Tuesday, May 27, 2014

I Am Sitting On My Porch, Smack Dab

In the middle of a thunderstorm.  One of those god’s wrath, break of a billiard rack, the dog is under the couch beauties that separates the bag from the pipes and reminds you that MOTHER NATURE IS IN CHARGE, thank you very much.  

Short of an Irene or a winter of ’98 ice storm on the damage scale but still pretty powerful.  Which makes it ideal for sitting through.  Somehow the word rumbling was born of a good thunderstorm.  Crescendo from the Latin crescere to grow or increase.  The third movement of Vivaldi’s Concerto in A Minor.  Currently somewhere over Putney but headed this way, up Westminster West, up and over Hartley Hill, descending on our little hamlet, adding a couple of inches to the depth of the Saxtons River.

As quickly as it hits, it passes, headed north and east.  The rain which at times was heavy starts to soften, reminding metal roofs of their purpose.  The sky remains dark but the threatening nature of the storm has given way to the gentler soaking rain.  Now the only question remaining is how long will it rain?  Will we be lucky enough to have it around at bedtime? 

A late afternoon early evening storm is what you want.  The earth has started to cool and things are sort of settling in for the night.  A storm during the heat of the day often gives way to a hot sun that sends the fallen rain back into the air in the form of a brutalizing asthmatic humidity.  A heading-to-dark rainfall blankets and grays outside and mesmerizes here on the porch.  A good rain is like a good campfire.

Probably should head for the kitchen, the pizza dough may be doubled.  God is good, the eight ball has fallen into a woven leather pooltable pocket and yo dude you can come out from under there, every little thing gonna be all right.

Love you.  Peace.  Peter

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

I'm Having A Hard Time

Coming to terms with the difficulty this year's winter has had struggling with letting go.  Just last week, I overheard a couple of cabins discussing the extremely high level of fever they've had to put up with for the last couple of months.  I'm one matching set of white belt and pants away from a move south.  So ready for summer I bought a hothouse tomato, slathered it in mayo and pretended I just got back Pete's Farmstand, Rt. 12, Just North of Walpole, NH.

It's been cool.  As in temperature, not temperament.  As in it's frickin' May and I'm still waiting for a forsythia to step up and be counted.  As in I don't have to look too hard to spy with my little eye chunks of glacier clinging to roadside rockwalls.

Even the roads aren't sure what to make of it.  Normally by now we're in the middle of mud season navigating roads all agoo.  Oh, there are pockets of warmth-indicators looking to be recognized.  The other day (let's call it Spring shall we?), I was out for a Spring-Has-Sprung ride up on Davidson Hill Road and found a couple of spots where, if I'd been in my car instead of on my bike I would have been up to my ball joints in it.  But for the most part the ground is still solid.  As in the tarp doesn't need to come off the Troy-Bilt quite yet.

Last night, I opened my bedroom window hoping for a breath of the freshness of Spring (like when your Mom hung a mobile of Irish Spring soap bars over your crib). (HaHaHa.  You thought I wouldn't tell.)  You know how comforting that woodstove-smoke smell is drifting over from the neighbors in January?  It's a spit in the face from Mother Nature on the 5th of May.

Got to go for a run through the woods today.  Running through the woods on a crisp Fall day with the musk of freshly fallen leaves rising crushed beneath my feet always brings up memories of my glory days.  Wait.  Right stimulus, wrong season.

I sure hope they're enjoying a nice lingering summer down Chile way.

Love you all.  Peace.  Peter

Thursday, March 13, 2014

This Is Without A Doubt

Spring, one of my favorite times of the year.  I love those moments when we transition between seasons and winter into spring can be so uplifting and revitalizing.  It can also be muddy.

I’ve started cracking my bedroom window at night to take advantage of the freshening air.  You know my bedroom window.  The one that overlooks the road leaving Saxtons River heading south?  The one that overlooks that part of the road where trucks decide to shift as they leave Saxtons River heading south.  Okay so there are not that many trucks leaving Saxtons River headed south but there are a lot of those whatta you call ‘ems?  Oh yeah, 17 year old boys WHO THINK THEY’RE MARIO ANFRICKINDRETTI.  I always wanted to be one of those guys but no matter how hard I tried I could not get my father’s 1979 Plymouth Valiant station wagon to perform the way Nelson Severance could get his Ford Falcon to go from zero to 60 mph in a gazillionth of a second.  Ah 60 mph.  Was not possible in a Plymouth Valiant unless you were coming down Rt. 125 from the top of Middlebury Gap in neutral.

Slope enthusiasts up at Killington have made the equivalent of a gazillion trips down the stairwell of the Empire State Building.  Did you know that in 1945 when a plane ran into the Empire State Building, elevator operator Betty Lou Oliver survived a 75 story plunge?  No one names their kid Betty Lou anymore but it was the most popular girls’ name in 1946.  

The wicked diehard skiers are not ready to quit, hoping for one more weekend of fun.  As we transition to warmer weather they start to trade pants for shorts, plant themselves in what is called corn and often end up covered with raspberries.  The rest of us, refusing to live in the past, are looking towards warmer weather.

As I look outside my living room window (you know my living room window- it’s right below my bedroom window) I have noticed folks getting back into jogging.  As if trying to nudge spring into showing up sooner rather than later they run by in their underwear dodging the snowpack of yesterday which is now flowing down the road.

Which brings us to the whiteness of March skin.  Vermont is not known as a state with a high percentage of people of color.  This is not so much an issue of race and diversity as it is a situation in which we have acres of flesh that has spent the last 5 months under 5 layers of Merino.  Acres of flesh now blindingly making its way up the road that leaves Saxtons River heading south.

I think I’ll sit on my porch and watch life go by.  It’s supposed to be in the mid to upper thirties.  T shirt weather.

Love you all.  Peace.  Peter

Saturday, September 21, 2013

When We Got Married

My bride’s father gave us a cow.  He was a dairy farmer and so his wedding gift to us was a cow.  Technically a heifer, who for those who have never been near a dairy farm is a young female cow who has not been bred yet.  Being young and female on a dairy farm is a whole lot better than being young and male.  Which is basically the same as being young and dead.  For other than his sperm the male cow on a dairy farm is about as worthless as tits on a boar.  But that’s a whole other species and one needs to be careful not to overdo the animal husbandry topic.

I suppose being needed solely for your sperm is not all that bad a job.  If you can get it.  Most dairy farms only need one, sometimes two bulls on hand to do their thang.  There’s not a whole lot of romancing that goes into getting a cow pregnant.  It does not require a whole lot of intelligence either.  I once saw a young stud humping a John Deere 3020 Tractor in hopes of impressing.  If you happen to be born around the time the old grey bull is dying you’ve basically got the job.    

John Deere 3020, not sexy cow

So it takes a while for a slot to open up.  And Joe Farmer ain’t feeding you just to wait around for a shot at making it in the Bigs.  So it’s off to Wisnowski’s Commission Sales to be sold to the butcher most willing to pay top dollar for your sorry ass.  Probably not going to compete with Certified Angus coming out of the nation’s hinterlands but still reasonably good hamburg. 

I had visions of our heifer starting us on the road of Wang Lung in Pearl S Buck’s The Good Earth.  Only without all the other crap he had to put up with.  (Geesh Pearl, why can’t a guy just get rich and be happy?).  We never named her but knew her by her assigned number, B82.  (I still tear up when I think of that little red ear tag).  My father-in-law was going to raise B82 as part of his herd but her offspring would be our offspring and before you know it we will have a whole herd of our own, and we can start our own farm and before you knew it we would own half the county and before you knew it I’d be in the State Senate and everyone would be my friend because I could get them jobs leaning on a shovel for the State and before you knew it we’d have a boat and before you knew it B82 walked into the manure pit and drowned.

Manure Pit with Walls.  Unlike the one on our farm.

Today’s lesson?  If someone gives you a cow don’t name her.  It was a hell of a lot easier saying goodbye to B82 than it would have been to Clover.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

There Comes A Time.

In every parent’s life, somewhere between “Oh my god are all the bowel movements going to be that color?” and “Help I’ve fallen and can’t get up”, you're going to get one of those embarrassing questions you’d rather avoid.  A time when a rotten floorboard allowing for a quick exit into the basement would be a good thing.

Usually revolving around sex (did you ever) or drugs (did you ever), there is no easy way out and in my experience it is better to face these head-on and be honest.  Are you nuts?  It is much better to pretend you just lost your hearing and need to go to the mall for an auditory exam.  Auditory, from the Latin auditorius, meaning a really large room filled with seventh graders and their homeroom teachers who can hear really well so don’t call Mrs Farnham The Old Bag unless you want detention for five days. 

Just the other day (I think it was last Friday) I had to deal with the one question none of us who have been able to fake being a great dad up to now want to face.  The question you would give the good Lord the remainder of your life as a priest in exchange for avoiding (ha ha I’m not Catholic and had my fingers crossed anyway).  The question you would rather be sitting on the Group W bench with the mother-stabbers and the father-rapers than have to answer (ha ha I’m not Arlo Guthrie).

“Hey Dad, when you were my age did you like John Denver”?  Well there it is.  No matter which side of the Weber you stand on the smoke is headed your way.  Better they hear it from you, rather than read about your love for Henry John Deutschendorf Jr (his real name I swear I am not making this up) in one of those love letters from Brenda What’s Her Name you thought you had hidden (ha ha ha) on the top shelf of your closet.

“Why do you ask son”?  In parenting parlance this is known as a subtle delaying tactic. This will allow you time to formulate an educated (ha ha ha) answer. Or maybe that floor joist will give way.

“Well I’ve been listening to his stuff lately and I kind of like his music.  Is there something wrong with me”?

“No son, there’s nothing wrong with you.  Why experts (guys in white coats with bushy eyebrows) estimate that 10 percent of men like John Denver.”

“Well what about you.  You know when you were younger”?

“Well you have to remember son that was a time when men were not allowed to cry in public.  Why even being seen coming out of Terms of Endearment with red eyes was an invitation to the entire JV football team to see if they could get your underwear up over your head (No Wooger I haven't forgotten). I can admit now that I like his music but back then you had to store your 8 tracks under your seat and only bring them out when you were trying to show how sensitive you were in order to impress Robin What’s Her Name on the way to the Root Beer Stand.”

“Thanks Dad, I feel better.  Now about babies?  Where do they come from”?

“Go ask your Mom What’s Her Name.”

“Oh Dad”?

“Yes Son, what now”? (For God’s sake it’s time for Law and Order)

“What’s an 8 track”?

Love you all.  Peace.  Peter

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bikini Season is Coming

I got to go for a run today in downtown Saxtons River.  You blink at the front (that would be east) end of Main Street where the “Back at 2:00 PM” sign has been hanging in the front window of Bob Thompson's real estate office since I've been a resident, and by the time your eyes are open you've driven through the front doors of what should be a Congregational Church but is now the Saxtons River Historical Society at the other end.

There are too many dead end streets in Saxtons River.  Literally.  I kept running up what looked like promising jog-along-the-river roads only to have do an about face and retrace.  Which should not be a problem other than (who’s with me on this?) I hate running back from whence I came.  Oh and often at the end of dead end roads is a house and somewhere a line that marks the end of the dead end road and the beginning of the driveway.  Yes that driveway.  The one owned by a guy who owns a house at the end of a dead end road so no one will bother him.

Apparently I have crossed that dividing line because up on the porch shouting and gesticulating (from the Latin gesticulatus meaning get your gonads off my property) is a gentleman who looks like his mother may also be his sister.  Shouting something that sounded like  MMrphster fragginrassin muoofretrobulator.  Weelaproppiginna gonads.  Except he didn't say gonads.  And he used some other words in there I can't share just in case anyone shares this with my mother. Now even if you haven’t had the chance to spend time around anyone who spends time with a big wad of Red Man Chewing Tobacco stuck between his cheek and gum you would know, now would be a good time to get back on the other side of that line.  And I have (spent time developing listening skills with tobacco chewers), but more on that in a minute. 

It’s time to leave.  Except I’m about two miles into the first run after a winter of, how you say in your country, couch potatoing (See Dan Quayle’s Spelling for Dummies if you don’t think potatoing is a word).  Tying the laces of my running shoes (about two miles ago) had me winded.  Luckily down the hill is away from the set of Deliverance so I fall to safety.  Literally.  

One of my first real jobs other than babysitting and mowing lawns was in 9th grade when I went to work for the Champlain Construction Company and Mr. Bucky Danyow.  Bucky loved chewing tobacco and a 5 pound wad of Red Man was a typical portion.  If you were looking for him you simply followed the brown splats.  He liked to say “The world is my spittoon” and people who knew him gave him about 6’ of personal space.  Violate this at your own risk.

Well it’s your first day on the job and wanting to make a good impression when the Boss says “Geddaframpoffathur” and gesticulates towards the tool room you run over and grab a rake and bring it back to the Boss.  “Noddagaddmfimkin rake, geddaframpoffathur”  Back to the tool room for the shovel.  “Noddagaddmfimkin shovel, geddaframpoffathur”  Back to the tool room or use the shovel to dig a hole big enough for a skinny 13 year old.  I decide to throw myself at the mercy of the crew most of whom are peeing themselves after witnessing my first 2 minutes on the job.  One kind older gentleman explains that Bucky wants me to get him a tamp.  

Oh okay like I know what a tamp is.  Here you can have this shovel, I’m going for a run.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fading to Spring

I finally put my cross country skiis and poles away.  End of the season.  Except, if you never used your cross country skiis and poles then technically I don't think you can claim a season.  But it sure did feel good walking by as they rested against the coat rack all winter.  Getting stronger by being close.  My abs tightened little by little just by passing the front door.  Wicked bulging triceps simply by thinking about all that double poling I would be doing if it weren’t for the Bruins being on TV.  It’s tough being an athlete.

Started on the twice a year cleaning.  Knowing that you’re never going to get 100% of the dirt up does not justify not taking a stab at the first 99%.  Or in the case of 329 Dorsch Hill Road, Putney, VT 05346 (in case anyone wanted to send me a “hope you get over this cleaning thing” card) the first 1%.   When the recliner got moved, (yes I’m that serious) I realized the good folks from Pringles had started a chip factory under there.  

Did you know there is a Pringles App?  Except it is not available from the U.S. Itunes store.  Go ahead, I’ll wait while you go check it out.  They probably have started a campaign to promote better health through exercise.   C’mon America, put down your handheld device, get up off the couch, grab a can of salt and go for a walk.  Hahahahaha.  OMG.  LMAO.  LOL.  BFF.  WTF.  NASA.  SCOOBIE-DOO.

Clean.  I can’t even figure out how to reload the Swiffer Sweeper I found downstairs.  The good folks from Swiffer have a very nice website with a video on how to do this.  Which I should have watched before I spent the afternoon on my hands and knees with a Swiffer Sweeper wet mopping refill in each hand working the floor.  Fake Spring smelling cleaning liquid on, fake Spring smelling cleaning liquid off.  Try saying that 3 times fast with a mouthful of Pringles.  Go ahead, try it.  Now use the Swiffer Sweeper to clean up all the bits o’ chips you sprayed all over the place.

How about these words?  Do they seem brighter?  Jump off the page?  I even cleaned my keyboard.  Most people would just throw away their dirty old computer and get a new one.  Not me.  A box and a half of Q-tips has never been more wisely used.  There are figuratively 100‘s of cleaning uses for the Q-tip.  Literally there are 31.  Go ahead, check it out.  http://www.qtips.com/tip-jar/detail/114964/cleaning-tips.  It seems the good folks at Q-tips want us to use them for everything except for what we all use them.  Making sure the passage through which our brains get fresh air stays unclogged. 

Could someone call my mother?

I think I’m done for today.  I’ll get the upstairs and bathroom tomorrow.  Unless the Bruins are on.  

Now I’ve got to bring the golf clubs up from the cellar.  Looking to take 2 points off my handicap this season.  From the comfort of my recliner.

Love you all.  Peace.  Peter.