From the Bookshelf: Hillbilly Elegy, A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, J. D. Vance

In my project of reading-books-I-already-have-then-moving-them-along, J. D. Vance’s memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, was next in the stack.  This came to me by way of my mother-in-law, whom I believe read it for her book club.  She then passed it on to a friend of ours who was visiting her.  The friend read it then passed it on to us.  The book is about contemporary Appalachian culture which is where we live. Continue reading

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From the Bookshelf: Jesus and After, the First Eighty Years, by E. Bruce Brooks

I view knowledge and faith as two methods of thought which emphasize different factors.  Knowledge asks about facts and data.  Faith asks why something is important.  Knowledge can be observed and repeated (scientific process).  Faith gives meaning to events.  Knowledge without purpose is irrelevant information.  Faith that lacks supporting facts and data is wishful thinking.

Thus, when I find my opinions in conflict with someone else’s, I ask myself, “Have we drawn different conclusions because we have different data sets?”, or, “Are we coming from different assumptions about what is meaningful?”  To have an open mind in a debate, I must be willing to learning new information, and to, at least temporarily, set aside my assumptions about life to learn why someone else might consider this or that important.  Upon opening E. Bruce Books’ book, Jesus and After, The First Eighty Years, these thoughts crossed my mind. Continue reading

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Poem: Dead Calm

Dead calm,
the fog sits
upon the harbor.

No breath
of wind
other than

That which
forms as
we exhale.

Obscured
is our view,
our focus Continue reading

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From the Bookshelf: Tone, Twang, and Taste, a Guitar Memoir, by Pete Kennedy

The Washington, D.C./Baltimore, MD region is a great place for music.  Having previously lived there for about ten years, and living only a couple of hours away, we have enjoyed the talents of many local musicians and well known acts over the years.  That included hanging out at the Sunset Grill in Annandale on Thursday evenings with Bill Kirchen (guitarist from Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen of the 70’s) or sitting in front of the the band members of Yes, who came to the Smithsonian Museum to play on some blue-guitars (apparently a difficult finish to put on the body of a guitar).  Reading a memoir from a local D.C. guitarist gave me a chance to reminisce on those change connections. Continue reading

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Farm Life: Fog in August, Winter Forecast for 2019-20

August 2019 had come and gone.  Time to give your the annual Fog in August report, and correlate this with the Hagers-Town Town and Contry Almanack forecast for Winter 2019-20.

But first, let’s review how last Winter (2018-19) played out.

Continue reading

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From the Bookshelf: Twigs in my Hair, A Gardening Memoir, by Cynthia Reyes

A common Post-Enlightenment concept is that occupations have an art and science to them.  As a therapist, sometimes I approach an intervention from the science side, using the concept of evidence-based practice to guide the rehabilitation process.  Biological, neurological, or psychological theories set the pace of therapy.  At other times, I rely on the art of practice, usually when it comes to engaging and motivating a client to utilize the science.  I view gardening much the same way.  Ask me about soil health and I’ll give your two hour lecture on the benefits of fungus.  Then again, don’t ask me.  Let just take a stroll in the garden, enjoy the view, and I’ll show you some really cool mushrooms along the way.  That is the art of gardening. Continue reading

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Farm Life: Buying a computer with 19 cup holders…

Living in the mountains, you need a fowl-weather vehicle.  Winter is coming (even though it may still be 80F) and we need to be ready.  The gardens are still giving harvest, and some sections are ready to clean up.  Wood is stacked in the woodshed, and I’d like to have another cord ready for late winter.  But, the 2005 Subaru was ready to go to pasture.  Last Friday, I thought I would take it for one more oil change, to get us through a Rhode Island trip in September, then purchase a new Subaru before winter.  That was until the technician wanted to caution me about a few items… Continue reading

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