Musing with Max

Musing with Max

July 22, 2012

On the Porch

Years ago when we decided it was time to move to a new house and new neighborhood we devised a wish list.  We narrowed the neighborhoods to three that were much closer to New York City which would really improve our commute and the houses were old and cool with an eclectic mix of architecture. Then came the house. In addition to the usual number of bedrooms, bathrooms and all that boring stuff we wanted certain things that were missing in our house at that time. At that house the front door led you straight into the living room so we wanted some sort of entry way or front hall or foyer. We also wanted some sort of "extra" room, a fireplace and a wrap around porch. Not a lot, right? Well, we hadn't looked for a house in 15 years and this was 2002 when the real estate market was starting it's irrational exuberance phase so we were in for a rude awakening. To begin with the neighborhoods we chose were sexy and popular and all manner of New Yorkers with money and new babies were moving in and driving the prices up because they were fighting for what they wanted and starting bidding wars. We were priced out of a number of houses and wound up losing some in those bidding wars. Our spirits, and our wish list, were diminishing. But lo and behold, good things come for those who wait and while it may not wrap completely around, it's a wish come true.

Max just loves it
and he's not the only one

there are those who just come to visit the porch

and lie around in the afternoon

and in these hot Summer days there's a lovely cool micro climate which makes dinnertime most pleasant.

Shrimp and Sausage Stew adapted from Food and Wine
Serves 6 to 8

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1-inch rounds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large celery rib, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup bottled clam juice
One 10-ounce bag fresh or frozen baby lima beans, thawed if frozen
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 pounds large shell-on shrimp

  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the sausage and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the onion, celery and green pepper to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until their liquid is nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the stock and clam juice and bring to a boil. Scatter the sausage, lima beans and half of the parsley on top. Add the shrimp, cover tightly and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through. Let the stew rest for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.
Serve over steamed rice.

on the porch

but try not to drop anything

...but wait,

is that a squirrel with a bagel???

or a groundhog with a tomato?

Oh, and did we get everything else on the wish list? Yes, we did!


  1. Max fetch the bagel, fetch the bagel Max!
    Love the last feline pic.."Yes! can I help you, can't you see a puss trying to relax!"

  2. We had a big front porch on our house in NJ and it was the best thing ever! Yours in beautiful-and you are all adorable.

  3. Oh a porch. I grew up with a big screened in porch and would sleep on it all summer long.

    During the day it was a place for reading, conversation with the neighbors and iced tea.

    I long for a porch. lucky all of you.

    xo Jane