Friday, June 30, 2017

reflections on my June

The gardens top the list. Weather... mostly wet, mostly moderate temperatures. Conditions favoring weeds and grasses. Mowing, weeding, mulching. Mother Nature moves us along at her pace.
There are surprises daily. . . not all good.
It's been a tough year for our chickens. When putting them to bed last evening there was one missing from the count. I found her lying stiff and cold just beneath the hen house. We buried her in the deepening twilight. She was the third we lost this year. Until 2017 we had only lost two hens in 5 years time. Have I been too confident, too comfortable? Dare I say cocky? Recently our good neighbors lost all of their chickens over two nights. They suspect coons. We can only identify the cause of one of our losses, which makes the losses so much harder to understand and prevent.
And gardening, it is never a sure thing. Some of what we tend is doing spectacularly. But there are losses there, too, other things are struggling. I have no explanations for healthy, growing plants to suddenly take a down turn. Is it the excessive rainfall this year? The negative impact of an overpopulation of moles? Years of stress I hadn't observed and intervened in time?
Walking the meadow the other evening we noticed the pines on our western border were in a strangle hold of grapevine, virginia creeper, nightshade. Since then, together, Jerome and I have rescued them and carted away 5 trailers of cuttings to the burn pile. Walking the meadow path last evening I felt so smug about how well we had done, not knowing that a short while later I would discover my dead hen. I'm not such a fool as to think I could have the upper hand here. But...

There has been much to savor in June.
We put down a truckload of mulch on our rose/peony bed, under the grapevines, on the blueberry bed.
We helped our next door neighbors, who have been here part time since we arrived, to move into their new house permanently. A recent storm added its benediction to their arrival.

Bounty aplenty, despite my gloomy opening to this posting...

a quilt retreat held here

where I worked on two quilts to be sent to Africa via Nancy Zeiman at Quilt Expo this September.

Here is a preview of one of the pieced tops. My goal, to use only fabrics from my stash, or as I've been coached to say, inventory.
Successfully visiting all nine quilt shops in my section of Wisconsin statewide shop hop, including this one which is the farthest from home...

It's located in Darlington, Wisconsin. We stopped in on our wedding anniversary getaway, also taking in Mineral Point, New Glaris, and Spring Green. It was our 45th by the way.
Celebrating with Anne and Matthias their 16th, and the first anniversary of Matthias' surgery at Mayo. One of the biggest causes for celebration, his radiant good health and their brilliant happiness.
This week I spent a day with a good friend Elin who has 16 sheep, spins and weaves her own hand dyed wool and who invited me to come and meet a woman, who like my friend and I, will be relocating to Viroqua, looking forward to meeting like minded women where she hopes to spend the remainder of her life. And like my friend and I, is here without her husband in the early stages of her journey. Joan, my new acquaintance, is learning eco-dyeing from Elin, to produce her own colored fabrics for art quilts. The day flew past as we discovered so many commonalities and shared passions.
On the final day of June, I've stepped back and recognized the blessings abundant in life here on our ridge top meadow.
Hope you are able to look back at your June and say the same.


  1. I wondered where you had been Sharon. It seems that you have had a very eventful month. When I kept hens I had three that died without seeming to be ill. I remember my shock and grief at discovering them (at different years) in the hen house in the morning. I kept wondering what had I done wrong. I still miss Rolo, Storm and Popcorn. I have cried each time I have had to bury a chicken. I loved them. I haven't given the garden much attention this year and have been given some wonderful surprises of self sown pom pom poppies and violas. It has been a year of tragedies far too close to home to really celebrate anything this year. I wish I could retreat to Viroqua and visit the quilt shops in Wisconsin. Your quilts are so beautiful. Let's hope that July is an uplifting month for us all. :)

  2. Sharon, good to see you posting. Ah, so hard to say goodbye to a dear animal. I gather, by Simone's comment, that this can happen to anyone, despite good care, but so sad nonetheless. Seeing photos of your chickens has made me realize how beautiful they are.
    I'm so glad that you are meeting, and have met, like-minded people. The quilt retreat sounds wonderful and your quilt top is beautiful.
    I'm always so inspired by the fruits of yours and Jerome's hard work on your farm, but nature is unpredictable. isn't it?
    Happy anniversary! Bill and I will celebrate our 40th in August. And I'm so happy for your family as you all celebrate Matthias' anniversary of his renewed good health. xo

  3. So good to read your post. I'm sorry about the sad beginning but it's lovely to see those beauties that you've reaped. And that quilt is stunning! Also, congratulations to you and Anne on your anniversaries and Matthias' good health!

  4. So much to celebrate, at both your place and ours! Cheers to life, Sharon! xo