Wednesday, November 24, 2010


That was Monday- and after two days and counting of temperatures in the teens, the novelty is wearing off. Remember back in the olden days when the pond froze and the water pipes froze and the rabbit bottles froze and the goat water buckets froze. Yes, it is all back again. I did forestall the frozen pipes by spotting the freeze at the very beginning. With a propane heater in the pump house the water began to flow again and it has been trickling down the sink ever after. We are looking at overnight temperatures around 15 again tonight but Thanksgiving should be our turn-around hope. It is predicted to be almost 40 during the day and the beginning of a warming trend with rain following.

Tulin Rd is an accident happening, as usual. Yesterday there were 4 cars at one time ditched along the curves. They seem to be towed out and we even heard the gravel truck last night so maybe we WILL be able to drive to the ferry on Thursday. Fortunately I have all my ingredients at ready. The sauce is made and noodles are on the schedule for today, along with bread sticks for hor d'ouevres and dinner rolls. So, we are enjoying and old fashion holiday here in Kingston. The only thing missing is a kitchen full of hoodlums helping to cook a "pioneer meal" because school has been canceled, including "Indian pudding".

Have fun and stay warm, eat well and know I am sending you all hugs and kisses.
Mama Llama

Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter Surprises

The sauce is simmering on the stove, ready for Thanksgiving noodles.

The apple bread is baking, using the last of the damaged apples from the garden.

There are spices in the pot simmering on the wood stove and as I head outside ...

Happy Week before Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Big Time

Well, after years of taking an independent stand in the face of fashion dictates, I have finally been recognized by the fashion world. Witness the Dossier Journal Style posting for November 19 if you will.  Who are those good looking, fashion forward stars?

Sorry, I can't make this stand up straight!
Aside from my presence in the media, the world around Kingston is wet and cold. I have been busy doing what, I don't know, but time is passing, preparations are being made and winter is coming, along with the holidays. I have had a few sad moments because my sweet little QT died this week. I nursed her through a bought of scours and the last few weeks she seemed on the mend, eating with a great appetite both hay and grain. This week I came back from school and found her dead outside her shed. She was a real sweety but I think she has had some  serious internal health problems that finally overwhelmed her. At least I feel like she was happy and cared for when she died.

With Thanksgiving just a short week away, it is time to realize how lucky we all are. Despite our little complaints and our bigger problems, we have people to love and support us. We have a warm home and enough food to feel satisfied too much of the time.  Most important, we have faith in the future and faith in ourselves.

With all this wealth as part of our daily experience, it is hard not to become a little "let them eat cake" like in our awareness of others. I take an example from a recent day in the high school "math-for-daily-life" class. We all hear the repeated complaints about the failure of our schools to educate our students for the lives they need to lead. Why don't teacher demand more discipline? Why don't students care more and reach farther? Why don't parents support teachers and encourage excellence in their children's academic performance?  As hard as it is for those of us who are so very fortune to accept, there are many students who seem perfectly normal, average and able but are truly unable to learn anything beyond basic math. This may be because of their physical limitations or it may be their emotional disabilities but the reality is the same. Despite effort and encouragement there are limits on the complexity of information that can be understood and held for future experiences.

As I saw this reality repeated throughout the day, the need for safety nets and survival structures was brought to my mind. I am not suggesting wheel chairs and wagons to carry people through their lives, but crutches and railings that help people find a safe path to travel through their life with success and self-worth. Workers at the local convenience store,  greeters at Walmart, maintenance staff in the schools and hosts of other citizens offer important work to our society. The do the best job they can and they still have to pay rent, buy groceries and buy medicine when their children are sick. It is not in our best interest or societies that the hard work and long hours of these people leave them living below the poverty level and on the edge of survival.

We all look to local Food Banks, Goodwill, and Salvation Army missions to help those in need. We generously donate what we feel possible to help in these efforts. But the real offer of generosity and empathy will come when we require a social structure that offers basic health care and living wages to all of our citizens. The multitude of non-profit  organizations striving to meet the needs of poverty, illiteracy and illness only show the great failure in the structure we call our government, for only the government can provide an Interstate structure allowing all of our citizens to travel through life secure AND  productive.

And Thank God I live in a government where I can constantly proclaim my words of wisdom to the world!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I send my hugs and kisses out to you.
Mama Llama

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy November

Halloween is over and All Saints Day too (Nov. 1 is a big Catholic Day). It is just the beginning of the holiday season. We have turkey and and sugar cookies ahead! It is always a big surprise when the holiday season arrives with speed that mystifies. I always imagine there will be loads of time between summer and New Years- but where does it all go?

Still, here we are in November and I can not complain. Along with some days of fall storms and pelting rain, we have enjoyed days of crisp sunshine, sometimes with as much warmth as July. The animals are all fitted out for the coming winter days. The chickens have a light in the hen house, the rabbits are closed in from the rain and, for the moment, the goats seem healthy after a bought of illness the last couple of weeks.

This week I ran into Home Depot to get a couple of bags of top soil for my new garden in the front lawn (it is now planted with garlic which I hope will repel the deer- mine are probably Italian deer!) While in the Home Depot I spotted a GE Profile 909 electric range, recently advertised at $1100. It is black and stainless steel with a glass top, 5 burners with a fast-boil element, a convection  oven with a special "meat probe" for roasting and "most important" was only $399. It is now in my kitchen and it works! I made coffee this morning and dinner this evening so the experiment begins. Now I can cook the holidays in with ease.

Aside from the big purchase, not much news in Kingston. The elections are over but the media seems to have realized it is really cheap to fill their minutes with "pundits" who are on staff and can bombard us with their opinions. As a result I am still listening to books on tape while I spin. The most recent is a book by Jean Kwok- Girl in Translation: a story of immigration from Hong Kong to New York and the New York garment district. It is an excellent reality check. What is defined as survival and hard work is relative to personal experience and can certainly not be transferred from generation to generation because all of the elements change. Lesson learned-we are very fortunate and should be on the look out for those who might not be. Maybe we can help?

Now that day-light savings time is upon us, I look forward to early evenings reading with a cup of tea. That is at least until wreaths want to be made and holiday decorations demand attention. The renters moved out this weekend and will be cleaned out soon but I am putting the A-frame rental project on hold until after Christmas.Who knows, I may win the lottery by then and decide to change it into a weaving studio. Not much else to say for now. I hope you are all well and enjoying the fall. Good luck with work, with school, with projects all and have a great November!

Mama Llama