The war against the sunshine is in earnest today. A cold biting wind is wuthering down the mountain invading all warmth and making it difficult to bring to memory the recent days of triple digit weather. I am not an extremist. I like the temperature moderate from, say 50 to 80 degrees although 80 is getting rather warm. I cheerfully put up with the extreme temperatures knowing that the heat ripens the tomatoes and peppers, and the cold among other things, halts the ravaging insect population. The range in our climate does a great deal of good(even if I have to work at having a good perspective!) and yet, when the seasons change, my mind invariably wanders to more temperate climes... In the midst of winter's cold I dream of warm sunny Italy, or a coastal cottage... In the heat I think again of the coastal cottage(the ocean keeping the temperature from getting too extreme one way or the other), faraway mountains with their peaks covered in snow begin to appeal...
As the seasons change a contemplative mood settles over me. I think of a place, a beautiful valley, verdant, lush. Come with me to see... We crest the hill and look along the road lined with maple trees that travels down and through fields and orchards. The fields are green and the orchards are budding with delicate pink and white blossoms. Horses look up, as if startled by our presence, pricking their ears and nickering softly. The road continues and as we look forward we see the glitter of water and we see a lake to the right, a lake that shines with gold in the sun and shimmers silver in the moonlight, (it hisses gently in the rain and in the early morning, ephemeral mist rises from its surface). As we gaze across and beyond the lake, rows of grapevines grace the hills, various cultivars producing a bounty in their harvest. The road begins to curve and our attention shifts to a house. Surrounded by an amazingly green lawn with tall trees providing shade in the summer, benches and a swing invite(an apple and a book would be appropriate). The manor rises in stately elegance before us, not intimidating, but rather, alluring.
To see the estate properly it must be surveyed from a height, and the great house provides such an opportunity from its roof... Entering a oaken door through a small portico we take small spiral stairs that take us to the second floor. Barely stopping to admire a gleaming kitchen, continue up to the third floor for a glimpse of books and maps... And now we climb out on the roof! As we walk around the parapets and roof lanterns, we see the acreage spreading from the house to the surrounding hills. Behind the house a solarium is attached and a separate conservatory graces the grounds. Looking past the neatly kept acreage near the house a more utilitarian view meets our eyes. Barns, shops, stables and a dairy, a row of greenhouses and ponds stocked with fish. Toward the right the lake spreads out and a dock extends out from a small boathouse. Out in the lake a small island is seen with beehives painted the classic white.
Walking back to the stairs and going down a flight and through the kitchen area a balcony beckons. The terrace is large and has tables and chairs for summer dining. It is not summer, however, the air is balmy and there is some leftover pizza in the fridge! As we eat, we look out over to the left of the house. Beautiful gardens! Raised beds, hanging gardens, herb gardens, even a flower clock! Time treads on and we have not seen the half of the estate! The house remains to be explored! The outbuildings inspected! No time, no time! It is a dream. A fancy.