In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Vive L'Amore!

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, May 27, 2008 4 comments

Kyle and I met back in 2003 after I transfered to Johnson State College to finish up my Bachelors degree. He was a friend of a friend, lets say, and I thought he was just awesome. I loved hanging out with him, even when we were a part of a group.

About a month after Zach and Viola's wedding we started hanging out, just the two of us. Innocent games of frolf or swimming in the local swimming hole suddenly evolved into having dinner together every night. We took a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine for a weekend before I started traveling for my job with Johnson State College and we spent quiet nights by the campfire just talking.

We talked three times a day when I was traveling, sometimes playing chess online late at night. When I was done traveling and found that finding work was alot harder than I was expecting, he supported me, financially as well as emotionally. He was with me for my Nana's funeral and Aunt Madeline's birthday party (he even played Charades with my relatives). He took a day off work to drive eleven hours out to Canada to help move Mom and Ander's stuff out here, which ended up being about 23 hours of driving and 10 hours of packing...with a few hours of sleeping in between.

Our love has grown from friendship to something so much deeper. I've found a love that I thought might not be possible; one that is unwavering.
Memorial Day weekend we decided to take our second annual trip to Acadia National Park. We loaded up the car with our bikes (including the road bike he bought me as a Christmas present) and camping gear and headed out on the seven hour drive. As we passed through the White Mountains the rain subsided a bit and allowed a ray of sunshine through and we saw the brightest rainbow I have ever seen in my life. I knew it was going to be a great trip.

The first evening in Acadia we went out for a lobster dinner (oh yeah!) at this great lobster pound where you can eat outside and bring your own beer. It was awesome, it rained a little, but we had an umbrella.

The next morning we got up at 4:15am to watch the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain. This is the point where the sun hits first on the eastern United States. I had wanted to go last year but it just never worked out. As we made the slow drive up the hill I was worried we might not make it in time- the sky was already glowing with pretty pinks and reds- there was hardly a cloud in the sky.

But we reached the top, parked the car, and raced to the windy rock tables where we watched as the sun slowly climbed its way up, little by little. For a time we just stood in eachothers arms, partly for warmth, enjoying the natural beauty of it all. Suddenly Kyle let go and I turned to him and saw that he was kneeling before me. My hand flew to my mouth as I realized the gravity of what was happening. I barely remember the details, but he asked me to marry him and I held him tight to me as I told him 'yes'.

We celebrated with mamosas on the beach in the quiet of the early morning sun- our new beginning, together.

The pictures don't do any of it justice, but, there it is. We're planning a spring wedding for 2009.

The Boob-Tube

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Monday, May 12, 2008 1 comments

What is the DEAL!? I am not a supporter of television but I have found that if I've got access to it, I WILL, generally, watch it. And it has come to my attention that across my 900+ channels there are nothing but a variety of PPV movies (half of which are those ones you block your kids from), home-shopping channels, and a variety (and I do mean a VARIETY) of realityTV shows!

I can sit and watch real housewives in Orange County AND New York City, dog groomers, chefs, models, fashion designers, personal trainers, dancers, matchmakers, and tattoo artists....little people, fat people, people on drugs, and people who want to have a "red-neck" wedding. Sometimes they're competing for a title and money, other times, I'm not sure WHY they're on TV other than someone must think it is dammed good entertanment.

I rememeber when sitting down at the television at night meant good quality, cheesey-as-hell shows that had a message to them. Remember those? There would be a conflict and just when you think it can't get any worse some sappy music comes on and everyone decides to forgive and forget until next week when Eddie crashes Carl's car into the garage and tries to cover everything up with bondo. Or when Punky Brewster's friend gets locked inside an old refrigerator until she passes out and we learn the importance of knowing CPR...and that you should always watch your kids when you live in a shady area.

I guess I can't honestly say that I would like to watch those shows again (although I do wish they still showed re-runs of Bosom Buddies) but I'm just so sick of reality tv.

A Thought on Mother's Day

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Sunday, May 11, 2008 1 comments

Mother. What a under-appreciated, lofty status to hold. You sacrifice your time, your size six jeans, and your sanity to care for another human being. A promise is made to always be there for the scrapes and broken bones, the broken hearts, and the loss of a beloved pet mouse or cat. In exchange you get the chance to share in the glories of first words, first steps, graduations, true loves, weddings, promotions, and so on.

The statistics say that it costs approximately $250,000 to raise a child from birth to eighteen years of age. Thats more than I'll ever spend on a HOUSE which is a far better investment than someone that goes through something called "the terrible-twos"! But worth isn't always measured in money; the world would be a far sadder place if it was. Sometimes its measured in laughter and tears, in hugs and kisses, in soft spoken words and loving glances.

I remember many nights out at our barn, surrounded by the smell of fresh green hay and the sound of horses munching on oats. Racing down dirt roads on horseback with a smile on my face and laughter in my heart. Riding, soaked to the bone, after yet another rain cloud caught up halfway through a ride and then singing songs to the hoofbeats trying not to feel the chill. But, most of all, I remember having shared that with someone I could always talk to; someone I could always count on- my Mom.

So it seems to me that today, Mother's Day, is the perfect time for reminiscing about Mom. Please take a minute to stop by the comments section and share a memory you have of your own Mom or of being a Mom yourself!

Life is Good!

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Friday, May 9, 2008 2 comments

Wow. I never get tired of seeing the beauty of the natural world. This morning, after a lovely walk through our trails, we discovered quite a suprise at the foot of the driveway. The suprise was over ten feet tall and all legs, and there were two of them. I could barely believe my eyes as we watched them walk up the drive and disappear into the surrounding woods.

Shortly thereafter I randomly checked my bank account online to discover that good ol' G.W. decided I deserved an extra $600. Thank you very much. Just about the only good thing that came out of that man...not that I think this'll help the economy but it sure does make my wallet feel a little warmer for the moment.
Finally, by the afternoon, karma smiled at me and I got a job. Thank you very much. Not only do I get to start on Monday but it is for a good old Vermont company that started up about 160 years ago! The Johnson Woolen Mills has just acquired an awesome new employee and I'm going to be working in the sweat shop. Just kidding, I think all your employees have to be under 10 years old to qualify for that. But seriously. It seems like a nice place and I get to sew all day. How bad could that be?
Finally, all the waiting and crappy days, hopeful interview after interview for a job I never land...the sun smiled at me and just about everything that could have gone well, DID.

At the Local Feeder

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Thursday, May 8, 2008 0 comments

The birds have finally become regulars here at the house. Sometimes the only thing I can find to pass the time is to sit and watch as birds fly in and out from the feeders. Occasionally there is a red squirrel or two that come and grab as much seed as possible before running off, their engorged cheeks making them look like children trying to get away with one too many candies in their mouths before mom catches them.

There have been a couple of Nuthatches around since the beginning of spring. I always find enjoyment in watching them climb up and down, backwards and forwards, and upside-down on trees.

Along with them we've had a variety of woodpeckers, from the smaller Downy and Hairy to the elusive, and much larger, Pileated on occasion. Of course, we never see them at the feeders...but we've seen them chasing eachother playfully through the woods out back. They follow eachother from tree to tree sometimes passing a little too close overhead. The Pileated Woodpecker, though, is less sociable around us so I've only heard drumming on distant trees as it calls to others.

Blue Jays are not as common as we had where I grew up in Southern Vermont where they would be so abundant that we would be excited about seeing movement at the feeders but then turn away saying "oh its just another Blue Jay". We have just enough here that I don't get sick of looking at them. They are so under-appreciated.

And of course, we have the Chickadees.
I love the little Chickadees and their cheerful little antics. Sometimes I sit out by the shed enjoying the warmth from the sun and watch as these little birds hop along the ground looking for dropped seeds and then chase eachother around the feeder as if playing a silent, much faster, version of musical chairs...who will make it to the bar on the feeder this time, I wonder?
Chickadees have such a familiar song that, for some reason, reminds me of childhood. (Although sometimes, I must admit, I forget that I'm not STILL a child; one of the perks of being young-at-heart I guess.) I think my favorite thing about these little black-capped songbirds, though, is the fact that they remind me of my Dad. He always says that they are his favorite and I sometimes wonder if I say that they're mine as well just because of him.

Rubber squeeky toys- the bain of my existence

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Wednesday, May 7, 2008 2 comments

Holding it just out of reach he stares intensely, with his mouth slightly ajar and his little pink tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. The little orange bear is the center of his universe at this moment and nothing I can do can break his concentration. I throw it and he goes careening across the slippery wood floor with no heed for furniture or his own personal safety. There has been plenty of laughter over watching Ollie crash into the wall or bowl over Shyla in his attempts to get the little rubber toy as quickly as physically possible.

As he joyously trots back with his prize he chews on it as if loving the feel of the cheap rubber between his teeth. Laying on the floor with the little bear between his feet he proceeds to chew and chew and chew until one-by-one the little feet, then the hands, then the head are consumed until the little bear is no more. Even the squeeker is gone, thank you. Although, have you ever see the movie Snatch? Yeah, the dog swallows the squeeker and ends up with a squeek for a bark. Please, god, no.

I hate these toys; the constant high-pitched squeek they make anytime they are bounced, chewed, stepped or pounced on. I know; do dogs pounce? Well, my dog does, just like a cat...but without that whole butt-wiggle thing before hand.

Even when I make an attempt to hide one of these beloved squeeky toys he will search, non-stop, until he finds it and he never forgets where I put it. So even when I TRY to distract him with another toy, he always goes back to my hiding place (between the couch cushions) to look for the missing one. He's pretty fixated, maybe I should take him to see a shrink.

Blogger, here we come!

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, May 6, 2008 0 comments

Hey folks! We decided to jump on the blogging-bandwagon to help keep in touch with family and friends. Seems like a fun thing to keep busy during slow days up here in Northern Vermont.

The day has been pretty sweet here. Right around 68 degrees and mostly sunny. Of course I've been helping Mom unpack, fun fun. Got the bar set up, so thats good. But haven't spent too much time out of doors today, but I'm lighting up the grill and testing out my BBQ skills later for dinner.

I think we almost ended up with another dog today, though. Can you believe it!? Me neither. This cute little chihuahua showed up at our back door who was sooooo scared but sooooo happy to see me. I thought someone just dropped him off on our road and drove away! :( But after walking all over Montgomery and finding NO ONE who knew the dog the town clerk said he belonged to these people on the next road over from us. And then of COURSE she worked it out of me that OUR dogs weren't registered yet!! Grrrr. Guess we'd better fork over the $14 for our two kids.