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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

she of the brown dusty attic-smelling wings

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

dawn felagund monogram




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

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December 6th, 2016

The Goldens have always been also named The Wilds. Alex and Lance were The Wilds, and now Lance and Gwen are also The Wilds.

People often speculate, "I wonder what my dog does when I'm not home?" I'm fairly certain I know what The Wilds do when we're not home. Spending both weekend days home with them revealed that all they do? Is sleep.

This was The Wilds over the weekend, both knocked out cold on the floor of my study while I worked.

 photo 20161203_144945_zps9joym3zn.jpg


Guinevere has taken to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning and installing herself on the guest room bed. Bobby's staff holiday party for Jay Peak was tonight, and when we got home, we had to call her about five times before she finally deigned to come see us. And this was after a full day of doing what you see in the picture above.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/397599.html

November 12th, 2016

NaNoData

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art not war
I am power-walking my way through NaNoWriMo. Not quite running! I'm not done yet, and I know there are people who are. But I'm bookin' like an octogenarian mall walker who heard they're giving away free cups of decaf in the food court! (Seriously, I used to work in a mall--those people would run you over!)

Today has been my best day so far with just under 7500 words written. I like the new NaNoWriMo site; it graphs your progress for you, so I do not have to make an Excel graph as in years past.

 photo nanowrimo11122016_zpspiaxlgjk.png

You can tell this was a long weekend: I had two strong days in a row. (My goal for each day this weekend is 5000 words.) You can also see Election Day: The one day I made no progress at all. I was too nervous to write.

The NaNo site estimates me finishing by Friday. I don't need to finish that soon, but I did want to have the bulk of the project finished before my family arrives for Thanksgiving since I can't count on any writing time from that Tuesday through Saturday.

What is interesting is that, in past years, I would have a strong day with a high word count followed by two or three days with more modest progress. This year, my progress much more closely follows my work week. Capping 2000 words is REALLY hard on a school night. In addition to my writing time competing with the work I sometimes bring home, I'm generally exhausted by the time I get to finally sit at my desk. I fell asleep while writing my novel this past Wednesday (because I hadn't slept much or well on Election Day and then had a long workday and resisted taking a nap). So you can see I barely made any progress that day.

It seems now that I can have two days in a row with a high word count: yesterday and today! Will I be able to to 5000 again tomorrow? It will be interesting to see. Based on past study of my NaNo progress, I would have doubted my ability to do over 5000 today. And indeed, I did put off getting started by working on some SWG stuff that has needed doing for a while. But once I began, I was off to the races.

In any case, "Tamlin" definitely has 15,000 more words in it, though probably not much beyond that, which will put it at 75,000 words total, much longer than I expected it to be (but that's always the way with me). I should probably call it Tamlin now; it will definitely be a novel, though on the shorter side of that classification.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/394997.html

October 30th, 2016

And It Begins ...

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winter lamppost
I am presently sitting in a rather rigid chair, listening to moldy oldies and bubblegum pop being broadcast over a loudspeaker. My feet are cold. I can smell chili and it's making me hungry, but not that hungry since I just finished off a bottled tea that cost me five dollars.

In other words: The Season has begun! I am in a ski resort!

Killington Resort in central Vermont generally aims to be the first resort open each year in the continental U.S. For the past few years, they made it; this year, A-Basin in Colorado beat them to it by a few days. It looks like a pretty ukky day from my vantage point by a picture window in the lodge: gray, overcast, the tops of the mountains swathed in fog. But Killington has five expert-level trails open today so--hot dog!--here I am, getting work done on my computer while Bobby crams as many runs in on those five trails as humanly possible! At least it appears to have stopped raining.

It took a lot longer to get here than I expected: more than two hours. Meh. But we are stopping on the way home at what's supposed to be a good restaurant here in Killington. And, as I have found to be true of most ski resorts and the round of ice rinks I attended before them, I find it's really easy to concentrate and get work done. At home, I have more distractions and things I'd rather be doing. I am hoping that by the time I'm home, all of my work is done. (I'm actually mostly planned for the week at this point, which is pretty excellent, especially since tomorrow is Halloween and we will observe Samhain on Tuesday, so I won't want to be stuck with hours of at-home work on those nights.)

Jay Peak has been getting nonstop snow all week (as we've been getting nonstop rain down in the valley, which we need since we were in the early stages of drought), so hopefully they will be open soon too and we won't have to drive two hours for Bobby to have the opportunity to stand sideways.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/394164.html

October 23rd, 2016

We had our first snowfall last night. Around nine o'clock, we began to spot the first fat snowflakes among the rain, and by eleven o'clock, it had changed over to all wet snow. It was sticking a little on the ground by the time we went to bed around 1 AM, but when I eagerly peeked out the window this morning, I was disappointed because it had all melted already.

In the mountains, however, there is quite a bit on the ground. Bobby is currently pacing around the house waiting to be picked up by a friend to go up to Jay Peak, where it's estimated they got about 6 to 7 inches (15 to 17 cm). They'll "earn their turns" by hiking the mountain and snowboarding down. Power to them! That sounds like a lot of work, but Bobby is over the moon.

At his colleague's house about 15 minutes north of us, she posted a picture on Facespace with about two inches (5 cm) on the ground, so it seems we just missed it being cold enough to stick, which isn't particularly surprising, since we tend to be a couple degrees warmer here in the valley than in the surrounding areas.

Yesterday, we went to the matinee show of Vermont Vaudeville. We loved it. The show was held in the beautiful still-undergoing-restoration Hardwick Town House. It was hilarious. I think they cross-pollinate a lot with Bread and Puppet; I recognized some of the actors from B&P shows.

It was a really miserable day yesterday: in the mid-40s F (about 4C) and this constant, omnipresent, drizzly rain. We decided to pack it in for the evening. We'd had a stupendous and large lunch at Positive Pie in Hardwick, so we grabbed some Chinese food at the Wok 'N' Roll in Newport and rented three movies from the video store.

We moved up here for a variety of big reasons related to lifestyle, ideals, and emotional health, but we constantly discover little things that we love and never expected. Having a video store is one of them. An old-school, locally owned video store, not a Blockbuster, certainly not a RedBox. Bobby and I love movies, and one of our favorite ways to spend an evening is seeing a movie in a theater or renting one at home. Yet neither of us are particularly wild about streaming movies. The reality is that we live in the middle of nowhere and have satellite Internet, and the nights when you most want to watch a movie at home--when it is raining or snowing--are the nights when the satellite Internet is least reliable or, during storms, may not work at all. We also like having the cases to hold in hand, to read the reviews and the blurbs, look at the cover and the stills that have been chosen, see if the movie was presented at any festivals or won any awards, etc. Discovering we had a video store up here was an amazing find for us.

During October, we rent mostly-to-all "scary" movies. New England Video has a special where you can rent three non-new releases on Saturday night for three bucks and keep them for three days. Since we're expecting poor weather this weekend and three bucks for three movies is an amazing deal, then we rented three scary movies. Last night, we watched one called Frozen--no, not THAT Frozen--about a trio of college kids who get stuck on a high ski lift after hours. It was the stupidest thing ever! It appeared they were citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (I will avoid using the term that Vermonters use for this particular type of tourist from that particular state), skiing/riding at a fictional resort in Massachusetts, but there managed to be man-eating wolves? It was awful! But of course, the awfulness is part of the fun for scary movies a lot of the time. All the same, this wasn't the kind of awful that I recommend watching.

We've rented a few this month that I've really liked. Dawn"s 2016 Haunted October Movie RecommendationsCollapse )

So speaking of Haunted October, my own Haunted October is going well and so not-so-well at the same time. It's going well because I am still hooked on the story and write at least a little of it every day. I don't think I've had a 5000+-word day, but I've had a handful of occasions where I manage a few thousand in a sitting, which is good. But it's nowhere near being done, which looks like it won't be ready to post even part of on Halloween (since I don't like to post unfinished work), and at this point, it also threatens my NaNoWriMo aspirations, since I'm not going to put it on hold to start something new. So at this point, I probably need to just call it "Tamlin" and forget about the Haunted October piece. I can't bring myself to be disappointed in myself, however, for missing a self-imposed deadline because of my enthusiasm for a story that has been in my head for years.

Last night, I finally got to some sinister supernatural monkey business. Yes, JUST LAST NIGHT. I still have a lot of story to tell.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/393415.html

October 22nd, 2016

A Walk above the Clouds

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yavanna earth
Earlier this week, we took a walk down my road, in the valley along the Barton River. These pictures, which we taken the day after the walk down my road, couldn't be more different. Instead of the valley, this walk was along the ridgeline of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest mountain. Instead of soft meadows, a gently coursing river, and a palette of colored trees in the distance, the landscape here is ragged rock and plants tough and strange enough to survive in such an unforgiving climate.

The only similarity was the weather: It was borderline unpleasant on both days. This was the weather on the drive down to Stowe. It was supposed to clear up but really didn't.

 photo 20161009_114211_zpshm5jc5z3.jpg

(As always, click for full-size!)

We ostensibly opted to do the Mansfield hike because of the views, but there weren't many views to be had: We were above the clouds for most of the walk, which only added to the strangeness of the scenery. The temperature on the ridgeline hovered right around freezing with wind chills dipping to the mid-20s F when the wind would kick up. Those were moments of ambivalence: They often swept away enough of the clouds to get a glimpse of the view, but they also tended to occur at moments when I was making crossings on rocks where I was not fully comfortable. I felt like the Fellowship on Caradhras, with the sense that the mountain was mocking me!

The ecosystem is alpine tundra, which exists in isolated pockets atop the highest peaks in New England. The linked Times article describes the alpine tundra as such:

Such is the weird world of alpine tundra, where life adapts to cold stone and thin soil, and snow, ice, wind, water and sunlight mix in rare and intense proportions to mimic conditions not widely seen since the end of the last ice age. Hike uphill high enough in parts of New England and you might as well be trekking in far northern Canada. Save for polar bears and permafrost, the look and feel of places like Mount Mansfield’s summit — a bald schist knob at 4,393 feet — mimic the arctic no-man’s land east of Hudson Bay.


We had originally planned to take the gondola from the resort and hike the Cliff Trail to the summit (called the Chin because the profile of Mansfield looks like a face in repose), but the poor weather made this unwise, so we took the Auto Toll Road to the end and hiked out from there instead. Take a walk above the cloudsCollapse )



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/393100.html

October 19th, 2016

A Walk Down My Road

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funky pumpkin
The weekend before last was peak leaf weekend in the Northeast Kingdom. Unfortunately, because things usually work this way, after weeks of perfect weather, it was rather cloudy and gray, which didn't make for the best conditions for photography. But I went out despite and took a walk down the road I live off of to photograph the leaves.

I live in a rather unusual place, as far as what one thinks of as stereotypical Vermont. Coventry is situated in a valley, with the Green Mountains to the west and the so-called Eastern Highlands (the mountains enclosing Lake Willoughby) to the east. The road I live off runs alongside the Barton River, so the ecosystem is largely wetlands rather than the mountains and forests that come to mind as Vermont's typical landscape. However, it is exceptionally beautiful: The river is calm and a near-perfect mirror of the surrounding landscape and sky, winding through tall grass with the occasional tree. I've been wanting to photograph the river for a while, and peak weekend seemed the ideal time to do it.

Come take a walk with me!Collapse )



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/392923.html

October 17th, 2016

Oh Poop

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alex eek
I never thought I could use an icon with that poop emoji that people have a bizarre attachment to.

Friday night at about 1 AM, Bobby and I were rudely awakened by a screeching-blaring sound coming from the direction of our storage freezer and washer/dryer, which are tucked behind a curtain in the kitchen. We initially thought the sound was coming from the freezer, but after dragging the freezer out into the kitchen, we discovered it was the septic tank alarm. Uh oh! It was screaming its little head off and the warning light was lit up red.

I've lived in a home with a septic tank for all of my life except for the three years that I lived in an apartment in Ellicott City and had sewer like normal people. But we were both at a loss as to what the alarm means. Bobby got it shut off and we returned to bed, where he perused his iPad to discover the myriad things both silly and serious it could be, and first thing in the morning, he called the septic guy who did the inspection. He came out for an emergency call but couldn't tell us much on the spot except that we weren't in immediate danger of coming home to a bathtub full of poop.

The septic guy came back today, and we have a better idea of what is wrong without having a full notion yet of what it will cost to fix. The electrical box was foolishly placed in the tank itself--apparently a common practice when our house was built ... erm, delivered (since we live in a single-wide! *banjos!*)--and not surprisingly got wet and all the wires burned up. Which is scary but also kind of cool: We likely had an underground poop fire in our yard! If there was a way to make the concept of Silent Hill more horrifying, there it is. Anyway, since there is no wiring, then the pump is not working. What we're still not sure about is if and how damaged the pump is and what it will cost to fix/replace if it is. If the pump is fine, the repair will be a few hundred dollars. If the pump needs to be replaced, it will be a few thousand. Eep.

It stinks (DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE) but it could have been worse. It could have happened over Thanksgiving weekend when we had a house full of people. It could have happened in the middle of winter. The alarm might not have worked and we would have literally had poop coming out in our backyard, which is full of poop enough thanks to the Goldens. (More good news from Brian the Poop Guy: If our tank were to overflow, it would go into the backyard before it backed up into the house. Yay?) We can weather the cost, even if it means we'll be eating home a lot more in the weeks to come. Until everything is sorted, we have to be careful with our water usage. The septic guy is coming back tomorrow with the plumber and electrician: a whole poop-tank team! Now let's hope we don't get any crappy news ...



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/392463.html

October 16th, 2016

Wood Pellet Weekend

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halloween dawn
Our primary source of heating in our new house is a wood pellet stove. Back in Maryland, we had a woodstove in the basement and electric baseboard heat upstairs that we resisted turning on as long as possible because it was so expensive. The woodstove, on the other hand, was wonderful, and we used it as much as we could. However, it took a while to start it, and it was messy, producing a lot of brown ash that would cover everything in the house.

The pellet stove, on the other hand, starts with the push of a button and does not seem to be nearly as messy. We've had it on three times now--temperatures were in the upper 20sF/-3C a couple nights this week--and it made the house a little TOO hot! But since we live in an area where it is not uncommon to have temperatures as low as -30F/-34C, then we will be grateful for it in short order, I suspect!

Midway through the summer, Tractor Supply Company had a great pre-sale on wood pellets, so based on the usage of the previous owners (who used the pellet stove as their primary heating source as we intend to do; we have a kerosene backup), we ordered three tons (2.7 metric tons). This weekend, they were delivered, and the entire weekend was blocked off on our calendar for transporting them from the TSC in Derby--which is about twenty minutes away--to our house.

We have a little cart for our Subaru, and using that, it took three trips and about three hours to move all three tons of wood pellets. We put about 2.5 tons in our new barn and about a half ton in the log cabin shed alongside our house. Let me tell you, moving three tons of wood pellets is hard work! They come in 40 lb/18 kg bags. A 40-lb bag is not difficult for me to lift and carry, but repeated 150 times with much bending and lifting was rough! By the end of the third round, my poor little forearms were DONE. Bobby drove the Subaru down to the barn and was carrying the bags from the cart to the barn, where I waited with outstretched arms for him to dump the bag onto them, which I would carry into the barn and add to the pile. One of the last ones he plopped entirely on my forearms, and I barely made it! He was complaining of fatigue, and I wanted to say, "Imagine how I feel!" I have above average upper-body strength for a woman, but really.

Well, it's done now. My upper arms and shoulders ached something fierce this morning, so we went hiking on Mount Hor to keep me from stiffening up and so I could enjoy a dose of pain-fighting endorphins. Also because the views were going to be amazingly gorgeous.

I have a ton of photos to post from a stroll along River Road last week for the peak leaf weekend, and a hike along the ridge at Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest mountain. Honestly, I have been completely lost in this story I am writing based on the Scottish folk song "Tamlin." I am hoping to have it done in time to post it for Halloween at this point; it is much longer than I expected, in a large part because my first attempt at it was not as character-based as I like my writing to be, and characterization eats a lot of pages, at least how I do it. But when I'm on the computer, I don't want to be doing anything but working on this story. I stayed up till 1:30 last night with it.

I'll try to get those other pictures posted soon, but Mount Hor is going to jump to the head of the line. It was a gorgeous day: sunny and mild. Last weekend was the peak for the leaves, but as you will see, the leaves are still pretty spectacular!

Willoughby Gap Just after Peak WeekendCollapse )



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/392404.html

October 8th, 2016

This is apparently peak leaf weekend in our neck of the woods. We saw a lot of out-of-state tags during our errands today. That's great! Come enjoy our leaves and support Vermont's economy!

My posting here should relieve anyone who was worrying that, no, I did not reach an ignoble end in a killer-clown attack at school yesterday. It was a little of a rough afternoon, and my colleagues and I gathered at the end of the day, kind of heaved a collective sigh, and I said, "Well, the good news is that no one was killed by clowns today."

Bobby had a rough week too, so we both very much needed to recalibrate. We discovered while picking up the perennials from his colleague on Thursday that we are about ten minutes from Brownington Pond, so we loaded the kayaks on top of the car and went out to explore.

It was just what we needed. About an hour-and-a-half out on the pond with the setting sun making the surrounding forest glow like fire and we both felt like new humans. Pictures are below the cut with the usual caveats that they are cell phone photos taken from a kayak on the water. I do my best to keep them clear and my horizons straight, but currents and winds sometimes foil my best efforts!

Pictures below the cutCollapse )

So I did end up letting that cute bearded guy who followed me up the creek take me out to dinner. We went to the Newport Ciderhouse for their Oktoberfest weekend. I have written here before about how I have the occasional allergic reaction to beer. A lot of beer makes me itch and cough a little, but it's very minor, and so I limit myself to one and never mix varieties, and I'm fine. But every now and then, I get a hold of one that progresses beyond itching and coughing. My face and lungs fill with mucus, so I'm constantly coughing and sneezing, and my face gets red and hot. I had tasted 14th Star's Maple Breakfast Stout when Bobby's ordered it before, but when I had my own pint last night, I was three sips in and felt that distinctive itching start between my shoulder blades. I asked Bobby to finish it for me and resigned myself to sticking with water going forward. Unfortunately, it didn't stop there, and I had a full-blown allergic reaction! D^:

I enjoyed dinner as much as I could given that my head felt like a water balloon being filled by a garden hose. When we arrived back home, I went to bed to read and ended up falling asleep very early, which I probably needed because the Goldens were very restless a couple nights this week, and I was operating under a sleep deficit.

I still can't figure out what causes that reaction. It seems so random. It's happened with four different beers: two stouts, a porter, and an IPA. The only thing I can figure is that it's a specific type of hops or yeast being used. Since Vermont has so many amazing ciders, I'll probably be sticking more closely to those.

Tomorrow, we are hoping to hike Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest mountain, so I hope I will have more pretty leaves and mountains to share soon.



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/391951.html

October 3rd, 2016

Holland Pond

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autumn leaf
Autumn is still descending in its multi-hued glory to Northern Vermont. Yesterday was a grumpy, gray, rather miserable day: 55F/13C, damp, with those drifting, misty showers that seem to ooze out of the air itself. Nonetheless, Bobby and I decided to take a couple-hours kayak jaunt out on Holland Pond, about a half-hour northeast of us. It had been recommended to him as a rather remote and especially beautiful site among the Northeast Kingdom's myriad ponds and lakes.

The rain thankfully held off for the duration of our paddle, and there was enough wind to ensure that we were kept quite warm as we fought to keep our kayaks on course. It was a really fun pond--definitely one of my favorites--with a handful of cabins on its western shore but otherwise surrounded by a wildlife management area and very remote. It was unusual in the large, gray boulders that lined its edges. There were quite a few little coves to explore, one of the things I love best about kayaking. While hiking, of course, leaving the trail is verboten. On the water, one can duck into a little cove or start down a creek to see where it leads, worrying at most about getting stuck and having to make an undignified exit. (Not a problem once yesterday, despite putting myself into some tight spots; I am getting good at navigating the new kayak like I once was with the cantankerous bastard.) When I was a kid, there was nothing better than opening a novel with a map on the first few pages, and even now, I can read a road atlas for hours if left to my own devices. Kayaking scratches that itch to explore very, very well.

Of course, I took pictures. They are cell phone photos taken on a gloomy day, mostly from a kayak being tossed lightly in the wind so not the best quality, but I hope they give some sense of Holland Pond and the day! Click for photosCollapse )



This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

http://dawn-felagund.dreamwidth.org/391443.html
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