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@Algot nice to have you on ... look forward to getting to know you and your art better you old art.


YAPNET Community Leaders have started to jump into to help with tweaking the site, defining and focusing its strategy and seeding with content. Yapnet is a free private online community for creatives to share works-in-progress for feedback & support. Not yet launched BUT we are looking for more Community Leaders to help get it off the ground. Site is working & improvements are made daily. Your input vital. How can this space help you? Interested?

I have greatly appreciated the early response to my idea: and I have written a quick follow-up post:

I'd love some feedback on the post -- a community is better with more heads in the game &, if you want to stay in loop and/or help in some low-intensity ways, sign up at

Feedback has been that a space like this would work, would benefit. But it needs people, so boost to others you think might be interested. THANKS!

We zig-zagged up the steep trail early in the morning, too close to the edge in my mind. The sun was not yet up and our pace was steady and solid. Finally we reached the top, the mesa. It was filled with holly bushes and bright light and a monstrously gorgeous view of the canyon and river below.

We caught our breaths and walked the edges of the mesa, following the dusty animal tracks. I heard the deer before I saw her ...

a new here:

I was lucky to have as a friend and mentor Sarah Blanding: the- first woman dean at University of Kentucky, first woman dean at Columbia University, first woman president of Vassar College. I took care of her gardens. Often, at lunchtime, she would invite me onto her porch to eat, read and sometime talk. She didn't judge; she listened. Her observations, her responses, were direct, spot-on and given with respect. Thanks, Sarah.

Yesterday, January 64, 2019 on the official Vermont calendar, we had what is common for this time of year, a snow squall. They come out of nowhere and often pack a wallop and yesterday was no different. It also brought a wicked drop in temperature. Camera in hand, I got a quick shot of the storm heading our way across Lake Champlain and then a street lamp with some sort of special bulb. But by the time I got to my destination, I could not bend my fingers. That cold.

@wion Frankly I had never seen them before. Almost a jellied fruit candy. I find them fascinating. And am amazed that even several small firms can still make a go of it.

But I'll stick to sugar making, though, technically, I've never made (successfully) maple sugar candy which is delightful but very tricky to do. I'll try again this year.

Be well.

@wion that is amazing. Loved the video. Have you ever tasted one?

I will be posting some pictures and writing when I get started with the sugaring. It still is very cold here with no prospect of warming in the next 10 days -- a late, and probably short, season. Best weather: 20 degrees F at night 40 degrees F in the day. Simple physics: When the tree warms, moisture gravitates up from the roots and out the taps into the buckets.

@wion I have a small, flat pan called an evaporator that has three channels with the new sap slowly streaming in on the left side from the holding tanks. The sap, as it boils moves, by physics, cooler to hotter so the left side boils at 213-degrees (we are 1500 ft above sea level) and on the far right, when it reaches 218, I pull it out and then finish it off on the stove. The higher boiling temperature is a result of there being more sugar concentration.

I deeply admire Toni Morrison. Her writing opens a window to a world of which I am unfamiliar. She makes me feel like I am there, inside, invisible but respected. I sometimes feel like she's only writing for me, an intimate connection between two very different people and this host of unfamiliar characters. To me, that is the genius of her work.

She used to fit her writing in before and after her day job, editing, and being a Mom. All day she would think of her story, her words.

I have begun to ready myself to slow down time: Sugaring -- what we call making maple syrup. It is a glacial occupation because you can't make a boiling liquid boil faster. And since it takes from 32-40 gallons of sap (depending on its sugar content) to make a gallon of syrup, you boil for a long, long time. But you see things. Like owls. And I'm glad my pal, a Bard, (pictured below) is back to join our ritual once again.

I will write more as the season gets underway.


Newspaper strategy

Raise price
Reduce size
Cut staff
Wonder where
The readers went.

Yesterday I drove up to Lake Memphremagog, a giant lake straddling the U.S./Canadian border in N.E. Vermont (The Kingdom) to watch a throng of slightly addled people who thought it fun to cut a two-lane, 25-meter swimming pool in the 28-inch ice and go for a dip. A friend was doing it for the first time. Before she jumped in, we witnessed this: Jaimie Monahan, who does this kind of thing all over the world, who decided to do the butterfly for her 200-meter race. Water: 33-degrees.

Sometimes I don't know what to do about the fluctuation of moods and energy levels, one day so sure, the next, not. To what extent can we shape our writing routine to combat that, building a rhythm, a set of habits that work, that lead to writing, that lead to finding wherever your mind was when you wrote that the day before, the week before. It's called consistency. Yet we are not consistent beings. We are emotive, innovative, reactive creatures. Oh well. Part of the challenge.

Today I had lunch with a friend, a writer, teacher, innovator. She has helped me take chances -- to go with ideas that I knew to be good. In return, I read her stories and tell her what I think; honestly; specifically. She writes a short story a month. With my critique of her, with my work at Young Writers Project, and in journalism it has been about reaching audience. I told her I didn't care anymore. Audience was of no matter. I am doing it for the enjoyment. And I feel freed.

I have settled on a project to counterbalance my morning fiction work: Humans at Work, a series of photo explorations. I have started the orchardist (it’s heavy pruning time) and today I started with a farrier. See photos, taken in a 10-degree barn. It’s a great way to get out of my head, to refresh by just listening, watching. His hands tell me he is in control, confident, calm and, somehow, warm. More coming in weeks ahead. @lauraritchie @katebowles

@Algot @MicroSFF @vicorva love the idea, that is, a picture a day as a prompt for small stories.

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