Category Archives: Poetry

Crowing Contest

The roosters are crowing
A contest of sorts
They crow in the morning
They’ve made it a sport

The newer ones start it
Then Pecky joins in
They crow at each other
They cause quite a din

The ladies all flutter
The girls fluff their wings
At four silly roosters
As they crow, call and sing

They started out quiet
Uncertain and muffled
And when they got louder
Some feathers were ruffled

Now it’s a battle
Between old and new
Who can crow louder
The white or the blue?


This year, I won’t get angry.

I won’t throw a fit and stomp my feet.

I won’t let the Japanese beetles get the best of the homestead.

We’ve learned from our mistakes.

1). Using a “trap” to attract the beetles away from the plants ends up doing more harm than good.

Sure, the traps work as advertised, but they draw even more beetles to the property than would otherwise be there.

Last year, we filled several 5 gallon buckets due to the traps, but it made little to no difference in the damage they did.

2). Waiting until the beetles have overtaken every tree, bush and shrub means having and overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and frustration.

Last year at this time they were horrible. So far, they haven’t been as bad.

We are staying ahead of them this year. Every beetle we drown is a beetle that won’t reproduce.

Each morning and evening we go out on patrol. It is a family chore. We work together as a team.

Ray and I are armed with buckets of soapy water.

Joe and Jake are the spotters.

We are ahead of the game, at least for now.

Looking at pictures from last year, they are not as bad. There are fewer beetles and the damage done has been minimal…so far.

We will be vigilant.

We will stay the course.

We will win.

Back to the battle
Japanese beetles invade
We will win this fight


Out by the pond
Out by the rocks
A new plant is growing

Out in the swales
Out by the edge
Where water is flowing

They sway in the breeze
They dance in the wind
A myst’ry worth knowing

And then they emerge
Those fuzzy brown stems
The cattails are showing

Day of Dirt

Yesterday was a day of dirt.




Ray and a team over at the neighbors started transporting dirt from the greenhouse to our yard.

Joe and Jake helped by stomping and crushing the pile.

Meanwhile, I dug holes and transplanted raspberries and seaberries out in the swales.

There are seaberries coming up everywhere in our fedge. They run under the ground and pop up in, around and between other rows.

The root system runs wild under the ground from plant to plant. This means that when you dig one plant up, you usually end up with two or three all strung together.

It wasn’t until I’d dug up the third plant that I’d noticed the nodules.

All of those bumpy white nodes that look like a cluster of eggs are packed with nitrogen. They are just waiting to spread and feed the plants and trees around them. Pretty cool!

After all the raspberries and seaberries were in their new homes, I mixed water with some Superthrive, a liquid multivitamin for plants, and gave them a good soaking.

By the end of the day, I’d transplanted 10 raspberries and 8 seaberries and we had a large chunk of dirt in our backyard.

Playing in the dirt
In the hot summer sunshine
Gives me a warm glow

The Arrival

They are sneaky. Bzzz!

They are stealthy. Swish-swish!

They are silent. Pshhhhh!

They are…the pollinators, and they have arrived on the homestead.

Yesterday, the vineyard and fedge were mostly green, but today white and pink flowers are opening and vines and branches are stretching out to entice the lovely pollinators as they soar through the air.

Of course, I’ve yet to actually see any of them, but the evidence is undeniable.

Young milkweed growing in the vineyard. THE VINEYARD! Also, there are a few in the fedge.

Flowers are bursting from the blackberries.

Pinkish-white bulbs are opening on the kiwi.

The grapes have already grown beyond flowers to tiny green grape-lings. (Not sure this is actually the correct term, but it should be.)

The fedge is the same. Blackberry flowers stand out like white dots all over the vines and the thorny blackberry is already starting to show signs of fruit.

While all of this life bursts forth in the fedge, the autumn olive is suffering. It’s supposed to be invasive, but every year, it tries with all its might to die.

The growth has been faster on one side for the past two years now, so I’m not really worried yet.

I am, however, a little mystified. Here I thought we’d be digging up runners of autumn olive and transplanting them to the swales all year every year, but we are lucky we’ve kept one alive.

Instead, we are digging up seaberry and transplanting that to the swales.

Because it is coming up all over the place in the fedge. It’s running into the aronia and trying to take over the blackberries.

I sure hope the berries are as tasty as people say.

Pollinators here and there
Of every shape and size
Moving pollen everywhere
While flying through the skies

Some are tiny little bugs
They fearlessly take charge
Taking sips and great big glugs
They get to be quite large!


I walk around
I wander over pastures
I see the world
So beautiful and bright

I see my boys
I hear their joy and laughter
I want it all
To stay like this always

The wind blows soft
It flutters through the grass
This land I love
This life I live

The sun shines bright
My world is bathed in gold
I stand enthralled
I kneel in awe

Rise of the Kiwi

The kiwi is coming!
The fruit has appeared
We’ve waited four years
It’s finally here!

The leaves are all over
The vines are all strong
They’ve grown quite a bit
They’re twisty and long

The leaves are concerning
The edges are black
But most are still vibrant
They’ll pick up the slack

Our only small worry
Our only great fear
Will Japanese beetles
All be back this year?


It seems like yesterday
I brought you home with me
My funny, cuddly puppy
My little blonde Charlie

Your fur was soft and fuzzy
Your nose was all squished in
I thought you were the cutest
With your big goofy grin

Our neighbors all adored you
You were such a friendly pet
You always were so happy
The sweetest dog I’d met

When we moved to the country
You still had tons of cheek
You’d run at skunks and coyotes
No one would call you meek

Then one day I noticed
Your fur, once blond, was white
You slept more than you used to
Your eyes were not as bright

I tried to soothe and pet you
I tried to let you see
Just how much I’d miss you
When you weren’t here with me

So goodbye my sweet Charlie
So long my little friend
You will be remembered
And loved until the end



Our homestead is a wonderland
Filled with new delights
Each day brings surprises
That popped up overnight

The kiwi now have tiny buds
The grapes’ pink blossoms grow
Snow in Summer bursting forth
So bright it almost glows

This is the first time we have seen these little buds on the kiwi vines.

Grape leaves are starting to unfurl.

The snow in summer has spread and is blooming.

Tigerlilies spiking out
And gojis growing tall
The hops are running wild again
And bright green berries crawl

The tigerlilies will be bright orange.

We have hops growing on just about every post in the vineyard.

The strawberries are just starting to turn red.

Roses spreading far and wide
Seaberries growing fast
Popping up all o’er the fedge
This year they’ll fruit at last

We are probably going to start strawberries somewhere else next year…the rose bushes are taking over and those thorns hurt. OUCH!

Seaberries are everywhere in the fedge. We are digging the ones between the rows up and transplanting them to the swales.

A carpet spreads out in the fedge
Sedum green and bright
It doubles, triples every year
It’s short but full of might

It’s fun to watch the changes
As April rolls to May
Vibrant greens and rainbow hues
Get brighter every day

I just love how much the vineyard has grown in 4 years.


Joe has been going on butterfly hunts.

He arms himself with a butterfly net and his bug house.

He takes his trusty assistant along with him and hunts the property.

He’s found two small butterflies, but is concerned that there are no monarchs on our land.

“Where are they?” he asks every time he trudges back to the house, his net dragging on the ground.

Last picture we snapped taken in October 2014.

Well, they’ve been having a bit of trouble getting back to Illinois. Milkweed, where they lay their eggs, is disappearing and difficult to find. Why?

Pesticides are a big factor.

One article I read states that butterflies have to cross “the corn/soybean desert” on their migration from Mexico to Illinois. Steps are being taken to plant milkweed along roadsides, but I’m not sure how much good that would do. Won’t it die out again when the pesticides start hitting fields?

We only saw 1 monarch butterfly last year on our property. Just one. I think we saw 2 or 3 the year before.

We have, or had, a lot of milkweed in our back pasture, but it seems we have less every year. Right now, I don’t see any growing. Usually, we don’t start seeing it until late Spring though. So we still have time. We don’t need to worry…yet.

Deep orange and black wings
The monarchs are vanishing
Never to be seen