced onto new cabinets.

When the kitchen is complete, we will have much more storage, but for now, we are trying to stash things were they fit, as we dream about one of those kitchen where everything has a place. When the countertops arrive (white marble) we will be happier.

We had a few hours to hang a few lights outdoors.

We  discovered what was killing our ducks over the past few weeks - I heard Joe yelling for me to come out ( from way out back, thinking that maybe he slipped on ice or something I rushed out -  but this is what he found. A snowy white owl!!Illuminated with his high power flashlight,  we first presumed it to be a Snowy Owl, but now believe that it was a Barred Owl in light plumage. It's not a great shot, but he took off just after I snapped this. He was mostly white with some spots - the all black eyes may indicate that it was a very white Barred Owl as a Snowy Owl would have yellow eyes. He was eating a duck on top of a dead tree.


  1. Love the new flooring in the kitchen, and the fridge will be MUCH better in its new spot. Persevere: it WILL be worth it ! And, of course, the plants, flowers, and food all look scrumptious.

  2. Thanks RV! Happy HO HO.!

  3. Thanks for a great "floral" year Matt. I look forward to sharing 2017 with you through your inspiring blog. Best wishes to you and yours for Christmas from Peter ( and Rod) in Australia.

    1. Thank you so much Peter (and Rod). Australia! I so want to visit there some day. The very best to you and Rod in the coming year. - Matt

  4. Anonymous2:10 PM

    dear matt
    that is some story of the owl and the ducks!
    for us the redtail hawks have made poultry-keeping misérable this year. we have lost many laying hens to them at our place, but i hope the owls are still on our side -- killing rodents, that is.
    fun to see the kitchen rénovation pix. (anticipation! what would life be like if we could have everything we wanted, all at once?) it will be wonderful once all the wrinkles are smoothed out.
    happy new year,
    ~ 02568

  5. Anonymous6:50 PM

    There has been a large invasion of Barred Owls into New England this year; likely yours was one of them. Great birds!


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