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So, thankfully we are okay up here on the hill. We have good friends and neighbors and we’re making the best of a bad situation. I keep reminding the boys that we are inconvenienced –no power(they are saying it could be two weeks), phones come and go and limited road access — but we still have a house and our lives. Many here were not as fortunate.   Part of our road down has been made passable by the efforts of the town road crew and local folks so at least residents can get out if needed. The roadway headed down from here toward Route 103 is completely gone so that is going to require way more than a truckload or two of gravel and some equipment.

Friends on Facebook have been circulating pictures of the damage all around us, a lot of which is absolutely horrific. We hear parts of Route 7 headed to Rutland are completely gone. Killington lost its base lodge, this was the picture online today. Many of Vermont’s beautiful covered bridges were ripped away by the flood waters.

Lots of work to be done to repair roads and build new bridges. It will be a while before things return to “normal”.

Photo: Rutland Herald

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It is incredible how much damage Irene did to Vermont. We are seeing and hearing about incredible damage. So very, very sad. We are very fortunate that the damage to our property was extremely minimal compared to those around us. We lost a couple small trees. The road leading to our house has been washed away almost completely in both directions and we are without power. The road crews are doing their best to get us a way down off the hill via Sugar Hill Road, although there really aren’t a lot of places to go from what we understand since so many roads and bridges are just completely gone.

One of the extremely disheartening stories about our neighbors involved our friends at Evening Song Farm. The farmland was literally destroyed by the storm. The river berm gave way and the river has diverted through their property.

The land in this picture was farmland as of Saturday evening. Acres and acres of vegetables for their CSA patrons and farmer’s market customers. As you can see, not only is everything washed away, the farmland has been replaced with river silt, sand and rocks. Their land has apparently been rendered unusable as farmland.

This was Kara and Ryan’s first year here in Vermont and in our community as CSA farmers. My heart breaks for their loss. Yes no one’s life was lost here but their livelihood was destroyed and the devastation is heart wrenching.

We were able to get down there and express our sympathies for their loss and in a true testament to the spirt of Vermonters, while we were standing there talking, several folks stopped and offered their hands to help.

Here are some more pictures taken today as we wandered around the hill. The devastation is incredible.

Here are pictures from yesterday on our road and the road leading to our house. The pictures speak for themselves. No idea when life will return to normal here.

Sheer destruction. We haven’t even gotten the winds yet, they are just kicking in now so power will be soon to go no doubt. Just as well, there is nothing but destruction around the state to see anyway. Our road has quite literally washed away in both directions, rendering all the families that reside here captive until the storm passes and repairs render at least one part of the road usable. The pictures of the devastation around here and around us is incredible.

My boys were complaining that they were stuck here — I pointed out that on the up side they were here as opposed to some that are unable to get to their houses or no longer have a house.

Sugar Hill Road heading toward Wallingford/Route 140.

Sugar Hill Road East Wallingford

For those of you asking, we are okay. Trapped for now it appears and without power, but we are safe which is far more than a lot of other people can say this morning.  We are hearing about people suffering a lot of loss. We are lucky. Inconvenienced, but very very lucky.

Three little words. One often underestimates the power of speech. The power of suggestion. Human nature.

Improv Everywhere placed a wooden lectern with a megaphone in the middle of Union Square in New York City recently and in a few other selected spots around the city. The lectern was outfitted with the aforementioned megaphone and a plaque that read “Say Something Nice”.

The results are interesting and put smiles on the faces of the people on the street in New York City a few days ago and on my face when I watched it. See, we’re not all mean and grumpy — some of us given the opportunity can be downright charming.

Read on at Improv Everywhere’s blog to find out the whole story behind this project.

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I just read about this over at Good and it is pretty interesting. Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is the first United States airport to host beehives. The airport land is presently home to a 2,400 square foot apiary. There are presently 23 beehives along the eastern edge of the airport property. The land upon which the airport presently stands was an old apple orchard (and coincidently that is why O’Hare’s airport code is ORD) which may explain why the pairing of bees and planes seems right. Evidently this has been done in Germany for a number of years already and is pretty successful. It makes use of the vacant land which is necessary for the operation of an airport, but leaves such big, vast spaces empty.

The airport joined forces with a community program called Sweet Beginnings which trains prisoners in the art of beekeeping, as well as creating bee by-products, such as lotions, candles and the like which are being marketed under their own line –Beeline. It is anticipated that the products will be available for sale in the airport.

 

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I haven’t been the best about getting a post written every day this summer. It has been a hectic summer, with a lot of “mom” responsibilities in addition to work and household responsibilities. In addition, we had vacation last week and I returned to have a less than great week this past week. I won’t go into any details about anything, sufficient it to say that all appears well, but there was a day in there when I was not feeling like things were going well at all. We had family and friends visiting this past week and it was really nice to spend time with my sister for a few days where there was no holiday going on that required our attention.

All the company is gone and we are in the final stretch to the beginning of school next week.

We always feel like autumn is in the air when we get back from vacation and this year is no exception. Cool nights and the tinge of autumn color creeping into the foliage definitely suggests that fall is right around the corner.

 

 

We often remark that when we come back from vacation, even though it is still just mid August, fall is in the air. Somehow, the evenings are cooler and there is just something about it that makes you think of fall colors, apples and crisp autumn air. This morning is a beautiful morning. The sun is shining, there was this awesome fog this morning that revealed every spider web in the area (only wish I had my camera then).

Here are some pictures of the mums on our doorstep — all dewy and sparkling.

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“There is no crying in baseball” 

The line, from the Tom Hank’s movie “A League of Their Own” popped into my head this afternoon. Good advice, even if you’re not talking about baseball.

I did something today that I have never, ever done before. I canned peaches. Okay, so it’s not like I cured cancer or something, but for me, this was pretty big. I have ventured into the jam and preserves, but only with berries, not with any other fruit. My friend was kind enough to let me in on a deal for cases of peaches which we picked up the day before we were leaving for vacation. We took a huge bag of them with us and devoured them since they were delicious. When I returned I had an entire shelf of the refrigerator filled with the remainder of the case of peaches – which by the way is quite a lot of peaches.

I am always intrigued by the fact that so many of my friends and neighbors “put up” so many things that somehow  I just never gave much thought to doing myself. Peaches for instance. I would tend to avoid canned peaches during the off season and just gouge on the fresh peaches when they are fresh. But this…well, these are quite good and still have the taste of fresh on them. I am going to use some more of the peaches (oh yes, I still have peaches left over) to make peach preserves which I will use to mix in my yogurt for my very own peach flavored yogurt in the mornings. Yum.

Getting back to the canned peaches — the first step is to peel them which is easily accomplished by cutting an “x” into the bottom of the peaches and quickly dipping them in boiling water and then plunging them into a bowl of cold water with some ice. The skin comes off extremely easily, leaving you with a perfectly naked peach.

Cut the peaches into your choice of size, slices, quarters or halves. I did decent sized slices for mine.

I then did a “cold or raw” pack. This means that you place the fruit into the sterilized quart jars and then pour a simply syrup over it.

The jars get filled to 1/2 inch of the top. The jar rims are cleaned and then the lids placed on. They need to water bath process for 30 minutes plus more for altitude.

Here are the finished products.

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Okay, there are some things that I just do not think should be dispensed in a vending machine. Baguettes are one of them. Obviously, there are those that disagree with me. Opinions?

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2012.
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There have to be 5 things even on a really bad day.

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