Posts Tagged 'Vermont'

Slowly slowly

I am making very little progress on my next cross stitch venture, a copy of the one completed before, with different colors and different letters, for Sita and Jim; after they get married Tessa and Steve will get one too. At the pace I am going they will have years to go before I can start the last one.

I keep undoing the work, much like Penelope but for different reasons – mostly my inability to distinguish three threads from two – it’s a vision thing I fear. We are also very busy with vacation.

Today we went horseback riding with an outfit that deserves an unhappy face on their website for customer satisfaction. They blamed the federal government logging activities for the fact that our 2 hour trail ride was for more than 1 hour along a wide unpaved and boring road, going at a very slow pace.

Sita and I had hoped they’d let us trot or canter a bit but the guide lady – who had only horse skills but no people skills, wouldn’t let us. It was an excruciatingly boring ride. We had to ride single file so we could not really talk with one another. I tried to make the best of it by meditating a bit while staring at the black flies that were pestering our horses. We did not protest when we returned to the makeshift stables before our time was up.

Tessa, the only first time rider in our party, was thrown off her horse because upon our return to our the horses grazing grounds two of them got too close to each other, rearing up and scaring themselves and their riders. Jim held on to the reins and saddle but Tessa let go and landed with a thud. The staff had not been paying any attention to who could dismount and who could not on their own, nor where each horse was grazing.

It was a painful parting with my hard earned danger pay money to fulfill our financial obligation for this rather unsuccessful outing. Axel had chosen wisely not to go along and had spent an agreeable time in the green mountains enjoying the sun and the views.

We then splurged in Bob’s Diner further up the road on excellent roadside food, including one-dollar Pabst Blue Ribbon pints that served perfectly to quench our thirst. On our way home we stopped at Stratton Village, a place that was dead as a door nail without the snow and skiers.

Back at the B&B we relaxed our sore bottoms in the hot tub while Steve went about his farm chores. It is amazing how often and quickly it is milking/feeding time again.

I could a dinner of leftovers while everyone else watched the Stanley Cup projected on the high wall by a gadget that turns your home into a cinema – there is no escaping the giant TV projection with this thing, my worst nightmare – that everyone else liked a lot.

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More happiness

The couple who owns the B&B left in the morning and gave us the run of the house, provided that Steve continues to do his (volunteer) farm chores. We all happily joined him in finding eggs from the chicken and ducks (and then eating them), and feeding the livestock. Steve does the milking because none of the rest of us are farm hands.

When we are down in the barn we have to fend off the aggressive rooster who tried to peck us as much as he has abused his hens. I suspect him of having the Genghis Khan Y chromosome. He is that kind of a male. Tessa only gets close to him with a large stick in her hand. I am told he is going to Freezer Camp soon. I am sure all the chicken will sigh with relief. There is no safe house for them – at night they are all in one chicken coop.

The baby goats are adorable, only a few weeks old. Three of them are small females; two are slightly larger boys, black and white speckled coats, like an inverse Dalmatian. Then there are two older kids, both destined as meat goats. All but one of the boys will also go to Freezer Camp as Tessa calls it. The remaining little meat goat is destined to sire many more. He is the lucky one.

It took us hours to get up and ready for the day, way past noon, but finally we made it out of the house for a long walk through mosquito-infested woods and up into the mountains. We had to walk waving our hands around our ears in a permanent motion to keep from having them removed by the swarms of blood sucking creatures. Axel’s lungs are doing relatively well, given that we are surrounded by four dogs and much animal dander all the time – one of the things he is allergic too.

We went into the big town (Manchester) to get supplies for our evening meal. It is beautiful country here. It made me fantasize about finding my next job here. Only the bugs and the very long winters are a bit of a problem.

Back at the farm we watched Steve milk again, this needs to happen twice a day. The expressed milk immediately got recycled into the baby goats who drink the amalgamated mothers’ milk through small rubber teats placed on soda bottles. If we wouldn’t intervene this way into nature usual provisions for feeding offspring at least one of the small goats might not have survived the pushing and shoving for of its more aggressive siblings.

In the evening everyone but me got involved in meal preparation in the enormous industrial size kitchen. The story has it that the owners brought back plates from a vacation abroad; the plates were one eighth of an inch too large for the kitchen cabinets which needed to be replaced; this triggered a wish to finally have the commercial kitchen installed, which required an annex to the house. As needs made way for wants the project grew in complexity. To make a long story short, the original house was sold and one twice the size (8000 ft) was built in its stead. This is where we are now.

Only in such a large kitchen can five people cook without getting into each others’ way. The resulting meal was superb leaving us with no room for the desserts we had bought.

We ended the day playing an old board game that was popular when the girls were young. Although it was called travel in Europe, I, as the only European, came in last of the 6.

The whole day was one of the happiest during this short vacation. Simply being with, laughing with, being silly with, talking with the ones I love more than anything else in the world was the best cure for my Kabul blues.But the countdown is relentless. Today I plan another day of total happiness.

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Unready in Vermont

I am dreading the return flight – now only 5 days away as my saved itinerary cheerfully tells me. The slow workings of approvals and such at MSH dashed my hopes and chances for an upgrade on the 14 hour flight to Dubai and even an aisle seat in economy. I am sitting in the end of the very last section, by the window, only one notch up from a middle seat. I keep telling myself, it could have been worse.

The third doctor Axel consulted yesterday, the pulmonary specialist, added his verdict to that of the others: it is not a good idea for him to return to Kabul. So it is definite now: Axel stays home. The final decision came easily once we realized that Axel’s non responsiveness to Prednisone makes his return too risky – a serious asthma attack could become easily life threatening. This is another reason why I am not happy to go back.

Rather low in spirits I set out with Axel, Steve and Tessa in the back with the dogs on their laps, to Vermont for a few days vacation on the B&B farm where Steve works. The host family received us as if we were long lost friends. Steve went right to work to feed the baby goats which he helped birth not so long ago.

In the meantime a fabulous dinner was prepared in the industrial kitchen with all of Steve’s favorite dishes on the menu. Innkeeper Ed opened champagne to toast to the young couple.

In the middle of the night our bed collapsed. Explosion, then earthquake raced through my mind and I felt so vulnerable that I realized I haven’t quite come down from Kabul –a vaguely familiar feeling from way back, of trying to come down from Beirut. It took some time, I remember.
Needless to say I am not ready to return to Kabul.


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