the ugly earring

ug‧ly [uhg-lee] offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance

Month: June, 2012

farm dress

If this world were permanent,
I could dance full as the squaw dress
on the clothesline.

from: indian summer by diane glancy
image: here


this giving of love to the work of the hands


“As Gill says, “every man is called to give love to the work of his hands. Every man is called to be an artist.” The small family farm is one of the last places – they are getting rarer every day – where men and women (and girls and boys, too) can answer that call to be an artist, to learn to give love to the work of their hands. It is one of the last places where the maker – and some farmers still do talk about “making the crops” – is responsible, from start to finish, for the thing made. This certainly is a spiritual value, but it is not for that reason an impractical or uneconomic one. In fact, from the exercise of this responsibility, this giving of love to the work of the hands, the farmer, the farm, the consumer, and the nation all stand to gain in the most practical ways: They gain the means of life, the goodness of food, and the longevity and dependability of the sources of food, both natural and cultural. The proper answer to the spiritual calling becomes, in turn, the proper fulfillment of physical need.”

Wendell Berry, Bringing it to the Table: Writings on Farming and Food
image: A farm mother and her child. ca. 20th Century. National Archives

flock mentality

Two of our chickens died yesterday.

The girls watched as he dug two holes far out in the pasture – one for Lourdes, a meek gray cochin hen, and another for Henny Penny (the hen who ate the lizard).

I had a few questions for the teenage boy working at the feed shop, inquiring how and why. The stress of the move? Dehydration? Parasites? The conversation ended with a beautifully sad revelation. The two of them had died near each other and within the same hour. He said it was the flock/herd mentality: chickens sense these things – sickness and impending death – and often they die in pairs or threes.

Lemon, our white leghorn who has looked like death for weeks, was on her way out as well. The girls and love nurtured and cared for her as I made my way home. I spoke to her, too. She’s a scrawny little girl who wants nothing more than to have some babies.  In the old house, she was the brooder and egg hoarder. So, I promised her. (Yes, I did.) If she pulled through  – I’d get her a rooster and she could finally have her nest and some chicks. As the sun headed toward the horizon, we fed her some watermelon, and I watched her slowly make her way to Henõ Penõ, the other remaining one (who was the outcast of the flock and completely unphased by what had killed the other two). Lemon was too weak to perch for the night but curled up below Henõ.

She survived through the night. This morning, she pecked at the leftover watermelon and moved through the yard.

A good sign.

Things are happening here on the farm: the 4:30am animal party – every morning – each animal praising the new day, this lesson of death, two scorpion sightings, the girls cleaning their tree house, llama love, little L’s laughter, and the list of things-to-do-and-fix grows and grows.

image: here

the country

To country people cows are mild,
And flee from any stick they throw;
But I’m a timid town bred child,
And all the cattle seem to know.

~ TS Eliot

image: here

the first morning


coffee and a llama ride.



here we go, dearest friends.

i’ve boxed up the baggage and tossed out old identities. suddenly the house looks bigger, brighter without our stuff. yes, it is time. even the beetles have come to wish us well on our new journey.

but i won’t forget. this is the home where i gave birth (twice).
and the rose bush – those white tombstone roses –
i will long for their perfume next spring.

this is the morning before the big move.

summer break


So, we’re taking the leap, and making the jump.
This is the end of our city dwelling.

We’re going up the country
…goin’ some place we’ve never been before.

a new list of characters coming soon.

image: via ancientish to 542