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While Oregon got a great deal of media attention when a young woman, Brittany Maynard, decided to use its law to end her life when she was dying of cancer last year; Vermont was actually the first state to have its legislature pass an aid in dying law. Vermont’s law permits a capable terminally ill adult to request and obtain lethal drugs which the person can self administer in an effort to hasten the patient’s imminent death.  Vermont’s law is a stepped version which has a series of patient protections in place that must be complied with that will cease to exist in 2016. Those protections put in place in the bill in an effort to garner the legislative support necessary to pass the measure provides:

— A requirement for a psychiatric evaluation if there is any indication that a patient requesting lethal medication has impaired judgment

— A 15-day waiting period between a patient’s first and second request for the medication

— A waiting period after the last request before the doctor actually writes a prescription for the lethal drug.

Upon the expiration of these so-called patient protections, the discussion regarding the end-of-life decision of a terminally ill patient becomes a private conversation between a patient and his or her doctor. There are those who are concerned that government should still be involved in the discussion, not really trusting that the patient-physician relationship would sufficiently address concerns.

According to articles written on the issue following the passage of Vermont’s law, “after July 1, 2016, the law will protect physicians from civil or criminal liability, and from professional misconduct charges.” Despite the changes that are set to occur in 2016, there still needs to be informed consent on the part of the patient so doctors are required to inform a terminally ill patient of all the options including hospice and palliative care. Ultimately, though, the issue is still a decision to be made by the patient in conjunction with his or her doctor.

The issue of whether or not the patient “protections” that are presently in place should be continued past 2016 is a discussion that is currently taking place in Vermont. If this issue touches you or someone in your family, perhaps now is the time to voice your opinion.

Today was a beautiful sunny day. We hear that there is a winter storm, with blizzard warnings headed our way. So, tomorrow we might need to hunker down, but today was a great day to be outside enjoying all that sunshine.

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IMG_4095Well, it certainly was breathtakingly beautiful this morning. The snow blanketed trees and turned things into a winter wonderland. The downside is that to look that good, the snow is very wet and heavy. The trees were bowing graciously under the weight of the snow, but some succumbed to the heaviness and there are many branches and whole trees that are down. This has caused the inevitable, power outages. We were more fortunate that some, our power went out around 3:45 this morning. Others have been without power since Tuesday when the storm first hit. There are, last I heard about 38,000 people without power and there are lots of folks working hard to get us all back online.

Nothing to do but look to the bright side. We have oil lamps, candles, our headlamps and a warm woodstove. We are luckier than a lot of people.

P1080896The Nor’easter that is paying us a visit for a while longer (snow is forecast through Thursday) has already dropped well over a foot of snow. It is the heavy, wet snow, perfect for building snowmen and snow forts. Last night it was falling in giant clumps of snow, and while I type this there is a lull, although we are forecast to get another 2-5 inches today and another 1-3 inches this evening.

There are a lot of people without power because, the snow is wet and heavy. Last night we had several blips of power but so far, we are still connected.

I love a good snowstorm, there is something magical about snow, particularly when you wake up to it. I know there are a lot of folks out there that would disagree, but give me this, okay? Put aside your grumblings and just take a good look at how beautiful Mother Nature can make everything when she puts on her winter coat.

Happy Snow Day!

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Today, with all its beautiful sunshine, makes the colors that are emerging on the trees even more beautiful. It seems that each day the colored foliage is more and more prevalent. Now, the mountains are clearly dotted with yellows, reds and oranges.

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The colors are coming on fast and furious. Every day it seems that there is more and more color in the mountains.  There is serious doubt around our house that there will be any leaves really left on the trees for the leaf peepers that arrive on Columbus Day weekend. In fact, taking a look of the wind blowing around today any of those leaves that have already turned are dropping at a high rate of speed from the trees.

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Seems that we are starting the foliage season already. According to the news, the state will start its foliage reporting to advise leaf peepers of the changing colors. There isn’t much changing happening our way, although you can definitely notice a much lighter green on the trees and a definite yellow tinge to a lot of them. There are some trees that are already changing, mostly those that are either young or stressed.

I thought that it might be fun to post our own foliage report. So, I will post photos of the same view so anyone out there that cares, can watch the leaves in our neck of the woods start the foliage parade through the coming weeks.

Here’s today’s photo. As you can see, not much in the way of color going on yet, but it’s definitely coming.

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How does your garden grow? This year, I must say I am pretty pleased with my garden. In years past, it has either been too big and gotten out of control by this time of the year or we have been away or busy and it has gotten overgrown and weedy to the point of disgust. This summer we are enjoying being around here and consequently, we have been tackling a lot of yard work. I enjoy popping in my headphones and getting out there and weeding or just sitting down and weeding without the tunes, enjoying the sunshine and the summer breeze that always seems to exist in our neck of the woods.

Here are some garden pictures I’m happy to share with you.

Purple Habanero Peppers

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Pablano Peppers

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Corn – This will be a first, thanks to the generosity of a friend and neighbor who shared his seedlings.

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The Garden looking east

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The Garden looking west

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This week Tim, our youngest, is attending the American Legion’s Boys Nation at Marymount University. He was selected as one of the two Vermont delegates to attend on behalf of our state. It is a great honor and Tim of course is taking it all very seriously. I don’t need to say I am very proud of him. They campaigned and elected their federal officers which mirror the federal government including a President, Vice President and the like. We watched the elections which were streamed live and have been keeping up with the week’s activities. The group, consisting of 98 young men, have visited the monuments at Washington D.C., the Pentagon and Arlington Cemetery. They will be visiting the Capitol where they will have the opportunity to meet their senators. They are even supposed to have the opportunity to meet the President.

Here is Tim’s Senate photo.

Timothy Heffernan of Vermont, Nationalist_0005

It is our understanding that he is the Senate whip, for those of you familiar with House of Cards. Go Tim!

A good friend of the family brought to my attention that if Tim gets the opportunity to shake the President’s hand, I should be a good mom and save those photos. Another Boys Nation participant in 1963 who had the opportunity to shake JFK’s hand, walked into the Oval Office in his own right decades later. One never knows, does one?

If you would like to peek in on what is going on in Boys Nation, here is the link to their website.

For those of you that might be traveling to Vermont in next few days, I don’t want you to fret over mud season. I know that mud season in Vermont can be daunting, and vehicles can get stuck and things can get downright ugly. In fact, most Vermonters tend to use mud season to run away to anywhere that is not here just to avoid it. I know that around this time of year, you may worry about mud season. But, folks, seriously, there is no need to worry, we’ve got plenty of snow and ice to take care of it for you!

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_DSC0058I know that spring officially arrived just about a week ago, but there’s lots of snow on the ground, some really good skiing and snowmobiling and another 5-8 inches forecast for the weekend. So, no worries about mud here.

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On Tuesday, the grass was showing in spots and it was almost 50 degrees. What a difference a day (or two) can make around here. Starting Wednesday morning the snow started falling and continued until this morning. When it was all said and done, we had about 2 1/2 feet on the ground although it is windy as heck here so an exact measurement (assuming that I was going outside to measure) would be next to impossible. Let it suffice to say, it is a LOT of snow.

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There was a lot of shoveling out this morning.

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Believe it or not, those sap buckets are actually hanging off the top of our three foot fence and hold flower in warmer weather.

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Dinner last night was homemade French Onion soup with homemade baguettes. It was delicious and well worth the effort of making it from scratch. While I was at it, I made some more sandwich rolls for lunches.

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Lunch rolls all ready for tomorrow.

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The onions, about 8 cups of them, thinly sliced sauteed for a nice long time to get a beautiful golden brown and form the base of the soup.

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The baguettes right from the oven. These were thinly sliced and popped into the toaster to crisp them up to use as the croutons. Of course, had I prepared better, I could have made the bread a day or two earlier and let the slices crisp up without the use of the toaster. Alas, I am not that prepared.

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The soup bowls are getting assembled and prepped for some broiling.

 

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The finished product …. was …. delicious.

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