125 degrees warmer

125 degrees higher than our record low this winter.  Yesterdays sunshine heated my soul straight through.  T-shirts and muddy toes and popsicle’s and wading in the stream, devouring maple muffins and hens giving us a baker’s dozen each day.  This is real spring.  Oh, I do welcome mud season with a big beaming smile this year.

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The biggest man in the house is on a trip far, far away, enjoying the sunshine himself no doubt, but I can guarantee it is just not the same type of rays touching his cheeks.  The summer rays that hit Vermont have a whole different way of returning your hope and promise, and forcing great involuntary sighs of gratitude out of your chest.  These photographs are for him.  I know he misses these smily big cheeked boys.  And we miss him too.  To heal the daddy’s gone blues we are headed for a visit to the coast for a few days.

(these ones are zooming straight to Uruguay … hola papa!  Their soft cheeks can only be imagined…)

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I have high hopes that when we return, the sun will have done us a favor and eradicated this white stuff sloshing around our ankles completely.  Maybe its too much, but I’m even wishing for a crocus blossom or two…

just not the weather

In attempts to not talk about the weather I am reporting on pillowcases.  For when I stepped outside this morning, I saw 4 fresh inches of snow over the land and my eyes nearly popped out of my skull.

So pillowcases it is; And nothing fancy either, these are more like pillow prisoners as there is no way out.  Sewed em right in.  The blue fabric is the same fabric as the ring sling I just made,  (my favorite “I am really not a sewer” project).   And the elephant print fabric was on a roll from a good friend who handed it off to be before it made its way into the donation bin.  I am glad she did.

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And now in response to the pleading of two very good ladies in my life, I am on the hunt for a slip cover for grandmas old couch, despite my unusual attachment to the buttons that will be covered up on the backrest.  I call her kahki, they call it dirty.  Potato Potaaato, that’s what I say.   Unfortunately I am almost completely incapable of simple decision making and choosing a slip cover color is so paralysing I am envisioning this taking quite some time.  Oh I guess I will save it for a rainy daaayyyyy……

the long thaw

The suns rays warmed my cheeks today.

The boys wandered the wood scouring the forest floor for insects and scat.  As boys will do.

The baby slept soundly upon my back, big adult size woolen socks pulled over his chubby ankles and wrists to keep the wind off.

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Peonies are showing their purply stalks.

Sap buckets are full, and then full again.

The snow is still falling, but less of it now and the sunshine is fighting hard.

our reason to sugar

I dreamt last night that it was autumn and the leaves were just a memory on the trees.  Golden, orange, and crunchy brown all around me.  I was absolutely devastated and distraught.  I had missed summer entirely.  My eyes felt like two bee stings.  My heart beat faster than a falcon.  I was completely panicked.  I woke up with a start and looked out the window to see snow that had stuck.  It felt only slightly relieving.

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Lee and I decided people around here like to boil sap because its the only reasonable thing to do outside in cold, wet, snowy April.  We are here in the place where you can call a dreary long-lasting snowfall a sugaring snow.  Where a cloudy 35 degree day becomes perfect for the running sap.  Where cold nights are welcomed so long as the days creep up above freezing.  Where the sign of red buds on maples is only bitter-sweet, for it marks the end of sugaring season.

 

IMG_5987I haven’t taken many pictures lately because I am done with this snowy scene.  For now I rely on my seedlings as my morning blessing.  The smell of soil and sap is that’s settled into the walls coaxes me out of bed.  I heard a wood thrush while the snow fell yesterday.  It was confusing and exciting and heartbreaking all at once.

We are still here, just waiting for the sun….

 

enough is enough

This past Sunday I woke, (or chose to end the dreadful night, whichever term you prefer) with an achy body, a stuffy nose and red burning eyes.  I withered away over the next three days, hardly lifting my head from the couch.  Foggy head diaper changing, the house going to shambles, no baths, no baking, no knitting, no singing.  A fever that lasted on and on settled into my bones.  I couldn’t keep the fire warm enough to chase the chills away.  My boys brought me cups of water while I wallowed on the couch and made by bed for me.  They even placed an extra blanket atop saying it was to keep me “safe and warm”. They played independently in a way I couldn’t have requested. They just knew it was what they had to do.

And of course, when I wrenched my head out of the abyss of illness come Wednesday morning, I looked around and did what us mothers do very well: I shamed myself.  My eyes registered the piles of dishes, the intensely large pile of laundry, the overwhelming pile of “crafts” growing in the craft room and I gasped.  Even with a sickness thick around my neck I felt the twinges of do more and be more creep in.  I wandered over and swept up the pieces of the craft room that didn’t seem to belong to any specific project, and rearranged the table before quickly retreating back to my place on the couch, baby on lap, tea in hand.  I felt so discouraged and overwhelmed.  But before I had time to settle into the familiar cycle of giving myself grief, I had a bowl cut boy grinning ear to ear standing in front of me holding up a card that read, “Thank-you-thor-clenin-up-mama. I love you mama!”.  Tears just about exploded out my ducts as I laughed at my prior feelings of inadequacy.  I need not be everything.  I need not be anything at all.  Luckily, gratefully, I have three beautiful reminders that I am enough tugging at my heartstrings constantly.

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This morning I woke up to a husband who has returned from a week-long work trip, fresh made maple syrup, the same messy house, the same dirty sweet boys, and a foggy, rainy day.  New bird songs wail through the trees and the sound of mud squelches under our boots.  My hair was wet by the time I scaled the slushy snow hill to the chicken coop from the dripping wet air. It’s the change of season.  The time of year where putting up with the long winter days, the negative temperatures, the ice-cold wind, the long nights of feeding a fire; They all become completely worth it.  And these are the things I will remember. These are the things that are important.  The fresh wet air after a sickness.  That cup of water.  That beautiful reminder.

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That I am enough.

(And PS so are you)