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Beaded moccasins originally from the estate of...

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True understanding is found through compassion ~~ Yogi Tea Wisdom.

I often remember being told as a child, that you should not make assumptions about others based upon your first impression; that one cannot truly understand another until you have experienced what the other person is going through. Hence, the Native American proverb – “Do not criticize a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins”. I try to teach my boys the same thing. It is quick and easy to make fun of someone or criticize someone without actually understanding. Empathy is a solid character trait, one that will serve you well through life if you take the chance to embrace it.

Can we honestly pose that we understand what someone is going through, unless we have been there ourselves? Take for instance, death. Can one who has not lived through their own grielf honestly understand the depth of the grief and loss suffered by someone who has lost a parent, a spouse or even worse — a child?  It is only with the depth of understanding that we can offer compassion which is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a genuine desire to alleviate it.”

Sometimes the “Yogi Wisdom” printed on the label is really noteworthy. Just a thought on a dreary, chilly afternoon.



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There is an upside to being awake before the sun rises. You get to see this.

There’s always a bright side…….

Tomatoes are everywhere. I have two bowls of tomatoes from the garden on my counter. It hardly seems that those tiny little plants that go in the ground at the beginning of summer can produce so many tomatoes, but damn if they don’t do it every time. I took a whole bowl of those cherry tomatoes that I picked the day before, washed them, cut them in half, seasoned them with a little salt, some oregano and a couple whole unpeeled garlic cloves and tossed them with some extra virgin olive oil. I put them on a parchment lined pan and into the oven. 220 degrees for about 4 hours.

Oh my goodness! The house smelled delicious.

Here’s one tray down and only…..about a half dozen more to go with this last batch of picked tomatoes anyway.

This batch I put into pint sized mason jars and filled them with olive oil and into the fridge they went (only after I took quite a few for last night’s pasta). I think that I will freeze the other batches in labeled ziploc bags for use at a later date.

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I don’t often mix legal stuff with my blog but every once in a while something pops up that needs to go mainstream.

Comfort Dogs. Have you heard of them? Comfort dogs are dogs that are used during a court proceeding to comfort a witness, usually a child, while present to give stressful testimony. The dog does not accompany the witness on the stand and is kept from the jury’s line of sight while the witness is testifying. Comfort dogs have been proven invaluable in helping children testify in court particularly as it relates to a trauma, which can be (but is not always) related to a sex crime.

A lawyer in New York is calling the use of comfort dogs into question. The attorney is appealing the verdict convicting his client of raping and impregnating a 15-year-old girl because the girl was allowed to use a comfort dog during the trial. The attorney argues in part that the mere presence of the dog suggests that the witness is telling the truth which goes to the credibility questions that a jury should be deciding and may subconsciously affect a jury’s decision-making.

It is an interesting legal question and I can understand why the criminal lawyer is doing his damnedest to argue that his client was prejudiced by the presence of the dog.

Another interesting thought related to the use of comfort dogs, also sometimes referred to as therapy dogs is that they are generally not considered to be “service animals” under the Americans with Disabilities Act and therefore can be denied access to public places where in fact their own. The fact that the animal offers comfort, does not legally fit into the definition of a “service animal”.

The entire article can be found here.


Hat’s off to all you single parents out there. I say it every time that Tom travels, which he hasn’t done for any significant length of time for a few months. He’s out of here this week and that means I’m flying solo. Always seem to appreciate having another parent around when you’re the only one. Not to mention that the calendar seems a bit easier to navigate when there is another person around.

Started the week off by taking the boys to the gym for 1 1/2 hours. Everyone was sweaty and happy when we left. Good work, men!

Tom’s parents are visiting this week, so technically I’m not entirely the only adult around. But I am in the person in charge of animals of the feathered, furried and scaled kind. So let’s see, in addition to the three human kids, I have the three furry kids (with the horns, no less which Phoenix seems intent on putting in my side), the tank of scaled pets (which are probably the least work) and the feathered variety –mature (not so much trouble) and immature (they insist on knocking down and dancing on the thermometer we put in to make sure that they don’t become little rotisserie chicks instead.


Here’s some more pictures of the new chicks.

This poor little girl (we hope) literally fell asleep while standing. It’s so funny to watch them run around like…well like chickens (with their heads) and then get exhausted and simply stop, either falling asleep standing like this one or out and out crashed.

Unlike a lot of people here in Vermont, we lived about 6 miles from New York City on September 11th, 2001. It was a scary day for anyone who lived or worked in or near Manhattan, maybe a little more so than here in the country. We didn’t need to turn on televisions to see the World Trade Towers burning and collapsing, we could see it live from where we lived. When I turned on VPR this morning, they were replaying audio from emergency services that day. It sent chills up my spine. We lived it, we were relatively in the midst of it, it is seared into our memory. I do not feel the need to hear the horror of that day over again. I think that if I feel that way, the people who lost loved ones that day must feel sick when they hear that day played over and over again.

Many lives were lost and for many people their lives were changed forever. My heart will always go out to those people but I don’t think anyone needs to hear it and see the tragedy of that day repeatedly.

None of us will, or can, forget.

The media doesn’t need to insult us by reminding us.

Mourn the losses but don’t relive the tragedy. Remember and pay tribute to those who perished.

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Today we added a few new members to the Ts’ family. The phone rang early this morning to come fetch our chicks from the post office. Yes, for those of you who might not realize it, when you buy chicks mail order, they are sent, well, through the mail. Not even Express Mail, mind you. Priority mail – 2 to 3 day delivery.

The little fuzzy things all arrived alive which is good since when we first ordered chicks two had arrived dead, having been smothered during transit.

Much like babies, you forget exactly how tiny these things are when you first get them.

Image: Fat Toad Farm

Who can’t resist caramel? Especially as we come into apple season. Or, if you’re refusing to let go of your summer, caramel over your ice cream. In any event, please go to Fat Toad Farm today and buy some caramel — or a really cool Tshirt or Hoodie. Please? Pretty please?

The reason for my pleading is that today Wednesday September 7th, Fat Toad Farm in Brookfield VT is helping out their friends and our friends Evening Song Farm with a fundraiser where they are donating all profits from orders placed today to Kara and Ryan at Evening Song Farm. For those who might not know, Kara and Ryan lost everything in Hurricane Irene, their farmland has been decimated and now has the newly re-routed Mill River running through it, rendering the property completely useless for farming.

Fat Toad Farm folks, who escaped the storm relatively unscathed are trying to help out fellow farmers, fellow goat people, fellow Vermonters. Can you help too?


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Everyone was up and out this morning for the first day of school. Finally. I think that the boys were done with summer vacation and actually looking forward to going back and seeing their friends. Hard to believe that I have three boys in high school this year. Freshman, Sophomore and Junior. Wow, time flies.

I do know my limits and while everyone was bright eyed and in good moods this morning, I didn’t push my luck and drag out the camera for that “back to school” picture. I figured that they would kill me….then who would make their lunch?

We were adjusting to what everyone is referring to as “the new normal” which for us, means we pretend that Sugar Hill Road dead ends just past our neighbor’s house. After all, we could take Maranville Road to Route 140 headed toward Route 103 or Route 140 straight into Wallingford village and Route 7.

Not so after this morning. The bridge by White Rocks Recreation, which is our way (and unless there’s something I’m missing) the only way from our neck of the woods into Wallingford without going a very roundabout route is no more — at least for while. The bridge is no longer safe and has been shut down to traffic in both directions.

This means a lot of things for us. A trip to the transfer station is now a trip down Route 103 and then back into Wallingford to drop off trash. The bus route for school normally travels that route and since school starts tomorrow — we really don’t know how they will do that except by splitting the route. A trip to Manchester (although we don’t go that often) now means driving either through Ludlow and Route 100 (assuming of course that the roadway is open, which I don’t know offhand since we’ve had no reason to travel that way in the past week) or traveling most of the way to Rutland and then traveling south. In any event, life has become that much more difficult.

Still, keeping it all in perspective, we are inconvenienced, not devastated — as so many here in Vermont were from the storm. Traveling around here has become much more deliberate and less casual — since most  trips involve a lot more driving than they used to involve.

you were at my house for breakfast this morning?

See, when I can’t sleep for whatever reason, I usually get up. No sense staring at the ceiling for hours. Then, when I’m up, I usually bake. Someone should benefit from my insomnia, don’t you think?

This morning I baked cinnamon buns from a recipe I got from They are some of the best cinnamon buns that I have made or tasted. I have adapted the recipe for my own taste.

Cut pieces getting settled in to rise a second time

Recipe – Ingredients (Buns)

1 cup milk (heat 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar

5 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons yeast

Process —

1. Mix together all ingredients in order given in stand mixer until well blended. Knead for approximately 3 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove from mixing bowl, place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. About 1 hour.

2. After dough has risen, roll out into a rectangle about 13 x 9.

3. Use butter from filling recipe to spread across entire surface of dough.

4. Spread filling over butter.

5. Roll dough up into a log.

6. Cut into 14 pieces.

7. Place 7 pieces into one round 9 inch cake pan. Place the other 7 pieces into the other cake pan. Make sure that they are not touching.

8. Cover and let rise again, about one hour until they have doubled and are touching each other.

9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

10. Cook buns in oven for approximately 20 minutes until golden brown.

11. Remove and frost with glaze (recipe below).

Ingredients – Filling

1/2 cup softened butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

5 T. cinnamon

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar to form a cinnamon sugar. You will sprinkle this over your dough after you spread with the butter.

Ingredients – Frosting

1/4 c. softened butter

2 t. vanilla extract

4 cups confectioners sugar

2-3 T. milk

mix all ingredients together until a glaze forms. Add more milk if necessary to make a nice smooth glaze, but only add a little at a time or it will be too watery. Pour the glaze on top of the cinnamon buns and spread evenly. (I don’t use cream cheese as in the original recipe just because I don’t really care for the taste of it in my cinnamon bun)

Out of the oven


Frosting being mixed together

Bring on the frosting

Evilwife on the move

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