Friday, March 30, 2007

paw paw prolificacy

this is gonna be the year for paw paws! the trees are loaded with many, many blooms to the branch. This color is so mysterious and lovely to me, I have tried to duplicate in dying yarn, with no luck.

maybe I can try making paw paw wine this year!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Did somebody say...

nah...just wishful thinking, false promises....but hang in there little is bound to rain someday.
This waiting, this unseasonable dry, wilted spring flowers and pastures not growing, gives a whole different meaning to "don't count your raindrops before they fall" (course, I just made that up, so it can have whatever meaning I want, ha!)

Friday, March 23, 2007

wild winged wonders of the small kind

This year the vernal equinox was the most explosive transition between seasons I have ever experienced. Literally, the cherry was in tight bud one day, and full bloom the next. Swallowtails, honey bees, carpenter bees, beetles, ants and red wasps (my favorite kind of wasp) all appeared on the magic day as if responding to a curtain call.
I unceremoniously ripped the plastic off of the windows and threw open the sashes, letting the wind rustle papers and curtains and sweep seed packets off the table onto the floor of the cabin.
Today was the first day to liberate the feet and luxuriate in the feel of gravel massaging the winter tender feet. A day to notice the nuances and textures. A day to reroute the climbing rose and tear down old morning glory vines, a day to plant and dig and plant some more, and cheerfully (if naively) trust that it will rain.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

little bird, big brain

"Nutchatches seem to understand chickadee" this just blows me away, but not for the reason that the article was written. Any child of the woods (someone who hangs around outside watching stuff with no agenda, the way children do) knows that interspecies bird communication happens. They warn each other, they fight with each other over food and territory, using not just their body language, but their own species language, and other species learn/know, pretty much what they are saying, the same way an english speaker might say "gracias" at a mexican restaurant. After all, they are sharing the same habitat and the food table.
As kids, we worked hard to mimic the call of a hawk, then we would go into an area with birds feeding, give the call and watch everybody duck for thrills.
Years later, I was amused to see my own children mimic hawks and send the chickens running for cover, and then fall into the grass with peals of laughter over the "village idiot" chickens who would just cringe and hunker down right where they were at, because they were confused about which way to run.
The fact that people are getting paid to play with speakers and recording devices is what blows me away....where do I sign up?? can I be on the team??
The best part of the article is at the very end......

"Also, said Dhondt, who was not part of Templeton's research team, black-capped chickadees have been known to produce false alarm calls, causing other birds to fly away, leaving the cheating chickadees to enjoy a food source by itself."
Yea, chickadees are like that...clever little things.I have also seen chickadees give the "come and get it' food call to lure all the cardinals to the front feeder, then sneak around the other side of the house to the other feeder that is actually fuller.

Monday, March 19, 2007

chick(en) peas

spinach is up! (in the covered beds, only) and the lettuce that was up to eating size got severly frostbit as the remay cover blew off while I was at mom and dads and the temp got down low. Its all good, th0ugh, long as you have enough seeds, you just keep planting,
The portable pen has passed its first week of operation, with out falling apart, and the chickens are laying perkily, so it must be working for them, as I am not feeding commercial chicken feed to make them lay,
In the 25 years that I have raised chickens, I have tried every permutation of pen, coop and cage possible. I liked the hoop coops, but I believe I am going to like this design the best. (will write an article about coop design someday, pros and cons)
The sugar snap peas and snow peas and more spinach are planted now, too, just in time for more cold weather,
We had some rain,, need more. (am having troible typing, sliced my index finger with a razor blade-dumb trick, guess I will give up and not write ll the clever things I had planned too..ha!)

Monday, March 12, 2007

springtime sunset

Maple trees are blooming. We could use some rain.
Up on the ridge today, I saw a wood anenome blooming. That tells me that somewhere in this county, in some dark rich holler, in a deep place that the loggers haven't yet found, there is a bloodroot flower blooming. Bloodroot needs rich woodland soil, the kind that is alchemized from the leaves and moisture-trapping shade of poplars and oaks. The kind of soil that is destroyed and washed away by todays modern logging equipment.

My ridge is dry and rocky, made so by years of being pastured by poor folks. Its trees are small and open, beech and maple and hickory.
I don't have bloodroot, but I can imagine it's fleeting and delicate performance, and know that its time is now, one of the first to bloom along with the every present,"don't care where they grow" toothwort. Yep, I got toothwort.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

firsts, seconds, lasts and more

I wonder if it is a cultural thing to count "firsts" or if in all cultures somebody wanders back into the village and says, "hey, I saw my first mushroom of the spring!" We mark the changes of the seasons with "firsts", first frost, first snow, first trillium.
I was about to post these pictures when I realized that maybe I have become obsessed with "firsts of spring" this year. Maybe because it was a damn cold winter for me, or maybe I am clinging to these markers because they hold a continuity in a time when change is happening faster, or maybe, maybe I am getting boring as I age, and I need to get a life.
So this is the first trillium, even firster than first, because it is not even open yet!
Then I walked a little farther on and here is/are four, so can they count as first? or is it old hat now- are they no longer photograph worthy?
We don't say, oh look! my second violet of the spring, and my third! No, we then absorb them, just their beauty and fragrance and fleeting season, and we don't have to bother with numbers.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

her good side

carolina chickadee

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Spring Peepers

The bestest sign of spring a'tall!

Up in the Whitewater Valley in Indiana, Hunts Poorly reports the first sign of spring there, the return of the beloved vulture to the valley!

wallpaper of the week, again

Ok, I have been fiddling with Picasa a little, (the interface is kind of ugly, isn't it? I like a black background for a gallery, but was lookig for quick and dirty)
Anyway, thought it might be a good repository for the wallpaper of the week mandala, so, scroll down this page for the latest.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Why I am not much of a cat person, reason # 6

Dont get me wrong, I don't hate them, and she is entertaining, as she has a penchant for the unexpected perching place and bizarre and unexplained behavior...but.

So, the country mouse is going to the city tonight, down on broadway, to hear a singer friend's big debut. In Nashville, someone is always having their big debut. It is exciting and sad all at the same time.
The biz is beyond cruel. As long as you don't play music for money, though, it can be a blast.
ps. see, Mary, good thing the seeds aren't here yet!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The willow in the window

A few weeks back I was crawling along in some thicket in a seepy place near some spring on some overgrown hillside and I was stopped by the lovely sight of a dearly familiar bark. Warty ridges of tan and golden rose up like flanked pillars up a fat, thumb-sized, sapling trunk.

Willow! I have a long and close relationship with willow and I broke off a twig and inhaled deeply. As it always does, it caused a videotpe of memories to play across my closed eyelids. I was again on the shifting river bank of the whitewater river in Franklin county, Indiana. Hunts Poorly was there, examining rocks and I was hunting a bird with my camera who was skipping through the willow thicket, his little feet stirring up the fragrance of the late summer willow leaves that had fallen around the saplings like a blanket on the river gravel.

Another whiff and I was on a muddy island spit of Cordel Hull resevoir of the Cumberland river in Jackson county. The water was making lapping sounds against my beached canoe as I sat under the swaying willow branches in the hot sun, trying to focus my camera on a darting dragon fly perching on a marsh mallow flower, sweat and sun sparkles in my eyes.

Back in the thicket, I stuck the willow twig in my hat and forgot about it till later in the kitchen, when I stabbed it down into a pot of dirt in the kitchen window that once held a frost-bit basil plant that had given up the cause.

A few days back, I noticed, that I had not noticed, that it had rooted and sent out lovely bright green lance shaped leaves. Daily now the noonday sun illuminates them, that bright willow green and brings a sigh of spring to the dishwashing.

How many years have I stuck willow cuttings in the window sill? How many years have I planned to expand my willow collection past the native ones and start a few clumps of english basket willow, the better to make real baskets? One year, I went as far as getting a couple of english basket willow cuttings from a friend and stuck them in the margins of a yard that was lost in divorce.
It was decided then, that this is the year to do it. To just go ahead and do it. Follow my willow dreams.
This is the year to start the english basket willow plantation, or, anyway, a few clumps, certainly not enough to rename the farm.
The place to start is Willow Dreams farm (no kidding, that is the name)
Meantime, I had some wonderful fun looking at the photos and lovely website of Dunbar Farms

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