Calling All Janeites


Morgan is working on a research paper for one of her classes at WVU. As part of her research, she asked if she could post on my blog to pose some questions to those of you who may have an interest in her subject, Jane Austen. Morgan is an avid fan of Jane Austen’s work. If you have any knowledge or opinions, please help! You can respond to her in the comments or send your comments to her email address below.

From Morgan:

As many of you may know, I entered college in the fall. This semester I have English 102 and the class has been themed around fandoms. We were supposed to pick one “fandom” and research it for the semester and I chose the Jane Austen Fandom, the Janeites. The overarching theme I’ve chosen to follow is how class influenced the characters in the novels and how we as readers personally responded to that. Due to my mother’s blog I have direct access to possible readers of Jane Austen and I am taking advantage of that opportunity for primary research, an idea my teacher loved. What I am asking of you is that I would like for you to tell me how Jane Austen’s novels have made you reflect on your role in society and how it has personally impacted you. I would also like for you to think about how your experience with class in today’s society is mirrored in Jane Austen’s England.

You can either respond in the comments here or you can respond privately to my email: mlmcminn@mix.wvu.edu.

Since I know it’s been a painful amount of time since you last gazed at my glorious face I have included a picture of me with my books I’m going to use for research.
Thank you!

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A Wild Winter Storm Adventure


After snow that had remained on the ground for nearly three weeks due to freezing and sometimes sub-zero temperatures, this past Wednesday we had a meltdown and rain. I was caught on the road home to my farm behind a huge fallen tree.
Luckily, state road workers showed up and eventually cut and cleared it out of the way.
You can see how high the creek was to the left of the road in these pictures. There was flooding in many places, and it just got worse overnight going into Thursday when I woke to no power, no phone, and over four inches of snow on the ground.
I’d moved my car to the bottom of the driveway on Wednesday night.
Gamely, I went down to my car Thursday morning, went to great effort to clear it off, and pondered my ability to actually drive anywhere.
My chances weren’t looking real good. Especially since it continued to snow all day. These pictures were taken in the morning. By afternoon, there was nearly a foot of snow on the ground.

My neighbor Andy came to plow the road with his four-wheeler, but I think he was just entertaining himself. We hadn’t seen a real snow plow here all day, and the four-wheeler plow wasn’t really solving my problem. And I had a problem. I had to get out. I’d been called to testify as a witness Friday morning at a courthouse in Ohio. Because of the distance, I was being provided accommodations for Thursday night. If I could get there in the middle of the worst storm in West Virginia all winter. There was flooding, deep snow, ice, trees and power lines down across the road, power and phone outages everywhere, and not enough snow plows to clear the roads as fast as the snow was coming down. If I was going to get there, I was going to be in for an adventure. Having made the decision that there was no way I was getting there under my own steam in my car, a representative from Ohio was sent to fetch me. They arrived in a four-wheel drive at my farm after dark, and the trip back out involved narrow cuts between fallen trees, skirting flood waters, and power lines dangling so low across the road we barely got under them. It was dark and icy. We passed a snow plow in a ditch and reached the interstate–which was little better. I’ve never seen the interstate in such bad shape–snow and ice everywhere, cars and trucks in ditches along the way. We slid at one point, and right after, an 18-wheeler passed us. If the 18-wheeler had been beside us when we’d slid, we would have crashed. I was never so glad to see the bridge over the Ohio River at the state line. As soon as we crossed the bridge, the interstate was instantly clear. Either there is some magic in the air on the other side of the river or they were keeping up better in Ohio with their plowing. But in any case, the rest of the trip was easy from there. It was nearly midnight by the time we arrived at our destination, and I was just thrilled to be alive.

On Friday morning, I held up my hand in an Ohio courthouse, swore to tell the truth, and testified. It was surreal. I was actually asked to point out an individual in the courtroom. (They really do that. I thought that was TV stuff.) I was questioned for what I believe was about 30 minutes by two lawyers and a judge about certain experiences and knowledge that I had which pertained to the case. I looked someone in the eyes who I hadn’t seen in six months, and I did not flinch. I thought I might feel emotional when I locked eyes with the individual I was there to testify against, but all I felt was a moral obligation. I told the truth, and when it was over and I left the courtroom, I texted Morgan and told her about it. She said, “I’m proud of you, Mom.”

There were times in the past two years when I didn’t feel as if my daughter was proud of me. And I wasn’t proud of me. I was involved in a relationship that wasn’t good for me. But on Friday? I was proud of me again and so was she. I would ride through the dark on an interstate of ice all over again for that feeling. It was worth it.

P.S. The drive home was much easier. I was deposited safely back at my farm by my ride. Please understand that I can’t discuss the case, so please don’t ask, thank you. I can only discuss my feelings about it. When I got home, my power was on and my phone was back. And all is well in the world again.

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  1. IMG_4667

    February 17, 2015 - Hanging In

    I think that would be winter hanging in. I was feeling a little bit on the verge of a meltdown (and not talking about the temperature) this morning when my neighbor Andy showed up by surprise to plow my driveway.

    That was really nice of him, though it’s supposed to snow some more tomorrow.

    But one can but dream when–… Continued…

  1. IMG_4615

    February 16, 2015 - Late Bloomer

    Hello, Winter.

    This has not been a rough winter so far, or really what I’d even call a winter. This winter has been a late bloomer. It’s been nothing to compare to last year when I had water frozen at the house and the barn and was hauling buckets of water in the back of the truck from my neighbor’s house. Or when the furnace … Continued…

  1. IMG_4283

    January 26, 2015 - Street Cred

    I’m not a hoarder.

    I’ve moved many times in my life–several times during childhood, several times during my marriage, and several times since then. Repeatedly moving causes you to repeatedly evaluate your stuff because you have to pack it. My last move was to this farm, and the house here is very small (1300 square feet). The size of the house caused me to be even more hard on myself as I packed, … Continued…

  1. IMG_7539

    January 15, 2015 - Surprise Visitor

    My first hired man, Adam, with my beloved Beulah Petunia.

    I want to thank the reader who spotted Adam at the Wal-Mart in Spencer recently. He stopped by my farm, unexpectedly, and told me that he’d been at Wal-Mart and a woman came up to him and said, Why haven’t you been to the chicken farm? You’ve been replaced by two other guys. You need … Continued…

  1. IMG_3965

    January 8, 2015 - Stocking Up

    I have a new favorite grocery store. It’s the studio.

    Since I got rid of the beloved yet pesky Explorer, I don’t have a four-wheel drive.

    I don’t like driving on snowy icy roads in any case. I did that. I’m all done. Snowy icy road at the other farm:… Continued…

  1. IMG_2897

    December 31, 2014 - The Farmhouse Year in Review 2014

    The year in highlights!


    It snowed a lot last winter. As in, a LOT. School was closed more than it was open, and it was Morgan’s senior year. Seniors don’t have to make up snow days, but she was upset anyway because she loves school! Looking back at posts from last winter gets me worried when I remember all the troubles I had with … Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....

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