November 27, 2009

Is it Too Early?

Could. Not. Resist. The. WREATH!

November 26, 2009

Thankful For.....Winter Farm Share!

Once a week, from May to the end of October, my friend and I carpooled over Mt. Tom and down into Easthampton.  We were headed to Mountain View Farm to pick up our weekly farm share.  From the almost sweet baby radishes in May, to the earthy leeks in October, the farm provided Holyoke Home with an incredible amount of organic, fresh vegetables.  I am bereft that the farm share season is over.  

In addition to its regular share, Mountain View also offered a '100 Pound Winter Share' that my share partner and I eagerly signed up for.

I felt nostalgic to be at the farm again and gaze at the fields that - just a few short months ago - grew the strawberries I couldn't get enough of and the kale I always took home and never cooked.

But I also felt awash in a familiar farm greediness.  Look at all those organic squash.

From my 50 pound stash, today I'll be making roasted brussels sprouts to take to a generous friends' house.  And I'm very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

November 21, 2009

First DIY Project (sorta)

After moving into our row house in August, the first thing we did was demo ALL the floors ourselves.  Because, hey, how hard could that be? We ripped up plywood floors, cat urine soaked carpet padding, carpet, and carpet tacks, exposing three-inch wide, unfinished pine or fir throughout. Did you know that every time a nail is pulled out of plywood, an angel gets his wings?  Not knowing any better, I crawled around on my hands and knees for a day removing plywood and carpet nails without investing in some industrial knee pads.  Derrr.   

Last, we vacuumed up all the nastiness between the floor boards and cursed the cat urine stains.  Effing cats. Then our floor guy sanded the floors and applied one coat of oil-based sanding sealer. They topped the sanding sealer with three coats of Bona (brand name) professional grade water-based polyurethane. The professional grade is harder than the commercial grade poly. Even though the professional grade was $50 more per gallon, we thought the cost was worth knowing we'd done all we could to minimize damage by our four legged resident.  We are really, really happy with the results.  Before:


November 19, 2009

Should They Stay or Should They Go?

The row house features not one, not two, but THREE super heavy chandelier-ish lights in the downstairs rooms: one in the front room, one in what we're calling the 'library', and one in the dining room.

Much like the Kardashian sisters, our ceiling lights are each a little different, but definitely from the same family.  Each weighs about fify-seventeen pounds (an estimate) and feature one UFO/platter-ish shape, from which dangle five individual lights.

A local friend suggested painting them one consistent color and adding some modern shades.  Dear reader, should they stay or should they go?

November 16, 2009

Original Row House Details - One of these Kids is Doin' His Own Thing

Our row house features a lot of really nice original details.  I've shown you our incredible original brass hardware.  Now for a detail that cracks me up and makes me feel like this might actually be my house.  Notice anything unusual in the photo below?

I've got about five stories in my head to explain why one of the balusters is upside down.

November 10, 2009


I was SO excited to finally live in an actual house, where little children might actually trick or treat.

For the past five years, I've lived in: a sketchy neighborhood where children don't go around at night in costumes, and then a giant mill building, and then a condo complex.'s been awhile since anyone younger than 12 has come to my door dressed as a witch.

I scrambled from the office at 4:30 pm on Halloween to buy candy.  And may I just say?  I got the good stuff.  I did not mess around.  May-jah.  Epic.  Candy.   Then I scrambled home to carve a few pumpkins.

Our doorbell rang a grand total of three times.

So sad.

Maybe next year?

November 6, 2009

Holyoke Home-us Interrupt-us

Work.  My job.  My work/job just got VERY VERY BUSY!  What?!  You don't want to hear about it?

Postings will be slim around here for a week or two.  In the mean time, feel free to dilly dally in our fun-filled archives.

November 4, 2009

Coming Into The Light

Welcome to the fourth and last part of our tour of Holyoke's green power system.  In our first post, we described Holyoke and its green power system. In our second post, we looked at electric water wheels in the basement of a mill building. In our third post, we went inside the actual wheels and out the tailrace. So here we are down in the canal!

Holyoke Gas and Electric (our municipal electricity provider and the operators of the dam and canal) once used the canal system 'down time' as an opportunity to dredge the canals.  However, with the advent of the endangered species act, even though the canals are man-made structures and waterways (as opposed to a river/stream. etc)  HG&E is no longer allowed to completely drain the canals OR dredge the canals because an endangered mussel species found it's way into the canal bed. That's why you still see a little water in the photos below.

 The photo above shows seven of the original 13 operating mechanical wheel tailraces.  As I've said in previous posts, two electric water wheels remain operational.

Climbing the sediment in a non-operating tailrace.
Everyone needs a hand now and then.

Um.. Ladies?  May I suggest using the ladder?

Dearest reader, I hope you've enjoyed the tour!

November 1, 2009

Deeper Underground!

We're on a tour of Holyoke's canal system. If you missed part one of our canal tour, or part two, click those hyper links!  In the basement of Open Square,  we saw the hydro electric generators, then we ventured down into the actual water wheels, now, we're going even lower, into the water wheel tailraces and out onto the canal beds.

From inside the water wheels, we walked out the tailrace.  When the canals are full, the space in the picture above is filled with water.

Getting closer to the second level canal in the photo above.
Nature is everywhere!  After all the grey, black and brown machinery, metal, and wet wood, lit only with flashlights, we came into the light.
It almost looks like a vernal pool, or some ancient greek aquaduct.  The arch closest to us in the photo above is an active tailrace - one of Open Square's two active tailraces.  The other two arches have sediment in them because they are no longer attached to active water wheels.

Our canal tour has one more post! Please join us!

Kitchen Before