Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rambling around the Northern Woods

Steve and I took a trip with Bob! Bob is Steve's Dad and he's so cool. We went to New Hampshire to visit Aunt Karlene (Bob's sister). On the way we stopped in Maine.

We met Colin Malakei in Portland, Maine, playing the khaen downtown. I filmed him as he played a short song:
Colin described the khaen as a cross between the bagpipe and the concertina. He said that the khaen took ages to develop, to come to perfection as instrument- it can carry any chord or something special like that. He tells us that to him, playing the music is a kind of acupuncture, because as we do new things outside, we also develop neural pathways on the inside. Not only that, but in old aryuvedic texts (did he say it was in the Vedas?), there are prescriptions for certain ragas, or melodies. Doctors long ago prescribed the listening to of certain melodies to balance the body.

When we got to New Hampshire we visited with Sandy at her farm. Sandy says she doesn't keep pets- all her animals are for food or herding. Here she is with her goats. They like to be pet.
She also raises chicken, sheep, and pigs. Steve and I asked if she could taste if an animal had been stressed before it died and she said, "Oh absolutely. When most animals go to slaughter they're taken somewhere strange and put in a holding pen for maybe a few days, and go down a long shoot while the whole place smells of death. They tense up and you can taste that. We just sprinkle some food in the corner of the barn where they always go and knock 'em out with a .22 and that's it."

I fell in love with her two guard dogs, Gabriel and Reme. They're both Great Pyrenees dogs, and live outdoors with the herd. Here's Steve with Gabriel, and me with Reme. They've chased bears away from their charge, and the chickens sometimes snuggle up with them on cold nights.
I couldn't believe it when Sandy told me that Gabriel was found in a dumpster as a puppy, bagged with his dead litter mates. Someone found Gabriel in the trash and now he's treasured. Yup- love can bring somebody a long way. Remi was a rescue too. Here's how he looked when he was first dropped off at the farm. Sandy says Remi and Gabriel are the bestest of buds.

Here we are with Jack the Puppy!

Leaving Colebrook, NH today we made a stop at Mostly Muffins! I have to show you this piece of stained glass hanging in the window that clearly speaks for itself:Here's Steve with dear Aunt Karlene:Bob and Steve!And more good friends at Aunt Karlene's farm, Ben and Molson:
And here's a poem I wrote!

The life aside
might be a dream
(slippery cool clear stream)

Embroidered poets or prophets
Bejeweled and petaled wings
(I hesitate to mention)
such honestly beautiful things

They say, "Come on in."
The door is oak.
"Come on in.
We're your folk."


Suzette said...

I missed you Shannon. Glad you're back... And thank you for the as usual interesting, somewhat mysterious, post.

Anonymous said...

Too funny, like Suz, U2 in my <3, all weekend I was on Craigslist looking at cabins in NH, MN & VT...must have had you on my radar...'the khaen took ages to develop'(all very comforting to know)...sooo much awesome stuff you share... folk,tunes, thank your poem!

As always... Beauty

Shannon said...

Thank you, Suzette, Anon! Glad to be back and see you. Smooches to youz!

It really is something up there- the wildness of the land unmistakable. I like it so much- almost convinced myself that I like 20 below weather! *almost* ;)

Sandy@American Way Farm said...

I've got to tell you that there's nothing in the world quite like goat kisses, except maybe puppy kisses. The love and care we give the animals definitely makes for better tasting and more nutritious food, and the animals who stay to breed are healthier and more prolific. It was so good to see you both and I enjoyed your visit to the farm. But where's the picture of both of you with Jack?

Shannon said...

They're wonderful, Sandy! A real treat to be around, those goats. I'm posting the pic now. Love and thanks!