Archive for November, 2012

Pumpkin harvest

November 18, 2012

Okay, it’s a small harvest, but I’m still thrilled to have gotten some good produce out of my little pumpkin patch.

Ernie and Bert?


In the ruins of Isengard

November 14, 2012

“’And you need not turn up your nose at the provender, Master Gimli,’ said Merry. ‘This is not orc-stuff, as Treebeard calls it. Will you have wine or beer? There’s a barrel inside there– very passable. And this is first-rate salted pork. Or I can cut you some rashers of bacon and broil them, if you like. I am sorry there is no green stuff: the deliveries have been rather interrupted in the last few days! I cannot offer you anything to follow but butter and honey for your bread. Are you content?”

October’s dinner was based on the meal made out of the remains of Saruman’s stores in the ruins of Isengard when Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli were finally reunited with Merry and Pippin. It was a simple meal, but satisfying.

The main dish was a small ham, suggested by the mention of salted pork, cooked with apples. To that I added some sauteed carrots. Though Merry laments the lack of “green stuff,” it seemed reasonable to add some root vegetables, which would have lasted for a few days. That was accompanied by toasted bread with butter and cheese, along with some nuts and dried fruit. We drank some white wine to go with it all.

Previous Lord of the Rings dinners:

January: A long-expected party

February: Farewell to Hobbiton / March: Supper at the Prancing Pony

April: A rangers’ dinner in the wild

May: At Elrond’s table

June: A Dwarven dinner

July: Of Herbs and Stewed Chicken

August: Dinner in Ithilien

September: A feast in the golden hall

Two storms, two votes

November 9, 2012

It’s been a quiet week in my home town of Lake Rock Pond…

The Monday before Halloween Hurricane Sandy blew through. It was mostly high winds for us, although we got some drizzle and a few spurts of heavy rain. A lot of branches got knocked down, but nothing very big, not even the old dead pine on the neighbors’ lot that we always worry about.

E.’s work was closed, so she got to stay home on Monday. I had been scheduled to hold advising hours for my students, but the University shut down for the day, so I didn’t have to go in. It was very nice to stay home warm and dry and cozy.

We lost power in the late afternoon, so we made a fire in the fireplace, lit some candles, and ready by candlelight for a few hours. I got down the old spider and we cooked some food in the fireplace. Before we could sit down to eat, though, the power came back on, so we got to watch a movie before bed. It was the best way to spend a hurricane day– mostly comfortable, with just enough difficulty to confirm our rugged individualism. Still, we know that we were lucky. Some people around here didn’t get their power back for almost a week, and that’s nothing like the people in New York and New Jersey who got flooded out. We’ve been hearing from friends and acquaintances in the area who have been through a lot and we feel for them.

My classes on Tuesday got canceled because the university was still blacked out, when I got back to classes on Thursday, I started each class by asking: “So, how was your hurricane?” Most of my students made it through all right, although most of them had lost power at some point and some had seen flooding and downed trees.

The hurricane also meant that the town meeting which had been scheduled for Monday got postponed to Thursday. I went to the Thursday night meeting, my first town meeting. The big issue for discussion was a proposal to build a new school. There was a lot of argument, but it became clear pretty quickly that there was strong support in town for the new school building against a handful of old curmudgeons who didn’t trust the town government with money. One woman stood up and said: “I was a student at the current school 19 years ago and even then we had to dodge buckets every time it rained. Why has it taken this long to even talk about building a new school?” She got a healthy round of applause for that. In the end, the town voted overwhelmingly to put the school proposal on the fall ballot for approval.

On Tuesday I went and voted on my way to work in the morning. It was busy, but the lines weren’t too long and I got through quickly. In class I asked my students if they had voted or were planning to vote, and almost all of them either already had or were going to, which I take as an encouraging sign. In the evening I put on NPR and looked up election maps on a couple of different websites and settled in to watch the results come in. The pundits have been saying all year that people aren’t as excited about this election as they were in 2008, which I think is understandable. It’s not nearly as exciting to reelect the country’s first non-white president as it was to elect him in the first place, but I was still very happy with the outcome of the vote.

The next evening we got hit with a nor’easter that let us with a few inches of snow, our first of the season. It didn’t last, though; by the time I got home from work on Thursday the ground was bare again. I’ve heard some people predicting a cold, snowy winter. I don’t know how seriously to take that, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I enjoyed not having to shovel at all last winter, but I missed the snow.