Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bringing in the cabbage.

Lily and I went to help harvest before the snow storm. Here's Lily packing up a crate of cabbages. She packed the whole thing!

Gorgeous eggs! Love the smooth shiny shells.

Here's where we gathered a bucket of potatoes. "Only harvest them if they're bigger than a chicken egg and don't have any sunburn" (a green shiny area where the sun hit the potato while it was growing)


But wish I brought warmer gloves. It's cold out!

Jewel perked up

Last week when we found her so lethargic, her eyes barely able to open, I thought she was a goner. We gave her bowls of water and food down on the floor of her cage where she could reach it, even in her infirm state. That night Lily and I took her up to my bedroom where we read Harry Potter for an hour while I gave Jewel Reiki the whole time. My one hand was on her body and it felt so thin and her breathing was so fast; I thought she would be dead the next morning. I had the girls say goodbye.

But there she was the next morning and every morning after, getting more and more perky and bright eyed!

We cleaned her cage almost every day because she kept spilling her bowls of water. I think she likes the extra attention. Sadly, when she's not on death's door, she gets much less attention. But it's nice to see her back to grabbing food out of our hands now and sniffing around almost like her old self.


Friday, October 28, 2011

October snow

Chickens hiding in the garage after Cookie grabbed each of them by the neck. It was horrible. Rob had let the chickens out on this first cold and snowy day to be helpful, but Lily went out to sled and let Cookie off leash; not knowing the chickens were out.

It has been 8 months that Cookie has been with us and she has never gone after the chickens. I thought she might be scared of them. I was wrong.

Georgia told me when I came downstairs, "Lily let Cookie go, but Papa let the chickens out." She had been watching Lily sled from the window and saw Lily let go of Cookie's leash. I went running out down the hill yelling, but Cookie had already run into the fenced in area and had Sparkle in her mouth. Lily realized what was happening and came up behind her, shrieking! Cookie let Sparkle go, but went right for Henny-Hen-Hen. There was flapping and yelling. I got to the fence and hollered at Cookie, but she was all instinct. She had the chicken by the neck. Lily kicked her and I hopped over the armpit high chicken fence and fell on her, pinning her to the ground.

The chicken stumbled away.
It was dramatic and awful.

Georgia was watching from the window with horror, crying.


What a way to start the day.
My back hurts.

Really, I can't believe it hasn't happened before.
I thought she had kind of a quaint interest in them, but no, she went right for the neck even with Lily and I yelling our heads off.

I was furious with her. We scolded her and put her in the crate.

Later I realized it was her instinct. Not much she could do about it. And the fact that I had been able to tackle her and grab her mouth without any fear of her hurting me was a good thing.

Not sure if she is going to ignore them or work harder to get at them now that she experienced all that excitement.

The rest of the morning dripped by.
Our dog suddenly seeming more feral and coyote-like than she had before the day began.

My nasturtiums finally succumbed to the cold.

Georgia sledding with her easy to comb nit-free new bob.
The snow along the fence glowed and steamed as it melted in the rising sun.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

First Snow!

We were up in Brattleboro for the evening. The girls and I were getting very overdue haircuts.

I have a terrible head cold.
Georgia got sent home from school with head lice 2 days ago.

It has not been a fun week.

We looked out the window and snow was falling!!

While Georgia got her short bob and Rob read a magazine, Lily and I ran down the street so I could take some photos of this window display at Delectable Mountain, a gorgeous fabric store on main street.

The characters are so life-like. Are they porcelain? They're a little creepy, but also amazingly beautiful. I love their hands.

This little fairy is playing with a salamander but I couldn't quite get it in the photo. Look at those wings!

Here's the entire display with reflections of the wet street.

It looks like they are going to come to life any moment. After listening to my Dangerous Old Woman CD class by Clarissa Pinkola Estes I am feeling very reverent about old women. I've been teaching nursing students at a local nursing home. it is so sweet and startling to suddenly be spending time with some funny kind elderly folks. I love that the old fairy is holding the baby in the center of this display.
Here's a little table set for tea and woodland treats.
We ran through the wet cold streets to Mocha Joe's and got some chamomile peppermint tea for my throat. Lily was wearing shorts (She had made a bet with Georgia that she wouldn't wear pants until it snowed. Hooray that it snowed so she can finally put on some pants when we get home!)

Rob amusing Georgia by writing letters on her belly that she had to guess. She was very rowdy after her haircut. She said she felt like she was out at midnight and was bounding on the furniture. We go to Salon Jacque which is a nice place in downtown Brattleboro because Kristie is there and she is such a talented, kind and patient young woman. She gave both the girls their first haircuts and we have followed her place to place.

We got home by 7p but it felt like the middle of the night. The girls ran out to make a snowman in the dark!

Local cougar sightings

(I haven't seen one! This is a stock photo...)
But, Rob's fellow cyclist spotted a cougar/mountain lion in Gill last month.
In the newspaper someone wrote in to say they spotted one at Northfield Mountain last month.
Both those places are less than 10 miles away! (the range of a cougar is 10-500 square miles)

This July, a cougar that traveled from South Dakota was hit by a car in Greenwich Connecticut. Here's an article from the NYtimes.

They have been extinct in the Northeast since the late 1800's but there are more and more local sightings every year.

These local sightings have changed how I feel in the woods.
It's not all bad.
It's not just fear.
There is something powerful about sharing the woods with a great predator. It makes the woods feel more wild and more mythical.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes of wolves in Women Who Run With the Wolves

"Although many spoke of them as menaces, I always felt safer when there were wolves in the woods."

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rob in his new reading glasses

What a cutie! I hadn't seen them yet.

Here he is reading about Culebra, the island off Puerto Rico where the family is going on my one year anniversary of getting sick (late Feb/early march) and ending up in the ICU at Baystate.

When I lay in the hospital nauseous and miserable I promised myself I would go away when I got well and I would rest somewhere tropical. This is not something I would usually crave, the blazing sun pisses me off after a while, but it feels like I have to follow through on my passionate pledge to myself that I made when I was so ill.

Rob has been skeptical about the whole thing, mostly the funding and the tiny plane one takes from the mainland.

He read the chapter in Lonely Planet last night and said, "OK. Sounds good." which was good to hear because I didn't want to drag him kicking and screaming.

Georgia's learning how to ride a bike

So I dragged myself outside on this gray afternoon after sleeping until 3:30pm. She went from terrified to excited as she scooted around. Rob and I took turns holding the handlebars and her back/ neck/ seat as we went up and down the street, both of us complaining about our bad backs.

Here is a gorgeous nasturtiam patch that has been giving me so much pleasure this fall. I planted them really late and wasn't sure if they would even bloom. They are a lush reminder to me to not give up on the garden when the weeds are triumphing in high summer.

Leaving Deerfield after my overnight shift

at 7am I got a good look at these lovely houses that a student has placed around the campus with snippets of poems and quotes from Emily Dickinsen.

Emily Dickinson

“Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. Espousing the former is not defending the latter.”
Emily Dickinson

Part Five: The Single Hound


THAT Love is all there is,

Is all we know of Love;

It is enough, the freight should be

Proportioned to the groove.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Uh oh

Jewel suddenly looks very sick. She's lethargic and her eyes are closed as she staggers around in her cage. The girls gave her little bowls of water because I think she is too weak to drink from her water bottle.

Georgia is very worried.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Soccer practice

Season's coming to an end. Lily was so anxious about her first game, she wanted to bail. But now she loves it! As a non-athletic person I had no idea how much to push, but I'm glad I had her stick it out and that the coaches were so encouraging. It opens a whole world of being sporty and physical that I think she will love.

Beaver walk

is what we call the trail behind the golf course in Northfield. We used to see beaver there and hear their warning tail slap when we approached their pond. I haven't seen beaver there for a while, but the name is the name. I just discovered these overgrown stairs in the middle of the woods and it felt like some mythical and ancient ruins. The stairs are flanked by dead cedars and thick grape vines.

I just borrowed Clarissa Pinkola Estes' 6 CD class called The Dangerous Old Woman from the library and Holy Crap! It was amazing. I felt transported to another world and I feel like I learned so much. I want to listen to it again and again, especially the stories! Here's a blurb about it from Amazon:

Old While Young, and Young While Old: We are born with two forces that give us every lens we need to see who we really are: the wild and ever-young force of imagination, which contains intuition and instinct, and the wise elder force of knowledge, which holds boundaries and carries the heart of the visionary. Through captivating stories and insights, Dr. Estés illustrates why this twofold way of being "old while young, and young while old" is the secret to holding and replenishing the center, thus living wildly and wisely ensouled amidst life's travails and triumphs. Your Legacy: Wild and Wise, Both "If you are not free to be who you are, you are not free," says Dr. Estés. Begin and deepen the work of bringing your one-of-a-kind legacy into the world following the trail blazed by the Dangerous Old Woman. She who stops at nothing to nourish, protect, and guide us in the offering of all our creative gifts.

I listened to her every time I got in the car over the past 2 weeks and it made the mythic world, the world behind the veil, seem more real that the mundane every day world.

On the walk I found this Barred Owl feather. A few weeks ago Cookie and I had spotted a Barred Owl on the logging road walk. I had gone off the trail to see who the crows were mobbing in a big old pine tree in a ravine. The crows scattered as Cookie and I approached and then the big owl swooped down on her broad wings. Then last week Lily and I heard her hooting outisde at night. "Who cooks for you Who cooks for you all" is the cadence. Rob had come in saying he thought he heard and owl and Lily and I ran outside and waited in the chilly dark.
Nothing. Silence. The the call from the dark woods. Lily called back. It responded.

The feather looked so fresh and bright. Cookie came upon it, sniffed it and then jumped back, barking loudly. I took it home. Part of me wanted to leave it for the forest or for someone else to find. But I felt like it was there for me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Milkweed Pod

Looks like it has scales like a fish, so tightly packed in a bundle.

Lily offered a taste of the milkweed to Henny Hen Hen and she didn't want it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Providence RI

We went to Providence Rhode Island last weekend. Rob had a bike race Sat and Sun so he had booked a hotel nearby.
Here's a blurry photo of us and of Lily throwing stones. We were at Conimicut Point Beach where there was a view of Providence.

There were men fishing all along the shore, each one listening to his own small radio while smoking a cigarette. No one was catching anything. It was nice to see the ocean. We were tired, partly from eating our weight in Bertucci rolls, and we almost bailed on driving through unfamiliar neighborhoods, but we rallied and the GPS made it possible to get there and back to the hotel without a fight.

The girls really wanted to use the gym so we spent some time in the tiny gym that looked bigger because of well placed mirrors. The pool was open until 11p but we had gone in before dinner and everyone who dunked (not me!) had burning eyes from excessive chlorine. We had to bring a cool washcloth to Bertuccis and the girls took turns crying. Robs eyes were tearing down his face.

We weren't going back in there.

Rob racing! He's the second guy. It was a bright sunny day.

We hid beneath the sycamores. Roger Williams Park has very nice trees.

We did the carousel again this year. Two years ago Georgia was scared but this time she was master of her giraffe.

Lily chose a lion.

Checking out the teeth....

Then to the zoo. I dragged everyone because the security guard at the hotel convinced me, "Oh it's a great zoo! There's a polar bear that swims around. You can watch it underwater and there are lions and tigers. It's great!" I hadn't remembered that from our previous trip, maybe they had all been sleeping? I've been writing something with tigers in it and was excited to see one close up.

Alas, the security guard was a liar or very confused.

No polar bears or lions or tigers.

There was a Crowned Crane who was probably insane from confinement, but did interact for a good long time with Georgia's hand.

There was an extensive pumpkin display that went all around part of the zoo that they light up at night, but we were all really tired so we didn't stick around for that.

There were Harbor Seals swimming back and forth, back and forth.

Beautiful tall giraffes wandered around.

And the huge elephants waited in line to lie down and get their weekly blood draw.

Somehow this flamingo with her goofy knees reminded me of Cookie who we left at a kennel for the first time. We were beyond tired, hot and getting grumpy. It was interesting to see the animals close up, but of course depressing and draining, too. Rob was so tired from 2 days of racing he finally said, "Get me out of here." handing me the map as he started to stagger in the blazing sun "Find the shortest route." We made it home in time to pick up Cookie (Hooray!) She was very excited to see us.

We were glad to home and take a nice walk before dark. I had dragged my feet about going away for the weekend because it takes so much time and energy to prep and then unpack, but it was very nice to get away from home for just a bit.