Archive for May, 2014


A review of my book, A Lifetime of Vermont People, was recently published in the winter/spring issue of Vermont History (volume 82,No. 1). It is the last article in the journal and begins on page 85. Tom Slayton wrote it. He is Editor Emeritus (that means he is retired with honor) from the state magazine Vermont Life. Tom spent 22 years working as editor and publisher of the magazine. He was a fair-minded editor and did much good for Vermont Life. Tom learned how to tap dance around and with the politicians and bureaucracy of the State of Vermont. He was the one who introduced advertising into Vermont Life and he is perhaps the last editor who maintained the quality magazine subcribers expected —beauty resonating with nostalgia rather than an undercurrent of reality. Now VL is morphing into something peculiar, not always appreciated by readers, and it is not paying for itself.

         The 60 Vermonters who I photographed and profiled in my book grew up in a rural environment and made this state what it is. I write about them all—rednecks, woodchucks, or like me, flatlanders by birth who love Vermont and have become Vermonters.

         Sounds like Tom, writing in the first paragraphs, is suggesting the book is a nostalgic trip to what was known as the last stronghold of the Yankees. Lifetime is not that at all; rather, it is a history book (all non fiction books become so quickly history) and it is about the people of Vermont who work for themselves and are proud of it. It is their words, not mine, that make this beautiful book so important


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Begin on a bi-polar high

Clean out the fridge and freezer of antiquated left overs:

Put a pot on stove, start her up.

Dump in chicken skin and slices of meat left over by butcher.

Add from your stash. Mine included:
Frozen peas
Cut beans and half a stalk of celery halved and cut thin
Half a onion diced and one quarter of a sweet red pepper torn into patches
Six olives (all I had) soaked in oil
Half a small zucchini found in the back of the fridge and on its last days
Those awful looking sliced mushrooms that have been hanging around too long, trying to mate with that small zucchini
A stalk of broccoli, cut up
A cheap wrapped slice of American cheese, checkerboard cut by me
Ground up Malabar pepper corns from Costco
About 8 ounces of vegetable bouillon
A blurp of chicken bouillon
Thai peanut satay sauce, about a teaspoon or to taste but for me, double that.
A squeeze of Sriracha sauce, then another for good luck. If you are nervy, add a couple of flakes of habanero dried peppers.

(Note, use any veggies you want and sure, be a sauce explorer.

Bring to boil, put on low for a few minutes, slurp away. I eat the soup standing up, straight from the pot if in a hurry I sit down and slurp from a red bowl and listen to NOAA weather report.

The next day use more left overs or whatever and mutate the soup into a beef or chicken soup or whatever you want. If I am out of any sort of bouillon I use a can of chicken soup or just plain water with a smattering collection of dried herbs drying too long in my cabinet. Add more veggies, plop in the meat, bring to boil, simmer, and after a while take the meat out and with a fork or knife, turn it into the pulled variety and return to its home, minus any bones.

I had a soup starting in this fashion and I transformed it into five personalities; vegetable, chicken, black bean and rice, beef stew and the last one was a fish stew of bi-polar low quality. I’m not bi-polar but for penance I ate it anyway.

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