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Hawthorn Hill

November 15, 2012

Election Day thoughts


There is something ineffably pleasurable about getting the physics of the meeting between splitting maul and drum just right. When the hit is just right and the drum cracks into two nearly identical pieces I feel pretty darn good about myself. Little need be said about miss hits and drums that defy all manner of persuasion. It is then that my language becomes peppered with expletive-laced phrasings learned long ago from some of the U.S. Navy’s finest non-com linguists.

By this time most years I have gathered in bushels of wild apples. Most all are dried, stored in jars and freezer bags, and shelved for future use. I have always loved nibbling on dried fruit, but this year most of my nibbling will be in mind only. A nearby orchard lost close to 70 percent of its crop to the early freeze and subsequent hailstorm. Our fruit trees all blossomed early so when the freeze hit we lost most of the crop. One dwarf peach tree produced seven peaches! Nothing to write home about, but they sure did taste good.

The roadsides I walk are normally rich with wild apples of all sizes, shapes, and colors. I carry a backpack that is usually filled by the time I get home. After several days of walks the kitchen counter is flooded with apples. We have a small, inexpensive dryer that does the job well, so in a few days we have packed away quite a few bags. I enjoy the walking and picking much more than the peeling, slicing and coring part of the job. I like looking at them as well, but that only goes on so long before Sandy gives me that look and I have to get to work. The rules here are straightforward: you pick ‘em, you process ‘em. I admit to being more excited about the aesthetics of such activities than the work part of it.

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Hawthorn Hill
  • A farewell essay More years ago than I care to contemplate, I very sheepishly sent a column in fully expecting it would be rejected. Lo and behold, it appeared shortly thereafter and for almost twenty years now I have have written these bi-weekly columns, first under the heading of "The Timely Writer" for The Freemans Journal and, for the last several years as "Up on Hawthorn Hill" with the Cooperstown Crier.

    July 17, 2014

  • Writing in the age of ad hominisms This past week several readers of these columns have asked about my absence of late. The honest answer is that there are times when the well runs a bit dry and one’s enthusiasm for forcing words on to the page wanes.

    June 26, 2014

  • Robinson novels show grace, intelligence I have been reading the novels of Marilynne Robinson the past several weeks. She writes with such grace and intelligence that I find myself rereading sections several times over to savor their exquisite taste and, in some instances, to make sure I have grasped the meaning of what she has written.

    May 1, 2014

  • Giving aid to Cornell at my window For quite a few years now I have participated in Cornell's Project Feeder Watch.

    April 10, 2014

  • Birder admits he confuses non-birding world I often run into people who ask me what it is about watching and studying birds that birders like me find so appealing.

    March 20, 2014

  • Olympics spirit in need of repair It is time to rethink what the Olympics ought to be about.

    February 27, 2014

  • Late night drive stirs morning man It has been a long time since my last stint at the wheel in the wee hours of the morning. Several days ago the phone rang at 1 a.m. Never a good sign. Within minutes I was in the car heading for Boston. The sun and I got there at about the same time. Fortunately, the late night emergency that required the trip has resolved itself, all is well, and I was able to head back home the following day.

    February 13, 2014

  • Shopping is never fun, simple I am not a shopper. Quick ins and outs are what appeal to me. The sooner the ordeal is over the better.

    January 16, 2014

  • Wondering if Holidays are worth the stress

    January 2, 2014

  • Laziness must be overcome An essayist in a weekly magazine, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, characterizes the past year as exhibiting an uncommon penchant for laziness.

    December 19, 2013