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December 29, 2014
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Root Cellar

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

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