Lesson 1550 – Lessons Learned from Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 9

Charlotte’s Web Chapter 9 – Wilbur’s Boast

Routines are established in the barn. Wilbur naps and Charlotte repairs her web (even though spider webs are strong) from the daily damage caused by flies being caught.

To Wilbur, it looks easy making a web and so he asks Charlotte for instructions.

“First, you have to go somewhere high and then attach your spinneret and hurl yourself out into space, leaving a dragline as you go.” she explains.

Wilbur goes to the top of the manure pile and tries to start a web but when by hurling himself off the pile. He lands face first with no web for his effort.

Even after he attaches a bit of string given to him by Templeton, to his tail, he still can’t start a web.

Wilbur becomes dejected at his poor web building skills.

“Cheer up” rallies Charlotte, “the farmer brings you three big meals a day, you don’t need a web to catch your food.”

Charlotte comforts Wilbur by telling him that although he could try, in the end it’s spiders who make the best webs. She tells him about the Queensborough bridge, a large man-made web that took 8 years to build. “They don’t even catch anything on the bridge,” she tells him, “they just trot back and forth looking for something better on the other side.”

Wilbur decides to take a nap. He listens to the barn noises and smells Lurvey outside under the tree with his pipe. He is content but then he thinks of his conversation with the goose and he suddenly realizes that he doesn’t want to die.

Wilbur asks if Charlotte was serious when she said that she would come up with a plan to save him.

“I was never more serious in my life. I am not going to let you die Wilbur.”

But Charlotte needs to think more about her plan and tells Wilbur that the way he can help her is to try and build himself up. “I want you to get plenty of sleep, and stop worrying, Never hurry and never worry. Chew your food thoroughly and eat every bit of it, except you must leave just enough for Templeton. Gain weight and stay well – that’s the way you can help. Keep fit and don’t lose your nerve.”

Wilbur accepts her advice and after getting up to eat the last bit of mashed potatoes in his trough, he, Fern, and Charlotte say Good night to each other.

 

Chapter 9 Lessons Learned

 

Charlotte can make a web and although Wilbur tries, he can’t.

Lesson Learned – We all have individual gifts, it’s up to us to use those gifts in order to make our and other lives better. If you were born a weaver then weave.

 

The Queensborough bride, a manmade web, seems pointless as no food ever gets caught. People just go back and forth on it all day.

Lesson Learned –Sometimes a web is not a web.

 

Wilbur is afraid of dying.

Lesson Learned –When faced with mortality, it’s okay to be afraid.

 

Charlotte comforts Wilbur by telling him that she is working on a plan. “I will not let you die” She tells him.

Lesson Learned –Hope is the ultimate slayer of all darkness.

 

Charlotte isn’t a mother but she sure could be one.

Bonus Lesson – When things seem a little overwhelming, it’s best to:

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Stop worrying
  • Never hurry and never worry
  • Chew your food thoroughly
  • Eat every bit of it – don’t be wasteful
  • Share food and good times with friends.
  • Gain weight
  • Stay well
  • Keep fit
  • Don’t lose your nerve

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Lesson 1549: 2017 NH Border-to-border walk

Griffin and I are back from our 2017 Border-to-border New Hampshire walk.  As always we returned with lots of lessons learned. I’ll be writing up our adventures (just like I did from last year’s), but for now here are some tips for anyone who might be planning day-long walks.

 

  1. Water – make sure you start the day off with at least 2 liters of water. Large, tall slim water bottles (for example Smart water) fit well into backpack side pockets. For a daily 12 mile walk, we’d allocate ½ bottle of water for every 3 miles. Small sips are better than drinking a lot at once, however, always drink if you are thirsty and never refuse a glass of water or drink when in a restaurant or at a store.

Related: Always stash toilet paper and napkins in your pack. Often when you drink that amount of water quickly, you need to pee. Out of necessity, true hikers learn how to quickly pee in the woods.

 

  1. A hat – I had some skin cancer surgery prior to our walk. My doctor advised I used a strong sun block (50 SPF) as well as sunglasses and wear a hat with at least a 3 inch brim all around (baseball caps are no good.) I used two different hats, one was water-proof on the days I needed to keep the rain out of my eyes, and the other was a cotton floppy hat with ventilation near the crown. My hat had a chin strap which came in handy when large trucks drove by and the wind threatened to blow my hat away. When we walked through the woods, bug spray on the hat kept insects away from my face and ears.

 

  1. Food – Don’t’ worry so much about food. Always carry some kind of power bar, but if you eat a breakfast and then start your day, worst case is that you’ll not eat until the evening (at which point that food is going to taste great.) If there’s food, eat it, if not, no worries, there will be some soon. One of our most memorable lunches was the day we spent walking for 10 miles in the woods. There were no stores. Lunch was a power bar with water in a quiet peaceful cemetery. We survived.

 

  1. Rewards – Early on we discovered that motivational candy did wonders. Each day we’d squirrel away 3 pieces of hard candy and we’d break them out when we had 4 then 2 miles to go and then we’d eat the last candy in celebration of having reached our goal at the end of our day.

 

  1. Blisters – be prepared for them. The best defense is to get used to the socks and shoes you will be wearing. But even if you are used to the shoes, there’s a good chance you’ll get blisters. Make sure you carry blister bandages (they have a “jell” section that goes over the blister), regular bandages, tape, moleskin and scissors. If you can take your shoes off at stops and be sure to change into open sandals (flip-flops work well) at the end of the day.

 

  1. Ground cloth – Quite by accident I had packed a plastic bag in which to roll my raincoat in so I could carry it outside of my pack. I ditched the raincoat, but the bag stayed in my pack. Early on in our walk when we were looking for a dry place to sit, I pulled the bag out, ripped it in half and for the rest of the trip we used it every time we sat on the ground. It weighed nothing and provided a lot of bug and moisture protection when we took breaks.

 

  1. Pockets – During one walk I made the mistake of wearing shorts that didn’t have any pockets. Big problem. I couldn’t carry my chapstick or my phone for taking photos. Deep pockets are a must.

 

  1. Zip plastic bags – we ran into a lot of rain. Our packs had rain covers but had we not also packed everything inside of zip plastic bags it would have been soaking. We also had extra bags to protect our phones when it rained.

 

  1. Music – In the morning when it was cooler and our legs were rested we had conversations. After lunch when we’d start to get tired, we’d plug into music (using only one earbud so we could still hear things around us.) It’s quite the experience to walk through the woods listening to the musical Pippin. On the trail I lost my original MP3 player, a small replacement was well worth its $15 price tag.

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Lesson 1547 – Lessons Learned from Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 8

Charlotte’s Web Chapter 8 – A Talk At Home

 

One Sunday morning, while talking to her parents at the breakfast table Fern tells them about all the conversations she hears in the barn. She tell them how the goose gave a rotten egg to Templeton and how Charlotte was the first to congratulate the goose when her eggs started hatching.

Fern’s mother, Mrs. Arable is alarmed that Fern thinks she can understand what the animals are saying. “I think I shall ask Dr. Dorian about her the next time I see him.”

Mr. Arable grinned. “Maybe our ears aren’t as sharp as Fern’s.”

Chapter 8 Lessons Learned

 

Fern’s mother doesn’t believe that Fern can understand what the animals are saying.

Lesson Learned – Sometimes kids have incredible talents and strengths that may be difficult to believe.

 

Fern’s mother wants to take her to a doctor, her dad wants to indulge in what may be a fantasy.

Lesson Learned – Moms want to fix, dads want to have fun.

Bonus lesson – sometimes it takes being quiet to hear what is being said.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1546: 2017 NH Border-to-border walk V2

Last night Griffin and I figured out the route we’re going to take for this year’s NH border-to-border (width) walk. We’ve allowed 9 days (plus one extra if needed) to cover a little over 100 miles. If you remember, last year’s walk did a job on our bodies and while we had a wonderful time, it was a little painful. This year we’re limiting the daily mileage to allow our bodies a chance to recuperate each day. As we will also be walking close to our home (and because where we are walking, in some places there aren’t any hotels) we will be picked up and will sleep at our house during the middle days. We’ll be dropped off in the morning where we left off so that we can continue.

This time we are older and wiser. Expect less in our packs, better choice of clothing, and some extra time to explore each area. We will start at the New Hampshire/Vermont border and will walk to the New Hampshire/Ocean border in Portsmouth where we’ll celebrate with a lobster roll.

More information will be shared as it is known, but for now all systems are go and we have a start date. 

 

Note: this schedule is subject to change. 

Day Start Stop Dist (miles) Total Miles Sleeping
Friday 8/4 236-262 Franklin Pierce Hwy, West Chesterfield, NH 03466 Days Inn Keene NH, 3 Ash Brook Rd, Keene, NH 03431 12.9 12.9 Days Inn
Saturday 8/5 Days Inn Keene NH, 3 Ash Brook Rd, Keene, NH 03431 The Harrisville Inn, 797 Chesham Rd, Harrisville, NH 03450 12.0 24.9 The Harrisville Inn
Sunday 8/6 The Harrisville Inn, 797 Chesham Rd, Harrisville, NH 03450 Hancock Inn, 33 Main St, Hancock, NH 03449 8.8 33.7 Hancock Inn
Monday 8/7 Hancock Inn, 33 Main St, Hancock, NH 03449 Crotched Mountain Resort, 740 2nd NH Turnpike S, Francestown, NH 03043 11.3 45 Crotched Mountain Resort
Tuesday 8/8 Crotched Mountain Resort, 740 2nd NH Turnpike S, Francestown, NH 03043 French & Rising Funeral Home, 17 S Mast St, Goffstown, NH 03045 12.9 57.9 Home
Wednesday 8/9 French & Rising Funeral Home, 17 S Mast St, Goffstown, NH 03045 433-427 Manchester Rd, Auburn, NH 03032 11.9 69.8 Home
Thursday 8/10 433-427 Manchester Rd, Auburn, NH 03032 Raymond, New Hampshire 11.4 81.2 Home
Friday 8/11 Raymond, New Hampshire Newfields, New Hampshire 12.7 93.7
Saturday 8/12 Newfields, New Hampshire Portsmouth, New Hampshire 11 104.7 Home
Sunday 8/13 EXTRA IF NEEDED EXTRA IF NEEDED EXTRA IF NEEDED EXTRA IF NEEDED EXTRA IF NEEDED

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Lesson 1545 – Lessons Learned from Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 7

Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 7 Bad News

Over time Wilbur likes Charlotte more and more and even tolerates her killing and eating insects. He is especially impressed that she anesthetizes them before she kills them – a “little service” she throws in.

Days pass and Wibur grows and gets larger and larger. He enjoyed good health and gained a lot of weight.

One day a sheep walks by the barn. “Hello” she said. “seems to me you’re putting on weight.”

Wilbur takes it as a compliment. At his age it’s a good idea to keep gaining.

“You know why they’re fattening you up, right?” asks the sheep who then goes on to tell Wibur that once truly fatten-up, he will be killed. The sheep tells Wilbur that there is a regular conspiracy of murder in the barn around the holidays.

When it’s time everyone comes together to shoot and prepare the yearly pig.

Upset, Wilbur asks Charlotte if the information is true.

Well, she tells him, the sheep has been in the barn for many years and has seen a lot of things, the story must be true. But, she adds “It’s also the dirtiest Trick I ever heard of.”

Wilbur cries that he doesn’t want to die. He wants to stay in his comfortable manure pile with all his friends breaing the beautiful air and lying in the beautiful sun.

“You shall not die” declares Charlotte.

“How?” asks Wilbur.

“That remains to be seen. But do stop crying.”

 

Chapter 7 Lessons Learned

Overtime, Wilbur and Charlotte become friends. He overlooks her objectionable eating habits and she’s very patient when Wilber cries.

Lesson Learned – Friendships take time. The longer you are with someone the more you know about them and the more tolerant and compassionate you become with regard to their behavior.

 

Wilbur is proud of his weight and thinks that one should put on weight as one gets older.

Lesson Learned –Whether you are a pig or a person, too much weight is going to kill you.

 

Wilbur hears that he’s going to be killed and he starts crying.

Lesson Learned –It’s okay to cry if you hear bad news.

 

Charlotte decides that she’s going to help Wilbur. She doesn’t know how she’s going to do it, but she’s going to try her best.  She gets Wilbur to calm down.

Lesson Learned –A good friend is priceless.

Bonus Lesson – A good friend will tell you when to stop.

Bonus Lesson – Even when things look bleak, never give up. There is always, always hope.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1544 – Mom uses pot

 

 

I had written a few weeks back on Facebook that I had started a new program that had drastically reduced my pain (so much that it let me take on that 5K-a-day challenge.) I told people that I’d talk about it when the time was right.

My article in this month’s New Hampshire Magazine came out.

The time is right.

And now I can talk about it.

I’m in New Hampshire’s therapeutic cannabis program. After years of taking narcotics (I was on a pain contract) and after taking so much Motrin that I destroyed my gut, I have finally found significant pain relief. I take a small amount of cannabis in an edible (I don’t smoke) in the morning, afternoon, and before I go to bed and it has made all the difference in the world.

Since starting this program I haven’t taken anything (not even one tiny Motrin) for pain because I haven’t needed to. Although I will always have some level of pain (arthritis and orthopedic damage) I’d say that there are days my pain level has been reduced by 80 – 90% I NEVER even came close to that with narcotics.

Some “side-effects” from using therapeutic cannabis to treat chronic pain?

  • Sleeping through the night for the first time in over a decade.
  • Reduced inflammation in my joints.
  • Eye twitching (which I’ve had non-stop for almost a year) has gone away.
  • Lower leg muscles have stopped twitching.
  • Blood pressure has gone down 29 points.

Be prepared for me to be a huge advocate of this program for those who are in chronic pain (including chronic Lyme disease) and for those who are suffering with chronic conditions.

Therapeutic cannabis is a game changer.

If you have questions, ask away. You know I live to pass on information.

Here is a link to my article in New Hampshire Magazine – Mom Goes to Pot. 

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1543 – Lessons Learned from Charlotte’s Web – Chapter 6

Charlotte’s Web Chapter 6 – Summer Days

Summer arrives at the barn and with it comes warm days, flowers, and the end of school.

When you don’t have to go to school, you discover that you have a fair amount of excess time on your hands. Fern goes to the barn often to quietly sit and visit Wilbur. In fact she goes so often that the barn mates accept her as an equal and lay calmly at her feet.

In July Mr. Zuckeman, along with Avery and Fern harvest the hay. They cut, rake, pitch and load the hay so that it can then be transferred to the barn ensuring a good supply of food year-round for the animals.

Songbirds are plentiful in the summer and you often hear the beautiful calls of white-throated sparrows, phoebe teeters and song sparrows.

There is always a lot for children to do in the summer – eat clover heads, have ice-cold drinks, and even taking apart the spit on a weed stalk to find the worm inside.

On one such idyllic day, the goose’s eggs begin to hatch. Charlotte is the first to see a gosling hatch and she makes an announcement to the barn congratulating the goose on the results of her effort and patience.

After finding out that there are seven eggs, Charlotte tells the goose that seven is a lucky number.

“Luck had nothing to do with this.” Said the goose. “It was good management and hard work.”

It turns out that in the beginning there were eight eggs, but one turned out to be a dud. The goose gives the egg to Templeton the rat with the warning that he could have the egg, but if he ever bothered the baby chicks, he’d be sorry. Even still, the goose parents were concerned about Templeton. “And with good reason. The rat had no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency, no milk of rodent kindness, no compunctions, no higher feeling, no friendliness, no anything.”

Once the rat is gone with the rotten egg, the mama goose leads her newborns out of the nest and into the world. When Mr. Zuckerman comes to the barn with Wilbur’s super he spots the tiny baby geese. “Now isn’t that lovely!”

 

 

Chapter 6 Lessons Learned

 

Fern goes to the barn each day to quietly sit by Wilbur. After a while the other barn mates begin to accept her.

Lesson Learned – You’ll be more readily accepted if you quietly observe and be respectful to the group you’re with.

 

In July the farmer harvests the hay for his animals.

Lesson Learned – Remember that old fable about the ant and the grasshopper? This. Do your work now so that you can live off it later.

 

In the summer there is so much to do right outside your front door, you’d be busy for days on end.

Lesson Learned –Put down the phone and go for a walk.

 

Summer is the time for birds to be around.

Lesson Learned –Birds are lot more enjoyable when you know what species they are and what songs they sing. Buy a bird field guide and take it on that walk I suggested above.

 

When Charlotte sees the first goose egg hatch, she immediately makes an announcement to the barn.

Lesson Learned –It’s not easy giving birth. If someone you know has a baby, send them a HAND-WRITTEN card congratulating them on the results of their “efforts and persistence.”

 

Charlotte tells the goose that seven is a lucky number and the goose replies that the eggs hatching had nothing to do with luck.

Lesson learned – Good fortune often requires lots of dedicated hard work – there’s just no other way around it.

 

The geese give an eighth “dud” egg to the rat in return for him not bothering the chicks.

Lesson Learned –Sometimes you have to give a little in order to get a little.

 

Everyone in the barn knows that Templeton “had no morals, no conscience, no scruples, no consideration, no decency, no milk of rodent kindness, no compunctions, no higher feeling, no friendliness, no anything.”

Lesson Learned –Never vote for anyone like that. Please?

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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