7/17/2013 Peace Ice Cream Day ( RIP Jay)

OK, let me start off with a “warning” of sorts: Tomorrow we are leaving for Pennsic, so there won’t be a letter until I get back. I’ll miss the 24th and 31st, but the letter on the 7th should be rather long! If you’ve been reading these for years, you’ll be expecting that. Sadly, while I do now have a lap-top (and hope to use it do do the New Normal the next two shows for which I have Oberon Zell, and Elspeth Odbert), I haven’t yet got my mail program working on it, so even if you try to get in touch with me that way, it won’t work (I dread the weeding through two weeks of email when I get back!). John will be posting my holidays on Facebook while I’m gone, but I won’t be checking it, so that won’t work either. If you need to get in touch with me, try the cell phones (which probably won’t be on most of the time either- keep trying). Mine is 603-318-9166, Willow’s is 318-9177. We do turn them on when one of us goes on a town run, so you may be able to get through that way. Willow, at least, knows how to pick up messages.

I am hoping there won’t be any reason you need to get in touch with me. During Pennsic we’ll be missing my nephew’s funeral. Jay, Bob’s son also Robert P. Richards, died last Friday. Jay and Christine had just gotten home from the lake, and Nancy, his mother, found him dead at the end of a nap, presumably another diabetic crisis like the one that almost killed him last year. He was young, and so full of life over the Fourth of July weekend. I’m so glad we had that last time together. My heart goes out to his mother, his sister and his lady. I daresay in the afterlife his father and grandparents, while welcoming him with the incredible love that all near-death experiences describe, are also giving him a bit of a hard time for not taking better care of himself. I don’t think we stop being who we are just because we die, and they would SO do that!
RPRIII
That sure puts my being bummed about losing my goldfish and snail in perspective. When we got back from the lake Patrick, the snail, was missing. We figure he had climbed out of the bowl. We were fond of him because he was so active. Then the next day, Molly, the goldfish, also died for no reason we could discern. Perhaps of a broken heart? Ah well, that will give us more room on the counter. Molly was a couple years old, and I’ve enjoyed my fish, but I think I’ll do without for awhile.
It’s too bad, the big news this week should have been that the van died on our way up to GNEW (the Great Northeastern War). I always enjoy it, and had spent the day before generating the handouts for the classes I was scheduled to teach there. It was a bit of an adventure. We were about half way there and it was raining buckets- you know the down pours where motorcyclists stop under overpasses, and everyone slows down a LOT. I was driving and felt a bit of a drag on the car. I figured I’d gone through a puddle, because then the car was not going. So I pulled over, waited five minutes for it to dry, and started again- and it stopped again. So we called AAA, and messaged friends. The AAA operator said that they didn’t do trailers. Nice- how were we supposed to get the trailer off the highway? Worse, when the truck got there, it could only take one passenger and there were three of us. But he did know a taxi that could take us home- for $200! Admittedly, it was a 55 mile trip, both ways for him, and maybe more to get to us, but $200?!‽ Meanwhile, we’re all standing in the rain, on three cell phones, and couldn’t come up with anything else, so we went for it. At least it turned out that the truck could take the car on its bed, and pull the trailer behind, and we weren’t too far for AAA to take it to Winkles. On the trip Willow got in touch with Avi, who met us at the Mall of NH and took $50 off the trip for us. Sadly, I then spent that to get the trailer hauled back to the house. I didn’t mind horribly because the young man who brought it had done lots of other favors for us for free, and it’s more on the order of balancing the scales.
In truth, other than the cost, I was actually happy to get those four days to work on Pennsic preparations. There is SO much to do, and as usual, we gotten most of everything done that isn’t something only I can do, which leaves the girls frustrated.
I am also slower than usual, I managed to scrape myself on a trip to the back yard, and ever since that bout of cellulitis, I’m always worried about getting it again. Luckily, we remembered how well the drawing herbs worked on the cat’s abscessed tail last year, and put it on my leg, and again it worked beautifully. I don’t know why we always seem to be surprised at how well herbs work when that’s what usually happens. My only regret is that often we take several days to remember to try them!
fern gully
I was in the back yard talking to Wally’s “yard guy”. He’s actually from Curtis Farms, a local farmer who does yard work (and they often host weddings on the weekends) to keep the farm solvent. Ridiculous! People need to value food more! He has a lot of powerful, scary, heavy equipment, and made short work of the back yard (although he had to send someone I daresay he pays less) to hand pick up the detritus in the back where Wolf’s stuff used to be. It was a lot more expensive than I’d expected, but also faster. I guess that’s what the machines do. I was reminded of the old movie Fern Gully, where the green “jungle” that was has been cut down, it’s all brown and bare. I an somewhat horrified (although I am sure the green will return), but also somewhat gleeful as it ripped up the invasive Sumac by the roots. I’m a bit worried about my cherry trees, although I pointed them out to him, and talked about them, (and the jewelweed we use to make ointments), watching him just rip through things- and go farther in some areas than I thought we’d decided makes me nervous. Those cherry trees are the last surviving trees Ælfwine and I planted together. I’m hoping that if he clears around them, I’ll actually be able to harvest the cherries next year.
He mentioned we could probably make the ground more firm if we cut a swale into it (an artificial stream bed that would drain the land around it). But I don’t want to throw any more money that way until the house is done. Wally is coming nicely, but has found more bits than needed repair than he expected on the south side of the house, and it was the North side we were worried about.raised beds
I’ll make a small divergence to mention what I usually start with- the morning glories are growing beautifully beside the door, we have impressive lilies- some maroon ones I only vaguely remember putting in, and daisies are blooming. The roses are passing, but the hollyhocks are coming up. The radish seeds have sprouted in the raised beds, and I’ve planted some started plants. We went to a couple of garden centers and found what was left- not much it being mid-July. I’ve got rainbow chard, some broccoli, a few cucumbers and melons, a stevia plant and epazote (I like weird and was probably not thinking clearly). I just hope that there’s enough light in the driveway. The only thing of all the seeds I started that has survived is the corn- I’ll have a dozen stalks of corn I’m not worried about eating. Frankly, the last year my health has not been the energetic-quick healing vibrancy to which I’m accustomed, and I figure that “aging” is simply the accumulation of various injuries and insults you’ve done to your body, so I don’t want to add any more- even if it’s tiny (and synergistic), so yes, I try to avoid GMO foods, and almost all corn is, except home-grown. I had my first “harvest”: one cherry tomato. (I feel less badly about mentioning it because I’ve seen others mentioning their first cucumber, first this or that on Facebook. In a month we’ll all be posting that we have excess vegetables and does anyone want them?)
We got the exterior faucet working again (it was attached to the pipes that led to the studio sink, so had to be shut off, especially now that that’s detached), and a hose on it, we use to water the raised beds; and I’ve tutored John on caring for them while I’m gone.
track lighting
In the kitchen, Paul has installed track lighting which is marvelous. We now have one light aimed at the stove top, one at the wood stove, one at the sink, two at the table, one at the rolling station, one at the desk, one at the appliance area. It’s pretty cool! Actually, it’s kind of warm. I wish we’d been able to have separate switches for the different tracks so they didn’t all come on at once- 12 bulbs does warm up the kitchen. I’m sure that won’t be as troublesome in the winter. But it’s been in the high nineties this week.

I’ve managed to keep this fairly brief. We’ve been sorting sewing (repairing and making new) garb, Willow is pricing the jewels we got at Myrows (we’d planned to do that at GNEW). She’s put dividers in some of our old trays to display the new stuff. I’m working on paperwork- trying to finish the handouts for the Pennsic classes, making sure we have all our paperwork. Also working on the New Normal and CTCW (gotta get the ads in before we go, and I found several mistakes on the website, argh!). I went to the dentist yesterday and finally got the filling that fell out on the way to the Dowser’s con at the beginning of June filled, then after that went to interview another dentist (who’s staff says they usually can schedule within a week). I’d also had another filling fracture off two days ago- I have to learn to not use my teeth as tools. (I was using it as a third hand to try to untie a knot.) In between those stops we picked up the “gold” coins for the Merchant Appreciation Award, and tiles and grout for the bathroom floor- probably get done while we’re away.

Whenever I stick my head up and look at what’s happening in the rest of the world it looks like everyone else’s lives are just as chaotic (and maybe with more serious meaning). People and their families are getting sick, their trucks and cars are dying (happens a lot to my friends pre-Pennsic), in brief, they make my life look good. With the good weather, locals are haying. That makes me happy.
Since most of the news I get is “passed along” stories on Facebook, there’s been a lot of hysteria about the Zimmerman trial, same sex marriage, and health care. People in the Middle East continue to be horrible to each other, scientists keep making discoveries- I like that part. I also get the impression that the fight to reclaim the environment from big business is gaining momentum.

I’ll be back with many stories- while getting ready is very stressful, we are still looking forward to BEING AT Pennsic. As always, I wish I’d been able to get more done before, so that I wouldn’t have to spend the time there doing things like finishing up the class handouts. Oh, well. Maybe next year.
Live well, and prosper.

“An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man’s entire existence.”
― Honoré de Balzac

(chuckle- when I first read that I thought it said “vacation”!)

Willow tagging gems

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