After all the beauty of snowy winter trees, spring’s new beauty was so sudden it was startling to observe. Narcissus and hyacinth are first up, but gr


After all the beauty of snowy winter trees, spring’s new beauty was so sudden it was startling to observe. Narcissus and hyacinth are first up, but greening shoots surge daily--forsythia, lily of the valley, lilacs, peonies that poke up like red asparagus. This is the second season in my new home since much pruning and planting, and the promise of rewards is keen.

Indoors, after a new work kitchen, a screened porch and house kitchen, the last transformation is complete--my new bath. A much-needed spa tub-ectomy was performed, those yawning chasms of porcelain everyone installed but no one ever used, here cruelly paired with stairs and wall-to-wall carpeting. I know. Gone.


Resale value be damned, it’s now a Victorian Gothic confection that no one will love but me, marble shower, claw-foot tub, a heavy dose of majolica and a room full of architectural salvage I’ve been saving for 50 years. To have my own way after renting all that time--I look around in amazement and laugh! Then slip under hot water in the soaking tub after a long day over the stove.


Greater effort to retain some of my exotic ingredients here, but my own shop close at hand helps to keep all products current. Rain in the west has insured I get Rangpur limes, Calamondins, Seville oranges. All five marmalades are in stock, as well as locally sourced Wild Blueberry Lemon Jam, Red Currant Jelly, and Raspberry Champagne Jelly. That last, the jelly of choice for the tech moguls of Austin, who can’t seem get enough of it from a cheese shop there. I ship, and a week later they re-order!

Stocks of some of the soon-to-be extinct chocolate sauces are still available, and a very few fruitcakes, both current and aged, before the rest go to storage. Get them now, and age them yourself! For those disappointed by the disappearance of the syrups—a resurrection: the Blood Orange, Rangpur Lime and Lisbon Lemon Syrups are back, in 5 oz. and 750 ml. formats, for however long they last. And don’t forget the duo gift sets for all those special someone’s!


All tolled, the source of all my new life’s pleasures is the remarkable skills of local builders and artisans who have made my dreams come true. If general contractor David is a few minutes late it might be because he had to birth a calf or break up a rooster fight; he knows what I need before I do, knows how to make almost anything, and loves the challenge if he doesn’t.

The extraordinary craftsmanship of painter and finisher Liz, who also sells me eggs, can dispatch an old bird, render leaf lard, boil wild grape jelly from vines found on a silo, or pickle pike she caught ice fishing on Lake Michigan.


Tile setter Josh, aka Michelangelo, whose Dad makes exquisite wooden toy models like no one’s ever seen, laid the most beautiful marble floor this side of a Roman mosaic, and is trolling my land for turkey season. He has earned a place in the exclusive fraternity of those whose taste I trust.


The blueberry pie I made last night with Liz’ leaf lard was delicious, my Mom would have been very pleased. I finally unpacked her majolica saltbox, and the salt went into the dough. This is truly where I live now, where I want to be--and, in time, I dare say...where I aspire to belong.


My Best To You All,

Robert Lambert
Kewaunee, Wisconsin
April 2023