• Culture,  Environment

    Knocking off wild apples

    Just as springtime brings the roadside forager to stalk the wild asparagus, fall-time conjures visions of wild apples -- the tart and teasing sugar-plums of this evocative, transitional season.

  • Culture,  History

    The last shift at Cunningham’s

    Often, a photograph reaches its true potential only in the fullness of time. These previously unseen images from a Cunningham's Drug Store of the 1950s show that neglected negatives can emerge from hibernation to find a second life that is every bit as robust as the first.

  • Culture

    The forcing function of fire

    Any public place where people can freely meet can support socialization — with the people you’ve come with, that is. What is missing is some element that allows groups to break out of their self-containment, and interact in a spontaneous, genuine, and uncontrived manner, with people they didn’t come with. On a cold evening, a shared fire pit can be a social forcing function.

  • Culture,  Design

    The extraordinary, ordinary postcard

    Despite the ongoing decline of what many disparagingly refer to as “snail mail,” there remains a segment of the population that has not yet lost touch with its unique qualities, and fears the prospect of losing this supposedly archaic medium forever.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.