Reviving Greek Revival in Litchfield County

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Don’t be fooled by the calm and serious look on my face, after dreaming, yearning and fantasizing about a ‘place in the country’ for nearly three decades I am now the (seriously) proud,  totally excited and somewhat overwhelmed owner of an 1835 Greek Revival farmhouse in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

I closed on this property last week.

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The house is a classic Greek Revival farmhouse with the simple “Greek Temple” front with white clapboard and dark shutters, a basement that is gravel-over-dirt, a well, a septic system, a couple of fireplaces, wide oak floors, quirky spaces, signs of bats in the attic, a pool, stone walls, picket fences, huge trees, a couple of very old post and beam farm structures (one that is very tippy), another large outbuilding that had been used for a workshop, acres of land and many adventures ahead!

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It takes a lot of work to maintain any home, however I anticipate this very old house may take a particular form of TLC.  Never one to be particularly handy, I expect that I will be learning a bunch of new ‘tricks’ and skills in the weeks, months and years to come.

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This weekend I spent the day with my good friends and photographers Steve Gross and Sue Daley. They have spent many years taking photographs of among other things, historic houses.  It was fun to walk through the empty house and grounds with them taking in the spirit of the place and imagining the possibilities.

We also took a walk into the wooded part of the property and saw a number of early spring plants waking from the long winter, including ramps.

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This very new ‘gentleman farmer’ learned that I have a lot of ramps in the wooded area of the property, how to forage them and how hip they are – who knew?  The Huffington Post included ramps on their list of the 22 Most Hipster Foods on the Planet ‘ and you get double points if they are foraged!

Ramps are essentially wild leeks with tiny white bulbs and long tender greens. They have a very pungent, onion-y flavor and fragrance.

Now for preparing ramps:

One suggestion is chop them cross-wise, sauté them in butter or olive oil – about a tablespoon for every cup of chopped ramps.

Serve the ramps warm simply on toasted bread with pepper to taste, or with eggs, potatoes or in cream based sauces or soups.

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Next time I go foraging in my woods for “extra points” I will make sure I have at least a couple days of beard growth and consider wearing the one plaid shirt I own.

Much more to come on Reviving Greek Revival, lessons on how to forage for food, and “working the land”, and the many adventures ahead …

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