Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Building of Camp

There were a couple of comments on my camp post that made me think it might be fun to blog about how our camp came to be. Mama P. asked if we owned a cabin or if camp was on our property, and Bonita said our camp reminded her of a yurt. Both of these points are relevant.

First, the property. With the passing of my husband's parents he and his children inherited the family homestead, property that has been in his family for 175 years. It consists of a farmhouse and a small barn on 200 acres of land on Eagleshead Mountain, which overlooks the Black River Valley and is, to my eyes, one of the most beautiful places on earth. Down the lane from the farmhouse his father had built a log cabin that had, over the years, begun to rot into the ground.

My husband and I had spent many summers pitching a tent and camping in the yard in front of the old cabin when we decided to raze it and build a place of our own for weekends and summers. Our first thought was a yurt, but they are expensive and we wanted something more personal. After some deliberation, we decided to build a camp of our own design and to build it from the trees available to us on our mountainside. Willie cut and dragged the trees from the forest, removed their limbs, then rolled them to me and I stripped the bark with a Peavey. Beams and boards were cut and stacked to dry.

Because we liked the appearance of the yurts, Willie designed the building with eight sides to give it that rounded look. The first summer we managed to complete the framework and the roof. The following winter Willie designed and built a door and the cupola, which he topped off with copper. The next summer the sides went up, the windows went in, the cupola was placed on top and we finished up with the door. That fall we installed an antique wood stove that had been in the farmhouse, put in some old rugs, bought a futon and finally got to spend our first weekend under our roof. We had the first snowstorm of the season that night and our friends all drove through the heavy snow to join us in a camp warming.

It has been a few years since that first incredible weekend and we have added kitchen cabinets, sink and stovetop and a lovely table for dining. The cabinets and table were both built by my husband from the old butternut tree in the front yard and, like our camp, are a work of art. Camp is cozy and warm in the winter, comfortably cool in summer and shows off my husband's considerable talents. It is my favorite place to be.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


The weather, Sunday, was an anomaly for this time of year, with temperatures in the low 80s. The air was crystal clear and the sun was shining, so we decided a jaunt to camp would be the perfect way to spend the afternoon. Our granddaughter, Emily, rode her bike over to join us, followed by her mom and dad and brother Ryan. We spent a lovely afternoon soaking up the warm autumn sunshine, visiting and strolling down our wooded lane with the bright colors of fall scattered beneath our feet and arched over our heads. The following pictures were taken by my granddaughter and her mom, Jacqui.

The air seemed to glow with the bright colors of the season.

As we strolled down the lane, the crunch and pungent aroma
of the vibrant leaves beneath our feet filled our senses.

A translucent blue sun stands out against the colors of the season,

as afternoon shadows stretch across a lawn
still dressed in summer green

and tangerine and ocher leaves
play against a cobalt sky.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

You've Got A Friend In Me

The following photos were taken by Tammy's friend, Cheryl.

We meet for the first time, a joyous occasion!

As it was in words, it is in person...We revel in our connection.

And as the song goes, "You've Got a Friend In Me!"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Before I move on to other things, I have to wish a couple of very special young ladies a very happy birthday. I made the pictures for their cards using illustrations I found that I knew they would like, superimposed photos of their faces and then did a little Photoshop razzamatazz.

Happy 13th birthday, Sarah!

(Original illustration By Ellen Lorian)

Happy 14th birthday, Paige!

(Original illustration By Maxine Gadd)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Batman and Robin

I met Tammy (The Daily on the ALS site "Patients like me." We began e-mailing and found, in spite of the difference in our ages, that we had a lot in common. A dialogue began and a relationship bloomed. We have come to love one another and this is a story about an incredible connection. It all started a year ago and she has become a very important person in my life. We talk to each other often on our computers through Yahoo and have, over the past year, shared the ups and downs of living with ALS, the joys and sorrows of life, our faith in the power of positive thinking and everything in between, from politics to religion.

Something else we share is an extremely healthy sense of humor and a strong will to survive. Joyce (Pepektheassassin) who visits both of our blogs, noticed our connection and dubbed us "Batman and Robin." The names stuck and we have been using them ever since. (Hence the "Batchair" - my power chair.)

Tammy lives in California and I live all the way across the country in Vermont. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that we would get to meet, but miracles do happen and this last week Tammy flew, in the company of her good friend Cheryl, across the United States so that we could meet and know each other in person. It was the most extraordinary visit, she is every bit as kind, warm, funny and strong as I had come to believe she was. She is a truly beautiful woman, inside and out, delicate in stature with a gamin face and wonderful, big eyes that are full of humor and mischief. Her smile could light up the East Coast. And although we were both mildly apprehensive about our first meeting, the connection we share is absolute and everlasting.

We talked of many things while she was here, sharing our lives and our hearts and I am not ashamed to admit that I cried when she left. But I am not sad, for she has given me an enormous gift with her visit and the hope, since this is a trip I cannot make, that she may come this way again, and bring her husband with her.

Today is Saturday and she leaves this afternoon to head back home. Bon voyage, my very dear friend, I love you and will talk to you next week.