Is there more than this provincial life?

I know, it’s been a long time, but I’ve been busy, working, farming, etc.

OK not really farming. I feed the animals in the evening and play outside with the dogs during the day: all the fun parts, none of the grunt work. I’m a gentleman farmer.

A gentleman farmer with gentleman goats.
A gentleman farmer with gentleman goats.

But I have been busy – I am officially a bookseller for the Northshire Bookstore! Woot! This past month the new booksellers have been training in the Vermont flagship.

I did aid in the demolition and burning of a barn.
I did aid in the demolition and burning of a barn.

So far it’s wonderful; I look forward to going in and I go home in a good mood. My coworkers are lovely, there’s a nice familial, pro-team atmosphere: no cliques, no competition.  I’m surrounded by books and book-talk.  What more could I ask for?

I do have homework – read as much as possible.

Don’t mind if I do!

There’s one spot left under the shady tree that Smalls hasn’t dug up yet – I’ve claimed it. With a lawn chair and a glass of iced coffee I spend my rare free days with a book and the motley crew of farm animals. Exempting the occasional death of a chicken, it’s quite peaceful.

At one point the chickens all had names (Lost characters) and there were six of them. We quickly lost track of who was who, and now we’re down to three. It’s easier to rename them as they die. Is that morbid? The dogs have each gotten one (Charlie and Hurley) and we think a hawk nabbed the other, I guess that’d be Des, or else he wandered away, in which case it was Locke. Hard to say. The chickens are finally through their awkward adolescent stage (where they’re neither cute nor useful) and are laying eggs! Good work, ladies!

Then there are the goats. Generally, the mention of goats calls to mind a feast at an Armenian street fair. At least, that’s been the case within my family.

“What are you going to do with goats, eat them?”

 I’ve become very attached to Butch and Sunny. They break out of their pen and wait outside the porch for me or Maddy to come play, they follow us around the yard, climb on us, eat everything, and get into all sorts of harmless mischief. The other day they made a break for the road, not sure where they were headed, but they were determined. That makes me nervous – I’ve actually started hearing phantom baa-ing. Just the other day in the Target parking lot, I thought I heard Sunny behind me. I turned, panicking that he’d get hit by a car. Then I realized I was crazy.

Sometimes I pretend I know how to play guitar.
Sometimes I pretend I know how to play guitar.

The dogs, Hercules and Smalls, run like crazy for about five minutes, then plop down in the muddiest, shadiest spot they can find. Flye, Maddy’s horse, neighs hopefully and then returns to ignoring me when it becomes clear that he won’t be receiving any treats.

Occasionally the elderly neighbor wanders over, opening the conversation awkwardly with some variation of:

“Saw you out running in your spandex”


“You and Maddy just missed each other last night – she got home ten minutes after you left.”

We think he’s well meaning.


Those days are becoming rarer, though. We start filling the shelves of the new bookstore this week! Opening in the middle of track season, with a staff of very new employees, it’s going to be rough, but I think we’ll manage. I’ve found that the guests in the Manchester store to be pleasant and patient, hopefully the same will hold true here in Saratoga. Aren’t tourists usually cheerful? Come to town, hang out at the track, win some money, and come hang out at the bookstore! It might take us a while to program a special order into the computer, but we’ll be thrilled to help you find the perfect book for your vacation!

This is truly going to be our (and your) store!

First week of August – come visit us!

*It should be noted that, as of an hour ago, we decided to refer to the remaining chickens as the Hole in the Wall Gang. Kudos if you catch the reference. If not, go watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It’s on instant Netflix so you’ve no excuses.

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