from Chapter XVII "My Four Sons"
New England hockey. Let’s see…you got your ice time, $400. You got your skates, $150. Hockey sticks, a season’s worth, $150. Tape. Each Youth League hockey player uses about twenty miles of hockey tape, $100. Helmet, huge equipment bag (which will smell like month-old road kill after two weeks of use), (word to the wise—never, ever open your kid’s hockey bag in the car), skate sharpening, gloves, pads, shirt, shorts, sixteen pairs of hockey socks, supporter, jeez… and this is just the start.
from Chapter III: Snow; part one
To most of the locals I ran into at the general store where we got our mail, I just know I looked like a big grasshopper. I know that was what they were thinking anyway.
“Doesn’t this city-slicker know what’s comin’?”
“What’s this city fool doing with no cordwood put up?”
“Been by his place all fall, and he ain’t got no cordwood put up. He must be rich as hell. Gonna heat that place on oil all winter?”
Chapter IV: Snow; part two
I was just learning that a good New Hampshire snowstorm is always (well, quite often, anyways) followed by sweet, warm rain. This sweet, warm New Hampshire rain is then followed by a good, hard freeze. It’s like a boxer’s combination. You know, the left-jab, the right to the gut, followed by the lights-out uppercut. This is the Great North Wood’s lights-out weather combination. The snow-ice glaze. Bulletproof snow. This is the combo that drops power lines and cuts thousands of people off the grid. This weather wallop drops huge tree limbs in the road and shuts down major New England highways.
from Chapter VI: The dollar-table hammer
Hanging on the inside of many businesses was the common “Open/Closed” flip-sign. Whatever was showing to the outside world rarely had anything to do with the actual status of that day’s service to the public. If they were there, the lights would be turned on and the store was “Open.” If they weren’t, the lights were off, so the store was “Closed.” “Shouldn’t need no damn sign to tell ya that!”
from Chapter VI: The dollar-table hammer
Our local handyman was Jiggs. ... Jiggs was the postal carrier from the adjacent township and owner of the Mount Washington Retirement Mobile Home Community about two small mountains away and behind my property. The MWRMHC consisted of Jiggs’ trailer, his mother’s trailer, and a couple of his mother’s friends’ trailers. The MWRMHC logo was a pick-up truck dragging an Airstream-type trailer up the side of what looked like a badly built pyramid.
from Chapter XII - "Beaver Ponds"
The beaver’s dam construction concept is to mash enough debris into that notch in the landscape where the creek is trying to escape until it can’t, and the water starts to back up. As soon as it is enough of an impediment, all the leaves and twigs, and various sundry items left over by pic-a-nickers , begin to catch in it, and soon enough it is pretty much a solid dike. Those plastic carry-ring arrangements around six-packs, for example, make up about 50 percent of most beaver dams. Another 20 percent are from disposable diapers
from Chapter "Getting Ready"
More than anything with a craft fair, you had to hope the competition did not include food concessions like fried dough or barbecue. Or, spray-painted cowboy hats. Fried dough meant that half of the peoples' money was already spent before they got to you, plus they dripped honey all over everything, and that brought bees, and bees scared the rest of the people away. Bad barbecue, or any kind of rank fried stuff, usually meant half the people got sick and spent their time at the plastic out-houses. The other half had to take the sick half home to finish tossing up (... or whatever).
from "Mixing Memories"
My first class we used a huge bread mixer the professor had bought at a place that sold used restaurant equipment. They had bought it from some Army surplus outfit. It was like a regular mixer that my mother had had, but it did nearly a hundred pounds of dough at a time. A monster. It had this big hook-like arm that stuck down in a massive steel bowl, from a motor the size of a small refrigerator. The lights would dim when that thing was turned on. That big hook would turn in a whapping-rotary kind of motion.
from "The Great Mouse Massacre"
... So they did. By the crowd, like a lemming horde, up they went to Molly's bedroom and into her built-in drawer cabinets. Molly's bedroom was quite small. So, all this pre-nap mouse bacchanal did make quite a racket in that room. I seem to remember Molly was about ten or twelve at the time. Just about, but not quite, out of the little girl stage. So, it not only frightened her, but she really had no idea what to do about it
from Chapter: "Moses"
A beat-up dollar-table flashlight would be thrust into my hand. I do not know how cheap flashlights with almost dead batteries do it, but they seem to be able to cast a feeble yellow light beam that sort of goes out a couple feet and then just droops down, a bit like an old man's urine stream. Down below I could vaguely distinguish the sump-pump half floating in a pond of scummy water.
from Un-iventing the wheel
Two people, one at each end, was alright, if they were not especially large persons. Keeping a balance on the structure as whole helped. If somehow a large person sat at, for instance, one of the middle wheels and a skinny person on one of the ends, or in immediate tandem to the large person, it could become an effort for the smaller person just to hold on. "Who-ah who-ah!" kept running through my mind, since I was usually the smaller one. ...
from "The House at East Pickerel Corners "
"Before I start working, I've got chores or I can't even start. I've gotta bring in firewood, or I'll freeze in my workshop. Before I bring it in, I've gotta break it outta the snow and ice that's frozen it all together. I gotta stack it inside the night before, to thaw out and dry it off a bit. I gotta clean out the stove-ash outta the stove. I gotta spread the ash on the walkway, or I'll slip and crack my head. I gotta bang the stove pipe and brush it out a bit, so I don't get a chimney fire. I gotta get a good fire goin'."
The House at East Pickerel Corners Revisited
That is (part of) of how I got to where I was. That is, making pottery in a cow barn, attached to a 200-year-old house in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. What I want to focus on, for a chapter here and there, is what it was like to make pottery in that old cow barn, which had about a fifteen degree lean to the west. And, what it was like to live and raise a passel of kids in that 200-year-old house, which had a lean of about five degrees to the south and was set way back in the Great North Woods.
is the thumb over lapping three fingers. A child’s grip, that should be outgrown if real control is to be accomplished. (Figure 36) is the worst, and most common grip of those with dyslexia, and often dysgraphia. All four fingers and the thumb are choked up on the pencil’s tip. (Figure 36) is very difficult to control with any semblance of finesse. However, it does feel like a very secure grip for those who have always felt they needed that feeling.
I call (Figure 37) the one or two finger grip of death. This is a really tough and limiting manner of holding the pencil for drawing. Unfortunately, I have seen it a lot over twenty-five years of teaching Art.
The question could be asked, “Why have you waited until this chapter to bring up something as essential and basic as how to hold the pencil?” Well, there are good ways, they are some rather not-so-good ways, and there are ways of holding the pencil that really help you to learn how to draw more effectively.
from Chapter Four
Artists who’ve been at it for a while will feel paper like a safecracker feels the dial of a safe. Very lightly rubbing it between forefinger and thumb to determine its tooth. Tooth is a kind of inside terminology referring to the way the paper bites graphite, or whatever drawing media you choose. Some high quality paper is actually woven like cloth (as part of the paper making process). Some is pressed, but the size of the fibers prior to the pressing varies. It’s like grades of sandpaper (once again the sandpaper) only much, much finer.
also Chapter Four
The more clay, the harder the lead. With the grade “F” in the middle, the softness (or darkness) progresses towards more “B”s. A “9B” is very soft and dark. The more clay in the lead, the harder the pencil and it is designated with a progression of “H”. Some Art supply companies make over twenty grades of pencils. From “11B” to “11H” - the softest is nearly liquid and the hardest is like a nail.