Monday, November 30, 2015


Saturday was downright balmy.
For much of the day, I worked in shirtsleeves.

Saturday night the temperature plummeted again.

Sunday morning was nose-bitingly cold,
but sunny and still.
Very pleasant. Very beautiful.

I took these pictures en route to the barn.

As the rising sun reached each plant, the frost melted.
Plants two feet apart looked completely different.

I had to work fast.

This meant chores were postponed for ten minutes.

Background music for these images was provided by
a cacophony of outraged goatsong,
courtesy of the Cloud Harvest gang.

I will not be uploading the audio.

You're welcome. 

The shrill voices of Tansy and Fern rose above the entire herd.

You would not believe how indignant two tiny goats can be.
As if those two fuzzy little pudgeballs are lacking for grub!

I think they didn't want to set a precedent.
"Photography before breakfast?
Not on our watch!"


And now November ends as a new week begins.
And it's time to head for the barn.

I hope you have a wonder-full Monday.

Friday, November 20, 2015

housework can be sort of fun

One of the benefits of cleaning out and defrosting the chest freezer, is knowing that eight gallon jugs of cider will soon create a perfect new bottom layer.

Another benefit is the fun challenge of using up what's left in the freezer. Like baking and roasting and stewing the last of the organic chicken purchased when it was on sale. And those crazy frozen "pumpkin" waffles which I will never - ever - buy again, but which will be eaten this time and not wasted.

And this morning, the cranberries.

Question: how many cranberries can be added to one cake?

Answer: not sure yet!

Will let you know when the cake has cooled. If it turns out to be a mass of cranberries lightly held together with fragments of cake, I will know I have gone a bit too far.

Fun to experiment, anyway! And I wish you could walk through my kitchen right now - the aroma is wonderful. Like taffy? Fudge? Hard to say exactly, I can't identify it. Maybe it's just been too long since I used sugar in a recipe!


I rarely do this, but I'm coming back with an update.
Less than an hour after posting.

The cranberry ratio is Just Right!
What a lucky, happy bake :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

evening chores

Evening chores now begin at about 3:30 PM.
But today I had an appointment, and didn't get home til 4:30.
So I finished up by moonlight.

Handheld, one-second exposures.

Just for fun.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

a bit of progress

We are having a second day of this:

Drizzling, mizzling, very cold rain and gloom. I may declare a Day of No Chores. Apart from, you know, the minimal actual chores, which take place outside, every day, morning, noon and evening, no exceptions, period.
Morning chores were delayed a while, though...
the goats were sleeping in.
Hooray for barncams!

In the past few weeks,There have been several small but challenging projects of the "Before Winter!" variety going on here. In one example, I've hired help to move a short section of the 6-foot perimeter fence. There are two reasons for this task. First, tightening up some of the sag created by the goats reaching for something especially delicious on the other side. Mostly Betula, who is quite a big fellow and can do this:

The second reason to move the fence is to expand the upper edge of my perennial border by the driveway, to provide a safe haven for the heroic Chelone obliqua. I fully intended to get this done "Before Winter!" last year, but failed. To my deep regret, the remnant Chelone population that struggled to recover after the Snowplow Incident of 2013 got ferociously decimated by the snowplow again in 2014. I swore that if any survived, they would be transplanted in 2015.

In early Spring, a leaf appeared here and there, poking gamely up between the unheaval of gravel and old macadam chunks pushed several feet into the garden by the plow. Every day I checked and saw another and another, until there was a little hopeful patch. I thought it would be safest to let them grow and bloom before moving them in the Autumn, but hedged my bets by experimentally moving a few plants in the Spring. They struggled a bit in their new location by the goat barns, so for the big move in Autumn, I picked a spot more like their original, if troubled, home along the drive.

Moving the fence just a few feet into the paddock made room for a wide row of Chelone on the other side. You can see the original fenceline on the left in the above picture, and the new line with the unattached fence sort of festooned along it, waiting to be stretched and reattached. The distance between the two lines is only about four feet. But it's an important four feet. I hope there will be enough sun for the plants; a constant concern here. But at least the plow cannot touch them.

Most of the transplanting was done before this rain began. There are a few plants I've offered to friends, to give the original population an opportunity to thrive and bring joy in more places. But if the friends don't come for them, I'll transplant the remaining few when this rain stops.

Which brings us back to today.

I'm feeling a bit like this leaf.
Tattered at the edges, worn thin in places.
Still hanging on, though.

I think I will strive to feel a little more like this:

Very similar features, but very different effect.

And look here:


Sunday, November 8, 2015

this light


This light.
The clear, lateral light of Autumn.
I cannot describe it.

Fortunately, I have a camera.

Have you ever seen...

the rare Cashmere Tree?
Extremely productive!

But even harder to comb than the goats.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

november notes

I recently remembered that grilled cheese sandwiches exist.
This was a happy thing, because I'm hitting a lot of obstacles to task completion lately, and am not feeling much satisfaction in "jobs well done."
Because they are not done.

My biggest achievement in the past few days:
grilled cheese sandwiches.
Organic butter, bread, sharp cheddar.
One of my old Pyrex skillets -
the little ones that are just right for this job.
And in a very few minutes:

So. Good.

This is Piper during our Sanity Break in the woods yesterday.
I am sitting on my "sketching cushion" a few feet away.
Sneaky Ms. Piper crept up near me and stood very still.

She really believes I cannot see her.

Maybe I can't see you, Piper,
but I definitely know where your jacket is!

Piper still turns away from the camera when she sees it,
but I managed to get this hug-and-click shot.
Sneaky tactics!
I learn so much from my dog ;)


Tsuga and her babies (who are almost 7 months old, can you believe it?) have been spending sunny afternoons browsing the Lower West Side. The rest of the herd is enjoying the remains of the terrace vegetable garden, since the fences came down on Monday. So, in fairness, I had to find a special treat for Tsuga, Tansy and Fern. The little LWS paddock between the road and the driveway is full of leaves and even a little greenery. They've been very busy.

Very, very busy.

I love these colors:
If the cashmere grew in the same color as the topcoat,
Tsuga and her girls would be a perfect fiber palette for me.  

I hope your week is going well, your weather is kind, your tasks and projects are hurdle-free. And I hope you can take time for things that make you feel productive, in an environment that nurtures you.

Adding a few rows in the Knitting Room.