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Essex Column

Lawns turned green this week, the result of a prolonged January thaw that melted our beautiful snow and created a lot of mud. With the deep snow, sunrises were particularly dramatic as the Jay Range turned a glowing pink and hovered in front of the deep blue band that is the earth’s shadow. As light increased, our yard turned pink and even the air itself was suffused with oranges and pinks. You only see reds, oranges and pinks at twilight because sunlight travels at a lower angle through the atmosphere at those times of day. The thicker atmosphere acts like a filter and scatters everything except red light.

The film society will show “Ruby Sparks” this Saturday evening, Jan. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at the Whallonsburg Grange. This is a romantic comedy that came out just last year, and like all of the society’s offerings, the critics loved this one, terming it one of the most likeable films of the year.

On Monday, Jan. 21, Barbara Kunzi will teach a class on making pasta in the Grange kitchen, starting at 6 p.m. Homemade pasta is a revelation to those weaned on the boxed stuff, and worth the effort. I make it a lot, and my secret is to knead the dough for 8 minutes, no more and certainly no less.

At the end of January, the Grange embarks on a comprehensive treatment of American agriculture, starting with a talk on the geological formation of the northeastern Adirondacks and the deglaciation of the Champlain Valley Jan. 29. Andy Buchanan, Whallonsburg’s most prominent historian, will present a four part lecture series (each Tuesday in February) on the history of agriculture from the three sisters (corn, beans and squash) to 21st century agribusiness. There will also be a panel of local farmers speaking about their experiences in March, and a talk on what 19th century Adirondackers ate.

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve had deer bedding down in our back yard, not 100 feet from the house. They made indents in the snow, apparently arriving late and departing before Ginny started her morning patrol.

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