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August 29, 2014
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Root Cellar

Vermin du jour

It has been a summer of pests.

In June, I inaugurated the season by contracting Lyme disease. I suspect this occurred on a seemingly innocent walk to check out the beaver lodge under construction at a nearby pond. It was my good luck, however, to discover the deer tick rooted in my leg. I yanked it out but not soon enough; I developed the telling “bulls-eye rash” of tick- borne Lyme disease a week later.  Read more

‘The Meteorite’

Few things captured my childhood imagination more than rocks. I spent hours searching the roadsides for quartz pebbles. I collected ripple marks and treasured the small, imperfect fossils I found on the railroad tracks. I saved the pieces of coal I found in the path of the town plow. But best of all were the large, exotic boulders in the pastures and woods where we hiked and played.  Read more

Reading aloud

Reading stories aloud to my children has been one of the most enjoyable perks of being a mother. Now that they are older, I miss the time spent with them reading—and rereading over and over—stories like “Flat Stanley” or picture books like “The Tomten,” or “A Chair for My Mother” (by our own river valley resident Vera Williams). All these books hold an esteemed and permanent place on our shelves.  Read more

The 4-H ‘Leek-A-Thon’

Following in the tradition of Appalachia, we recently held our own ramp festival celebrating our native wild onion. Dubbed the “Leek-A-Thon,” by my husband John, our 4-H club gathered to dig wild leeks (also known as ramps) in the moist woods of our old farm.  Read more

The first wildflower

A “fetid herb” is botanist Homer D. House’s perfect description in his 1934 book “Wild Flowers,” of our first wild plant to flower in spring.  Read more

First Jobs

What was your first job?

My first job was as a reporter at the Sullivan County Democrat in Callicoon, where I worked during the summers when I was home from college. It was an interesting time in our river valley—the National Park Service was holding public hearings on the Upper Delaware wild and scenic park plan, and there was lots of fist shaking and yelling going on. It was exciting, and eventually I even learned how to operate the 35mm camera so that my photos of those wild crowds came out in focus.  Read more

My inevitable winter column

There comes a point in the winter when the winter is all it seems there is to talk about—or write about. It’s easy to say that more than half of winter is over except for this daily nitty-gritty contest with snow and ice. John, my husband, puts it bluntly, “When spring comes this year, people are going to go nuts.”  Read more

A real M*A*S*H unit

After the evening news, my kids have been watching re-runs of the old TV show M*A*S*H on channel 38 from Scranton, one of the few channels that comes in via antenna on our 12-inch set (a set bought back before the end of the Cold War).  Read more

‘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