Good Dog

The kids were 6ish and under when we had to put Clint & Fenway down, our 13 & 14-year-old Yellow Labs.  The plan to wait until each was old enough to train their own dog was partly for them to experience responsibility, give them the opportunity to become educated in animal handling, and also to allow them the gift of relationship that pets provide.  It was tough, in the interim, and we glommed onto every dog that we came across, snuggling and petting to get a “fix.”

When our eldest was 10, he’d been pouring through dog books for nearly a year and had picked out a handful of potential puppies for us to look at.  Our youngest, 6 at the time, was allergic to many types of pet dander, so we shopped pups by bringing her to each litter, exposing her to the lot to see how she reacted, and chose accordingly.  Char was NOT allergic to Springer Spaniels and that was how we ended up with Abe.

In July of 2001, the family drove to a kennel in East Burke, Vermont , the Northeast Kingdom, and sat on the floor of an English Springer Spaniel nursery for about an hour.  It was difficult to decide in the sea of wiggly-waggy tails.  The largest pup hung back and didn’t clamor for attention, patient to be discovered and cuddled.  Those traits seemed noble for a youngster and that is how Jody ended up selecting him.  He had chosen the name, “Sir Abraham, Lord of Tintagel” based on his admiration for Abraham Lincoln and the village associated with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.  “Abe” for short.

A bird-dog wasn’t the wisest choice a family could make when they raise chickens and other poultry, but Abe was smart and Jody was dedicated to his training.  We can’t recollect exactly, but we think he only killed one or two chickens in his early days.  (This is notably successful as Jackie, Sarah Jane’s Spaniel three years later, had numbers in the teens to her “credit.”)

From early on, he was an old soul of a dog, learning his lessons quickly and possessing wisdom beyond his years, as they say.  However, there was the one disconnect which plagued him consistently to the end of his time:  he refused to return the stick or ball or toy in a game of fetch.  He’d stand on the outskirts and bark for attention to play, then would fetch the toy enthusiastically and hold on to it.  We smartened up as our dog-family grew, choosing Abe as a game-ender if we got tired of throwing for the other two(who seem to have no “off” button.)  If you fatigued of  fetch with the pups, just toss it to Abe and he’d finish for you.

He collected quantities of sticks in his mouth, contributing to his nubbins of teeth after only a few years.  Our vet definitely gave us some wrist-slaps for that, but his stick-dog status was almost irreversible by that point.  And yes, a couple of times in his life he had a piece of kindling wedged into his mouth whereby we had to pry his jaws while extracting the lodged, oversized splinters.

He loved nothing more than when a car full of kids pulled up and playmates spilled out. Parents would find themselves hanging around, waiting for their kids or the dogs to tire, but neither would.  It was a nice way to extend visits, actually.

It is likely that Abe best-loved being with Jody and being on the water.  The two would walk to the pond daily before Jody could drive.  Jody would cast(Abe was never one to wander and would sit and wait by the pond), and afterward, he would get to jump in and swim, paddling after sticks or balls that Jody would toss in.  He’d charge and dive with enthusiasm, never tiring, finding the floating objects, returning them to shore to await the next toss.

Streamside fishing was a different type of playground, allowing him to explore woodlands and splash about, downstream, while his boy fished up, and up, and upstream.  If Abe was to try to play upstream, it ended the fishing outings early as the trout would scatter after he’d slogged about.

As Jody got older, Abe thrilled for the boating outings and was the designated first mate.  He loved inspecting the fish, giving them a kiss of approval before Jody would release them.  He would brace for the fast ride with the wind in his hair, ears, gums flapping.  He snorted and snuffled about as the boat would slow and idle, regaining his footing for the new location.  He followed Jody during his college bass fishing tournament career with the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team.  He became known at regional and national tournaments as a mascot.  He popped into the car for the 12 hour trips to Virginia, happy and wagging when we’d arrive.

He had endearing traits of collapsing and rolling over with grateful enthusiasm when you would arrive home after being away, or greeting you with a huge grin.  The grin was so absurd and I’m not sure if we ever did get an opportunity to photograph it – but everyone that saw it would remark “Look!  He’s smiling!”  We are all sure he was mimicking us, he was certainly smart enough.  We also think that he taught Cricket, our youngest Spaniel, to smile.

He’d started to show his age about a year ago, what with those oversized limbs and all of the wear & tear from a lifetime of fetching…So it was not a surprise to recognize recently that he was at that point in his life.  We always sort of thought he’d maybe lose his legs, his mobility, and that would be our sign.  In the last month, though, we noticed he’d developed some growths which we’d decided not to explore. He’d become markedly anemic, had more labored breathing and was just slowing down to that point when you know that surgery and treatments are likely going to prolong the inevitable.  In the last 6 days, he’d stopped eating.

Jody moved to Minnesota in the past month for a job he secured in his final semester of college.  Relocating to an apartment a time-zone away, travelling for work, & senior-pup-status all meant that Abe should stay here on the farm.  I’d phoned him on Sunday to tell him the sad news.

I dug a big old hole in the ground by the pond for him yesterday. We brought him there on our laps in the back of the pickup truck and set him down. The first thing he did was walk down to the edge to get a drink of water, then stare off at the big willow tree.  We can only wonder what he was thinking.  Our very compassionate vet-friend came by to put him down, to give us kind words and guidance.  He’d also brought along his tech assistant who generously supported in every way.  Friends and neighbors across the board offered condolences.

We wrapped him in a beautiful quilted tapestry that Char had made and our family carefully nestled him into his grave.  We took our time covering him carefully with daisies and soil, and gently filled in the space to the top.  We’re going to plant a tree there.  Sarah Jane believes his spirit will always be felt here on the farm.

As do I.

Good Dog, Abe

Good Dog, Abe

little pup, big bowl

little pup, big bowl

Jody, SJ & Char with Abe in 2001 on Lake Champlain

Jody, SJ & Char with Abe in 2001 on Lake Champlain

Abe, trolling the pond

Abe, trolling the pond

Front of the boat

Front of the boat

Game on

Game on

Cricket looked up to Abe from the start

Cricket looked up to Abe from the start

2006 Christmas picture -yup, Abe is the flying dog

2006 Christmas picture -yup, Abe is the flying dog

Ice fishing pup

Ice fishing pup

Abe, not feeling the cold

Abe, not feeling the cold

Tournament Abe & his boy

Tournament Abe & his boy

Fast boat ride Abe

Fast boat ride Abe

Mile Around Woods & Abe

Mile Around Woods, North Bennington, Vermont

Fresh Eggs

We wash the eggs the day we pack them for sale.

Last night I was busy painting our bathroom. I’d hoped for a night off in the kitchen but it didn’t quite work out the way I’d envisioned.  Dinner was exquisite anyway.  I cooked two delicious and very fresh eggs.  They were perfect.

We’re just spoiled rotten around here.

Taking the daily eggs out to the road side.

Taking the daily eggs out to the road side.

Fresh Eggs sign boasts a Barred Rock on one side, a Rhode Island Red on the other.

Fresh Eggs sign boasts a Barred Rock on one side, a Rhode Island Red on the other.

I stand at the side of the road all day long and yell "Fresh Eggs!" (Only yoking, folks!)

I stand at the side of the road all day long and yell “Fresh Eggs!” (Only yolking, folks!)

Jackie will lick you if you steal 'em!

Jackie will lick you if you steal ’em!

This is how we sell eggs in the country.

This is how we sell eggs in the country.

Hard working hens having a nibble of grain on a winter's day.  They are free to forage as well, though winter foraging is a bit slimmer than the rest of the year.

Hard working hens having a nibble of grain on a winter’s day. They are free to forage as well, though winter foraging is a bit slimmer than the rest of the year.

Sassy Wing and a Prayer Farm Sultan-mix hen is very comfortable with me and Cricket

Sassy Wing and a Prayer Farm Sultan-mix hen is very comfortable with me and Cricket

Hmmm, wonder how these would stack up in a taste test?

Hmmm, wonder how these would stack up in a taste test?

Haikus along 81

Just back from a visit to my son in Virginia for a few days.  Mommers had  loaded up the car with frozen Shepherd’s‘ Pies, Turkey Soup, Beef Barley Soup & Pot Pies for college-kid’s freezer, a few birthday presents & a cake(well, it was actually a trifle.)  Headed south for 11 hours of driving with Abe and bestowed the goods upon the birthday boy. Had a really nice visit, got to guest-star on his & Jesse’s Schultz’ podcast show, took a great hike up to Cascade Falls of Western Virginia, laughed our heads off watching Seinfeld episodes (a requirement for a class he’s taking), and outfitted his kitten, Smallie, with a halter to train him for potentially being walked on a leash someday.

Doesn't everyone bring their stand mixer to visit their son?

Doesn’t everyone bring their stand mixer to visit their son?


Into the Mountain Laurel Grove – this must be gorgeous in the springtime


Jody & Abe alongside one of the pools on the hike to Cascade Falls


Smallie with his new halter -conditioning him to wearing it so that Jody can take him on walks eventually.

On my way north again, I seemed to be churning out the haikus.  If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that I’ve a penchant for haikus and often craft them to describe our latest happenings.  They’re not necessarily great haikus -none to compare to my friend Kelly, a haiku-goddess, that originally inspired me. Nonetheless, here they are:

  • Bluebird morning skies
  • Crisscrossed tic-tac-toed contrails
  • Short term graffiti
  • Skyscraper-tall poles
  • Posting roadside signs aloft
  • Shout “Pick me! Pick me!
  • Weigh Station ahead
  • Big Rigs line up for the scales
  • Keeping their shoes on
  • Tri-Cross plantings grow
  • South of the Mason Dixon
  • Wait…where’s Calvary?
  • Silos, corn cribs, cows…
  • Rude billboard interruptions;
  • “Adult Store Exit”
  • Cop must be ahead
  • Brakes light up like dominoes
  • Pious drivers creep
  • Lebanon, P A
  • Cow pond with basketball hoop
  • I’d like to see that!
  • Road food makes no sense:
  • Chai & pastry breakfast, lunch,
  • “Bugles” for dinner.
  • Turbine sentinels
  • Spinning Schuylkill County breezes
  • Coal Miner Angels
  • Adirondacks rise
  • 2 & a 1/2 hours North,
  • then east to V T
  • Familiar north woods
  • Relief replaces fatigue
  • Snowy, colder, Home.
  • Billboard pollution:
  • You don’t miss it at all if
  • Home is in Vermont.
  • Heart Warming Welcome Home

    Heart Warming Welcome Home


Happy Christmas!

Runner up to the Winter Solstice as my favorite time of the year is Christmastide.

We have fresh snow out there this morning. I enjoyed watching my kitties tiptoe about the front stoop at about 3:30, and by 5:00 their prints were filled in again.

Just finished prepping a goose which I’d bartered from “Garden of Spices” in Greenwich, NY, where I get help processing my turkeys. I rubbed it with a plethora of zest from oranges, limes and lemons, as well as various other spices and salt. My sticky-bun dough has risen, hallelujah, it has risen indeed. I’m starting to hear showers and footsteps, so there are just moments to go before this morning quiet is dispelled.

My favorite gifts? Last evening, my daughters and I presented music at our church’s candlelight service and it is always rich being able to share that kind of work with them. Old friends and new friends have been making many appearances. My kids are all home from college. The hens are laying again. The sheep and horses are frisky & healthy. There’s snow on the ground.

Advent, leading up to Christmas, is so much about hope, so much about how I live my life. Christmastide is a joyful season, and though there are moments in every day that we have a thought of a loved one that isn’t with us anymore, oftentimes, sorrow is deeper during the holidays.
So it is, a time steeped in significant sentiment. For me, I take every ponder as a gift. Blessed to have love in our lives, blessed even when we lose our loves because of how we can carry on for them, in them, with them in spirit.

Holiday greetings from all of us at the farm!







Christmas Card 2012


Thought I’d throw 33 photos out there to catch you up on the past month around here.  Thanks for visiting the farm!

Son Jody and some little fans: He took 3rd place in the FLW Northern Regional Conference Bass Fishing Tournament at Philpott Lake in Virginia.  He has qualified for the second time, now, for the National Championship in his 4 years at Virginia Tech.  He is excited to represent Virginia Tech, with two other teammates, in April, 2013 for the FLW National Championship.  Some adorable youngsters brought their t-shirts to him to autograph after Day 3 in Martinsville, VA.  He was speechless!

Freedom Rangers ready for processing -this was their last day of the good life before we put them in the freezer.  We sell them as meatbirds, and they are also all the chicken that we eat throughout the year.  It’s a good feeling to be able to put your own food on the table, especially knowing that they had a great life running around, foraging, comfortable and clean.

Turkeys are constantly getting themselves trapped in the garden.  They know how to get themselves in, but then they forget out to get out.  This is a daily thing.

Some intense cobwebs in the rafters of the barn.  We did a BIG clean this past week to prepare for an annual barn party.  It’s so much more satisfying to clean when you can really see the difference, don’t you agree?!

Morning Glories still blooming in October.  They certainly do make us happy going in and out the front door.  Sadly we will get a killing frost sooner than later and it’s difficult to cover them when that happens.

Lucky for Char & I, the Virginia Tech botanical gardens are gorgeous any season.  These Calla Lilies were all abloom in front of the water garden.  We try to take the gardens in every chance we can when we are in Virginia.

Char & I were very much rewarded in a quest for ice cream one evening while college-visiting in Asheville, NC.  Here is the menu at Ultimate Ice Cream.  I had the Brown Sugar, Bacon & Maple +  Piney Branch Pear ice creams.  Amazing!

Loved these container gardens outside a cute cafe in Asheville, NC

Puppy prints on the tile of “Three Dog Bakery” in Asheville, NC – We asked the lady at the counter if they actually sold all of those decadent dog biscuits.  She astonished us by saying that one woman orders $200 worth of biscuits each month!  It was a very fun store to visit for pet lovers like ourselves.

Piggies were our fave at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, NC.  Sadly, the class that Char was going to visit was M.I.A..  We still don’t know if it had been cancelled or what, but we sat around waiting for the teacher & students to show up for about 15 minutes before someone came and told us that for some reason, the class wasn’t being held that day.  Well, we did enjoy the campus and most especially, the piggies!

Abe gets the whole backseat to himself.  This dog has had an amazing month, fighting a nasty infection that had him pretty seriously set back.  In spite of the slew of meds he’s on now, it was all worth it for him – he is on his feet in a flash when you say, “Abe, do you want to go see Jody?!”  Visiting his boy in VA was the reward for quiet riding in the backseat for 2800 miles.  You may notice the wet window behind him – rained almost non-stop for the entire journey.  Yay.

Apple, Pear Ginger, Pumpkin, Raspberry Currant, Cranberry Apple, Blackberry, & Blueberry Pies were happening and happening and happening!  We are now at a pause for the season as the market that carried our pies is now closed for the season.  The pies will be back on the “shelves”, so to speak, for Thanksgiving CSA shares.

“The Park” in our backyard -Ruger is glad to have been freshly shod, everyone heading out for afternoon grazing.

Trunk full of Mums

Shaftsbury, Vermont is a beautiful part of New England – sometimes we feel like hobbits.

3 week old hen chicks in their new coop – settling in for winter.  Sold about 60 hens this past year and am replenishing our flock.

Schilling likes to type – hence, I don’t get around to it sometimes.

Iz had a salon visit with Char one afternoon – pretty girl!

Big sister SJ & her friends’ motivational posters for Char before her SAT

Caramel Apples – SJ & her crew of college friends made a batch this past Columbus Day Weekend.  They were delicious.

Martha, the indispensable personal assistant, taking a breather after helping me to prepare for the Myers Road Pumpkin Party.  It was so much fun, without about 100 neighbors & guests, and this gal is my amazing sidekick to keep it frolicsome!

SJ gives Caroline, a college friend & Floridian, a lesson on Ruger Jac.

The turkeys attend the Myers Rd. Pumpkin Party – and yes, I did have to hose everything down after shoo-ing them away.

Giles, experiencing his first autumn.

Jackie & Cricket in the front seat on the way to their vet check – they were fine but they act like they’re going to die every time they get there.

Azalea blooms in October!

Char’s comfort food choice on a sick day.

My choice for lunch – energizing Minestrone that I’d made the day before.  It’s so delicious I eat two bowls at a time!

Kitties curl up

Shaggy Shetland Sheep, day before shearing!

Goats mug the camera!

Turkey time of year – they are underfoot everywhere you go outside

Apple Crisp Cookies for choir night – made up this recipe myself!

Why my (people) house is a mess:

I began my day with the nicest visit from a neighbor and her little one and then sent two of my hens home with them to add to their flock.  After finishing the barn and coop chores, I took 50 photos of the Faverolle chicks and our dog Cricket.

The Faverolles are at that awkward “tween” stage of life, but I love them anyway.

Cricket is my favorite sidekick.

And that’s why I’m not likely to have a tidy home to accommodate our out-of-town guests next week.  It has less to do with my perception of the lack of household help, and more to do with my free-ranging whimsy.

Which would you rather?  Clean closets or gaze into puppy’s eyes?

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Here comes the sun

Top Eleven Reasons to enjoy the hour before 4:30 a.m.:

11. Quiet, time, reading

10. Pouring my first cup of coffee

9. Putting the clean, dry dishes away from the night before and enjoying the empty shelves and sink for just a little while

8. Feeding the dogs, the cats and the chicks, and then sharing in their contentment during their quiet morning slumber afterward

7. The front porch and the cool dawn-before-the-light temps

6. Watering the potted plants

5. Painting my toenails with the chance of them drying before putting boots on

4. Making lists & planning menus

3. The rooster’s “How do you do?” call from the coop

2.The new light on the horizon kissing the day good morning

And the Number One reason I like early mornings:

     the first bird song.

The Rooster Crows

A lot of cackling and crowing near 5ish.  I typically love it.  This morning my head is migraine-y and so I’m not as happy about not being able to fall back to sleep.

I walk downstairs with a spill of dogs underfoot.  I feel like I’m caught in a sluice-way when I wake up and imagine that someday when I’m less nimble, I’ll end up in a heap with several pairs of soulful eyes imploring me to arise and get them some breakfast.  I automatically open the front door and we pour out onto the porch where we collect metal dishes, back inside to be greeted by baa-ing and then to the bin to scoop food into 3 bowls.  Meanwhile, 3 cats alight onto the counter, inviting me to throw a little kibble their way.  Back out onto the porch we go, doing the breakfast dance and I slip back into the house for a minor triumph of “6 down, so many more to go.”  I then warm up some goat’s milk in a pan and funnel it into a bottle for Aisling, the bottle lamb.  She delicately skitters about, occasionally bleating, until I lean to serve her a warm and yummy morning brew.

I try to put the kettle on for my own cuppa in and around this.  By the time I’ve made a bottle, the water is boiling and I let my morning tea steep.

I’ve got this down in 10 minutes or less.  The rest of the chores take me an hour or more, depending on the to-do list, and then I’m ready to start the day.

Happy Saturday, folks!

Ginny & Aisling discussing their morning plans


the pond

It’s like this: one day you’re strolling down your driveway to take the littles to picnic and fish at the pond, untangling Mickey Mouse rods and reels, helping small hands to fashion daisy chains, and the next you’re motoring down the Blue Ridge Parkway with the last of the three kids to take in college visits and to cheer on your eldest’s college team in the 2012 BASS Carhartt College Series East Super Regional tournament.

A peek at the world of college anglers will have you curious.  I’m willing to guess that they are a misunderstood lot, imagined as not more than camouflaged and spitting and gassing up guzzling motors that belch exhaust.  My son is trying, as President of his Bass Fishing Team at Virginia Tech, to help promote the image of college fishing in a more positive light.  He’s working as a high school mentor, he’s writing and speaking when and wherever he can, all in an effort to share his passion and find support and recognition for a growing sport.  His dream is to be a Professional Bass Angler and if I worked as hard and as long as he does at this, I’d hope to be rewarded some day.  But the odds against the elements, the blessed science of fishing in itself and the fierce competition against excellent fishers nationwide makes it an extreme challenge, as well as the not-so-small matter of the required resources to support such an endeavor.  Attracting sponsors is nearly a full-time job to help keep you on the water, doing what you love.

I happen to have the distinct pleasure of being an insider, knowing the teammates on a personal level and learning about their finer traits.  They’re considerate and polite, helpful and conscientious.  They’re hard-working and intelligent, many of them working part to full-time jobs in addition to studying History, Economics, Pre-Med, Wildlife and Fisheries Science, and Environmental Science, among just a few of the disciplines they devote to when they’re not on the water.  They’re outdoorsman, all, and spend their time on the water, in the woods, kayaking, hiking, hunting, farming, building.

I had a babysitter come when Jody was 3 years old and my other two children were an infant and toddler, so that I could spend some one on one time with him and do something, just the two of us.  He only wanted to go outside and walk in the woods.  That told me everything I needed to know about what was special to him.

Abe doesn't mind an 11 hour car ride to see his boy fish!

When you’re following the tournaments, you’re up at 4a.m. scrambling eggs, pouring coffee, throwing sandwiches in sacks.  You arrive at the lake at 6a.m. to hold your hand over your heart with a hundred college kids doing the same while the “Star Spangled Banner” is broadcast across the marina.  You wave homemade signs and yell “Go Hokies!” as the boats “blast off” from the launch, heading out across the water for 8 hours of fishing.

devoted sister cheers the team on at 6a.m.

Evan and Mike usually kayak, but they rigged this aluminum boat up with a cooler for a live well, complete with aerator

as soon as dawn breaks, the launch begins

And it’s an old line, but an accurate line, when they say “it’s called ‘fishing’, not ‘catching!'” because after solidly casting for that long, these anglers are thrilled to have 4 or 5 fish in the boat in their live well.  The fish are in a LIVEwell, too, which means they are meant to be kept alive and well until after the weigh-in.  Then they are released back into the lake.  If the fish die, they lose points.  This conservation practice is important to the anglers and my son has been catching and releasing his entire life.

Weigh-ins are anxious times.  You’re looking to see that everyone got off the water safely.  You’re checking their expressions as they stand in a long line under a canopy with special bags for holding their fish. Your heart is in your throat while they’re at the staging, lifting their catch out to be scaled. You’re cheering for your team when they’ve done well, you’re disappointed for them when they’ve had a tough day.  You’re curious and intrigued to hear them as they’re interviewed. You’re excited for them when they’re posing with their ‘lunkers’ and grinning for the cameras.

coming in off the water on Day 2

Abe gets to jump on board at the end of the day while Jody & Pat take their fish out of the live well

lining up for the weigh in

Jody and his teammate Pat with their Day 1 bag

David & Mark for 2nd place

Nick & Clay for 3rd

After these regional events, the teams go on to national events where the competition is stiffer, the event is longer, and the winnings are bigger.  Last year they’d been represented by Jody and his teammate to fish in the FLW Nationals, another college bass fishing tournament sponsor, on Kentucky Lake. This year, running concurrently with the regional tournament, Virginia Tech was again represented and placed 5th overall!

Jody was 4 years old when we stopped at Dailey’s Pond in Shaftsbury, our home town, to fish for trout on a June afternoon.  This little pond is stocked by the gravel company strictly for kids 12 and under to fish in.  He prepared to cast his lure into the pond and an unfortunate backlash had a treble hook firmly entrenched in his little noggin.  I tried not to create too much of a fuss, though I was plenty concerned, and we dashed to the doctor’s.  It was Dr. Judy’s first fishing lure to remove and she ended up having to borrow pliers from the janitor!  Nurse Ellie gave Jody a nice shot of Novocaine in the top of his skull and that was more painful than anything for him.  It made for a great story, but from then on we instilled the “hats on for fishing” rule.  Ironically, when he was in Kentucky last year, within 15 minutes of setting out, his partner, Carson, promptly caught him in the side of the head with a full steam cast that knocked Jody to the deck of the boat, all caught on film from the camera boat riding alongside!  He saw some stars, that I recall, but in a few minutes, with a little Neosporin, he was back on his feet and the two of them brought in a bag large enough to place 4th that day.

What a pleasure it was for Charlotte and I to host some of the team over the past few days and then to get out on the lake with my son Jody & his tournament partner, Pat, for our own glimpse at some of their favorite hot spots from the 2 day event.  There is nothing quite like drifting about serenely when the temperatures are in the 80s and the breeze and water keep things comfortable.  The guys kept us entertained as they coaxed their fin-ny friends out of the beds and stumps and onto their hooks and into the boat.  I cannot even begin to write technically about the art and sport of bass fishing, never mind angling in general, but I have learned a lot through the years and Jody puts it all out there in writing for his blog following on Jody White Fishing.  He and Pat had a tough tournament, personally, though the team was represented really well with two Virginia Tech duos placing second and third for this particular event.

Being a fan of my kids means that I find myself in concert halls, hockey rinks and mountain lakes a mere 11-14 hours away, by car.  It means chaperoning in South Africa and Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania.  It means hours spent over the cookstove, frozen feet on winter ponds for ice-fishing birthday parties, road-trips to pick up pet hedgehogs,…I am a blessed mom and though I don’t always know the answers to parenting, I have never regretted my vocation.  Let the good times roll!

Two great fishermen, Jody White & Pat Snellings, President & V.P. of the Virginia Tech Bass Fishing Team on Smith Mountain Lake

The bass were fairly flying into the boat on the day that we went out just for the fun of it!

Pat with a good-sized largemouth on one of his first casts.

Just a few of the tools of the trade.

Osprey nests were everywhere at Smith Mountain Lake. It was so much fun to watch them fishing, too!

Jody & Pat, showing us where the lunkers were hiding.