Sunday, January 30, 2011

penultimate day of January

The sun returned today after nearly a week's absence. And with a mostly clear sky at its setting it's easier to tell how much daylight we have gained since the winter solstice. A lovely, reliable slow dance of the planet we call home.

We've also had milder temperatures the past couple days which seem to be prompting wildlife to shake off some of their winter lethargy. Squirrels have been playing connect the dots with the trees in the front yard. Some of the insects which sought shelter inside are moving about giving Dovey a new though somehow familiar distraction.
Several days last week there have been turkeys and pheasants feeding in the corn fields very near the farm house. The crows had been here in great numbers most of the winter, but after a plow went through the fields creating two wide swaths several feet wide exposing the corn stubble, a large group of wild turkeys came in search of the now exposed spills of the harvesters. After the turkeys left for the day I walked over to look at the field. Their footprints were everywhere, crossing and criss-crossing one another in beautiful patterns. Each print the size of my hand or larger. They were very big birds!

Unlike the lacey footprints just outside the back door left by sweet Juncos that love to dance across the back deck as if telling me in Junco code, thanks for breakfast!

Those wascaly wabbits who have been feasting on the shrubs close to the house have decided the seed spilled beneath the bird feeders is good grazing after dark and the potted mum on the back porch is delicious, absolutely delicious. Dovey can only sit on this side of the French doors and express her disapproval with chatters and lashing tail. Here you can see how the rabbits have decimated the two burning bushes just outside the bathroom window. Look closely and you can see other evidence of their lingering.

I've been valiantly fighting some kind of bug. I am never sick, and  I refuse to let it have its way with me. I've been meditating, deep breathing, drinking gallons of TAZO Zen tea, taking vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea. Today I lit the lavender oil candle Anne gave me for Christmas while I reclined on the two-sofa and finished Susan Wittig Albert's Together Alone: a Memoir of Marriage and Place. I have long enjoyed her China Bayles novels and her All About Thyme herbal newsletter. My Illinois library system did not have a single copy of her memoir. At the time I was still living there and was very put out that a large wealthy Chicago suburban system could be so remiss. Coming to the driftless region I've used the Winding Rivers library system quite a lot via Viroqua's McIntosh Public Library online catalog. And what do you know, they had a copy and it was in my hands within days of ordering it. I think books manage to come to you when you are ready to hear them. Susan's memoir is one of these. Being without my husband for long stretches at a time and living on the land I hope will be my home for the rest of my life, I was truly ready, now, to read it.

Snow is predicted overnight and into Tuesday. I'm glad. I do love the snow here. We go merrily about our work, eating well, loving what we see out any window. The roads are so well maintained we can easily run into town during the worst of winter. Some books I have on hold are in at the library so I may venture out tomorrow. We'll see. In the meantime, the sun has set and it's time to light the candles and put the leftover tortilla pie in the oven.


  1. You have a wonderful way with words, Sharon.
    The images of squirrels playing connect the dots with the trees and juncos writing in code make me smile and will come back to me when I see my own backyard critters.
    I do hope you get rid of that bug and feel much better very soon.
    Take care.

  2. I echo Judy's words! I love the way that you write, inspire and uplift me! I do hope that you are feeling better now. I can just imagine the sent of the candle, the quietness of the farm and those giant turkey feet!!!