25 September 2010

Fall, falling, fallen. That's the way the season
Changes its tense in the long-haired maples
That dot the road; the veiny hand-shaped leaves
Redden on their branches (in a fiery competition
With the final remaining cardinals) and then
Begin to sidle and float through the air, at last
Settling into colorful layers carpeting the ground.
At twilight the light, too, is layered in the trees
In a season of odd, dusky congruences—a scarlet tanager
And the odor of burning leaves, a golden retriever
Loping down the center of a wide street and the sun
Setting behind smoke-filled trees in the distance,
A gap opening up in the treetops and a bruised cloud
Blamelessly filling the space with purples. Everything
Changes and moves in the split second between summer's
Sprawling past and winter's hard revision, one moment
Pulling out of the station according to schedule,
Another moment arriving on the next platform. It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets.
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.
"Fall" by Edward Hirsch, from The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems, 1975-2010. © Random House, 2010. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

20 September 2010

For it’s hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind... If you’re young at heart


The Schoolhouse building in Hewitt being restored...a new museum.

The Barter Fest in Hewitt was a success.  These young millennials are really movers and shakers.  I visited with the local pastor and an organic farmer friend of his (both appeared to be straight laced upon first look, older than me even)...they were fully supportive and even heaping accolades on these young people who are revitalizing what was a dying rural town...turning it into a real community.  The pastor and the farmer had been writing to Wendell Berry for a year or so, when he invited them to come for a chat at his place in Kentucky last Easter.  The pastor couldn't make it because of his congregational commitment on that date, but the farmer and a friend went.  He waxed poetically on the wondrous conversation they had (mostly listening) with Wendell Berry.  4 hours on his front porch seems to have been a life changing experience for even the pastor, who wasn't there.

These young people applied for and got a large grant from The Historical Society to restore the old school in Hewitt, making it into a museum.

They are working together and doing an amazing job.  On top of that, they are promoting local farmers' markets, barter fairs, concert tours and encouraging would be organic farmers to purchase the relatively inexpensive land which is available in this land of woods, good soil and water.

The days festivities and music lasted well into the night...the last band didn't end until nearly 1 am...the music began at noon.  After the bandstand, lights and sound were 'torn down', the assembled musicians retreated into the Rebecca Hall (another building these folks are restoring) for a jam...such energy and positivism.  Left me very optimistic.  

The only rule at the festival was, "There are no rules".

15 September 2010

Squash or Pumpkin Bread...Canned

It's my wife's recipe. 

2/3 cup butter 
2 2/3 cups sugar 
4 eggs 
2 cups squash or pumpkin (baked and scooped out of skin, of course) 
2/3 cup water 
3 1/3 cups whole wheat flour 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1 1/2 tsp salt 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp ground cloves 
2/3 cup nuts and/or chocolate chips 

(use your imagination) 

Cream butter and sugar well, then add the eggs, squash and water. Mix the dry ingredients, then slowly blend into the bowl. Add nuts/choco chips (whatever) when the batter is well mixed. 

Spoon the batter into greased wide mouth pint jars, filling each jar half full. Place jars in a cool oven without lids. Turn the oven on and set temp to 325. Bake 45 minutes, then take jars out one at a time. As soon as each jar is out of the oven, wipe it's rim clean and put a sterilized canning lid on it. Screw on a ring and set aside until cool and the jars seal. 

This recipe makes 8 to 9 pints of bread.

13 September 2010

09 September 2010

Squirrels gathering nuts in the north woods

This is the weather and time of year when we become 'squirrels gathering nuts' in the north woods. 

This pile gets split on Saturday: 

Then it, and this pile: 

All go in here: 

On Tuesday this side of the house: 

Starts to look like this side of the house: 

Creating more space, a sunroom and a study for Cheryl.

We'll be using 4 of these cedar poles once I clean them up : 

Along with 2X6 T&G Pine.

The inside will look somewhat like this: 

And we're moving Cheryl's dad into an assisted living apartment as of the 1st of October.

I hope this winter will be very fruitful in other ways. I am committed (to myself) to visit Cheryl's dad at least three times each week and spend time with him. I'm getting him the same computer and same wireless printer that I use...he is so frustrated at not being able to communicate with 'the outside world' as he puts it. He has rants he wishes to send off to newspapers, legislators, bureaucrats...but can no longer see well enough to type...and he no longer can recall how to get in and out of programs. This from a man who was a quality control engineer for Honeywell, worked with old IBM computer rooms for NASA and is a retired Naval Commander. It is frustrating and depressing for him. I have told him that we will collaborate on letters to the editor and others...pulling ideas from both of us...I'll be the transcriber and we'll sign both of our names, his first. Then we'll tackle his 'story', made up of thousands of vignettes I've heard a thousand times. He is excited for the first time in years. He has told everyone that he is moving into a new apartment and 'joining the living' as of the first of October. 

Winter is passing

It has been since autumn that I’ve written anything.  I feel...no, I know that a coup has been stag d in this country. But, from my vantage...