Tuesday, December 11, 2012

side tracked...

This blog was supposed to be about homesteading, and somehow it morphed into my own personal battle with carboydrates.

Nuff of that!!!!!

Actually, a little update on the veggie room?  We now have three deer worth of venison (ground, steaks and tenderloins, two hearts and a roast) in the freezer.  We are down to our last quart of strawberry jam (so much for it lasting 8 months!)

We still have 3 quarts of veggie soup left, we've eaten one and given one away.  I've yet to break into the frozen green beans, yellow beans or beet greens, but I should soon, or they will "burn".

The chickies are slowing down because it's so cold and dark, but we're still getting an avg of 3-4 eggs a day.

End of update. :-)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I can't think of a title. hmmmph.

I spent part of the day today with a lovely gentleman originally from New York City.  This man has had significant trauma in his life that involved a shooting and a robbery. This event took place 18 years ago.  He lives in a beautiful home in a beautiful Southern Vermont setting.  The sad part is that he doesn't leave his home.  The blinds were drawn....even though it was a beautiful sunny fall day.  His tables are littered with drugs of all kinds.  He had lots of nervous energy but he also has agoraphobia and post traumatic stress disorder.  He was very obviously bitter about his family life and prior friends, and very lonely.  He also had three dogs (gorgeous boxers) that he obviously loved very much because their photos are everywhere....but they are gone now.  He spends all day pacing between his rocking chair and his dining room chair, watching the stock market rise and fall.  He talked to me about some stock that he owns in an organic LED company.  He doesn't go down cellar by himself, in his own house.  He doesn't leave his house unless someone is with him.  Tropical Storm Irene fried his computer and TV, and he had dial=up anyway, so it was pretty much useless.  He had beautiful eyes, I could tell that at one time he as a very attractive man and I tried to see him through that light.
Imagine what it would be like to be affluent, well known, competent, protective, intellegent and capable at age 37, and then have it all ripped out from under you because someone needed something that you had, and decided to take it.  Imagine what it would be like to live as a zombie for several years afterwards as a medical team rebuilds your face.  Imagine what it would be like to have your significan other leave you when you are down and out.  Imagine what it would be like to be living as a prisoner in your own home at age 57.
He was kind, thankful, and pleased to have spent some time with my coworker and I, his eyes said thank you just as eloquently as his words did.  I left his home feeling so sad., but enriched to have met this lovely gentleman.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A moment on the mountain.

Yesterday morning I shuffled my 10 year old daughter onto the school bus and turned left instead of right at the bottom of the hill.  I traveled a mile or two towards a favorite hiking spot.  Why is it my favorite? I suppose because it's one that I can handle, and it doesn't kick my ass too badly.

By 8:30 i was sitting on Cascade Falls.  (After a one hour hike)  My feet were hot (I foolishly wore fleece socks in my boots) so I took off my boots and socks and placed them carefully next to me along with my pack and walking stick because I didn't want them to slide down the falls, or worse, have to chase them!  I pulled my knees to my chest so that the bottoms of my feet were touching the smooth cool rocks of the falls...and I felt the neatest tingly energizing feeling tickling it's way up my calves.  ENERGY! AT IT'S BEST!!!!!

So the entire time I'm hiking I'm thinking about a lot of stuff, lots of selfish, self serving stuff.  I am thinking about how nice it would be to have enough expendable income to go buy some moisture wicking clothes for hiking because I sweat a lot, and I'm always chilly and uncomfortable.  I'm thinking about a backpacking trip next summer, and what I might need to purchase for THAT adventure.  I'm thinking about how much I like the person that I am when i am out in the woods by myself.  I can think clearly, I'm functioning for myself, not for my two children, three stepchildren, husband, dogs, chickens, family, or coworkers.  It's all about me.  I'm hot, i stop and shed a layer.  I'm cold, I put on a coat.  I'm tird, I stop and rest.  I'm hungry or thirsty....you get the picture.  Perhaps it's because I'm at a time in my life when everyone is pulling on me and needing me from so many directions, that I value this solace so much.  This is a feeling I can't get walking around town, or up the dirt road next to my office building.  This is a feeling I really need to experience more often.

I get lost and caught up in the day to day of the family and the house and the job.  I'm sure a lot of us do.  I may come home from work in a fair-to-middlin' type of mood....and the moment that I see a piece of paper the puppy chewed up, sneakers and socks left in the living room from the night before, the empty chip bag next to my computer, the pair of pajama bottoms on the floor next to the coffee table, or the pile of dishes in the sink....I just feel defeated, sunken, and pissed off.  I realize it's unrealistic for me to expect to come home to anything different than this mess (see above list of creatures that I care for) but that doesn't make it any easier for me to deal with.  I just roll it into a ball, stuff it down inside, and hope it'll get better.  The need for that solace and my wound-tight personality...combine to make a perfect reason for me to hike more often.

I feel like this whole situation is going to have an affect on the lifestyle that my husband and I are working towards.  Homesteading, at ANY level, is hard freaking work.  Just adding 3 chickens to our backyard increased SOMEONE's chores.  (R and I share those)   My point is, I'm not sure if I have what it takes mentally or emotionally to have so much work ahead of me all of the time.  Maybe I'm wistfully longing for a life I used to have, my farm, my little ones, my friends.  Life is different now, and better in many ways.  Perhaps its not wise to try to recreate, but to create something unique and manageable.  Must factor in time for hiking!

I guess I sort of branched off there on a wacky tangent, but I needed to unload that stuff somewhere.  There you have it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I took a walk....

I'm a freaking genius in my mind, when I'm out walking in nature. I'm a grade A writer, an entertainer, a freaking genius I tell ya.

I cranked out poems:

Whispery caked leaves
Ghostly arching trees
Their castoffs, littering the ground
Nature's wrath was here

I wrote blog post after blog post, and solved all of my problems. Yep. I did that.....but let me tell you about my walk. It was lovely....it was an adventure!

I went walking at the North Springfield Dam. During post-Irene the water was 30-40 feet up the trees around the entire basin. The trail starts out with a gentle slope down towards a very steep embankment. Next comes a very gradual increase in grade for quite a distance followed by some shorter steeper hills. EVentually you come to the airport runway. The grass is thick and lush and resembles beach walking. At the end of the runway is another down hill into the ghostly, gray, dusty, slippery woods. I walked about 33 minutes out before I turned around, lest I end up in the next town over and have to call my husband for a ride back to my car. I met some horses on the way out and warned them of the slick half-dry mud beyond, they thanked me for the heads up. I giggled whilst imagining 6 equestrians on their asses as their mounts performed involuntary splits. The giggles fueled me to push it a little bit, so I ran up the next hill. I walked a little ways, set my water down and really stretched my back (gets super tight when I'm walking) and then ran the rest of the distance of the runway and told myself I would stop when I got to the bridge. Well I guess my body didn't get the memo that we were aiming for the bridge, and she kept stopping on me. We eventually came to an understanding and ran to the bridge. I walked down the next two hills, took my time....then ran the next straightaway and up the really steep embankment. I plodded (yeah, that's a good word) the rest of the way out. I was tired and red faced when I got back to my car....where I stood/sat in the parking lot and stretched my quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.
I did some praying out there, if you can call it that. I talked to the divine in my head...mostly thanking him/her for the ability to be able to enjoy such quiet, beautiful natural places. I didn't spend anytime thinking about the things I want and don't have...I heard a song on VPR on the way home (something celtic I think) about not wishing for the things that you think you need. Things have been pretty tough for us lately...we can't always pay everything on time, but we do pay the bills and we do eat, and I do get to tie up last years running shoes and just get out there and soak up some sun and fresh air, crinkling leaves, and a few mosquitos too. I love my life.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Another haul up Mt. Ascutney......

Last year I hiked Mt. Ascutney with my good friend Judy.  The details are fuzzy now but I think it took us six hours to hike the 2060 feet, 2.9 miles up, 2.9  miles down.  2/3 of the way down I experienced extreme muscle fatigue, of the clinical sense, my quadriceps would NOT contract.  It took me a good week of wincing and limping and awful soreness to recover.

Far be it from me to turn down a challenge.  I'm 35 pounds lighter this year, I'll pack smarter, and I will do it.



Saturday, September 10, 2011

Gone to the big chicken coop in the sky....

In the spring we collected 4 pullets from my mothers batch.  We have recently confirmed that one of our hens is in fact a rooster.  Today we sent him away...Humanely of course.  It had to be done.

I'm pleased to report that the garden did relatively well but plenty of wasted space will spur me to do better next time.

There is  plenty of clean-up to do now that fall is setting in...at least the firewood is in.

Work has been crazy, very stressful since Irene blew through.  Everyone was out of sorts to begin with, add a week of heavy rain, and it just got worse.  I've been volunteering where possible, but the mold has begun to set in, which is bad news for anyone, but especially someone with asthma, so I'm looking elsewhere for opportunities.  Today I spent a few hours at my agencies thrift store working with a great couple of people, just being their gopher..  It felt good to help out.

By the way, we ate one of my Mom's meat birds tonite, well, the legs.  Blech.  I'm a chicken snob.  I'll admit it.  I only like the breast meat, and the occasional wing if it's prepared correctly....I do NOT like dark meat..  The 1/2 of an acorn squash that i had with it was really good though, as were the blueberries and cream i had for supper.  Yum.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


My facebook status update for this morning.  It's chilly and dreary out there today, perfect day to stay in bed.  Alas, I got up at 5:30, left for work at 6:31. 

On Saturday R and I traveled two hours west to the Adison County Fair and Field Days.  We paid $20.00 to get in!!!!  I ate ribs, he had fried dough.  We shared a creemee.  We watched the small truck pulls and perused the livestock.  Towards the end of the circle we came across a pair of cria (baby alpacas).  They were up for adoption, $300.00.  This probably means $600.00 because you cannot adopt just one, they are herd animals and require company.  Anyway, this has really got my gears turnin'.  I've been interested in Alpacas for a long time.  I think that maybe when we "move on" in 3-5 years, I will get into the Alpaca scene.  I'm not sure if I want to go as far as breeding and trying to make a living at it, or if I just want to adopt a pair as pets for companions and for fleece, since I love to knit, and have always wanted to learn to spin.  Actually I'd love to follow the whole process....shearing, cleaning, carding, spinning, dying, knitting!

On the way home from Adison I took a couple of cell phone photos of the beautiful landscape, Adirondack mountains are beautiful....

Happy Tuesday.