What’s been goin’ on?

IMG_2916

The kids have been enjoying harvesting, cleaning and sautéing kale. It will start with Talia asking Rachel or me, “Can I go down to the garden with you?” Then everyone will want to come. Then kale will be picked, along with any lingering cucumbers or zucchini, and plenty of sweet cherry tomatoes.

IMG_2917

Talia’s been waking up first. She does a great job mixing up the pancake ingredients, then cooking cute-cakes or snowmen in the cast iron pan.

IMG_2992

IMG_2995

Yesterday we visited Mt. Ascutney. We hiked through the woods to Mile Long Field. Micaela, Emeth and Anna ran through the woods with me, keeping a pretty good pace. Then we ran through the field. (They slept well.)

IMG_2962

IMG_2966

IMG_2979

IMG_2981

IMG_2987

We bought a house! Well, it’s under contract. In NJ. We’re looking forward to being back in the area, being closer to family and friends. Settlement is October 16. It’s been a wonderful eleven months in Vermont. There is much we will miss about this place. Mainly the beauty and solitude. But we know we’ll find these things in smaller, more diverse ways in NJ. We are so excited to finally own a house, and make a home, after all these years of renting. It was owned by an older woman who’s husband died, and she is moving closer to her children. They raised their five children there, and took amazing care of the house and property, down to the landscaping. We’re realizing what a blessing it is to move in to a house that doesn’t need any repairs (that we know of), and that we can start with cosmetic things, like removing wallpaper, painting, possibly ripping up some carpet, and just focussing on making it our home, inside and out.

I’ve been working on a number of creative projects for fun. Musically, I released a short album called Demos, Mixtapes and Besides, and an EP titled Memos and Asides.

The Yearly Ears Cover

The Yearly Ears Cover Memos and Asides

I’ve also been working on another one minute film project, which I’m really excited about. (One minute has proved to be a good goal so as not to get in over my head.) I should hopefully have it released within a week. These are being posted here.

I listened to a very inspiring interview with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky on The Tim Ferriss Show, which inspired me to keep going with these short projects. Always helpful to be reminded that it’s best to just be yourself when creating.

I’ve been focussing on a lot of one minute projects, like the music and visual pieces, but I recently completed a 24-minute project for a new podcast I started with my college roommate. It’s called All Things Deconsidered. It was so much fun to write, record and edit, and I’m having fun working on episode two. You can also listen on iTunes.

With all of these projects, both short and long, I’ve been trying to break down the steps by using a method outlined by the folks at Bullet Journal. This video breaks the process down pretty well. It’s been immensely helpful for organizing my thoughts, both personally and for my work.

I’ve been reading three amazing books:

  • The Meaning of Happiness – Alan Watts (I’m actually re-reading this one it’s so good!)
  • To Have Or To Be? – Eric Fromm
  • Concluding Unscientific Postscript – Søren Kierkegaard

At bedtime the kids have been asking to listen to Krista Tippett (On Being). Recommendations:

We’ve been enjoying The Olllam (yes, three l’s) and Dawn Landes and Piers Faccini’s Desert Songs.

 

In light of our recent big purchase, we’ve been watching the 1979 season of This Old House. The hat. The mustache. The enthusiasm. Goosebumps.

The kids have been enjoying watercoloring.

IMG_2950

IMG_2955

IMG_2949

IMG_2947

End of Summer

Playing Store

Hunting For Bears

 

Sparklers

Curtseying

Cookie Shop

Farmer’s Market

Morning Meditation

Ten Apples Up On Top!

Mirror Time

Summer Morning

Measuring

Eclipse

Tuckerbox

Learning to Ride

Harvesting From the Garden

Well

Micaela asked if we could build a “well.” It just so happened that the weekend before we did another major purge of our possessions, but for some random reason I kept the rope and pulley needed to build it. I easily tracked them down in the garage and got to work.

While scouring the woods behind our house for the right-size pieces, the kids hammered nails into wood, and Annie picked up metal out of the fire pit with a magnet. Micaela and Emeth built airplanes.

IMG_2602

IMG_2634

IMG_2613

IMG_2605

When Annie was done with the magnet, Emeth asked me to tie a string to it. He tried picking up my tools but the axe was a bit too heavy.

IMG_2620

I finished the well. Success.

IMG_2585

When we went inside Micaela and Emeth dressed up like Rachel and me.

IMG_2636

Quechee Gorge

We visited the Quechee Gorge. It was a scorching 76 degrees. I wore pants by mistake. But thankfully the trail was heavily shaded and mostly cool.

IMG_2442

IMG_2438

We walked upstream to the dam, not realizing all the fun swimming was downstream.

IMG_2551
Bridge that crosses the Gorge.

IMG_2475

When we got to the dam, I was expecting a more spectacular view. But the kids made the best of it by finding and collecting cicada shells on the conifer bark.

IMG_2485

We thought about walking the mile to the bottom of the Gorge. But the kids were enjoying walking very slowly, picking up pine needles, observing all manner of life around them, and climbing the fence to get a view of the river beneath.

IMG_2516

IMG_2517

IMG_2539

IMG_2505

IMG_2553

Talia did her fair share of complaining, but she pushed through, and I only had to carry her a few times before she’d want to run off with “guys” to see what was up ahead.

IMG_2558

We made it back to the Visitors’ Center. Talia was disappointed it was closed. We observed the bluish-blackish night tomatoes on the vine, got in the van, and drove home. Talia fell asleep.

IMG_2566

IMG_2568

Number Nine

Rachel and I celebrated our ninth anniversary! (Together, thankfully.) We dropped the kids off with J.M. “Oh, you’re going to Woodstock? Can you fill this prescription for N- while you’re out?” Sure, no problem. We drove to Woodstock, relishing the opportunity for a few hours of uninterrupted conversation, food, fun and thought.

We went to the pharmacy. I was nervous, wondering whether they’d discover my true identify. “Mr. M-?” They called out, as I browsed the store. “Your order is ready.” In the clear.

“First, I need you to verify your phone number.” Not in the clear. I broke into a cold sweat. I didn’t know J’s phone number off the top of my head. Thankfully, the clerk read it off to me.

“Yes, that sounds about right.” I handed them J’s debit card.

“I’d ask for your ID, but your obviously not J-.”

Obviously not. I smiled, laughed, took the prescription, and walked back over to Rache. She had a large, soft, cuddly bunny in hand. “Should we get this for Caela?” Sure. She’d been asking for one for a long time. We also got a VT sticker for the van.

We popped into Unicorn, then over to the Yarn Shop. Rache picked up some soft-and-cuddly yarn to make something soft-and-cuddly, and a pattern for a cowl she really liked on display.

We walked to the river.

We brought Rilke’s Book of Hours, and read a few poems. Our favorite was “Ich glaube an Alles noch nie Gesagte.” Thankfully, only the title was in German.

Then to Yankee Book Shop across the street. After browsing for awhile, and almost giving up, I came across Thoreau’s Walden. I had tried to read it years earlier, but I wasn’t ready. This time, I am.

Hungry, we drove to the Woodstock Farmer’s Market. We picked up a few things, then drove up Prosper Road to a trail head on Mt. Tom. We ate in the parking lot, then ventured forth onto McKenzie Farm Trail to the Pogue.

When we arrived, the water sparkled from a gentle breeze. So gentle I could barely feel it. Dragonflies danced. Frogs hopped. Turtles turtled. It was very, very quiet. How quiet, I thought.

Completely quiet
Barely a movement
Nature’s infinite variation and beauty

Its minimalism — not stark or empty
Just removing distraction so you can see clearly
Like Rilke, removing the walls
we put up between ourselves and God.