Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ending a Hiatus

Mingo County, West Virginia

2 posts in the past two months.  I'm not sure that counts as maintaining a blog.

I've kept journals pretty consistently since I was 14 or so.  Sometimes they lapse, usually either because I find myself too uninteresting to be worthy of record, or because I'm caught up in too many other things and the backlog of potential entries starve each other.

These last two months have been more that second problem.

At work we've been busy beyond our capacities - and as research director it's been my job to keep projects rolling that explore how different people conceptualize and think about: good governance, mental disability, the transition away from coal in Appalachia, the earned income tax credit, family work balance, taxation, and money in politics.

Welch, WV
There've week-long been research trips - to central Appalachia on the coal project and California for money in politics.  I leave for Kansas City on Friday.  There has been phone interviewing, both by me and by people I've been training - on money in politics, the EITC, family work balance, etc.  I've been training assistants to handle our on-line experiments at testing communications strategies - for governance, taxation, and others, but there are a lot of moving parts.  And recruiting an extra ethnographer or two for upcoming research in Philadelphia.

With so much data coming in, analysis and writing has been the bottleneck, and it's been a high priority to get me back into the thick of that.

Carpinteria, California

In California, Porter is finishing up his junior year of high school, which these days means college visits.  So, when he came back from boarding school on his spring break in March we traveled to Maine to see old friends, but also to visit the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin triangle.  Plus MIT, Worcester Polytechnic and Brown.   Only a few weeks later we all went out to visit him on Family Weekend at Cate - meeting his teachers and advisor and seeing him perform in his chorale and camerata, and in the school musical - (he was the policeman in Singing in the Rain).

I've sworn to not neglect the garden.  Sunchokes have been dug up and pickled, the garden tilled and planted with potatoes, beets, and parsnips.  Chard and fennel overwintered and are growing again.  Mustard and cilantro seeded themselves, and I've planted more - as well as little patches of basil, parsley, broccoli, greens, leeks and tatsoi.

Monica came home with a few starts of cabbage and cauliflower, and though I doubt I'm diligent enough to save them from the caterpillars, I've planted them.  I even loaded some dirt onto the high hugel and put in some squash seeds.  Asparagus is up, though sadly I've only spied a single morel. Still to go in are the tomatoes, hot peppers and eggplants.

Asparagus and chard
My sad little peach tree didn't come back this year.  The root stock has put out some suckers, so I cut the top off and let it be.  The cherry is in leaf and I pulled off a few dozen caterpillars (winter moths, I suspect).

The apple trees put out blossoms, but whether they will set any fruit this year is anyone's guess.  The little crabapples seem to have evaded the deer, and only one of the plum trees took damage.  Other than giving them some water and checking to see if the Japanese beetles have arrived yet, there's not much labor there.

And the beehives are abuzz.