Sunday, June 23, 2013

puddles of petals

This morning, after letting the chickens have a roam about their pond garden, I did my usual walk about and despaired at the water standing in all the beds out back. Determined to find some good in the gloom, I tested what would easily be pulled from such soft ground and discovered the thistle gave way easily from the saturated soil with hardly any mud at the root. Delighted, I pulled and pulled until I had removed several armloads of thistle which would not be sowing its seed in wild abandon this summer!

Alas, the lovely and fragrant peonies are mostly beaten. 5 inches of rain in 24 hours were too much for them, now heads down and petals pooled about them. They had a great bloom this spring, despite the weather, don't you agree??

I do not know the names of any of these as all but the last were here when we bought the farm. it was a gift from my garden shopping buddy and former colleague, Barb. It produced 3 fine peach blossoms this its first spring.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

First full day of summer

Nearly another inch of rain this morning. The gardens are back to being full sponges and the chicken yard is a pond. I try not to be discouraged. After all, one week from today at this time I'll be part of a caravan bringing Jerome to the farm to stay.

Earlier this week we had a sunny break for which I am grateful. Working at my desk I turned my head just in time for this:
hummingbird feeders just outside the window next to my computer desk,
new wider window sill the perfect observation deck for Dovey.
There are always joys to be found.

Friday, June 21, 2013

update on noticing

Sorry to report that after this morning's downpour (another 2 inches) and high winds (branches and sheds down in the area), the robin's nest is empty. Only pin feathers on the mulch below.
Makes me all the more grateful for those birds that do survive.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Nature is unpredictable, tends to extremes, vulnerable. She is often ignored but will demand attention if ignored too long. A goal here at the farm, focus on noticing.
These 4 gorgeous eggs were hard to miss, nestled in the perfect grass bowl perched precariously on the old bird feeder between the flower bed and raspberry bed.

June 4

It's been a stormy spring, heavy rains, high winds. And so there remained just 3 eggs. The first robin babe to hatch looked barely alive lying there exhausted, naked, and frighteningly exposed beside those perfectly hued eggs.

June 12
The afternoon after the photo above, we had a downpour that lasted about 20 minutes but produced nearly two inches of rain. When I was able to check the babes the next morning, only two remained.
The day after I found one of the remaining two lying on the mulch below the nest, its little heart still beating. I lifted it ever so carefully to return it to the nest and as I did so it opened its little beak wider than you could think possible.

June 14
How could these feathers have formed in two short days?

June 18
"I can't give you anything but love, baby."

And now this morning, the whole wide world is reflected in those eyes.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

30 hours

Friday morning at 9:30 I turned my RAV4 out of the farm driveway toward the city and what would be for me an evening of enormous grace. The synagogue where Jerome has been accompanist for the past 17 years would be honoring him with a dinner and blessings at their evening service. The congregation and more especially the leadership of this very large community have been in many ways a surrogate family for Jerome in my absence, an opportunity for him to offer his music in a powerful spiritual way.
I struggle to describe the outpouring of love and respect for Jerome that I witnessed.
I was called to the bema to join the rabbi, cantor, musicians and singers who were surrounding my husband, and we were sung a blessing and given this gift:

Rabbi, whose 3 grown children live in Israel and who travels there often with members of the synagogue, had recently returned. While there she purchased this in Jerusalem and tenderly carried it back as a thank you to Jerome for his years of contributions to their worship and as a blessing on our farm home: an illuminated manuscript of cut paper, encased in glass front and back. The English translation is a simple summary of the more complicated and breathtakingly beautiful Hebrew prayer.
It is an extraordinary gift of love and will hang in a prominent place as a reminder of their love for the rest of our lives.
During service, rabbi read from an Israeli poem. One phrase stayed with me and I recall it to mind often now, something of a new mantra:
"Entrances to holiness are everywhere."
They are indeed.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

it's raining....again

We had a 3 day window of dry and mostly sunny days. The grass got mowed, many weeds and grasses got pulled, more of the scrap metal in and around the old barn was collected and carted away for cash.

The good news about wet soil: often the roots come away with the weeds and grasses as you pull. The bad news: large clumps of soil pull away as well. And that soil holds fast to the roots so very aggressive  shaking is needed and still some soil remains. Any ideas on how to compost this?
Our ground is saturated and I fear for the first year asparagus. Some of the newest stalks are coming from the ground looking soft. Still too wet to plant in the vegetable bed. Fields still untilled all around our farm.
As is my habit each morning when I first venture out to release the chickens to their yard, I do a walk around the grounds. So much changes overnight that skipping this could mean missing brief graces.

rain kisses
Moongold apricot regeneration so eager it's afire

My lovely angel birdbath is covered in lichen.

Speaking of birds, there is an artificial bird's nest sitting in an old bird feeder between the raspberry bed and the flower bed where I have been working. On top of this nest a robin has built its own nest with this result, a sort of nature imitating art, as it were.

Unfortunately, mama takes flight whenever I'm near and I fear those beautiful eggs won't hatch if she doesn't sit on them. Robins do bring a certain comic relief to the equation, don't they.
And speaking of birds, Minerva and Rosie have been broody for a couple of weeks now. They spend their entire days just sitting in the nest boxes thinking chicken thoughts. Some folks say they are having a false mothering spell but considering how aggressive their rooster is these days, I think they're just taking a female's version of a time out.

This means our Silver Polish has only 2 hens to "share" his lovin' and since LadyHawk doesn't want any of it, poor Phoebie is getting all his attention. You can see the results of this on her back. I have to wear knee high boots when I'm in their yard. He is not shy about letting me know he's on guard and does not like it one bit that "his girls" rush to be near me and so works hard at keeping his body between them and me at all times.

Despite being nearly 2 full zones colder than Anne's garden, I too have roses. Rugosa and knock outs that I've planted and several old unidentified roses that were here. I took a few shots of buds this morning in the light rain.

I also bought one of my favorite old fashion roses at the end of the season last year, Sally Holmes, but feared the winter had taken her.

She's not given up yet.

The new glider on the front porch got a little use this past weekend when Terri came out for another too short stay. She will come again at the end of the month to keep an eye on things so I can go back to the city and pack up the remainder of the city house. Jerome will come to stay on Saturday June 29.
After deep disappointment last month, we now have a new signed contract. I'm holding my breath this time, not taking anything for granted, but there were 3 offers this past Sunday and this young family was very keen, has been preapproved, and I so would love for our home of 37 years to shelter another young family once more.