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October 24, 2014
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Root Cellar

‘Tis the season

I’ve been out buying drill bit sets and bottles of wine, Godiva truffles and a gingerbread man cookie mix that comes complete with cookie cutters shaped in ninja poses. And let’s not forget the pink duct tape with the Scottie dog pattern for my great niece.  Read more

‘Two cups packed pumpkin…’

We had a good yield of pumpkins from our garden this year—a grand total of 14 from the few seeds we planted. The plants were lush and twining, woven with the morning glories. They even sought out the branches of the neighboring fir tree for a frolic. Considering our usual lackluster results, this year’s harvest was a bumper crop.  Read more

Crown Imperial

I came home from work this morning to find a package left on my doorstep. The box, left by the mail carrier, was stamped with these red lettered instructions: “open immediately.” So, with curiosity, I did—to find three heirloom crown imperial bulbs nestled in the classified section of an Ann Arbor newspaper.  Read more

Our house

When people ask that ubiquitous question, “What did you do on your summer vacation?” this year, my husband, John, has to say, “I did a lot of digging—in the cellar.” It’s an answer that always brings a laugh or raises an eyebrow or both. But I assure you, it is meant in the most innocent of ways. Yes, John also took hikes, grew sunflowers and swam in the ocean. And he really did spend a good part of the summer in the cellar of this old house.  Read more

The new town square

Anyone driving through the village of Hancock, NY (my home town), has undoubtedly noticed the fresh, green grass of the new town square. You’ll see the new bandstand and a new pavilion, too, and as of last week, the newly planted trees and a wrought iron archway, which proclaims “Town Square Hancock New York, Gateway to the Upper Delaware.”  Read more

Lucy Ann

Lucy Ann Lobdell is among us again.

This woman, known as “The Hunter” to my family and old time neighbors, is the subject of a new historical novel, “The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell,” by Fremont Center, NY resident William Klaber (Greenleaf Book Group Press, June 18, 2013).

A fictionalized memoir, the book traces Lucy’s life as she made her way in the world after she changed into her brother John’s clothes, bound her chest, and left home to live her life as a man named Joseph.  Read more

Haying season

I’ve always had tough feet. It is a distinction garnered from my childhood days of running barefoot around our farm—turning tour jetes through the hard stubble left after the grass had been cut and baled during haying season.

While I mainly wear shoes now, I still have those callouses. Partly from all those years of ballet lessons and feet-warping toe shoes, but also from the summers spent bunching and tossing and stacking hay bales with my family and neighbors.

That was back when all bales were square and tied with bailing twine and not the large, round bales mainly seen today.  Read more

Feast of weeds

The asparagus is up. The stout, purple stalks put those pencil-thin, store-bought shoots to shame. We have been enjoying them along with the other early spring wild things—leeks and dandelions and toothwort.

I have been gathering wild leeks (ramps as they are called in finer restaurants) with friends in the woodlands near my home. And, it is just a step outside the back door for a feast of weeds from the lawn. Dandelion greens, wilted with a dressing of vinegar and bacon grease or olive oil, make a delicious salad as well as a nutritious, green smoothie.  Read more

A memory of James

“Maybe a Root Cellar?” said the note tucked into a book—one in a pile destined to get the heave ho. My husband John had been sorting through his books during spring break, adding to the heap of the kids’ outgrown winter clothes (and a few sacrificial stuffed animals) headed for the Salvation Army.

Really? Was John’s suggestion that this would make a good “column topic” (something of which I am always in quest) for real? What could I write?  Read more

Spring is here

I walked out to find the spring and found it in the radiant pussy willows growing at the road edges of our old farm, tangled in the hedgerow of last year’s multiflora roses and grape vine. Spring is in the snow drops budded at my front door and in the nervous sunlight. The seasons engage in a tussle of one-upmanship that brings new snow one day and thaw the next. And so, although we don’t see it in green yet, spring is here. Winter is left to lick its wounds in the exultant mud.  Read more

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