04 September 2007

busy time of year

We're a bit more than a week into the new semester and things are going quite well, as far as I can tell. The students seem like a nice bunch and, I hope, will grow more engaged with philosophy as things progress.

Last week involved a lot of final touches on syllabus, reading schedules, making arrangements with speakers, field trip planning, committee scheduling, troubleshooting the classroom computers, and the like. But I'm done with most of that, so things are fairly well set for the rest of the semester.

I still need to write up my Harry Potter course proposal, finish a paper for an upcoming conference, and continue with some planned website updates - a couple papers, several historical texts, some reformatting of existing material, etc. But after the busy week last week, I refrained from work-related efforts and enjoyed the long holiday weekend.

On Saturday we took a family outing for the better part of the day up to a place in New Jersey called the Howell Living History Farm. It's a historic site that preserves farm technology and life circa 1900 - horse drawn plows, soap-making, home canning, maple tapping, ice cutting, and so forth.

This past Saturday they had their annual plowing contest, pitting teams of draft horses and other animals against one another - Percherons, Belgians, Clydesdales, Suffolks, mules, oxen, etc. - in order to determine the best plow team. In the afternoon, the animals dragged logs through an obstacle course.

All the festivities were accompanied by kids' crafts, an old time band, pony rides, homemade ice cream, and a pig roast. Of course, I spent much of my time taking overwrought "artsy" photos:

At any rate, we had a great time at the farm. If you're in the area, it's worth a visit on one of their Saturday events and admission is free.

Sunday involved our normal Sunday routine and Monday was our parish picnic, which was well-attended and a great time. And, after bicycling to and from campus today and then helping my parents move a bunch of small furniture, I'm ready for bed.

I hope to resume more regular blogging soon. Stay tuned.