Astronomy Picture of the Day

Monday, October 31, 2011



Dark and blustery cold,
no snow here now but south of here,

Memory fragments come to me,
images of hallowe'ens of before.

Costumes, alternate persona's,
apparitions, ghosts,
and the dreaded

We could make a costume out of anything,
Those days.
These days,
a costume comes off the shelf.

I remember being a hobo
or a witch with an old crinkly black dress
that sat in a box in the attic.

Was it Fanny's mourning dress?

Though I know that tomorrow it will all seem different,
today we feel the past like no tomorrow,


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snowing here….



Fred saw the map and I missed the little blue dot over our fair town of Monkton.

I needed glasses to see it, so we snapped a pic and enlarged.

It is snowing here, in Monkton Vermont.

(really more of a dusting but first one counts)


photo by fred…

Thursday, October 27, 2011


1st draft

Shadows of people
I thought that I knew
by the shape of their

Shadows simply show us
that something
the sun.

We have little light
except sunlight,
in the big scheme of things,
even though
you may think otherwise.

Now what I want to know,
what do those other particles do?
Those little neutrinos that go straight through

Where is their shadow?
(or is it a trail?)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Adirondack Morning 2

Adirondacks from Addison Co, VT

We are fortunate to get to see the Adirondack Mountains
many days.
Here, across the wide flat farmlands of
Addison County,
once sea bottom,
yes salty Champlain Sea,
now fresh water Lake Champlain.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Days Change

Shorter, longer,
Better and worse,
This day, that day,
They always blend to a year
or a decade.

What is it about That day,
That day you remember,
to the exclusion of a thousand other days?

What made it so special?
Is it the chemical in the protein soup of memory?
Or where you put the proteins in your brain of shelves?

And when someone remembers every day,
without forgetting one mundane detail,
Then maybe I can be happy,
I do not.

Been thinking a lot about proteins and memory again.
Complicated molecules,
Long protein chains, all spun up,
with smells, and sights,
and what else can I not describe,
but that I remember?

What I remember in the day,
comes out in my sleep unscrambled sometimes.
Or is it day time scrambled?

These days,
darker days of October,
I remember these days best.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Great Week


Levon Helm and his band at John Gill's Farm 10.16.2011

Levon Helm & Band @ John Gill’s farm

This was where we started the week, last Sunday. Fred took this picture. I edited.

Then I posted links to Carolyn Wonderland

that I narrowly missed on the car radio.

Last night (end of week)Fred & I had the good fortune to get tickets and attend another Midnight Ramble

at Levon Helm’s barn.

We took another trek south which I characterize as a “land-cruise”. A vacation before taxes and winter spoil our taste for fun. A special day to remember when time goes on.

First thing, we were Absolutely Rocked by Carolyn Wonderland, Rob Hooper & Cole El-Saleh. We have seen them a couple of times and obviously are fans of the music and the messages. Golden Stairs, St. Mark’s, and others. I have been trying to sing with them in the car (alone-when no one is looking :>) all week to the CD we just got: Peace Meal.

At the break I bought a poster of Peace Meal and

a cookbook by Anna Lee…(from the Band fame…)

Anna Lee was there last night!

Next, Levon Helm and band with some Stellar subs for the regular band members.

We appreciate, once again, the extraordinary show they put on.

All of the musicians together, enjoying

and loving the music, and caring for each other. The staff keeping things under control

and are very courteous, warm people.

We are grateful for the entire week of music

from established musicians to

up and coming ones,

they all showed us a Great week.

Now for a nap…


Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Music Link

Link to amazing music by Carolyn Wonderland & Company on Imus-all the music from Tuesday AM show...we are grateful this is posted..

Thursday, October 20, 2011



October rains are falling,
dark and cold,
soaking through to the bone.

October colors,
rust and red,
yellow, gold, brown,
and still some remnants of

October when you eat more,
sleep more,
see the long low rays
of the cooler sun.

And the cold air tumbles down
from the North,
blustery changes
from brilliant sunshine
to stormy day,
played in grey tones,
fading to black

October a month
over a bowl of soup or stew,
and a slice of
comforts sought after
a hard won harvest.

The gateway to winter,
October gives us
both the first
last tastes of fall,
every year
this time.

[the earth in orbit around the sun
has a position which is October,
correct? Every time October
rolls around, are we in the same place?
or has the solar system as a whole
moved? talked to dad about changes.
he said the world is always changing.
ain't it the truth.mary]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Music link from Tuesday Show

Link to Carolyn Wonderland and company from yesterday on Imus.
I pulled into park and ride for work just as I heard CW's voice being interviewed.
I had to turn it off and missed most of her music yesterday. Found this amazing clip.
now buy her new release, Peace Meal,
Why wait until friday music post?
(I know I keep posting twice in one day and then skip a day. Never could follow a schedule strictly)

Crown Point Bridge

Crown Point Bridge 10.16.2011
by mary gerdt all rights reserved

we took the ferry as we meandered south to hurley,ny to see the pumpkin cannon
and levon helm and john gill's farm. on the ferry, fred had to nudge me and remind me of the panoramic
shot and that very soon, the ferry is going to stop. the bridge building is nearing it final steps.
it is a beautiful structure. it was another aspect of a great day. mary

Monday, October 17, 2011

Wait a Minute

Wait a Minute

Wait a minute,
just a slice of time,
does it look like a pickle slice?

Wait a minute,
catch your breath,
can you hold it,
in your hands?

Wait a minute,
did you ever hear,
"Wait a minute,"
and it really meant to

Wait a minute,
60 seconds,
how far does Earth travel
in that time?

Wait a minute,
adult time out,
wait a sec is
another way to say,

Wait a minute,
or a second,
take a moment,
for a change.

A Great Day

It was a Great Day yesterday.
We took a long ride to Ulster County, NY
with a couple of friends to see Levon and his band do a
concert at John Gill’s farm.
Did I mention, they do the concert for free?
A wonderful harvest time gift to a farm and local community of people.
We had been wanting to go to this for a few years but never quite
made it.
Now we have some great memories of a perfect fall day, great people,
great music, fresh foods, and that incredible famous pumpkin cannon.
We are grateful for the special music, special day,
our reward for a summer of hard tough garden work ourselves.
If you ever get by John Gill’s farmstand, stop in a take home some fresh produce or a jar of pickles or baked goods.
and ask him about the cannon….

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Archival Foliage

Wet and blustery weather
making us focus on indoors projects.
This pic from the archives.
Have a great fall day,
seems like half the leaves are off already,
I said peak yesterday,
today past peak.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Random Friday Post

Just a random post.
it has been circa 48 earth hours since my last post,
feeling a need to feed the blogosphere,
we are still here.

I want to randomly choose a photo from my miraculous little data chip,
but am equally concerned it will be the wrong one.

                                                           red sky @ morning

There, a semi-random photo, un-edited, un-cropped.
The rain started again and down came the first wave of the leaves
that I swear just turned.
Color peaking in the Champlain valley.
Hope to have some sunny viewing on wet leaves...

Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011



Already feeling a squeeze,
when property taxes are predicted
not be
(still hoping).

If all
are to share the
then property owners
should not bear the brunt

Somehow the voters allow
this warped complex
Statewide Property Taxes,
that are locally
at varying times of the year
and enforced
using tax sales in as little as 6 months late
(or not, at the discretion
 of one person in each town)

Income sensitivity
is another challenging
math experiment.
Only parts are income sensitive
and the others
are not.

So after the awful
hurricane damage
I understand some have
 little to pay taxes on.

It is just hard to explain
why no one saw
my suffering
when I asked for abatement.

Now when my taxes might be raised
and another non property owning VT resident
does not pay a tax,
and my property
further Eroded,
do I have a standing to say
this is an unfair hardship
to property owners?

How can we reform
the VT property tax system
to stop all this

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Of all the photos yesterday, I left out a few pictures.
This one was an experiment with the panoramic feature.
created by forces beyond our comprehension,
sit hear quietly now.
Are they still cooling off?

(lost the last frame of this one. panoramia takes some practice...)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Foliage Walk

My Vermont Fall Foliage walk

Big Al

Big Al
was a goat
who was one of a set of triplets.
I found his picture behind the dresser
where it had fallen
I heard about goats on the radio
and immediately wanted to post Al's photo.
Fred and I were just talking about him,
his antics.
He has been gone for a long time
to Earth humans.
No digital media then,
just film.
You had to really plan out a photo,
want it to last.
Al, did not last.
His image, his memory alive with us still.
I used to sit and lean on him in his little barn
and he would listen to all my troubles
with his wise special eyes and
patient methodical chewing
Al silent
all the while.
Listening 100 percent.
Nudging my head back,
or my hand.
He would nibble on my clothes, button, anything in your hand or anything sticking out.
Living with him, I came to realize
goats nibble to get your attention.
He had a sly smile and twinkle in his eye as he
chewed most anything even toxic stuff.
He loved it when you would drag the thing from his goat teeth
(and didn't he snicker a little to himself?)
Turns out if left alone he would spit it out anyway,
games up.

No wonder we think about him the the fall,
remembering him scurrying in the leaves for a treat
and a petting.
What a guy he was.
Big Al.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Processing food

We spent much of the weekend again processing food we grew
in spite of the challenges this summer.
We successfully grew cauliflower, small carrots, onions, a variety of hot peppers.
Fred prepped and canned those in a brine. Should be ripe in a few months.
We also blanched & froze cauliflower and the last of the beans.
We used to process food mainly for the quality and the
sense of accomplishement. Now the financial benefits are also great.
It is like a second job, that we love to do.
The food?
Fresh is the best. And when you grow it yourself, a satisfying taste.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bright Sunny Stretch

We are enjoying a bright sunny stretch.
Had a couple frosts and now above freezing
for a spell.
This photo from 3 years ago.
We dug potatoes and
froze some broccoli.
Going to do pickled peppers tomorrow.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Promises & Contracts

Promises are funny things.
Sometimes you promise something and you just never do it.
You are human. Sometimes you over-promise,
or intend to, but lose steam.

Contracts, the legal kind,
were intended to make you KEEP a promise,
did I get that right?

And contracts say, you get this and give up that and they get that and give up something
in reciprocity, agreed to by both parties,


Let my Monkton Chronicles blog
share a letter I got supporting the Vermont State Employees,
recently judged by some to be greedy
when requesting contracted benefits.
These state employees have a side that
needs airing before the public judging without all the facts.
(too late, gov said his blood boiled. sorry that is a lawyering term:
lesson 2 don't let it scare you when someone is boiling, we are taught to back down to a pot of boiling water. people do not burn you unless you let them).
I am a Vermont State employee and member of the VSEA.
I hope my audience will say a silent solidarity
for my comrades who have been displaced,
they are heroes and their lives permanently altered.

Dear VSEA Members,

You have undoubtedly read about the Grievance filed on behalf of employees who worked during and in the aftermath of the storm. Many of you have reached out personally to VSEA to get the facts and share your opinions, positive and negative. We thank you for that and respect all of your views. Before anyone rushes to judgment, it is important to know the full story of what happened here. Unfortunately, media sound-bytes don’t provide that.

This is not a story about greedy employees, as the Administration is suggesting. It’s about employees who were called in during the storm to evacuate patients from the State Hospital, and safely escort them to locations all over the State, some as far as 135 miles from the Hospital. Employees are still staying in motels, far from their homes and families, for days at a time, to continue caring for those patients. This is a story about employees who went into the Waterbury Complex after the storm, in a hazardous and toxic environment, and retrieved equipment, computers, information, and other items vital to restoring state functions.

What seems to have been lost in all of this is that employees enrolled in the Grievance honorably fulfilled their obligations under our collective bargaining agreements under difficult circumstances, in many cases, heroically. They did exactly what they had to do, as they were directed to do, with commitment, as required by the collective bargaining agreement. But after reaping the benefit of their service, the Administration, instead of honoring its contractual commitments to the employees, has instead chosen to publicly denigrate them in the mainstream news.

What most people don’t know is that a union has a “duty of fair representation” to its members. VSEA, itself, violates the law if it allows an employer to breach a collective bargaining agreement to the detriment of our members. Not filing a grievance is simply not an option, without violating the law ourselves.

Something else that most people don’t know is that VSEA reached out to the Administration the very first business day immediately after the storm. We offered our assistance at multiple levels. We discussed that the contracts provide the flexibility to relocate employees to new work stations without having to pay them any additional compensation. We wanted employees to return to work as soon as possible at no added burden to the taxpayers. To VSEA’s dismay, the Administration then failed to use that flexibility to the extent available to it.

On September 7, the Administration asked VSEA to waive additional compensation that employees had already earned in the days following the storm. We advised the Administration that, legally, we cannot give up compensation that employees have already worked for, and earned, under our contracts. To do so would violate our duty of fair representation to our members, and subject us to legal liability. We offered other assistance going forward.

The employees fulfilled their obligations under the contract. They deserve the same respect in return. If it was the Administration’s intent to cast these employees in a negative light simply for exercising their legal rights, it has “succeeded” among some people.

No one should be vilified for exercising their lawful rights. VSEA cannot, and will not violate our legal duty to represent our members when the Administration violates our contracts. We also remain, as always, willing to fully explore and work toward ways to resolve contract issues in a fair and equitable manner.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

In Solidarity,



Camel's Hump, Vermont

My shutter jammed yesterday, undoubtedly due to a tiny piece of dirt.
I had intended on snapping a few while on the road.
The colors still
in the valley.
So no photos from yesterday.
I found it is best not to hurry the colors,
it will be so long without them soon.

So here is a photo of Camel's Hump,
the easiest mountain landmark in VT.

It was a rare clear morning.
(re-look-it is clear by our standards, i.e., not raining...)
Now we have 7 days of sunshine,
sorely needed,
the fall foliage viewing will be great this weekend.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Thin Veil

Some believe there is a thin veil
between living and dead.
The veil is thinnest
October 31st.
So if you see a shadow,
or a whisper,
or a touch on your shoulder,
or an unexplained crash
where nothing is found,
bid them peace.
The photo is of Tommy, our rascal cat
and our ghost hag.
The days already getting darker,
and steady rain until today,
when a stiff north wind blew away the clouds
and we expect the first hard frost.
We picked what we could and
covered a few things.
Leaves still pretty green in the valley. Expect changing colors soon.
Peak in some areas of VT.

Lanap: Epilogue 1 year later


laser assisted gum surgery is the street term.

The laser is used instead of a scalpel,
retaining the structures you were born with,
connective tissue, nerve, blood supply.

The laser is tuned to zap the really icky
bacteria that build castles in your gums
out of a coral like plaque,tartar,
in technical terms:
major ick.

1 year later,
I sat in the chair waiting for the gum measurements.
1 is good, 5 is acceptable.
(the measures are millimeters of depth of the periodontal space)
Last year I had a couple bad areas, one was 9+
(bottomless pit).
This year, one year after my surgery,
I had no more than 5 mm depth.
Overall much better,
tooth loss narrowly averted.
Did I also stave off the cascade of events that could
lead to a heart attack? Alzheimer's?
Maybe I will never really know.

But this procedure,
not terribly difficult, mininally invasive,
seems a little expensive (not really when you save your teeth),
with good outcomes and
health benefits known and some benefit as yet undiscovered,
This is well worth having if you need it.

If you are in the area, try these guys:

tell them mary sent you,

Monday, October 3, 2011

More Great Music

Feeling there must be something in the stars
that sent us first one great album (ok, a cd)
by Carolyn Wonderland,
(golden stairs my #1 favorite, even though they all are my favorites),
and then,
through the miracle of data transfer,
we bought the bytes of the new

John Hiatt album (ok, an mp3 file).

Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns

is just one amazing set after another.
Here is his you tube link and also I subscribed
to both of their channels.

Enjoying the fall colors
fall music.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

We are here

We are here,
We are here,
and fighting
the elements,
the miscreants,
the dangers,

We are here,
must have faith,
that we were meant to be here
no matter
what happens.

Perhaps the books of religion do not mean as much to me
when I hear them recited by men who do not know my path.

They mean so much more when illustrated by real people
with a story.