@dogtrax is, in essence, journalism without any intended audience or assignment, just me going out and taking pictures and sometimes making recordings of people who love what they do. Intended as a balance to my mornings (late evenings) of writing. I give my subjects my best photos to do with what they want. What I gain is knowledge, understanding and enjoyment. My favorite part of journalism, always, is talking to people, listening.

Today I continued to get my bearings on my project and spent more time at an orchard, taking pictures, listening. Today: The orchard. Rob has been pruning the apple trees for 10 years; he is assigned 2,500 of them and is paid by the tree. Three others, including the owner, are assigned the other 3,500. Rob says he makes about 1,000 cuts per tree and each takes from 10-20 minutes. He looks at the tree, walks around it and sets to work. Here is one tree in 7 seconds:

I was lucky to have as a friend and mentor Sarah Blanding: the- first woman dean at University of Kentucky, first woman dean at Columbia University, first woman president of Vassar College. I took care of her gardens. Often, at lunchtime, she would invite me onto her porch to eat, read and sometime talk. She didn't judge; she listened. Her observations, her responses, were direct, spot-on and given with respect. geoffreygevalt.com/portraits-e Thanks, Sarah.

Yesterday, January 64, 2019 on the official Vermont calendar, we had what is common for this time of year, a snow squall. They come out of nowhere and often pack a wallop and yesterday was no different. It also brought a wicked drop in temperature. Camera in hand, I got a quick shot of the storm heading our way across Lake Champlain and then a street lamp with some sort of special bulb. But by the time I got to my destination, I could not bend my fingers. That cold.

Sometimes the only way to get through winter up in northern Vermont is to wander out into a field, light a bonfire and drink some rye from a flask. So on Saturday, officially January 61, 2019, we enjoyed a fire of old trees in the middle of an 80-acre field with 20 bundled friends and, as an extra, snow. Oh yah. Walking back, the warm glow of embers at our backs, stories and laughter in our hearts, it was a nice feeling as we braced for another 48 days of January.

@wentale love this. Thanks. My response:

Still
too cold
Trees frozen
Sap
still
Owls wait

poems

@lauraritchie yes I saw signs of your invasion of L.A. and I will swing over to your blog. Look forward to catching up.

@ggevalt sorry for posting twice... pixelfed was a little hinky and I didn't think this one had actually been posted it did not post on pixelfed, but did post here twice.

@lauraritchie Ditto. How are you? I so so enjoyed watching that video of you. I blasted it on my speakers on my desktop. ... Would love to catch up with you sometime. Am speaking with our friend Glenn Gamboa tomorrow. I will tell him how much you enjoyed your chat with him. ... Be well.

@fgraver Thanks so much for responding. I agree a star does indicate that someone has read the post. But stars, likes, loves have become ubiquitous and have come to replace the effort to meaningfully and specifically respond. But I'm totally with you; it's nice.

And I agree that the interaction here is much more personal and real than the other social platforms.

And I love your first line. :)

Best,
geoff

As Instagram becomes InstaFace, mastodon and pixelfed.social/ become more important, but the question remains whether either will become "active" enough to provide users with the connection & interaction to make it worthwhile. I embrace the smallness of both platforms, but I often feel like I'm posting in a vacuum, a long ways off from the Web in the 1990s when long, reciprocal conversations would spontaneously erupt. Maybe we should stop using the star and instead, comment. Peace.

@dogtrax I still do buckets. I'm therefore much more dependent on the weather and physics -- as the tree warms, the cooler moisture gravitates up from the roots, picks up sugar and the pressure forces the liquid out the taps. Nowadays, those with lines use vacuum pumps just suck out the sap. This is how it looked 100 years ago.

I have begun to ready myself to slow down time: Sugaring -- what we call making maple syrup. It is a glacial occupation because you can't make a boiling liquid boil faster. And since it takes from 32-40 gallons of sap (depending on its sugar content) to make a gallon of syrup, you boil for a long, long time. But you see things. Like owls. And I'm glad my pal, a Bard, (pictured below) is back to join our ritual once again.

I will write more as the season gets underway.

Today I had lunch with a friend, a writer, teacher, innovator. She has helped me take chances -- to go with ideas that I knew to be good. In return, I read her stories and tell her what I think; honestly; specifically. She writes a short story a month. With my critique of her, with my work at Young Writers Project, and in journalism it has been about reaching audience. I told her I didn't care anymore. Audience was of no matter. I am doing it for the enjoyment. And I feel freed.

Want to give a shoutout to a fellow mastodoner and small pedagogy fan ... @lauraritchie ( @katebowles @tdorey @ShorterPearson @dogtrax @cogdog ) Check out Laura's brilliant cello performance of Debussy Concerto (if you're impatient, slide to 4:20 for beginning of music). This is 13 minutes of bliss. archive.org/details/DebussySon

Today, February 19, I celebrate the birthday of my uncle, Frank Glazer, a world-class pianist still performing just weeks before his death in 2015 at 99. His persistence, consistent hard work & deep appreciation of others inspired me & my family, particularly my oldest, also a performing musician. It's important to mark such occasions & keep our ancestors in our hearts. More here: geoffreygevalt.com The photo: Frank performing with aunt Ruth, a soprano & love of his life in 1960.

Last night, I received an email from an Instagram follower, someone I did not know personally, who said she went to my website, read my stories & essays and was deeply moved. In her letter, she summarized her own stories/experiences stirred by reading my posts.A high honor; warmed my heart. A reminder of the initial lure/power of the Web (1990's) to help creatives & the potential of

Let us resume meaningful & specific commenting & read each others' sites.

@dogtrax I sure hope so. All my kids are artists and they say Mont Matre has been replaced by the InterWeb and that style/genre change is much much faster and that the melding of styles and approaches have made distinct movements of art less observable.

@wion I use the analog version. Still like to hold magazines and newspapers and books in my hands. 🙂

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