Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I’ll give you a dollar for a better title than this

Kevin has been removing the roof from the garden shed, which has been neglected for far too long. Can you see him lurking amidst the shrubbery?


We don’t really use this shed, exactly. We just like it, and want to keep it maintained.


Here’s the head-on view. A previous owner has adorned it with that fabulous hunk of wood, reminiscent of a deer skull. No reason to remove it – it’s the exact sort of thing I’d put up.



Here’s the inside. Mostly, our neighbor’s cat, a huge Maine Coone named “Chopper”, likes to hang out in here. Hm, maybe our neighbors should be kicking in some of the expense involved in this project. (Expenses to consist of a) dump fee for the shingles Kevin already ripped off and b) Our Hero Michael putting on a new roof.)

It was gray all yesterday; it was lovely to see some sun today.


The walls of the little screened in porch are down, folded up neatly in the basement, waiting for next summer. I love the light at this time of year – a grazing light, that accentuates different details from the summer’s higher sun. None the less, I’m not completely ready for fall. Maybe it’s because I completed two huge goals for the year (the half-marathon, and the Reiki Master Training), and I don’t have that Back to School feeling about anything. Wiser people than I counsel me to wait for revelation or inspiration about what’s next for me: if I am patient, all will be revealed.

P1010977So far, all life is revealing to me is tomatoes.



In which case, who am I to complain?



Particularly when more are on the way?


Tomorrow I’m off for my high school 25th reunion. Here’s one look I might rock.


Or not.

rain, rain, don’t go away

First, a confession – I didn’t run eight miles with the famed No Meat Athlete Guy during his ultramarathon on Sunday, which turned out to be a brutal, but successful experience for him. No, I woke up on Sunday with glands the size of golf balls. I gave up on the day and slept. Fortunately, Matt had actual, reliable people who were crewing for him, so it’s not like I stranded him without something he was counting on, other than the pleasure of running with a complete stranger at a point in the race where it sounds like he was debating the wisdom of being alive and all.

On Monday, I woke up feeling a lot better – thanks to the sleep, and to copious amounts of echinacea. So I took myself for an 8.3 mile run to at least burn the calories. And then it started raining.

Which was a wonderful thing. According to the folks who track such things, our corner of the state is in moderate drought.


So by now, Tuesday night, it’s been raining pretty steadily for what, a couple of days now? By “steadily” I guess I really just mean, it’s been drizzly and at times actually raining. But it’s been enough to actually bring water back to the brook that runs alongside and through our property!


This creek bed had otherwise been dry since maybe… July. Hooray! Back to full showers! We’ve got well water, and while we’ve had zero indications of being short on water, I’ve taken to minimal bathing. Such are pleasures of a life of hermitude – who cares if I slack off on showers? Do I really need to use multiple gallons of water to wash my 30 inch long hair every day? I don’t think so.

Was this Too Much Information for you? I’m sorry. Let me now go into full on formal mode, all professional.

Let’s see. I put on my flak jacket today and went into town to witness the celebration regarding the expansion of the Bratt Food Coop, where I’m a working member. This just means I bag groceries for a couple of hours every month in exchange for a discount.


Here are the official shovels and hardhats, at the ready. There was a tent, with speakers. Blah blah blah. Couldn’t hear them. It’s a great project – kinda bold, in this economy. They’re tearing down the current building and putting up an entirely new building, three stories; affordable housing / offices on the top two floors and the new store on the ground floor. Green building principles. Etc. We support this project, to the tune of we’re participating in the member loan drive. And hey: it’s a public event, only the second one I’ve attended since I quit my job for the Town. So that I even showed up tells you, I genuinely care about this project.

I mention all this by way of giving myself permission to now diss the ceremony. Let’s review. What are those shovels are sitting in? A randomly placed furrow of dirt. Which, incidentally, is actually nowhere near where the new building is going to be. Instead, we’re standing where a wing of the building – which until recently housed a bagel shop – was just demolished. So it’s really not a ground…breaking.

It’s a bunch of people milling around self-consciously wearing hard hats.


My goodness, please tell me I haven’t become cynical. Moi?



What really interested me was the sight of the most enormous backhoe ever, on the other side of the parking lot, ripping apart an embankment where the new building’s going to go. That’s where I really wanted to be.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

a wider view

We took a walk today up a neighborhood trail – the trailhead’s a few miles from our house, off an offshoot of one of my running routes. We took Panama Dave with us.

Kevin got his own pair of FiveFingers, but his are a bit more colorful, no?



What’s not to love about this shelf mushroom? He has a nose!


Lots of colorful leaf litter.

P1010936Our path crisscrossed numerous old stone walls from the way-back machine.

And, we traveled through several different types of forest – a sugar bush, a whole section of hemlock, an oak/hophornbeam savannah – some of everything,

We were headed to the top of a north-south ridge with a great view of the Green Mountains to the west. Near the summit, we hit a zone of nice-sized beech trees.


Like this one.


And this one.


Here’s a different kind of shelf mushroom…


Nearing the summit…


AAAAAHHHHH….. Looking more-or-less north by northwest…



P1010953…and due west. That’s Mt. Stratton. I’ve climbed Stratton a couple of times, the first time on the epic post-college hike of 1990.




Tomorrow: assuming I don’t wake up with a sore throat, which has been threatening me lately, I plan on joining this guy for a run tomorrow.  I read Matt’s blog – the No Meat Athlete – largely for the overall fuel-nutrition tips. And when I realized that his 50-mile ultra-marathon tomorrow (Sunday) was not an hour from our house, I spontaneously offered to pace him for part of it. He said “sure!”

I looked into it this afternoon, and learned that they only allow pacers for the last eight miles.

So tomorrow I’m running eight miles on a trail with a guy who will have been running for eight hours and change already. Hopefully I’ll still be able to keep up with him. Or vice versa. Or something.

Friday, September 24, 2010

office tomatoes and weapons of destruction


Why, of course we have cherry tomatoes in our office. Who wouldn’t? Kevin brought these inside the other night when overnight temperatures were predicted to dip towards freezing.


Oooh, look, one of them is almost ripe.  This reminds me of the convenience of when our bed was in the mudroom, just under the half wall to the kitchen. Getting a drink in the middle of the night was awfully easy.



In other news, we are proud new owners of a machete. Our friend Dave – Panama Dave, not to be confused with any other Dave – brought this to us this evening.

P1010929ooooooh, scary!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

getting recombobulated here

I tried and failed to go for a four mile walk today. I made it as far as the village center, a half mile away. I just got distracted by a whole lot of stuff and had to take photographs. Which was a relief, actually, as it helped ground me. I’m still a little discombobulated from the epic travels of the past week and a half – having flown six thousand miles and driven two thousand miles…I’ve heard it said that you should never travel faster than a camel can walk. Your soul otherwise has a hard time keeping up.

And given the fact that my soul, during the final weekend in Portland, traveled to the outer realms of spirit and back a few times, well…let’s just say it’s good to be home. I’m collecting myself. Bits and pieces continue to report in.

So anyway. My walk. It was great to take my time and let myself get curious about my fellow travelers here in the ‘hood.

So are y’all familiar with shelf mushrooms, that grow on the side of trees when they’re dying?

P1010861 Here’s a nice fatty. Often they have beautiful colors and striations – these two (there are two, one above the other) look more like  portabellos, don’t they?

P1010866 Ah, but no gills underneath! See, I never would have known that without this camera. I just held it underneath and took a few pictures. I wonder why they don’t have gills. Hm.

P1010888 There are a couple of spots full of cattails near here…

P1010882 Some are still intact.



Some have totally lost it.


And some are in the middle of it.



What I love most about the camera is that it enables me to see more than I can with my apparently aging eyes. I just hold it up close and take more snapshots and then go “holy moly, I didn’t see that!” when I get it up on the computer.


Like the inside of that cosmos, for example.


And, you know me, I love the progression of things…here’s a neighboring cosmos. all done flowering and starting to make babies…


OK, just a couple more shots here – remember hawkweed? There are a few of ‘em still hanging on here and there.


Love that orange.


A neighbor’s yew hedge. Growing up, we had a neighbor with a yew along the edge of their lawn. I love these berries – so ethereally perfect. I used to love rolling them between my fingers. I settled for photos only today.

So the weekend in Portland.

I took the ART/Master Class with William Rand of the International Center for Reiki Training. It was unbelievably wonderful and powerful. I could probably blab on and on about it for days. For now, I’ll just say, it was the experience of a lifetime, except, I hope to have lots more experiences like it, and soon. Yawn. I’m heading to bed.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

what happened while I was away

I was gone for what, 11 or 12 days, right? Life somehow carried on without me here.

The cats continued to make progress with Their Diet Plan, despite a slight mishap in which – in an attempt to prevent Charlie from breaking down the door in the pre-dawn hours – Kevin gave them overnight snacks that were a bit too rich. I can’t blame him – Charlie is rather…vociferous.

P1010793 Maggie is not longer quite so…spherical.

P1010794 Charlie is practically svelte.

On my way to the mailbox, I almost didn’t bring the camera. “What’s there to see?” I grumbled to myself. “Nothing’s blooming any more.” Well, tsk tsk, self, for equating only the blooming part of the process with beauty. On the eve before fall equinox, here is what we have to celebrate today:


spots of color in the shrubbery…


…and along the driveway.

Most other green things are fading with our transition into shorter days…


…such as ferns, and siberian iris,



This spot near the mailboxes used to be aflame with yellow goldenrod and purple joe pye weed. Not…anymore.

Conventional beauty may be fading, but the season’s bounty, as measured in seeds, has loveliness all its own. To wit:


Remember this guy?


I originally thought it was seedbox – Ludwigia alternifolia – but I was wrong.


For now, let’s just call it “That Yellow Thing”, and move right along to looking at its seeds.



By the way, it seems that seeds have their own blooming, just like flowers. Here’s a That Yellow Thing seed pod thingy just starting to open up…


And here’s a peek inside one that’s opened up.


Other cool seedy things:


Tall grassy thingys across the driveway from the mailboxes, glowing in the late afternoon sun…let’s get a close-up with the fabulous camera…



Remember the delicate Queen Anne’s Lace?


wow, pretty intense, huh? all snarly and prickly.

Under the heading of “are you gonna eat that?” we have mmmm, tasty blackberries, just a l-i-t-t-l-e past their prime…


Finally, under the heading of “how did I miss this, this whole time?” we have the following:


A single milkweed plant. Look closely, and you’ll see a few spiderweb strands linking the two pods. Have I mentioned lately how much I love the new camera? I took this from multiple yards away.

Also in the “!! new to me!!” category, we have this late bloomer…


dunno what this is.



This suddenly-bursting-with-fruit shrub has been along the shared drive this whole time. I probably thought it was the sapling of an ash tree, if I even noticed it this whole time – but the berries mean it’s something else. I believe it’s mountain ash, aka rowan. This is the stuff you make barrel staves out of.


These awesome spiky things? No idea. Sigh.


And, last but not least in the chronicle of “I wasn’t paying attention”, this thing is just loaded with berries and I have no clue what it is and I can’t believe I didn’t notice it all along.


Ah well. It least it was a gorgeous day, and I kicked it off with a five-mile run.

If you were wondering what I did in Portland over the weekend, I’ll get to it. Maybe the next post.