Saturday, September 16, 2017

Another week!

Well, here it is, Saturday night. Another week has flown by. And a full week it was - but then, which ones are not? My work on projects around the house was interrupted again and again, but I did get some things accomplished. Two things, really - building shelves and painting a window. About three years ago I reorganized the front entry way and took out some shelving to make room for a wood rack for the wood stove. The dismantled shelves have been sitting around all this time, waiting to be re-assembled. Finally did it! It involved first clearing out the corner behind the front door where I wanted to put the shelves. Sweeping, vacuuming and then scrubbing everything - floor, walls and ceiling. Then, painting the area where the shelves would be going, and also cleaning and staining the pieces of wood that constituted the shelves - 30 separate pieces in all. And finally, re-assembling the shelves in their new location, this time with screws (the original shelves had been built with nails). This took several days, though I only worked an hour or two or three each day. Here is a bit of a before and after (I didn't get a photo of the way the corner looked before I cleared stuff out of the way).

This is the corner after I cleaned it. I had started painting but hadn't finished

After painting

The new shelves
 I still need to finish painting the entry way, but that will have to wait. I'm happy just to have the shelves.

The other project  - painting a window, I'll wait to describe until I have a picture of the window. I forgot to take a "before" photo, but can get one of the completed job.

This was also a week of preparation for a memorial service for my friend of 50+ years,  Betty Greenhoe. She is the mother of Eliza Bergh, who has become a very good friend of Ellen's. Betty was 91, and a very gifted theater director. My son, John, worked with her in theater when he was about age 11 to age 16 or so - 1972 to 1977. Betty was a very wise woman, and we miss her. Her memorial service was today, in the Dummerston Church. I helped assemble a choir of 20 singers, and gave an extended remembrance and appreciation of her life as part of the service. Her grave, and the grave of her husband, Joe, who was also a brilliant theater director at the old Windham College in Putney (they both went to Yale School of Drama), is just two lots down from Shirley and Betsey. I knew a lot of people would be gathering today for the committal, so I wanted Shirley's and Betsey's graves looking really nice, so I put some work into that this week. I have been wanting for some time to incorporate sea shells and stones and driftwood into the little garden in front of Shirley's headstone, so I did that. It looks nice I think, with some new mums.

Newly decorated

Together

Today after the committal of Betty's ashes





Sunday, September 10, 2017

Happy Birthday, Tye

Today was a full day! Up at 7a.m. for a choir rehearsal at 8:45, service at 10am, and my choir sounded great! One congregant said it was so beautiful he wept through the whole anthem. Then we made a dash to Guilford for a celebration of a very successful capital campaign. $280 thousand raised with a  $250 goal. A big fun barbecue outside on a gorgeous day. Then we hightailed it to Shutesbury for Tye's birthday celebration. We heard all about her new job as a "Recovery Monitor" (or something like that). She monitors the "vitals" of addicts who are de-toxing. Quite a job!

         Tye and Krystal

           Brendon and Tye

Friday, September 8, 2017

Ellen is back - yay!

Ellen got back from Swarthmore on Thursday afternoon in time to share our respective weeks, have a bite to eat and get to a Dummerston choir rehearsal. It is great having her back!  Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy being with Katie and Savanna for four days, because I did. We had a lovely time talking, playing cards with Krystal and Brendon (Texas fold-em, which Krystal taught us - a variant on poker), playing Scrabble, having good meals together, and taking in the sights in Brattleboro, etc. One highlight was a trip to the Brattleboro Art Museum, which had several outstanding exhibits. See below.

My trip to the Bridgeport National Bindery  was quite successful. They liked my files, quoted a very reasonable price on printing Safe Thus Far, and 40 copies will be ready in a couple of weeks. I'm happy.

On the way back I stopped at the Amherst College Library and did some research on Luther and his 95 theses in preparation for my sermon in Dummerston on October 29th, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of my ordination, and the 500th anniversary of his 95 theses which started the Reformation. A lot to think about!

Today, I got back into working on projects around the house. I washed the exterior back wall with the hose, cleaned the upper windows, and then started the process of building shelving in the downstairs front hall which involves first doing some cleaning and painting. Bit by bit!

The Spaceship of Dreams at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. Children and adults have written out their dreams and "loaded" them into the spaceship  (and pinned them on the wall).

A painting by Wolf Kahn, a local artist with a wide reputation. 

         Another Wolf Kahn painting 

An amazing and fascinating construction by Nathalie Miebach which is inspired by violent weather events, titled Lost Porches created long before Houston and Harvey but very timely now. 

      A detail of Lost Porches

        Another detail





Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day

Today I slept until about 8:30 (In Brendon's bed - he was on a cot in another room), had breakfast and started working on last-minute revisions to the Safe Thus Far.pdf  files that I'm taking to the Bridgeport National Bindary tomorrow. Then I went with Katie & Savanna to an orchard to pick some peaches. Yum! Great peach crop this year!

Peaches picked at the Quonquont Farm Orchard
Came back and had a bite to eat, and finished working on files.Then we had a Labor Day cookout - no guests, just Katie, Savanna, Crystal, Brendon and myself. Katie grilled some sausages and hamburgers, and we had cole slaw, tomatoes and chips. Nice. Katie is now at a Journey Home rehearsal and Savanna and I are listening on the radio to the Jays slaughter the Red Sox.

The work I was doing on files today was actually sort of significant, and marks something of the end of an era. Back in 1999, when I published Safe Thus Far, the history of the Guilford Church, I "founded" Black Mountain Press. It was, of course, just me and my computer, but I registered the name with the Vermont Secretary of State and the Vermont Department of Taxes. When I sold copies, I collected and paid Vermont Sales Tax, since I was not a non-profit. That has been true ever since. BMP has published several books in addition to Safe Thus Far: The Mended Cup (a collection of 52 of Shirley's children stories); Be Present Here (a collection of 180 of Shirley's pastoral prayers); More Than Thirty Years of Glorious Sound (a history of the Blanche Moyse Chorale); Remembering . . . With My Brother, Stewart, Vols. I and II (interviews with my brother about his life); The Story of Peter (interviews with my nephew, Peter Crockett); I Invite the Children to Come Forward (325 children's stories from Shirley's and my ministries at the Guilford Church), and The Poems of Shirley Crockett (a collection). In the wings is An Untold Story, Frederick Barnes Tolles' Unpublished History of 16-17th Century Colonial America and the Story Behind It.  Ten books - not a bad 18-year history for a little one-person press! And it's basically been a break-even proposition financially!
The thing is that now, the church is publishing And Grace Will Lead Us, which is a sequel to Safe Thus Far, and brings the church's history up to date since the end of Safe Thus Far. It is publishing it under the new name, Algiers Village Press. I think that as a non-profit, it will not need to collect and pay sales tax. So I decided it was time to give Safe Thus Far to the church. This edition will be published by The Algiers Press, and the church can continue to print copies after I'm gone. So all references to Black Mountain Press in Safe Thus Far, had to be replaced with Algiers Village Press, and I wrote an explanation as an addendum to the Preface. I will not dissolve Black Mountain Press yet - I still want to publish An Untold Story - but after that is done, I probably will.  





 


Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ellen is leaving me.....

.... with Katie and Savanna for a few days. She is driving to Swarthmore, leaving tomorrow morning (Sunday), and she'll leave me at First Church, Amherst, on her way, and K&S will meet me there and I'll be with them till Thursday when Ellen will come back for an evening choir rehearsal I'm leading at the Dummerston church. Should be fun! 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Heating with wood


It's a bit ironic to have been stacking wood today after last evening's film Burned. I am under no illusions about it, although they made the point last evening that heating your home with wood is a way more efficient use of the energy contained in wood than is turning the wood into pellets and shipping them to Europe to be used to generate electricity! But that is just stupid, and even more stupid is the government subsidization of it, in the name of  "green" energy. (Our tax dollars at work!) There is no ideal form of energy. They all have "cons," though some have many more cons than others.

I am also aware that if we in fact sell this house next year. and Paul builds us a 600 sq. ft. house at Putney Commons, which is the plan, this just might be the last time I stack wood! I have mixed feelings about that. I have loved heating with wood these 44 years, but the whole labor-intensive process is also becoming a burden. 

Here's a visual of the process:

What we've stacked so far - this is seasoned wood ready to burn this year. I ordered two cords. 

  The dry wood still needing to be stacked 

The big picture - the original pile made by the two cords was BIG. We've whittled it down a lot - with Ellen doing the lion's share. Thank you Ellen!

Last year's wood that now needs to be moved over to join the other dry wood. When that is done we'll have 3 + cords of good seasoned wood under cover by the front door. 

Then this pile of "green" wood - cut this year - will get stacked, becoming next year's wood. Maybe someone else will actually burn it! 








Thursday, August 31, 2017

A powerful and disturbing film

We went tonight to the premier of a new film by local filmmakers Alan Dater and Lisa Merton. It is called Burned, and is about the biomass fuel industry which is clear-cutting vast acres of forest in the U.S., especially in the Southeast, making it into pellets and shipping it to Europe, where it is used to generate electricity. There are also now over 200 bio-mass generating plants in the U.S., some of which (like one in Michigan), are permitted to burn chipped railroad ties and rubber tires, thus emitting toxic fumes and dust which threaten a nearby town.

There is a widespread misperception that "biomass" = "waste" wood. But entire forests are being consumed. Also, The biomass industry is able to function only because it receives huge government subsidies, without which it would be economically unfeasible. This is true both in the U. S. and Europe. This is based on the fiction that biomass is carbon neutral, and thus a "green" alternative to fossil fuels, like wind and solar. But in reality, burning wood releases as much or even more carbon than coal. In theory, the tree you cut down would eventually have died and decayed and been replaced by another tree. It is a "renewable" resource.  But that takes a long time and global warming is now. The planet needs more trees to sequester existing carbon, not fewer. 

The film sparked a heated discussion with the filmmakers afterward. It is a discussion that needs to take place all over the world . 


 Filmmakers Lisa Merton and Alan Dater

A scene from Burned showing a chip pile at a biomass plant

Dater and Merton made an earlier film about Wangari Mathai, Kenyan Nobel Laureate who started the successful movement to plant trees in Kenya to reclaim the desert. That film led to this one.