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January 29, 2015
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Root Cellar

Fair week

It is fair week again. It feels like the summer has whirled away like the interchanging swings of the midway’s merry mixer. It has brought us to this moment.

We have spent the week at the Delaware County Fair in Walton, NY. Yesterday I watched my kids and their fellow 4-Hers give their public presentation speeches for fairgoers on subjects as varied as Arcadia National Park, remote control trucks, banana cream pie and my son Sam’s topic: the life and writing of Stephen King.  Read more

The blueberry trail

This year, the birds alerted me to the wild blueberries. We arrived home from a vacation at the beach to find the front steps littered with the blue splotches of cast-off berries. It was as good an announcement as any of the ripening bushes in our old fields.  Read more

Fireworks at 14

There is nothing a 14-year-old boy likes better than an explosion, and nothing more entertaining than a night of fireworks. At least so it is with my son, Sam, whose teenage solution to all problems is the wise-ass comment: “Let’s blow it up.” He says this just to irk me, I know, but it does convey a glimpse into the workings of his teenage brain, even if it sounds a bit clichéd.  Read more

Listen to the nuns

As a college student in the mid-‘80s, I took a class on Virginia Woolf. The professor, a youthful woman with swishy, black hair and a quick humor, liked to tell us that had she been around in past ages she would have been a nun.  Read more

‘The one that got away’

Every once in a while a story comes along that strikes right at the nerve of the community. It takes on a life of its own. You might guess it’s one of those topics like school merger or gas leasing. Serious issues, yes, but forget those. They will fade away. There is nothing that brings even the most reticent out of the woodwork than the debate over the local existence of the mountain lion.  Read more

My section of Route 97

Driving up Doyle’s Hill on New York Route 97 my ears start to pop. I’ve heard many people remark on this common experience, which happens as a result of the climb in elevation as they drive out of the town of Hancock along this scenic, old road.  Read more

The Age of Wants

My daughter wants to curl her hair. Like me, she has straight hair without a thought of wave. Without a working electric curling iron, we have resorted to an antique iron held in the gas stove burner. I’m learning again how to use this old fashioned gizmo so that the curls come out fat and springy. She bounces around the house, enjoying this foray into curly-haired beauty.  Read more

Easy winter living

I have a terrarium of moss and ferns that we planted in a glass domed cake plate—the type of plate you see upon a diner counter with a carrot cake inside. My terrarium sits in the middle of my kitchen table like a green island of spring. I like to lift the lid off the pedestal and breathe in its moist, pungent woodland smell. It is a world unto itself. We planted it so as to have some green in the winter months, but without the contrast of winter whiteness it doesn’t have quite the same effect.  Read more

Games children play

Most of the games children play seem to be “chase” games. Tag, of course, and capture the flag are standards. But then there are all kinds of animal-themed chase games like the self explanatory “bear,” or a game in which one kid pretends to be the shark from “Jaws” attacking “swimmers” on the lawn. “Spy zombie brain hunter” sounds more like a popular video game than the classic playground girl vs. boy runaround that it really is. They are all variations on the same timeless theme of “chase” and “catch.”  Read more

Scrap Seekers

Scrap metal collection isn’t just the domain of teenagers looking to make an extra buck anymore. In years past, there were always kids asking to haul away your junk for free. It was like the paper route job of rural kids.

But now, as scrap metal prices continue to rise and people are feeling the pinch of a difficult economy, scrap collection is turning into a full-time job. It’s an interesting development in our local economy.  Read more