Erna’s garden wisdom

Don’t fork or spade soil until it is dry enough for the clods to crumble when they fall. —The Gardener’s Bed-Book by Richardson Wright, 1929 This time of year I recall my friend Erna Hermann and her weeding methods. First, she collects her garden wardrobe:...

Bluebird watch

A gray morning breaks. I walk our land. Three and a half acres. Enough space for two septuagenarians to dwell in relative peace. The scent of wet earth revives me—winter’s damage strewn high and low, near and far. I start toward the garden steps to upright three...

Origin of Shepherd’s pie

My devotion to good food comes from my mother’s kitchen. Not flavor, nor nutrition alone, nor the refuge of our family table, more so her stable and flexible practice influences what I choose to cook. Mom held the humble and unvarnished wood handle of her...

Brief, indelible season

I can’t remember selling Girl Scout cookies in fourth grade. Most of the brief season with my Brownie troop remains a mystery. Martha Bradley comes to mind. Her mother led our meetings at their home. Mrs. Bradley dressed like a Girl Scout and smiled a lot. She...

Cures for Cabin Fever

Cuddles, our tortoiseshell kitten, lifts a paw to the kitchen’s sliding glass door. Her ears twitch. She extends her neck as starlings gather in our bare maple tree. Her jaw trembles in cat chatter. “I know what you mean, Cudds,” I say with my hands...