This month marks the one year anniversary of buying and moving into our house. It’s a little hard to believe it’s already been a year! We had grand plans for the house when we bought it (we still do) but we’ve progressed a little slower (OK significantly slower) than we planned. Our major accomplishment is that we’re halfway through renovating our basement, and really, that’s mostly thanks to Carl (thank you Carl!!!) and to Trevor’s dedicated trench digging. And Trevor has painstakingly renovated the guest room – it’s almost done and is going to look gorgeous with the new orange couch we bought. But even though the to-do list for the house is miles long, I love living in it the way it is. Because it’s ours!
The last time I moved, from the sunny Davis Square house I shared with three roommates, to the little Inman Square apartment Trevor and I moved into, the place that will always be our first apartment, I wrote this post, about all the things I would miss and all the things I was looking forward to. This time, I didn’t have the time to indulge in that kind of thinking before we moved, but now that things are calmer and our new house is starting to feel like ours, I find myself thinking about it more – what I miss, what I love.
There’s so much that I love about our new house. One of the biggest things is the light – every room in our house is filled with sun, and we know at any given time of day the best spot to curl up in the sun for a minute or two. The sun is also the key to the second thing I love – having our own garden, which is thriving. We don’t have tons of space but we are making the most of it: in the front we’ve replaced hedges with a hodge podge of flowers – foxgloves and heather and poppies and whatever else tickled our fancy at the nursery. After much deliberation on varieties, we planted an apple tree this spring, and regularly talk about the wealth of apples we’ll have in oh, say, five years. And along the side of the house are the herbs and veggies and fruit bushes, planted neatly in raised beds that get 10 hours of sun a day this time of year. Almost every night you can find Trevor and I out “walking the grounds,” checking each plant’s progress and then sitting on our stoop to discuss. I love that.
I’m surprised how much I like living in a neighborhood. “Neighborhood” wasn’t particularly high on our list when we were house shopping – we were coming from a series of city apartments where neighbors weren’t really a concept that had much impact on our lives. We never even met any of our neighbors in Cambridge. So we were really lucky to end up moving into a place where neighbor is a word with meaning – people who will take in your trash barrels and check on your house while you’re away, who chat across fences when you both happen to be out. Families with kids that spend all day playing outside. It’s great. And when it’s nice, I like to take long evening walks around the nearby streets, looking at houses and gardens and just enjoying the fact that there’s little traffic and lots of fresh air. In Cambridge I only walked places when I had a destination or an errand – here I walk just to walk.
There’s more. I love having my own office. It might sound materialistic of me, but one of my favorite things is sitting at my gorgeous new desk, with a homemade latte in my favorite mug, snuggled up in my extremely soft jersey robe, catching up on emails and blogging with the early morning sun falling softly through the window. It’s “me-time” at it’s finest. I love that the entire house is filled with gorgeous wooden floors, deeper in color than most. I love that we can change whatever we want about the house. And I like the new routines we’re building, like the Friday morning dates we have at Tamper cafe, one of only two remotely trendy/interesting eating establishments within walking distance.
The list of things that I miss is shorter. I miss being able to walk 30 steps around the corner and find myself in one of best local grocery stores/butchers in the city, the kind of place where you can find pork belly and black pudding and fava beans without having to give it a second thought. Ditto for being able to walk across the street and choose from a selection of trendy bars and restaurants. I miss having a house cleaner – something we could afford when we had fewer rooms and no renovation costs. And I miss being a little closer to our friends, although honestly, we’ve been just as social as before – having easy access to the highway means an Uber home from downtown is only $20 and 15 minutes, which is very doable a few times a month. And I honestly can’t think of anything else I miss. Nothing about the house itself. Just walkability and a handful of individual establishments.
We have a friend who is currently studying for his Master of Wine examination, who knows vast amounts more about wine than I could ever hope to. We have another, mutual, friend who recently brought a bottle of champagne to a soccer game to celebrate a finals win (they lost), only to find upon popping the cork that the champagne had gone flat. Upon discussing this event our wine-y friend told us – “Never save champagne. Open it up on a Tuesday night just because.” We are guilty of holding on to two bottles of fancy champagne that I know have been improperly stored. So we heeded his advice and opened one, just because, and also to celebrate our home-ownership anniversary. We drank half and the rest we poured over this gorgeous Rhubarb Campari Sorbet, which we slupred while watching Game of Thrones (now #champagneofthrones).
A few things to note. One, yes, it might seem wasteful to pour Veuve Cliquot over sorbet. I say, whatever floats your boat. Two, yes, the sorbet in some of these photographs is not at all set – it was almost Game of Thrones time and I couldn’t wait any longer. I need a blast chiller. Three, because of the aforementioned not-set sorbet, I photographed these again the next night. And yes, I opened another bottle of prosecco. Only this time, it was a $10 bottle of La Marca that’s been in our fridge for 2 1/2 years, so, about time. Which brings me to the main point of this paragraph – the prosecco was actually a much better match for the sorbet. It is significantly sweeter and blends better with the sweet and tangy sorbet. So, in conclusion, open your fancy champagne on a Sunday night just because. But if you’re going to pour it over sorbet, open the $10 prosecco instead. Or open both and live it up.
Rhubarb Campari Sorbet
Makes 1 1/2 pints (3 cups). A Katie at the Kitchen Door original recipe.
- 1 lb. rhubarb, roughly chopped into segments (about 4 cups chopped)
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 c. sugar
- 3 TBS campari
- Add rhubarb, water, and sugar to a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer until the rhubarb is very soft and almost falling apart, about 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender. Blend on high until the mixture is a very smooth puree. Always use caution when blending hot liquids! Pour the blended mixture through a fine mesh strainer, using a spatula to press the mixture through the strainer into a large bowl. Stir the campari into the strained rhubarb puree until evenly combined. Chill the mixture until very cold.
- Churn the chilled rhubarb puree in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned, you may need to let the sorbet sit in the freezer for another 1-3 hours before it is firm enough to scoop.