the green grass grows all around

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The grass is so green these days sometimes I envy the cows for their fiber chomping stomachs.  The leaves are like suncatchers, little stars of new life filling up the forests canopy.  The wildflowers are becoming so plentiful I can’t keep up on trying to identify them all, and our days are spent outdoors from sun up until sometimes well after sundown.  And the garden, oh the garden is not ceasing to amaze me.  This inherited, cherished spot has a new surprise every walk I take.  Like my mama, I like to start my morning off with a cup of coffee and a walk through the dewy garden to see what I can see.

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After letting the big chickens out, and gathering the baby chicks and putting them in their fenced in area, I like to feel the morning light on my face.  The boys like to join me.  The cats trail behind, and the dog… oh the dog.  Since we brought home these multi colored egg laying hens we have noticed a steady decline in the number of eggs we were getting.  I was so confused, thinking perhaps it was due to them laying in odd places, or that two are very much broody having to be heaved off the nesting boxes several times a day, or maybe a critter stealing was them?  And then the culprit showed her smart little face.  Cloud, the tiny wonder, has been carefully carrying the eggs to a safe hideaway where she would down at least 3 a day.  No wonder she has not been eating her supper.  But oh her shiny coat….

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(Miles new job is walking her in the morning… while the hens to their thing… a job he very much enjoys)

The new vegetable garden is fully stocked.  I was over zealous I am sure, disregarding my earlier promises of starting this year off with hops and lavender only, considering how busy our new addition will make us later this summer.  I planted sweet peas, two types of lettuce, spinach, kuri squash, butternut squash, watermelon, zucchini, asparagus, carrots, kale, watermelon radishes, pole beans, onions, potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, catnip, sorrel, some different herbs and a small cutting garden.  Whew.  It was a very, very, enjoyable process and we all love to study the earth for any signs of sprouting through the day.  The fence is in the works, and let me tell you, it is going to be a beauty.  This man of mine has been working so very hard.  If it’s not a broken washer, or a new part in a car, it’s the fence or the coop or a tree.  Since graduation, I believe his schedule has been stocked two-fold.  But, truth is he loves it.  We both do.  This is what we have been waiting for, for so very long.

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On sunday Miles and I found a good-sized patch of the beautiful and patiently awaited ostrich fern, better known as the fiddlehead!  We indulged tonight with gusto.  All four of us.  It is quite exciting for a person of any age to eat something so asparagus-y delicious and all curled up adorable that they paid not a penny for and plucked off with their own little fingers.  Today we plan on going back for more, perhaps enough to stock the freezer a bit too.

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There isn’t a lack of things to do these days.  I feel like if I don’t consciously think about it I will do nothing to prepare for this sweet little baby that is getting bigger and bigger as we speak.  There is knitting, and a dream of a quilt, and sorting clothes, trading in the car for a (gasp) mini van, and washing diapers… and well I have ten weeks to go!  There is still time.  Or at least I keep telling myself.

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Everything is happening so fast these days.  I want to hold on to these bugless, crisp, sunshiny days, with a sweet baby tucked inside me, two amazing little boys full of life and energy, and a very hard working partner by my side.   I don’t want them to end.

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one small step

There has been a lot of additions to this address lately.  A lot of firsts and a lot of oldies but goodies too.  There are the things we have boxed up and brought here ourselves and there are the things that seem to magically appear before our eyes.  The greening of the land is in full force, outdoor time is at a maximum, and we are full to the brim with the happiness of spring.

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Yesterday marked the first day of dance class at a new studio for my oldest.  Miles showed so much interest in tour jete’s and plies at a small art and dance center that when the session ended I asked him if he wanted more, and indeed he said, he did.  So yesterday, after much deliberation about the distance from our new home to this little yellow building in the “city”, we decided it was without a doubt worth while.  (Of course we almost didn’t make it, for five minutes before leaving it came to my attention that our newly acquired chickens had escaped and were being chased by my ferocious twelve pound southern dog… but I was able to let that one go and just drive off.)  My little boy showed only a nonchalant excitement for the class on the drive, filing me with dread at the possibility of a lot of car time for nothing more than a peek in to a dance class.  We arrived and wandered in finding a seat amidst the thirty or so little girls in every type of frilly tutu imaginable, dance moms gabbing and texting and the chaos of teenagers scrambling to finish homework before their dance class begun.  My little boy in his “street clothes” as I heard one mama say, (orange corduroys, a t shirt and batman socks) sat patiently holding my  hand, eyes fixed on the floor.  When his class was called in, I walked him to the door.  He pleaded for me to come in through forceful whispers in my ear, but this is a closed-door class, I really couldn’t.  I told him I would be right outside with a hope so strong that he would accommodate, be brave and take the bold leap alone.  He instructed me on the precise location that he felt comfortable with me standing and of course I abided.  The teacher quickly ushered him in and the door shut before either of us could get in another word.  Much to my surprise a live video of the class was projected right above my head for me watch with a nervous eye.  I just so wanted him to enjoy himself.  And enjoy himself he did!  It didn’t take long for my shoulders to loosen up, and a deep sigh of relief to leave my lungs.  I settled in for the hour with a bucket of legos and my little Rowan glancing at the television every now and then with a sparkle in my eye.  It seems the power of independence is nothing to scoff at.  That little boy shined and I was one proud mama. I didn’t snap a single photograph for fear of doing anything to embarrass, deter, or distract my boy from the task at hand.

When it was all said and done, I asked Miles how it went.  He told me they got to do moves on their own, “Free dance” he said.  To see him reenact the precise hip sway and shuffle that I had seen him do on the big screen for some reason put me over the edge.  He was proud so of himself.  Truly proud.  He walked out of that studio just a bit taller, with a bit more confidence, and some little bear stamps on his hands to prove it.  These first children, it seems they test us.  I am learning so much about parenting from him; Experiencing the bubbling over emotion of joy, as well as the immeasurable amounts of frustration by his side.  It feels a little less daunting with the second, and I can only hope by the third I take things with a bit more equanimity too.  But for now, I will still gasp at the teetering grand battements and tear up at the bravery of a little boy growing up.

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And now, we have been watching Baryshnikov videos since the crack of dawn, with the occasional pirouette spun for good measure.  

the quiet morning

I woke up before dawn yesterday to feel the quiet of the morning before the rain came.  I put on some rain clothes, slung my camera around my neck, and  pressed a steaming to go cup of coffee before heading out the door.  My little dog fellow, whom since moving out here has become such a good and tired dog was dissapointed that she would’nt be joining me, but I promised her another day.  She would be of no help this time; Today was a day for birding.

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The sky was loud with robins and other thrushes, the tufted titmouse, jays and crows and chickadees too.  I spotted a swallow or two and of course heard the knock knock drilling of woodpeckers catching a mornings meal.  But it wasn’t 15 minutes into my woodland walk, even before the suns first rays came up over the hill, that the rain started to fall down and the forest settled back in.  I continued on, why not I thought, the snow has melted enough to where you can pretty much navigate anywhere you please at this point.  I followed a deer trail down to a little vernal pool and spent some time watching the spreading circles of an April shower grow.

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There is a peace in the morning that I had forgotten about.  Before my nights were filled with constant wake up calls I use to consistently enjoy this time of day. Whether it was for a run or to bake something sweet, the sun called me to get up each day.  Some years later, with my little wakeful one tucked in safe on my husbands side and a bigger boy conked out like nothing else on mine, I get plenty of rest and have been taking advantage of my mornings from time to time once more, knowing full well that this feeling of being well rested is surely limited as we approach July and a new little baby will soon be in my arms.

It seems seizing the day is something I am coming to understand more and more of the late.  When it is nice, go out.  When it rains, feel the wetness.  When it snows, marvel in its beauty.  I can’t help but really notice how seasonably you live in the country.  It is not an intentional lifestyle here, choosing stories to tell about the passing of the seasons, and crafting up projects to match, it is just what it is.  There is no choice.  When the sheep are to be sheared its spring, when its time for haying- you do, when the syrup is running- you gather, and when the snow is deep- you feed your wood stove and hibernate.

And today our ever changing land is presenting us with a beauty of a 70 degree day…  oh my, oh my, how good it will feel…

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a new kind of spring

A bright golden sun and a blue bird sky is the weather report for this day in mid march.  Even with this unmistakably beautiful day I feel a little somber.  I remember last year.  I remember thinking I felt lonely.  I remember cursing that small town we found ourselves “stuck” in.  I remember lugging out my jogger and plopping my growing boy all bundled inside and squeezing my enormous belly into a much too tight winter jacket and heading out for yet another snowy slushy walk.  We would head to the coffee shop for a warm drink and a scone, head to the park, stroll the neighborhoods, check out some ducks on the bridge over the river or stop by the library.  It always lifted my spirits despite the bitter cold and desperately dreary weather.

Then one day, like magic, I found a little snow crocus snuggled in by our houses warm foundation.  And then a few more.  Then I noticed the snow was starting to turn wet instead of icy.  It suddenly didn’t feel like true physical torture on my bare toes to dash outside and grab my mail.  Tiny buds appeared on trees and I swear I cried.  It was so joyful when the sun finally felt warm on my shoulders.  Exhilarating is more like it.  It can only be described as pure honest to goodness happiness when spring comes to a northern town.  And of course, that small town felt like home.

While I am still so very new to this area and it always takes time to find every single bit of joy your geography has to offer (I swear I am trying).  Maybe there is sort of a three-month honeymoon when you are a gypsy like me.  Then you either get the itch to move again (not the case here unless it was to pack up all these men of mine and bring them home to my own mama, daddy and brother) or to become a little melancholic for what you had.  Oh no matter.  It is spring none the less.  Just a little different this time around.  Little wildflowers still are a-bloom.  The trees are almost in their full glory.  Birds sing with all their might.  Maybe not as dramatic.  Maybe a little more…gnatty.  But it is spring.  And the sun is out.

This poem, despite the title, sits with me today.

The Summer day

By Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

But truly, it is impossible to dwell on the past when you have this right here isn’t it?