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
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 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
The weather turned warm again, so after school recently Becky, Sam and I went for a kayak ride across Nevin’s pond. For Sam and I, it might be the last ride until next spring. My dear friend Becky typically takes her last ride the day after Thanksgiving when she pulls the kayaks out of the water and brings them home for winter storage. It is not your usual “Black Friday” tradition but a tradition nonetheless. Read more
This summer we rearranged our house from top to bottom so that our daughter, Lily, could have her own bedroom. It involved a lot of sorting and throwing out—along with many trips to the Salvation Army and the town dump. My old poem notebooks, the napkin rings and the snow cone maker, all those little Batman toys and even some stuffed animals got the heave-ho. We had the vintage speakers from the record player appraised and gave away a lot of old photographs. Read more
There was a tent at the Wayne County Fair off on a side alley where kids could pet and feed little deer fawns for three dollars. You could purchase a photo of your child with the fawns for $10 or pay extra to go in to take a photo with your own camera. It was a popular tent. Mostly the clientele was toddlers with their mothers. Babies petting babies. Read more
Once you start to notice them, daylilies are everywhere. They grow thick on roadside banks and in fields. See a few here or there around a mailbox, lining a front porch or around an old gravestone. Their lush, tawny-orange flowers bloom and wither in one day.
So we have arrived at this moment. The sign at the Long Eddy Firehouse on Route 97 says: “Enjoy the summer—it’s short.” It reminds me that I should try to make the most of these daylily days of summer. Read more
The multi-flora roses are in bloom. Their sweet, spicy fragrance meets you along the old paths. These great bushes of white roses, entwined with grape, humming with bees, are long ago escaped and gone wild. They encroach the roadsides and are taking over the old pastures.
My cousins and I played baseball in these now overgrown fields. The grass was cropped then by the Herefords my uncle pastured there. Buttercup and bull thistle—whatever a cow wouldn’t eat—grew tall. Read more
“Cake of the Week” has survived another year in Mr. O.’s classroom at Sullivan West.
Kids have been bringing in historically themed cakes for extra credit since before the merger, when my husband, John, aka “Mr. O.,” was teaching social studies at Narrowsburg. (Sullivan West School District, as we now know it, is the result of the 1999 merger of the three districts of Narrowsburg, Jeffersonville/Youngsville and Delaware Valley.) Read more