Farming, Quote of the Day, Rural Living

How Straight the Gate!

Yes, the pedantic me (or "I" as it should more properly be) knows that in his most famous quatrain, William Ernest Henley spells, and is using the word "strait" as it applies to a narrow body of water, often difficult to navigate and get through in one piece.  And certainly,  sometimes when you're undertaking a… Continue reading How Straight the Gate!

Animals, Ave Atque Vale, Farming, Rural Living

While I Was Sleeping: Death Comes to the Farm

Well, TBPH, I didn’t sleep through it.  I discovered, decades ago, that the reason I don’t get much sleep is not that I can’t get to sleep; it’s that I’m a very light sleeper, and everything wakes me up. So last night, I was unsurprised to be awoken at 2:30AM by a pack of yelping… Continue reading While I Was Sleeping: Death Comes to the Farm

Culture, History, Rural Living

Washington, PA, the First City Named For the First President

It’s hard for me to think of a particular place as my hometown: I was born in Birmingham, England, one fall night in 1954. I was raised in Northern Nigeria, and Kaduna, Kano and Sokoto are dear to my heart. I lived in Boston for a year when my family came to the States. I… Continue reading Washington, PA, the First City Named For the First President

Education, Plain Speaking, Rural Living, Technology

Can You Hear Me Now Yet?

"Can you hear me now?" was the tag line in a series of Verizon commercials from the early 2000s, touting its nationwide coverage, and the fact that folks from all parts of the country were more likely to be able to "hear" each other via cellphone if they were Verizon  subscribers, because of the company's… Continue reading Can You Hear Me Now Yet?

Animals, Farming, Feminism, Rural Living, Womanly Feminism

Building Your Own Chicken Coop: Womanly Feminist Edition!

Well, winter is over.  You can't be sure, in this part of the world, until you've been visited by the "three snowmen," although, in contrast to general population-growth trends (or lack thereof) in these United States, the guys seem to have a fruitful year, and I counted about half-a-dozen of the little bastards taunting me,… Continue reading Building Your Own Chicken Coop: Womanly Feminist Edition!

Gardening, Rural Living


Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging, As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been, Forth from its sunny nook of shelter’d grass–innocent, golden, calm as the dawn, The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful face. —Walt Whitman Surely it's one of the humblest of spring flowers, and one which… Continue reading Harbinger

Farming, Friendship, Gardening, Rural Living

The Snowman Cometh

Thirty-five years ago, Mr. Right and I sold our house in one of Pittsburgh’s lowest-rent districts, moved ourselves into a tent in a field in Washington County, PA, where our prospective new home was nothing more than a hole in the ground, and started to build. I’m sure the neighbors thought we were nuts.  Nevertheless,… Continue reading The Snowman Cometh

Farming, Pets and Livestock, Rural Living

Building a Small Grain Bin From Septic Tank Riser Sections

OK, before anybody make a scatalogical joke, I'm already reminded of this billboard: But, seriously.  Grain bins. What I need (and all I need) is a bin in which I can securely (that is racoon and mouse-proof-ly) store a few hundred pounds of sheep feed at a time.  Many years ago, I built a nice… Continue reading Building a Small Grain Bin From Septic Tank Riser Sections

Animals, Farming, Nature, Pets and Livestock, Rural Living

Guilty Pleasures

They’re so funny.  And, in many ways, so very human. This is Oleg.  He’s tiny for his age (about six weeks), and his “sister” (Tatiana) who’s only a couple of days older, is almost twice his size.  I only named them this morning, upon the increasing certainty that the little fermentation vats that comprise their… Continue reading Guilty Pleasures