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Welcome to the last day of October — All Hallow’s Eve. Samhain, the Celtic New Year was celebrated on November 1st. Celebrations began on the night before and since it was a time during which the pagans believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was the thinnest, it was also thought of as a time when communication between the world of the living and the world of the dead was possible. When Christianity came through, the holiday of Samhain was transformed into its Christian skin and known as All Saint’s Day, November 2nd became All Soul’s Day . Hallowmas is Old English for All Saint’s Day and the night before was deemed All Hallow’s Eve or eventually, the Halloween as we know it.


Image via Wikipedia

Tonight, a few towns over from us, there will be the annual Rutland Halloween Parade. The parade is celebrating its 52nd year this year and is considered one of the largest, if not the largest, Halloween Parade in the United States. I must say that it is one cool parade. If you ever have the opportunity, I suggest that you take it in. Traditionally, the parade is always held on Halloween itself, regardless of the day of the week that it falls on. This year, the parade was to be held on Saturday, October 29th. The snowstorm that overtook much of the East Coast saw to putting it back in its rightful place — late Saturday afternoon, the powers that be deemed that the parade would be postponed and held on… guessed it…. Halloween.

Not good for my brother and his family who traveled up to see the parade and couldn’t stay until Monday for it — but good that it wasn’t canceled all together. That only happened once in 1962 – before my time.  This year’s parade will honor the heroes of Tropical Storm Irene — the policemen, rescue workers, firemen and construction folks who are considered by a great many here to be real superheros. Just like Humpty Dumpty they’re the ones that helped to put Vermont back together again after one of its biggest disasters. Tonight, I can imagine that they will be the folks commanding the biggest cheers.

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I haven’t made blueberry muffins in forever. This morning, with the snow on the ground and the dough for bagels rising by the woodstove, seemed a good morning.


As October draws to a close, the month of pink ribbons everywhere will be subsiding.The Pink Ribbon campaign was a brilliant and very successful campaign to raise awareness of breast cancer in an effort to have more women screened and help minimize the astronomical numbers that succumb to this disease. However, as with many things, the pink ribbon is so passe, so much a part of our lives especially during this month, that it is far too easy to forget that it is more than an advertising campaign, it is a life and death struggle for too many people.

The SCAR project by photographer David Jay, in its own words attempts to show that breast cancer is not a pink ribbon. For many, many women and those that love them, it is a reality that we can often forget when we, those who are healthy, are buried in a sea of pink ribbons. According to an interview by The Daily Muse with photographer David Jays he began the project when a good friend of his, in her 20s developed breast cancer. It was his attempt to show the honest effect of breast cancer on young women and help to empower them in the fight of their lives. His photographs are powerful and show courageous women who are living with the reality behind the ribbon. His photographs will be on display in New York City through the beginning of November. You can also read more about this project on his website.

David Jays Photography

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It started snowing this morning and there are a few inches on the ground. It has turned everything into a winter wonderland….maybe the department stores with their Christmas decorations before Halloween are onto something after all.

Lately, when I am searching for a recipe, either for some new ingredient I want to use or simply to find a different way to make the same old ingredients, I find myself clicking on the “Images” link in Google instead of sifting through the recipes themselves. I mean, we all essentially eat with our eyes, don’t we? If something is visually appealing to us, it is more a recipe that we might give a whirl. I don’t know about any of you, but personally a cookbook without pictures (with the exception of my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook) is a waste of good money. I want to see what the finished dish is supposed to look like before  I attempt to cook it. I do not understand why cookbooks don’t have lots and lots of pictures. It would seem to me cookbooks sporting mouthwatering photos are more likely to sell than those that require you to imagine what the finished recipe is supposed to look like.

For example, don’t these just make you want to eat these?

Or these?

or this?

or this?

Our first connection with our food, is usually its visual appeal. This is one of the reasons that presentation of food is all so important in restaurants. If it looks visually appealing and makes a nice presentation, we are eager to dig in and taste it, so we can confirm with our taste buds what our eyes are telling us.

Are you hungry yet?

Every once in a while, you just have to stop what you are doing and stare in amazement at the beauty that is around you. This was one of those afternoons. Nice that the camera was with me.

We have pretty much lost all of our leaves ( you thought I was going to say “minds” didn’t you? –sometimes I think that too) here.

I guess that means we have officially entered what they call “Stick Season” up here. Although, there is still foliage around. On Friday I was up on West Hill and there were still leaves on the trees up there for the most part and some pretty views of the mountains.

One of the wonderful things about keeping the pictures right on the computer is that one can easily compare and contrast. Last year, by this time, we already had snow on the ground. Two years ago, only the high mountains such as Killington were snow covered at this time.

The temperatures are supposed to go down into the 30s even during the day by the end of the week. Snow for Halloween? Hey, you never know……

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Today was a fun afternoon. I was asked to do a friend’s daughter’s senior pictures. I was both flattered and scared. I am by NO means a professional photographer so I was pretty intimidated. First off, senior pictures are a new concept to me — the last senior year pictures I was involved in were my own — which were long ago and done with everyone wearing the exact same drape off their shoulders. I totally like this idea a whole lot better, more suited to the individual.

So we headed off early this afternoon and had some fun wandering around in the beautiful fall air taking pictures. We took them against fences, trees, walls –we even took pictures on the breezeway at the house we used to rent on West Hill Road. I think that my favorites were the ones where she and I were both sitting opposite each other in the middle of the dirt road — I wonder what anyone who might have seen us would have thought?

In any event, it was a fun experience – something that I would never, ever had done in my wildest dreams (and trust me, Tom can vouch that I have some pretty wild, off-the-wall dreams). I am glad that I did it.



Today was parent teacher conference day. When you take three kids and you multiply that by even just their core classes – you get a whole lot of parent teacher conferences. Hours of the afternoon, well actually almost all of the afternoon, even if those conferences are only in 15 minute intervals.

I find it interesting to hear how these teachers see and describe each of our boys. Interesting to hear how they are perceived differently from how they behave at home. Not bad, just different. Our perception of them and someone else’s perception. There are commonalties but there are also differences that sometimes catch you by surprise. For instance, I remember one year when a teacher commented about how quiet one of the boys was in class. Timid, subdued, barely says a word – her perception. Mine – where did they put the “off” button on this child? He must have at least come with a mute button, right?

As a parent you often hear and hope that your children behave differently (read: better) when they are out of your presence, at another friend’s home in different surroundings. It is always informative when you hear how they behave outside of your presence. It is interesting when the person telling you spends a significant amount of time with your child every school day.


Article first published as Ohio Community Transformed into Wild Kingdom on Technorati.
Bengal tigers

Image via Wikipedia

Lions and tigers and bears — oh my! The familiar line has a new meaning in one Ohio community after the owner of a game preserve freed upwards of 50 exotic animals. The owner of the preserve, located about two miles outside of the Ohio community of Zanesville in Muskingum County had a rather sordid past with charges of possession of illegal firearms, and animal cruelty complaints. No one however as of yet knows what caused the owner, Terry Thompson, age 62, to free all of the animals from their pens and then fatally shoot himself. His actions caused more than four dozen wild animals including lions, cheetahs, grizzly bears and tigers to be on the lost in the vicinity.
As of yesterday afternoon, all but two of the escaped animals have been found.  According to reports a monkey and a wolf are still at large. A number of the animals were put down by Muskingum County Sheriff officers initially since the department did not have access to tranquilizer darts. Darts were subsequently supplied to the department to use in subduing animals located in any residential areas. A wide scale search ensued on Tuesday upon learning that the animals had been freed when deputies arrived at the game preserve compound.

News of the animals’ release spread , prompting calls from nervous citizens who didn’t know what to think when they began to spot bears, lions, camels, wolves, giraffes and monkeys on neighborhood streets and yards. Animal commentator and former Columbus Zoo director Jack Hanna warned residents to remain calm if they came in contact with any of the animals. “Do not run” was his advice to residents.

A significant number of the animals were terminated on the preserve property by the Sheriff’s Department, however there were some animals that had escaped.

The Sheriff’s priority was to immediately contain the animals so as not to incur any human injuries or fatalities. As of this time, no human injuries or fatalities have been reported in conjunction with the freed animals. As a precaution however, schools were advised to close today. Otherwise, in the words of Zanesville’s Mayor Butch Zwelling, it was “business as usual.”

Read more:

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What’s one to do with all the apples that we have literally lying around here? We’re not big applesauce fans so little sense to take the time and effort to can them into applesauce. While pie is a definite, I just haven’t really had the time to make pie and really not many have been around to eat it.

I have been trying a few different apple cake recipes to find the one, in the words of Little Bear, that is “just right”. Here are pictures of the latest incarnation.

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