Friday, December 11, 2009

Life in Barnesville: December

I learned the other night that molasses makes a good fertilizer, especially if your soil is low in sulphur. Just add a teaspoon (or perhaps a tablespoon) of blackstrap molasses to a gallon of water and pour on your plants. It's supposed to be a natural miracle- gro. I like this idea because it's so simple.

I have to keep chasing two fat squirrels out of the birdfeeder. I've never seen animals so fat run so fast.

Cows are being pastured just beyond our front yard, so I am studying cow behavior now and again. Not much to report, except that the two new calves run around and frolic. The adults don't stand entirely stock still, as they graze, but they're not doing much else.

It snowed today and is very cold and windy. However, I managed to get Sophie from Muskingum, along with all the stuff she was taking home for her winter break, without any problems.

Barnesville's Main Street is pretty. Christmas wreaths lit with white lights are attached to the lampposts. With the light snow and the decorations and the old brick and stone buildings, the town looks idyllic, at least at night. I continue to appreciate the quiet and lack of traffic here, the ease of parking and shopping. Other than clothes, we can get everything we need in town--there's a grocery store, several dollar stores, a hardware store, a pharmacy, a library, a Rite Aid ... a rare occurrence, I think, in this day and age, and probably supported by the Amish, who I imagine don't find it feasible to ride their buggies all the way down to St. Clairsville to shop in the big box stores and the Walmart. Again, I marvel that it's is the religious groups--the Orthodox Jews in some areas, the Amish in others, and doubtless other groups--that keep communities alive. Rules we moderns reject as senseless and archaic, fit for another era, such as not working on the Sabbath (and hence living close enough to the synagogue to walk) have hidden values. Should Quakers start embracing the Sabbath? Should we start thinking of driving as work?

I have become a vegetarian and that is going well, although in this geographic area (and perhaps all areas) it can be a challenge at times to find something on the restaurant menu other than a grilled cheese sandwich. I've been thinking about veganism, as much of my impetus towards changing my diet is factory farming ... but I can't figure it out. I'm pondering it. Here, I could buy Amish milk and eggs, as I sometimes do, and rest assured the animals are not abused, but so many processed foods contain milk or eggs ... as with many things, it's gradual.

Roger and I had trouble getting out of Barnesville on Saturday, one of the drawbacks of being six or so miles off the interstate. Cars were spinning out of control on the ice on the windy, hilly roads, blocking traffic. We were eventually able to get to Route 70, but for a moment I thought we were going to end up like De Smet, South Dakota from the Little House books--snowed in all winter.


Anonymous said...

Just got a link to your post through Google Alerts. If you recall, I'm Sophie's Admission Counselor here at Muskingum, from last spring. I just wanted to say that I hope she enjoyed her first sememster here--always the hardest one for college students anywhere, in multiple senses of the word. Have her come see me if there is anything I can possibly do to help with the continuing transition. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season, and a peaceful and prosperous new year!
-Gary Atkins

Hystery said...

Around here and in nearby communities, the Mennonites are awfully important to whatever success we have with our local economy. My doctor's office actually has a hitching post in front. The villages to the east and the south of us have more Mennonite families than my hometown and therefore more diverse and more local businesses.

I'm a vegan (although the rest of my family are vegetarians). I'm too impatient and busy to do very much fancy cooking and with kids, I have to focus on meals that are quick, have easy-to-find ingredients, are simple and quick to prepare and appeal to fussy eaters. I find the local Mennonite bulk food supply store is a great place to get lots of the stuff I need (and a lot of fun and yummy stuff I don't!).

Diane said...

Hi Gary,

Thanks for the hello. Sophie seems to have survived that tough first semester!


Hello, hello. Thanks for the bulk foods tip. It's a matter of getting up and running on the diet ... and as you indicate, making it as easy as possible.