Thursday, February 23, 2017


Yesterday, a friend asked, "What are you doing with all those lemons?"

My happy reply:


Zesting, juicing, freezing, preserving.

Ingesting. Inhaling.

I also shared a dozen with a friend who loves to cook.
She immediately said "chicken piccata!" which sounded like a fine idea.
But the next day, before using even one,
she emailed a photograph of the lemons!
These lemons are irresistibly photogenic.

Have to say: as DeepWinter mood-lifters go,
this experiment has been a total success.
May even tide me over til the annual therapeutic trip
to the local florist for a pot of hyacinths!

Wishing you all a lemony day.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

taking care

As winter creeps along,
and everyone I know is struggling,
it seems more and more obvious that many things are

Including myself.
I've been making an effort to eat well this winter.
Homemade soup. Fresh greens. Very little sugar.

A few days ago I ordered something special.
My lovely postal carrier brought it yesterday.
You may know that surprise packages are one of my favorite things,
but even when it's not a surprise, opening a package is fun.
(I live a very quiet life these days.)

The moment I cut through the tape,
all my senses perked right up.
Because this:

 Organic Meyer lemons
from Lemon Ladies Orchard in California.
With a nice bonus treat: fresh bay leaves.
I've never met Karen Morss, the Orchardess, but I bet I'd like her.

In about an hour I'll be back outside, wrestling a bale of hay onto a sled
and pushing it foot by foot through the heavy wet snow to the barns.
And wobbling to and fro with jugs of water for the big de-icer bucket.
And fighting to get gates open,
then fighting to get them closed again.
And again, and again.

But right now, I'm enjoying the juxtaposition
of sunshine, snow, and fresh lemonade.

Cheers, dear readers.

Monday, February 13, 2017

a february night

Every time I woke last night, it was still snowing.

Once, I got up and gave Piper and Moxie and Della a snack.
Once, I opened the sliding glass door, leaned out with a broom, and knocked the new snowcap off the sagging birdfeeder.

And once I just stayed in bed and took these pictures.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

a note from saturday morning

Yesterday was refreshingly sunny.
Bright blue skies!
Fluffy wisps of clouds sailing by!

They were sailing, of course, because it was windy. It was also very cold.
Piper insisted on coming out for the first session of morning chores, but expressed a wish (immediately granted) to return to her cozy bed long before those chores were finished.

 "Okay, I see you have an adequate handle on the chores.
You can take it from here. I'll be in my office."

Meanwhile, at the sliding glass door on the porch, Moxie and Della have front-row seats for Squirrel Theatre. Performances scheduled daily, under the birdfeeders.

Della: "Athletic but incoherent performance."
Moxie: "I liked him much better as Hamlet."

More snow is predicted this weekend. And Monday.
Also: Wednesday and Thursday.

This morning, the sky is dense and grey again.
let's have another look at yesterday's sky, shall we?

Red oak, white pine, American beech.
Quercus rubra, Pinus strobus, Fagus grandifolia.
A dear and familiar skyscape.

Sugar maple and white birch.
Acer saccharum and Betula papyrifera.

When I want a lesson in survival,
I look to trees.

I hope your Saturday is beautiful.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

poor pictures from a big storm



Just checking!

This is a Real Snow we are having.
Knee-deep at noon, and still coming down.
Chores took...a long time.

All the goats have multiple options for shelter.
They tend to find a spot, stay there for a while, then move to another spot.

Often, this means other goats get shifted out of that other spot.

Seeing that the snow was predicted to continue into the night,
I moved Tsuga and Tansy and Fern into the Corner Suite.
They get "shifted" more often than the others,
and I wanted them to have a comfortable night.
With lots of hay.
In fact, every goat will have lots and lots of hay tonight.
There will be much wasted hay. Can't be helped.

Real-time blogging interruption:
Campion is yelling in distress.
I'm going to put on my last pair of dry trousers and get the flashlight.

Real-time blogging update:
Campion was being kept out of the big barn.
His mama and sister were inside,
and he wanted very much to be inside with them.

(Someday I'll write a post about goat bonding.)

But three other goats were also inside,
and even though there was still plenty of room,
and even though no one was physically blocking the doorway -
which is eight feet wide -
Campion was definitely being prevented from entering.

(Someday I will write a post about herd dynamics.)

I escorted an ice-encrusted Campion in from the snow, 
had a chat with the group in the barn,
and distributed even more hay.
Then I made the rounds again, checking the other goats.
Everyone was settled when I came back inside,
and I sincerely hope they stay that way at least til daylight.
I do not enjoy putting on wet trousers.

And now I'm about ready for bed at 8 PM.
A cup of tea, I think. Maybe an audiobook.
But before I sign off,
let me show you what the birdfeeders looked like today.
All day. Non-stop.

 At one point, the pile of snow atop that feeder was over a foot deep,
and the the line it hangs on was sagging perilously.
I cleared the snow off, added more seed, and came back inside.

Next time I looked out, that feeder was covered in little birds again,
and next to them, I saw this gem - bright even on a dark day:

Good night!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

actual knitting content

I haven't been able to knit for nearly three months.
The focus just wasn't there.
I've wanted to knit. I've tried to knit.
I've missed being able to knit.
It's a productive activity that settles me, calms me, encourages me.
Not being able to turn to this reliable source of comfort was...
well, I don't know what it was, but it felt like a curse.

At long last, it seems the curse is broken.
I believe I owe this to something I read on the Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, that compendium of fibery wit, practicality, and adventure. Kay Gardiner wrote:

"...sometimes you have to bring the calm to the knitting."

The yarn is worsted weight, 50:50 wool and silk.
This is not a practical choice for socks.
The yarn is soft. The knitted fabric will blur. And fuzz. And felt.
It will wear out too quickly from the friction of a boot.

But this is the third pair of socks I've made with this yarn since 2009.

Because occasionally, looking neat and lasting long are not the most important features a sock can offer. Sometimes, it's all about the smoosh.

The socks were finished at sunset yesterday, with lots of help.

(Speaking of finishing, for anyone interested in fibery details, there is a stitch-by-stitch on this publicly-visible ravelry project page.)

And to celebrate their briefly pristine state, the socks were the subject of a very quick (it was cold and I was tired) post-chores shoot this morning:

Here's a behind-the-scenes shot with my location team.
What would I do without them?

Fortunately, the Art Director works for peanuts.