Archive | December, 2009

We Have Weather, and a guest.

9 Dec

Went to pick up N in Scranton.  Another Dartmouth student’s father driving another few hours further west agreed to meet me there.  Other than many large trucks moving at incredibly high rates of speed in the dark, and too many lanes around that city, driving was OK, even in the dark.  No deer jumping out in front of me, no snow.

At 1.30AM the wind started.  High wind.  Break down trees wind. This morning we had 4-5 inches of snow on the ground.

It is mostly gone now.  Just in time for another big storm of wind and snow to move through.

But we have N until after New Year’s, when I will go to Scranton and meet the other students’ father who will return them to Dartmouth.

Moving On

5 Dec

Could not bring myself to mention it before.  Two more old acquaintances died recently.  Lloyd Cotterill gave me my first job as a second semester freshman at Cornell milking cows at the the Teaching and Research Center out in Harford.  He was a kind man.

He also gave me a raise within a couple months.  Looking back I think it was because it was apparent that, unlike most of the other student help, I had actually worked with a dairy herd before.  In high school in the mid-70’s I made more money per hour ($5.00) than anyone I knew milking cows for a rich dairy farmer.  Seems oxymoronic now to have that adjective connected to that job, but it was true then.  The farmer’s son drove a red Italian sports car.

Anyway, I remember Lloyd with grateful thanks.  At that point in college I was incredibly homesick for the familiar.  Living in a dorm with other women was so foreign: I have two brothers.  Living on a campus full of people was so foreign: I am from a rural farm.  Living where there were no animals was so foreign: Animals were about the best friends I had at home.  So this part-time job–I was the only female student working there, out in the country far away from campus, milking cows for hours–was like a small reprieve from real life.  A much needed reprieve.

My suitemate–we shared a small sink but each had our own room–was from Long Island and a graduating class larger than the population of our whole school district.  It was like she was from a different planet.  Until the middle of the second semester, when I got up the courage to ask, I thought she hated me but could not bring herself to tell me to my face.  Why else would you always lock the door between our rooms?  We had only started locking the doors of our home at night after the incident that became the book In Cold Blood and a rash of local barn burnings.


Carl Leopold was Jay’s friend.  He was a son of Aldo Leopold Carl tells a bit more about himself here. He and Jay would talk about WWII,  gardening, hunting. Carl was a gentleman. And charming.  He was very interesting to talk to because he was involved in so many different ideas.  I loved hearing about his reforestation project in Costa Rica.

Jay and the children went to Carl and Lynn’s home more than once to help with wood and clean out an old railroad built  spring-filled water reservoir that served as their water source.  He came here for lunch in the summer with other co-workers when the gardens were blooming and producing.  I would see and talk to  Carl and Lynn at MaryAlyce and Jonathan’s garden parties and BTI affairs.

We are especially saddened by his death as Carl loved creation but seemed not to love the Creator.  We hope we are wrong.

Speaking of Babies…

3 Dec

Mazel Tov and Congratulations to UberImma and her husband who had a daughter on the last day of November!   Hurrah! And her birthing was short and sweet.  An assumption about that last bit, but knowing about the previous three, I think it is a safe assumption.


3 Dec

Last night Isabelle and I played Jesu Parvule and Some Children See Him while the Wednesday night Advent service attenders sang.  I played the pieces like carols, rather quickly, not as choral arrangements.  Jay said they were hard to sing.  The chords are ‘modern’ so maybe that was part of the reason.  Or maybe I played them too fast.

The service was focusing on responses to the coming of the Christ child.  So in between the carols (it is difficult for me to change from the key of B-flat to E in a moment) I read, with appropriate wicked witchiness, Ursula Fanthorpe’s poem

The Wicked Fairy at the Manger

My gift for the child:

No wife, kids, home;
No money sense. Unemployable.
Friends, yes. But the wrong sort –
The workshy, women, wogs,
Petty infringers of the law, persons
With notifiable diseases,
Poll tax collectors, tarts;
The bottom rung.
His end?
I think we’ll make it
Public, prolonged, painful.

Right, said the baby. That was roughly
What we had in mind.

Mushroom Planet

2 Dec

Cornell has something called CyberTower, which I will be using much more for home schooling.  We just watched a talk by mycologist Kathie Hodge which was very informative and fun.  It made me agree that one point of view was to see the earth as a giant mycelial mat.

She has a fun blog, too.

Up next: Moochers via Radiolab.  Hookworms may be useful?

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