Thursday, November 28, 2013


Today is Thanksgiving here in the US.I stayed in bed late, reading Stephen King's 11-23-60 - my first Stephen King - a book so gripping I could hardly get out of bed. But I have to take a pavlova to our hosts today - to add some kiwi flavour to the feast - so soon I was up and working away with the hand mixer.

So, the pav's in the oven - and as usual I have that slightly anxious feeling - will it rise? will it crack? will it be just right, crusty on the outside and marshmallow on the inside? Unlike a cake, you can't test a pav until it's served - so you just have to smile as you hand out the plates and keep your fingers crossed.
This was referred to as "that New Zealand pie" during dinner

All is quiet in our house. Em is making bracelets on the couch. Lizzy is making order out of chaos in their bedroom. Bruce is asleep. Even the chipmunks are staying inside their burrows today, to keep warm in the chilly air, I guess - it's -7 degrees C outside right now.

Only the birds are out - a flock of morning doves on the lawn, the chickadees, finches and warblers on the feeders, the juncos on the deck.

Everywhere else  in the state, it seems, is blanketed in snow - but not here, at Long Point. The lake was frozen over one day last week when temperatures plunged down to -14. And two evenings ago we had five hours of soft falling snow and expected to wake up to a winter wonderland. But the temperatures rose in the night and the rain washed the snow away.

Drive just 10 minutes in any direction, though, and the snow is thick and deep. Snow, it seems to me, makes magic of even the most ordinary landscape. Yesterday Bruce and I  drove out past Hinesburg in search of wood stacks (for Wood stack Blog II) and I was suddenly filled with joy. "We're so lucky!" I said, as I looked out over snow covered fields scattered with red barns and farmhouses, forests, and frozen streams, as I looked up towards the mountains. Bruce nodded.

I have so much to be thankful for. I'm thankful for all that waits for me at home - family, friends, church, my home, my work, the farm. For the rich community that will welcome us home. But right now I'm thankful for all that we've met, all that we've experienced in the beautiful Green Mountain State.

Girls' day out!
I'm grateful for the real friends I've made here. I think of Kathy and her family, with their longing to return to New Zealand. Most of all I'm thankful for Susanmarie and Ellen and Sofia - for inviting us into their lives, for day trips to the snow, for conversations that range from writing in the sciences to Dr Who, for shopping together, driving together, eating together, for sitting together in a spa pool in the snow at twilight.

For teaching me to take life at a slightly slower pace.

I'm grateful for the communities we've become a part of: Susanmarie and Sue and Kristen at UVM, who have welcomed me into their workspace; for Trinity Episcopalian Church in Shelburne; and for Ferrisburgh Central School, which has been such a home for our girls.

I'm thankful for old friends who have shared - and in immeasurable ways contributed to - these wonderful months with us. I'm thankful for Barry and Joyce, Deborah and Perry in Michigan,

 I'm thankful for my oldest friend, Julian, in Canada,

And for our family who have visited from New Zealand and England.


I'm grateful to have lived here, at Long Point. To have gazed on this landscape as it changed from green to gold and red, from browns to white. To have watched the lake in all its seasons - beautiful sunset water, morning mist, frozen pond. To have sat, day by day, at the kitchen table, writing - and then pausing to watch the animals in the garden, the birds. I'm thankful for the opossums and even the skunk...

I'm thankful for tractor pulls and pumpkin chucks and zombie runs, and a chapel dedicated to dogs, and ice-cream socials, and hay rides at Halloween, farmer's markets, Dakin farms, maple creemies, flannel pjs, and watching a chipmunk eat out of Emily's hands.

I feel as if we've been here far longer than just over three months. Partly I think that's because when you live somewhere for a while, you establish new routines, and those routines take on a normality that makes them feel far more long standing than they really are. But mostly I think it's because when you're away from home, you live more fully: you pay attention and absorb more information, you see more, listen more carefully.I'm thankful to have lived so richly over this time.

I'm thankful - more deeply thankful than I can say - to have lived in Vermont.

Addendum: Thanksgiving with Bill and Dee and their family (our landlords at Dee's Lake House) was awesome.

It was -9 degrees in Middlebury on a perfect blue and snowy day
Dee was cooking up a storm!

The house was full of lovely friendly folk

The 50lb turkey had to be seen to be believed:

It had to be soaked for two days and cooked for 7 hours - and it broke the oven shelf when they put it in the oven!  "I like a challenge" said Bill.

Dee made 10 different pies for dessert!

Thank you so much, Bill and Dee!!

And, just for the record, the New Zealand pie was a hit!


  1. I'm glad you have so much to be thankful for, Lisa. Me too :-)

    "That New Zealand pie" - that cracked me up. I'm sure it was as delicious as ALL your pavs have been [even if they don't always look pretty]. I'll never forget the time you put custard in the middle of a pav. Best dessert ever!

  2. I imagine everyone who's come into the McKay/Emerson orbit here in Vermont is thankful for you: what a delight to have the chance to see Vermont through your eyes, and what an even bigger delight to start new friendships. I am in utter denial about the fact that you're leaving soon.....although I know that just opens up the chance for us to visit you in New Zealand some day!