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2021-06-21 08:08:21 (UTC)

The Lady Maude, Vermonters

Personal entry follows.

I have an old friend who lives on the side of a mountain in rural Vermont, in the extreme northeast of the USA. I recently replied to an email from her, and decided to keep it here. It's a snippet of a back-and-forth conversation she and I were having.

This friend of mine and I have known one another for over 20 years, and as she is dealing with and enduring some fairly complex health issues it's a challenge to make a face-to-face visit. She and her then common-law husband (I guess...?) moved to the mountains of Vermont to help her recover from her health problems, and that plan went south. Last time I saw her in-person was at the end of 2014, and we didn't leave on good terms. Years later, we're conversational again, though it's unlikely I will ever visit in person again.

Attached is a picture of a turnip that I didn't know was a turnip until the leaves started dying back. It was massive, and it was delicious.


Hey there, [friend]--

Yeah, the Solstice, eh? Personally I'd prefer the Autumn, all the time, were I able to choose the daily weather (without plants being all messed-up by having that day every day, of course). Or maybe I appreciate the autumn much more because it follows the hot, humid summer that I never seem to like. Anyway, more light wouldn't seem like such a bad idea, considering your evenings will eventually be starting round 4pm...!

I forgot to mention more about [the eco compound]. So I'm not there, although I had planned a sabbatical from the day job so I could visit there for a month. I have an in-the-hillside house there, rented and paid for, whenever I have a chance to make my way out there. Of course, 2020 threw a wrench into the plans, and I stuck around [the city where I work] for the entire year. But I've been following [the eco compound] for many years, throwing money at them whenever they have another Kickstarter campaign. I'll make my way out there someday soon. I have a lot to learn from a place like that.

As for stuff happening round here related to the pandemic: it seems like the rest of the world is comfortable with social distancing, but not masking. Personally, I am "vaxxed to the max" and can actually be around my elderly landlords/housemates without wearing a mask in the house, which I do prefer. My day job's office is in the second floor of a healthcare facility, so we wear masks when entering the building and then any time we leave our personal offices. [The state I live in] lifts its workplace mask mandate on 1st July, though in [the city where I work] it may be a bit longer before they are on board. In general, and in terms of lifting pandemic restrictions, the city is behind the state by two weeks or more.

I visit the garden every other day. Radishes are just about done and I suspect I'll be collecting seeds this coming weekend. Potatoes are starting the die-back process so I will likely be harvesting them the weekend of Independence Day. I have a few onions still doing their thing, some bush lima beans doing all right, a pumpkin plant or two on their way to sprawl, and maybe two weeks ago at least five ginger rhizomes woke up and started sprouting.

This year was much better than last year. I had time for planning, put some humus and garden soil in the plot, and actually had a full season to work and cultivate. Of course, I chatted a lot with the garden coordinator and I explained to him, "When you start at the bottom, the only way is up." He was skeptical I would come back for a second year, but based on the "nice lawn" - as he calls it - that I had last year, I suppose I would have thought the same way.

When it comes to bicycling, I don't do so in the city anymore. The only time I ride is when I am on vacation at the shore, and I ride on the boardwalk and through [my seaside, off-season vacation spot]. My view is that although there may be more infrastructure for bicycles in [the city where I work, and where my friend used to live], the drivers aren't educated enough. It's not worth the risk for me to ride every day on my own as a commuter, for example. There are deaths and injuries every year in this town, even in the surrounding counties, and it's at a ratio I am not comfortable with. Meanwhile, my exercise bike is my friend and I ride it like five days a week.

Crikey, I can ramble! Well, I'll leave you with a picture of a mutant turnip. It demanded I address it as "The Lady Maude." That is, until I ate it while visiting my relatives this past weekend.

Take care, [friend]!