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Lo and behold, tomorrow is May 1st and today it is snowing. Go figure. Just when you think that you have winter licked, it snaps back and bites you in the butt. This really is the land of eternal winter. But, hey the chickens didn’t mind, at least it wasn’t rain. 🙂

Wow. The strangest thing happened tonight. I heard sirens. I was out with some friends celebrating one of the women’s birthdays with dinner. Just as we were leaving, the silence of our perfect night was slashed with the sound of sirens. Fire trucks and ambulances came out of no where and everywhere all at the same time. Immediately my heart jumped into my throat since my boys were home alone, but reason overtook emotion and I knew that they were safe and these emergency vehicles were remaining in the area not headed into the outskirts of town where my house is located. Still, the sirens were so strange to hear. Weird.  If you don’t live around here, you don’t understand. You hear nothing here. Absolutely, totally nothing. The occasional car that you can literally hear coming a mile away and going the same distance; the far-off dog barking at something or nothing. But you don’t hear sirens, you don’t hear planes, helicopters, traffic, horns honking, music blaring from car stereos. None of that. You just don’t hear it. And you cherish that you don’t hear it at first and then you take it for granted. I now expect the silence. The same way that I used to take the incessant traffic noise from the highway where I used to live, and the 24-hour-a-day air traffic noise and the horns and the music and the general noise associated with living so close to each other and used to tune that out. It became background noise. Now when I am back there to visit, it sounds so loud, so noisy, so unusual. But when I lived there it was so normal and so background that on September 11th and 12th, 2001 when no planes were flying, the absence of that noise was deafening and scary. It sounded just like the sirens tonight. Weird, out of place. Tonight for a split second when I heard those sirens, it was like an invisible line pulling me backward through time and space to the old world where that sound was normal. No one would have flinched in the old world at the sound of the sirens, no one would have jumped like they did tonight wondering who we knew that tragedy had befallen, perhaps because in the old world they didn’t care, but most probably because they didn’t know those people and never would. It didn’t affect people because it wasn’t them and they were indifferent to the sirens because it was not the noise of tragedy or injury or disaster to them. It was just old world noise like any other day and they ignore it.  Know what? I don’t like the old world anymore. 

CHICKEN UPDATE: Well, the chickens have not had a couple good days. It has been raining buckets, and guess what, chicken’s don’t like rain. At least our chickens. Finally this afternoon, the weather broke, still cold and damp but not raining. They carefully came out, one by one, and ultimately left us with 1/2 dozen eggs. Chickens should like tomorrow, it is supposed to be sunny…or at least not rain.

 

 

Today when I was walking (which I am trying to do regularly again since the snow is gone) it occurred to me how every single day there is more and more green all around me when just days ago there was virtually none. Just between yesterday and today it is amazing how green fields have gotten and how trees seemed to have sprouted buds overnight.

A thought popped into my head, that in all the years we went back and forth, we glimpsed merely snapshots in time, of seasons. There was winter and everything was white, there was mud season and everything was a total mess, there was summer when all was green. But I don’t think we ever witnessed the true progression from one season to another as we can now. The past few days have been amazing, literally things springing to life again, waking and sleepily shaking off winter’s cold hands to warm in the sun’s rays. It is very neat to watch the seasons actually change and see it happening literally before your very eyes instead of the snapshots in time that we have witnessed in the past. Now we are in the movie and action is all around us………

How does one judge one’s self worth? What is the appropriate gauge? Is it one’s value as a parent and/or spouse? Is it one’s value to those that one comes in contact with each and every day? Or is it how one perceives his or herself?  My days can be so overwhelmingly full with work, family responsibilities, kids and housestuff that I feel exhausted and completely beside myself and then I can have a 5 minute conversation with someone else and feel completely as if I accomplish nothing in a given day. How can that be? How can I diminish what I accomplish each day because of a simple conversation with someone else? I used to think that I was a slacker because everyone around here did what I considered pretty extraordinary stuff that I never did to that extreme anyway. Grow your own food, can your food, preserve your food, bake your own food, sew, quilt, spin….the list goes on….. Now that I am residing here and doing some of those things, I still feel woefully inadequate. Some people have their entire summers planned out and I can barely figure out what I am doing tomorrow or next week. I really hate that feeling but it is my own issue that I have to deal with, figure out how to cram more into each day or figure out that my life is okay just the way it is with me…..somedays I feel like such a slacker.

CHICKEN UPDATE: We are now up to almost 6 eggs a day. Any egg recipes?

WHITE DOG UPDATE: She is in the mood for chicken so we have to watch her carefully.

Well, the city was a good trip, it was a long but fun day. Everyone is glad however to come back home. Nice to fall asleep last night to fresh air and wake to hear only the birds singing. It is funny, that we took the boys to the Planetarium and watched a really cool space show, but when it first got dark before the show began, and the planetarium filled with the night sky with stars, all I could think of and share with the boys is “this looks like right outside our door on a clear night” How absolutely great is that? To live in a place that you can see hundreds and hundreds of stars without any fancy equipment but merely by just standing on your porch and staring up at the night sky.

Reminds me of when Tom and I would go camping. Just sitting there in the silence with the person you want to be with most in the world, looking up at all those stars… Makes you feel very awed of it all and how small we really are in the great scheme of things.

We are visiting in New Jersey for a few days. While it is nice to see old friends and family and catch up, I must be getting old because I really, really, really, really don’t like the amount of people crammed so darn close together and the million (really it does seem like that many) cars and rude people. Geez, I sound like my husband now…. People are driving like lunatics (did I really drive like that too?) and are quite literally rude as hell. I was in the supermarket to pick up a few snack things for the boys and the cashier said absolutely not a word to me, nor did she even make any effort to lift even a finger to help pack my bags even though I was doing it myself. What a difference a few hundred thousand less people make. You practically have to wrestle your groceries away from the grocery cashiers and baggers to pack bags yourself at home, plus as the boys and I just were discussing, you pretty much have to go out of your way NOT to have a conversation with a cashier or bagger or fellow line waiter because everyone is usually more than happy to discuss something with you.  Traveling from point A to point B really usually can be calculated in terms of miles per hour instead of idling per minute. 

Tomorrow we are headed to NYC for some sightseeing. Now, that should be interesting. At the very least it should be good people watching and another reason to high-tail it out of here on Friday night for the mountains we have come to call home.  I am truly amazed at how little I enjoy what I took so unquestionably as a way of life a short time ago. Rudeness, Incivility and the incessant traffic noise that bombarded every minute of everyday.

Okay, can we go home now?

What a week. Tom found one of the Black Cochin roosters dead in the corner of the coop Saturday morning. No apparent signs of distress, so this proves to be a mystery. We held the appropriate burial in as dry of ground as we could find during mud season. Yesterday was a good day, 62 degrees and outside in the yard in a mere sweatshirt. This morning, we awoke to snow covering the ground once again. It is in the low 30s and has been snowing most of the day. 

Today, we clipped all the chicken’s wings so that we could let them out. I really was a rather nervous about doing this since I figured for sure it would be an event and either us or the chickens would get injured. I am proud to say there were no casualties….human or poultry. It was in fact a very smooth event. I did the trimming while Tom held the bird and my oldest son held out the wing so we could properly identify the flying feathers which the chickens keep well hidden when the wing is closed. We will have to see if they are truly limited in their ability to fly now as we read that they would be. We purchased electric netting fence, but it was snowy, windy and too cold to get too far with it. And muddy, don’t forget the mud, the yard has been transformed to a gigantic mudhole with a river running through it. We clipped wings and opened the doors to the coop, no one was too interested in going outside, I guess chickens are smarter than we give them credit for since they had the common sense to stay inside while we were outside in the cold, wet windy weather.

We decided to go with the electric fence no so much to keep chickens in but to keep The White Dog and other predators out. Sure as anything, the White Dog was the first one there when the coop door was opened. Hmmmm…..did someone say chicken?

A good day for a hot bowl of pasta with some homemade bread……yummy if I do say so myself. 

Just when I was really beginning to think someone around here has been playing games with us by leaving that one egg in the coop, the chickens laid 3 more. I mean, seriously one of them laid one egg the Monday 2 weeks ago and not one egg since then. But, happily, tomorrow we can have some fresh egg sandwiches which will be super cool. Now I guess that I have to get up early enough to bake the rolls that go along with them. We are one-third of the way now to our first dozen eggs with the original egg from last week.

Sunday was an excellent day. We drove up to a little town called Jericho to visit with a great lady named Maria who is the only registered owner of myotonic goats in the state of Vermont. And we, being in want of some of these goats were anxious to see them firsthand. Well, we arrived at 4footershomestead to find no Maria and a bunch of goats that were quite glad see us. Here are pictures of some of them.

They are soooo cute and act like dogs, heck dare I say, they act a whole lot nicer than The White Dog. We would be purchasing the kids when they are born in another month or so, if we decide to go through with this.

Look Ma, whatta face!

We just had a really nice day on Sunday, visiting at the farm 4footershomestead.com . Thanks again Maria for a great afternoon! Then we hit Williston for dinner and some brief shopping to pick up the new home theater system which is pretty awesome also.

A very nice mellow family oriented Sunday……with goats.

 

Wow. Talk about feeling old. Our oldest son officially became a teenager on Wednesday. Hard to believe that 13 years ago we were marveling at how tiny and perfect he was. My husband and I would lay him between us on the bed and spend literally hours marveling at how amazing the mystery of birth really is. Now, he stands within an inch of being the same height as me. Tonight, as we sit here, we are surrounded by a group of 10 13-year-olds in addition to our three boys. Talk about being overtaken. Although I must admit, it’s nice to see a bunch of kids have fun and laughing. I don’t know, however, how our house is going to withstand the night.

So now we undertake the part of the journey that I hear is the most emotionally wrecking for both the parents and the kids. Onset of puberty, hormones, mood swings and all that good stuff. And whoever said that mood swings only happens with girls, obviously has not raised boys. While maybe not as pronounced or predictable, they are there and can be just as devastating for both parent and child.

Well, we are set for this threefold as all three of our boys turn teenager one right after the other. Hold on tight, it’s going to be a hell of a ride………….

Today is a rainy, muddy, windy really kind of blah and depressing day. So….let’s interject some humor as the wind kicks up and sends my unfettered curls flying so I really do look like the wicked witch by the end of the day.

This excerpt comes from Radar Magazine which published the Top 100 ways to try to go green. http://radaronline.com/from-the-magazine/2008/01/ways_were_trying_to_go_green_01.php

Some of these had me hysterical….here are some of those that produced a chuckle. Hope they do the same for you. Check the link for the whole list.

  • Powering down Grandma’s respirator after dark.
  • If it’s yellow, letting it mellow.
  • Finally extinguishing that backyard tire fire.
  • Turning down the air conditioners in our Malaysian sweatshop.
  • Using Bat Signal only when absolutely necessary.
  • Making sure the Hummer’s fridge is outfitted with plenty of organically grown veggies.
  • When taking cabs, insisting that drivers turn off their headlights.
  • Switching from plastic water bottles to a wooden cup tethered around neck with twine.
  • Controlling the compulsive need to incinerate underwear after each use.
  • Naming firstborn “Inconvenient Truth.”
  • Switching to paperless death threats.
  • Settling for slightly less awesome laser shows.
  • Forgoing baths for rigorous cycle of “wind-bathing.”
  • Petitioning NASA to convert all space shuttles to electric/unleaded gas hybrids.
  • Insisting that Baskin-Robbins workers wash and reuse our pink sample spoons.
  • Less grocery shopping, more bow hunting.
  • Forgoing paper napkins, and just wiping hands on pants.
  • Spending whatever it takes to make the foot-powered Flintstones car a reality.
  • Instead of owning TV, watching neighbor’s TV through telescope.
  • Replacing standard light bulbs with kerosene-soaked torches.
  • Washing the Escalade with citrus-based cleansers.
  • TiVo-ing anything Ed Begley, Jr.–related.
  • Building McMansion that will biodegrade in two months.
  • Cutting down on own personal “greenhouse gas emissions” with Beano
  • Replacing electric chair with good old-fashioned guillotine.

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