Here is it mid-morning and I have been up for only 2 cups.  Slept like the proverbial log.  Happens nearly every time i stay up ’til 1: AM. Practicing for the New Year’s Eve.

Just drove ( yes you heard correctly ) out to the roadside to retrieve the morning paper, there being a patch of glaze ice at the top of the rise from the road.  I could have pulled on the Bean boots with the cleats on them but it was too easy just to NOT do that.  It’s a relatively warmish 20?? now and will hover around the 30? mark I think today.

I only skimmed the Times this morning.  I purely hate all those gratuitous lists of the past year’s this or that.  Any freshman auto mechanic student can do that.  But it seems to be required of every editorial board that they provide this information for the palpitating masses to consume.  Of course, this is only one man’s opinion.  

I think the Times is going to begin charging for the news or at least the  premium parts again.  It sounds like all across the board there are going to be added charges for what has been from day one free on the internet.  The Greedy Bunch are always lurking there in the shadows waiting to find a foothold in the fee for whatever wall.  So they have to make a living?  I can respect that.  However, a $100 a year for this and $100 a year for that and it isn’t long until my limited funds are taxed unreasonably.  Do without?  Well that is an option, isn’t it?  I wonder what the advertisers will say about that possibility?

There will always be free aggregators like the portal sites and private ones like the Huffington Post.  If someone wants money for me to see his stuff and I choose to do it then I want the damned adds deleted!  I already have Huff Post set as my home page.

Well, I have finished cup # 3 and am considering # 4 very seriously.  i do hope your’s is a good day.  We will have some light snow and possibly some mixed precipitation.  I intend to stay home bound and nurse this congestion/cold/asthma thing I have going on while  reading a stack of Jack Higgins books from the library.  He does those stories staring a standard ensemble, who operate beyond those limits you and I must respect, who live lives of immanent danger, surrounded by death and destruction all the while knocking back wholesale amounts of Irish Whiskey and flying all over the world in their name brand high dollar mini jets.  It takes little mind power to devour one of these and that is just about my limit today.

Be well – stay tuned

Jerry Henderson

Oh, I almost forgot –  
HAPPYNEWYEAR
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It may be a Holiday for some. It may be a holy day for some. It may be deeply spiritual for some, while for others it’s a lucky day off from work. It might be a lonely day for some and others may be surrounded by loved ones and friends. You got your Scrooges and your Tiny Tims. You got your warm and comfy here in the good old USA and you got your soldier where he or she shouldn’t be according to my lights. For some the day itself is questioned while others are completely without question. T’is the season for many. That includes a lot. I believe I have occupied each of these positions at one time or another. I believe in flexibility. Even that makes me wince.
May you find quiet, joy, a fulness of heart – whatever the season is to you. Love.

Jerry Henderson

I hope those people in Copenhagen don’t do anything too quickly to cool the earth down. It isn’t immediately apparent here that there is anything like global warming going on except in textbooks and on the lecture circuit. It’s colder than a well digger’s drill bit in Idaho.

It does seem a bit early in the season for the morning temperatures to dip below the zero point. I can remember living up in Central Maine a number of years ago when we had sustained temperatures in the minus 30 region one Christmas Day. That was unusual and memorable. Nothing moved, and it it attempted to move it made funny and unusual noises.

I had a friend who was running an automobile repair shop at the time in a small town nearby and he told me this story. He did not work on Sunday. This was an inviolate rule of his. On this particular Sunday morning with temperatures in the minus 30 neighborhood his phone rang. It was the classic little old lady who was a regular customer calling to say that her ancient Datsun would not start and she had to go to church – could he come over and get it started for her.

In his gravelled cigarette enhanced voice, as kindly as he could be under the circumstances, he told her that it was too cold to be out even for church and that his own car also would not start, so he would not be able to come out and help her. Anyway, he added, I am closed on Sundays. The woman was quite upset and warned him that God would not be pleased. His reply was something like, maybe, since the weather is God’s business, she could bring this issue to his attention. I am sure – at least I want to be sure of this – that that little old lady was secretly pleased not to be out freezing her butt off but rather sitting by the fire as i am doing, wondering if it is time to feed another stick to the coals to keep the heat up in the comfort zone.

I need to go into town myself this morning. I’ll wait until the temperature rises a point or two before I venture out. I have a package to mail and a birthday present to pick up. None of this would be happening at 30 below I can guarantee. Weather Bug says it is 18? while my gauge reads an even zero. I think their instrument is on a sunny hill about four miles from here while mine is in the shade on the north side of this house under a ledge that is covered in icy snow and pine trees. We seem to have our own little micro weather system here that always seems to be colder than the published readings.

That’s the way it is here in Maine three days before the beginning of winter.

Be well and stay tuned.

I’m Jerry Henderson

Winterland, 2009 – 2010, is a living album that will develop as time goes by. The first photo is a four shot panorama taken at the back boundry of our little plot.  Be on the alert for other photos to be added to this album.

Are you being alert?

The essential tree, without adornment, like the human form, emits a kind of sensuality that can only be personally defined.  From the bright spring shades of green through the dark aged foliage of late summer to the deciduous fire of fall, only the bones remain, somewhat unchanged, throughout the cycle.  

The strength and character and hope of new life remain incased within.

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This is a photograph taken looking a few degrees west of south at 2:30 PM on December 8, 2009 at Pownal, ME. We are about two hours south of the 45th parallel which is half way between the equator and the north pole. I’m not complaining, you understand, but I continually marvel at the seasonal shifts and varying perspectives offered to the casual observer living at this latitude. It is easy, judging by this, how the sun would simply disappear at and above the arctic circle.

I’m happy for those folk living there. They don’t move away, so there must be some special benefit found in such an environment. I’d go bloody bananas.

The slanting light so early in the day offers a texturing of the landscape unlike at any other time of the year. The sun seems to set in a south southwesterly direction. Soon light will return and the process will be repeated. It’s comforting in a way to see these “predictable” natural cycles. So much in life is unpredictable.

I filled up all the inside wood bins today. Come on North Wind and blow your best.

On second thought, second best will do for now.

I’m Jerry Henderson

Photo

Back in the early 80’s I was living in Dover Foxcroft, the Shire-town of Piscataquis County, Maine.  A friend of mine was operating a small restaurant in her house which was the center of the intellectual life of the town.  Well, I like to think of it that way.  

A delightful woman called Jenny Rideout was the chief cook and her talent was hailed from every cross road and stream.  Of particular note was her pound cake.  One day I asked her for the recipe. She recited it as I wrote it down on the back of a lunch ticket.  I kept this little memento fixed to my refrigerator for years and then one day I was aware of it’s disappearance.  Just as suddenly it was discovered recently and in almost illegible condition I have posted it here.  I was able to transcribe the recipe and will file the original for save keeping.

I made the cake and intended to photograph it for you but “someone” cut into it before the shutter clicked and that will have to wait for another time.

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Foxcroft Caf?  Pound Cake   (by Jenny Rideout)

Recorded in the early 1980’s

1/2 pound sweet cream butter (not salted)
2 C granulated sugar
2 C unbleached flour
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t vanilla 
5 eggs 

Set oven at 350?

Cream butter and sugar –
Sift flour and add to butter mixture – 
Add lemon and vanilla –
Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each one –
Mix well –
Spoon into loaf pan or ring pan

Bake about 1 hr and 15 min.  Test with dry straw for doneness.

This has never failed.  There were so many unique and wonderful people there and this only serves to remind me of them. 

Enjoy