How to take a bath in a five gallon bucket

Written By: Miranda - Jun• 16•12


Items needed:

  • 1 five gallon plastic bucket (as might have contained drywall compound)
  • 1 water source (stream, pond, neighbor’s house, etc)
  • 1 heat source (stove, fire)
  • Large pot or several small ones (for heating the bath water)
  • Towel, washcloth, soap, shampoo. Biodegradable soap/shampoo such as Dr. Bonner’s is preferred but not necessary


  1. Get about ¾ of a five gallon bucket full of water from your water source.
  2. Heat ½ (half) of the water to just about boiling
  3. Pour hot water into the cold water in the bucket. This will generally result in a comfortable bathing temperature. In cold weather you may want to heat the water a little more as bucket baths cool off quickly in a cold room
  4. Reserve one large saucepan or kettle (something you can hold with one hand) of the warm water.
  5. With your towel, washcloth and soap within easy reach, kneel in front of the bucket. Wash and rinse face.
  6. Still kneeling in front of the bucket, starting with the top of the head, slowly lower your head into the bucket until hair is fully submerged.
  7. Remove head from bucket and apply shampoo.
  8. Again, beginning with the top of the head, lower head into bucket until hair is fully submerged. Agitate hair to pre-rinse.
  9. Remove head from bucket and wrap wet hair in a towel.
  10. Come to a standing position and step into the bucket. Using your washcloth, wash body starting at the top.
  11. Remove towel from wet hair
  12. Using the clean warm water reserved at the beginning of the process, starting at the top of the head, slowly pour the clean rinse water over the hair and body.
  13. Step out of the bucket. Dry.


Now use the leftover water on your garden.

Carrying my brother’s ashes

Written By: Miranda - Sep• 05•11
The Waits River

The Waits River, up on Route 25

The package was wrapped in some Mexican Day of the Dead cloth and tied with a bright woven sash. It was about ten inches square. It was very heavy.

The package contained my brother, or what was left of him. My sister-in-law had already scattered half his ashes in a favorite spot out by Tampa Bay. She had come to let the rest go in the Waits River. My brother was pretty specific about where he wanted them to go – up above where the old Café 25 used to be. There were some deep holes up there, he said and he wanted the ashes to drift down into them. I was teasing him one time on the phone about this, I said: Can’t we just put’em off the iron bridge, Chris? but he was adamant, they were to go past the trout up there in those holes, my brother was a fisherman.

We had plenty of time to get used to the idea that he was going to die, we had plenty of time to prepare ourselves for this moment.

We drove up there, a few of us and I carried the package on my lap. It was very heavy. It was much heavier than I had expected it to be when she had given me the package to carry. On the flight up they had been called out of the line for extra attention because the luggage scan had revealed the package as some extraordinarily dense material. It felt as heavy as I imagine gold must feel, carrying it.

As we drove the package was in my lap and I found myself giving it little pats.

We went to a pull-out up above where the old Café was, a place where they had taken out a curve and left the remnant of old road and went down to the bank and I was still carrying the package. I gave it to her to unwrap.

She untied the knot in the sash and unwrapped it from the cloth. It was a big ziplock bag and there was a printed label on it that I desperately wanted to read for some reason, but I didn’t.  I stepped out into the water. She held out the open bag to me. I put my hands in the bag.

The ashes that had been the body of my brother weren’t like wood ashes.  I’ve read that, but I didn’t really know it until that moment, when I put my hands in and felt the grainy substance – what was left of my brother’s body. I bent into the river and opened my hands and let the current take the ashes.

standing in the river

Watching Irene

Written By: Miranda - Sep• 04•11

Irene from an Albany window

I was in Albany, N. Y. when the storm came up through my home and at first I scoffed at the hysterical predictions. I’ve gotten so used to weather forecasters calling things “the storm of the century” that it seems meaningless. Watching the storm through the window of an Albany rowhouse, listening to The Beatles on Rega25, the turntable god (that’s Rega25 front and center, I didn’t get the six foot speakers on either side) the storm seemed a fun adventure.

Then my son posted a picture of our road, transformed into a raging torrent, on Facebook.

My home town fire department  posted an update on their Facebook page, a section of town was being evacuated.

And suddenly Irene was personal.

My son is fine, most people I know are. Fairlee, the town where I am living now, was completely unscathed. But my home, my state has been brutalized. It is hard to believe some of the images I’ve seen on the news and online but only because my mind refuses to accept them. I’ve seen the same images in person in towns near here and I know it is real.

In the week since the flooding, I’ve seen a response from Vermonters that is like no other state that I’ve ever heard of. This is a state where people help each other out. And it’s a state where people know how to do things, practical things – a vet knows how to run a tractor, a nurse knows how to dig a post-hole, a lawyer knows how to level a new cattle gate and a computer geek knows how to swing a hammer. And that’s what we do when our neighbors need it.

New cattle fence

I love this place.


AT&T teaches ethics

Written By: Miranda - Aug• 19•11

I saw an ad for the new AT&T phone, the HTC Status, the other night on the Comedy channel. The new phone has a Facebook button on the face of it and when you take a photo or a video the button glows blue. When you press the button, your photo or video is shared to your Facebook account.

The ad shows three friends in an airport. They have appparently been waiting for a plane for some time. One of the group is asleep. His mouth is open, earhones slung around his neck, he looks like anyone looks when they are asleep in a public place, that is to say – stupid.

His friends are taking video of him and giggling. The sleeper briefly wakes and asks – you guys aren’t taking pictures, are you? Giggling, his “friends:” tell him to go back to sleep.

This ad teaches three things:

  • Taking video of someone without their permission is ethical.
  • Posting video of someone without their permission on the internet is both ethical, and by extension, legal.
  • Being cruel to your friends is funny.

I think this is outrageous. At a time when young people are being bombarded with new technologies which they must learn to use in an ethical way, this advertisement teaches them all the wrong things.

Aside from the fact that posting video of someone online without their permission is neither legal nor ethical, the casual cruelty towards a friend is very troubling.


Written By: Miranda - Jul• 30•11

Fever Dreams

Written By: Miranda - Jun• 18•11

Door to the other world ?photo © 2011 Sagar Kumar | more info (via: Wylio)
My brother called last night. He’s been in a hospital for the last week and a half, coming back from the brink of death one more time. Missing most of his digestive system, tumors spreading but slowed by liberal applications of chemotherapy, my brother just keeps keeping on as he has for over nine years.

But this time is different.

He talked about how crazy he had been just before he had gone in to the hospital, and while he was there. He still sounds a little crazy.

He talked about the dreams he had had, being in other worlds – worlds so compelling that he wanted to stay. These other worlds that appeared in his fever dreams began to spill over into this world so that when he dreamed of his hospital bed thatched like a tiki hut and the little man that sat next to it, when he woke the little man was still there. That was one of the odder worlds but there are others. Some of the worlds are so peaceful and beautiful that he says he wonders sometimes what good is it expending all sorts of energy and angst on this life and this world when there are so many others.

He said that the way he thinks of death is that the atoms that make up the fact of you, go into something like a river, a river that can wind its way back to the same spot so that some atoms might revisit places or people that they had been near to before in some other configuration. That’s pretty much the way I’ve always thought of it myself and I was surprised to hear someone articulate my own belief but my brother and I have always been close.

I told him it did not surprise me that he feels there are ways to slip into other worlds though. To my mind nothing could be more likely. With all the legends about portals into other worlds it beggars belief that there is nothing to it. One of these days I suppose he won’t come back. He will slip into one of those peaceful worlds and we’ll begin the process of dismantling his body into its component atoms so that they can join the great river. Maybe they’ll come back around some day.


Written By: Miranda - May• 30•11

Almost June and here’s a picture for it:

Junebugs and a Marauder

I wish I had written this

Written By: Miranda - Apr• 01•11

I can’t remember now where I ran across a link to Kim Cofino’s blog. Probably a tweet from one of the education movers and shakers I follow. The post that was linked in the tweet wasn’t even this particular one. But this is a great post. First Steps Toward Becoming a 21st Century Educator.

But actually the title is a little misleading because it applies to students too, or anyone who wants to become a 21st century person.

Using Twitter

Written By: Miranda - Mar• 24•11

Webtreats 53 Twitter Icons Promo Packphoto © 2009 webtreats | more info (via: Wyli

I ran across a link (in my Twitter stream where else) to a post by David Jakes. 140 Characters and Beyond: Extend Your Use of Twitter. I haven’t had time to more than scratch the surface of it, though I did play with a Twitter Fountain. I used a search for the hashtag #humanrights and played with the size a bit to make it fit the format of this theme a bit better.

When I suggested to Ms. Lord that she have a twitter stream going in her classroom during the Egyptian Revolution, this was kind of what I had in mind but I didn’t know about these visual tools that Mr. Jakes suggests using for classes or backchannel conversations: Twitterfall, Visible Tweets or the Twitter Fountain. I suggested using TweetDeck over to one side and having a news site in a browser window alongside on the Smartboard. I need to find out how that class went. I know the students all chose a few news sources to follow as well as some activists. They set up a list which they all followed, as did I. I am still a member of the list so I have to be conscious of what I tweet, though I don’t tweet much.

I am still a little uncomfortable with Twitter. It can be too much information, way too much. The morning after the protestors were overrun in the Pearl Roundabout, in Bahrain, I woke up and clicked a link to a picture. It was of a dead child, and I posted the link on this blog with a warning that it was terribly graphic. I knew intellectually, somewhere deep that children get shot every day, that terrible things happen to thousands, millions of children. But to see this picture… as a mother it hit me hard to start the day crying. I found out later that the picture was not from the night when government forces overran the camp while families were sleeping there. It was a picture of a small victim of some other conflict. I have been trying to teach students that when one posts something that turns out later to be incorrect, one should use strikethrough to own up to it, so for a few days I left the link up with a strikethrough and an explanation. But I later took it down.

So here are my personal Twitter rules, designed to keep me informed yet sane.

  • Remember that lots of it is rumor. Wait until you see some confirmation in the way of links to reputable news sources before you freak out.
  • Don’t click every link to photos or videos that you see. If someone says it’s graphic, it is. Make sure you can take it. I think it is better to know, to be aware that these things are happening. But it can be difficult to see.
  • Don’t follow the Twitter stream when you are trying to get things done. It all could wait during the years we got our news from newspapers and it still can.

Some rules I’d follow if I was teaching with Twitter:

  • All of the above, plus
  • Your students are going to read some strong language. It’s real people, in some pretty stressful situations. It isn’t anything they haven’t heard, but you’ll need to think about that.

The graphic is via Wylio, a nifty service where you can search for graphics with copyright suitable for using with attribution and get an embed code which adds the correct citation. I’d love to be able to get across to students and faculty how important it is not to break copyright but it’s difficult sometimes. This site makes it super easy to do right.

Oooh, oooh, I wanted to share this really fabulous flow chart graphic from Digital Inspiration designed to help you decide whether to post a graphic from the web or not and how to cite it if so. Suitable for printing out and putting in any classroom!

flow chart

testing a twitter fountain

Written By: Miranda - Mar• 23•11