Astronomy Picture of the Day

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nature's Power

Nature decided I should stay inside as the overdue rain is coming in buckets.

We do need it and it is filling the leaves out, plumping them unfolding their large green hands that keep us cool in summer, shielded from intense sun, making a misty shell that protects from frost and scalding.

In other words, it's raining.

Nature's power is complex, however, and best described in floods of colorful words linked by feelings one has when out in nature.

Nature's power keeps people alert tonight for flooding, the dirt roads are getting slick and mushy, and you just can't laze out back basking in the sun and watch the spring.

Nature's power draws us to plant crops and harvest what we are able.

Desiring food grown here on the hill of once volatile rocks, now glacial debris that floats to the top of the garden constantly, slowly. Desiring we sell our surplus on our roadside self serve farm stand to earn what we paid for plants.

We call it Eat the for more information

Seeing the ravens fly, crow and eat our leftover bread

is just a slice of nature's power.

Where do you feel the tug or push of nature's power?

Follow it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Last Night we saw Levon Helm

Last Night we saw Levon Helm
At the Midnight Ramble in Woodstock, N.Y.
and all his wonderful staff, band, friends and fans.
Yesterday can be described in two words:
Peak Experience.
We were blessed to get tickets to this sold out Birthday bash and further blessed to be sitting in the front row balcony overlooking the stage.
The potluck barbecue before the show made everyone slow down, eat a little, hear a preview of Electric Dirt, Levon Helm's new release due out soon.
It was beautiful spring weather and the storm held off.
Levon's studio is a warm inviting post and beam barn with concertgoers perched on the floor and seemingly in the rafters as we were.
The first band was Matt Sucich and the Vanderette's. They are a delightful cast of musicians with heartfelt songs and music to complement their life messages and tales to tell. Matt gave a taste of his rowdy side and we and the crowd enjoyed their show.
We bought several of their CD's in hand painted covers showcasing early work. Listened today and we both enjoyed them.
Then Larry Campbell, Amy Helm, Theresa Williams and the other musicians I cannot name: the fabulous Brass orchestra, guitar, organ, and others came on stage and got set to play and then the moment we had anticipated when Levon Helm walks onstage. The whole barn warmed with the audience hootin' and hollerin' and reeling in the moment.
Levon made a facial "O" and after a quick nod around he ripped into Ophelia.
They did 28 songs in a row and Levon stayed in for all of them.
His subtle moves and looks between him and band members
communicated silently his question, correction, direction, order or nod of approval.
Levon sings, drums and plays mandolin and he is a warm hearted soul who adds emotion to the words and he clearly enjoys what he does with all his heart.
We all sang Happy Birthday and they got him a nice cake printed with the Electric Dirt album cover image.
Words cannot properly express the vision of Levon playing his drums, his looks to the audience, his soulful interpretations, his precision quiet communication with multiple band members. If you ever have an opportunity to go to a Midnight Ramble, go to and check it out.
I kept peering over the railing at the hands of the extraordinary Donald Fagen and wondering, "Who is that man?". I am bad with names. Then he sang his own work and my light bulb went off.
The brass section were powerful and polished.
Amy Helm and Theresa Williams harmonized beautifully and gracefully.
Larry Campbell plays Violin, mandolin, guitar and voice and if I leave out details, forgive me. He is really quite talented and his music soulful.
Fred and I are celebrating the year of being married 25 years. We felt we had to do something truly
And the Midnight Ramble realigned our commitment to each other and that no matter how the world treats you, you can still go to Woodstock, listen to some Stellar Music and retreat even for an evening into a rare and special place where you can see the music being made like the nebulae make stars.
We will never forget our special night at the Midnight Ramble.
Tomorrow back to the garden.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fabrications of the Idle Mind

Sometimes people make up details they label or believe are facts to serve their narrow minds.
This indeed is an important mechanism for the manipulative, the narcissistic.
Their belief of their stationary viewpoint is just that. Stays in one place, stagnant, rotting.
The idle mind loses the momentum we need to create new things, new experiences.
It is funny to compare what one person sees against what another sees.
Our filter is the experiences we have had before, what we learned and retained, and our personality "mix". Think of each of our brains being wired according to our DNA blueprint. Add trauma, disease and external forces. We are being bombarded each day by rays, zooming space particles, bacteria and other pests, sunlight, magnetism, and on and on.
Even stationary life then is still always alive and in motion, evolving, changing.
Even as the stagnant human endeavors to keep from changing, he has changed.
Even as we see the fabrications of the Idle Mind, we realize it is in the past and best forgotten, like other gossipy trash people often spew when feeling insecure about themselves.
Feel how our minds should remain active and stimulated and not stagnate.
Exercise your mind when you can.
Do something new today.
Fabricate your mind in gear and drive it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Different Drummer

Looking up all facts about drumming in preparation for the Levon Helm concert next week. What excitement as we anticipate the concert of a lifetime.
Drumming actually puts you into an altered state where your left and right brain are balanced. Drumming keeps you in the moment, the now, the heartbeat. Drumming evokes emotions, lets it all out and puts you in the groove.
Shaman used drums to alter their consciousness.
They are now using drumming circles in dementia wards, cancer groups, other illnesses (incl. MS), ADHD!
So feel the beat, tap your feet.
Listen to the drumbeat and you'll hear the bones of the music, the rhythm.
Listen to Levon and you hear the soul.
We'll report back on this travel story later.
Rat a Tat Tat

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thetford Center

The Travelogue staff (me and Fred) went yesterday to Thetford Center which is Southeasterly from us.
What a beautiful bumpy ride down past Barre and through that surprise instructionless rotary. Basically a sign that said <---Route 12--->.
No East or west as if our instinct might have guided us.
A rotary with no hints about how to merge. Just go like h*ll.
The road sported more open land and less of the spot development we see here.
The towns and schools over there more modest, more sensible, preserving the puritanical roots of the inhabitants. I hope it stays that way a little longer.
The Thetford Center community center is small and tidy and utilitarian. Big sunny windows, nice kitchen and basic simple chairs, tables, essentials.
A friend's 60th Birthday party was the occasion. We enjoyed the simple afternoon away from our sometimes stressful lives.
These are only available if you are willing to take an afternoon, depart from the interstate and bump along some back roads and break for bear, moose, turkey and tractors.
Bring a dish.
We also checked out Garden mats (in Calais,VT) produced by this stressed out guy who cuts holes in these tarp like plastic fabric sheets so you can plant and cut down on weeds. We got an 18 x 4 foot foot section just to try it out. Think we'll do peppers.
Have a great Mother's day to Mothers everywhere. You are why we are here. I salute you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Shard Villa Update, My version

By Mary E Gerdt
all rights reserved 2009

Shard Villa update
I won’t go into the specific facts because I don’t know all the minutiae but I know when a case settles only moments before trial, that somebody’s scared, somebody’s giving in, somebody doesn’t want something to come out, somebody was strutting and now they are groveling, somebody’s sad.
Usually both sides lose something but they will tell you they gave up everything.
The bottom line is somebody will be able to breathe again like the residents who gained what amounts to a welcome reprieve. The relatives who sat on pins and needles knowing legal remedy is an oxymoron. The staff who were checking the paper for jobs and smiling to their beloved residents. People like me who feel that the Villa is a magical place for people who have to live away from their original home. People like the spirit of Columbus Smith who knew how the last minute dealings in conference rooms outside of court can be where the rubber meets the road, before rubber was on roads.
If you don’t understand what I am saying, you have never had to be in one of those little conference rooms listening to someone threaten your existence to get you to sign the paper giving it all away. The alternative route is they will take it all away from you.
I told you it is a snarly place.
The details are expensive but not really important. The details are washed away by the signing of a stipulation agreement. The ABA’s preferred method for settling cases.
It saves the lawyer’s the embarrassing surprises when their clients get on the stand.
It save’s the lawyers participating in their client’s lies their clients believe in.
It produces the illusion that the courtroom just wasn’t necessary. “Settled out of court” sounds so tidy. Don’t be fooled. It is as bloody as it gets.
Congratulations to Shard Villa for maintaining the 100 year plus promise to care for elders and disabled in a castle with amenities and fabulous caring staff.
Wish them luck with me in being successful at fund raising and gaining new residents to carry on Columbus Smith’s mission.
The last day in court I felt he hovered over us, watching these lawyers perform, and all he could think of was, "let me speak…my mission…my place…it is in memory of my children, myself, my wife. Don’t let us go. Watch out for our wishes. We are history. We are the Villa. We will haunt every mother’s sons of the dissenters."
At least I had hopes that was what he was thinking as I zoned out on the boring testimony of lawyers who didn’t want to discuss the one pertinent fact. Columbus Smith was a lawyer and if they undo his wishes, they go against their own and that is truly haunting. They would be inviting everyone in the future to contest 100 year old legacies. Their nightmares are that they appear in court and their opponent cites The board vs. Columbus Smith…
Lawyering. What a bizarre profession.
No longer a mystery to me and probably never was to Mr. Smith.
Mrs. Smith looked out the window alone when her husband was in England lawyering and she wondered if this was worth it all. What a hard life for a woman alone in the wilderness of Vermont as it was in the 1800’s. Yes this couple paid their price.
Wish them the best going forward.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Spring is springing

Spring is springing which has been pulling me outside.
The red winged blackbirds are in intense flaring of the red patches on their wings while whistling those lyric tunes. They sit on branches just out of my camera reach but fully in my sight. The artichokes and onions we moved to the hothouse and they like the cooler air. We started various brassica plants, more tomatoes, peppers, flowers, celery, leeks. Had hopes of getting the shallots in last weekend but just had too many other things to do and the wind blew until Sunday afternoon.
Could it be that interesting? Observations of our backyard and garden experiences?
Our food is a reward for experimenting with this or that variety. The great results from simply drilling the hole out of a 5 ounce plastic cup, fill with good planting soil with fertilizer in it and plant your seed. Give light, sunlight, moisture and care for it. Plant out when the plant is ready. We harden off in the plastic house. It will give you bounty for a few cents, your time and some maintenance.
Take advantage of the spring sun to grow your food for next winter.
Enjoy spring's marvelous fresh days.
I'll be outside...