February 2008


Something I read recently really struck home. It was about how we are but a link in the chain of life- the chain of life that starts with our predecessors, goes thru us, and continues on thru our descendants and their descendants, and on and on.

In today’s transient society, people can lose their connection to their past, and in the process, lose themselves. Sadly, alot of today’s children may have no connection to a familial past.

What I love about living in the country is the “interconnect” everyone has! Families here have been in the Gap area for generations. Towns are named for local families. Everyone is related to everyone else-be careful what you say about someone- you could be talking to a cousin, brother, or uncle!

I grew up on LI- moved 4 times from birth thru high school- Lynbrook, Franklin Square, Valley Stream, Levittown- with summers in Rhinebeck being the tie that binds!

When I graduated high school, my parents moved 2 more times, before giving up roots totally, and hitting the road in an RV. Since leaving home after high school, I have moved 10 more times. Mountain Meadows is the LAST move!!!

Altho I will never go back, my roots are in NY- from paternal Quaker ancestors who came from England, and an Irish tailor and a Finnish woman (whose family used to cross the border by wagon to work in St. Petersburg, Russia more than 2 centuries ago).

Even tho I am still “the outsider” here in town- and probably still will be 25 years from now!-I enjoy the warmth and connectiveness of rural living.

Roots and a past are important in keeping the links of the chain connected to the future. Our move to the country will hopefully make new roots for future generations, who will hear me talk about my childhood summers in Rhinebeck, while they live their future memories of summers in The Gap.

All is well (and very chilly) at Mountain Meadows tonite………………..

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“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world

 But be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Hmmm……………

….ya just hafta listen!!!!!! 

I have been writing to a friend, via email, since we have moved out to the country. I keep hoping that someday these letters will become a book! Right now it appears, they will only become a blog!!!  Here are some excerpts from those letters:

It is the evening after Friday the 13th, and dusk finds me porch sittin’ and ruminatin’!! The dull hum of the crickets is interrupted by the occasional whir of the tacky flamingo wings (a gift from Mary) powered by the evening breeze. Two flocks of geese in odd numbers, 9 and 13, soar by, announcing their arrival to their night quarters. The peace of night sounds and the sun setting is fractured by the irritating whine of a buzz saw.

When inside, later that evening, the dogs frantically announced an intruder from the bedroom window, their frenzied yapping reverberating off the glass! The first truly antlered buck appeared at the edge of the tree line, by my future garden. He hesitated, not sure if the dogs presented an actual danger or were just new backround noise! When my husband stepped out on the deck for a closer look at his future prey, the deer quietly stepped out of view and disappeared.

There is a young small buck that the neighbor wishes to eliminate- he is smaller than average with crooked antlers. By “eliminating” him, the other two bucks in the area will be able to freely breed with the local does, insuring a healthier bloodline. It is sad, that this little buck cannot continue on, but if they do kill him, I won’t eat him, but did request his crooked antlers!

Discovering the wildlife here is exciting! I took a little detour home one day last May, to see what was down the road. When I came to the church,  I hung a left by the graveyard, and followed a road the neighbors had mentioned led to the National Forest. A little way down, the asphalt turns to gravel, and is about a car and a half wide. I am driving a van! I was only brave enough to go a mile or so down the road- it was raining and I didn’t need to hit a washout in my van – no 4 wheel drive and no cell phone service back there!

I found the nearest “driveway” and turned around. On the way back down, I spotted something in the road- it was a large bird- I stopped, it looked at me and ran up the embankment into the trees. At first I thought it might be a pheasant, but I was pretty sure it was a wild turkey! I was so excited! And, even more exciting, there in the road, was a tiny baby turkey!! I put the van in park, so I wouldn’t run him over- and then he started to struggle to get up the embankment. As far as I could tell, there were no other babies in the road, so I slowly drove away- hopefully, he made it into the woods with his mom! Another instance when I did NOT have my camera with me! It never fails!!

When I came home, I looked up turkeys on the internet- love that computer!- to make sure that what I saw actually was a turkey. It was definitely a turkey- apparently they lay their eggs in April/May, and the babies are born 28 days later. That little guy would have been about the right age. By the fall they weigh 6-8 lbs. The mother hen only has one set of eggs a year. If the eggs or babies are eaten by predators, they will lay another clutch.

At this rate, I will be reduced to eating only fish and vegetables, because all the other things with legs or feathers are too cute to eat!!! Living in the country has been eye opening, for sure!

I have 2 blanketed sentinels who guard against the imaginary. Ever on the alert, at dusk, their winter furry ears prick to attention at every leaf rustle.  To my 2 equine companions, fright and flight are two words that are constantly holding hands!

Ever wary, they each have their posts! The “old man” holds his position along the fence line. The woods hold imminent “danger”, the breeze from below carrying the scent and sound of the unfamiliar. The sound of a 4 wheeler, barking of a chained dog, a truck load of chickens rumbling by on the road below, can send the two into flight mode!

The other’s guard duty takes place at meal time. The “old man” lets nothing interrupt a meal! The “big guy” is a nervous eater, constantly whirling around to hang his head out the stall door to make sure nothing scary is coming up behind him!

Hunting season is almost over – but the baying of the hounds makes the “old man” remember his foxhunting days and he is  always eager to join the hunt! The gunfire would make both head for the hills – if they could get to the hills!!! Their football field sized paddocks limit their escape, but as time goes by, the unfamiliar is becoming more familiar.

The horses have lived here 9 months now, and are becoming more used to life in the real country. Going from an semi-urban herd of 75 to a rural pack of 2 has been a big adjustment for them.  At first, even the click of an electric fence would have two horses literally quaking in fear!  The bellow of  cows at meal time would send them flying for cover! Walking down a country road and coming upon a pen full of huge hogs made the big guy turn tail and head for home, his rider an unwilling passenger! 

Now, when night falls, my two furry sentinels, check out the perimeter and beyond, then relax and settle down for the night. And, as they relax, so do I, happy to have ended another day in the country with them.

All is well at Mountain Meadows tonite…………………………

I will be the first to admit, my van needs a little cleaning!!When it was brand new – no one was allowed to eat in it, the dogs were not allowed in it uncrated, certainly no one was allowed to smoke in it-neatness counted!!!

Well, 230,000 plus miles later, the only rule still adhered to is- NO smoking in my van!!! Don’t get me wrong – I try to avoid spills, and DO vacuum the van, but now the dogs have their favorite seat ( a clean towel is put down when a human passenger wants to sit there!). For a long time, the van was a rolling tack box – with saddles and gear on a rack in the back- specially made to fit the van. Now, trips to the feed store have the back of my van (seats long removed) filled to the top with bags of Reliance 11 textured horse feed and pine shavings. One friend, who shall remain nameless, laughs at me because my van is always coated with a thin layer (read protective coating) of dust. There is very little reason to go to a car wash, because every time we drive down my lengthy gravel drive, we get a new protective coating!!!

This morning, I was emptying the trash bag in the van and noticed little dark “spots” on the carpet. Upon closer inspection- the little spots are mouse poops!!!! There is a STOWAWAY in my van!!!! I have NO idea how a mouse could get in the van – unless it was in one of the bags from the co-op. But, he (or she) is apparently surviving on what is in the trash bag- Daily Grind decaf and pound cake!

But, we are now in the country, so anything is possible! I will be putting a humane trap in the van, to see if we can catch the little interloper- who will then be set free in my barn. The mice in the barn have a very good life. Every time I feed the horses, I leave a tiny scrap of carrot and apple for the barn mouse colony. I think my “van mouse” will be very happy living with them!!!

I will definitely be inspecting all bags from the co-op that go in my van from now on!!!

Tune in tomorrow for more news from Mountain Meadows!

Another holiday has come and gone – one I knew nothing about!!!

But it came with some words of wisdom:

I am only as strong as the coffee I drink, the hairspray I use, and the friends I have…..

Well, I drink decaf (so much for strength), can’t LIVE without hair product (Redken 09), and I have a only a few, but GREAT friends!!!

 The women that I know and have met  in life are, on the whole very strong!!! Women are each other’s safety net. We support each other, and are there for each other. We may be married , or in a relationship, but girlfriends are what carry us thru!!

So, happy belated Girlfriends Day to all!!

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