From the desk of Christopher Kimball
Dear Home Cook,
I went outside at 10 p.m. on a recent Saturday to view the “supermoon”—the largest moon in decades. It was high above the stone church across from the country store and it lit up the mackerel clouds. View a photo of the supermoon as well as embarrassing photos of me dressed up in silly costumes (including as a pork chop, a Chinese takeout box, a mushroom, and pumpkin) for the 2013 season of America’s Test Kitchen.
Tom and Nancy came over for dinner and he told me about running Motocross motorcycles when he was younger. Each time he returned home, he was covered with mud, so his wife, Nancy, made him stand outside in the yard while she hosed him down. After crashing his bike into someone’s front porch, he decided that his life expectancy would be better driving a Ford 150 than a dirt bike.
Lots of folks have run into bears in the past year. One neighbor found one sleeping on the ground right out in the open during turkey season. The bear woke up and stood up on his hind legs, yawned, and then sauntered away. The Trachte boys found one in a shallow cave during deer season last year. Bears often hibernate in shallow holes, not always in deep caves as one sees in the cartoons.
Stories of the great flood are still being told. Fred Pickering lost his pumpkin crop in the lower field—the water came up chest high. He said that it was higher than the 100-year flood mark. The pumpkins all rotted after the water subsided. Another farmer up toward Weston lost all of his topsoil, about four feet of it, and now he has a large field of just hardhats (large, round stones).
Sometimes I think about how close our town is to a way of life that goes back hundreds of years. Danny Andrews died a few years go. He was a mountain man who lived in a cabin, was a trapper by trade, and smoked and canned his own food. (He lived without electricity or refrigeration.) Plenty of folks still work with teams of horses for logging. They even used teams a couple of years back to bring high-speed Internet to our town; it was the only way to get the cables over the mountain. This breeds self-reliance. You put your food up in the late summer and fall so you know you can make it through the winter.
Speaking of self-reliance, I have been a lifelong fan of Calvin Coolidge, a man who regularly ranks in the bottom third of the presidential popularity ratings. Here are a few of his quotes. How many modern presidents are this eloquent?
People often ask why I love Vermont since our little town is hardly exciting, fashionable, or wealthy. Vermont and many other places just like her offer a simplicity of life that is sometimes harsh, but when a full moon rises over the stone church in springtime, well, everything else seems to sort itself out.
Hope that you haven’t planted your tomatoes and basil too early. It was quite warm in late March this year but the old-timers knew that it would snow again and, of course, it did. Turkey season has come and gone but the odd thing is that I see more turkeys in Boston than in our Vermont woods! Hunting is over until the fall so I am going to grab my short, 5-foot fly rod and head up to the Green River in June to see what I can find. Axel Blomberg keeps telling me about the huge trout he has almost caught a few times and I want to beat him to it.
Enjoy the warm weather.