I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont...
I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here

Category Archives: Farm Life

Mom, the Pats Won the World Series

Mom, the Pats Won the World Series

Ummm and yes that was my title till my lovely husband corrected me.  Ha ha!  Properly humbled.

Hi Mom,

I thought it might be a good idea to write down some of the stuff we were talking about this morning.  Well the biggest thing of course is that the Patriots won the Super Bowl last night!  Kevin … you know him, that guy I had been dating for six months but you knew I would marry, and our four oldest sons watched it.

I remember watching The Pats with you, Dad, and the boys when I was a kid (ha ha funny how “the boys” meant Rocky and Larry my two older brothers, and now “the boys” in our house are my 7 sons).  Anyway, the noise from football games used to drive me crazy, and truthfully I didn’t do much watching, I mostly sat on the couch in the same room with you all and read a book and looked up when I heard everyone yelling at the screen.

I have to admit that I still only have a peripheral knowledge of the game, but yesterday the kids really wanted to watch.  So we put together a little Super Bowl meal of mini meatballs with dipping sauces for dinner and homemade cream filled donuts that Kevin made earlier in the day for dessert.  Umm yeah, I married a man of many talents!

The three littlest boys were up to watch the start of the game, but by 8 they were tucked into bed.  The rest of us curled up on the couch and floor together and dug in.  We are not a football family and Kevin had to give a refresher to some of us as to what was going on, but everyone caught on pretty quick.

For most of the game…  it wasn’t looking good.  In fact it was looking terrible.  The Pats got in their stride late in the game and turned it completely on its’ ears.  Kevin kept saying “The game isn’t over till it’s over.” to sour faced boys and grumpy mumbles.  Someone thought we should just turn it off altogether and end the misery.

And what if we had?  What if we had?  What happened in that game was nothing short of miraculous.

I’m not going to pretend I can talk football here.  But in just a few hours last night we went from dejected and almost without hope to elated .  At 10:30 after it was all said and done I called Dad and Marge and shared in the pure joy together.  The boys knew how upset “Papa” would be if they had lost, so they were extra happy, for him, that the Pats had won.

Kevin and I sent the kids to bed knowing it’s school for most of us in the morning.

It wasn’t till 5:45 this morning after my shower, getting ready and thinking about that glorious game that I remembered you Mom, and started thinking and talking to you.  It’s hard to believe that 18 years ago this morning you took your last breath here and your first breath… there.  And how in those days after you died how even with Kevin, and Dad, and “the boys” (my brothers, not my sons), I just couldn’t see how the game could turn around…

But it did, just not in 3 1/2 hours like last night, it took longer, but wow, I mean wow…

I know you know, but, I have 7 sons Mom!  And I moved from our home by the sea to Vermont with Kevin 11 years ago, and we make Maple syrup and on good apple years we press apple cider, I talk to Dad every day on the phone and love being an everyday presence in his life even though I live miles away, and I learned to love Jesus just like you said I would, and more and more and more.  And life still gets tough sometimes, just like it did when you were living, but I’m learning to love the way that came just so naturally for you, the way of loving people where they are at and looking out for the underdog.

And last night I got to watch a miracle of perseverance and hope with my oldest sons and their Dad and this morning after the three older boys were off to school on the early bus, I got to listen to my 8 year old plunk out the hymn “How Can I Keep From Singing” while he sang the lyrics, all while diapers were being changed, and morning clothes were warming by the wood stove.

And then just in memory of you I steeped some Lipton tea in your Willow Ware teapot mixed in a little milk and sugar and sat with that guy you knew I would marry (before I knew it).

My did God turn my life on its’ ears since you’ve been away Mom, and it doesn’t mean I don’t miss you, but it does mean the game isn’t over yet and I’m still playing.

With love from your little girl here on earth who is thankful to the Pats for never giving up, and praying for that kind of hope and perseverance for us all.


We are Easter People.

We are Easter People.

We have just arrived home from our Easter celebration in Massachusetts with my family.  The boys are all neatly tucked into bed and Kevin is out harvesting sap from our maple trees as our buckets are overflowing from two days of sap runs in our absence.

Lent ended last week.  It is that time of preparation for our hearts where we either give up the things that are keeping us from getting closer to God or we take on things that will help us grow closer to him.  I chose to get out for a walk each day and be kinder to my husband.  The first gave me precious time for my soul so I could be more successful with the 2nd.  I hope to continue with both far beyond Lent.

You could feel the tensions build in the readings this Holy Week.  There was Palm Sunday when Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem as a king (shortly after raising Lazarus a good friend of his from the dead), to the lead up to Holy Thursday where Jesus celebrates the Last Supper with his apostles which ends with one of them turning him over to the authorities.  Then his apostles all flee in fear as Jesus is tortured and humiliated, and on Good Friday Jesus is horrifically crucified on a cross.

Holy Saturday is spent in stunned silence as his followers hide in fear and mourn the death of their hope, and then today…  some of his followers go to his tomb to pray and find it empty.  What has happened?  Where did he go?  Was he stolen?  Those questions are not immediately answered, not until later in the day and then over the next 40 days as Jesus appears to his followers over and over again and the truth is unmistakable.  He Is Risen.

Paper mache' and grass recreation of Jesus' tomb the boys and I put together this past week. We tried to improve upon our previous tomb and make it more travelable.

Paper mache’ and grass recreation of Jesus’ tomb the boys and I put together this past week. We tried to improve upon our previous tomb and make it more travelable.


How often are we in stunned silence in the moment?  Disoriented, fearful?  Just like the apostles on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.  They couldn’t make sense of what was going on.  He was supposed to be their king, to lead them to freedom.

I see a lot of myself in the apostles.  I often say in my heart “Jesus l give you all of me, do with me what you want.” and I mean it when I say it, but then things get tough and I am disoriented in my heart and end up saying to him “Oh, no you didn’t mean THAT though did you? That is too hard!”.

How could Jesus’ brutal humiliation on the cross or my –fill in the blank with any thing I don’t want to do– be part of the PLAN???

It’s not supposed to be easy, this life.  If it doesn’t make us cringe a little, if we aren’t giving up something, then we cannot be transformed.  Jesus knew this so well.  He gave us his all to free us from the parts of ourselves that we tend to cling to, the parts he sees keeping us back.

Jesus sees how very beautiful we are.  He can look beyond all our little and big sins to our potential.  The potential each and every one of us has.  He’s got a plan that he revises each moment of our lives.  We can help him complete it if we decide to look to him and listen.  To listen even when it means carrying his cross for a mile or two or three…

Pouring sap into holding containers.

Pouring sap into holding containers.


…We thought this sugaring season was a bust a few weeks ago.  With no snow on the ground to keep our perishable sap from spoiling we have to boil each run of sap as it comes in.  That was ok when we were thinking it was a short season and the warm weather would make the buds on the trees open and it would be over soon as the sap wouldn’t be good for sugaring anymore.  Then you just pull the taps out of the trees, wash out and put away the containers, lines, and pans.

Well that hasn’t been the story.  So far we’ve made 7 gallons of syrup from about 280 gallons of sap.  It has been our biggest yield since we’ve been sugaring.  That has meant some long nights in the sugar shack, a whole lot of persistence, and even a little faith.

Sugaring seasons on average are about 4 weeks long and by the end we are often tired and yes we have been known to waste some sap instead of boil it at the end because we just felt spent.

So far we are keeping on keeping on.  We’ll see how the season turns out and if we boil every last drop of sap (you know we’ll kick ourselves in the summer if we don’t do it now when the getting is good).

I know making maple syrup for 4 weeks is hardly a great cross to carry, but it is where our family is at right in this very moment, THIS Easter.

Steam rising out of our sugar shack.

Steam rising out of our sugar shack.


Leaning into the collecting, the boiling, the feeding the fire, the waiting, all while carrying on with all the other aspects of our busy lives…  Four weeks of persistence rewarded with gallons and gallons of sweetness.

Who doesn’t want gallons and gallons of sweetness?

We are ALL Easter people, we are made truly alive by the challenges we face.  I don’t know about you, but I want to see what plan Jesus has for me and the goodness that I can’t even comprehend.  Oh God give me faith and persistence and yes, gallons and gallons of sweetness!!

Happy Easter Everyone!!

HE IS RISEN, Alleluia, Alleluia!!



That Sweet Vermont Season

That Sweet Vermont Season

We’ve been prepping all week for a run.  Those cold nights and warm days that wake the sleeping sap from roots to limbs.  Drilling holes, tapping trees, cleaning out holding barrels.  Today was the day, the sap ran and ran.  It’s been 8 years of Sugaring seasons for me now. I’ve been going through myContinue Reading

7 Quick Takes:  It’s Autumn in Vermont Edition

7 Quick Takes: It’s Autumn in Vermont Edition

Here’s my 7 Quick Takes on what’s been going on around here lately… 1 — Fall kind of slid right by no matter how hard I pulled at it’s coat tails begging it to stay!  I did manage to take a few photos before the splendor fades into the winter…     2 — ~PContinue Reading

When Life Gives You Currants…

When Life Gives You Currants…

These are the July weeks when our currant bushes strain with fruit begging to be picked.  Kevin planted them 6 years ago at a time when I hardly knew what a currant was.  We have red currants which are tart and about the size of a medium small blueberry and we have black currants thatContinue Reading

7 Quick Takes ~ Chicks, Painting When Not Pregnant, Etc.

1.  My husband brought these home yesterday: We have 3 hens and one rooster and now apparently 5 baby chicks.  We had “talked” about possibly getting some chicks, but I didn’t really know it was imminent, till it was. 2.  The NEED (my prerequisite) for these new chicks to have a home other than ourContinue Reading

Last Day of Sugaring Season

Well here we are.  Sunny and warm, no more freezing nights for at least the next week. Spring.  Is.  Here. At least as far as the maple trees are concerned.  The sap run is drip drip dripping to a close today. And what a day it was… Boys running back and forth and sideways playingContinue Reading

Date Night at the Sugar Shack

That title sounds romantic doesn’t it?  Ha ha ha or racy I guess. To some it might sound just a bit boring.  As with most things though the truth lies somewhere in between. After all 7 babies/big kids were in bed last night I finally got to join Kevin for a few minutes out atContinue Reading

The Sap is Running, the Sap is Running!

Ha ha, I felt like Chicken Little this afternoon, except instead of “The sky is falling!”, it was “the sap is running!”.  It has been a very slow start to the season.  Perfect weather for sap production is below 30 degrees at night and then a sunny day above freezing, mostly the nights have beenContinue Reading

Sugaring 2015 ~Palm Sunday and we have a sugar shack!

Today is Palm Sunday.  It is the first day of Holy Week leading up to Good Friday the day Christ was crucified and Easter Sunday when three days later he rose from the dead.  It is the day we recite Christs’ Passion (the events leading up to the crucifixion) during Mass.  It is the dayContinue Reading

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