Thursday, December 30, 2010


Sunset a few minutes later each day now.
Trying out the sony sure shot.
Bear with me...

one more with the barn

Warm spell on the way, aka January thaw.
will be 40's F then back down below freezing.

Keep warm wherever you are........mary
Hope to post my blogger review tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sean's View

Sean sitting on his shelf where he often looks out to the back yard.
He was patient as I clicked to find the right pose.

Monday, December 27, 2010

For my doctor

For Hillel Panitch,
my primary MS doctor and the relentless researcher of MS,
who had stellar bedside manner and
who I really had to be talked into seeing by my eye doctor. In the end he became my first choice neuro doctor and I am very picky, being an "old neuro nurse".
I wrote this shortly after I found out he was gone.

I was sitting in the McDonalds parking lot,
Eating my lunch on the road where I work
(I still work full time, thanks Dr. P...)
Assessing clients

And helping them access personal care.

The clinic called and my heart always skips a beat when they call me

Back to my other reality....

This is YOUR life, not some other sufferer.

They wanted to invite me to a tribute to Dr Panitch.

I was on the “a” list.

I looked around, was there anyone looking at me?

Did anyone see? Hear?

I wanted to be polite, respectful,

I wanted to say, Yes.

My schedule flashing in my head.

How could I do that, I thought.
It is for the MS society.

The people who thought my MS story was too long and when I shortened it they said it wasn’t quite right.

But it is for Dr Panitch, I thought,
A lifetime achievement award.

No, I said, so plainly, No.

I am honored (and I was sincerely),

But I cannot do it.

I lived in two worlds,

The Neuro Nurse and the Neuro patient.

My friends, coworkers from 30 years ago would be there,

as health care professionals.

How would I fit in?

My world, a subset of both nurse and patient.

Hearing he is gone from our material world,

I am relieved I was not there,

That my memories can be of him standing in the hallway,

Trying to peek at my progress on his study meds,

Briefly making eye contact, I smiled at him,

Trying to say what he has done for me is appreciated.

He has bought me some time,

He has given me expensive cutting edge treatment I would have otherwise gone without,

He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Don’t worry, we will take care of you.”


He meant every word.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Chocolate fixes everything

Christmas 2010 and people are saying Merry Christmas again, freer
and without hesitation or thought of taking it back or modifying to a happy holiday...
We rode on the ferry to NY to save some money, last minute shopping and got to see the heavy snow on the mountains and moderate levels in the valley. Nice blue sky, calm and cold. New bridge is coming along.
I kept thinking about how, as far back as I remember, that there was no S*nt*. You know who.
It was no mystery to me where the presents came from and how behavior was monitored and the good was rewarded
whether a fat mythical white bearded jolly man or my parents.
My father had to work at the post office delivering mail and packages until late.
He would come home very tired to some wound up kids and a tree with gifts.
We had to be patient and would try to sit still and not get in trouble.
When he walked in the door, he always had a big box of chocolate called
Mavrakos. I assume that was the family name but it was exquisite big triangular chunks
of pure chocolate. I could not wait to break of a triangle and start gnawing.
Soon the floor would be a sea of paper and we would be fondling our take.
Mom's and Sis's cookies on plates all around.
The tree with the old ornaments.
These memories come back when I picked up a couple of chocolate bars.
Dad figuring, even though he had to work late,
That chocolate would fix everything.
Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Music Link

Here is a link to an amazing slice of music by some of our favorite musicians.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Are humans humane?

Are Humans humane?
Or is it just an illusion, a mirage?

Who made the definition, anyway,
You know, of the word, "humane"?

What does it mean?
The word, "humane"?

Use it in a sentence....

"She was humane, the way she..
"She was inhumane, the way she...
"She did all humanly possible...
no, wrong word,
"He went over to the humane woman...
oh forget it.

Like sometimes we might say,
"That [some heinous act] was inhumane."

But what is heinous anymore?
It seems there are things I think are bad that someone else might find pleasure from.
And vice versa.

So perhaps we need humane definitions,
So that we could refer to the basics when we struggle to be nice.

Maybe each of us may write our own code
of what we think humane is?
How humans should act?

The laws don't seem to mean as much anymore,
When humans do inhumane things and
no one cares.

The illusion of the status of being an humane human,
Do we all fail the test in some way?

If monkeys evolved into humans,
then is it because we call ourselves humane?
Or are humane?
Or want to be humane?

And why are monkeys happy the way they are?
Do they forget about being humane and therein lies their happiness?

And finally,
Why am I surprised still, after 52 years of hearing people do inhumane things?
Is that just being a human?

happy solstice. we are entering the lighter days.
i hope you have a great day if it is at all humanly possible
mary gerdt, monkton, vermont 12.21.2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Three Shortest Days

Where we are at, The three shortest days by daytime length are today, tomorrow (winter solstice) and the day after tomorrow.
These three, once we get past them, are like a hurdle of darkness.
This morning, driving to work with threats of "ice fog" had me alert until I saw the pavement looked pretty good and the trees were all sparkly looking.
At some point I saw a light and wondered where the new light came from.
It was yellow like sodium vapor lights.
It was the sun on day one of these three shortest days. Guess it was
burning through the ice fog.
I have noticed where the sun rises and sets now, on these shortest days.
Now wonder it is cold.
Hard to believe what this place looks like 6 months from tomorrow.
Here on these shortest three days.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sparkling Snow

Re-posting a past poem.
Today the sun is so low in the sky, the snow sparkled a long time. It looked like jewels. I forgot how pretty that is and am happy for the clear sunny sky even if that means it is colder.
Ready for the solstice this week...

Sparkling Snow
Sparkling Snow**all rights reserved

by mary gerdt

It happened today,

when I thought some great thoughts,

that peace would come


all hunger would stop

and the sick would rejoice when their pain went away

and the lonely will find a friend and the sad will smile.

It happened.

The snow sparkled like never before.

Is that a start?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Music Links...

This is posted on you tube...
Raise Your Hand!
Tom Jones and Janis Joplin.
Enjoy this link ...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Summer's Hope

Summer holds such hope.
In this case, we dutifully started these onion and tomato plants in little plastic cups and then transplanted into these black plastic covered beds.
Hoping that we would not get a freak frost or chilling wind.
2009 brought late blight to most VT gardeners.
These tomato plants were laden with half perfect/ but all ruined fruit.
They all withered and died in a matter of hours, it seemed.
Reminding us gardeners that nature can take as it gives.
Treasure each fruit.
As tough as winter has been the past week (and worse for those down south),
This picture reminded me that summers can hold hidden darkness.
Now we approach the darkest days.
Treasure each glimmer of light, even moonlight or starlight, as a hopeful gesture
looking forward to next year, next summer, and hopeful planting again.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I had a dream

I had a dream I woke up and Thomas Jefferson was shaking me.
Wake up, he said.

Thomas Jefferson put it this way: "...a wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."

My eyes wouldn't open, I did not want to wake up. This was a dream I told myself.

Of all the people I would like to dream about, he would be in the top 5.
I felt like of all the people I have told my stories to, Thomas Jefferson would probably sit down with me and politely say, can my girl get you something to drink?
Take your time,
now tell me your story.

And I would relax back enjoying the mountain breeze, gazing at his gardens, and I would tell him.
If it was a real dream, he would just google me or tweet or FB or something.

What would he say? Would he think women should own anything? Would he ask me where my husband was and he would just ask him what happened?
Would he let me ask him why he has a girl? What does the girl want? What does she dream?
Maybe he would ask me the same thing.

Dreams are funny things. I still remember some dreams like postcards, or short action clips.
Thomas Jefferson had a dream and yearned to create the best government possible.
Perfection, unfortunately is not possible.
Reality is always a little Off Balance, tending towards entropy, with unsustainable perfection.
So when he woke me up,
I said,
Can I get you something to drink?
Wow, I cannot believe it is you.
I have been to your house and paid to see inside several times and I was impressed.
Your writing, inventions, gardens and philosophy in and out of government is incredible.
Tell me,
how did we do with carrying out your dreams?
Do you want to hear my story?

Then I woke up

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa, Where does the power for Christmas lights come from...

Oh Santa,
Where does our power come from, to light the streets and little light bulbs on all our appliances
and house lights and heaters and factories, human life support infrastructure etc...?
We all know reindeer cannot fly.
And money doesn't grow on trees and it is hard to get sunburned in Vermont winter.
So Santa said to watch this video about
the other green power, responsibly produced, using naturally occuring elements
by people who live right there and also
naturally choose to be responsible
so they can earn a living and live with cheap power.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Music

"Tis the season,
Whatever your reason
To celebrate the return of light
To our Northern Continent,
This is the CD you want!
Got mine in the mail today.


and on

Thursday, December 9, 2010

From the Archives

I started blogging on the old aol site until they closed down.
This picture of our classic barn cat Napoleon
appeared in the First Edition of the Travelogue.
I found blogging started out as being a place to unload
my personal views, frustrations, hopefully some
wisdom or empathy for another's plight. For what hurts me hurts you too.
I connected with some other bloggers who also have MS
and in that respect, a virtual support group with infinite
acceptance from my worldwide friends who comment and
read my rants and dreams and enjoy a random photo of
a cat we found when a little ball of fur out by the barn.
The first night I went out because he was crying. I reached to rescue him and
he hissed and bit at me.
"Forget you!" I said.
The next day he was crying. Fred went out
and picked up the hungry little orphan who by now
relented to human contact.
That is how we got that little scrapper who beat up kittens twice his size.
At one time I might have jotted this down in a notebook.
But these days we can ping this message around the world
and perhaps people reading this later, will enjoy,
these random trains of thoughts and images
and perhaps they will understand
why we blog.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


We had an unexpected nor-easter day before yesterday. We got about 8 inches and and still getting
snow showering and blowing around. Light, fluffy stuff this time so much more tolerable.
I got home early after getting my 20 pounds of remnant fleece at the mysterious fedex ground site.
I trudged through the snow to get the recycling barrel which we call the refrigerator, because it is about the size of one. I loaded the garbage barrel inside it and dragged it up the hill.
The fresh air was nice. About 20 degrees F.
I proceeded to shovel a bit and pretended I was doing wii downhill skiing.
The sun set early about 4:30 and I realized it would be even earlier for a few more weeks.
Heading back to the house I saw a weird path, like I had shoveled a pathway to the front of the house.
I didn't shovel that.
Then I remembered. The recycling bin had carved a perfect path in the fluffy snow.
The cats will appreciate that, I thought,
then went in and got warmed by the fire.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Are you a slave to the tax?

A link to an editorial about taxation and history.
Whether tea parties nauseate or elate you,
or if Rush makes you quiver or shiver,
Do not ignore that high taxes especially in Vermont,
Are crippling us.

(the girl looked for the monkton sb minutes for the annual october
property tax lien sale. no oct. minutes. omg. oh, nov. minutes posted
oh, tax sale after taxes due this year. wonder what they sold this year?
anybody out there besides the girl want property tax reform in vermont?)

Monday, December 6, 2010


All they were is words.
No knife edge, no rope burn,
No stitches, no itches,
No pain,

Think again,
The words they cut,
They leave a scar,
You can't see,
but not far.

Don't be fooled,
The sharp tongue speaks.
Don't take
The havoc that it wreaks.

A sharp tongue lashes out,
Lies and carries on.
Hurting all around it,
like an acid thrown upon.

Call the dragon what it is,
A fire breathing monster,
When you feel the pain
of others bad words,

You must fight, and
Slay the dragon

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dia Art Foundation - Robert Smithson: Spiral Jetty Links

This is an amazing site and have just begun to look into who Robert Smithson was:
This foundation needs your support.
But question their salaries before you give, see comment from a friend....

Dia Art Foundation - Robert Smithson: Spiral Jetty Links

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Artichoke Monkton Vermont 2009

I have been wanting to tell about Thanksgiving dinner
where we made a really good dressing/stuffing (Thanks google and Oprah),
We wanted to add some broth and had some from '09 in the freezer.
We use broth to freeze some veggies like leeks and celery because they keep
better that way.
We forgot that in '09, we also did those tasty
and tiny artichoke hearts in broth and found one last container in the freezer.
Which made a very special dressing or stuffing as you might call it.
No artichokes this year even though the plants did OK.
Making that package of artichoke heart broth that much more special.
What a gift.
Thanks, Danke

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Carols

Carolyn Wonderland and Guy Forsyth have made a new CD
for Christmas. I just ordered 2 because before 12/3/10, the artists autograph them. These two people separately are
amazing but together, they complement perfectly and stretch your imagination of what music can be.
Check out CW's link and order the holiday album for your
hippest xmas bash...

Monday, November 29, 2010


Numbers are funny things
having meaning to humans alone.
No animal or plant counting out
One, Two, Three.
See you at Four, Five, Six.
Give me Seven, Eight, Nine.
I need more,
Count me back the change.

We attach different meanings to numbers.
Like saying it took a whole one year,
Three Hundred and sixty five days,
Twenty Four Hours,
I ate One whole pie.

Can you see
Twenty Four Hours
as One Revolution of the Earth,
and One Year as one trip around the Sun?

We go quite far each day
While feeling like we are standing still.
The numbers help guide us
We follow them,
Follow them we will.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Potatoes really are different

Potatoes really are different.
Even among potatoes, there are many varieties.
We buy our seed stock from Fedco in Maine, US. They have the best descriptors of
the finer points to really choose that potato experience.  (look for moose tubers)
Dad wondered why not just plant the one we like the best.
That is a problem.
Because we like so many of them, differently.
This year we got some rust but it was not under the skin. Otherwise pretty good yields.
Our shopping list for seed potatoes:
All time favorite white keeper: Kennebec.
All around red keeper: Red Pontiac (don't keep as long as Kennebec)
Nice red skinned potato: Romanze-yellow flesh
Most unbelievable red flesh and taste: Adirondack Red.
Must cook a deceptively long time: All Blue-very good taste, pretty blue color.

We found an Internet recipe for crock pot potatoes. Mostly cube them, put butter in the pan,
some whole garlic cloves, some chopped onions, some water. Cook all day and then add some milk and mash at the end. We had an assortment of potatoes and the flavors blended nicely.

And like most produce, the potatoes you grow, truly are different as well.
Well worth the effort and research to find the right varieties for you.

Final Chapter

The final chapter decided to be, well, the final one.
I promise not to go on and on about it any more.
There could have been many more chapters. There could have been emails and I could have posted the response from the town fathers. In fact I promised that.
But I find myself spinning stranger than fiction living yarns
and the more that is said, the more disbelief by the reader.
That is no way to tell a story, a believable story.

There will be nothing more said except when I twitter a one liner to show the universe my fight is still alive. My story,
a book to be put on a shelf labelled, Monkton Scandal.

The future holds the answers as to how the tax farmers of 2050 will rake the victims. The future knows how many might have owned land, but for extraordinary circumstances, they suffer the
cold and callous hand of the tax ferrets of 2100.

My battle lost and surrender complete.
This subject must stop.
Let the universe correct any wrongs.
The girl is tired of fighting.
Potato review next....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Chapter Three

Something kept me from posting Chapter Three. I tried a couple of times and it didn't work so I stopped.
It was a sign, perhaps.
I knew I did not want to post all bazillion emails I sent to the town, the town's lawyer, the newspapers, secretary of state, politicians, governor, and myself. I wanted to post the 2 responses I got, one promising to send me proof I was contacted (never received) and an apology from the lawyer who had a conflict of interest but still made $1,000 while we did not have Christmas that year. But I cannot.
Suffice it to say these things happened. And if you do not believe me, seeing the letters won't convince you anyway.
The data I wanted to post were all mysteriously hijacked by adobe and un-paste-able in these posts.
No, it is not like the dog ate my homework.
It is indeed more of the mystery of the stranger than fiction reality of property tax lien sales.
Hard to define, explain, track down.
Impossible, it seems, to reform, call attention to and correct.
The German ancestors crying in their sleep about the dollars wasted here being mined or milked by taxmen, lawyers and carpetbaggers.
Can someone wake and see the tide of incivility where a quaint little town like this sleepy camelot might threaten a girl's property and not see fit to talk to her, know who she is, what she is fighting?
It all sounds so unreal that I know I risk losing more readers to games, shopping, or baking cookies.
So Chapter Three will be short and sweet. A promise of more data as I can collate it,
and other experiences to demonstrate my demands for reform every day that I live on this travelogue of life.
mary gerdt, monkton, vermont

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I took paths,
Right and Left,
Up and down,
Through, around,
Into, out of,
This Way and
That Way and
Not that way or this way,
And somehow,
I ended up here,
and wondered,

Monday, November 22, 2010

Chapter Two

So I sat down to proceed. My mind has been searching for the right words. Like veins of thoughts. They go this way and that, meandering along and merging sometimes or dividing from other thoughts.
I reviewed all the emails in the folder I labelled
Monkton Scandal. I suppose to label it what is was. After I got over being stunned (see posts on sprachlos), and angry,
I started just thinking.
Science was always my favorite route.
Establish the known.
Identify what is not known.
Search for truth, a formula, an explanation, justification.
Then look for validation, replication with experimentation.
I thought for sure the paper would send me a copy of the ad. It had my name in it. I thought they might think, wow, 9 months late is a little soon to be selling the girl's place? They gave me a run around or something. I gave that one up early on.
Back to truth searching.
I got the town reports and began a spreadsheet of all the property liens sold by the town of Monkton since  the new policy in 2004. It was strange. Only 2 sales had been recorded. Many were up to 5 years late and were not even making payments.

I tried to put the spreadsheet here but will work on that one later. Suffice it to say for now, in about 5 years 2 sales occured:
one for $1455 and one for $163.

And this year I compiled these snippets of the minutes I could access:

Snips of Monkton,VT Selectboard Town Meetings.

March 9, 2009,

First meeting of new 5 member town select board.

“T. Cunningham asked about tax sales of properties, as mentioned at the Town Meeting on 3/3/09 by Delinquent Tax Collector Roderick Burritt. T. Cunningham suggested a lien be placed on any subject property immediately. J. Phillips mentioned that a lien may spur action by the homeowner. The Board discussed this issue in some detail. P. Norris mentioned title searches being made by lawyers. T. Cunningham asked if properties in duress have mortgages on them. No action taken “

March 23, 2009

“g- Delinquent taxes: there is a supra lien on all delinquent taxes by the Town of Monkton. Therefore, it is not necessary to file a lien the land records. The Delinquent Tax policy should be reviewed and updated. Peter Norris will review and make proposed changes to present to the board for the next meeting. “

April 13, 2009

“Delinquent Taxes are still about $88,000. Rod Burritt has indicated that he would like to come to the Select Board to see about starting Tax Sale proceedings. “

June 8, 2009

“Informal Report on ANAC Status. Stephen Pilcher attended a meeting of the Agricultural and Natural Areas Committee and gave an informal report of their progress. The ANAC committee has two ongoing projects, one which has completed the application process and one which is waiting the results of the state budgeting process. Both projects are being coordinated by the Vermont Land Trust and seem very beneficial to the Town of Monkton. “

Mary’s notes.[I believe I saw the minutes where Stephen Pilcher attended ANAC committee and was talking about tax sales. Those minutes are no longer posted and Stephen Pilcher’s name does not appear in the ANA C meeting minutes.]

June 22, 2009

“Delinquent Taxes. The Town of Monkton continues to have a large amount of delinquent taxes due. The Town is currently owed $76,000 in delinquent taxes. Rod Burritt, the Delinquent Tax Collector, will start the process of putting delinquent properties up for tax sale starting July 1st. “

September 14, 2009

• Tax Sale - This will take place on October 13, 2009.

October 12, 2009

• Agent to Deed Real Estate Appointment - Motion to nominate L. Stephen Pilcher as Agent to Deed Real Estate was made by Peter Norris and seconded by Anne Layn. This motion was unanimously approved “

October 26, 2009

Review of Tax Sale

The Town of Monkton conducted a tax sale on October 13. Four parcels were sold and each was sold for more than the amount of delinquent taxes, interest, fee and cost. The Town of Monkton will hold the excess amounts in four separate accounts for the benefit of the property owner. “

November 9, 2009

“Review Minutes of October 12th and October 26th Select Board Meetings. Review of minutes postponed until next Select Board meeting. “

November 26, 2009

“Review Minutes of October 12th , October 26th , and November 9th Select Board Meetings.

Minutes of previous Select Board meetings are always available in Town Hall. They are posted

at the Select Board desk and also filed by the Town Clerk. Motion to approve October 12th

minutes moved by Stephen Pilcher, seconded by Peter Norris. Motion approved unanimously.

Motion to approve October 26th minutes moved by Terry Cunningham, seconded by Stephen

Pilcher. Motion passed unanimously. Some discussion of the curb cut process mentioned in the

minutes. Stephen Pilcher to write an email to Mike Bayer about the issue. Motion to approve

November 9th minutes moved by Stephen Pilcher, seconded by Terry Cunningham. Motion

passed unanimously.”

January 11, 2010

“Review of Delinquent Tax Sale

Several properties were not in the tax sale due to a conflict of interest with the Town Attorney. The Town Attorney also only included lots where more than $2000 in delinquent taxes had accrued. The Town of Monkton Policy for Payment of Property Taxes and for Collection and Payment of Delinquent Taxes which states that “typically property will not be included in a tax sale, until at least $250.00 in total delinquencies have accrued”. The Delinquent Tax Collector is requested to find an attorney that does not have a conflict of interest with the remaining parcels including those parcels that were not included in the original tax sale because they fell below the attorney’s $2000 threshold and to hold another tax sale. “

January 18, 2010

“The next topic was Delinquent Taxes. The Town is currently owed

$132,000 in delinquent taxes as of December 31st 2009. All of these monies are budgeted to be

received by the Town since all parcels which are not paid will be sold at tax sale.”

March 8, 2010

(note: No minutes posted in February 2010 at all.)

“Review Minutes of February 22nd Select Board Meeting. … Minutes of the February 22nd Select Board were approved with amendments without objection.”

Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Have you got enough faith?
It is a question we ask ourselves.
It is the name of a song on Guy Forsyth's unreal and awesome 2 CD live New Year's eve show at Antone's.

It is a question dying people ask as I know from tending people in the ICU and other scary hospital places.
Some people never get the chance to question faith.
Is that enough?

Mom said she felt like her Mom was looking for faith too late, while anticipating dying from a heart attack, while on the way to the ER. That is why Mom went to the church she said.
I thought it was to pay back the milk and utility bills the church paid after I was born.
I believe I told her that as well. I felt a give and take expectation with some church concepts.
My faith evolved from looking at all religions as freedom of self exploration, tradition,
cohesiveness, bonds.

Sunday mornings still I remember a glimpse of getting up and getting dressed to go the the church on the block. The singing, prayer, sermons and food and social opportunities made it a pleasant experience.
My faith now rests in myself and my hope the people in the world can just start letting each other live without expectation we should change.
My faith still is that many are capable of extraordinary kindness.
My faith has always been, that Mom had so much faith more than I did. Her ability to navigate her tough life raising 7 kids and then health issues and now gives me faith we can gain strength in adversity.
Have you got enough faith?

(Guy and CW have new Christmas CD...Link below to Guy's site to order.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chapter One

“The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly”

Abraham Lincoln

This is the beginning. After I run through posting my one solar year of correspondence, I will let you know how the town ruled.

Apparently my first letter was an email to the local paper.
Here it is, Chapter One.


My name is Mary Gerdt. I read your paper regularly online.

I did however hear a rumor your newspaper printed one or several legal notices in the Pay newspaper to sell some or all of my Monkton property at a tax sale. I am eager to see what this looked like and what they were selling. Also how many times and dates of publication.

I was never noticed about this in any way. My husband, wishing to protect me, paid the bill but the damage to my reputation remains, without my knowing.

I wonder how any of you would feel if this happened. I do not want this in the newspaper until I better understand what happened. Could you send me an image of the legal notice you posted? Are you aware that a town may sell your property without so much as a courtesy call?

And publicly humiliate you by publishing "tax sale" after being 9 months arrears when others seem to have 5 years of back bills.

I am searching for truth and wish no more public posting of my name without my knowledge.


Mary Gerdt

[note added today, 11/20/2010: We have never seen the ad and the paper never sent us the]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Which 251

There are 251 Towns in Vermont. It has become very clear to me today that it depends on the town you live in, how sensitive the Town Fathers are. My research came from my year long quest for truth about tax lien sales, due process, 5th and 14th amendments & Vermont's mysterious statewide locally administered property tax
My quest has culminated in complete and total surrender.
In doing so I am freeing myself to release publicly correspondence I have had with the mostly male Town fathers.
But first I want to prime you. If you find this all too tedious, go back to bedazzled.
I found this paper online by a wonderful historian and he explains the property taxation
during the Romans times up to present day. This is a link and I found it helped me understand what they did to us.
Fair warning to Vermont property owners:
You may be living in a town, where in as little as 6 months late paying your property taxes, the town can sell the tax lien, and your bank could pay the tax lien and foreclose. You will be subjected to paying the town's lawyer fees to take your property, and advertising, fees, penalties and up to 8%  of the tax goes to the tax collector.
The town does not use income sensitivity and can pick and choose what to sell.
The article above does talk about due process and the fact that people can challenge
local towns when due process and fairness are not followed.
But the reality, girl, is that the town does not have to tell you. Your name is second on the deed, right?
The town does not have to give you due process.
So I decided to avoid paying the limitless costs of court battle.
It would be the only way to challenge the final decision by the town fathers.
There is no board or centralized State office who hears appeals about town fathers.
The citizen must file suit. With an attorney, that costs 10k and up. Without an attorney,
doom. Either way a potential to aggravate my MS.
Town wins. Girl loses.
Now I will post over the next span of time, an argument that did not work in this town.
In fact it is weird that the town felt such hardship in 2009, that they would have to sell our fourth generation farm after being 9 months late. This action forced us to suffer irreversibly, completely.
A violation of our trust that people can be kinder than necessary when they see someone suffering.
The article above points to "Tax Farmers" of Roman times. I can envision them raking someone for money.
Also he describes the "Tax Ferrets" of the nineteenth century and the tax collection policies of the 1930 depression.
So if you opt to read the documents I will publish, you may formulate your own opinions.

This is the letter we sent to the town. I edited out some of it but kept the core.
The following is our argument outline of why we believe we should be granted tax abatement.

This explains what we want abated. It states the core of our argument. After the outline will appear comments we believe have merit.
1. Request for Abatement of all Property taxes we paid to the town of Monkton in the year 2009 and also any Fees, Penalties, Interest, town lawyer’s costs and costs we incurred related to Monkton tax including but not limited to:
a. Delinquent 2008 VT & Local Property Taxes, interest, fees, etc: $8,473.68 which was paid after town threatened sale.

b. VT & Local Property Taxes 2009: $4121.83

c. Total of $ 12,595.51.

our property taxes owed in 2009 was 28 percent of our household income.

We understand there is income sensitivity with VT property taxes.

We have faced extraordinary circumstances that make it difficult for us to meet our tax obligations.

Mary was never notified by the tax collector of her being delinquent, nor of her being threatened by a tax sale. Mary wrote the town lawyer and the Monkton select board to get information about what would have been sold and ask how the town attempted to inform her about the tax sale, copy of the ad that Fred and Mary paid for but never saw.

She has not received any of this information.

We have a history of paying our taxes on time and regularly since

becoming owners in 1993.

The farm has been in this family paying taxes in Monkton for over a hundred years.

We have suffered losses, extraordinary challenges, costs, health issues and stress.

Please consider our requests.

Additional comments which we believe are necessary to express:

We feel that we were subjected to a tax sale in a discriminatory way.

We were singled out and treated differently from almost every other tax payer who has been in our position of delinquency of less than 1 year.

One selectman said the town attorney decided which properties would be sold based on value. This is contrary to the policy which states any property owing $250 or greater. There are concerning notations in the select board minutes leading up to the sale like one asking how many delinquent properties have mortgages? Why is that relevant?

The timeline for the Monkton town officials participating and conducting the tax sale, and events leading up to the tax sale are suspicious. Per the minutes, The Conservation committee discussed tax sales in July with a selectman.

John Phillips did send Mary the list of delinquent properties and the policy.

It was impossible to figure out why there was 58 properties late and only 4 were to be sold. It is unclear in the minutes if any property was sold. It is unclear when tax sales have been held since the new tax sale policy in 2004. There have been many properties listed for multiple years late. How can that be if we were 9 months late and threatened with a tax sale?

What was offered in the way of making payments? Offer of abatement per Vermont law? Ultimately, What was the Town of Monkton going to sell?

Comments from Mary alone: I am a landowner and successful taxpayer on this farm since 1993 or so. I have paid my dues so to speak. I have been verbally attacked in the town office by a town official. I do not feel comfortable there. Some will say it was Fred’s responsibility to tell me the Town was selling my property so the bank would foreclose and then they could be rid of me. I thought that too for a minute. That is all.

I deserved to be notified myself, Me, Mary Gerdt, by the Town of Monkton tax collector who decided along with a select board and a lawyer to take my property. The responsibility to notify a landowner must rest with the town.

This relates to the law of real property.

I know the law of land ownership quite well and I know a signature is required from me to take my property and sell it. Even if I am a woman, a wife. No town official approached me or had a sheriff serve me or nail a note on my door. The conservation committee knew about the sale and yet Mary did not know about the sale. This coincided with land deals on abutting property that we both were not notified about. Mary read the minutes but could not tell that her property was up for sale.

It did not make sense. Mary did a spreadsheet of all the properties sold. It does not make sense. Mary has emails to and from the select board and town attorney. Mary still has not seen an accounting of what the tax collector did to notify her/them.

So we both write to the Monkton Board of Civil Authority with pleading for tax abatement and hopefully leaving you with questions to ponder.

We believe the tax sale policy should be revisited to include income sensitivity, consideration of hardships and applied consistently, ethically and fairly.

............more later.mary gerdt

Monday, November 15, 2010

Late Beets

 Fred is still pulling beets for willing recipients.
Cylindrica, our new favorite variety, is getting even better as the fall
winds down. The colors of beets are richer (? is that the word?) when freshly pulled in November as opposed to earlier. We were happy we planted late and skipped one weed and bug cycle.
Fred washed them in our rack outside and they sparkled. That is real food,
fresh from the ground. I have canned my fill this year and we still have been simply
(just a spray of oil) & roasting them in foil in the oven or on the grill.
The carrots are getting bugs  but sweet still.
Too wet to get to the brussel sprouts but will as soon as possible pick those.
We keep thinking we will be done some week but it keeps going.
Can't kick late beets.

Still sprachlos re:
How people can be like cattle?
They can stand there, chewing their cud, or gum or the side of their mouthes,
Once in while lick their lips, maybe belch, pass gas.
Do they know it looks like they are participating in the moment?
Watching me, is it a message? What do they see?
How do they see me?
Would they have voted for me?
Would even a beef vote for me?
If they all 12 vote exactly 100 % not with me, does that make their positon right?
If I had a sack of grain, would all these beef vote for me?
more spater....

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Karma Chameleon

seems to change Colors,
Right before your eyes.

Sometimes it is invisible,
A silent sort of revenge,
But never doubt that Karma can,
And does,
Get back again.

I sat upon a blanket blue,
Karma sat down beside me,
I said, can you see me now?
Karma said I am blinded.

I sat on a red carpet of hate,
Karma acted like he didn't notice,
Next thing I knew, I slipped and fell,
Karma gave a poultice.

I sat and marvelled at the mountains green,
Waiting for Karma to make a scene,
The dust it settled,
Leaves were fallen,
Nowhere was Karma seen,

Then I saw him move, invisible,
The color of what he sat on,
Karma came to pay me back,
He was Karma, Karma, Chameleon.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Music for Thursday

A friend shared this video that she got from Janis Joplin's FB page.
Really worth watching.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Time is funny

Time is funny,
You know what I mean?

So much to do
So much to be seen.

Not enough time or killing time too,
And Trying to take time out for you.

I don't mean funny in a ha ha way,
I mean a strange perception,
That Changes by the day.

Some days drag into oblivion and then,
Some days seem to pass before they even end.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Music Appreciation 201

Meg Peterson wrote, "Music is food for the soul, communication at its highest level. And participating actively in its pursuit is what lifts life out of the mundane into the magical. This is what I wish for you."
So this is Sunday, a traditional day of rest and reflection. Across came this video of Levon and their fantastic entourage. For more, try them out in person. They may be in a town near yours.............

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stick Season

When I moved to VT, it was about right now or so celestially speaking.
It was the beginning of Stick Season when
The Green Mountains are brown with some spotty evergreen trees.
This picture shows a very mild March day.
Still the sticks look like today, November, all dead looking.
Hard to imagine it all lush and green again but so goes the cycle.
Also that first year,1981, it was really hard for me to comprehend what the Green Mountains really looked like in summer. I was anxious to see, between stick season and snow on the ground until May, just what Katie had told me, what a beautiful place.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Face in Space?

Sprachlos again about Property taxes-obscene I tell you. More when I can gather my tattered thoughts.

Face in Space?
Hoping for a Green Light tomorrow.
Come on along...
I signed up in June and all the sudden looked up at the paper that confirmed my facial image is going up with the second to last shuttle.
It's that old take the bad with the good kind of day.

Regrets to Brian and Paul's campaigns...a well fought battle

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tomorrow the work begins Again

The Politicians have offered their pitches and promises,
Tomorrow the work begins.

But, instead there will be a party,
a celebration or consolation.

At the end, pumped up supporters will fall exhausted,
down to the ground.

Win or lose,
The Politicians, sleepless euphorics, still buzz with the vibration
of all their monetary adoration,
a compensation, a self affirming confirmation.

They kissed the babies and bad breathed housewives,
They courted supporters, promised away their lives,
Cut the tax, Raised awareness,
Fights for apple pie, Mom and fairness.

At the end of that long election day,
The politician breaks down, on his knees to pray,
Prays his promises will not be broken,
That his constituents mind be aptly spoken.

So do not forget your promise, politician though you are,
Tomorrow begins the work,
the end
so far,
so far.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Here is a link to a post about the cosmological origins of Hallowe'en and a glimpse at a rather large ghost image.

Happy Hallowe'en from Monkton, Vermont!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Future of Medicine

I am proud to write about My Brother David Gerdt whom I have always admired.
Lately he has been working on a very cool device that I have to share with my audience.
So share this if and when you like it. If you don't understand what a big deal this is,
then you do not have my roster of experiences.

Do not read on if you are squeamish or do not like icky subjects. Fair warning.

As a hospital RN, one of my early lessons on nights was what a coworker/friend taught me:
"Night ears". This means you learned to listen to the patients. 27 of them. You listened for falls, restlessness, pain, and death. You had no cameras, no monitors, no close proximity. They were down the long hallway.
You had to listen for changes, anticipate falls, know when someone was bleeding to death, or having a stroke or heart attack. Needless to say, you did not always hear everything. Later, working in the ICU, I used to hate all the lines in people, the monitors, the ways for people to get infected, bleed, get tangled, be uncomfortable.I have found a few people dead. Some were cold. I have found people pulling out their arterial lines and blood goes everywhere. My Mom had a blood pressure cuff on her arm for 3 days and the cuff left bruises, macerated sweaty skin. She would wince when she heard the pump of the cuff. Somehow that hit me harder than my own patients.
So I really appreciate my brother's work on the CareTaker.
I am proud he has innovated a new way of looking at monitoring.
This is the future of Medicine and a welcome component in true health care reform.
Thanks David!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vermont Real Estate Prebate Season- Explained

I wanted to post this for all you people who say I over-react to the Vermont property tax code:
There will not be a brief test at the end. I appreciate Omega's web blog for explaining in simple-est possible terms a tax code too complicated for me
if I make it to 90 something. Who started act 60, anyway?

Vermont Real Estate Prebate Season- Explained

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Photos not taken

It really might be no big deal to someone else, but it worried me.
(Isn't that the definition of a phobia?)

I had to drive over the mountain last week. See, I told you, you might say no big deal.
But of course my reality is something I cannot seem to shake and I was worried.

The leaves were post peak which still retain the golds, browns and some scattered yellows, even some green. So I brought my camera all charged up and ready for a masterpiece.

Google Earth was helpful for the vertically challenged flatlander in me to visualize the road I would be driving on, the grades, the views. It is those large expansive sky views that get me.

A friend at work reassured me that it was the best route and that she shared my phobia.
What a comfort, to fall back on.

I also wanted to snap a picture proving I had been in Robert Frost's old neighborhood-actually a mountain village Ripton, with scattered people who travelled the less travelled path up the mountain, and never left.

I went Up the windy road: Route 125, up out of the quaint sleepy hamlet of East Middlebury Village.
On the way road men were finishing the road repairs. I nearly got a photo of the river and some color.

My turn to go, always someone on your tail on a scenic journey. I go up, up, all the while seeing the leaves fade out completely. I wanted to stop at the Robert Frost walk but it was all closed off. A Maine-iac was now on my tail.

The Green Mountain forest offers other snapshots but I had to get to my meeting by 1.
Then on out of Ripton as I realized I didn't need the photos to remember my ride up the mountain.

I pulled over abrubtly at the top of the mountain at a rare pull off. Goodbye Maine-iac! He was puzzled but sped off. I was relieved to be able to descend without pressures from others. There was a foggy blanket on the mountain that day. A gift perhaps to help me with my challenge.

On I went past mountain villages, Warren and Waitsfield, looking more vacant than a few years ago.
There were waterfalls I missed-that schedule again.

Well I made it to the meeting on time and in one piece. Such a small thing to someone else can be quite difficult to you. I Grew up where they put curves in the road to keep people awake, not to follow the river up a steep mountain

My camera sat idle on the car seat. There sat my photos not taken.
I have no proof I was there, nothing really happened up there, that day.
But my memories of driving where Robert drove, lived and escaped,
Will not fade soon. In fact,
They have made all the difference in me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Jennifer Field

Jennifer Field

Once you meet her, you will not forget her.
She helps inspire the victims of brain injury to excel, to break free of the boundaries of conventional therapies.
I saw her at the VT brain Injury conference-an annual great one.
She recently contacted me and I have to say, she gave me a reason to share her website, full of helpful simple tips about a complicated subject.
Her story clearly shows it is hope and family support and sometimes alternative therapies, different avenues,
and a willingness to try and fail, just to arrive much farther than you even had hoped for.

Help support jennifer's mission.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Farewell Color

Farewell Color, Color farewell.
Beyond peak color now,
The leaves they fell,
Color is gone now,
Color farewell.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Blacksmith shop foundation

One of the Blacksmith shop's foundation wall sat across from our old 1830 house. I found this picture that I took about 25 years ago. I felt like when I took this picture that everything hung in a delicate balance. The wall was in
a state of gradual decline, the tree on the left both binding up the wall and
weighing it down slowly. The blacksmith and his family are buried in the cemetery on our road. The foundation is hard to see these days.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Fanny Lindbeck,
Our grandmother, acted on stage at the Wildey Theatre.
It came up in conversation with Mom again and I wanted
to write it down while fresh in my mind.
I grew up less than a block from the Wildey. It really dominated my life. We went to all the new movies, we went to summer all day movie marathons, we went to socialize, get away, eat junk food and keep cool.
So I never thought about the Wildey not having movie film shows. That there was a time before the movies.
Before the movies was Melodrama, music revues, stage plays. In fact the early films looked like the stage shows because they were done by the live performers, the vaudevillians, the actresses like Fanny.
I had people call me Fanny for a time I suppose thinking I had adopted her personna.

Today Mom talked again of the melodrama Fanny was in where she had to be killed in an electric chair. Her younger sister Emma was in the audience and thought it was all real. Mom said when Fanny went to Highland on the train, that her father put an end to her career. She was single at that time.
So as I connect with the theater people of my yesteryear, I recall Fanny who looks like she
might have been famous. I wonder what part of her that I carry that drew me
to get involved in all things theatrical? Although I left theater as well in my early HS years,
I still carry a nostalgia for the dramatic. If only our paths had been longer together, perhaps, she could have shared with me what is was like to put on a show, wear grease paint of the day and to hear the roar of applause in 1910?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tea, anyone?

It just wasn't fair.
The minute I found teapots in,
Others want them out.
The minute I decided to,
"Don't you!", They would shout.
I got a house to love and live in,
"Hand it over", they did say.
What they said, they have their rights,
Like other working people.
But, get this clear, The end is near
Shout it from a steeple.
Tea for me and tea for you and coffee, milk and honey.

lustre ware courtesy Ollie, wherever you may be.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Proteins and Memory

Proteins and Memory,
are they one & the same?
If so true, it makes proteins
so important in our game.
The shots of proteins like the bee sting
can slow the MonSter that I know.
Is my brain full of complex
Protein strands imprinted with
Memories of long ago?
And will the funding last forever,
Will the protein soup be ever?
Will they some day, find a new way
to deliver protein feed.
To chew or swallow, cook or wallow in exactly
what I need?
For now I take the proteins,
shots really not that bad.
The only way I can, The only way is how
to keep the MonSter
far out on the curb.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble with My Morning Jacket | Rolling Stone Music | Photos

Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble with My Morning Jacket Rolling Stone Music Photos

Late Color

We are in our late color phase in the valley's edge,
Between the peak color that lasts so briefly,
and the stark reality of stick season.
Late color features rugged maple leaves
that have outlasted remnants of 2 or 3 hurricanes,
and the crisp air signaling snow on the way.
Fred saw flakes today and we gaze at
the mountains covered with
These trees started providing us syrup
the spring after this photo was taken
with the help of friends who barter
like the old days
and skip the meddle man.
happy fall.

Sunday, October 17, 2010



I heard for real that he is gone.
I never wanted to listen to that
Hoping that
the news was a blip,
a mistake,
a skip
in time,
I had never been able to cry about
or lay about,
keep busy I said,
don't ask
where he went
or how hard
it must have been
for he and those who stood by and had to watch.
This is my tribute, albeit late, to a friend I will never forget.

I met Jesse in the summer between 7th and 8th grade.
My friend Claire had moved away and I was as low as I could be.
I had her as one of my perfect friends, always there, knew how
I felt without even asking. I had other friends who were all speciall too.
But losing Claire hit me hard.
I signed up for summer program and was doubtful of how that would turn out.
Our school was a mix of several smaller school groups. We were meeting people
from other parts of town who each had established relationships and associated school pride.
One activity in summer group was finger painting.
The teacher gave us slick white paper and we wet it down. On went tempra paints with a funny paste like smell.
Were my fingers just moping about, thinking I would cry about Claire? Longing for our summer days on her dock by the lake?
What was I drawing?
Then out of the blue, I saw Jesse. He and I started to break out of the mold, the boring stick figures of that infantile finger painting. I think he started with the elbow and then I remember a cascade, a dance of elbows, us both making a scene, a creative ruckus. Visual dares as if we were showing that we had no boundaries. Art has no boundaries. We laughed and carried on until told we were going too far, having too much
freedom of expression, making too much of a mess.
We bonded at that moment, became great friends, and felt a comraderie.
Jesse taught me to eat escargot, which fork to use first, he got me the best bagel with cream cheese and lox in the world, we stood at the foot of the World Trade Center and as I slowly looked up he caught me as I nearly fell over, overwhelmed at this tall building. We could only see the bottom 1/3 that day.
Every once in awhile I would try to google him or try to find him even though part of me knew he had left the material world. I still feel if he could, he would visit me once in awhile and I would visit him.
To others who were close to him, I feel the loss will always have a pain of what might have been, a wish times could have been different, and part of me will always deny that someone as special as Jesse left the world. His memory will always live on in our hearts. Love, Mary Gerdt for Jesse

jesse 1975 at the Arlo Guthrie/Pete Seeger concert MRF

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tribute to Levon Helm

When I think about going to another Levon Helm show, I know Fred and I both are doing something we both completely love, feel good hearing, watching, feeling the music as Fred says, "Wide Open".
The musicians with Levon and the interaction, the genuine synergy, their love and devotion to music shines.
No I do not exaggerate when I call him a shaman. He is a drummer, not just any drummer, not just one or two genres, he is in touch with them all. He made some of his own.
But I do not believe we alone should enjoy the incredible live music of Levon, Amy, Larry, Theresa and all the rest of the band. Plus:
The Levon Helm Band has another set of road shows coming up in Novemeber with Ray Lamontagne and The Pariah Dogs!
So whether you see them in your hometown or in the intimate ultra venue at Levon's barn, you have to, in your lifetime see the man who picked cotton as a child perhaps saying to himself, one day I won't pick cotton anymore. That hard work left it's impression when you see his moves and intention clear as a bright sunny day. We had not seen many live bands in our middle age. When we did, we gravitated to the best drummer in the world who has a bright smile, deep heart and faithful following. If what I say here promotes Levon and his band, then I have to accept the consequences of competition for tickets. Likewise my advice to you is if you see tickets for sale, do not dawdle, buy those Levon tickets and you will thank me later for leading you down the path where you experience that performer of performers,  the rare, the one and only
Levon Helm. Click on the link to the right for his schedule or grab that widget. I have a map if you scroll all the way down. Hope to see you at the concert!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mrs. K

Mrs. Kuethe
Would have been 107 tomorrow, October 13th. 2 days after Nancy's only she had all the Friday the 13ths...
She lived next door to the house I grew up in on High Street. I remember her eager smile, whiskered chin,
dimpled girlish laugh sometimes. I would stand on the porch, telltale boards creaking as I approached.
But she would have already known I was headed down the hill, the curtain fluttering ever so subtely and her running to greet me, "Mareeee", she would say, like an exaggerated Marie. Then she would repeat my name
over and over. We all love hearing our name said outloud, that was not quite my name but close enough
to relish in that extreme adoration Adoration I lost when I lost my last grandparent so young I don't remember any of my natural grandparents. Mrs. Kuethe was there waiting for me to toddle down the hill
away from the hustle of a 7 child family. She and Herman spent many a night fanning on the porch with me sitting at their feet listening to them breathe and rock and make brief comments and then nodding off occasionally. Herman lit his pipe and Mrs. Kuethe would mouth words as she fell in and out of twilight.
She would have loved seeing the leaves change, and being by my side today.
I feel the same way, Happy Birthday Mrs, Kuethe.
I don't think I ever knew her real first name...emily? emmy? amelia?

Monday, October 11, 2010

First hard Frost

We have found out, through trial and error,
that right before that first bad frost,
(meaning low 20's instead of low 30's)
we just decide quite cold heartedly what to keep and what to sacrifice.
No emotions about it. It is a fact of life.
Fred picked the pears,
I picked the peppers and fished out the acorn squash.
We got about a bushel of mixed jalapeno and chile peppers,
then some watermelons and cauliflower.
We loaded the trailer and put it all in the garage, kind
of like a cool room/refrigerator.

Sure enough, we got a pretty deadly frost that night.
Today I put up 14 pints of spicy pickled beets plus 1 quart
for the table. The recipe is in the Ball book.
I soaked the cauliflower in salt water and it was too wormy for our tolerance.
Still we have brussel sprouts, chard, more beets and carrots.
Grateful for this colorful feast.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten Ten Ten

Ten Ten Ten

today could be abbreviated as


or 10.10.2010

numerologically a full house of low numbers,
a new beginning.
Today, the weather was as fine as peak foliage
season could be.
We attended a fine wedding
watching a beginning for them
and for me
the ending of the quilt I can call my
most challenging and rewarding:
Trip around the world,
Congrats to Tod and Janet.

Today as well was
the 10th annual East Charlotte tractor parade
coordinated by Carrie Spear
and a cast of thousands.
Fred and I both longed for a picture
of the old Titan, the first tractor on the farm
that was acquired and loving restored
by local guru Harv Sharrow.

I was honored to touch this
tractor that was the first improvement on horse power.
Overall it was a special day in the delightfully chilly Vermont air.