• Culture,  History

    Revenge of the wrong-side mailbox

    There are two classes of rural homes: those with a mailbox on the same side of the road, and those with a mailbox on the other. As if in passive resistance to suburban sprawl, even a long-demolished farmhouse can haunt its unwanted descendants by "locking in" the side on which mail delivery occurs.

  • Kitchen

    The insistent bounty of the mini pumpkin

    I can only speculate as to what I was thinking when, halfway through a rushed, early-pandemic visit to the local hardware store, I purchased a packet of mini-pumpkin seeds. I walked in wearing my own improvised covering of furnace filter material, held in place by a bent length of Romex and two rubber bands.

  • History

    Waiting at Field, B.C. – Part Two

    In a previous post, we explored the first part of a photo album that chronicled a young woman's journey to and from the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition in 1909. Our traveler, who remains unidentified, then returned to her life in pre-war New York, where she worked at the Brooklyn Public Library from at least 1910 to 1918, presumably as a librarian.

  • History

    Waiting at Field, B.C.

    There is something tragic about a set of personal photos that are abandoned by those who loved them, and are later found offering themselves to a stranger for a low price. For a treasured album to be found anywhere but in the care of a family member suggests that, perhaps, something did not go according to plan.

  • Design,  History

    The pageant of the unopened page

    What is a book? Opinions vary. Some believe that a book is simply a collection of written content, independent of the medium by which it is distributed. Others, like me, feel that the medium definitely needs to be in there, somewhere.

  • Environment,  Nature

    Most people don’t know about cottonwood bark

    Eastern cottonwood, Populus deltoides, is one of the most common trees in the central United States, particularly in moister parts of the Midwest. Today, most who live in its midst are at best ignorant and at worst dismissive of its qualities.

  • History

    Loma de Oro

    Among the slides was a gorgeous color Kodachrome, showing my still-teenage mother striking a pose on the doorstep of what seemed to be a motel of some sort, named Loma de Oro. But it was an apartment, not a hotel, in 1953 San Diego's Golden Hill.

  • Culture,  Kitchen


    “Potatoes are not a vegetable,” my friend declared, when I listed the varieties of produce she could harvest from my vegetable garden. “I will take tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and onions, but not potatoes.” I could have responded that the first three, being fruits, are not vegetables either.

  • History

    The chimney on Mill Lane

    Even as my childhood eyes were free to peer into the dark woods on either side, I have no particular recollection of seeing anything in the forest to the west, but a lonely overgrown drive, gated off, that curved out of sight.

  • Culture,  History

    Arduous task of pioneer was grubbing stumps

    At one time, I considered growing hops. As an experiment, and to immerse myself in the property that I had recently bought, I went about installing a 1/4 acre hop yard. I was not entirely practical about this venture. I resisted the use of treated wood for the trellises, and I resisted the idea that hops should grow on strings that stretch a full 16 feet into the sky. Needless to say, some of these decisions were not optimal.