I’ve never had a bruise on the sole of my foot before, but I stepped on a sharp rock last week while going barefoot in the garden, and now have one that resembles a purple thumbprint. It’s a nice reminder, though, of the fact that I’m in the country now, and it’s summertime. My husband bought me garden boots yesterday.

My (Dillon’s) presence on on this blog so far has been that of a photographer, but I will be be writing more posts this season. I am hostess and server of the meals we serve at Old Tioga Farm, but I also work behind the scenes: arranging our dining room, cutting flowers from our extended family garden, selecting music, getting to know our guests, and (most importantly) providing support for my husband, Justin, whose job as cook demands a level of observation and adrenalin that I do not envy. We work well as a team, and, indeed, that’s why I married him.

Meanwhile, some words, sounds, and images from our June dinners:

Deep green paint on plaster walls, wide wood floors

The smell of fresh-baked bread and Fiori chiari 

Folding napkins, lighting candles, and greeting guests…

Serving our neighbors who serve us at the bank, the auto mechanic’s, and in our schools…

Hearing one of our guests say that, as a boy, he used to visit our house to play with a friend who lived here years ago

Giving one of our out-of-town guests directions to the Episcopal church for morning services

Serving a young Latin scholar and his family

Walking outside the kitchen to cut mint for garnishes

Watching the fast-paced creation of spaghetti cacio e pepe

Delighting all those lovers of shellfish

Listening to Schubert on the playlist while serving trout

Mock orange blossoms, seven years ago in my wedding bouquet, now in our dining room

Honoring my grandmother’s memory, using her cherrywood corner cupboard

Candlelight warming our burgundy room

New music on the playlist:

A beautiful “Corcovado” in English with Stacey Kent & Quatuor Ébène

Waltz from Rachmaninoff’s Six pieces for piano, four hands, op. 11

William Blake’s “Little Fly” set by Esperanza Spalding

Genovese singer Arisa’s Sincerità

Chopin in the dining room and dishes clanking in the kitchen after our guests have departed…

Fireflies by the thousands in the cool night air…

Thanks to all of our guests for giving us the chance to cook for you and serve you this summer.

— Dillon

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