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Welcome back to an old friend. Our friend and neighbor, Tom French, who suffered a stroke six months ago is back here on the Hill. It is so nice to see the Mayor back on the hill. A welcome sight, if even for a short while, although I know that we will see him traveling to and fro with such a wide, warm circle of friends, relatives and neighbors to look out for him and make the transition back to Vermont smooth.

He is anxiously looking forward to his party on August 22nd, as are we all.

Welcome home, Tom. It is good to have you back on the Hill. Laura, please let us know how we can make Tom’s transition back to Vermont a little easier on all of you. It would be both a pleasure and an honor to give a hand.

We were driving in Burlington yesterday and this caught our eye. A car with its own rooftop garden. As we were stopped at a light, I looked over and yes, the car had tomatoes growing on its roof. Pretty ingenious idea to take your garden with you. Imagine the possibilities for time management – stuck at a railroad crossing waiting for a train or waiting at school for an overdue kid – weed the garden, pick tonight’s salad, thin those seedlings.

It wasn’t some gimmick car advertising something either – just someone who evidently felt the need to take their tomatoes for a ride.

The possibilities are endless.

We are making the most of the week that the boys are away by trying to clean things up and get things organized around here. There are quite a few totes and boxes of stuff that we still had packed from our move a few years ago, that needed to be gone through and put away.

I didn’t even open the boxes and totes marked “Keep – Baby stuff” because I knew that it would cause Tom to find me on the floor of the garage with tears in my eyes, crying like a babbling fool. I stayed way clear of them, but I did open the box that held the contents of our “junk” drawer in NJ, which lo and behold brought me across these

and that got me remembering about how these things were all the rage and provided hours and hours of entertainment and I cursed these things

thinking that I was certain that I would be vacuuming them up long after my boys had left for college. Note: I still have found them around the house, which is pretty amazing since we’ve moved and all, but I still think that Legos will follow me to my grave. There in the casket will be some long lost Lego part that managed to survive.

I even came across a few of these

which reminded me of the time when my brother (unmarried and without children of his own) thought it would be hysterical to help the boys put these all over my house. For months (and dare I even say years) these little green men could be found in closets, cabinets, on top of things and just about anywhere a little green army guy might be able to hide. Ah, Bill, lucky you have girls – wait- do they make some female version of little green army men that comes in a bag of thousands? I’ll have to look into that.

Coming across the icons of their childhood reminds me of how quickly they have turned from babies to toddlers to little boys and now teenagers. It made me a little sad and very nostalgic to remember my teenagers as the little boys who were content to build castles with Playmobil or Legos for hours and hours and  and battle each other in last year’s Halloween costumes with swords.

I have been driving the same stretch of Route 103 at least twice a day, usually more like three times a day for the past week or so due to the boys’ schedules with driver’s ed classes and driving, soccer and camp. In any event the beginning of the week I was driving past this one gravel pull-off and spotted four chickens all huddled together in the middle of it. My first thought was that I was hallucinating since there is nothing remotely near the pull-off so where would a group of chickens come from? Since I couldn’t just slam on the brakes and I didn’t want to bear the wrath of children left waiting in a parking area, I paid close attention on the way back. Yes, my eyes had not betrayed me, there were indeed chickens at that pull-off. Over the next couple days I would keep a watch and see if they were still there, even pulling over one day to look under the bushes and see if they were still holding out in this location. Yup, they were there, two bantams and two full sized chickens, one of which appeared to be a rooster. Tom and I wandered over there later that day, armed with a sheet, a kennel and lots of cracked corn. When we arrived at the pull-off there was another vehicle there, thinking similar thoughts to try to rescue the evidently abandoned chickens before they met an untimely death by either predator or truck – neither was a pretty picture.

The folks that were there had already captured one of the small bantams and were working on the remaining three. Talk about a sight, four adults holding blankets and sheets wandering around a pull-off in the middle of nowhere – what a picture that must have been. Anyway, the other chickens were spooked and took off into the taller weeds and there was no way to get them out of there. We couldn’t stay all afternoon and headed back with the one chicken.

Talk about adorable! He is soooo tiny. He looks so small next to our regular size chickens.

What we did notice is that he bears a striking resemblance to our rooster, Chickenzilla and this morning we heard this teeny, tiny little crow – more of a squeak really. See the resemblance?

Up close:


Mini Me

We’ve decided to call the new addition “Mini Me” since he is a miniaturized Chickenzilla.

I came across this video over at The Lettered Cottage and just thought that it was absolutely great. Very inspirational and a good thought for a rainy Friday. For everyone out there that could use a Friday afternoon boost (whether it’s raining or not where you are) here it is:

Thanks Layla for the video link – it’s great!

No, it hasn’t been your imagination. It has been hot lately. In fact, it’s been hot everywhere lately. As in all over the world. According to NOAA, June has been the hottest June on record across the world. Literally, everywhere on this earth has been the warmest in June that it has been since they have been keeping records which by the way started in 1880. The largest concentration of warmer-than-average temperatures were located in the central and eastern United States, eastern and western Asia and Peru.

The Atlantic Ocean has recorded the warmest ocean surface temperatures in June and the average ocean temperatures for June were .97°F above the previous average of 61.5°F which was the 20th century average ocean temperature.

I am going to preface this post with a simple disclaimer statement – Everything is fine, I am happy, all is well. I don’t want friends or family who might read this to think that I might have gone off the deep end or I’m not telling them something. If you’ll notice, there is a category listing for all the posts I write and one is labeled “Musings”. This post is merely that – put in type if you will.

Sundial with the motto
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, so now that that’s all cleared up…. Today, in between working, writing and making jam (yes I did all three of those things for bursts much like running wind sprints I guess) I was taxing kids (or in TJ’s case, being taxied by a kid) and the radio was on. The band Thriving Ivory has a song Angels on the Moon and one line in the chorus states “Don’t tell me if I’m dying ’cause I don’t want to know”. It struck a chord, began the gears of the mind churning and the end result is this post. Would you want to know?

Interesting question. I guess that from the adult responsible standpoint, yes so that your affairs could be put in order. I guess that from the personal standpoint, yes again so that I could make a point to spend as much time with my husband and sons, my family and friends and enjoy the time remaining to its fullest, not wasting any of it.

As a side note, if you haven’t read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch, you should. You can also watch it on YouTube. Bring lots of Kleenex with you- you’ll need it whether you’re reading the book or watching the lecture videotape.  He learned that he was dying of pancreatic cancer and wrote his Last Lecture giving advice, information and mostly importantly sharing life thoughts and impressions with his young children who he hoped would one day hear the lecture. He died three years ago and he was as old as I am now. I recently read that his oldest son, who is only 8 years old has taken up the cause of fighting for a cure for pancreatic cancer.

I guess that what got me thinking about that line was the thought that shouldn’t we all live our lives as if it is our last day? Carpe Diem – seize the day (although that’s not the actual translation, but that’s another post). Spend time with those that we love, surround ourselves with our family and friends, be nice and the most famous of the sayings “don’t put off until tomorrow that which you could do today”. Tomorrow for all of us will someday not come, whether we know the end is coming by slowing trudging toward us or  it jumps out of a corner and snatches us away suddenly and without warning. In any event, I think it’s good advice.

Carpe Diem … Enjoy.

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Photo of my Geek Pride Festival T-shirt, as ta...
Image via Wikipedia

Today is the official Embrace Your Inner Geekiness Day. I guess that we all have some geek inside of us – considering the Jetson world in which we live. Not one of us, especially our kids would choose to go a day without their electronic/computer/videogame fix. That’s geeky I suppose. Geek, to put the record straight is totally different than Nerd, so evidently, not only is it a good time to be a geek, it’s evidently also pretty cool to be geeky. Who would have guessed?

So, go on figure out exactly how geeky you are on this, the Geek holiday. Go on over to Innergeek and take Yvette’s Geek Test. It’s a goof and it will give you your “geek” quotient.

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The bees were happy, the kids were happy, we were happy. The honey flowed. This afternoon, we figured that we’d take advantage of the heat and do some impromptu honey extraction. It was another hot afternoon, good for honey flow, bad for people.

The bees were more than happy to help with the leftovers and suck in that last little bit of honey left in the comb.

The extraction…..

Swarm, that’s what we had today and I’m not making some wisecrack remark about the heat. We had a swarm from one of our bee hives. Swarm, for those of you who might not be as bee proficient as others, is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee hives. A queen takes a bunch of the worker bees and pretty much up and leaves the existing hive in search of new and better quarters. We figure that this happened because the hive got too large.

In the prime swarm, which is what appeared to happen today, about 60% of the worker bees leave the hive with the old queen. A new queen and the remaining 30% of the worker bees stay put in the existing hive. As Tom was outside this morning watering the garden, he heard that distinct and very loud buzzing. He looked up to see a very large, very black, very buzzing cloud of bees over the goat shed (where the hives are located) and followed them across the field and into one of the pine trees. It is common that when honeybees swarm they only fly a short distance from the original hive and take up residence temporarily in a tree on a branch or in shrubbery. They cluster around the queen and send out scout bees to search out a new hive location. It may take a couple days for the bees to pick a new spot or as in our case, they can be captured into a hive and will usually make it their own. Since the bees do not have reserves of honey (which were stored in the hive that they left) they are very vulnerable and can die if a new hive cannot be located and honey production restarted.

Later this afternoon, he and a friend who is also a beekeeper, suited up and climbed a ladder into the tree where the bees took up residence. They cut out the branches and were able to recapture most of the bees and evidently the queen as well. The bees are now in a make-shift hive and seem content.

Looks like a trip to the bee guy over in New Hampshire is in the cards for this weekend to secure another hive set up. Also, we’re going to most likely extract the honey from last year’s hives (all the bees died off from them) and bottle it. Interested to see how much honey we end up with this year. Last year was 48 pounds or about 5 gallons of honey.

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County Route 612 (Middlesex County, New Jersey)

Image via Wikipedia

Yes, I am serious. July 4th through July 11th is Be Nice to New Jersey week. It is a real bona fide holiday. I grew up in New Jersey and lived there until only about 4 years ago and I had no clue. Amazing.

Evidently, Lone Star Publications came up with the idea in 1985 maintaining that poor little old New Jersey was maligned and suffered a bad rap. So… what exit are you from?

Seriously, in the spirit of the week, be nice to New Jersey. Please.

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Sorry that I have been a slacker lately. I could blame it on a lot of things, some bad news that made me mopey for a few days, then the 4th of July holiday and a houseful of family and some pretty hot, hot weather. I didn’t realize that I was really that much of a slacker until an out-of-state friend of mine called to check in since they hadn’t seen a new post and were a bit concerned.

Everything is okay, I am happy to report and we are back (hopefully) to our regularly scheduled posting. Sorry for the interruption and pretty neat to know that if I should drop dead or something, someone might actually notice and let the authorities know before I become one of those ugly news stories – body found 6 months after death, poised over computer, stinking up the house. 🙂

The summer so far has definitely been boys, boys, boys – most days have been a houseful of them or in some way the day has revolved totally and completely around them. We took the boys to Great Escape one day last week since their cousin was staying with us for the week. It was a beautiful breezy day, we grabbed a couple of chaise lounges in the waterpark with a couple of iced coffees and our books, a nice calm day while the boys (what does one call a group of boys? a gaggle, a boodle?) wandered around the park and the waterpark enjoying themselves, returning to us only for the occasional “can I have?” question.

My sister and her boys (do you see a theme here?) came up for the holiday weekend. We spent a nice day at Plymouth State Park on the 4th of July, kayaking and generally playing around in the water and on the paddle boat my sister rented for the boys. It was fun and relaxing. We came home to news that my brother and his family (the girls in the family) were abandoning the heat wave of New Jersey for the heat wave of Vermont (we tease that he brought the weather with him, since it wasn’t that hot until he arrived) and the entire family went to see the fireworks for which my husband secured a primo spot.

Evilwife on the move

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