April 7th, 2013
January 16th, 2013
I love winter. I love the smell, the cold, getting warm, the clean, crisp, fresh air…I also love the change of the seasons and as a nurturer of the Earth, I love spring the most, but one of the reasons I am able to love spring so much is because winter cleanses the Earth for her next awakening.
This winter has been filled with the close of a cycle, the healing of deep wounds I have previously blogged about, and The Mitch and mine’s own awakening of a whole new life. We are getting close. It is also a constant struggle. But, isn’t that life?
When not working our tail feathers off to manifest our new life, we spent a great deal of time at Bolton Valley skiing and riding away to the next tomorrow. Check out my VERMONT: An Explorer’s Guide recent blog post. And yes, the book is STILL on sale!
We cooked, and cooked, and cooked, loved each other, loved our cats, and loved all of those who have remained by our side in the darkest of times.
We enjoyed the light of winter and with both of us getting up at the crack of dawn, fully explored the nuances of the morning light. I used to see if after random late nights of the disillusioned party. Now I see it daily as the birth of the day and I am budding right along with it. Whether there’s snow or not, as often is in this new era of climate change and shifting dichotomies, I embrace it all–every offering Gaia presents, because until we give back what we take, the balance will continue to waver and it is something I accept.
Just as I have accepted the reality which has come to pass for The Mitch and I. It may not be comfortable for some – the struggle, the pain, the sadness, the social and financial class shifts, but it is our own, our reality.
Thank you winter for being you and for lingering just a bit longer to cleanse the Earth – I am grateful. Blessings of Love and Light to All.
Tags: bolton valley, Rachel Carter, The Mitch, vermont, vermont an explorers guide, vt blog, winter
December 5th, 2012
I am thinking of England this week and felt it time to share some artistic reactions to the beautiful month The Mitch and I spent traversing the British countryside. Please enjoy my poem and visual comparisons between photography I took on my trusty 35 mm camera and the pictures I drew…
Brilliance in Love
Rocking on a Narrowboat, Seduced by Stars
Following Romance in London and Pints in Bars
Patchworked Fields and One Lane Yields
Abbeys, Ruins, Thunderstorms, and Mateys
Wandering the Cotswolds Eating Blackberries
With Broken Scissors for Flowers in Vases
Baths and Stones and Glastonbury Tor
Wannabe Witches and Food Soothing Mitchezzz
From Tea Room Kitchens
Forget not Ducks with Webbed Mittens
A Vacation from the Moon
The Calm before the Storm
To the British Beaches
Pebbles and Rocks under Feet
Though not enough for Walls to Complete
Rent a Chair, Embrace in the Salty Air
When Life Shakes a Bug-off Bend
I’ll Think of England!
A tempera finger painting imagining the scope of Weymouth Beach on the Dorset Coast, the location of our final UK adventure and a photo I took while lounging on the beach.
An acrylic painting depicting abbey ruins throughout England as we visited many and a bunting thrown in for good measure which is actually in the beach photo. The abbey photo here shows me exploring Rievaulx Abbey in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.
At the Bohemian Wookey Hole Inn near Glastonbury and Wells in Somerset, dinner included crayons and art paper tablecloths where I drew this self MitchaRachia portrait and the three pictures sum up the attitude, beer, and outfits in that order.
I look forward to sharing more – Cheers to 2013!
September 24th, 2012
Farmer’s markets have always been a popular feature of Vermont’s working landscape for locals and tourists alike. As the farm-to-plate movement and localizing the food system popularity and necessity continues to rise, Vermont remains one step ahead in a trend that’s been a part of life here since first settled in the 1700s. In one of the nation’s colder climates, winter farmer’s markets are fast becoming the norm supplying local, seasonally stored, and innovatively grown food across the state.
In time for holiday gift giving and cooking, I thought I’d offer up several of my favorite farmer’s markets around Vermont…good vibes, great food, and slammin’ atmosphere.
Bigger markets offer diverse selection like mushrooms, wide variety of meats, hydroponically grown produce, more sought after crafts like sheep wool sweaters, and more diversity of ethnic options, specialty products, and produce volume.
Rutland Farmer’s Market
251 West Street, Rutland VT
Over 45 vendors – most diverse selection and biggest weekly event in all of Vermont
Montpelier Farmer’s Market
1st and 3rd Saturdays, 10-2
Vermont College of Fine Arts Gym, Montpelier, VT
Solid mix of farm products, especially good art & craft additions
Brattleboro Farmer’s Market
River Garden, Downtown Brattleboro, VT
Probably some of the most unique offerings, Brattleboro is pretty cutting edge in offbeat alterations to the food system growth and their farmer’s market showcases that quirkiness
Burlington Farmer’s Market
Bi-weekly (beginning Nov. 3) Saturdays, 10-2
Memorial Auditorium, Burlington, VT
Farm to Table in Vermont’s Metropolitan Queen
Smaller markets are more hyper-local with offerings focused on stored root veggies, canned goods, specialty foods, and crafts.
Norwich Farmer’s Market
Once a month on select Saturdays, 10-1
Tracy Hall, Downtown Norwich, VT
Dorset Farmer’s Market
Sundays through February, 10-2
J.K. Adams Kitchen Store and Factory, Dorset, VT
Middlebury Farmer’s Market
Saturdays, 9:30-1 in Nov. & Dec., Mar. & Apr. CLOSED Jan. & Feb.
Mary Hogan School, Middlebury, VT
St. Johnsbury Farmer’s Market
First Saturday, 10-1
St. Johnsbury Welcome Center, Downtown St. Johnsbury, VT
Complete Vermont winter farmer’s market listings can be found with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and the Vermont chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.
Tags: brattleboro farmers markets, burlington farmers market, dorset farmers market, middlebury farmers market, montpelier farmers market, norwich farmers market, rutland farmers market, st johnsbury farmers market, vermont farm to plate, vermont farm2plate, vermont farmers markets, vermont holiday markets, vermont winter farmers markets, vt farm to plate, vt farm2plate, vt holiday markets, vt winter farmers markets, vt winter markets, winter farmers markets
September 19th, 2012
Apples make the death of fall somehow bearable. Apple pie and apple crisp make me forget about the decay, enjoy the warmth of my kitchen, and appreciate the changing of the seasons because after the farewell to growth comes the November light cast shadows and the snow which are two of nature’s most blessed wonders.
Last year The Mitch and I enjoyed one of our most perfect days at Shelburne Orchards for the Small Farms Food Festival. Instead of taking photos, I captured the moment in this poem and the photo is courtesy of Shelburne Orchards – one of the friendliest and most picturesque apple orchards in Vermont with an abundant and tasty selection of produce, the ambiance fit for a Vermont apple movie, and the events taboot.
Harvest time in Vermont
Apples sticking and strings picking
Ice cream dripping
Sweaters made of llamas
Wanting to be local
In the time of Obama
Growing old slow
On a day like this
Hearts set in peace
Yellow jacket consistency
All the kids frolic fancy free
Dressed how their parents want them to be
One sweet Vermont community
Growing old slow
On a day like this
Hearts set in peace
Sun shining on a hot September day
Lapping wind tussles all the long hair
Bluegrass men looking real fair
And the one girl with the perfect blond hair
Growing old slow
On a day like this
Hearts set in peace.
Yesterday we enjoyed a drive trough the Champlain Islands and picked apples at Allenholm Farm and enjoyed some apple smooches in the trees. We did not find the wooden apple as part of the Apples to Ipods Vermont Tourism promotion. We did pick up some apple cider doughnuts from Hacketts Orchards. Hopefully I will bake enough pies and crisps this week to freeze and use up most of the apples so we can go back to Shelburne Farms for ground scores and more doughnuts. We better make it quick as I think the season will be over shortly this year–making way for the fast track to November light and December snow. After two years of not skiing, The Mitch and I are back for the count and headed to Bolton Valley. Guess I’ll have to make my way over to Cold Hollow Cider Mill as it gets closer and stock up on some sweet cider to make those ski time rum runners – ooooh, I can’t wait! I even have an existing stash of cinnamon sticks.
Tags: allenholm farm, cold hollow cider mill, hackett orchards, Rachel Carter VT, shelburne orchards, vermont apple picking, vermont apples, vermont cider, vermont fall poems
August 28th, 2012
Have you picked up your copy of VERMONT: An Explorer’s Guide yet?
Tags: christina tree, Rachel Carter, vermont attractions, vermont author, vermont events, Vermont Explorer's Guide, vermont inns, vermont lodging, vermont restaurants, vermont shopping, Vermont travel, vt guidebook
July 26th, 2012
Today everyone is reflecting on Hurricane Irene and how she tore through parts of the State of Vermont ousting roads, paralyzing towns, and ultimately making Vermont stronger than before. I listened to VPR’s Vermont Edition yesterday on how Irene inspired the arts. I thought about the town of Pittsfield and the talented videographer Marion Abrams filming the devastation and stories of Vermonters working together from the very beginning. She was inspired to create the video Floodbound – Pittsfield Vermont’s Hurricane Irene story. More on Floodbound can also be heard on another episode of Vermont Edition.
As I listened and thought driving up Interstate 89, my thoughts inevitably turned to my own experience with Irene and I felt this was a good outlet to share…
Two days before Irene struck, The Mitch and I were returning from our life-altering and value-solidifying honeymoon in England–we spent a month traveling the back roads and lesser known places of the UK. A complete photo tour can be viewed on the wall of the Rachel Carter PR Facebook page if you care to "like" my professional world. Per my Reflections on Our First Year of Marriage post, we had had a rather sad precursor to the wedding as in some abstract way, we knew we were on the cusp of our entire social structure crumbling. Irene really helped symbolize that for us. As I said, we arrived home two days before Irene very late in the evening to find our car dead at a failed attempt to leave it parked near the airport for us by some of the people who in the end have hurt us more than most others. We spent several additional early morning hours after multiple delays of oversees flights attempting to get the car started. Once home we collapsed…for two days. The evening Irene rolled in, I was somewhat coherent and spent the evening unpacking, organizing wedding gifts, and spending time with my cats–one of whom stayed alive while we were away only to be able to say a proper goodbye (he died three weeks later). The Mitch continued to sleep. The wind picked up something fierce and it sounded like a train crashing through the roof. The lights went out. I woke The Mitch and said, "I think this storm is really bad." He mumbled dreamily, "It sounds nice." I lit a bunch of candles and rearranged food from fridge to coolers to freezer. We always have gallons of water stashed. Then back to my wifely duties I went in a very strange, sleepy, stormy state – for us Irene was the calm before the storm.
We awoke the next morning and the electricity was back on. The Mitch started his first day teaching at a new school. Off he went and I began to plug back in after not having looked at a computer, mobile device, phone, or I-anything since the day after the wedding (now well over a month). The phone and emails started to be off the hook with family and far away friends wanting to know if we were okay. I was so confused. Then I slowly started to see the horror that had happened across the state and was continuing to happen.
While we cared deeply for what was happening to other Vermonters, our own horror started to set in very quickly. Our social structure collapsed and we were turned out, ignored, and forgotten by most of our friends (see the Reflections post linked above). The intense part of the Vermont guidebook I was coauthoring began and was then pushed, delaying my opportunity to focus on getting new work and determining what role my professional future was going to play. Coauthoring the book resulted in seven months of full time work with no income. The work I had contracted for with the State of Vermont to make ends meet while working on the book was pushed, forgotten, or abandoned because of statewide priorities needing to respond to Irene. We were broke, had to sell jewelry and antiques, our health was challenged, and we had no one to turn to.
We are Vermont Strong like everyone else and had to work together and be resilient. While we didn’t lose our home to Irene, we could lose it at any point as it is a rental and is on the market for a pretty penny. The wealthy out-of-staters who bought a parcel of land across the street from the same owner last year have built a terrifying McMansion and an airstrip on the farmland. I wonder what will happen to the huge garden where I grew 75% of the produce for our wedding and 50% of the flowers. But, the book is done, and I am able to work, and I am focused very much on promoting VERMONT: An Explorer’s Guide payment only happens when it sells.
Our hearts go out to everyone affected by Irene–no matter how small. Life is challenging enough without a hurricane washing away your home or street or basement. Thanks to so many sharing their stories, I felt inspired to do the same and thank you for listening. A few months after Irene, when I was in a very dark place and trying to make sense and cope with it all, I wrote the lyrics to this song:
Shadow on My Soul
There’s a shadow on my soul
And I didn’t know that it was there
Clouding my moves
Then my thoughts
Manifestation of alternating absolutions
If pleasure lies in anticipating
And perfection in presence
To me there’s a shadow on my soul…
Walk through the sheets
To another day
Washed in pellets of opaque rain
Rinse away that shadow
Want to forget that it was there
Rivers flow into roads
A Vermont flood crushes abodes
But hearty souls stand their ground
While my shadow struggles to rebound
Echoes of “we will prevail”
As I toss away my wedding veil
Keeping what’s important
Knowing who’s a friend
There’s a shadow on my soul
And I do know that is it here
No denying that hidden truth
It’s for sure a part of me
There’s a shadow
To hear, to see
There’s a shadow on my soul and I want it to be there.
Tags: hurricane irene, irene art, irene vt stories, Rachel Carter, rachel carter vermont, Rachel Carter VT, vermont author, vermont hurricane stories, vermont poem, vermont songwriter
July 11th, 2012
It is THE definitive guide to the Green Mountain State and Yankee Magazine says, "Our #1 Travel Tip: Get This Guide."
Publisher, W.W. Norton states: Christina Tree and new coauthor Rachel Carter have more lovingly than ever updated the Explorer’s Guide to Vermont, especially since floods in August 2011 caused by Tropical Storm Irene devastated so many of the communities, businesses, iconic covered bridges, and scenic backroads in the state. As these towns and storefronts rebuild, so have Tree and Carter This 13th edition of Explorer’s Guide Vermont reviews hundreds of dining and lodging options from the remote reaches of the Northeast Kingdom to quaint Manchester and bustling Burlington. The authors offer great recommendations for the most rewarding spots to visit—artists’ studios, farmers’ markets, historic sites, and more—and highlight the best biking, hiking, swimming, winter sports, horseback riding, fishing, and paddling. Enjoy four seasons of events and activities; whether you’re a visitor or a resident, you’ve got to get this guide!
And I ask my fans and supporters not only to check out the Vermont Explorer’s Guide new website to order the book and read the author’s blog, but…
PLEASE share this website with your favorite local shops and encourage them to carry the book so folks can buy it locally!
The poem, The Party Marches On, was written during an ongoing deep healing process Mitch and I have been working through that has darkened and saddened our first year together as husband and wife. We have been very quiet this year because we have been working through the pain and we felt it time to share our story. To those people who have remained By Our Side, we extend our sincerest gratitude and blessings of love and light.
In Grace, Intelligence, and Truth,
The Party Marches On…
I met a man
Who was loved by another girl even though he didn’t love her.
She thought he did.
I didn’t know this until I was in love with him.
She began to turn his friends against us.
Then I met a girl I thought would be my friend.
I introduced her to my world
Where I worked
Where I played
Where I was silly
Where I was deep
I let her in.
She wanted to take my place.
She was a cheerleader
And a master at the cruel art of long since past popularity games of lies and tricks.
I ended the friendship.
Then the girl who loved the man
And the girl I could not respect drew a bond.
A bond based on malice towards me.
A bond that spread lies and deceit and suspicion among my friends
Who started to not be my friends. Or the man’s.
We tried to share with some
Who cared more about altered states of consciousness than friendship.
We trusted them
We thought better of them
But we were wrong.
They didn’t like that we disrupted the flow of the party.
A party that was much in part to introductions we made
Introductions like the two girls who turned those closest against us.
Because no one ever cared about us
They cared about what we brought to the party
And when we couldn’t bring it anymore
The gossip flared…
And others listened, never questioning
Never talking to us.
So many came to our wedding without even a card of well wishes
And we haven’t heard from them and so many others since.
We never thought that having character would compromise our friendships.
We expected too much from our friends.
No, we actually made very poor decisions in the company we kept.
Now closer to 40 than 30, I really see the learning never stops.
Our hearts keep on aching
The pain clenching like 15 romances all ended at once.
But they weren’t love, they were romance steeped in rock-n-roll
There is a 12-step program for all addictions.
One day at a time
As the party marches on without us.
Tags: ending friendships, marriage growth, mitch pauley, mitcharachia, Rachel Carter