Category Archives: Life

Underneath

Underneath the vineyard
Tiny buds appear
Are they signs of kiwi?
Will this be the year?

Underneath the chicken run
Small pullets play and fight
Fluttering and flying low
Huddled up at night

Underneath the playset
Two boys rest with a treat
Chocolate pudding faces
Sticky smiles so sweet

Underneath the lovage
A little kitty purrs
Hiding, yawning, napping
Cleaning all her fur

Underneath the bright blue sky
The wind blows soft and strong
Greens and yellows dot the land
Summer won’t be long



Quiet Times

Quietly I wander
Through the rows
Searching

Softly I whisper
Words of love
Hoping

Eagerly I welcome
Signs of life
Smiling

A touch of pink
A splash of green
Growing

We wandered around the vineyard yesterday and were surprised to see all the new life.

Grape leaves are starting to grow on the vines.

Chocolate mint is running wild like a carpet on the floor of the vineyard.

The kiwi is already greening and growing.

The goji berries are growing greener than ever.

The one creeping phlox that is still around has doubled in size from last year.

Okra (et al.)

Today I planted okra
Lettuce, spinach, kale
And one sad tomato
All crooked, bent and frail

Worms in every spadeful
Wiggling in the dirt
A few big nasty grubs
A little chick dessert

Next I planted flowers
And cilantro all around
Bush beans in the garden
Carrots in the ground

I looked down at my hands
When everything was done
Dirt and mud had crusted
My fingers…every one

And then I heard the laughter
The sound of running feet
I looked up from the garden
And got an awful treat

Two boys armed with squirt guns
Had come to chase me off
They giggled, smiled and shouted
Hey Mom! It’s time to stop!

Nourishment

We move the chicks outside to the run every day. The boys fight over who gets to pick them up, transport them and put them in the pen.

Then, they both eagerly hop in and start digging.

They like nothing better than to feed the chicks live worms.

They get the biggest kick out of the little pecks and tweets and fights that break out when they hold a wriggly worm in the air.

As I sat watching, I wondered at the chicks lack of fear with the boys. They hopped on their laps, walked right up to them and came running to a “hear chickie, chickie”.

“Why don’t they do that with me?”

“Come in here Mommy, and they will.”

And then I realized that it’s time. Time is the key.

It’s not enough for me to feed and water them and occasionally pick one up. Time spent playing with and holding them is what makes the difference.

Time. And patience.

I would never describe either of my boys as patient. Yet in this, they are more patient than I am.

They will sit and coax a chick into their laps and not get frustrated when it doesn’t come right away.

Yet, I see them lose patience with so many other things.

Joe gets in a huff when he can’t do something well the first time he does it.

Jake loses all patience when he can’t get the wrapper on his cheesestick off.

But maybe it’s because these “other” things are just not in their control. They have to rely on someone else to help them.

Maybe thats where the frustration comes from.

Playing with the chicks, nourishing them and coaxing them to be comfortable is not frustrating for the boys.

On a weird level, they connect with that vulnerability.

The chick is at their mercy. The chick is relying on them.

There is really no magic to the chicken whispering.

There is just time.

 

 

Lovely Lilac

This is my lovely lilac
Planted years ago
Growing oh so slowly
Bruised by wind and snow

Last year, I thought it dead
But I left it in the ground
And now I’m glad I did
Just see this plant rebound!

Now patiently I’ll wait
For many years to pass
That is how long it takes
For buds to bloom at last

Kneeling in the Garden

Yesterday, the boys planted a “secret hideout” using mammoth sunflower seeds.

They planted the seeds in a ring and then planted flowers, watermelon and broccoli inside.

Why watermelon and broccoli?

“For a snack while we are hiding out.”

While they were busy planting and plotting, I knelt in my own secret hideout.

I planted spaghetti, acorn and pattypan squash around the base of the squash arch. Today, I’ll plant the morning glory seeds I soaked overnight around the outside. I can’t wait to see what the arch looks like in a month.

I planted alyssum around the edge of the garden and transplanted a few more tomatoes. The ones I planted on Monday were very sad from wind and frost. I’m still hopeful they will bounce back though.

I planted the globe amaranth I had started indoors, as well as the purple basil in the herb spiral. There is still no sign of the cilantro and basil I planted a few weeks ago.

I planted the last pepper. I do not know what kind of pepper it is. I really must figure out a way to label better. My masking tape ends up falling off and my labels fade, even when I use a permanent marker.

I know it could be a sweet chocolate pepper, a jalapeno or a hungarian hot wax.

The tomatoes are the same. The pink boar’s all kept their masking tape on, but the crimson sprinters and mortgage lifters shed theirs when I wasn’t looking.

I have this problem yearly. It seems like it would be an easy enough thing to do, labeling plants, but for some reason I cannot seem to get it.

Oh well, I like a surprise.

Kneeling in the garden
Smelling earth and trees
Thanking God in heaven
While I’m on my knees

Juveniles

The teenage chickens are hormonal.

Their pecks are starting to bite a bit and they are getting on each other’s nerves.

If Cheep Cheep makes the mistake of trying to eat at the same time as Yellow Feather, fighting breaks out.

If Fluffy takes a drink too close to Flappy, a battle begins.

And if Fin tries to cuddle up with Sir Hubert McFeatherington…the gloves come off and the pecking gets even more aggressive.

They definitely have some of their mothers’ traits. Some of them are calm, cool and collected, but the two that I think are roosters are angry juveniles fighting for the alpha position.

Enter the chicken whisperers.

Since it is such a nice day, we decided to bring them out to their run for a little fresh air and sunshine.

I don’t know if it because they had more room, or because the chicken whisperers were in the run with them, but they were instantly calmer and spent the time exploring their new surroundings and climbing all over the boys.

I dread putting them all back in their dank tank in the garage. They seem so happy hopping and flapping around the run, and the boys love being in there with them.

But they sure did get a treat today.

Two boys control them
Softly soothing with whispers
Held gently with love

Innocence and Bliss

Yesterday was wonderful
We strolled around the swales
A sunset bright and beautiful
Boys running through the trails

Pretty buds were blooming
The water overflowed
The innocent enjoyment was
A wonder to behold

The grass is getting greener
The trees have little buds
As the day turned into night
The boys splashed in the mud

The summer heat is coming soon
Blue skies and brightest sun
Sprinklers, frogs and muddy feet
Swimming, biking…fun

Splashing in the swale

Searching for frogs

Racing through the maze

Investigating

Bees Like Dandelions

Dandelions.

Weed or wildflower?

Good or bad?

Love ’em or hate ’em?

When Ray and I bought our first house, we were determined to have a bright green yard. The dots of yellow dandelions were annoying because, afterall, dandelions are a noxious weed that must be eradicated. Right?

We wanted that perfect manicured lawn, just like our neighbors had and just like lawn care companies told us we should have.

Then we moved to a bigger lot. We wanted to put a garden in, so we started listening to garden podcasts. We started to wonder why we didn’t like dandelions. Why did we want perfect green grass? Why were they so bad?

The more research we did, the more we discovered that the only reason we didn’t like them or want them in our yard was because “they” said dandelions are bad. Whoever “they” are.

So we let them be and our yard looked beautiful.

Dandelions remind me of carnations and marigolds. My boys call them sunflowers because of their bright yellow hue.

They are medicinal.

They are edible…every part.

I like seeing a sea of yellow across my yard.

I like getting dandelion bouquets, picked so carefully and lovingly, from my boys.

I like dandelions.

And what’s more, bees like them too.

Bees need a diverse diet and cannot survive solely on dandelions, but they are one of the first food sources in the Spring. Their bright yellow color tells bees that winter is over.

Bees come for the dandelions and discover other plants and flowers that provide them with a rich diet they need to survive, make honey and raise a healthy brood of bees.

And let’s not forget the joy of making a wish…

Dandelions are good
They are wildflowers, not weeds
I love them so much

Awake

Today, Joe and I walked around the homestead and heard buzzing, chirping, croaking and singing.

Spring is here, softly waking everything up and gently pushing back on a very determined winter.

We tried to sneak up on the croaking frogs, but before we could sneak all the way to the edge of the pond, the croaking stopped and we heard the plip plop of frogs diving for cover.

We heard the birds talking to each other and the rustle of critters in the grass. Joe was very excited to find worms and other crawly critters.

Buds are forming on trees and the majority of the autumn olive Ray and the boys transplanted last weekend are doing well.

Cherry blossoms are opening. We ended up with a handful of cherries last year that were a bit too sour for my taste. Maybe we will get enough this year to can.

Due to all the rain, our swales are full and overflowing.

The sun was shining and there was only a slight breeze, so we brought the plants out to stretch and bask in the sun and fresh air.

I plan to plant my cabbage and broccoli in the garden today. I may also throw some lettuce and spinach down and replace the carrot seeds the chickens ransacked.

They can withstand cooler temperatures.

The chicks also got to spend a few hours outside. It is still too chilly to leave them out at night with no mama to keep them warm though.

Yep. Spring is definitely here…now if we could just get it to stay put.

Winter, raging and railing
Holds tight to the cold
It roars into March
Pushing with rain and snow

Spring, sighing and shushing
Quietly stands against the cold
It whispers soft sounds
And stands determined and bold

#atozchallenge