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Photo from | By Eric Blokland

Even in the most modern of times, old fashioned can be good. I read about this a while ago when it made the local news here in Vermont, but evidently yesterday it made national news via Reuters. Vermont has an initiative to have the entire state connected via high speed internet by 2013. That is a mighty tall order if you’ve ever traversed the state. There are some remote locations and some people that do not want bulldozers and heavy machinery making a lot of noise and spoiling the great outdoors. Consequently, Vermont has looked backward to move forward.
Fair Point communications is reverting to literal horse power in order to lay some of its fiber optic cables in some of Vermont’s most remote locations. Draft horses like Fred (above with his owner Claude) are being used to bring the modern day magic of the internet to Vermont and this is nothing new. Claude and Fred have been at this gig of helping to lay lines for about thirty years. Talk about one step backward to move ahead. Who would ever have thought that good old fashioned horse power would be what is behind Vermont’s push to move from the bottom to the top of the list for most networked states?

A bunch of our bees decided to fly the coop (or more correctly, the hive) in search of greener pastures. They opted temporarily for a branch on a very nearby apply tree.

They started this morning, beginning to make the characteristic swarm of bees indicating that they had run out of room, created a new queen and were prepared (at least in part) to move on. They create a cloud of bees which had appeared to take up residence in a cherry tree located in by the goats. Do I have to tell you that the goats were NOT happy with a humongous cloud of bees swarming all around them. We went in to work and figured that lunch time would be the time to move the swarm back into a new hive.

Lo and behold when Tom went outside, there were no bees in the tree and as we walked the yard, no bees had swarmed in any one of the trees. Since he had put additional supers on the hive, the theory was that perhaps they changed their mind and returned to the hive.

This afternoon, just a little while ago, I was outside and there was the cloud of bees again. Upon closer inspection, they had taken up temporary shelter in an apple tree.

Tom suited up and headed out to climb into the tree and cut off the branch in an effort to re-capture the newly formed hive.

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Sometimes, taking your time and really paying attention pays off. You see things that you would normally breeze right over if you were operating at your normal speed. The other day, we were straightening things up on the patio for a party we were having and we went to move my pot of lettuce seedlings. Lo and behold, nestled in between the teeny tiny seedlings was a tiny toad. Seriously while he may look gigantic in this picture the little guy is only about an inch big. He was in the lettuce bed yesterday day and on the patio steps today. While I was watering he was jumping along next to me. I think that I might have made a friend.

Another little treasure I found while I was weeding and watering was a partial light blue robin’s egg. The occupant of this particular egg evidently has literally flown the coup, or at least I hope since the shell was on the ground.

Here’s the ingredients for our stir fry dinner tonight.

Chicken breasts chopped into bite size pieces

Baby bok choy and sliced red bell pepper

Green garlic, chopped scallions, fresh basil, fresh cilantro, lime

broccoli rabe

threw in some pea shoots (these are DELICIOUS!)

The finished product – thanks to Wallingford Locker’s chicken and Evening Song Farm’s veggies……..served over jasmine rice. Yum.

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to catch up with a blog friend, Patty from Where Does the Time Go? that unfortunately, I don’t see that often, due to the distance that separates us. She and her family were up at their Shack, a cute little place over on Chipman Lake in Tinmouth. We had the chance to walk around the pond — and the weather luckily cooperated with us. It was fun to spend an hour or so catching up and elaborating on the blog entries that we each read so religiously.

Besides, the nice opportunity to catch up, it was also a beautiful drive over to an area that I unfortunately don’t get to often enough. We used to rent our first Vermont house over on this side of Route 7, nestled in the mountains of Danby Four Corners. It will, for us, hold a special place in our hearts.

We picked up our weekly veggies from Evening Song Farm yesterday and I was thrilled to get some beautiful basil and cilantro. There were also baby beets and fresh garlic that I took too in addition to our usual lettuces and salad fixings. Here’s the haul this week……

I stopped by the Wallingford Locker this afternoon and picked up some great looking fresh chicken cutlets — and the jasmine rice is the rice cooker now. Can you guess what’s for dinner tonight? S-T-I-R  F-R-Y! Dicing and chopping makes me feel like I came from culinary school and the actual cooking part takes but a few minutes. Tim’s not in the house, so even sesame oil and sesame seeds might find their way into this stir fry tonight.

By contrast things are growing …slowly….. in the garden, but at least they are not (as of yet) being eaten by any bugs or critters — and I do already have tomatoes on the vines thanks to my awesome oldest son’s biology project.

I am however very proudly nursing along some rosemary from seed — which I understand isn’t the easiest thing to grow. (Read: Yay me!) Don’t anyone of you tell me that it’s easy to grow or I will cry. I’m proud of my efforts and I love rosemary so I am one very happy girl.

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I like to pass along some of the nuggets of advice that I may come along in my travels. Both to share and because in sharing it reinforces it for me.

  1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk, smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.
  2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
  3. Buy a DVR and tape your late night shows and get more sleep.
  4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, ‘My purpose is to __________ today.’
  5. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.
  6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.
  7. Make time to practice meditation, and prayer. They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.
  8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
  9. Dream more while you are awake.
  10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
  11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.
  12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
  13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let new and flowing energy into your life.
  14. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, OR issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
  15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
  16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.
  17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the nagative blues away.
  18. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
  19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  20. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  21. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  22. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
  23. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
  25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  26. Forgive everyone for everything.
  27. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  28. Remember God heals everything.
  29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  30. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
  31. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  33. The best is yet to come.
  34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  35. Do the right thing!
  36. Call your family often.
  37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following statements: I am thankful for _______. Today I accomplished ____.
  38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
  39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you certainly don’t want a fast pass. You only have one ride through life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.
  40. Laugh when you can, apologize when you should, and let go of what you can’t change.

Read more:

Today marks the anniversary of the date, back in 1942, when the United States officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

The original pledge which was written by Francis Bellamy was created to be recited in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the voyage of Christopher Columbus for a flag raising ceremony.

The original pledge read:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1924 the pledge was changed to include the words “to the flag of the United States of America” to differentiate our flag from the flag of other nations and make sure that any immigrants were pledging to the US flag.

In 1954 at the request of the Knights of Columbus, the words “under God” where added.

Over the last few days, it appears that NBC caught a good deal of grief over its omission of the “under God” portion of the pledge during the  U.S. Open.


There is a very famous Red Skelton skit about the Pledge of Allegiance which I will share on this anniversary day.

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The sun rising over Stonehenge on the summer s...

Image via Wikipedia

Today is both the last day of exams for the boys  and the “official” start of summer, namely the summer solstice. Summer solstice celebrates the longest hours of daylight all year and the shortest night. Summer solstice actually refers to the exact moment in time when the earth axis is tilted the most toward the sun and north of the Tropic of Cancer here in the Northern Hemisphere. That will occur at 1:16 p.m. today. Generally though, the entire day in which the solstice occurs is called the summer solstice and is celebrated the world over (in the Northern Hemisphere at least – Southern Hemisphere celebrates its longest day on our shortest day – in December).

Did you know?

  • On June 21st there are 24 hours of daylight north of the Arctic Circle and 24 hours of darkness south of the Antarctic Circle.
  • The world’s largest gathering for summer solstice occurs each year at Stonehenge in England.
  • The Druids celebrated the summer solstice as the marriage of Heaven and Earth and it is deemed to be a lucky day, which is how the tradition of June weddings came to be
  • The moon during the summer solstice is called the Honey Moon, since it is considered the best time to harvest honey. Mead was fermented from honey and served at weddings occurring during early summer.
  • Summer solstice is not the hottest day of the year, nor is it the earliest sunrise.

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The girls in our family of all boys visited this weekend. Since Emily’s third birthday was yesterday (I did get it right, didn’t I? – my family knows I have date issues) and Hailey’s 1st birthday was at the beginning of June, I decided to try to make a Princess cake. I don’t think that it came out too badly, except the poor girl kept trying to pretend she was on a European beach and go topless.




Today is the last Monday of the school year. I don’t know who is happier – me or the boys. For me, it means that I don’t have to get up at 5:30 in the morning unless I want to. For the boys, it’s the second to last day of exams and that much closer to summer vacation. In either event, believe it or not, it was in the 40s here this morning…..quite cool considering we are at the day before the official beginning of summer. Kids are hanging around here in sweat jackets.

I wonder how just how old you have to be to not miss your parents? My dad passed away 10 years ago tomorrow and the last time I spoke to him was on the Father’s Day a few days before. It’s a hard few days, these days, and each year it seems that it will be better, but somehow it makes me just as sad.

I cannot help but wonder how those ten years would have been different if he was still here. I can’t help but wonder what he would think of the young men his grandsons are turning into and how thrilled he would be to know the grandchildren that were born after he passed and who never will have the opportunity to know the man that we called “Daddy”.

I often think about how much my dad would love our house up here in Vermont and what it would be like to have had he and my mom come up here to visit and to spend time.

I can still hear his voice when we spoke that day, Father’s Day.  No one since that day has called me “baby” and even if anyone ever did, ever again, it wouldn’t seem right and it wouldn’t be the same. I will always be his baby, his first, no matter how old I get. I also think that I will always miss him and wish that he were still here, a part of my life and my boys’ lives. I hate today and these next few days just because they make me sad and turn me into a crying, sniveling, little girl. We all have things that can reduce us to puddles, and the fact that he left us suddenly and I didn’t get to be there until it was too late, will always be mine.

Nonetheless, it is Father’s Day and I know that I am very lucky to have a wonderful husband. Together we have three handsome, loving and healthy boys on the cusp of adulthood. I know that they would make their grandfather proud if he were still here. I know that my husband is a wonderful father and I am so happy and so lucky and every day so thankful to have him here with me to share this life.

I don’t need to say here what makes him a good father and a great husband, because he knows and I know and the boys know and really that is all that matters. He is a very special part of our lives.

To all the other fathers out there, especially my father-in-law, my brother and my brother-in-law, who help to make our family what it is……….Happy Father’s Day!










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