The holiday season

For eight of our ten Christmases in Foster we’ve driven a mile and a half down the road to cut down our tree at Colwell’s Farm. Mr. Colwell, who is also a furniture maker, stopped planting new trees a few years ago, and so each year we’ve tried to judge when the supply will run... Continue Reading →


Most of our chickens have descriptive names, like Featherfoot (our rooster has feathers on his feet), the bareback chicken (a Rhode Island Red hen who lost the feathers on her back), the Ancona (we started with three Anconas, but are now down to one, which makes the identification simple), and the babies (although they are... Continue Reading →

Making a difference

On Thursday, one of my favorite television shows, Glee, addressed the death of one of its stars. We went through a box of tissues watching the raw grief of the actors as they said goodbye. The episode blurred the lines between fiction and reality as it asked how you measure a life. Around this same time... Continue Reading →


Summer has made way for fall. Despite unseasonably hot temperatures ("unseasonable" is the new norm), the trees around us have erupted in gorgeous colors. Falling leaves pile up on our woods' path. Lettuce still grows (slowly) in the garden, but my hopes for a fall crop of kohlrabi and bok choy fizzled. Something devoured the... Continue Reading →


We just picked our third large harvest of shiitake mushrooms from the logs we inoculated last summer with close to 1,000 shiitake plug spawn—an ingenious present from my sister. The first big crop came in the spring, then the logs went dormant again, producing only an occasional mushroom (frequently lost to slugs). A lot of... Continue Reading →

Seems we’ve just gotten started

What happened? Next weekend is Labor Day. September. The unofficial end of summer. Carol Burnett used to close her show with "Seems we just got started and before you know it?, comes the time we have to say, 'So long.'" It feels like summer has just begun, although I can see that the flower garden has... Continue Reading →

A queen is born

From the start, our second hive struggled. We found its queen still in her cage two days after installation (the bees need to eat through the candy plug to free her). We interceded and, once released, the queen began to lay eggs---but never in great quantity. Then we couldn’t find her. The diminishing brood cells indicated... Continue Reading →

“Slow down…

…you move too fast, you got to make the morning last.” My sister and I sang that song enthusiastically, in the back seat of our car. When we got to the "Feelin' Groovy" chorus, we belted the lyrics out with gusto, albeit tunelessly. This weekend, slowing down was the only possibility. The weather, in the 90s... Continue Reading →


A tractor or a horse can pull a log out of the woods. So can someone with a winch. My sister, Cathleen, has taken a number of forestry management courses, studying how to create different habitats on her property to attract a variety of native creatures. Strategic clearing of trees is a key component in... Continue Reading →

Garden bounty

While “everything in moderation” might be a sound strategy in principle, it doesn’t apply when you have a bumper crop in the garden. In that case, you consume huge quantities of the fruit or vegetable until it peters out...ideally around the same time you think you couldn't possibly eat any more (until next year). Each... Continue Reading →

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