Vermont Pictorial

Vermont is at the top of my happy place list.

Maybe I lived there once upon a time in a time before this time .Maybe it’s some sort of cosmic, karmic connection or a home of the heart. All I know is my restless spirit settles down a bit when I’m there.

Vermont’s state motto is Freedom and Unity – two words which totally capture the  Vermont vibe. It’s a kind of place where folks accept other folks. There’s a live and let live sort of belonging. A you do your thing because that’s cool, and I’ll do mine – and let’s just not hurt each other philosophy of living. You can feel it right away.

The air is fresh, the hills are green, and there’s a beautiful old barn on practically every corner. It’s said that cows outnumber people in Vermont, but I’ve not fact-checked it.

I will live in Vermont.

Someday.

For now, I’m grateful I can visit a couple times a year. And live through my photographs the rest of the time.

Here’s the scoop … (a quick wave to Ben & Jerry.)

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We stayed at The Inn at Manchester tucked in all neat and tidy next to rolling, green mountains. Picture perfect and welcoming, this beautiful bed and breakfast is owned and operated by a five-star family, the Hanes.  You’ll love the idyllic grounds, the porch, the cozy rooms, the bed sheets and … the breakfasts! A high quality experience, start to finish.

Manchester, Vermont is in the south central part of Vermont just a ways down the road from the New York state border. The green goes on forever, interrupted only by the bluest sky I’ve ever seen. You’ll find old grandeur – and even the occasional polo match – only a hop, skip, and jump away from amazing outlet shopping. Oh – and check out the Northshire Bookstore. Best bookstore. Ever.

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First Congregational Church, Manchester Village

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From Manchester, head east about 16 miles and you’ll find the little town of Londonderry. If you can make it there for the 4th of July parade, it’s worth the time in photo opportunities alone. Picture little kids pulling red wagons with roosters on top.

We always make time to stop at Taylor Farm Take a walk around the farm, visit the animals, and stop by the farm store for some cheese!

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And there’s fields and fields of flowers.

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If you’re lucky enough to visit Londonderry on a Saturday, stop by the West River Farmers Market!

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One last stop: The Vermont Country Store!  Located in lovely Weston, VT, the Vermont Country Store is about 5 miles north of Londonderry on Route 100. It’s like a general store of old with all the concoctions of yesteryear, toys from your childhood, and delicious jams, jellies, and of course, Vermont maple syrup. There’s a huge stock of cheeses, kitchenry, linens, and clothes for men and women. You’ll wander through this place having the time of your life for an hour or more.  It’s a favorite place to visit again and again.

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We’ll be going back for another explore in the fall.

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Can you even imagine the foliage?

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Because It’s Summer

DSC_0544 (2)Summer vacation is an evolution from the me I am most of the year to a summer someone I don’t quite know yet, but can’t wait to meet. And I’m transitioning from full time teacher to full time do- whatever-I want-to doer. A picker of daisies. A dreamer digging my feet in the beach sand. A collector of shells. A maker of memories. A server of tennis balls and barbecue fresh off the new grill we finally found time to buy. A breather. Free for a bit in the wide, open air of don’t have to.

In the summer, I’m going to do it better. All of it. Every single thing I don’t do well or have let lapse, I’m going to improve. All the projected available time on my hands gives me room for fantasies my brain usually has no space for. I’ll get rid of all that weight I’ve been meaning to lose. I’m sure I’ll start training for the 5k I’d like to run. The books pile high on the nightstand, and I imagine reading all of them swaying in a hammock I don’t even own.

This stage of summer begins in the weeks before school even ends because it starts with thinking about the much better teacher I want to be than the one I was. I’ve had three stress dreams since leaving school seven days ago. Dreams in which I failed – somehow – with a project, a parent, a responsibility. Clearly, I’m processing.

I’m a woman. A teacher. A mother. A Cancer. The first-born in a family of five and always emotionally older than my age. Self-Reflective should’ve been my middle name.

Between the end of June and the end of August, I’m going to fix everything, deep clean every nook and cranny, find a home for all the important stuff, and get rid of whatever’s left.

It’s a mission.

I know. I know. This is about taking back some amount of control. About finding order in a broken and so obviously unpredictable world. So many things -large, small, personal, and worldly – frighten me.

And maybe, just maybe, if I organize our closets, and drawers, and shelves … maybe if neat and tidy replaces disheveled and chaotic, I’ll feel better. More optimistic. Hopeful about the details and decisions beyond my control. I’ll be able to find what I need, when I need it. And most of all – I’ll find peace.

So welcome to summer and I’m going on an explore. (Who said that? Christopher Robin?) Several, in fact. And often.

We’ve already been to Vermont. This week: a new beach, another hike, and a swim in a big, beautiful lake.

I’m going to travel new roads, take more pictures, discover -in writing- what’s yet to be known in my heart.

And I’m going to live every single minute in gratitude.

Because it’s summer.

 

Strawberry Yogurt Pie!

The farm just down the road from home is our very first stop of summer.

Strawberries!

Sometimes – like life, I suppose – the picking’s easy and the berries are plump, juicy, and just about bursting. Other years, the berries are almost picked out and we have to work hard for every single one.

Yesterday’s picking was far beyond anyone’s reasonable expectations.  These berries, dressed in all their red, ripe finery, all but jumped into our baskets one after another after another.

Maybe it was my first-day-of-vacation euphoria, but it sure did feel like a celebration!

Here’s a quick little strawberry yogurt pie I made for breakfast today.

Ingredients:

  • 5 packages cinnamon brown sugar breakfast biscuits (20 biscuits)
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 32 oz container plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • bunches (and bunches) of fresh strawberries

Steps:

For the crust:

  1. Crush 4 packages of biscuits in a gallon bag with a rolling pin.
  2. Melt the butter.
  3. Mix both biscuits and melted butter until evenly moistened.
  4. Press mixture into 9 inch pie plate to form crust.
  5. Bake crust at 375° for 10 minutes.
  6. Cool.

For the filling:

  1. Dice as many strawberries as you’d like to (liberally) mix in the plain yogurt.This is not the time to be conservative.
  2. Spoon mixture into the crust.

For the topping:

  1. Top with even… more … berries. Artfully arranged.
  2. Crush one last package of biscuits along with a tablespoon of brown sugar.
  3. Sprinkle atop your creation.

Tangy takes turns with sweet and crunchy and … hello summer!

 

 

Currently

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Reading

I’ve been a bit of a nibbler lately. Tasting at books like bon bons. In no particular order or for any other reason than I need bits and pieces of each, I’m sampling …

  • The Essential Don Murray Lessons from America’s Greatest Writing Teacher, edited by Thomas Newkirk and Lisa C. Mller
  • Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert    
  • Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
  • Reading in the Wild, Donalyn Miller

Thinking About

  • Farmers’ Markets, Craft Fairs, Consignment Booths Could I possibly sell my photography? For real?                                                           
  • Training for a 5K Honestly. You saw it here. In writing.  And maybe a half-marathon? But. First things first.     
  • Anxiety   Kids mostly.  Family.  Work.  Losing sleep. Searching for wholesome solutions.
  • Returning to Yoga See anxiety above. Yoga strengthens the foundation of me.

Making   

  • Dream Boards (with my students)
  • Curtains (for my dining room)
  • Time (for writing)
  • Doctors’ appointments (an often avoided necessity)
  • Piles of laundry (disappear)
  • Thank You Notes (using my photographs)

  Dreaming Of      

  • Summer vacation  Headed to Vermont! Beach! Hiking! Biking! Tennis!
  • Summer learning  Lucy Calkins Units of Study for Reading and Writing
  • Summer growing  Sunflowers, Daisies, Black-Eyed Susans and … tomatoes!

Saved

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I’m the oldest of five. It’s tough to maneuver your way in and around a party of five.  Someone’s always ahead of you, just behind, or in your way.

Speaking of your way, I almost never got mine. It’s okay. I’m over it. Mostly.

I was often told to let the younger kids go first. I was more mature. Knew how to be patient. And I was expected to be responsible.

Five kids is a crowd of kids and it’s hard to find your place, your time, your turn.

I remember when we watched TV. The best place of all to watch was on the end of the couch closest to the TV. This was the spot with the best view and an arm to lean on too.

Problem was, this was in the days before remotes, and I’d have to get up to change the channel. With a wrench. Because the knob broke off some years before and this was what you did.

So I was faced with a choice. Watch what some other kid wanted to watch and let them change the channel – keeping my seat. Or get up and change the channel and lose my spot.

Now with all those kids ready to pounce, the odds of losing the prime place were without question in their favor.

Unless.

Unless I said, “saved.”

Anyone with the best spot could say, “saved,” get up, go away, and return without penalty or loss of location.

That’s the way it was.

And that’s the way it is. Now. Today. Here.

This blog is one of my favorite spots. I love writing. Love taking pictures. Love hanging out here and watching my life go by post by post.  This is the best view I have to my thoughts, dreams, and ideas.

But life’s been busy. I have to be patient. I must be responsible. I have a school year to wrap up. I can’t really spend serious time here just yet.

So I’m saying, “Saved.”

I’ll be back.