Friday, July 30, 2010

Peaks For Parkinson's

Jocelyn Hebert (yes we are related) is hiking the 273 mile Long Trail in VT this August to draw awareness to Parkinson's Disease. Some days she will be hiking alone but more importantly along the way she will be joined by those touched by this disease. Hiking with her for a day, or more. Climbing and striving just as researchers do as they search for a cure. You can follow her path by reading her trail blog.

Jocelyn started Peaks For Parkinson's shortly after her father, my husband's uncle, died from this disease. It was something she just had to do. We support her and wish her well.

As being part of society, we all wish to leave a mark in this world. Jocelyn is amazing.

This blog will remain unchanged for the month of August in support of her efforts. For updates please visit the Peaks for Parkinson's trail blog.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


We are, for the most part, a family of water lovers. We love fishing, canoeing, kayaking. swimming, and beachcombing -- which technically isn't in the water but next to it. Summer hits and we are all about water sports with a vengeance. This summer it has been the season for perfecting swim strokes. Every time we are at a pool or lake the girls ask me to help them with their swimming; to help them with their diving. So for a month we have been working while we have been cooling off, and today I saw tons of pay off.

Progress to the point where a friend said, "Your daughter has a nice even stroke." And she does. Now to get in the time to practice, practice, practice. She is long and lean -- with long arms and legs. She could be quite the swimmer given the chance.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Evaporators and Publishing Houses

This past weekend we dropped in on Burr Morse up at Morse Farm in Montpelier, VT. I met Burr probably 4 years ago. Coming up on our then third sugaring season, I was hot for information to improve our process. Vacationing in VT we swung into his place to take the tour. Lucky for us, Burr was on site and we chatted about all that is maple sugarmaking.

Email conversations followed, with the promise to come and visit. But not during sugaring season. Understandably... Then word came that Morse Farm has a new evaporator. The draw to visit strong, so prior to a family gathering we stopped in. And Burr was there.

The evaporator is beautiful with its prewarming steaming overhead pan. Two hours is all it takes to go from sap to syrup. They fire their operation with wood pellets, and have an automatic sap feeder system to keep the pan levels constant. I have evaporator envy, but to no end. There pan is the size of our sugar shack. Still I love it.

Then the conversation turned to writing. Both of us published authors we talked about the writing process and what it is like taking an idea from brain to book. What an opportunity this meeting was: 45 minutes -- 4 years in the making. And as we parted, I promised to send a copy of my book along this week. Maple sugarmaking and writing -- two things that are near and dear to my heart.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Another Summer Week Gone

Someone asked me today, "What are you doing this summer?" My reply, "Waking up every morning and figuring out which child needs to be where and driving them."

It's not really all that bad, but it's close. And yet again another summer week has passed. Where does the time go? Next week we are camp free. This will be good and bad. Good because except for a dentist appt and music lessons we are not on a schedule. And the girls think bad -- because they will have ample opportunity to do their summer reading and music practice.

Yes I am one of those terrible moms that insist on giving my children assignments throughout the summer. Have problems with Spanish during the year? No worries, we have all summer to improve grammar and vocabulary. And I get to learn as they go along.

Win win, right?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I need a bigger shack

The sugar shack is big enough for one to spill out of while doing stained glass. Cutting on the door stoop. Grinding on the stairs. But now there are two of us; my young one is joining me. And though I am happy for the interest and the company, it is another lesson in parenting for me. Patience, and it isn't always about my project.

She designed a cornucopia. I checked her lines, and we picked out her glass. That was enough for today. Tomorrow she will cut, while I try to finish the water and windows of my own project.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

There are no coincidences

Pope John Paul II said, or at least I have been told he said, "There are no coincidences." So let me tell you about my last two days:

Yesterday we ran painfully late for camp. So late I had to drive to the bus transfer station. And on the way a friend called and we were able to help her. If we had been running on schedule, I would have been in an area of no cell signal -- interesting.

Then today, my morning plans got turned around. So we walked to the bus stop instead of driving. There was no rush; we were on time. On the way we spied a very frail woman with a walker attempting to cross the street. I stepped out into the road and stopped traffic for her. Then went on our way.

The bus came. The camper was off, the rest of us started the walk home; only to spy the same woman again. This time she was across the street but having a very difficult time walking. I crossed back and asked if she needed assistance. She practically fell on the ground. I carefully got her onto her walker seat and then pushed her back to her home.

Again, if it had been a normal day... if I had driven to the bus... what would have happen to this woman? When plans changes, it's best to keep an open eye for someone just might need you.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Work In Progress

Working with stained glass is like life. You don't always get the breaks you want, or that you need. Your piece gains depth from these experiences. It's not like painting or pastels, or even crayons. Glass doesn't come in every color. Sometimes it has flaws, bubbles or texture. You make do; and your piece is more interesting for it. It takes effort and grinding to fit all the pieces together. It's not easy. But there will be a flow and form set up along the solder lines. And sometimes you might even find KINDNESS.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Those Kids

You have to love them. This morning I have one out for the morning run, and two practicing their music lessons. All without me saying something. And before that I fielded the request, "Where is the Spanish dictionary? I need it." My children are growing up.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Next Project

The summer to do list prevented me from taking the time to start another project. But now that the letters to local food stores asking for donations for our parish middle school revolution in December have been written and delivered, some time has opened up.

When the summer started I had visions of working every Tuesday on stained glass. I couldn't physically get to my out of town class, but I would have the discipline to work at home. Summer is now half over, and finally a window for glass opportunities is opening. Thankfully. Last night I went through all my glass and I have enough scrapes to finish this project. A huge boon, as a pending braces bill has the household tightening its belt.

I am starting this next project knowing that I have to add break lines. Hopefully today I will get the Shack cut out (The key is clapboards.) and also start working on the grounds around it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

We are puzzle people.

We are breed from puzzle people. We are puzzle people. And every summer we set up the card table and lay out a puzzle for those "I'm bored" moments. Soon, bored or not, the puzzle gets attention, and then more attention. Dinner isn't made. Boyfriends come over to help the effort. The dishes stack up. TV is passed over... Bedtimes are missed. The kids are late for camp... but the puzzle... and just one more piece.

We have completed two 500 pieces so far this summer. (Thanks Dad for the puzzles.) I think it is about time to pull out a 1000 piece baby; dishes and cooking be damned.

ps Red Sox Raffle tickets are still available.... Sorry, a puzzle is not listed as one of the prizes.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Saint George Youth Ministry is raffling off RED SOX love and excitement.

First prize is two box seats on the first base line for the August 21st game.
Second prize is four bleacher seats for the August 17th game.
Third prize is a RED SOX trivia game.
Fourth prize the book, "Reverse the Curse."

One chance is $5; but wait spend $10 and you'll get three chances.

I have tickets. Email me.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Why did God create ground hogs?

Was it just to torment me, in my over the hill gardening years?

Gardening is suppose to be relaxing? A little weeding, a little watering, a lot of eating and the all around feel good sense from growing one's own, and I emphasize own, food. Not the food of the four footed set.

My backyard is a freaking war zone. I have titty bitty traps, a chipmunk sized trap and a ground hog trap all set and awaiting the evening onslaught, or feeding frenzy -- however you want to view it.

Last night someone mowed down the lettuce. From what I can see they chewed through the plastic fencing to get there. Now surrounding this garden on three sides is a perfectly good lawn, so why chew through a fence to get the lettuce I was pining for all the way home from Ohio. My journey was spurned homeward on the vision of a nice tuna fish salad sandwich with a thick layer of fresh crisp home grown lettuce.

The entire two rows were consumed last night... by some creature and not me. Not happy.

No more reprieves for sad faces. This is war.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

For the Love of Beans

Truly I don't know how bean farmers make a living. First it was the ground hog bullying her way into my sweet patch to dine upon the tender bean and beet shoots. Now it is an attack on a smaller scale.

The garden is in full swing. The tomato plants (purchased from Hanson's Farm) which are almost as tall as I am, are fully laden with fruit. Man, did I get very hardy stock this year. The basil, (also from Hanson's), makes the best pesto, the lettuce -- from seed -- delightful. The peas and the beans hung with tender pods, the corn more than knee high and forming tassels and the zucchini staking its claim in the garden. All is good in the garden area, except I seem to have guests on a very small scale.

The beans... (sigh) are being nibbled. Something is getting through the fence and nibbling the shoots and the pods with tiny little bites. I set up the chipmunk sized have a heart with a nibbled bean pod and sure enough the bait was taken without triggering the doors. So I suspect, mice, moles, voles, whatever. Tiny feet with a small but distended belly.

It's time to break out the tinier less heartfelt traps and see what we can find. So really how do farmers make a living? How do you keep vermin from eating their way through your crops? There are no big fences surrounding gardens. I have an image of very fat and happy mice living in summer fields. Maybe that is why farms have barn cats...

Goddess of the gardening world -- bestow upon me strength. All I want is a teeny tiny patch in my backyard to grow a few veggies.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Called Up

With the eldest getting a job, yahoo! the middle one is being called up for greatness. She has put on the mantel of responsibility, and she is shouldering it. I am so proud of her. I watched as the veil of maturity descended upon her whole demeanor. She has shown such growth in the past month.

I said to someone recently nothing feels better than observing my children growing smarter than I am. When my oldest fell in love with Statistics, I was in awe. And now with the middle one rising to the occasion my heart beats with pride.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

In and Out

I feel like our house is a grand central station. Crazy. Home one day, out again the next. Same suitcase -- different clothes, different purpose.

I need to find stillness and quiet. But my life is nonstop right now, so I breathe in and out, and take it a step at a time.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Gardens and Growing

For the past million or so years, every spring, I have ideas of grandeur. Ideas of having and maintaining gardens galore. Flower gardens, herb gardens, veggie gardens -- gardens, gardens, gardens. And by the this time, every year, instead of having gardens I would have weed patches from having my ideas bigger than my time.

This year was different. This year I abandoned all ideas of cultivating except for my guarded plot right up next to the house; and of course the rhubarb, sage and chive plants along with the two apple trees. But you get my meaning. I cut back and fenced in my garden grandeur.

It feels good to know I can handle the weeding, and the watering. Even when the laundry is piled to the sky and the kitchen floor resembles more a beach rather than a flat vinyl surface that ties the table to the stove and refrigerator.

Last night we had our first batch of pesto. Usually I wait until later in the season for pesto, when the plants are a bit fuller. This year, why wait. I trimmed the apical meristems and we had pesto. Now the plants will grow bushier and bigger for our next batch.

We've had lettuce already, and the beans and peas are starting to fruit. The tomatoes have had little greenies for a while. And this morning I noticed some yellowing. Basil and tomato salads cannot be far behind.

The beets and corn are growing great guns as well. Best of all, I am learning that sometimes I have to reign it in to get greater growth. I think it's the same in life as well. Lessons from the garden.