Visit to Carlisle Academy Integrative Therapy & Sports

During coffee hour after church a few weeks ago I was speaking with Kate Chappell about her daughter, Sarah’s horse therapy farm in Lyman, Maine. Kate mentioned that one of the things the farm offers are programs for people with PTSD! I have often dreamed of one day operating a little animal therapy farm for traumatized youth so I was immediately fascinated. The offerings are extensive and include organizational/leadership development, team retreats, hippotherapy for people ages two and up with a diagnosed emotional, physical or cognitive disability and riding lessons to the general public.

Kate was so kind to arrange with Sarah (pictured above) an opportunity for me to visit the academy and share it with you here on my blog. My post is focused on the equine enrichment groups and working farmscape education tailored for at-risk youth and young adults, senior citizens, veterans and people in early recovery from addictions.

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Beautiful Maine Made Cotton & Wool Blankets

Many of my long-time readers know how much I love vintage linens and changing up our bedding to create different looks. I broke from tradition last fall and bought a new (as in not new old stock but NEW new) wool blanket online that was made in France. Other than being a drab color like most every wool blanket on the market it seemed nice enough until I realized that the French on the label said it had been mothproofed! I do NOT want to have a chemical-treated blanket against my skin! I sent it back.

Wayne and I took a ride up to Freeport last weekend to buy him a few things at Brooks Brothers. Afterward we stopped in the Maine Woolens outlet. I had never been in it before and assumed they were selling ubiquitous made in China blankets perhaps with added kitschy lighthouses or starfish on them. I was not anticipating the wonderful surprise inside!

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Maine Maple Sunday at Merrifield Farm

Spring is here! Today is Maine Maple Sunday which means there are about ninety sugar houses throughout Maine that are open to the public. We went to Merrifield Farm in Gorham which is like a maple syrup paradise where we sampled maple syrup over vanilla ice cream and watched maple syrup being processed.

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A Degree of Mischief at University of Vermont

The college admissions scandal has highlighted what some have referred to as “affirmative action for the wealthy.” As I mention on my “about” page, I grew up in subsidized housing but went to an Upper East Side prep school with the aid of a scholarship. My freshman year of college was spent at Bennington College, also via scholarship. It was too painful for me to continue to be the kid from the wrong side of the tracks in places where the vast majority of students came from very wealthy homes.  It was then I decided to transfer to the University of Maine in Orono where I earned my B.A. in English.

I attended grad school at the University of Vermont where I lived in a tiny house in the woods complete with big spiders* (steel-toed Doc Martens are a form of organic pest control) and was fortunate to have been awarded an assistantship for two years which paid my tuition in full and gave me a small stipend. However, that also meant my days began at 5:00 a.m. and I didn’t get home sometimes until 10 at night. Even so, my most valuable life lesson learned wasn’t a part of my curriculum, but in a playground.

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Lunch at Marie Joseph Spiritual Center

We had a lunch date with Sister Aline today at Marie Joseph Spiritual Center which also has a new French-trained chef for their dining hall. Wayne had the stuffed pork and a piece of blueberry cake and I enjoyed stir-fried veggies, rice, roasted acorn squash and steamed asparagus. Most importantly we got to visit with Sister Aline whom I hadn’t seen since our wedding. Despite the cold temps and blustery winds gusting over 40 mph I had to take a quick walk to the beach!

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The Haunting Beauty of an Old New England Cemetery in Autumn

I shot these photos two years ago when Wayne and I took a morning walk in Calvary Cemetery, South Portland. We spoke of life, death, and the mystery of what’s to come. The sunlight, crisp air and golden descent of decaying leaves back to earth where they will cover and nourish the ground was stunning. When I looked into the “eyes” of the old moss covered statues they seemed to be possessed with the spirits of people we’ve never met.

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Honeymoon Road Trip to Sunapee, NH and Woodstock, VT

Last weekend was the grande finale for our honeymoon in New England! Our first stop was at a little antique school house in New Hampshire to have a hearty new England breakfast.

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Saturday Road Trip to Sunday River, Newry

Wayne and I left early yesterday morning to head over to Sunday River Ski Resort to take a scenic ski lift ride. It was another great addition to our Autumn in New England Honeymoon Weekends!

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Autumn Drive to Camden & A Hidden German Gem

Saturday was sunny and crisp. We left early for a day trip up coastal Route One to the charming town of Camden, Maine with stops in between; our first was the Maine State Prison Showroom in Thomaston.

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New England Honeymoon: Apple Picking & Diner Food

We aren’t going on a traditional honeymoon. In lieu of traveling someplace for a week or so we’re enjoying fall in New England which is living our dream. Today we went apple picking at an organic orchard in Hiram, ate at a new-to-us airport diner in Limington and explored antique shops in Cornish.

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