Astronomy Picture of the Day

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Candy Canes or Just red and White Stripes

Candy Canes?
Search the news for Charlotte Central School Vermont and candy cane like stripes done by a 4th grader and her dad. I did the following piece in time to need an inspiration for our darkest season.
Merry Christmas or holiday of your traditions.

Yes Virginia
By Mary E. Gerdt 2008
On the unfortunate opposition to red and white stripes on Charlotte Central School pillars
Allegedly a symbol of something someone found offensive.
Yes Virginia
There are atheists
And ACLU lawyers
And people who will try to destroy
Your dreams
Yes Virginia
There are those who say they hate you
Or what you believe in
And how is that so different
After all.
Yes Virginia
You can pray for people who don’t believe in what you do
Because
They probably need it
At the end of the day when no one else would pray for them
Yes Virginia
People will say what you do represents religious or other beliefs
And it might make you sad or cry
Do they mean to hurt you?
I don’t know
Yes Virginia
When you do the nice thing
And someone says, “who cares” or “Why” or “You can’t”
Just tell them you are who you are
And they are who they are
And this is a free country so that really works both ways
In fact always.
Yes Virginia
Your youthful optimism and blind love only a fourth grader could muster
Is fragile and might be squished like a bug
Or you may hold on to it if you try very hard and believe twice as hard
That people might change or start to believe
Or at least feel comfortable enough to accept that you have a right believe enough to try to brighten someone’s day
Unsuspecting that behind the pillars stood one man who said Bah Humbug
Who tried to negate your good deed
That brought so many joy and a smile.
Yes Virginia
That is the miracle of the season no matter what you call it, no matter what your beliefs, there is no question that the days get shorter and shorter
until the light returns to shine on us all
Believers and non believers alike.
Yes Virginia
Don’t let that sinking feeling persist in the pit of your stomach
when you thought
You created trouble or
got in trouble for trying to brighten someone’s day.
You are the shining light we all seek
Believe it or not.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Mix


Winter Mix
We have had a winter mix of sleet rain and snow.
This picture from past years but looks the same today with near zero temperatures, crisp polar air and blue blue skies we see so rarely in the months of gray.
I stumbled onto some polar fleece at fleece4sale.com
10 pounds of random scraps arrived yesterday afternoon. I stitched up 3 hats this afternoon and now know what the blankets on Star Trek were made from. It is truly futuristic fabric available today. Undoubtedly inspired by some alien influenced dream to take recycled plastic and create warm soft and light fabric that doesn't ravel or have many bad habits. It doesn't like heat.
Neither do I.
The days are shorter and shorter yet,
The air is colder and crisper and bright.
We stay in sewing the hats for warmth
And look out at the bright sunlight
That warms the air for a few short hours
Before going to bed for the cold long night.
When you wear fleece, take a close look at how thin yet how warm soft and durable it is.
Fleece Navidad

Monday, December 8, 2008

Dime Novels

Dime Novels
for free.
A few years ago I looked for a dime novel for Fred for Xmas. They were then up to approximately 50 bucks for an OK copy/reproduction of a dime novels.
You see these in westerns. The young cow poke settles down on the cattle drive and reads the wild tale of brave and daring heroes. The comic book of the old west when it was "new" to the settlers.
Here is a link to free dime novels courtesy of
Stanford.
Hope you find a book about your hero that you can read over and over again and still get that thrill the cowboy got in his or her moment of escape to greener pastures.
http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/dp/pennies/home.html

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shortest Days

The crazy quilts are coming along and Hunter's quilt is evolving into something interesting. Hope to have pics in a few weeks.
The days are shorter and shorter, the sun rays longer and they start to skim the surface.
We have to get through the next few weeks until miraculously on schedule the sun will "return" (or we will wobble) seemingly in increments of inches.
What is a billion to you?
When the CEO's want food stamps from the common folk like myself. It's just icky the way all the money is flowing like a river to the ocean. Irretrievable, untraceable, inconceivable, and without rain, the river beds dry and turn to dust and blow away.
Enjoy the dark days or light days on the other side of the planet or if you are the CEO of a large failing firm, your secret untold bonus, plane ride and secret untold victory party if you are successful at whining and dining the legislative moguls with the money the less able will pay for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Wishes

Thanksgiving Wishes
I wish you all the best
Even those who are green
And those who are pests
Those that are blue,
Yes, and you too,
And may you see
All that will be
And all that has been
And that we are all me
That if you hurt
Or are hungry or sad,
So am I.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Winter's Doorstep

Mom, This is for you.
Mary


Winter's Doorstep,
Cold and Damp.
Stuff rags in the house cracks,
Put wood in the stove.
Remember days left behind in their warmth,
Smell the soft flowers there in your mind,
Recall all the projects you meant to complete,
Nod off while the cats curl up at your feet.
When you dream, make it warm, green fragrant fields,
And summer's blue skies,
And the way cool streams feel.
When you wake up again,
Toss your sleepy warm thoughts,
Then go fetch the wood,
To keep you warm tonight.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Carrots are in

Carrots are in,
And we canned 14 quarts of beautiful sweet carrots.
It took us all day and was worth it to have carrots harvested after a cold period.
All the nutrients settle into the root and the sugars change with cold.
Delightful orange red color. Stains your hands and smells slightly like mild horseradish.
We also cooked up the last of the beets pulled in mid November. As long as the slugs don't do damage, we have our best roots now.
Have had a bit of indian summer and even mild 40's. Mostly Rain not snow (1-3 inches doesn't count for us) like our upper midwesterners got.
Lately we have been roasting carrots with a little sugar free maple syrup drizzled.Yum! Of course you can use the real maple syrup too.
Wish you and yours the best

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Stick Season


All Saints Herald Stick Season

No, I don't mean hockey season but if the skate fits...


I mean after fall and before the snow. Fall being the falling of leaves, the conclusion to summer, not the date that appears on the calender as the first day of fall.


So for awhile we ponder the bare sticks and wonder how just a few weeks ago, they appeared to be so full of life. The picture here is of a large birch tree clump up on Lincoln Mountain. Those leaves are now all on the ground.


While my niece romps about ??upside down in South America readying for or reveling in Spring. What a wonderful planet. I wish her great travels and stories that will last a lifetime.


We still have carrots to can but keep saying not this weekend.

This weekend sealing cracks in the house to face the soon howling winds.

And tearing down abandoned cobwebs and with it dust.
I started sewing scraps onto a larger scrap piece. Crazy quilt is the pattern. Weird how when you bind together such seemingly opposite fabrics, the stitching is a thread running through the two different fabrics and magically bind them together.
Let's all hope whoever wins Tuesday, they are able to find the right needle and thread to keep us all from holding onto our differences and bind us together in a crazy beautiful quilt.
Mary

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tommy and the Ghost

Tommy and the Ghost
I never really got to this story and you might have been wondering if there was a story to Tommy, our classic barn black and white Tomcat and the ghost, actually technically a hag looking out our east window. I think I posted it a couple weeks ago. My how "time" flies...

This is the last week before the days when the veil becomes thinner between the world/plane as we know it and the supernatural, the world beyond.
We were advised of ghosts before we came here so long ago. Many generations lived here. Locks on every door. Mysteries and shadows. Creaks you can't explain.

Being fond of ghosts and trapped souls and black and white stray cats, this picture captured it all.

The stray sounds in our house are mostly explainable. Moving Air by wind or water through the pipes, wind, cat paws on the stairs, rats running up the walls in fall. This is a farm after all. The cats see to it the rodents don't live long.
Once in awhile something happens and I look and say, who did that? It feels like a supernatural presence. I also hope they watch as I take a shovel to the road or load firewood or sell vegetables and thereby feel like I paid my dues too. I guess ghosts are as much about being happy that you are there. Likewise they do get a bad rap for doing trickery.

Here as I filmed my favorite rascal barn cat Tommy looking out the east kitchen window near where lightning reportedly struck many years ago, the ghost who we call Hag looks out over the curtain. She is such a trickster. She could be noisier, or more of a bother and I wouldn't mind. She doesn't even do the classic throw the plate or glass up against the wall. So we do get along and I know she looks out for Tommy when we are away.

Soon the veil will return with All Saint's Day, Saturday November 1st.
So until then, look for the Hag and her kind lurking in the shadows, desperate to be noticed, longing to return to the material plane.
Forgotten and lonely at times. Be kind to them. Their lives were always harder than you could know.

Happy Hallowe'en.
from tommy and the hag

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Story posted

For those of you that don't already know, I have had a diagnosis of MS for a little more than a year. I have to say that before introducing my new story which was posted on a great MS website
I am sorry but Note: 9.19.2011, the website no longer works: http://www.ourmsstories.com/

I posted the story called "Wheelchair Repellant" on my blog. Look in the margin for the directory of my stories. mary

Writing helps release stressful feelings and fears while hopefully helping others going through similar or worse challenges.
Rated R for Real.
May you write your heart out and share your dreams.
p.s. the snow did not accumulate down here in the valley but was beautiful

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall winds down

The Fall winds down
as the leaves fall faster and faster
the rain
and frost help
gravity take
what nature made
and men marvel
at the colors made
soon to be
a golden carpet
then soil
then tree food
and a bed for
mice and squirrels.
The first snow deserves a mention
and tomorrow morning
we find out how serious nature was
in reminding us of coming winter.
I am unable to predict the weather
by omens or wooly worms and
the unpredictable-ness of weather
makes us appreciate a perfectly beautiful warm summer day
all the more.
enjoy fall

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Spruce Tree,Tommy and the Ghost


the spruce tree tommy and the ghost

Here is my nature story for the week.
We just cleared about 100 dollars total on the farm stand this year.
We called it "eat the farm" because when you eat our vegetables you are eating all the rain, minerals etc that come off the farm.
We were wondering what to buy and I really wanted an evergreen tree. They are always green and it will grow and be here a long time.
Not like dinner out or some plastic crap from Wal-Mart.
We went to 4 seasons and the prices were way out there.
We found the last 5 foot tall spruce at home depot marked down half price to 35 dollars.
We planted it 2 days ago with the full moon on the rise. "hunter's moon"
Fred had to cut all the burlap and string out of the roots since they had neglected the poor tree.
We found a place it won't block the sun but we can see it everyday. It symbolizes that we have officially arrived home, 16 years after moving here.
A religious experience for sure.
Then I looked up "spruce" trees and Spruce was an ancient word for Prussia, the country Fred and my Dad's ancestors came from.
With dΓ©jΓ  vu we experience the same thing over and over. In my view of reality there is no time. No first, no last. everything is and always is. Everything is now. Nothing to "get through". My human flaw says, "hate that one" or "I will get through this". My metaphysical side says, you will have to go here again because you are always going through this. What am I learning on this material plane?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mercury Returns to forward motion

And exactly What's in it for me? you might ask.
Well, have you noticed better
Communication?
lately?
I stumbled onto the fact Mercury went retrograde earlier this month.
Ok, it does that about 4 times a year.
google or wiki for details.
Yes, I gave up on trying to easily communicate for a few weeks.
I didn't expect electronic nuisances like cell phones to work.
My reflections of days yet to come were blurry and vague.
Much better to sit out back and take in the views of turning leaves, such a mysterious and magical explosion of color.
Perhaps the periodic adjustments captured by the magnetic powers of mercury, the communication planet, allow us the necessary self reflection to achieve certainty of the need to connect with others.
All I know is that after knowingly experiencing the powers of a retrograde mercury, astrology takes on a scientific basis.
Aren't there days when you just can't get anything done? You got the letter late, the contract just couldn't be finished or signed, the person sitting across from you looks at you like you have horns sticking out of your head.
Now check the planets.
And take a break and take in the sights on your side of the planet.

typing better since wednesday....believe it or not

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Lincoln Peak

Our Farm Stand Closing Monday 10.13.08


Lincoln Peak is beautiful anytime but especially in the fall.

Here are some current foliage snaps that say a thousand words each.

winter is coming.winter is coming.winter is coming...............................


Have a great Columbus Day. What have you explored lately?
mg

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Archives

The archives of my prior blog
are under
Travelogue for the universe the first generation
Hope you can find it
Takes us old timers
a little longer to catch on
Mary

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


October is the month
of the Black Cat
Here is Mr. B.B who is pausing in a high
window in our woodshed much to the disturbance
of the swallows and their kin who fly in and out of here
a million times to sustain on mosquitoes, flies and other
insects that pester us. We wish BB could curb his taste for bird
but alas a black cat likewise prefers poultry.
BB we hope to tame and have spent years getting a little closer
to inviting him in with our other black cats. He is reluctant to
leave his feral brothers and sisters and torn between the 2 worlds, one warm and comfortable and the other on the streets of the country with the thugs and creeps as abundant as in a busy city ghetto. A feral cat always has a wildness to her and even house cats go wild sometimes, flashing back to their root behaviors that make them fierce and then docile to conserve energy.
I hope when we go to Mars, we will take our cats. Although they only like Friskies canned food lately and the spaceship will get to be smelling pretty bad after a year or two, we have a decade or so to work out the kinks.
See you then.
Have a great October Black Cat Celebration

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Fall Fury Begins


Fall colors have begun in earnest. Reports of peak colors in the higher elevations and colder spots like the Adirondacks. Here in the Western Vermont Champlain Valley, we enjoy a more drawn out process. Greens mixed with blazes of colors mainly reds and oranges and yellows. Warm colors to warn us of the cold future. This picture is from last year.

We canned 13 quarts of kiefer pears from our 15 year old tree that a couple years ago was tipped over and uprooted by the water coming off the hill. We propped it up much to my doubts and it has taken awhile but here we are, eating the bounty.

The air is cool and crisp and cleans out your breathing apparatus.

The weekend went by much too fast and back to work tomorrow.

The old cat cage went to a couple who have a rabbit in need of a cage. When they said they rescued the rabbit I thought of how senseless and useless a human must be to be stupid enough and cruel enough to set free a domestic rabbit. So we just had to give them the cage. It was a nice cage we had made for the cat population explosion when Captain et al were a baby cats (kittens).

Now we needed it to go somewhere and a rabbit has a nice house tonight.

Hope your crib is comfortable warm and accessible.

MEG