Power Out

February 26, 2017

The electricity went out yesterday afternoon. We had a massive thaw, temperatures rose to almost 60° F, then plunged again, with lashing rain and high winds. The power flickered at 3 PM, came back on for a few minutes, and then failed completely. By 5, when I drove down to close up the barn for the night, the rain was turning to wet snow — so thick and heavy that by the time I finished chores my truck wipers could barely move it.

Last night DH took this photo of me in my pajamas reading and making notes at the kitchen table by candlelight.


“What are you reading about?” he inquired. “Smallpox?”

For the past year I’ve been collecting out-of-print books on 18th century subjects — Epidemics in Colonial America, The New York Merchant on the Eve of the Revolution, Guns on the Early Frontiers — for a writing project. While my family has kindly purchased these old books for me for Christmas and birthdays, my reading choices are seen as fairly eccentric.

“Actually, the response to the Stamp Act of 1765 in Manhattan.”

He laughed. “A page-turner, no doubt.”

The power was off for nineteen hours. Our visit to the past had its fun aspects — reading side by side, heaped with blankets and surrounded by dogs, pulling on wool hats and wool socks as the house grew colder — but we were happy to return to the 21st century by lunchtime.


February 25, 2017

DH snapped these photos of me as I was dressing for barn chores this morning before breakfast. It was my usual winter outfit, slightly modified for warmer weather. Layers of ratty t-shirts. A big old sweatshirt pulled from the school lost-and-found at the end of last year. My rotting coveralls, due for the trash at the close of the season. The hay stuck to my wool hat was (for DH) the crowning touch.

“Oh my God, you’re the definition of a hayseed!”



E.B. White said of his beloved wife, Katharine, a passionate gardener who wore tweed suits and Ferragamo pumps to tend her flower borders, “She never dressed down for her gardens.”

DH can say equally truthfully that I never dress up for my barn.

Protected: Sad to Move Back

February 21, 2017

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Dogs Before and After

February 16, 2017

The dogs got haircuts yesterday. Here they are on a walk Tuesday.


And here they are yesterday afternoon, after I crept through a snowstorm at 30 mph to bring them home after work.


DH is always distressed at these times. “I don’t really like the pointy look,” he says, wincing. Lucy, however, thinks that when they are shaved down, they look like endurance athletes.

I am purely practical. I am congratulating myself for remembering to pack Toby’s winter coat and Stash’s calf jacket.

* * *

I am enjoying being free of one of the extra jobs I took on this year. So sad: no link to the school server here at the farm! Oh dear, I can’t do the work for six days! Having this extra hour every morning feels almost like vacation. It certainly makes my days less frantic.

Our Own Movie Star

February 15, 2017

I think I must be exhausted both physically and emotionally. Otherwise I can hardly explain my reaction to this little video profile made by a film student and fellow skier at Lucy’s college.

I watched it and began to cry. Though I often get teary with pride over our children, this time I could not stop. I pressed my eyes and wept and wept. DH was alarmed. I was standing in the living room and he folded me in a hug, patting my shoulder in bewilderment and concern.

I’m really quite happy! And of course, proud of our girl.

Protected: Down at the Farm

February 14, 2017

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Protected: Stealing Bases

February 11, 2017

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Hamilton in the Big City!

February 5, 2017


Ten days ago, I had an unbelievable opportunity. I went to New York City with DH (first shocker — I never travel) and we attended the blockbuster musical, Hamilton!  Never in a million years did I think I would ever be able to see this show.

DH had been presented with two tickets by two extremely kind and generous friends who wanted to give him a splashy evening in the big city. I think they knew very little would pry his bride off the farm except the opportunity to see this wonderful smash hit.

Once we arrived in Manhattan, DH thought we should go out to dinner.

I was too excited to eat. “Let’s just walk to the theatre,” I begged. “I can eat pretzels!”

DH and wisdom prevailed and we went to a simple chain restaurant.

“We have tickets for a show!” I informed the waitress eagerly.

DH shook his head with a smile. “What a hayseed.”

Though at my insistence we arrived at the theatre forty-five minutes early, there were already twin lines snaking down the block in each direction. We had terrific seats. By the time the curtain went up, every seat was filled.


During the fifteen-minute intermission, every woman in the audience, apparently, including me, was in a line for the ladies’ room. The line wound through the theatre in a circular pattern that doubled back, so none of us would see quite how long the wait actually was. It was exactly like a cattle chute. We inched along the corridors.

As is my wont, to keep up the group’s restive spirits, I began chatting and joking with people in the line nearby. Someone asked a question about the history behind the show — and I was soon giving a cheerful mini-lecture on Alexander Hamilton, Lafayette, Aaron Burr, and George Washington. An hour later as DH and I were leaving the theatre, a woman in the crowd touched my arm and turned me to meet her husband. “Look, honey! It’s the woman from the ladies’ room that I was telling you about!” She said kindly that she would never forget the terrific high school teacher who had taught her medieval history, and she was sure my students would similarly remember me. (Teachers: we get the job done!)

The show was exactly as fabulous as all reports said it would be. DH and I had a wonderful time.


The next day, as DH went off to an early meeting, I met my lovely niece for breakfast. I don’t get to see Susanna nearly often enough. She is smart, funny, and has so much on the ball it would be intimidating if she were not also so kind and thoughtful. (And if I did not have photographs of her clowning in a shower wearing a steamer pot lid on her head at age 12.)


All in all, it was a terrific 18 hours in the city. I’ll have to go back again — in another decade or so.