Re-emerging

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“Bless me Father for I have sinned…”   It’s been six months since my last post.

I have struggled on many fronts, though the lessons learned have ultimately brought unexpected joys and self-knowledge. I stopped publishing because I began to feel raw and vulnerable. There was too much of me out there, as well as others whose lives touched mine.

“Try another voice? Dial it back from reality?” the suggestions only brought a sense of defeat – a stilted story of someone else. Don’t get me wrong; I adore fiction and devour at least one novel a week. I, however, can never produce fiction. So I have not stopped writing. My journals overflow with more than 4000 words a month. The editing is woefully lacking and I question whether anyone else would find solace in the words.

How does one reinvent, reemerge, recover lost ground? One thought is to compose a letter, a pen-pal style missive once a month to those who kindly support me and have an interest in my writing. If recipients were those I knew is some capacity,  and I could feel more comfortable sharing my intimate view of life, perhaps many needs could be met and the dilemma would be solved.

Thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Alice

Useless Spring Chores

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It’s 25°s cooler today than the day before, still a balmy 68° but overcast and humid. In the distance, through the woods comes the muffled sound of a lawn mower as a neighbor begins the weekly ritual of trying to create a green space out of granite. The Ravens murmur to each other as they silently swoop overhead and the crickets thrum as they will for their short lives.

New and repaired screens are installed, final three pots are planted with saucy yellow flowers and the garage is swept. My list grows shorter and I take a break to step out onto the freshly stained, front deck and admire my little homestead. Splashes of color are appearing amid the overgrown patches I consider my gardens.

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I’m not sure what tree is shedding these blooms, I suspect the giant oaks, but like the leaves in Fall, suddenly they are carpeting all the clean spaces.

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They cling to spider webs and dance in the slightest breeze.

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They curl around the corners of every chair and table, leaving a dusty mustard-colored silt. I grabbed a broom and made a stab at ridding the deck of them. It was like pushing snow. The broom clogged and I immediately lost interest. A useless spring task indeed. I think I will just wait for the rain to wash them away…

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Thank you and goodbye

I have been writing this blog for 3 years, 7 months 4 days for a total of 800 posts. I started at 5 times a week. It was drivel with some bright spots. As followers grew, I dropped back. There’s still a lot of navel gazing. The concept, “Reinventing oneself at

pick at number; 50,55,60

 

was something I thought others could relate to and it followed on nicely to the journal entries I write incessantly.

2016 has been a year of reinventing. I am learning about myself,  non-profit organizations, unemployment, real estate,  and writing.

Along the way, I have inadvertently overstepped the bounds  with my “bare my soul’ approach to this blog. It is time  to reevaluate my purpose and direction.

One thing I have learned is that there is a wonderful community of bloggers out there with a targeted focus for their writing. I will continue to follow these folks hoping to learn and hone my skills. For the moment, I do not feel worthy to participate and call myself a writer or a blogger.

Thank you to the community who has encouraged, inspired and supported me.

Paddling toward destiny…

I gave myself the afternoon off. It was a week ago that I lost my dear Gunther and with the golf tournament over, volunteer work at the Chamber is slow. I have worked six days a week for many months now and my kayak was beckoning  from the rafters in the garage.

The morning was in round two of the ‘very important’ job interview. As I write this I don’t have a confirmed outcome but I am feeling cautiously confident about the opportunity. Once the stress of that meeting was over I decided to just check out from life for an hour or two.

Putting the kayak on top of the car has limited my excursions. In the past, when I had a truck, it was merely the effort of tossing a boat in the back, attaching a bungee cord for extra care and driving to my destination. Loading ‘Limonotta’ on the roof is a bit more daunting. This boat was chosen specifically for its size and weight. I should have no trouble hefting it onto the racks. Though it may be a display of awkwardness, I do manage to get it on the roof racks without knocking off my side mirror. No one ever offers to help, so that tells me I either look like a disaster you should run from, or I look competent.

I chose Dublin Lake for my sojourn. It is a short drive, easy parking along the road and has a good boat launch. As it was a weekday, there were few others using the launch. I set out drifting with the wind, letting it push me to the middle of the lake. The sky was that unbelievable blue of an August afternoon.

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Every lake and pond has a pubic boat launch,  even in this very tony neighborhood with its mansions and picturesque boat houses. Dublin Lake was originally a summer colony for folks escaping the summer city heat in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many of the mansions that sit on the foothills of Mt. Monadnock were built as summer residences in the Victorian Shingle Style. In fact there are 45 historic and architecturally important homes on the lake.

thumb_DSC_0189_1024 thumb_DSC_0187_1024I was just have fun floating and gazing at their splendor, day dreaming about sitting on the lake shore in a fancy boat house that rivals normal people’s homes.

thumb_DSC_0196_1024 thumb_DSC_0197_1024 thumb_DSC_0202_1024I am in waiting-mode, no news is good news, right?  This is either going to be sheer hell or I will  go with the flow.

 

 

The Farmers Dinner

Securing the future while seeking those who will curate it…

Lincoln Geiger is a sinuous, weathered man whose lanky frame carries no extra meat. He strides with the walk of a man whose legs are two-thirds of his body and cover a lot of ground, with a bit of a gimp.

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He spoke last Saturday at Trauger Groh’s funeral; eloquently reading a fitting passage from Rudolf Steiner.

When I shall die, I’ll gladly give my being to the elements

To the elements I love

Spirit to flame

Soul to ether

Heart to wave

My body to the earth

The Spirit will blaze

The Soul shall Expand

The wave of my heart shall murmur and sound

The body shall rest

This Saturday, he graciously welcomed over a hundred people to a farm-to-table fundraising event to buy the farm he, Trauger, and Anthony Graham started in 1986. The Temple-Wilton Community Farm at Four Corners is the first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in America. An odd lot those three; Trauger was German, Anthony is from the UK and Lincoln grew up in Sweden. How they came to be in Wilton New Hampshire is a lovely bit of (to quote Dylan) a simple twist of fate.

The tickets to the dinner included a tour of the farm. I knew bits and pieces of its history from my association with Trauger and the relationship I had built with the resident cheese maker when I managed the oil & vinegar store.

thumb_DSC_0002_1024 thumb_DSC_0030_1024I arrived to find a small group milling around. Lincoln gave a brief tour of the farm and a history of biodynamic farming.

Appropriate footwear here people! Did you not know you were visiting a cow barn at milking time??

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Farmer Andrew is from Oregon; always a farm boy he is now seeing a different view of the mountain that farming in New England entails. He enthusiastically explained herd dynamics and the personalities of his beloved ladies. I always wondered why cows aren’t blanketed like horses in the dead of winter. He was pleased to talk ruminates vs. horses.

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thumb_DSC_0019_1024 thumb_DSC_0010_1024You’ve gotta love farm girls!

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These lovely ladies were selling raffle ticket for a veggie basket, a meat basket, or a cheese basket. I signed right up for some of Benjamin’s Cheese! Didn’t win, but it was for a good cause. Benjamin the cheese maker (pronounced ben ya min) is another tall gangly man. Though many years younger than Lincoln, his gait and manner are very similar. He moved to Wilton from the Black Forest region of Germany and is a puppeteer in his spare time. To find him at the farmer’s market on a slow day is a guarantee of a quick marionette performance.

thumb_DSC_0054_1024A long line of tables were set in the field with a 360° view of the mountains. Over 100 people gathered to feast and celebrate.

The Menu
Passed Appetizers

Grilled Zucchini, grilled tomato harissa with cow’s milk Feta

Chicken Liver Mousse on pumpernickel with leek chutney

Salted Cod & Potato terrine  and hot pepper relish on toast

Smoked Grass Fed Beef Tongue with a kohlrabi kimchi

Dinner

Gage Field – Beets, Quark cheese, Dill fermented chilis & cucumber

Beet Salad

Photo Credit: L&S Photography

Lower Pasture – Pork Loin & Coppade Testa, zucchini mostada, sweet & spicy pickles with a wedge of Savage Road cheese

Pork Loin & Coppade Testa,

Photo Credit: L&S Photography

Hidden Meadow – Charred & Chilled Carrot Soup  with carrot green yogurt and Orchard Hill porcini crouton

Charred & Chilled Carrot Soup

Photo Credit: L&S Photography

Greenhouse Field – Poached Chicken & Boudin Blanc, with smoked tomato on a leek & sourdough puree

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Photo Credit: L&S Photography

Upper Pasture – Melon & Rind with basil and pineapple weed ver jus

Randy’s Field – Carrot Cake with fennel creameux, hickory nut  & carrot halwa

Carrot Cake

Photo Credit: L&S Photo

The dinner and service were amazing,  with the proceeds going for the purchase of the farm. All the food was local and organic. The gods were pleased as the sunset was spectacular.

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N.B. Thanks to Laura and Steve who had the forethought to take photos of the food while I was too busy eating!

Red Flag Apology

I had written this post for LAST week but then life got in the way so now I am apologizing for being late with my apology.

You would think, given my pledge of three years ago to write and blog, I would be more adept at managing it. I started out writing five posts per week. I wrote a lot of long-winded, boring stuff. Then I backed off the pressure and settled to write a lot and post less. If your writing is driven by stats, this is not a productive idea. Or maybe it is?

When folks who are kind enough to read what you write, punch the “like” button and perhaps take the time to write a comment, blogging becomes a two-way street. A conversation evolves as you begin reading each other’s  posts – liking and commenting in return.

Those likes and comments require a thank you in my humble opinion. So through these short years, the weight of blogging has shifted from a fire hose of output,  to a lazy river of thoughts brought on by lots of reading and replying. So here comes the apology.

I red flag incoming posts from blogs I follow in my inbox with the plan to go back and read them after clearing out the emails that require an instant response or instant trashing. There is a lot of trashing when you are under-employed and selling a home. My address seems to have ended up on every job posting site, career advice forum, real estate sales sites and most oddly, DIY home repair offers from the big box hardware stores. Sheesh! Do they actually think I have money to spend on home improvement?!

Life gets in the way of plans. The balance is sometimes hard to sustain. I wish to apologize to all I love to read and follow, to all who have reached out to me with their thoughts, kind words of encouragement and inspiring posts.  I am flagging you because I will get back to you soon. Right after I take a short break for a Therapeutic Misadventure…

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Dance of the Porcupine

My latest battle with the critters on the backside of my mountain involves a massive porcupine. I’ve drawn the ‘porcupine‘ card before in this poker game and the results were humorous if not terribly fruitful. Critter warfare is becoming a recurring theme in my posts.

Porcupines, for those who don’t have them as neighbors, are slow, wood eating beasts. They can destroy a deck in a matter of a week’s worth of feasting; young trees near said deck are also a delicacy. They are the armadillos of the north with barbs.

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In the past I have resorted to wasp spray to deter them. Side note: it doubles as burglar deterrent with its handy 20 foot range of goo. This time I decided to consult the experts so I Googled “how to get rid of porcupines.” There are three ways;

  1. Fencing ( seriously? the whole 7 acres???)
  2. Trapping (Yeah, not my style. Where would I then take the critter?)
  3. Chemical deterrents (like mouse poison but admittedly not very effective)

This grumpy relative of a hedgehog lurking around my back deck seems drawn by the blackberries; a thick bramble grows on the rocky slope. He or She is every bit as large as Alice; I’m guessing 50 pounds of stupid prickliness. I haven’t managed to get a shot (literally and photographically) of her/him but trust me, I know critters and this is a big one. When ‘frightened’ which takes a lot of noise and commotion, she/he will lumber up the nearest tree, quills waving and nasty toenails scratching loudly. This is a pissed off being under the best of circumstances, a real kill joy.

In my googling (now a verb) I found many fascinating facts including the following which would the a relationship ending trait in my world:

 Female porcupines give birth to a single baby after an elaborate mating display by the male. This display is much like a dance, and is only performed by the winning male if a fight over the female was initiated. At its conclusion, the porcupine dance involves the male spraying urine over the female’s head. During the mating session, both male and female porcupines will flatten their quills against their bodies to prevent injury to one another.    http://www.wildlifeanimalcontrol.com/porcupines.html

Like getting a little poke would be the worst thing that could happen?

 

Golf Tournament

I know nothing of golf. You would think it would have seeped into my bones through osmosis; Roger Kidder, my first husband was a golfer. He grew up on a family owned summer resort in New Hampshire with his own golf course, tennis courts and lake front cottages. His real game was tennis, preferably on clay courts some youngster had spent their summer rolling and maintaining, (as he had toiled) but golf was part of his vocabulary.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tremendous respect for golf courses. Without them (and cemeteries) much of the lovely land out there would be given over to McMansions or cluster housing. I don’t have an opinion of golfers themselves as I could never get past the lingo and the ability to spend hours chasing small round balls with a club.

One of my latest projects with the Chamber of Commerce was the annual Golf Tournament. I sold sponsorships and worked on the committee to plan the event. Once  all 16 teams of foursomes were registered and departed for the links,  we volunteers gathered for coffee. As the only non-golfers, Laura and I were assigned a cart, a clipboard and a camera. We needed team shots as well as the ubiquitous candids for the Chamber website. Neither of us had ever driven a golf cart but I reasoned Laura owns an insurance agency so in the event of a mishap she should be the designated driver. It was bucketing rain as we lurched out of the parking lot.

Zipping up and down the trails, chasing down teams of players we couldn’t help being awed by the scenery. “This is kind of fun!” Laura commented. Despite our recent drought, there was a lot of luscious green on this rainy morning.

Crotched Mt. Golf Course with Crotched Mt. Ski area behind

Crotched Mountain Resort facing Crotched Mountain Ski Area

“I doubt Sports Illustrated will be asking us to cover the Master’s Tournament any time soon, but you are right, this isn’t a bad way to spend the day.” I replied.

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There were all sorts of critters out and about. We spotted this coyote loping across the open course (is that called a fairway? I am clueless). I suspect he was dining on the wild turkeys strutting along the edges of the woods.

Coyote on a golf course

 

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The players were a fun group, all ages and levels of skill.

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That’s not sand, it’s the soggy ‘green’ from the rain!

I missed my chance to the a shot of the quintessential golfer of the day. As we were watching the carts full of tournament players head to the last holes, a very elderly gentleman came crab-walking toward the first hole. He was pushing a handcart loaded with his clubs and muttering about the “idiots whizzing by with no regard for the game!” I questioned his choice of walking the course with all its hills and he simply guffawed. “This is the only way to really see where your ball lies and all the nature along the way. Original equipment!” he noted pointing to his knobby knees.  I had to agree, he probably sees more of the beauty of the land and gets more exercise. And isn’t that the point?