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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Archive for October, 2013

October 2013 in Black Lamb

Volume 11, Number 10 — October 2013

October 1st, 2013

In this October’s issue, Toby Tompkins reports on New Hampshire’s notorious blackfly in State bird. In Civic boondoggle, Gil Johnson outlines a recipe for disaster: the convention mega-hotel. John M. Daniel gives us the second part of his three-part series on his European travels, Schlepping my ego.

On his own in Denver, Benjamin Feliciano encounters a goose in Dying. In London, Dan Peterson relates how the English capital beckons but he prefers Milan. In Junk pile, Elizabeth Fournier describes homemade shelters called Earthships. Karla Kruggel Powell describes that with her two birds, Life is song. Brad Bigelow reviews an excellent early novel by Christopher Morley. M.A. Orthofer reviews two novels by the Italian mafia expert Leonardo Sciascia.

Two figures from the world of literature — English travel writer Jan Morris and American novelist Norman Rush — are welcomed into our gallery of Honorary Black Lambs. In A little prudence, bridge writer Trixie Barkis shows the benefits of caution. Our delicious lamb recipe is for Stout-Braised Lamb Shanks. In Put a sock in it, advice columnist Millicent Marshall criticizes people who advertise their ailments. And Prof. Avram Khan gives us another challenging word puzzle.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Month summaries | Link to this Entry

State bird

The not-so-merry month of May

October 1st, 2013

BY TOBY TOMPKINS

In New Hampshire, May ought to be the best month of the year. October is exhilarating, certainly, with the maples dressed in their glorious colors and the temperature brisk and bracing, but the color and the temperature are reminders that winter is just around the corner. And winter lasts forever, or seems to, in the Live, Freeze, and Die State. November’s a bleak misery, the landscape reduced to grays and browns and the cold rains soon giving way to sleet and snow. December, January, and February are all deep freeze. March is aptly known as mud-time, with thaws producing slush and sticky muck, until the temperature plummets, the mud freezes again, and a blizzard or an ice storm sets in. April’s a mocker: the sun warms a little, peepers pipe up in the trees, and the migratory birds wing in from the south, singing of spring. But the promise in their song is empty, for there’s usually sleet or even snow before the month is out.

And then, at last, comes lovely May in all her lush and tender beauty, warm and sweet, with flowers in her hair. The ground is soft, the garden’s ready for planting, the shaggy green lawn needs mowing, and winter-deferred projects around the house and grounds are all planned out and ready to go.

blackflyUnfortunately, in New England May is a queen held hostage by cruel savages, very small but implacably bloodthirsty, whose tribal name is Simuliidae culicomorpha. They’re common all over North America, known by various names, buffalo gnat and turkey gnat for two. In New Hampshire we just call them black flies, and some people consider them the real state bird, despite the purple finch’s official status. (I can’t remember ever seeing a purple finch in the twenty-six years my wife have had our New Hampshire house, except in a bird book.)

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Tompkins | Link to this Entry

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