Blog a la Cart

Category: Dogs

These two


My Ursa. My Mother.

These two are playing and snuggling in my heart and in the stars.

This week has been hard. The grey, rainy, dreary weather has reflected my mood. As Mother’s Day barrels down upon me, I find myself weighted down with melancholy and sadness. I’ve been combatting it with friends and family, and baby smiles, and yoga, and therapy, but it’s there, hanging over me. And it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t get better, it just gets different. I’m learning how to exist in a world without my mother. And that never won’t be hard. I’ll just learn to manage it. To live with it. Like all of us who face the world each morning without the woman who made us who we are. We adapt, adjust, and self-care. That’s all we can do. It never won’t be devastating. I will simply learn how to cope with that devastation and live with the beauty and sadness of a world without her.

She had the gift of stopping time & listening well so that it was easy to hear who we could become & that was the future she held safe for each of us in her great heart & you may ask, what now? & I hope you understand when we speak softly among ourselves & do not answer just yet for our future is no longer the same without her.

– StoryPeople


A Comedy of Errors


This week has been A Week. A series of events that when considered independently are really quite manageable. Annoying, but manageable. But when put altogether make up a glorious, ridiculous comedy of errors. This week is not our finest.

It didn’t help that I began the week falling prey to Courtland’s cold. Sleep is already pretty iffy these days with baby’s movements and my limited bladder serving as regular disruptions, but coupled with a searing sore throat and stuffy nose, I spend most of my nights tossing and turning and my days just trying to get through with a pounding headache and achy limbs. I am not at my best.

And then the dogs went and got themselves sprayed by a skunk late one night, so James was up shampooing them with a concoction of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and dish soap in 20 degree February weather, while I researched how the hell to get the smell out of our home, and James. It lingers on to this day, as do bowls of vinegar strategically placed around the house that shall allegedly help on this front.

The next day, we awoke to a kitchen filled with dog vomit and diarrhea (likely the product of the dogs licking the skunk oil that still remained on their coats during the night – even after multiple washes, the oil lingers). And, we arrived post-work/school to a home without power, so we had an evening of candlelight and no potable water, flushable toilets or functional showers (life on well water!). James feared that he was coming down with a GI bug that’s going around, and I am just thanking my lucky stars that that turned out to be a false alarm because OMG, I can’t really even go there if that had been our evening given that we were without functional bathrooms.

I’m still very much under-the-weather and feeling lousy as all get, but our housekeeper (who was Courtland’s nanny and has been a part of our family’s lives for going on five years) came over today and brought sanity to our home that was turning into a war zone, and tomorrow is Friday, and a new sectional sofa arrives, and my sister comes to town for a long weekend to help watch Sunny on her day off from school Monday, so I have many many things for which to be thankful.

I realize that I often write about the antics of our life chez Cart. While the characters and specific circumstances may be ours, these experiences are not unique to anyone parenting young children (or with other dependents in their lives). While it may seem that I’m complaining or woe-is-meing or bemoaning this life and these situations, the reality is that I am acutely aware and deeply grateful that any “problems” that we’re managing are just that, manageable. And comfortable. And so dang easy in the grand scheme of life.

We are privileged beyond measure.

Yes, vomit clean up sucks. Sleep deprivation makes you loopy. And sick kids are pitiful and no fun. But their sicknesses are treatable. Bodily fluids are cleanable. And, eh, I can sleep when I’m dead. The real warriors are those fighting for daily access to power and clean water and sanitation – something I may be inconvenienced with for a day or two but take for granted nearly every other day. For their children’s safety and health. Keeping a roof over their family’s heads and food in their bellies. Access to education and economic opportunity. Fair treatment and wages and life experiences.

I share the less fun moments of our life to avoid painting a sugar-coated view of parenthood and as reminders to appreciate the ups. But also, most significantly, as comic relief, because I am so dang fortunate that these “issues” I’m sharing can be confronted and looked back on with humor and laughter. And in my own way and however I can, I am fighting for a world in which all parents have that luxury. And teaching my children to stand up and do the same. A reminder to use my voice, and my vote, and my dollars, and my privilege to make whatever difference I can as not everyone is on equal footing, and I have the ability (and I think, responsibility) to help be part of the change.

Portrait of Parenthood // 2


Sunny’s pink eye raged on. Courtland’s seal bark wouldn’t quit. The Gummy Bear’s bum rested squarely on a nerve. And so we holed up in bed, with two furry black beasts for company, and the antics of a one Ramona Geraldine Quimby for entertainment. And it was the kind of mundane yet comforting afternoon that made us feel like we were doing this right, despite sickness and contagion and discomfort, that this was the life we were choosing and loving. And we didn’t need or want to be anywhere else but here.


Of note! We changed the arrangement of our bed so that I don’t have to do my most dramatic beached whale impersonation every time I need to pee (which is quite often, think hourly, these days). Also, there’s now room for the co-sleeper to be affixed to mama’s side of the bed once baby does arrive. Bring on the switch from hourly urine evacuation to hourly breast milk expression. Oh the bodily fluids of this stage of life!

Gingerbread House Demolition

Or consumption, as it were for Miss Penelope Pig. Unabashed consumption of two stale gingerbread houses. Happy New Year, Penny!

One of our 2016 family projects is the creation of an IG account chronicling the antics of Penelope Pig and Gladdy the Flatty. If you’re on Instagram, follow along at @pennyandgladdy. The girls are helping James and I curate and caption a daily dose of swine and canine companionship. Ridiculous? Yes. Adorable? Also, yes.





And yay for even an itty bitty bitty bit of snow in Vermont! Finally!

Stair Snoozer


How this is comfortable, we do not understand, but the stairs are absolutely Gladdy’s favorite snoozing spot. She can monitor the activity of both the upstairs and downstairs from this perch, and keep tabs on all of her humans.



Our Pack


Just because it’s been awhile since these two beasts got some face time in this space.





One of the highlights of our weekend included meeting our neighbor’s new puppy – sweet, fluffy, lumbering, wonderful Sounder. A Golden Retriever that stole our hearts. Such a fun Saturday. We took a girls’ trip to Saratoga Springs while James worked ’round the farm, and ended it with a swim and some puppy snuggles.

And Sunday night we were greeted with surprises and PEEP PEEP PEEPING up at the barn. My Facebook and Instagram have given glimpses of the adorableness. More soon… for now, Sounder is all the cute you need. (And a tree frog that James and Ellie particularly delighted in).










Around the Farm // May 2015


Life lately has been blissfully spent outdoors. Grass under bare feet. Coloring en plein aire. Swinging high as the sky. Flower picking. Sand between fingers. Grass stained. Giggle-saturated. Life is good-ness.

James and I have been steeped in yard work, and while during said clean up I often find myself grumbling and wondering why on earth I spend my time in this way, the satisfaction I feel afterward? The way I lounge in the kitchen gazing out on our property? Or drive backward up our road to leisurely survey last years plantings (hooray for perennial flowers bursting to life, and blueberries and strawberries and raspberries and ASPARAGUS! that survived their first hard winter)? Or spend my morning walk with the dogs breathing in the tranquility and beauty and budding life? Or sway in the hammock under flower petal flurries? Well, it makes all the sweat and mess well worth the effort.

I do so love our little piece of the world.



^^Penelope pig turning our garden clean up efforts into a cozy bed.^^








^^Frisbee and smoothies and swinging, oh my! And bologna tongues. Lots of pink bologna tongues.^^










^^Inspired by a recent heat wave, all of the flowering trees blossomed en masse. It has definitely been the most beautiful spring in recent memory. This weekend, it was literally raining flower petals all Sunday and I couldn’t get over how surreal and dream-like our lives felt on account of the scenery.^^


^^And lots of napping in the sunshine. Penny is an expert.^^



If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the blossoming friendship between our potbelly pig, Penelope, and our flat coated retriever, Gladden. The two are inseparable. Now that the snow has melted, Penny lets herself into our yard in the morning and squeals and grunts for us to let Gladdy outside to play.

They romp, and chew, and run, and rollick together like the best of friends. Penny has learned how to play like a dog. Pigs are such smart creatures. And we are all delighting in the never ending entertainment of such a wonderful, unexpected friendship. Follow along @blogalacart #pennyandgladdy #BFFs









Spirit Swine

This weekend was dominated by major spring cleaning. Racking. Clearing. Clipping. Fertilizing. Planting. Pooper scooping. Chicken coop cleaning. Mulching. Composting. Hauling. Dumping.

Hello backyard homesteading in spring!

James and I were grateful for temperate conditions and sunny skies to enable this yearly chore. Meanwhile, the dependents rollicked in the backyard, including Penelope Pig, who found great pleasure in the piles of racked leaves and mess from last season. I have to admit, James and I paused a number of times mid-clean up to admire the bucolic, fairytale-like scene of chickens and dogs and pig and children running on sun drenched meadow.

hashtagwelovevermont hashtagsohard

In this video, Penny models my attitude toward yard work perfectly. No amount of Flat Coat energy could motivate her otherwise.

A swine after my own heart. And oh how I adore those doggie zoomies.