Wednesday, November 29, 2006


as local as we could make it....

wine from a vineyard nearby
cheese from a dairy near my parents an hour away
cider from a local cidermill
turkey from a farm nearby
and a bit more.....

I made a quick centerpiece of clementines, local cranberries, cloves and cinnamon sticks in a glass cylinder- looked really nice!
and candles that the boys had made at the fair a few weeks ago.

A quiet rainy and cold day.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

pre thanksgiving

Went to both kids schools today to pick the kids up. They each got out half day, and I was able to arrive early for each. I knew at emmett's school, I could sneak in to the assembly and hear/see what he was experiencing for the holiday. I was happy to see all the kids (several hundred) sitting on the floor in the auditorium, watching the 2nd and 3rd graders.

They were dressed as pilgims and indians, and had a whole presentation singing, and reciting all sorts of things that helped the kids understand the history of the holiday, and to show how the school does good deeds and gives back to the community to show how important it is to give.

When they were dismissed, I joined in the line just behind emmett and placed my hand on his head. He turned and saw me, smiled and hugged my arm. "How did you get here so fast mommy?" So cute.

We drove to Eli's school to pick him up, and I figured we were early enough to catch whatever assembly they would have too. We walked into the school 1/2 hour before dismissal to find nothing going on. strange. We waited in the entry, and picked him up as usual.

I must say, I was disappointed. Why wouldn't they do something to acknowledge this widespread non-denominational american holiday? what's up with that?

Emmett's school has each child write down what they are thankful for- participate in or attend the inclusive assembly, and bring in food items to donate to those less fortunate. The kindergarteners have a wonderful tradition of making sandwiches (usually around 800 of them) that they donate to a local shelter to distribute as the homeless are leaving from Thanksgiving dinner- so they have something for the next meal. Commendable and wonderful for the kids to participate in and learn from.

Wish more schools were like this. I guess it is wishful thinking to expect public schools to be ... hmmm.... a good and comprehensive learning environment. I guess it is "no child left behind" and teaching to the testing. And learning compassion and thoughtfulness is not in that agenda. What a disservice this country is doing to our society.

cold beautiful sky

this was the view yesterday, as emmett and I were lying on the trampoline (taking a break from tons of jumping)

.... and this was the view looking down onto the trampoline, just before I lay down.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

little gems

I love pomegranates. Eli and I share them when I get them each year. He and I are the only ones in the house who like them. I bought one the other day, and Eli saw it on the counter last night. His eyes got large, and he said "oh, I love those!". I told him we should wait until the morning. So when he came downstairs this morning, we indulged in these little glistening gems.........

I know there are supposed to be great "easy" ways to get the seeds out. I have tried all of the methods, which I don't think are any easier than the "gentle coaxing" way. I enjoy picking them all free, gently breaking parts open and loosening them just enough to have them fall free onto the plate.
Eli and I had so much fun letting them escape from their bound in jails, and I loved listening to his comments.. "they look like crystals...", "look, these are like the bones of the pomegranate..." and even how he observed all of the juices running free across the plate, and how it was staining our hands....
.... then Eli scooped some into a little bowl and took off- happily munching them. I took photos of them as I love how they look! then I ate some before posting this!

Friday, November 17, 2006

farm girl

I need to be 'farm girl' I think. at least for a while. It's in my blood. It has always been who I am. I need to use my body, be with animals, grow things. Drive big tractors. Feed things. Make things. Sling hay bales. Take care of and fix things.

I am hunting around here for somewhere new, since it seems it is just too big to make a 'real' move right now... and I think if I stay here any more in this house, my soul will wilt too far. I need desperately to breathe, and be more in touch with the earth, and animals. I need to feed my soul.

We have been talking about moving for more than 2 years. I fear that in 5 years, I will still be in this house and nothing will have changed, except for me on the inside. I will be dead in there. So, I need to do something about it. now. NOW.

I am working like crazy to get a horse to ride, and that may be happening soon. But I need to move to a new house in the very near future, before my soul is any more sad. I am in the prime of my life to do something good. I need to make more of an effort to care for who I need to be. I am house/property hunting like crazy. I need enough property to have some animals.

I am hunting for some self-preservation. Can't wait to see what finds me!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

playing outside

My kids are awesome outside. While we live in a suburban area, and we do have access to some great spaces... kicking my kids outside doesn't always work. There isn't really anywhere for them to just mess around and explore. Our old house at HillStead was like that though (yes I still miss it in so many ways).
A pond, just a 1 minute walk down the driveway, provided hours of fodder for play. Throwing sticks into the stream and watching them float under the bridge, waiting for them to show up on the other side.... throwing rocks way into the center and seeing the ripples... watching the ducks who came every year to lay their eggs.... messing around in the dam at the far end of the pond.. and more.
Trails to walk on were always beckoning. And then there was always just a good place to sit and watch the trees blowing in the breeze, or the deer grazing, or go and pick some daffodils that grew all over the hill in the spring.

Yesterday, we were about an hour early to a birthday party. The parent who told us the wrong time, was later so apologetic. I thanked him though instead, as we had a wonderful hour of smiles. It was a gift. Eli doesn't smile that much. But in his element of being a smart creative kid, he does. (in the straight jacket of traditional schooling... he doesn't).

So, the boys and I ended up walking along a rails to trails path and discovering a little oasis of a treefort. Okay, it wasn't really a tree fort- it was a platform that someone had built about 6 feet up in between a bunch of trees. There was a rope hanging down and the boys were swinging on that. Emmett was gleefully howling "I'm Tarzan!!!!" as he was swinging wildly. Eli was exploring, climbing, and figuring out how to shake a fallen tree to get it all moving with his body... then helping emmett learn to do the same.

The sun was glistening, and the boys and I were happy. It was a really good way for all of us to spend the hour. We need a new space to be...... I love it when they are like that.

Monday, November 06, 2006

I miss.....

the barn at HillStead

I miss this barn. We used to live on a fabulous property..... 150 acres, a little pond, a fabulous museum, trails to walk & snowshoe (and when I was younger I rode my horse there too), deer and wild turkey seen frequently.... beauty all around. We lived there for 8 years, during which I found out that one of my great great uncles was the one who had sold the property to Theodate, who turned it into a fantastic place where her parents lived, and eventually she did too. We rented the "shepherd's cottage" down in the farm complex which consisted of our house, another house, two barns and a small kennel/ turned one room cottage.

It was a heavenly place to live, despite some challenges, but overall it was a place we were lucky to enjoy for 8 years. I miss looking out my 2nd floor kitchen windows in the late afternoon, watching the sun going down over the fields, and sometimes seeing the deer coming to graze. I have no kitchen windows now, and rarely see the sun going down. We have lived in this house for almost 8 years... time to move.

I miss all of that terribly. I need to move to a place I can breathe more. I crave it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

cold and colorful

As much as I am dying to move from this place.... I do appreciate and enjoy the beauty in the fall here. I seem to be surrounded by it, although inside our house is so dismally dark, that lights need to be turned on even on brilliant sunny days. But when I am outside and driving so many places each day.... I see things that take my breath away and the beauty strikes me over and over.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


my raclette

This cheese is always so good. It is a wonderful mass of melted flavors, warming, soothing and tangy in a creamy way. I learned about having raclette when I visited Switzerland. The first time I went, we were lucky enough to have several dinners with our friends outside of Zurich. On one particular evening, we were served this wonderful dish.

So this first time, I enjoyed it in all its glory: the outdoor table, laden with plates of tidbits- little cornichorns, and pickled onions, special covered baskets of small new potatoes- meant to be peeled by spearing them with a funky little pronged utensil. Once your plate was prepared with the peeled potatoes and garnishes, then you were ready for a turn.

Our host had a huge half wheel of Raclette cheese in a special cooker- it held the cut side up and allowed it to be heated from the top with a special element. Then the wheel was swiveled away from the heat, tipped, and the melted layer scraped off onto an eagerly waiting plate.

The plate was then handed down the table to the hungry guest. The cheese would be enjoyed with chunks of the tiny potatoes in the same bite. So good! Unlike anything I have ever tasted. And wanting to have more, I had to try to be patient until it was my turn again. But all of this waiting and rich cheese, and slow savoring makes one filled with the enjoyment of eating mindfully.

So, now that the weather has turned colder, I love to have this as a lunch, even if it is just me, and I am not in Switzerland. I was lucky enough to find some raclette at the store the other day. It was french, which is not quite as mild the the swiss raclette, but still very good. I didn't even bother to peel the fingerling potatoes I bought. I cut thin slices of the cheese, and placed them in a tiny pan made specially for raclette (for those of us who don't have a need for the large cookers). I have now taken to just using one little pan on my flat cooktop, and it works well enough. I couldn't wait to dig in......

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Boba Fett, and a "murdered guy" had fun. I stole Eli out of school just after lunch, and we all went home and worked like crazy to prepare for the evening. (sometimes things are more important than being in school- and boy, was Eli psyched when I showed up to take him home!)

We worked on pumpkins, costumes, and Eli created a spooky graveyard in the front yard, that I got sucked into helping with (willingly!) and we added spiderwebs and more.....

Then we trick-or-treated for long enough that the boys got quite a stash of goodies!

emmett being Boba Fett

Eli being a "murdered guy"

me.... carving pumpkins

emmett wanted ghosts....

Eli chose a skull with flames
for his graveyard...

It all looked great in the dark, and we even had spiderwebs across the front door for "guests".