Saturday, July 31, 2010

Farmer's Market

Today we split to cover two farmer's markets. The Mister went to our regular one and I went to the one that Shelly and I started with in the spring. Shelly had a conflict and asked if I would like to set up there to help maintain a presence in her booth. I was delighted because I had really enjoyed my four weeks as a new vendor at this market.

I loved the first market I went to with Shelly. Maybe it was being with her; I don't know, but it was fun and I did fairly well. So, I wasn't too concerned about going today. Until I got there.

This sort of sums up how I feel about the morning:

Why are we Masters of our Fate, the captains of our souls? Because we have the power to control our thoughts, our attitudes. That is why many people live in the withering negative world. That is why many people live in the Positive Faith world. -- Alfred A. Montapert

Now, granted it was raining. And, granted there are some issues with folks buying produce at teh grocery store (for crying out loud!) and reselling it. And, there are some management problems. But here is what really struck me. No energy. No one seemed really happy to be there. No one spoke to another vendor willingly. No one laughed, except when talking to a customer or two. It was stifling!

This contrasted so strongly with my previous experience that I was astounded! How did this happen? When? Why? Then I realized. It is just like a class. One toxic person can infect a whole class if the instructor isn't careful. So it was at this market. Daggers shot back and forth between two of the vendors in a struggle over local grown and resale. The aisle was icy. I shivered and wished for noon.

I was so relieved when the Mister and I chatted at 10 a.m. and he was sold out and needed reinforcements. I wasn't selling much of anything, so I packed up, said my good-byes and fairly flew to the other market. We were sold out, except for four potatoes and one squash before noon.

All afternoon I have pondered the attitude and energy questions. How often do we allow one person to set the tone for a whole group? How do we combat that kind of stress, that kind of negativity? What kind of power are we giving up when we allow one ill hornet set our feeling for the day?

The first market I attended today has a lot going for it, but it is apparent that unless there are some changes that the market will be plagued with tension and slow growth. As for me, I am grateful to share my Saturday mornings with a group of like-minded, hard-working folks. We like and help each other. And our friendships show in the growth and success in the market.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lift off!

We have heat.

Lots of heat.

Hot water kind of heat.

Getting the whole house snuggly heat.

Heat that will make me smile in about, oh, eight weeks. It is good.

Now the bad...

My house is completely wrecked. I mean, C O M P L E T E L Y..... It is hard to think with everything so tossed about and out of order. Are you that way?

What is it about order that makes our brains twitch when things are not as we like??? Why are some of us born organized and others, like me, struggle with it every day?? And why are there still others who don't even realize there is a verb "organize"?

I confess. I organize my herbs in alphabetical order. My yarn is sorted by weight, colour, and make. Open the closet and you will find clothes sorted by colour and type. Knitting needles are bundled by size, length, and type. It is sick.

And so, whilst I am thrilled beyond all words to have central heat (who'd've thunk it??), I am overwhelmed by the restoration of order.

May I have cheese with my wine??

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life's Weird

I am home from Mass. after being called to come home early as Daddy had a serious relapse. He was in ICU for three days, but is better now and home.

I slept 19 hours.

The heater is still not installed.

All the furniture in my house is pulled away from the walls because the radiators aren't installed completely either. The sofa is snuggled up to the coffee table so that you have to walk around the sofa and step into it if you want to sit down.

My tomatoes are ten feet tall. And horizontal. Someone (uh-hum, Don) didn't get them staked while I was gone.

The pumpkins and winter squash have an uncanny resemblance to Audrey II and I am getting nervous.

The house has an odd smell. It is coming from the pantry. I think I need safety gear before I dive in and see what it is. Potato? Onion?

I have washed the same load of clothes twice. Every time they are ready to hang on the line, it rains. Running the dryer makes me sweat more. Perhaps the clothes will wear out from washing and I can just throw them out and not worry about ever drying them.

It is good to be home. I think.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shhhh, Don't Tell The House

It's a big secret! Don't tell Casa de Lazy Bee!

It's getting a present while I am out of town!

It's a nice present and one that we have both wanted for a very long time.

It's big.

It's shiny.

It has knobs, pipes, and golden radiators.

Did you guess?

I am giving the house, in recognition of 15 years of unconditional love and devoted service, a new heater! Yippee! This is the most exciting thing that has happened, well, since I gave her a roof a few years ago!

You might think it a little odd that one would be so joyous over a bit of mechanical wonderment, but understand, please, that we have never had full heat in the house. Because of the house's age (we don't tell her this; it would hurt her feelings) installing any kind of ventilation system was out of the question, much less adding an air handler. So, our only heat source has been a gas fired fireplace in the living room and, in the dining room, a smaller heater called a Monitor which heats the room it is in and one more, with the use of a fan. So, we have worn a lot of clothes most winters, rushed showers, and then flown to the bed to get warm. There have been some very challenging times, such as this past winter, when I was ready to just sit down and cry icicles!

No more.

Nopers. I am giving the house a Hardy stove. It is wood fueled and will heat the house through hot water lines which do not require any kind of pump beyond the water pump at the stove and just the smallest of space under the house to run. It will provide all the heated water we need, too, so off with the water heater! Good-bye high electric bills! Huzzah and hooray! And, the very bestest thing, it is going to be vented to every room in the house. Every room.

Oh, joy! Oh, happiness! Oh, warm feet!

Do you think she will be surprised??

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Always Travel With...

5) Your own tea. Nothing is as good as your own tea brand! Add a mason jar and you have the means to make your own sun tea. Nevermind the comments about your tea being in the window of a very nice Inn. Just do it!

4) Knitting. While waiting, it is a good thing to have to pass the time! And, should you run out of projects, make sure there is always a yarn shop nearby that will be happy happy to help you fall down the rabbit hole. Besides, there are no strangers in yarn shops!

3) Extra shoes. It is an unwritten law that your feet are going to hurt after two days of walking. Three pairs may not be enough -- I'm just saying...

2) A vase. This is for the flowers you need in your room to make it feel more like home. Besides, glasses keep falling over if the flowers are top heavy and you will find yourself using not-nice words in very creative ways!

1) A massage therapist. A different bed, strange chairs, and lots of walking can make your back ache beyond the point that a good stretch will help. I am negotiating with some of our venues to provide me with a massage. I will let you know how it goes...

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How do you save on vacation?

While this is a business trip, (truly it is!), I still look for ways to save a little money. Here are my top five ways for today:

1) Go to the grocery store. I buy peanut butter, bread, instant Kashi cereals, milk, yogurt, and fruit. It is light and portable. And, if I didn't have a refrigerator (I have a dorm size one here), I could still keep this safely in my cooler and room.

2) Walk more. Everything we have to do is within a one mile radius, so I try to walk as much as I can to save on gas. Since the traffic is terrible, it really saves me time as well.

3) Visit free museums, walk around town, people watch. Many state parks are currently promoting free days. Going online to your state tourism site or state museum site will help you identify which ones are free when. This is so fun because you might go to a museum or visit something that you ordinarily wouldn't do!

4) Always eat the complementary breakfast and take a snack. After I have a pleasant breakfast with fellow travelers, I usually grab a piece of fruit and a muffin to take with me. I also take my travel mug with me and prepare another cup of coffee or tea for the road. Many hotels have a "breakfast to go" which is also complementary. I picked up a really nice one in Sturbridge that became my lunch and a snack later in the day. It even had water in it!

5) Take a few minutes to check the newspaper in the hotel. Often you will findfree entertainment such as local musicians performing, art exhibits at libraries, book store readings, or evening concerts. This week I am going to a book reading at the local bookstore, to hear a 'jug band' at the state park, and to the lounge to enjoy a jazz band. Each of these are free and will give me a chance to enjoy local colour. Fun stuff!

These days we are all stretching money as far as it can go. But, this doesn't mean that we have to compromise our fun. Rather, it can be fun to find new ways to have a good time. Believe me, I plan to enjoy my fruit, peanut butter sandwich, and tea picnic at the concert tomorrow and relish in the thought that it is all free!

How do you save money on vacation??

Friday, July 9, 2010


Advice for road trips:

1) Never drink more than two cups of coffee at lunch unless you are going to be near, I mean NEAR, a bathroom if you are over 50.

2) Never get the biggest cookie in the jar if you are out of cookie training at Helen's.

3) Avoid eating all your favorite road trip foods in one day. It doesn't end well.

4) Be sure to treat all service staff with kindness as they DO remember you!


5) Always buy flowers for your room the FIRST day so you can make it seem like home.

Added later: Favorite foods are: Raspberry Lime Rickey (no surprise there), Mesclun salad with grape tomatoes and goat cheese, Sorrento's veggie pizza, and Helen's chocolate chip cookies. Tomorrow? Main Street Deli for a smoothie! LOL Oh, and Sunday, Bedford Ice Cream -- rocky road or tuttie fruitie.... This is really sad, isn't it?? When I walked into Helen's tonight, after a year's absence, they knew just what to fix for my drink and handed me a cookie and welcomed me back.... giggle....

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I love road trips for the unexpected things one finds along the ways. While the Mister is home keeping the home fires burning and the goats in the pasture, I had three unexpected giggles today.

1) Truck parked on the side of the road in PA. that had "Get rid of arrogance! Toss out the incumbents!" painted in red, white, and blue along the side in huge capital letters.

2) A truck rolling down the CT highway which had "Kane -- we are able!" painted on the tailgate as a slogan.

3) All along the highway in NY and CT are signs which state: "Use of hand held phone prohibited." I was passed twice by State Highway Patrolmen using cell phones.

Doncha love travel??

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Am I the only person who starts packing for a trip a week beforehand?? I wonder, too, if I am the only person who loves the idea of traveling more than the actual doing....

We are in countdown mode for my trip and, frankly, I have fears that I will end up in some hotel room along the way and discover I have no drawers or, as some call 'em, panties. Isn't that a silly fear? Yet, it is the one thing that I worry over and check again and again. Perhaps it is because I was marked 40-plus years ago in a motel in West Virginia when Mother discovered she hadn't packed any and had to hand wash her only pair every night for a week. I don't know, but it is truly one of the biggest concerns I have!

My other concerns, however, are for the farm and my critters. The Mister is good to them, make no mistake, but he isn't very engaged in the farming aspects of the household. Actually, he isn't very involved in much of anything on the place unless there is a specific request. The thought of being gone has left me frantically trying to get things 'caught up' until I get home.

There is the laundry, housework, weeding, yard mowing, hoof trimming (all 12 goats!), shots (it is CDT time -- all 12), feed to pick up, bills to pay, trash to haul, canning, farmer's market, soap to make so it can dry, and the other thousand things I have forgotten. I have made sure my will is current, the bank account is balanced, and phone numbers are where he can find them.

And what has made me laugh is that the Mister plans to take vacation while I am gone because "he can't do it all and work!" Isn't that a hoot??

Am I done? Nopers. Thursday afternoon, as I reach Scranton, I will remember something else I have to do and didn't! Don't you just love travelling??

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A Mountain Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

One of the best things about this time of year is living in the mountains and having the extremely rare opportunity to sit on a mountain top with ice tea, popcorn, the Mister, and Moose, and be able to see several firework displays simultaneously! Seriously. It rocks!

We usually drive over to Bethany Baptist Church, which sits on a mountain top, and watch the fireworks in Sparta and Independence, VA. Very cool. However, this year, we were surprised to discover that the forests around the church had grown to a point that we could no longer see Independence, which is our favorite display of the two.

So, we scurried over to the VFW where we could have a great view of the display. It was spectacular! We could hear the boom! and then, a second later, see the explosion above the high school stadium. Moose sat in the back of the Forester, watching and talking about what he could see from his spot and hoping for a popcorn kernel to find its way back to him.

Then, it hit me.

There was a Latino party at the VFW, and fantastic music rolled from the building, echoing through the little valleys surrounding the hillside. Small children danced in the parking lot, their shoes flashing as the lights caught them or their soles twinkled, lit by LEDs. Women, their hair piled high, sharp heels, and exquisite, shimmering dresses, gathered the children and herded them to the edge of the lot where they could see the fireworks. The men, wanting to appear more indifferent, leisurely strolled about the lot and stood in the doorways talking, smoking, and laughing. With every burst of colour in the sky, the children would scream, "Yah!" and dance with excitement. Their cheers seemed to inspire the crowds below, nearer the football stadium, as we could hear their shouts, oohs, and ahhhs as clearly as if we were standing right there and not three miles away.

I mentioned to the Mister the irony of the situation.

"Do you realize how funny this is? We are sitting here enjoying and celebrating the Fourth of July with a Latino soundtrack. It is just perfect, isn't it??"

He mumbled something about how it was funny and kept poking the greasy popcorn into his mouth, pausing only long enough to comment on a particularly bright or different explosion.

There was just something so right about the night -- to enjoy a truly American holiday simultaneously enjoyed, as well, by those who may be just learning what being an American means. It was a sweet moment.

Happy July 4th! Be safe!


Dear Person In Charge,

My deepest appreciation for the lovely, cool, less humid weather you have sent our way these past few days. It has been refreshing to:

1) Take a shower and be able to dry myself;
2) Be able to breathe when I go outside;
3) Watch the dogs, especially Moose, chase cars again and stop traffic (I find this sadly amusing);
4) Sleep with a sheet over me again;
5) Watch the does skip and play in the pasture;
6) Have more than two eggs from the hens and they are not fried!;
7) See the kitties actually move; I was getting tired of rushing out to check them because I thought they had died from heat exhaustion when they hadn't moved for so long during our heat wave;


8) Be able to walk without getting blisters where my thighs rub!

Your kindness is deeply appreciated and I will remember this respite during the dog days.

Your best buddy,


P.S. I have decided to keep using the medicated powder. I kinda like the challenge of safely using it!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

12-Step Program

I admit it.

I am an addict.

I need help.

I need a 12-step program.

We drove two hours to a Chick-fil-a Grand Opening in Winston-Salem tonight.

This is after picking blueberries, squash, cucumbers, and beans. Going to Eleanor's and loading 17 landscape timbers that she no longer needed and installing her new a/c for her. Packing, loading, and unloading more than 150 empty canning jars. Taking my landscape timbers to have Bob, Vickie's husband, cut them in half so that I can build a compost bin. Feeding all the animals. Cutting all the hooves in one night except the four bucks (this is 32 feet, ya'll) and being kicked hard enough to see stars twice.

It is midnight and I am just getting ready for bed. This is three hours later than usual. My stomach hurts from eating so late, but I have the smug satisfaction that it was worth it. This isn't healthy. Even the staff from the district Chick-fil-a office is beginning to recognize us. And to top it off, I harrassed one store manager by insisting that there needed to be a Chick-fil-a closer to our house and confiding that I knew where some land that is just perfect for their store is for sale and I had an inside track to the owner and could assure him that it this could be a great deal for all concerned (how brazen!).

I confess. I need help.