Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mouse, out of the house...

Last winter, in the deep cold, someone pawned an abandoned baby field mouse off on me. I took very good care of her all during the cold months. She feasted on pop corn and sunflowers, fresh fruit and home made bread. This week, when the weather was reliably warm, we set her free.
There is an old, abandoned chicken barn across the street. It is filled with excellent mouse habitat; piles of lumber, stacks of hay; all surrounded by lovely meadow. On a warm late afternoon, we set "Twinkle," free. I left stacks of sunflower seeds in strategic places, and a pile of warm nesting material, too.
I am hoping that Twinkle will find friends, have a family, enjoy life in the big world. And I am really hoping she does NOT become owl fodder. This photo is the last shot of her as she dashes for a safe place to begin her life outside captivity. We wish you a long and happy life, Twinkle!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Snow drops...

Although it is late April and much of the country is enjoying real spring weather, Maine is just now getting into the "swing of spring." Much of my world is still shades of brown. Finding a patch of snow drops like these along the side of the road is a treat. The lush green foliage and the scattering of dainty white blossoms are real attention grabbers. And so pretty I wanted to share.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Blue bird ...

The blue birds are back. This handsome guy has a hen he is feeding in the nest box he is sitting on. They are fascinating to watch, and the male sings a pretty little song, too.


The mothering skills of these chickens amazes me. If you look at this picture you will see a wee chick poking out from under mama's left wing. The chicks scurry up under their mom, crawling through the feathers right up to the hens back. It is funny to see a little head peeking out from on top of the hens neck.
The mothers don't exactly feed the chicks, but they do show them how to find food. If the hen gets a treat, she calls the chicks with a soft, distinctive clucking. Next she breaks the treat up into tiny bits, then models how to peck at what she has found for them.
When a shadow from a passing crow, hawk or eagle crosses the yard, the mama again calls the chicks to her, covering them with her body and flattening out on the grass until danger has passed.
At the end of the day, while the hens without chicks are still scratching about, the mama hens are tucked in the coop at 5 pm on the dot, chicks tucked beneath her warm, feathered skirts. She is so drowsy from watching out for her babes all the long day, she seems unable to keep her eyes open another moment.
I wonder at how they know to do what they do, and I treasure the sweetness of it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Boston skyline...

This is the view of the Boston skyline from where Pearl's memorial luncheon was held yesterday. So pretty!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Aunt Pearl's ashes were returned from Harvard Medical School, after "science" was done with her. All that was her in body has been reduced so that it is held in this very small green box. All that was her in spirit remains with us, in warm memories.
Today we gathered to return her remains to her family. Then, as she would have wished, we had "luncheon and a cocktail." And we told some stories and we laughed and connected and missed her. A lot. Thank you, Pearl, for loving us and for decorating our lives. I miss you so....

Monday, April 20, 2009


Sir LOIN!!! (He is the son of "Filet.") He was born the day I left for Intergroom. He is a friendly little guy, as you can see by the way he is checking out the camera. I spent a lot of time today leaning on the stall door watching him dance and gambol about. When I wasn't doing that I was sitting in my back yard looking at my baby chicks or brushing piles of shedding coat off my horse. A very nice way to spend a day, really.

Week old chick...

This is one of the Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks that hatched on Easter Sunday. I have three chicks marked like this, and two little yellow fluffers. For such tiny, delicate-looking creatures, these guys are thriving and growing and making me smile about 100 times a day.

Home Sweet Home...

I am home from New Jersey! It is fun to go away, but oh, so good to be home again.

I took this picture of pretty tree swallows this morning. They have just arrived from warmer climes and are scoping out nest box options. They swirl and twitter in the air over our house and bring warm weather with them.

Intergroom was great fun... it is so good to see friends and acquaintances, such a treat to watch the grooming competitions, and I have a blast working in the German Red Clipper booth. We had lots and lots of groomers stop by to take the clipper for a test drive, and so many took one home with them that we soon sold out!

Today I will spend "nesting." Cleaning up and putting away and enjoying the embrace of this place I call home.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I am in Somerset, New Jersey at the annual Intergroom trade show. I will be working at the German Red Clipper booth all weekend. Over 3,000 groomers are expected to attend this amazing show, and I get to be a part of it. It is very exciting!
It is interesting to watch the show set up... imagine a cavernous building, a huge, echoing, empty space. Then imagine hundreds of people coming in with boxes and carts and STUFF. Soon, neat rows of booths appear, complete with a myriad of colors. There is hustle and cursing and laughter and shouted greetings. After a few hours, the work is complete, and a small city of shops is set up where there was nothing. Tomorrow people will pour in, there will be noise and excitement and energy. There will be glorious dogs and people giving their all as they compete. And at the end the process is reversed, and the building is soon an empty shell again. Until next time...

Monday, April 13, 2009

One more chick pic...

This is the "other" kind of chick I have. I have two of the fluffy yellows and three of these little striped guys. So far they all seem very perky and wow are they ever cute. They climb up mama's back and burrow under her neck feathers, or crawl up under her chest feathers, or under her wings. Then they peer out from their warm, safe place, observing their surroundings. It is hard for me to accomplish much, I just want to sit and watch "hen tv."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Here is fun Easter basket!! Wishing you joy today...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A miracle in my hand...

In the Christian faith, the hatching of a chick is seen as a metaphor for the resurrection of Jesus. How timely then, that today, the day before Easter, I held a common egg in my hand as a damp, chirping chick emerged into this world. It was a moment filled with wonder.

I tucked the new babe safely under its warm feathered mama. She crooned to it as it chirped softly. For 21 long days the dedicated hen has remained nearly motionless on the nest, keeping 4 eggs warm and safe. She only left the nest once or twice a day to feed one end and empty the other. The rest of the time she was in a trance, brooding the eggs in the clean straw nest. Her patience has been richly rewarded.

In this springtime season of rebirth after the long winter, I am embracing the miracles that surround us. From the humble hatching of a chick to the story of the resurrection, our lives are, indeed, full of wonder and marvels.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Swing, swang, swung...

The sight of a swing unfailingly brings a smile to my face. Rubber seated, rusty chained schoolyard swings, rope swings, frayed and worn, tire swings with their pungent smell, or poetic beauties like the one pictured here. One glance and I am 8 again, pumping my legs to make the swing go high then higher... head thrown back, hair flying, hands gripping for dear life. I used to worry that I'd go so high the swing would flip right over the top of where it was fastened, and then what would become of me? It was a thrilling sort of worry.

My mother bought a wooden glider swing for my dad for fathers day one year when I was a teen. It was a two-seater; 4 adults could share it, facing each other and go for a gentle ride. I have a vivid memory of my parents sitting side by side in the sun, holding hands. My dad smiled sweetly at me and said, "holding hands with your mother has always been the very most romantic thing." Later, when I left them alone there, moving slowly to and fro, I turned in time to see mom throw her head back in a joyful, spontaneous laugh at something he had said. Dad's eyes were twinkling with pleasure at her delight.

Swing set memories make me smile.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Water music...

This is the season when the snow pack melts and cold rain falls. Wherever I go in Maine my travels are punctuated with water music. Every culvert, steam, brook and river are overflowing and moving fast. The sound of rushing water on granite speaks to my very soul.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy as...

A few months ago, during a very cold spell, my husband set up a kerosene heater in the basement to help prevent our pipes from freezing. All was well until shortly after he left for work, when the heater malfunctioned and filled the house with blue-gray soot. The walls, ceilings, windows, everything, had a dull cast of greasy yuck. My white poodle, not so white!
Long-story-short, we filed an insurance claim and this week the cleaning crew is here removing the soot from the building.
This means that I have taken every curtain down and washed them, every picture off every wall has been taken down, washed and stashed. I pulled all the furniture out from the walls and cleaned under and behind them. While I was at it I purged lots of things I no longer want or need. Chris took every single item out of our basement, so it can be cleaned as well. We have worked very hard.
Rachel said to me, "Mom, when this is all over and the house is pretty and clean, you will be happy as a duck!" The expression struck me as funny. She noted my mirth and asked, "What? Isn't that an expression?" I responded, "It is now!"
So, yes, as the house is going from grimy to sparkling, I am feeling tired but as happy as... happy as a duck!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bony soil...

One of New England's many charms is its abundance of stone walls. They began as somewhat of a vertical landfill, as farmers working this soil toiled against the "bones" in it... boulders that hampered the growth of crops. At first farmers would just stack the rocks in an unused area, but eventually they began to make meandering walls from them. Walls that marked land boundaries and had the added benefit of keeping livestock, such as sheep, from roaming.
Historians say that most of these walls were built between 1775 and 1825. They crisscross every farm, line most roads, and are found overgrown and tumbled-down on walks through lonely woods. Decorated by lichen and moss, the stones stand in silent memory of the men who founded this land and left ageless, beautiful reminders of their passage.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My neighbors are pigs...

Isn't that neat?

And something you may not know about me...

Is I am quite a good shot with a gun!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A quarter of a century, and more...

Yesterday I turned 49. And... my sweet husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage. This means that I have now been MARRIED more years than I was single. And I am so thankful.
My wedding band is wearing thin, and his is scratched, scuffed and dull. I was a bit horrified to realize it is our silver anniversary. I remember thinking that people who reached their "silver" year, were so... so... OLD.

When I was 24, Chris asked me what I wanted for my upcoming birthday. I told him I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. So, on my birthday, we eloped.

My college professor married us in his yard in the Blue Ridge mountains. The sun shone, the birds sang, and daffodils bloomed in riotous patches. I wore a tea length ivory dress, and high heels that hurt. As our minister spoke, my feet felt funny. Like they were not touching the ground. At first I thought my shoes were too tight, too HIGH. I glanced down, but all seemed well, my feet seemed to be firmly attached to the greening grass beneath them. Chris, holding tight to my hand, chose that moment to whisper to me, "Do you feel it?" I shot him a questioning glance. He repeated, "Do you feel it?" Then he added, "Are you floating too?"

To this day we cannot explain it, but at the moment that we were lawfully wed, we floated above this bright spinning planet for a moment. I like to think it was a sign, a message that our vows were right and true and meant to be.

Yesterday I began my 50th year on this beautiful earth, and 25 years with the love of my life.
Sometimes I think I am still "floating, too."