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.

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.

Katie-isms, December 2016.

I’m reaching back with this story. It’s one I’ve wanted to tell for a long time and keep forgetting. Our beloved girl-child must have been two and a half years old. Old enough to walk and talk and not do either very well. At an age and short enough that if she wanted to drink from a water fountain I had to kneel down and let her stand on my leg. Out to eat, she might come back from some Important Two Year Old Errand and I would get up from the table and kneel in the aisle so she could … Continue reading Katie-isms, December 2016.

Who’s making the tea?

My family drinks iced tea. Lots of it. We don’t “do” soda as a rule. Lemon-lime stuff when we’re sick, the odd root beer from time to time, but that’s about it. Tea is where it’s at, a holdover, I suppose, from when I was a kid. 3 – family size, black tea bags 1 – honeybush tea 1/2C sugar 1 gal water The honeybush gives the tea a very light citrus-y note, mellows out the flavor. Simple, inexpensive, tasty. Win, win, win. For years, I’ve been the tea-maker. As the children have grown older and gotten more familiar with the kitchen … Continue reading Who’s making the tea?


Took the last batch of tomato sauce and decided to make a meal of it. Garlic, kosher salt, olive oil, brown sugar, then out to the herb garden for marjoram and basil. To amuse myself (sometimes I do) I brought in a couple of very large catnip leaves. Now, a lot of people, given such a raw material, will smush it up and rub it on the couch, but how pedestrian is that? No no, I also have an eight year old boy at my disposal, so… I smushed up the leaves and rubbed them on his forehead. Last I … Continue reading Catnip

Age and perspective. Sometimes they sting.

Michelle had borrowed my pocket knife. As the morning was busy (we were at a feis, getting ready for the day) and Jami and I left the room early to get him downstairs to practice, she tossed my knife into her purse and forgot about it. Later in the day, I went looking for it. “In my purse,” she said, making no move to help. It’s a soft-sided thing, a quite perfect example of the “bag” half of “hand-bag”, and while attractive it isn’t easy to dig through looking for something so small especially when, being male, “purse” is just … Continue reading Age and perspective. Sometimes they sting.