Friday, March 28, 2008


Well, it was a good day to kick back and read poetry and toss back a few ales..what can I say?
Uno mas por la noche.


It is in the small things we see it.
The child's first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

if you faced the death of bombs and bullets
you did not do it with a banner,
you did it with only a hat to
cover your heart.
You did not fondle the weakness inside you
though it was there.
Your courage was a small coal
that you kept swallowing.
If your buddy saved you
and died himself in so doing,
then his courage was not courage,
it was love; love as simple as shaving soap.

if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

when you face old age and its natural conclusion
your courage will still be shown in the little ways,
each spring will be a sword you'll sharpen,
those you love will live in a fever of love,
and you'll bargain with the calendar
and at the last moment
when death opens the back door
you'll put on your carpet slippers
and stride out.

Anne Sexton


CARELESSLY over the plain away,
Where by the boldest man no path
Cut before thee thou canst discern,
Make for thyself a path!
Silence, loved one, my heart!

Cracking, let it not break!
Breaking, break not with thee!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?
Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!

George Eliot

The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon

The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon
There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he saws his bow
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there's good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a hornéd cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there's a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and then rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
'The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master's been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun'll be rising soon!'

So the cat on the fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
'It's after three!' he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She* hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her surprise
they all went back to bed!

by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Ballad Of Casey's Billy-Goat

The Ballad Of Casey's Billy-Goat

You've heard of "Casey at The Bat,

"And "Casey's Tabble Dote";
But now it's timeTo write a rhyme
Of "Casey's Billy-goat.

"Pat Casey had a billy-goat he gave the name of Shamus,
Because it was (the neighbours said) a national disgrace.
And sure enough that animal was eminently famous
For masticating every rag of laundry round the place.
For shirts to skirts prodigiously it proved its powers of chewing;
The question of digestion seemed to matter not at all;
But you'll agree, I think with me, its limit of misdoing
Was reached the day it swallowed Missis Rooney's ould red shawl.

Now Missis Annie Rooney was a winsome widow women,
And many a bouncing boy had sought to make her change her name;
And living just across the way 'twas surely only human
A lonesome man like Casey should be wishfully the same.
So every Sunday, shaved and shined, he'd make the fine occasion
To call upon the lady, and she'd take his and coat;
And supping tea it seemed that she might yield to his persuasion,
But alas! he hadn't counted on that devastating goat.

For Shamus loved his master with a deep and dumb devotion,
And everywhere that Casey went that goat would want to go;
And though I cannot analyze a quadruped's emotion,
They said the baste was jealous, and I reckon it was so.
For every time that Casey went to call on Missis Rooney,
Beside the gate the goat would wait with woefulness intense;
Until one day it chanced that they were fast becoming spooney,
When Shamus spied that ould red shawl a-flutter on the fence.

Now Missis Rooney loved that shawl beyond all rhyme or reason,
And maybe 'twas an heirloom or a cherished souvenir;
For judging by the way she wore it season after season,
I might have been as precious as a product of Cashmere.
So Shamus strolled towards it, and no doubt the colour pleased him,
For he biffed it and he sniffed it, as most any goat might do;
Then his melancholy vanished as a sense of hunger seized him,
And he wagged his tail with rapture as he started in to chew.

"Begorrah! you're a daisy," said the doting Mister Casey
to the blushing Widow Rooney as they parted at the door.
"Wid yer tinderness an' tazin' sure ye've set me heart a-blazin',
And I dread the day I'll nivver see me Anniw anny more."
"Go on now wid yer blarney," said the widow softly sighing;
And she went to pull his whiskers, when dismay her bosom smote. . . .
Her ould red shawl! 'Twas missin' where she'd left it bravely drying
-Then she saw it disappearing - down the neck of Casey's goat.

Fiercely flamed her Irish temper, "Look!" says she, "The thavin' divvle!
Sure he's made me shawl his supper. Well, I hope it's to his taste;
But excuse me, Mister Casey, if I seem to be oncivil,
For I'll nivver wed a man wid such a misbegotten baste.
"So she slammed the door and left him in a state of consternation,
And he couldn't understand it, till he saw that grinning goat:
Then with eloquence he cussed it, and his final fulmination
Was a poem of profanity impossible to quote.

So blasting goats and petticoats and feeling downright sinful,
Despairfully he wandered in to Shinnigan's shebeen;
And straightway he proceeded to absorb a might skinful
Of the deadliest variety of Shinnigan's potheen.
And when he started homeward it was in the early morning,
But Shamus followed faithfully, a yard behind his back;
Then Casey slipped and stumbled, and without the slightest warning
like a lump of lead he tumbled - right across the railroad track.

And there he lay, serenely, and defied the powers to budge him,
Reposing like a baby, with his head upon the rail;
But Shamus seemed unhappy, and from time to time would nudge him,
Though his prods to protestation were without the least avail.
Then to that goatish mind, maybe, a sense of fell disaster
Came stealing like a spectre in the dim and dreary dawn;
For his bleat of warning blended with the snoring of his master
In a chorus of calamity - but Casey slumbered on.

Yet oh, that goat was troubled, for his efforts were redoubled;
Now he tugged at Casey's whisker, now he nibbled at his ear;
Now he shook him by the shoulder, and with fear become bolder,
He bellowed like a fog-horn, but the sleeper did not hear.
Then up and down the railway line he scampered for assistance;
But anxiously he hurried back and sought with tug and strain
To pull his master off the track . . . when sudden! in the distance
He heard the roar and rumble of the fast approaching train.

Did Shamus faint and falter? No, he stood there stark and splendid.
True, his tummy was distended, but he gave his horns a toss.
By them his goathood's honour would be gallantly defended,
And if their valour failed him - he would perish with his boss
So dauntlessly he lowered his head, and ever clearer, clearer,
He heard the throb and thunder of the Continental Mail
.He would face the mighty monster. It was coming nearer, nearer;
He would fight it, he would smite it, but he'd never show his tail.

Can you see that hirsute hero, standing there in tragic glory?
Can you hear the Pullman porters shrieking horror to the sky?
No, you can't; because my story has no end so grim and gory,
For Shamus did not perish and his master did not die.
At this very present moment Casey swaggers hale and hearty,
And Shamus strolls beside him with a bright bell at his throat;
While recent Missis Rooney is the gayest of the party,
For now she's Missis Casey and she's crazy for that goat.

You're wondering what happened? Well, you know that truth is stranger
Than the wildest brand of fiction, so Ill tell you without shame. . . .
There was Shamus and his master in the face of awful danger,
And the giant locomotive dashing down in smoke and flame. . . .
What power on earth could save them? Yet a golden inspiration
To gods and goats alike may come, so in that brutish brain
A thought was born - the ould red shawl. . . . Then rearing with elation,
Like lightning Shamus threw it up - AND FLAGGED AND STOPPED THE TRAIN.

by Robert William Service

Good Morning

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I Sit and Think
I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,

with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be

when winter comes without a spring
that I shall never see.

For still there are so many things

that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think

of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think

of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

The King
The King beneath the mountains,
The King of carven stone,
The lord of silver fountains,
Shall come into his own

His crown shall be upholden,
His harp shall be restrung,
His halls shall echo golden,
To songs of yore re-sung.

The woods shall wave on mountains,

And grass beneath the sun;
His wealth shall flow in fountains,
And the rivers golden run.

The streams shall run in gladness,

The lakes shall shine and burn,
All sorrow fail and sadness,
At the Mountain-king's return.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Bucklings lining up for combing

I combed goats at the farm today. I started off with two of the doelings. The first was not shedding much, so I moved onto a second, very wild doeling. Boss was doing hooves in the same stall, so she helped me collar the goat and got some special grain for her as a treat to help gentle her.

I moved very slowly and combed softly and got some very nice cashmere fiber off of her.

The bucklings were the priority, and I was just killing time until P and R were ready to go on the hill. P promised to lock all the bucklings in after graining, and Boss directed me to the one in the forefront of the buckling pic I posted a few days ago. The one I was combing is second in the photo-follow the chain, lol.

The little guy I was working on is adorable-he kept looking at me with that quizzical expression and tasting any part he could reach. Another buckling, little silver grey Homer, found my body to be the perfect place to scratch his face, and worked on my shoulders and elbows while I was squatting, and my legs and butt while I was standing.

He was obviously the next one in the combing line! (paybacks...hehe) The friendly ones, they change their tune a bit when you collar and chain them. HOmer's response was to keep the chain pulled taut , but he was not jumpy at all.

I worked him over with the slicker. He had a ton of hay chaff that had worked down through his hair and must have been a great source of discomfort for him! I was more focused on getting him brushed clean then I was for the cashmere.

His cashmere is very short, as is the case with most of the white goats, and he was losing the longer guard hair as well. I nearly filled his small bag by the time I was finished with him. He looked so much better all brushed!

As I was signing out with Boss for the week, she mentioned that the Prescott fence needed attention as one of the smaller bucks was getting out. I had disconnected one of the lower wires earlier in the season so the fence wouldn't short out in the snow, and I figured enough snow had melted the goat was getting out at the lower wires.

I didn't have any tools with me, so I was going to fix it tomorrow, but as I started to leave I decided I would just worry about it, and asked the boss to borrow some of her husband's tools to fix now. I drove over to Prescott and went into the ell to unplug the charger to reconnect the fencewires, and discovered that someone had stolen the extension cord!!!!

I just cannot believe people!!! To unplug the cord to the charger and steal it...grrr...In retrospect, I am suprised they didn't steal the charger as well, since that is more valuable
than the cord.

At any rate, I called Boss on the cell and told her what was up, and drove back over to the farm for another, her last, extension cord. I ran the cord and secured the doors to the place.

I was thinking on the way home that we should get a small padlock for the cord. That way if anyone wanted to steal it they would have to cut the plug to take it!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


ONE night we were together, you and I,

And had unsown Assyria for a lair,
Before the walls of Babylon rose in air.
How languid hills were heaped along the sky,
And white bones marked the wells of alkali,
When suddenly down the lion-path a sound . . .
The wild man-odor . . . then a crouch, a bound,
And the frail Thing fell quivering with a cry!

Your yellow eyes burned beautiful with light:
The dead man lying there quieted and white:
I roared my triumph over the desert wide,
Then stretched out, glad for the sands and satisfied;
And through the long, star-stilled Assyrian night,
I felt your body breathing by my side

Edwin Markham

Al Gore has requested(via a mass e-mail, ;) ) that I pass this along...

Dear Friend,
Climate change is an urgent issue that requires immediate solutions. That's why I've joined with Al Gore and others across the country and around the world who want to halt global warming.
We're on the verge of being over one million strong and I'm asking you to join us. Please click here today to become part of the solutions to global warming:
If leaders in business and government are going to make stopping climate change a priority, we need to send a loud message that we want action now. That's why I'm asking you to get involved today:
Together, we can stop global warming.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cashmere Bucklings 3/08 Tree

Golden Eagle
Aquila chrysaetos
March 24, 2008
That's right, children! A Golden Eagle! *does a little happy dance*
I used to live inside the range of the only breeding pairof Golden Eagles in the state. I would stand out in the dooryard, and hear them call as they were soaring, so I started calling back. I lived there about ten years. Then I moved about 100 miles away, but once took a friend on a roadtrip to the area.
I parked the car on the side of the road up on the blueberry barrens, just down the road from where I used to live. It was an excellent place to spot the goldens, but no sign of them when we stepped out. Since it was a nice day, I said, "let's wait a minute," and sure enough, a spot appeared in the sky.
I started whistling and whether the bird recognized the whistle or the car, or we just stuck out standing along the road, I'll never know. But it flew straight for us and circled lazily overhead.
Having deadlines to meet, we got back in the car and headed down the road, and the bird shadowed us over the road for about a half a mile, which was really cool!
Excuse me if I have shared this story before on the old blog-but it was a good one, and one that I love to tell! Heheh.
Back to today. I was driving home from the farm after combing a bunch of goats, and happened to have the camera on the seat from taking farm pix. I was in the golden's range, and another spot where I have frequently seen them in the past.
There it was! Circling over a gravel pit, roadside. I slowed the car and pulled to the right, sticking my head out the window and whistling while groping for the cam. I was in a bad spot, with a high embankment along the road to block the pit, but could see the bird through the young trees growing on the bank.
I kept whistling and decided to risk pulling ahead to get clear of the bank. The eagle stayed in view, circling and checking me out, while I was snapping pics off rapidfire. Finally the eagle flew off-up the road, and I took several of it retreating.
None of the pics are spot clear at that distance-this one was one of my favorites. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Reason and Passion XV
And the priestess spoke again and said: "Speak to us of Reason and


And he answered saying:

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your
judgment wage war against passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn
the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.

If either your sails or our rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion; that it may sing;

And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.

Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows - then let your heart say in silence, "God rests in reason."

And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, - then let your heart say in awe, "God moves in passion."

And since you are a breath In God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

Khalil Gibram

Saturday, March 22, 2008


The air is like a butterfly
With frail blue wings.
The happy earth looks at the sky
And sings.

Joyce Kilmer



Red Squirrel
Tamiasciurus hudsonicus

The Far Field

I dream of journeys repeatedly:
Of flying like a bat deep into a narrowing tunnel
Of driving alone, without luggage, out a long peninsula,
The road lined with snow-laden second growth,
A fine dry snow ticking the windshield,
Alternate snow and sleet, no on-coming traffic,
And no lights behind, in the blurred side-mirror,
The road changing from glazed tarface to a rubble of stone,
Ending at last in a hopeless sand-rut,
Where the car stalls,
Churning in a snowdrift
Until the headlights darken.

At the field's end, in the corner missed by the mower,
Where the turf drops off into a grass-hidden culvert,
Haunt of the cat-bird, nesting-place of the field-mouse,
Not too far away from the ever-changing flower-dump,
Among the tin cans, tires, rusted pipes, broken machinery,
--One learned of the eternal;
And in the shrunken face of a dead rat, eaten by rain and ground-beetles
(I found in lying among the rubble of an old coal bin)
And the tom-cat, caught near the pheasant-run,
Its entrails strewn over the half-grown flowers,
Blasted to death by the night watchman.

I suffered for young birds, for young rabbits caught in the mower,
My grief was not excessive.
For to come upon warblers in early May
Was to forget time and death:
How they filled the oriole's elm, a twittering restless cloud, all one morning,
And I watched and watched till my eyes blurred from the bird shapes,
-- Cape May, Blackburnian, Cerulean,
-- Moving, elusive as fish, fearless,
Hanging, bunched like young fruit, bending the end branches,
Still for a moment,
Then pitching away in half-flight,
Lighter than finches,
While the wrens bickered and sang in the half-green hedgerows,
And the flicker drummed from his dead tree in the chicken-yard.

-- Or to lie naked in sand,
In the silted shallows of a slow river,
Fingering a shell,
Once I was something like this, mindless,
Or perhaps with another mind, less peculiar;
Or to sink down to the hips in a mossy quagmire;
Or, with skinny knees, to sit astride a wet log,
I'll return again,
As a snake or a raucous bird,
Or, with luck, as a lion.

I learned not to fear infinity,
The far field, the windy cliffs of forever,
The dying of time in the white light of tomorrow,
The wheel turning away from itself,
The sprawl of the wave,
The on-coming water.

The river turns on itself,
The tree retreats into its own shadow.
I feel a weightless change, a moving forward
As of water quickening before a narrowing channel
When banks converge, and the wide river whitens;
Or when two rivers combine, the blue glacial torrent
And the yellowish-green from the mountainy upland,
-- At first a swift rippling between rocks,
Then a long running over flat stones
Before descending to the alluvial plane,
To the clay banks, and the wild grapes hanging from the elmtrees.
The slightly trembling water
Dropping a fine yellow silt where the sun stays;
And the crabs bask near the edge,
The weedy edge, alive with small snakes and bloodsuckers,
-- I have come to a still, but not a deep center,
A point outside the glittering current;
My eyes stare at the bottom of a river,
At the irregular stones, iridescent sandgrains,
My mind moves in more than one place,
In a country half-land, half-water.

I am renewed by death, thought of my death,
The dry scent of a dying garden in September,
The wind fanning the ash of a low fire.
What I love is near at hand,
Always, in earth and air.

The lost self changes,
Turning toward the sea,
A sea-shape turning around,
-- An old man with his feet before the fire,
In robes of green, in garments of adieu.
A man faced with his own immensity
Wakes all the waves, all their loose wandering fire.
The murmur of the absolute, the why
Of being born falls on his naked ears.
His spirit moves like monumental wind
That gentles on a sunny blue plateau.
He is the end of things, the final man.

All finite things reveal infinitude:
The mountain with its singular bright shade
Like the blue shine on freshly frozen snow,
The after-light upon ice-burdened pines;
Odor of basswood on a mountain-slope,
A scent beloved of bees;
Silence of water above a sunken tree :
The pure serene of memory in one man,
--A ripple widening from a single stone
Winding around the waters of the world.

by Theodore Roethke

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Full Moon

The wind is wild today. I can hear the big gusts roaring down the road behind me, building in intensity, until with one great "Swoosh" the trees around the house bounce and bend and it is passed.

Good day to fly kites. :)

Driving wasn't too hazardous, but the parking lots in the capital were grit-born tornados. March winds blow!!!

Frontline is airing a two part special "Bush's war" beginning Monday at 9 EST. Sounds like it might be interesting.

I am glad it doesn't start at eight-my new favorite show has finally recovered from the writer's strike-at least last Monday was a new episode. "Big Bang Theory"

airs Monday night on CBS from 8-8:30. If you don't have a TV, and have a good computer connection, the above link also has past episodes-the miracles of modern techonolgy! (Commercials and all, I believe)

Every episode of this show has cracked me up. The re-runs were still funny the second time around.

The storyline is focused on two guy geeks(physicists) late twenty's early thirties, who share an apartment. Sheldon, played by Jim Parsons, tall skinny, and comically obsessive-compulsive; and Leonard, played by Johnny Galecki, short, dark- haired, glasses-wearing with a somewhat more rational view on life, although even more geeky than Sheldon if at all possible.

They have a couple of guy friends that visit, Raj, Rajeesh Koothraplai,played byKunal Nayyar, an Indian-accented guy that has difficulty talking to women, and Howard Wolowitz, played bySimon Helberg, , a greasy-haired mod who tries to drool geeky charm and brag of his sexual prowess (not).

Their neighbor is Penny, played by Kaley Cuoaco, a blond (supposed) Bimbo that managed to kick Sheldon's butt on a video game and comes off with great one liners to cover her scientific ignorance.

I was worried the writer's strike would slow down the momentum of the group, and I think it did a little bit, but the show was still pretty funny on Monday. I am hoping they keep building momentum, and hope these new faces have bright acting futures ahead of them!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Colors Pass Though Us
Purple as lush tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands.
the purple of ripe grapes,
sunlit and warm as flesh.

Ever day I will give you a color
like a new flower in a bud vase
On your desk. Everyday
I will paint you, as women
color each other with henna
on hands and on feet.

Red as henna, as cinnamon,
as coals after the fire is banked,
the cardinal in the feeder,
the roses tumbling on the arbor
their weight bending the wood
the red of the syrup I make from the petals

Orange as the perfumed fruit
hanging their globes on the glossy tree,
orange as pumpkins in the field,
orange as butterfly weed and the monarchs
who come to eat it, orange as my
cat running through the high grass.

Yellow as a goat's wise and wicked eyes
yellow as a hill of daffodils,
yellow as dandelions by the highway,
yellow as butter and eggs yolks,
yellow as the school bus stopping you,
yellow as a slicker in a downpour,

Here is my bouquet, here is a sing
song of all the things you make
me think of, here is oblique
praise for the height and depth
of you and the width too
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.

Green as mint jelly, green
as a frog on a lily pad twanging,
the green of cos lettuce upright
about to bolt into opulent towers,
Green as Grand Chatruese in a clear
glass, green as wine bottles.

Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums
bachelor's buttons. Blue as Roquefort,
Blue as Saga, blue as still water.
Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.
Blue as the shadows on new snow, as a spring
azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.

Cobalt as a midnight sky
when a day has gone without a trace
and we lie in each other's arms
eyes shut and fingers open
and all the colors of the world
pass through our bodies like strings of fire.

Marge Piercy

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Robins, grey squirrels, and more snow

Local talk:

Well, so far the woolly bear caterpillars from last fall have been correct. The red band in the middle of a black fuzzy fall caterpillar, according to folk tale, can predict the intensity of the winter.

Last fall, every woolly bear I found had a teeny black head and the rest was entirely red. Yikes!

The snow came in hard and strong the beginning of December, at the rate of three moderate (7-10 inches) storms a week. A few changed to torrential downpours followed by small cold snaps.

In addition to above average precipitation for the winter, we have not yet (knock on wood) had the below zero cold snap. In my 28 years in Maine, I have found it typical that we receive a "cold snap" of 20 below for as long as two weeks. That is not breaking zero F in the daytime, with bitter winds. Last year we had two nights of 25F below-one night Daphne (a goat) had her twins. Brrr! This year we have not gone much below -10F

We had a typical week of January thaw. This year's thaw varied from the last few winters where the temps warmed sufficiently in January and February to cause bulbs to start to emerge (crocus, daffodil, snowdrop, etc) Now the bulbs are below so much snowpack, they won't begin to emerge until the snow has melted-any week now in places.

A large Willow I pass daily has just started to glimmer green. I can now see the emerging buds on the Elm that the squirrels are feasting on-there are not many buds left! One very determined squirrel performed feats of magic while I watched today-trying to reach the most difficult buds. This particular squirrel has developed the technique of just nipping the branch of especially hard to reach buds, stripping the buds and then tossing the twigs wayyyyy down to the ground.

I was just trying to estimate exactly how high those squirrels are in the elm, and I would give a rough estimate of 45-60 feet off the ground. It is eally quite a show to watch their acrobatics in the tree. I was out of my chair with a shout today, sure one was headed for a fall of death, when the squirrel recovered with a flip of tail, and returned to the main trunk to feast on the bud.

And, yeah, we had MORE SNOW today, coming down rather furious for awhile, but it was a spring snow that melted on contact with any wet surface. I found myself gazing at it one point thinking, "aww, isn't it pretty?" No S***.

Easy to say, when I know it is finally winding down*the backslide of winter*promises of black flies and mosquitoes...and robins, there will be worms!

Happy Vernal Equinox!

early spring

Signs of early spring related to climate change are popping up all over the world. Some quick research shows the US sites mostly still in the organizational and planning stages. This post in the UK guardian has some actual data to back up the hypothesis.

Despite its stops and starts and the recent wild and extreme weather, all the signs point to

this being one of the earliest springs Britain has had.....

Spring 2008 so far

Hazel flower Dec 9 2007, Isle of Wight - flowering usually spans January-March

Snowdrops Nov 2007, Somerset - traditionally out for Feb 2

Frogspawn Dec 24 2007, Penzance - typically end of Feb-Mar

Nest-building rooks Dec 20 2007, south-west England - usually nest between Feb-Mar

Seven-spot ladybirds Jan 1, Staffordshire - not usually seen until Mar

Tadpoles Jan 24, Devon - typically emerge towards the end of Mar

Nesting blue tits Mid Jan, Sutton Coldfield - usually Mar-May

Newts Mid Jan, Cheshire to Somerset - typically move back to ponds in Feb-Mar

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Will We Work Together?

You wake in the early grey
morning in bed alone and curse
me that I am only
somtimes there. But when
I am with you, I light
up the corners, I am bright
as a fireplace roaring
with love, every bone in my back
and my fingers is singing
like a tea kettle on the boil.
My heart wags me, a big dog
with a bigger tail. I am
a new coin printed with
your face. My body wears
sore before I can express
on yours the smallest part
of what moves me. Words
shred and splinter.
I want to make with you
some bold new thing
to stand in the marketplace,
the statue of a goddess
laughing, armed and wearing
flowers and feathers. Like sheep
of whose hair is made
blankets and coats, I want
to force from this fierce sturdy
rampant love some useful thing.

Marge Piercy


I was just reading that the Premier of China WenJiabo is accusing the Dalai Lama of "provoking violence to promote Tibetan independence."

The Dalai Lama has said that he will resign if the violence continues.

That the Dalai Lama should be accused of provoking violence is absurd. The Dalai Lama has been in training and extensive meditation since age 4 focusing on compassion and non violence.

China invaded and tookover control of Tibet in 1959. China is reputed to smother music, art, religion (and googling certain subjects) unless state approved. Thus the Dalai Lama's recent statement that "cultural genocide is occurring"'. China is currently arresting hundreds of Tibetans for supposed suspicion of involvement in the recent riots. Is it true? Difficult to judge, since China is also not allowing any reporters into Tibet.

So, let's see where we stand with China. For the last twenty years, China has been underselling all other nations in producing products. And doing it exceeding well-have you ever tried to get something made in China out of the box? Either Chinese people enjoy the unwrapping as much as the actual present, or they are overkilling us with finer details that most other countries would smirk at.

Well, brace yourselves, those of us that have picked cheaper, made better, made in China products for the last ten years. Now China has a corner on the market, prices are going to go up, and not necessarily because of the crashing dollar.

Speaking of the crashing dollar, why does Bush seem so happy lately? Well, oil is up to 110 a barrel. Wouldn't that make an oil man happy?

One side note on that oil price. Mostly American oil companies are the ones that have the ability to put in the oil wells and pipelines. When oil companies lease oil rights, or buy from another country, they pay about 12 cents on the dollar in royalties.

That means Exxon-Mobil pays about 14 dollars a barrel for that 110 oil.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Las Furias El Amor

Qué tienes, qué tenemos,
qué nos pasa?
Ay nuestro amor es una cuerda dura
que nos amarra hiriéndonos
y si queremos
salir de nuestra herida,
nos hace un nuevo nudo y nos condena
a desangrarnos y quemarnos juntos.

Qué tienes? Yo te miro
y no hallo nada en ti sino dos ojos
como todos los ojos, una boca
perdida entre mil bocas que besé, más hermosas,
un cuerpo igual a los que resbalaron
bajo mi cuerpo sin dejar memoria.

Y qué vacía por el mundo ibas
como una jarra de color de trigo
sin aire, sin sonido, sin substancia!
Yo busqué en vano en ti
profundidad para mis brazos
que excavan, sin cesar, bajo la tierra:
bajo tu piel, bajo tus ojos
bajo tu doble pecho levantado
una corriente de orden cristalino
que no sabe por qué corre cantando.
Por qué, por qué, por qué,
amor mío, por qué?

Pablo Neruda

Mud Season

Here's a look at my road today. As you can tell by the photo, I was driving on the wrong (or correct for my overseas readers)side of the road to avoid the gigantic ruts on the right side of the road.

I put 11 maple taps in yesterday around noon, and had three and a half gallons of sap by nightfall-and one of the taps had fallen out! Today a quick peek shows at least another half gallon of sap in each jug. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup.

I have been trying to reduce the first gallon and a half on the woodstove. I forgot last time I made maple syrup, I had the old kitchen woodstove to help. You are really supposed to do any quantity outside, due to the volume of moisture boiling huge amounts of sap can create.

One year I kept juggling sap as I was reducing, adding fresh to the pot, and went to bed with about a gallon of sap in the pot and the woodstove stoked. I awoke in the wee hours to a house full of acrid smoke and three inches of black tar burned to the bottom of the pot. I guess I underestimated how close to finished the sap was that night!

The house smelt of burnt sugar for weeks-and I skipped a couple years of sap boiling because I just could not stand the smell!! Of course, the first thing I did last night was to accidentally splash sap on the hot stove while I was filling the pot...ah, the memories of smell!

The temperature outside is perfect sap running-above freezing days, and freezing nights. Those kinds of temps also make the local dirt roads come unglued, as you can tell from the photo.

We still have several feet of snow on the front yard-we are always the last ones to lose the snow. I think it must blow down the pond and over the trees and just dump right in the front yard.

Saw some more robins today in the sumac berries-those tend to be full of bugs, so I am guessing that the robins are after the insects in the old apples and sumac berries, and not the fruits themselves. Going to be awhile yet before they are worm hunting on my lawn!

What birds plunge through is not the intimate space
What birds plunge through is not the intimate space in which you see all forms intensified.(Out in the Open, you would be denied your self, would disappear into that vastness.)
Space reaches from us and construes the world: to know a tree, in its true element, throw inner space around it, from that pure abundance in you. Surround it with restraint. It has no limits. Not till it is held in your renouncing is it truly there. Rainer Maria Rilke

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In honor of Tibet

"Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion." The Dalai Lama

Saturday, March 15, 2008

still tinkering

Still in the raw stages here. I had some photos of three Eastern Grey Squirrels in the Elm tree this morning, and sufferred through uploading it twice to background the title, and still don't have it the way I want. The editing software is on the other comp, so on to that some other time!

I was glad to see the three squirrels at once; that means all are accounted for. I don't know how much more browsing the old Elm can handle-it has been nibbled at every day for months by the squirrels, who go to great lengths to get the tiny buds.

I was wondering if this browsing habit lends the umbrella shape to the mature elm. The squirrels are obviously pruning out every bud but those on the outermost tips of the branches-opening the tree up.

Once the surviving buds branch out at the tips this spring, the branches will be heavy at the tips, giving the pendulous appearance of old Elms.

I have lost several smaller Elms the last couple of years to probably Dutch Elm disease and hope this one manages to avoid contracting it. Unless the squirrels are physically transferring the disease from tree to tree. In which case, no amount of goat poop fertilizer will save it.


"Tis sweet to know there is an eye will mark our coming, and look brighter when we come." Byron