Monday, May 9, 2011


Before Tea
by A.A. Milne (from When We Were Very Young)

Has not been seen
For more than week. She slipped between
The two tall trees at the end of the green...
We all went after her. "Emmeline!"

I didn't mean --
I only said that your hands weren't clean."
We went to the trees at the end of the green...
But Emmeline
Was not to be seen.

Came slipping between
The two tall trees at the end of the green.
We all ran up to her. "Emmeline!
Where have you been?
Where have you been?
Why, it's not more than week!" And Emmeline
Said, "Sillies, I went and saw the Queen.
She says my hands are purfickly clean!"

Friday, March 18, 2011

She's here.

At about 8:30 pm on March 16, Margo gave birth to a beautiful little doeling. She's a heart-stealer.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Luna's first egg

On the day that Aaron and I drove an hour south to pick up a Blue Wheaten Ameraucana rooster, my Blue Wheaten Ameraucana pullet laid her first egg.It's little, sprinkled with calcium deposits, and a beautiful pale, sky blue. I never would have guessed, years ago, that chicken eggs could ever make me this happy. I put it in an egg carton next to one of our prettiest sea-foam green Easter Eggers eggs.When I open an egg carton in the morning, I can't help but take a few moments to admire their simple beauty before cracking two into a bowl for breakfast.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A long hiatus

Hello, internet. Remember me? It's been a long time since November, but I've been spending it, overall, very happily. There's been a lot of snow and flannel and wool, and hot chocolate and snuggling with the big dog. There's been wonderful stories and poems to read.
There's the old chicken coop, freshly sheetrocked and painted and filled with cozy hand-me-down furniture. I've spent many minutes simply sitting on the couch, looking around blissfully, happy to see the books out of boxes.

There have also been two new faces to become acquainted with:
Margo came first, arriving home in the middle of a snowstorm. She's a LaMancha with small, curled ears that are soft and silky. She is quiet and dignified and likes to watch me as I move around the barn doing chores. She's very broad right now, due to have her kids in just over a month.

Peanut had to leave her mama and sisters to come and live with us, and she cried all the way home. She's an Oberhasli and not even a year old. She explores everything with her mouth and has already chewed a hole in my favorite hat. She nibbles on gloves and boot laces and hay nets. I have a feeling that Margo finds Peanut a bit embarrassing sometimes, but they still like each other.

It's very cold and blustery today, but we've made it to February. Spring's ahead, and I'm looking forward to it with such enthusiasm.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good days

Yesterday was simply a good day. Nothing remarkable happened. I had turned 25 two days before. I woke up to sunshine. I wore a vintage Pendleton wool shirt. I ate a bagel for lunch, and after lunch I took a nap. I listened to a recording of Maurice Sendak's 1993 interview on NPR's Fresh Air. I read some wonderful children's books.

In the evening, I made soup with potatoes and kale from the garden. I drank a blueberry beer, which made me slightly tipsy, and I painted my fingernails coral pink. I stayed up late, but not too late. I slept well.

Nothing remarkable happened, but I was happy, and in my happiness I remembered this poem:

The Life of a Day
(Tom Hennen)

Like most people or dogs, each day is unique and has its own personality quirks which can easily be seen if you look closely. But there are so few days as compared to people, not to mention dogs, that it would be surprising if a day were not a hundred times more interesting than most people. But usually they just pass, mostly unnoticed, unless they are wildly nice, like autumn ones full of red maple trees and hazy sunlight, or if they are grimly awful ones in a winter blizzard that kills the lost traveler and bunches of cattle. For some reason we like to see days pass, even though most of us claim we don't want to reach our last one for a long time. We examine each day before us with barely a glance and say, no, this isn't one I've been looking for, and wait in a bored sort of way for the next, when, we are convinced, our lives will start for real. Meanwhile, this day is going by perfectly well adjusted, as some days are, with the right amounts of sunlight and shade, and a light breeze scented with a perfume made from the mixture of fallen apples, corn stubble, dry oak leaves, and the faint odor of last night's meandering skunk.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The UPS Man

This morning the UPS man pulled into the drive and around, hitting the horn to get the dog out from under his wheels, his classic rock turned up high, and when he walked up to the house and smiled at me and said good morning, I thought that today, today with the sun burning away the dew and the wind blowing through the open door and the music loud, today I would be happy to be a UPS man too.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Goodbye, Summer

(first light at the fair, via minnesota public radio)

During the last weekend in August, I did my last summer "thing" - I went to the "Great Minnesota Get Together" with Aaron and one of my best friends, Erin, who was visiting from Ohio and had never been to a state fair. We wandered through the animal barns - rows of rabbits, chickens, and geese, freshly groomed heifers and steers, sheared sheep, sleeping hogs. We sat on the curb, ate cheese curds, custard, peaches, and donuts, and watched the crowds. We admired artwork and antique printing machines. We watched draft horse hitches in the hot, still coliseum while eating cotton candy that melted on our fingers. It was hot, sunny, and perfect. After 13 hours, I fell asleep on the way home.

I felt like I was grabbing hold onto the last days of summer with a feeling almost like panic. I was not ready for shoes or wool sweaters, for the dressing of layers. I was not ready for the winter I know is coming. I was not ready for shorter days. I was not ready to feel cold.

But tonight, while Aaron and I took an after-dinner walk along the bike trail, I felt suddenly open to the change. The leaves are beginning to turn. The landscape is changing from hot greens to warm yellows, reds, oranges, and browns. Flowers still bloom. The corn is drying in the fields. The air is lighter.

There are parts of me that are still mourning the long days of summer. But I am also looking forward to riding my bike through cooler temperatures. I'm looking forward to soft flannel, long-simmered stews, homemade bread that warms the kitchen while it bakes. I'm looking forward to gathering around the table with family and friends, hearing their stories, giving what I can.