Autumn Music

There is a gigantic oak tree in the back yard. Pin oaks are usually chosen for neighborhoods because of their fast growth rates, and I suspect that’s why my uncle planted the ones in our yard, somewhere around 1955. It’s dropping acorns. You can hear them bounce off the fence rails, hit the top of the hen house, occasionally even one of the hens, eliciting an outraged and offended *buh-KAWK* from the victim. Walking back there is like walking after a hail storm. Crunchy. Certainly never barefoot. It’s dropping acorns. Hundreds. So I did what any good neighbor would do. … Continue reading Autumn Music

So I wouldn’t have to mow.

There’s an old saw about how European settlers to the American continent had lots of children because there was lots to do. Every child you added to the stable, so to speak, was another laborer to help till the land, carry the firewood, cook the food, to contribute, as it were, to the running of home and farmstead. (I think that we’re forgetting the fact the birth control was pretty much non-existent, but that’s an essay for another time.) We live on a third of an acre, with about a third of that taken up by a house and deck. … Continue reading So I wouldn’t have to mow.

Defining the Battle Ground

Katie has begun to chafe some under my delegation. Over the last few years I’ve grown more comfortable with throwing tasks at the kids. Mowing the yard, emptying and filling the dishwasher, and cleaning the kitchen are givens, the terms of their allowance start there with the understand that that they do whatever is needed as asked. The side garden has become greatly overgrown with redbuds and maple trees, so I set Kate loose on it this evening. Like most teenagers she has an attitude about physical labor where she does some of a job – never all – calls … Continue reading Defining the Battle Ground

Books on Tape

Science tells us that the Earth is an irregular sphere approximately 4 billion and change years old. There are people in this world who believe that the Earth is flat, based I presume upon the fact that from an airplane you can’t see the curvature of the horizon. (You can, it just isn’t obvious from your 6″ wide window.) There are people who believe the Earth is young, less than 10,000 years old, a calculation based on assigning an arbitrary value to a “generation” and counting the “begats” in the Bible from back to front – starting with Jesus who serves … Continue reading Books on Tape

Don’t do that.

I tell my children, “A practical joke isn’t funny unless everyone involved has reason to laugh when it’s done.” I think there needs to be a law that no one should be allowed to pretend to pull anything out of the ear of anyone older than the age of eight years old, and nor to demonstrate their proficiency with the “french drop” to anyone old enough to drive. For those who don’t immediately place the reference, the “french drop” is what your uncle or grandfather used to do to you when you were a kid when he’d take a quarter out … Continue reading Don’t do that.

Reclaiming the back yard.

I am fifty-one years old. I have been that old for four days now. Fifty-one. Not twenty-five. Just over twice that. I guess that’s okay, considering thirty years ago I would not have predicted I’d last that long. Physical work that I used to give no thought to at all now happens at a more deliberate pace. I’m not in a hurry like I used to be. My back hurts faster, my dogs start barking sooner, and the sunshine gives me a pounding headache. I have arthritis in my hips, and tendinitis in my right arm. I’m content to muck … Continue reading Reclaiming the back yard.

Homemade Teriaki

Tossing this up here so I can throw away the nasty, wrinkly, old piece of paper that’s been floating around my kitchen for a couple years now. 3T soy sauce 2T rice vinegar 3T chicken stock 4T brown sugar 1t sesame oil 2t minced garlic 2t minced or grated ginger 1t cornstarch 1T cold water Combine everything except the cornstarch and water in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Combine the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Add to the simmering sauce, stir to thicken. Variations For a little heat, add crushed red pepper flakes. For a … Continue reading Homemade Teriaki