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Mill Brook House News
Charlemont, MA
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This recipe is modified from one that appeared in the New York Times in 1973. For most Americans at the time, Afghanistan held next to no significance whatsoever, but someone at the Times was moved to share a recipe that may have been loosely connected to Afghanistan. It seemed exotic.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2024 at Mill Brook House Recipes
We had an awful lot of rain this summer, but according to Arjen Vriend of the Pioneer Gardens in Deerfield, "Our garden was soaked with well over 20 inches of rain this summer, and the daylilies loved it." (Greenfield Recorder, 10/10/23) Indeed! Daylilies at Mill Brook House in September, 2023 Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2023 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
Daylilies that begin in mid-August and last into September can be considered "late" and serve to brighten the garden when other flowers have quit for the season. Some will last through October if there is no sustained freeze, but their behavior changes. With cold nights and shorter days, their blooms... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2023 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
Rose Water, one of my not-so-late late daylilies went out with a splash! All the rain has sometimes meant extra big blossoms. Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2023 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
For years, I've rescued milkweed from being mowed down or strangled by vines, but this is the first year I've actually seen monarch larvae eating the milkweed. One caterpillar formed its chrysalis not on the milkweed but among the gladiolas. The chrysalis hung by a thread but survived storm after... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2023 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
These make a fancy breakfast or a light supper. Pancakes 1.5 cups flour ½ t BP ½ t baking soda ¼ t nutmeg ½ t salt 2 T sugar 1 cup ricotta cheese 2 eggs juice and grated rind from 1 lemon 1.5 cups milk Beat the wet ingredients by... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2023 at Mill Brook House Recipes
After eating their fill these beauties pupate and emerge as gorgeous black and yellow butterflies. Between the volunteer dill (seen above) and a dozen parsley plants, which these caterpillars favor, our garden has hosted at least ten this summer. Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2023 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
I am forever pulling vetch out of my daylily garden, but these common, volunteer daylilies make a pretty picture mingled with vetch. Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2023 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
Lupines are a big deal in New England. People take day trips in June to view them growing in fields and up mountainsides. I tried to persuade my lupines to leave my garden and grow out in our fields, but they were having none of it. Instead, they arranged themselves... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2023 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
World War II left millions of children wounded, homeless, hungry, impoverished and often orphaned in defeated and victorious countries alike, as the V-mail below attests. In the United States, the kids were, for the most part, all right, although the stress and dislocation of the war years left some homeless, as a youthful Maya Angelou discovers in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. But impoverished or not, universally, across the globe, children waited for their fathers to come home. My sister Gretel was born within a fortnight of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and for most of her first... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2023 at Mill Brook House News
Many cooks and most restaurants add strawberries to their rhubarb pie, but I prefer mine straight. Mix up a double pie crust, roll out half of it and line the bottom of a pie pan. Roll out the top crust. Cut up 6 cups worth of fresh rhubarb and mix... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2023 at Mill Brook House Recipes
If you haven't read the book but you'd like to see the movie, here is the link: Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2023 at Mill Brook House News
Mix this batter the night before and bake for breakfast the next morning. This batter uses yeast, not unlike blini or other raised pancakes. 1 T dry yeast + ½ t sugar dissolved in warm water. Let it foam. **** Mix together the following and add the dissolved yeast: 1... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2023 at Mill Brook House Recipes
Max was like a delicate flower that faded too soon. He had a water fetish and loved to drink from a running tap, from an unguarded cup or glass or even a watering can; he tracked kitty litter into the bathtub as he examined the droplets that gathered around the drain. A mischief-maker, he chewed on paper documents and tipped over waste baskets to get attention. He had a purr like the running engine of a Mac truck and engaged it incessantly, signaling hunger, affection, or pure joy. He slept on our bed by my feet or cuddled up with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2023 at Mill Brook House News
The first of at least four films paying tribute to old movie theaters, The Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971) involves a relationship between a middle-aged woman (Cloris Leachman) and a teenaged boy (Timothy Bottoms). Sam Mendes has updated the story to a tourist town on England’s South Coast in the 1980s. Stephen (Michael Ward), who is Black, is trying to get into college when he takes a job at the local movie palace, whose upper floors are shuttered. He begins an affair with co-worker Hillary (Olivia Colman), a mentally fragile, middle-aged woman, whose love-life consists of having sex with... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2023 at Mill Brook House News
Gertrude Erlich was born in Rotterdam, New York, not long after her father, Sam Erlich, had immigrated from Poland, possibly at the behest of his sister Betsy and her husband Jake Coplon. The Coplons settled in Schenectady in upstate New York, where they opened a successful children’s clothing store. Sam, who immigrated with his second wife and three children from his first marriage, opened his own store in Rotterdam and fathered five more children, including Gertrude, but found the community unsatisfactory, due to either anti-Semitism or a lack of Jewish neighbors or both and relocated the family to Brooklyn. Gertrude... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2022 at Mill Brook House News
A delicious variation on pumpkin pie... Mix the following ingredients together: 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree or 2-3 cups puree from a sugar pumpkin 1 12oz. can evaporated milk ½ cup cream ½ cup light brown sugar 3 eggs 1 t cinnamon ½ t nutmeg ½ t ginger ¼... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2022 at Mill Brook House Recipes
A cranberry sauce you can keep all year... 1 lb. fresh cranberries, washed and sorted 1 cup raisins 1/3 cup sugar 1T cinnamon 1.5t ginger ¼ t cloves 1 cup water Combine all of the above ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Then add: 1 medium onion,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2022 at Mill Brook House Recipes
In 2017 I decided to write a book about the Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, and I spent the next three years closely analyzing his 33 extant films along with 3 fragments, researching the historical background, and catching up with what other scholars had written. I had been writing about Ozu since 1983, and my most recent article was published in 2010. That article went into the book almost unchanged, but, in fact, every article I had ever written about him went in in some form, sometimes as only a paragraph or a single sentence, along with material from my earlier... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2022 at Mill Brook House News
Over the years I have spent hundreds of dollars on sprays, granules, and gizmos that mutter and flash in an effort to keep deer out of my daylilies. Their good effects have been limited, and during this year of drought, when all kinds of critters have preyed with unusual voracity... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2022 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
Preppy Pink Frequently overlooked and seldom purchased, Preppy Pink and Ruby Stella are this summer’s unsung daylily heroes. Preppy pink has survived deer and drought. Both began blooming in mid-July and are still hanging on despite this summer’s challenges. Ruby Stella was billed as a “rebloomer,” (like Stella d’oro for... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2022 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
As per an earlier post, you can bring daylily stems inside, put them in water, and they will bloom. Recently I brought in a branch with very small buds, thinking that if they bloomed at all, the blossoms would be tiny, but to my amazement, the buds grew. Unfortunately, when... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2022 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
We had some unusual early birds this year: Spacecoast Starburst first bloomed June 9 (!) and Cordovan Skies bloomed today, several weeks ahead of schedule. Spacecoast Starburst Cordovan Skies Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2022 at Mill Brook House Daylilies
Spielberg’s West Side Story is a thrill to watch with its gritty realism and wonderfully creative dance numbers set against a decaying New York City in the late 50s. But it is more sociological treatise than Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In the midst of a “slum clearance” project, loser white guys try to thwart the progress of aspirational newcomers with brown skin. (Raise your hands if this sounds familiar.) Jets’ leader Riff is a psychopath, not a teen who has yet to grow up, while Tony is a teen who has spent time in prison for almost killing an adversary... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2022 at Mill Brook House News
This is a searingly beautiful account of Catherine Raven’s journey from alienation to healing through the ministrations of an unusual wild fox. Raven is a survivor, a hardy soul from a dysfunctional family, highly intelligent, acutely sensitive, and brutally honest. Trained as a biologist, she rambles through an eclectic sampling of natural history and her own observations while attaching them to carefully chosen if idiosyncratic selections from literature: Mary Shelley, Herman Melville, Lafcadio Hearn, and, especially, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, whose Little Prince she reads aloud to the fox (!). Why, she asks, is mankind so detached from the natural world?... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2022 at Mill Brook House News