Advice from a Moose

If you’ve ever visited a national or state park gift shop, Big R, or a Cabela’s, you may have seen the “Advice from a…” line of cups, mugs, t-shirts, writing pads, and knick-knacks on the glass display shelves within. These cute tourist souvenirs created by the company Your True Nature offer philosophical reminders of the lessons we can learn from nature. For example, “Advice from a Squirrel” might say something like, “Plan ahead” or “Protect your nuts!” (I can’t vouch for that last one but, if you’re a man, it seems reasonable). When I was visiting Glacier National Park last summer, I picked up a mug with “Advice from a Moose.”   As I was sipping from this mug today, I thought about what else I can learn from a moose and then, more specifically, my thoughts meandered to what I can learn from Moose. This is Moose. He’s an … Continue reading…

54 Pumpkins

Last October, Mike bought a pumpkin. He brought it home in hopes that we’d carve a Jack-o’-lantern and make autumn holiday memories with his then twelve-year-old son, Scout. It was never carved, though. Scout chose to draw a silly face on it instead. When the festivities of the season were over and Halloween, Samhain, and All Soul’s Day long past, the snow fell on our valley and the pumpkin was relegated to the garden, first as its king perched on its gate post throne, and then as its servant as we tossed it into the dirt to decompose and nourish the soil. Then we forgot about it. Spring rolled around, far later than we’d like and far shorter than we remember it ever being. As planting season called to us, we began preparing the garden for the annual clean up and seeding. The usual volunteer, non-fruit or vegetable producing plants … Continue reading…

Words from a Raspberry Picking Ninja

Our raspberry patch is nothing to sneeze at (unless you’re allergic to raspberries) but it’s not massive. I couldn’t put out “U-Pick” signs and expect to satisfy the public dropping in for a berry picking extravaganza. I couldn’t even expect to satisfy the neighbors stopping by more than once or twice, but we get by and there’s plenty to share. I’ve gotten enough berries for freezer jam, smoothies, sorbet, raspberry lemonade, and several gallons frozen for who knows when. And, I got another huge colander full today, my umpteenth picking. Some people are amazed when I come in from yet another hour spent picking and, again, my colander is full. “Where did you get those?” They ask, joking that I have a secret raspberry patch hidden somewhere. They think I’m a raspberry picking ninja. The plants are healthy but not hopped up on Miracle Gro, so they’re putting out what … Continue reading…

Homemade Games

April 3, 2012. This week I’m a tribute in the Hunger Games. Last week I was fighting gorgons and a few months ago I was a witch student at Hogwart’s under the tutelage of Professor Draco Spitfire, Defense Policeman, Order of Merlin, Second Class. You might know him as Scout. I don’t know what it is that gets me lured into these role playing games. Perhaps it’s my willingness to play along, to go with the flow, and to cast aside adult concerns and errands for the entertainment of a twelve year old wizard/demigod/Hunger Games winner. Perhaps it’s just great escapism. Scout tries to make the games as close to the original as possible. He wrestled with how to make real lightning and thought long and hard about how to turn the family property into an arena that would unleash new and deadly terrors on the hour. He devised a … Continue reading…

Project 52.52 – At Home

I want to love the place I live:  the house, the town, the area, and the lifestyle. I’m hoping that Project 52 will… teach me what it means to truly feel that I’m “home.” – “Project 52.1 – Home,” published 12/31/11. Well, folks, it’s been a year since I started “Project 52, ” my multi-pronged attempt to keep writing, learn a few things about how to publish online, and find my place in this world. First, a hearty “thank you” to everybody who has taken the time to read any of these posts and an additional, “You’re the best” to everybody who left comments. You truly are the best, and I’m honored to have you in my life. While I cannot say that the project was a complete success (I learned a few things about how publish a blog, for example, but next to nothing about designing a great web … Continue reading…

Project 52.50 – Frog Pond

It’s a rare weekend that the dogs and I don’t trek around the property, stretch our legs, look for tracks, hunt for mice… …ahem… No matter the weather, we trudge our way over uneven ground and poke our noses into the far corners of Mike’s family’s land. The fire pit, the Point, the Hill of Discontent – all frequent destinations. This weekend, it was the frog pond. Gifted with a few inches of snow, I put on my snow pants, boots, and chains and headed out to the place where in the spring such a din of amorous frog love songs serenade the night that it has been known to keep distant neighbors awake. This time of year, though, no frogs. This time of year, a blanket of quiet is pulled over the pond. The surface rests, cold and beautiful. Here are a few pictures of the pond and our … Continue reading…

Project 52.49 – Sherry and Sam

On the heels of Thanksgiving and moving into the depths of December, I’m still feeling pretty darned thankful. I’ve been living a blessed life. I’ve got a supportive family, loyal friends, excellent health, access to more food than I need, freedoms I take for granted, an amazing home, and steady employment. And I’ve got Sherry and Sam. “Mama Sherry” and “Papa Sam,” Mike’s parents, live at the top of the hill. From our kitchen window, we can see theirs, though we are too far away to wave to each other, and the Christmas lights that Sam puts on the trees outside their house twinkle and smile in the darkness as we enjoy them from the warmth of the barn below. I know a lot of people who moved as far away from their parents as possible, on purpose. While most people don’t move explicitly to get away from their parents … Continue reading…

Project 52.48 – Socks

The other day while decorating the Christmas tree, I had a flashback. While Mike and Scout sifted through boxes of ornaments and reminisced about the origins of each, I was transported back in time. Five, maybe six years old, I was mischievously jumping on the couch in my parents’ house holding a black and white stuffed dog. Threadbare and repaired many times by my mother’s magical sewing fingers, this poor thing had button eyes and a tail held on by luck. My memory is hazy but I seem to recall one lovingly resewn ear, then the other, mysteriously flying off onto the couch cushions (I’m sure I had nothing to do with it!), never to be sewn back on again. This dog, “Socks,” bald and earless, has been with me ever since, enduring moves and storage boxes, relegation to the back of closets and under beds. I’ve given away many … Continue reading…

Project 52.47 – The Tree of Awesomeness

Dorks

One of the things Mike and I were looking forward to most about our spacious living area was getting a badass Christmas tree. Our living room is massive and we wanted a “aesthetically proportioned” tree to go with it, at least for our first Christmas in the new space. The below photos chronicle highlights of us getting our first tree, one I am calling, “The Tree of Awesomeness.” You may have noticed that there is no star or angel at the top of our tree. That is because, even with the aid of a ladder and Mike being 6’7″, we can’t actually reach the top. We may need a cherry picker to accomplish that task. I was thinking maybe we could rig up some sort of rope and pulley system and lower Scout down, “Mission Impossible” style, but by the time we figure out the logistics, Christmas will be over. … Continue reading…

Project 52.46 – The New Kid

Some of you may remember my previous post, The River and the Road, and the picture of my poor front wheel drive Jetta stuck somewhat askew on the Hill of Discontent. It was late last year and I’d gotten about 10 feet up the hill before the tires couldn’t grip and the Jetta, try gallantly though it did for many tense moments, finally gave up and seemed to say to me, “Listen, woman, I am not The Little Engine that Frickin’ Could, Aw-right?!” and then it went slippy-slidey until I, too, finally gave up. We had a few of those days with me trying to back the car down the icy slope without going over the bank into the apple tree. Each time, the Jetta tried its best and showed one reason why I will always be a Volkswagen girl at heart – because Volkswagens have spirit. Still, the unavoidable … Continue reading…