Tag Archives: friends

Masonry stoves & breakfast for Belgians this morning.

there was a lot of snow last night, roads were sketchy

so instead of driving home, i stayed with my friends for the night.


this is Nutella (her official name) – goes by mostly Neuzers or Nuey…  and lucky me she was on my lap

(kitties on the lap force a pause in craft-time)

i was working on a sweater

and happened to be sitting near the masonry stove.

a fabulous element of this home

warm, quiet, friendly.

there’s even an oven in it.

i mean, you can sit right up against it


so brilliant


it offers a soft heat, and uses way less wood than a traditional wood stove.


in the morning i found myself leaning up against it and it was still hot after a fire was lit the night before.


in the morning we set out to feed the horses before i left into the day


Clare, Connor, & Sasha were standing near the watering holes where Sara turns off the solar electric fence.

that’s where i got to give them some apples


Connor’s massive head munching his apple

Connor is Clare’s son, and he’s the largest one of the three


terrible photo, but that’s Clare on the left

she’s an Ancient & such an amazing worker…


another terrible shot, but that’s Sara with Clare.

Belgian Clydesdales are shorter & stockier than Clydesdales. 

i’m used to the Belgians, though

and find they are my favorite breed of horse

Sasha is a light horse and he seems so tiny since Belgians are what are “normal” in my mind, having spent so much time around them…


Sara heading into the shed to get hay & grain – Sasha, Clare, & Connor following soon after


Connor is so massive

and their coats are really shaggy & thick with the Winter


Sara takes such good care of them

Clare gets extra grain & a supplement for her joints


she also gets some extra hay to keep her weight up


Connor munching his grain, Sasha waiting for his bowl


while Clare eats her grain, Sara works on her hip & leg… connecting with her dear friend through touch.

they have a beautiful relationship, these two beautiful ladies…



habit patterns, talking with a friend, & attempting a zone of peace.


it feels like an odd, funny thing to blog

and i need to remind myself that it’s a process of unfolding

shared out into the world.

imperfect & changing.


a reaction blew through, to today’s post.

o yes.

more rice.

so. much. rice.

there’s this habit

ancient habit of feeling like i need to control things

and after re-reading the blog post i found myself going into reaction along the lines of

omigosh i sound so arrogant


so uncomfortable.

thing is

the habits come again and again

relentless record player

t.v. never turns off

so many channels…

and it took talking with a dear friend to settle, to remember, that i don’t have to have it all figured out

it doesn’t have to be all tidy and just so


for the record

(not that there’s a record)

the stories in my mind can go on & on for minutes before i even notice they are “running”…

and although i have an opportunity to drop the story-lines, it often takes great effort.

i was running this story (t.v. channel – tragedy edition) about the person i have feelings for…  and how this other person & he would be such a great couple… and these are the reasons… and i can be happy for them… & & &… on & on…



talking this through with my friend, i could see that i was again trying to control the feelings…

this old habit pattern that if i know something in advance, then maybe then it won’t hurt so much.

proud of this, i am not.

but there it is.

seeing this very ancient pattern, i started to feel bad… shame…

my friend reminded me that berating myself for being caught up in the old-habit patterns isn’t going to be of any benefit…

she’s right.

and then, the feelings came

the uncomfortable feelings i try and try to keep at bay

(without even realizing it most of the time)



i read this wonderful blog earlier today – a beautiful, bold, inspired invitation to cultivate peace…

i imagined myself as Switzerland, as Costa Rica… laying down my weapons, any and all torture devices… becoming a zone of peace…

i can see this is going to be an imperfect practice

something to renew my commitment to day after day

perhaps even moment to moment at times

given the momentum of habit…

i have this picture up at home of two porcupines together…  and looking at it i hear the words:  easy, easy, gentle, gentle…


may i remember the beauty & gift of Mystery, of the unknown, and unknowable… to the unfolding of things.


wishing myself and everyone some ease & some gentle, with all the steps taken to cultivate the proverbial peace gardens from within.

that’s quite enough words for today.


Sadfloods, happiness, & Aro’s moving day.

it’s interesting to reflect on a day throughout a day…

you never know how it will unfold

or how it’s going to end up.


one of the homes where i clean has a number of stuffed animals.


this is Zebra & Elephant

i arrange them in different ways when i’m there.

Zebra & Elephant are tight.

they are close friends.

when i look at Zebra & Elephant, i think of Aro, who moved this morning.

with her son & some other friends, yesterday, we packed up a moving truck with her belongings.

it was a beautiful day

and i was happy to be there

then just before bedtime


i felt sad

really sad

sometimes the sads come and they are like a flood of gremlins taking over the little house of my mind.

flinging open closed doors having any semblance of sadness conveniently tucked away…

(or as Rumi has said:  “violently sweeping your house, empty of its furniture”)


eventually i was able to fall asleep

but upon waking, & thinking of her leaving today

came another flood of sads.


(big breath)


this is from a recent day, before the snowfall – with Aro greeting me one afternoon from her now former little house.

it’s a strange thing…

to feel so happy for her

and then

a deep sadness.

it took a while for me to come out from the sadflood

and only did so through listening to a wonderful podcast of an interview with the late Irish poet & philosopher, John O’Donohue.


(i recommend the unedited version…)

and among other things, was reminded of the importance of beauty.


Aro has this amazing way with beauty

the way she lives her life

the way she creates a home around her

the things that her multi-skilled hands craft & create…

i don’t have any photo images to upload of her visual creations

(& all of the photos from the time we farmed together in 2009 are on Facebook, and i don’t know how to get them here…)

but here is a link to her Sound Cloud site


Aro called a little while ago

i was happy to hear from her… they are almost there.

i’m grateful for the cell phone tonight.

blessings on our good friends.

Digging a grave for Spritey

i got a call yesterday from my friend Sara

which normally wouldn’t be a big deal, nothing to write about

but the call came in the middle of the day – Saturday.

Saturday she’s usually working at the farmer’s market

she doesn’t have a cell phone and the call came from her home

so i knew something was up.

turned out that Spritey, one of her 4 horses, had died.

she was calling friends to help dig Spritey’s grave.

i wasn’t able to go yesterday but went today.

brought apple spice muffins & a shovel.

it was cold today, snowing some, & grey.

“a perfect day for a funeral” she said as we walked back to the house to make lunch

Spritey was 3/4 Belgian Clydesdale and 1/4 light horse.

a chestnut beauty with a calm disposition


this is Connor & Spritey scratching each other in tandem with their teeth back in 2011


we hacked & dug into the earth with pickaxes & shovels

the soil was hard

clay, stones

it was slow going work

people would come and go

working in the deepening pit

just near an apple tree

asking to take a turn as the cold settled in just standing there talking with the others

three was a manageable number of bodies that seemed to work safely in the 11′ x 8′ grave site

someone remarked how “this was the way ALL cellars were once dug…”

reflections on chain gangs, prisoners, slaves doing this sort of heavy labor…

talk of death, dying, living, life…

sharing ideas and experiences around beings we’ve loved who are no longer embodied.

as the other three horses stood nearby

sometimes watching, sometimes eating hay

Claire, the main mare – and Sara’s best friend for 27 years – got into the apple basket…

a mix of sweet and sorrow

people came to help yesterday, and today

a community net of friends supporting

the flock of wild turkeys that hang around walked by

a murder of crows – easily over a hundred – and one raven flew overhead

i have no tidy way of ending this post

i just wanted to try to share some of the beauty & poignancy of the day


this is Sara working with Claire & Connor in 2011.

Sara is an amazing person – i love how deeply she appreciates friends and community

how she recognizes our connections and the interdependency of things…

the truth of the world.

(too much) cancer


it’s kinda hard to see, but this is an image (taken on dinky phone) of a wheelchair decorated for Halloween.

here’s a detail


(whopper spider lassoed with mint flavored dental floss to the wheel…)

i’ve mentioned before that i live with housemates.

a married couple who i love and respect

their relationship is an amazing thing to be able to witness, and i’m honored to be their housemate.

so Jenny – the wife of the couple – got all the Halloween decorations for the wheelchair

(she’s got a flair for decorating…)

last weekend was the Cancer Resource Center fundraiser walk/run here in Ithaca.

Matt – the husband of the couple – was diagnosed early this year with cancer.

Meghan, a mutual friend, was raising money in honor of Matt & his brother, who recently died of cancer, for the Cancer Resource Center.

Meghan (an avid roller derby gal) wound up injuring her hip and couldn’t walk or run as planned.

so Jenny had this brilliant idea to get a wheelchair and push her through the walking course.

life is full and Jenny is very busy with work and taking care of Matt.

so about a week before the walk, i called Meghan to ask if Jenny had contacted her about the walk

i explained to Meghan about Jenny’s idea to find out if she was game…

surprisingly, Meghan said yes!


we had to find a wheelchair.

so i called the elder couple i work for (who also has cancer) to see if they knew where i could rent one.

they gave me the number of a friend of theirs who happened to have a wheelchair in the attic that we could use, no problem.


i picked it up a few days later

and Jenny & i decorated the chair the night before the walk


(nifty ghouly-ghoul…)

on the day of the run/walk, it was cold & windy

and there were LOTS of people there

hundreds ran the 5K

hundreds more walked the 2K

Meghan wore a shirt with the names of people who she was doing the walk for – Matt, and Matt’s brother, and two other people in the roller derby world she knows…

too much cancer


(how awesome is that chair?!?)

there was much joy and support from so many people

it was a mix of lovely and beautiful

AND very sad – i mean, probably everyone has been touched by cancer…


after the walk, my mind swirled with thoughts of my grandfather who died in 1987 from kidney/brain cancer

and of my grandmother – who didn’t have cancer, but whose life was deeply affected by it


the Cancer Resource Center is a great place – they offer a lot of support for the community, and for folks who don’t have insurance… they do a lot of free screening, which is awesome.

in all, over $165,000 was raised – more than their intended goal.

i was so happy to be there with my friends

other mutual friends showed up and we all walked & rolled Meghan together.

 – i felt sad for the why we were there

but so happy to be with everybody

and to witness the support of hundreds of others


this is Matt & Meghan after the walk

(note the nifty spider crown that Jenny had put together!)