Our woods are small and began the year terribly overgrown with brush, pokeweed, bittersweet, raspberries and a number of dead trees. The little ones called it “The Forest” in a wide-eyed way, as if expecting to meet Red Riding Hood’s wolf behind one of the larger trees along the path. And really, who could blame them? When even I started to peer cautiously around the pokeweed and in back of the brush before heading down the path to dump a barrow of clippings on the compost pile, it was apparent we needed to start on a tidying-up project. We began it in the late winter and while The Hunter took care of the dead trees, I attacked the bittersweet. Seven months later, this appears to be a project that will last out my lifetime. (more…)
A few days ago I was re-reading Angela Thirkell’s The Brandons. For pure escapism into a lovely cloud cuckoo-land, Angela Thirkell can’t be beat. Her novels take place in the fictional English county of Barsetshire, which is where Anthony Trollope set most of his books. Thirkell took Trollope’s Victorian characters and wrote about their descendants in the 1930s through the 1960s.
I read the following and I laughed out loud. Delia Brandon, about 20 years old, is speaking at a tea party that includes her mother, her [male] cousin Hillary (about 24 years old) and the vicar, Mr. Miller. (more…)
In the spring and summer, The Hunter turns into The Farmer. At the moment we are drowning in tomatoes. This is not by any means a bad thing, but two people can’t possibly eat them all, no matter how creative I get. One day last week at lunch, I wasn’t very creative at all and served the orange, yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved and heaped up in a bowl. (more…)
I wrote this back in April, and then got interrupted, or perhaps overwhelmed with my “to do” list, and never posted it. In cleaning up my desk, I came across the draft and thought I would put it up as a start to “un-neglecting” the blog. Whether it will stay un-neglected is anyone’s guess.
Originally, I thought this story began with me rolling over in bed, opening my eyes, and saying to the man next to me – the man, by the way, I had promised to love, honor and cherish though all manner of things – “I want to rip your face off.” (more…)
Listening to the school kids who walked out of class to protest gun violence, or the kids who marched on the Boston Statehouse to demand more gun control, I was struck by several thoughts. One was that it’s wonderful to be passionate and idealistic and want to change the world at a global level. Another was that doing something loudly on a grand scale always feels good. You sense you are doing something important. (more…)
The ground is white. The trees are white. The sky is white. None of this is surprising as we’ve had three nor’easters in 10 days. Looking out, you would be perfectly reasonable in concluding it was the middle of January rather than the middle of March. (more…)
Since the last time I wrote on poor marketing another really bad use of data has landed in my mailbox.
The state representative for this area of Massachusetts sent me a “Happy Birthday” postcard. Why? I have never met this man. Despite his picture on the card, I wouldn’t know him if I tripped over him. He certainly has never met me. Furthermore, I have never voted for him. As I am sure he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about me, a birthday card (with his picture on it) seems a little weird. (more…)
About a month ago, the small cluster of snowdrops by the chimney started poking up green tips. In New England, the end of January is not even within spitting distance of spring; but still, the little bits of green deluded me into thinking warmer weather was surely just around the corner. (more…)
I have wondered for a long time why P.G. Wodehouse is left off high school or college syllabi. Now that students demand to be entertained rather than educated, Wodehouse would seem to be a natural fit as he certainly entertains. The beauty is that a clever teacher could also sneak in some education.
In 1939, Hillaire Belloc, no slouch himself when it came to writing and thinking, wrote: “Writing is a craft … Now the end of writing is the production in the reader’s mind of a certain image and a certain emotion. And the means towards that end are the use of words in any particular language; and the complete use of that medium is the choosing of the right words and the putting of them into the right order. It is this which Mr. Wodehouse does better in the English language, than anyone else alive…” (emphasis in the original) (more…)
The Moose’s articulation is starting to coalesce.
He is a chatty little guy and if you listen you can hear “Mama,” “no,” “dog,” “cheese” (his favorite food), “juice” (we enjoy a decaf Arnold Palmer at lunch), “all done,” “yum” and “up” among the general non-stop flow of syllables. He calls The Hunter “Ga Ga.” He understands everything we say. He has been rooting through my bookshelves and is fascinated by English Made Simple. He carries it from room to room. He is ready. (more…)