Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Nefarious Fish and Game Folks

Last week I read that F/G was running a turkey count in the state, starting Jan. 1.  Cool,  I thought.  Lord  knows we have enough turkeys around here for anyone to appreciate.  So I went to the website and looked the survey stuff over.  While I was there I started wondering why F/G wanted a survey of turkeys,  since anyone with a window and four square feet of yard has probably seen dozens of them.  

Then I got it.  They want all of us to tell them how many dozens of turkeys we are seeing, when and where.  F/G is in the business of managing wildlife,  and making money for the state and controlling populations of deer, bear, moose and turkeys.  They are the ones, after all, who gave us all these turkeys in the first place, ten or so years ago,  and the success has been phenomenal.   And when they discover that oh golly we have Too Many Turkeys let's cull the herd,  it will probably be open season on them for most of the year.

I'm keeping my forty turkeys to myself.  Yessir.  They want to count them, they have to go through me first.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Mr. Bear

He has wanted to help for a very long time, and he's been so good lately I decided he'd earned the right.  This is his favorite hat and tie.  The tie was from a friend who makes leather ties, and it suits him perfectly.  You can't see, but it has bite marks on it, since he likes to nibble it when he's thinking.

He was a rescue bear, from a gift shop.  He was on the top shelf of a display filled with bears and other assorted animals, and when I saw him I knew he was just what I didnt know I needed until then. 

He has his own tray table, and a large glass of bear juice every morning with his toast.  He's a bit messy about the juice, so I always serve towels too. 

Another friend made him a furry tail, since he was a Manx Bear, and had  none of his own.  He said he always felt the lack, even though he knew it wasn't his fault, and when he got his new tail he was very happy indeed.  He kept switching around very fast to try to see it,  and nearly hurt himself, so I taught him how to use the mirror.  As he said later, it wasn't the tail, so  much as the idea of it.  And of course he was right...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shortest Day Longest Night

Is today.  Now we start tunneling  upward, toward the light.

winter solstice

last evening
the sun went down
like gold poured
across the sky
this morning
it rose behind a carpet
of sullen
grey and the snow
began to fall

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Story Man

My dad was a volatile man;  in those days he was considered quick tempered.  Now we have a word for it;  bipolar.  And like most bipolars,  he had an equal measure of charm,  which he used to great effect.   He was good with kids;  they adored him, and he them.  He knew how to talk to them at some common level, instinctively including them in his conversations, so that no one got left out.  And part of that charm was his innate skills as a story teller. 
Some of the stories were the ones he told me at bedtime,  which ended up being so silly and so right that instead of calming me down would send both of us into gales of giggles.  He was often banished from the room when that happened, and I could hear my mother lecturing him about 'getting the child all stirred up'...but he was so far ahead of the child dev people it was scary.  Without a lick of training he knew to include my name (used in the third person, of course, oh what a coincidence) and that of an imaginary friend named Iggy.  Why  Iggy, I have no idea. And they were full of magic, and seekrit caves,  special levers to pull and special buttons to push to open the next room or next surprise, and I realize now they never really ended, because he had no idea how to get out of them-- they would always be continued until tomorrow night...

And some of the stories were those he told to other people;  "How I almost burned the neighborhood down" and what happened  "When we bought the billy goat".  I'm sure over the years they changed slightly with the telling, but by and large they were the same stories each time,  and I never tired of them.  He had me, as well as new listeners, on the edges of our seats,  and I finally realized after growing up what an amazing tale teller he really was.

It would have been wonderful to have a tape recorder then,  but it's hard to catch spontaneous on tape,  and he was such a  ham he would have been talking for the tape and not for his audience.  I've heard people do that, and it's almost always a disappointment.  You dont see  the face, the sparkle, the body language.  So best to remember what I remember of the good stuff and let the rest go.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

new ways to annoy a reader

Now, I understand that Marcia Muller has been around a long time, so this isnt something new in the world, as far as writing goes, only to me.  I've noticed in many of her books (someone was cleaning out a book stash and gifted me with a stack of these) she uses some very strange word constructions, based, no doubt, on the way English is Spoke, not  how it's written. 
I'd've,  should've,  words're, people're (as in "people are strange")

And now that Ive seen her doing it, I notice that other newer writers're doing it too. Wish I'd not've seen that, it's threatening to make me crazy and stop reading her stuff, which isn't half bad, even if it does get a bit complicated...

Sue Grafton annoys in another way, by her incredible use of the personal pronoun.  "I walked out my door, taking my bag and my gun with me, went down my steps to my new car, got in, turned on the key, and drove away." 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Marcel The Shell



Listen to them in order, and carefully.  Sometimes that breathy little voice gets lost.  The second one is more poignant than the first, and lingers, for some reason. 

Today is the last day of hunting season

last night:

this morning:

it would appear after a certain amount of scuffling and wing flapping last evening the 40 or so turkeys and the
14 or so deer (not all seen) have decided group feeding is best accomplished in separate groups... I'd say F&G has done themselves proud this time.  The turkeys, gods  help them all, have become a public nuisance.  Good for the turkeys.               

Friday, December 2, 2011


When I got my two latest cats, Toby and Sam, they were enrolled  in HomeAgain, a microchipping concern, and it was done by the shelter as a courtesy.  My first few emails from them suggested I should register, yadda yadda.  I never bothered, because I could see this 'free" service had dollar signs all over it.  and frankly if I lost a cat up here, they would be tracking a fisher cat to find the microchip. 

So I decided, today, to register just because I could.  They tell me my address is already in the database, 'did you forget your password".  Hmm. maybe I did register.  So I hit "send my password" and I am told my email address is not in their database.  bwahahahahaha sob sob

If my addy is not in their database how do they manage to send me emails??   Awaiting the explanation from customer service on this one.  Breathlessly.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

This is why...

I save the goldenrod all summer.  When the monarchs migrate from here the last thing standing is the goldenrod, and this is what they prefer, on their way down the road, and out to wherever they go.
All summer they feed on milkweed which apparently makes them taste just awful--and their caterpillars       as well--but in the fall they need the sugar that the goldenrod  has, apparently, to sustain them to the next resting place.  I leave stands of this stuff wherever it comes up, and my reward is seeing this.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

     There's nothing like looking out your front door and seeing 25 turkeys looking back...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Duck Season! Wabbit Season!

Hunting season is in full bang.  Some of our 'Posted" signs have been quietly removed, there are now three tree stands just beyond  the edge of our property, all facing our way.  We have called the police about someone hunting in our woods (wow is that gun loud),  and I have had our first verbal scuffle with a very defensive Fish and Game person. 

Looks to be an interesting November.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Things no one says any more

"Oh, damn, I just ran out of film"

"Oh, what a good shot, but I've only got two pictures left on the roll"

"Will my typewriter keep you awake?"

"Looks like I need a new ribbon"

"Where's the carbon paper?"

"Dont'cha just hate those encyclopedia salesmen"

"Our tv antenna blew down"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Comfort food for the weary soul

 my mantra at this time of year is, only six weeks more and then, by jingo, the days start getting longer.  My long kitchen has a window on the west, and some time in January the sun has moved around just enough that the light comes in obliquely, leaving a sunny patch on the north wall.  This  year Im planning on seeing that happen,  and take note of it. 

Little things, perhaps, but there's a lot of good eatin' in them sometimes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

War as the great leveler

if you look closely at the range on that chart between, say, 1920 and 1945, you can see that the population of the world had virtually leveled off.  Between the two World Wars, the depression, the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918 and Hiroshima,  we, as a collective "we" had managed to lower the population of the world to almost an even  birth/death ratio.   Men on a battlefield are a double problem, arent they.  One, they die, and two, they don't go home to produce the next generation. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

then and now

when my mother was born the population was here

37 years later when I was born it had only risen by a little less than four hundred million
and since then it has just about tripled

three of the countries with extremely high birth rates--Brazil, China, and India--have all found novel ways to reduce their own meteoric growth;  China has the One Baby law,  India is being reshaped by women who have been taught that sex is necessary but not 'nice' and are passing that along to their daughters;  and in Brazil voluntary sterilization is becoming the norm, almost simultaneously across the country.  A woman has one child and requests a tubal ligation at the same time.  As they put it, " the factory is closed".
We won't live to see the impact, but in 20 or 30 years, if things continue this way, the population growth could very well level out as older, more populous generations die off.

There are all kinds of revolutions, and they often start at the bottom because people want a better life for themselves and their children.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Winter Weather Event

there's a chopping block under all of this--last night it was pretty impressive, like a big white toadstool

early this morning it had grown substantially

the cats insist, however, that they Must Go Out even though they Go Out one door and race for the cat door to come back in again,  Just because they can, I suppose.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

At least the wood is under cover

Sometimes around this neck of the country you get an early snow and then it melts and the memory fades until mid or late November.  We have even had snowless Christmases.  But this year it seems we have turned the corner into winter rather sharply.  Weather elves are nearly peeing with joy over the prospect of a blizzard (or near enough to count as one) tonight,  high winds,  lots and lots of snow.  Some phrases that seem to be embedded in almost every weather report so far:  'major winter weather event",  "a foot or more of snow is expected"  "eastern seaboard" (which means the SnowGod is really furious with all of us) and my favorite,  "maybe 4 to 6 inches".  I'm putting all my money on that last one.

What is interesting is seeing the yellow maple in the yard shedding enough leaves to hide the snow underneath it.

Friday, October 28, 2011

7 billion and counting


Harvey, thank you for this.  It's slightly interactive, and interesting to see where you
are in relation to everyone else. 

yesterday and today

Our local wild turkeys, raiding the garden.  there were at least thirty, and if you  peer around the right side of the picture you can see em

sigh.  so much for October's bright blue skies

Thursday, October 27, 2011

the Drawer of Possibilities

Everybody has at least one,  some of us have several. 

My major Drawer  has a few canning covers and lids, bandaids, an empty small flashlight, two tape measures,  Qtips, toothpicks, stray plastic bags, a baggie full of odd screws and square handcut nails awaiting the right moment when the container that does exist for them finally surfaces.  Way in the back is a marble pastry rolling pin which I have never used and never will but it was a gift, so there it stays; a pair of rubber gloves, and one garden glove waiting to be reuinited with its mate. I havent the heart to tell it its mate fell in the stove and burned up.  There's a badly scratched magnifying glass and two pair of scissors that really need to be put out of their misery.  Milk bottle caps, the top to a salt shaker that will never shake salt again..  several short pieces of dowel and one really nice longer one.  An entire box of crayola crayons, suitable for deja vu.  A deck of playing cards from the days when solitaires were spread out on the kitchen table instead of on the net.  And in the furthest back corner a reluctantly placed container of D-con, because the mice like to use that drawer too, for nesting materials and sometimes for nesting.  Mouse surprises is not the way I like to start the day.

I just realized that if that drawer were to be mysteriously looted one night the only things I might miss would be the crayons, the tape measures and perhaps the bandaids.   Something to think about.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Writing Cycles

Being a writer, and a poet, has its enormous pleasures and perks.  But it also has enormous drawbacks which most of us, as writers, seem to understand as part of the process and part of the privilege.  And when you have a distinct and goofy kind of writing cycle it gets bumpy at times.

Years ago the moderator on a poetry board  posed a question to the people who were in there.  What kind of writing cycle, if any, do you go through?   Everyone who responded got the question immediately.  One man said he wrote for six months at top speed,  and  for the next six months he could barely form full sentences but he used the time for submitting work.  Another said their cycle was on for a year, off for a year.  Someone else said they had one month cycles of writing and not-writing.  Everybody recognized their own creative rhythms and played into them.  My own is a full seventeen year cycle, like the cicada.  I write like mad for about five years, and for the next twelve decelerate until I'm not writing anything at all.

I know when 'it' has happened quite clearly.  I start to sew. Knit. Weave.  The creative process is still there,  but it's been moved into the physical rather than the literary. And the minute I start thinking about sewing something it's time to shift into that other mode.  I hate it,  but  refuse to scurry around doing journals and dailies and forcing a poem out where none existed.  As far as that's concerned, it seems like beating a weary horse because he won't run no mo'.   It's a fallow period.  Time to let the brain recharge.

One thing it does teach me is patience, and trust in my own creative processes.  It will come back, in a year or two.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

thought for the day:

It isnt what you wear, it's how you wear it

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turkey season

Yesterday on one of the back roads I happened to pass a Jeep that was letting off two hunters.  Neither of them would I have wanted in my kitchen, or even strolling across the yard.  Each had an overunder shotgun, capable of bringing down large marauding moose, and were wearing the old red and black check hunting jackets.  As they started toward the edge of the field one was waving his gun around as he walked, swing swing swing.  They kept looking up into the trees as if they expected the turkeys to be roosting up there in the middle of the day.

In this instance my money is on the turkeys. But just to help things along, as I drove by I  hit the horn, for about 600 yards.  Probably nothing more than a gesture, but any turkey strolling about that field might have the sense to head for cover. 

And if nothing else,  I felt it was my little statement about the way of the world when grown men go after the dangerous wild turkey that has been hand fed by the Fish and Game people...some things just feel good when you do them, empty gesture or not

Monday, October 17, 2011

Of rain and music in the key of F

This is not a good day, or even week, to listen to music in a minor key. And so here I am, listening to David Gray,  "Foundling" which seems to be all composed in minor keys.  Something is growing, something wants to be born.

Maybe that inner drought is over. Apres moi, le deluge. Who knows.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reunions 'r' soooo not Us

Got our invitation to our upcoming 50th highschool reunion.  We both graduated from the same class, so it's a "we" and "us" kinda deal.  It tells us what fun we had in highschool and how it was the core of our teenage (yes she used that word) years.  Good to know that.  Most of the kids went because if you didnt graduate you didnt go to college.  No one I knew was really happy, but I suppose after 50 years a soft pink mist camouflages most of it, and we remember what it should have been, rather than what it really was.

My dad always said, if the sons of bitches can't come and see me when I'm alive,  they don't need to look at me when I'm dead. Closed coffin, please.

I'm pretty much the same way with reunions. Rarely, in fifty years, have I recieved a personal letter from any of them, nor wanted to send one. The kids who stayed in town took jobs here, and I'd run into one of them now and then. Some are neighbors.   Not sure why I should get all fired up to revisit old classmates most of whom didnt like me much then, nor did I them.  Best to stay home and let them have at it in their own way.
I doubt if we'll be missed, except in hindsight, lol.  Closed coffin, please.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

food rant

There is no such thing as enough bacon
no such thing as too much cheesecake
or battered shrimp or popcorn with enough butter
or white chocolate Lindt truffles
but possibly you can have too much ice cream
(especially if you have the truffles first)

Friday, September 30, 2011

in case anyone is keeping track

30 pounds of tomatoes will make 14 half pints, and 7 pints of tomato paste.  only took 16 hours.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn colors

Monday, September 26, 2011


Why or how it happens, I have no idea, but I salute it when it drops in.  More than once I've been hearing a song in my  head, over and over, turn on the radio, and there it is, right at the part I'm thinking about.  More than once (in the days of TV you could watch without paying for it) some part of the brain was playing out a more memorable clip of something from MASH or "Frasier" and I'd turn on the TV--and there would be a rerun playing,  of just that episode, and just that place in the episode that had been running in my head.

You encounter a really unusual word or phrase,  and for the next week or so it seems to be everywhere.

Someone says, idly, "whatever happened to..." and names an old friend who has somehow dropped out of sight.  The next day Old Friend appears, walking toward you. Or you see them at a party a week later, they tell you they just came back to town for a few days...

Easy enough to write all of this off as coincidence, but I don't think it is.  It's being where you need to be to have something 'familiar' happen and having the good grace to recognize it for what it is.  I often wonder at all the times that were missed because we turned right instead of left, or decided that day to take one street to work instead of another. 

The mind is a strange and wondrous place, some days it's like looking through a keyhole, getting only glimpses of what's going on in there. Some days the view widens a bit.

Friday, September 23, 2011

progress of a sort

With cats, you have to take them as they are, no matter what baggage they bring with them. We  have had Toby and Sam for five months.  In that time they have progressed from huddled cringing terror (omg here she comes, shes gonna pat me,I just know it, ohhhh make her stop) full throttle escapes whenever a human came within view, from any distance, to resigned acceptance that yeah, the humans are still here;  we don't have to like it, but they do feed us...now and then if I am already In The Room they will hurry through and I pretend I don't see them. 

They have finally reached the stage of trusting cardboard carton "caves" and Toby will play a skillful game of solitaire soccer with almost anything that makes rolly noises on the floor. Sam watches encouragingly.   They recognize, at last, that I am the one who throws stuff for them to play with,  and I am also the one who feeds them. 

The other two cats have accepted them, and share rooms, food bowls, and sleeping cushions although not necessarily at the same time.  And this, after all, is why I keep them.  They needed a safe place, and the other two needed companions.  So this is progress, too. Someday they may let me in and that will be cool.  But for now...

Monday, September 19, 2011

and the hawks

Too far overhead to identify, but definitely hawks and not vultures;  a neighbor called and said, get out there and tell me what these look like to you. The magic of hawks migrating is, when you see a cluster like this they seem to be just milling about in big lazy circles;  no raucous noises, no announcements.  And even as you watch them, they disappear,  in only a minute or two. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This morning when I stepped out to see just how cold it was last night (and thank you to the full moon last weekend) I heard the first geese of the season (at least up here) overhead.  From a distance it always sounds at first like dogs barking, maybe terriers.  Then you realize if it's dogs it's flying, and the brain kicks in and you think, oh, yeah.  always have to look up when they go by, a kind of wistful, silent homage to that journey and the inner need that tells them when to go.
We were late getting the fields mowed and it was a bonus to the Monarchs;  all last week we watched as two and three or sometimes as many as a dozen would feed on the goldenrod before they left.  I always keep a nice sized stand of it by the garden, since it seems this is one of the few things out there blooming in any quantity this time of  year, and they head right for it.  They feed, always moving steadily down the fields, and then follow the driveway and away.
We missed the frost this time (fingers crossed), but I will go out later and pull off all the ripe tomatoes, they should be just about due now.  Serves me right for planting so late, I guess.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Decisions and Choices

Years ago I saw part of a YouTube video involving a kid who's father had pulled the plug  on his Worlds of Warcraft account, without his knowledge and obviously without his consent.  Come home from school, turn on the computer, and the game is wiped.  Where is it?  Where did it go?   I could only watch about a minute of the video,  it was painful to see.  Obviously he was out of control, and perhaps that's why the father did this, he was probably so hooked on the game it was, at least in his dad's mind, the only way to 'teach him' something.

But the video bothered me.  I kept thinking then, and still do, even without knowing the circumstances, surely, surely, there was a better way to have handled this.  Two hours after school, maybe, as a stock boy at the supermarket, anything. Let him earn the money to pay for his own game, Give him back the choice.

And that's what it comes down to.  Choices. When something or someone you love is removed from your life, without mutual consent,  knowledge,  or input from you,  you no longer own that event or the choice. It now belongs to the person who did the removing. And what that kid was reacting to was not the loss of the game, but the loss  of his autonomy;  and his pride, ego, whatever you want to call it, took a heck of a beating.
I do also wonder who turned the video camera on, and why.  And then posted it on YouTube.

Friday, September 9, 2011


There are new stoves, and then there are old stoves in new places.  We decided last spring that the stove in the dining room  was getting to the 'must be watched carefully" stage, since the door latches had become worn over time and tended to glide open at odd moments, and the stove itself was just plain wearing out due to old age and steady use. 
Its well over a hundred years old, and has been used for all of that time.  But even the best stove ages.  We are replacing it with a stove we used to use upstairs, and the key in that sentence is "upstairs'...The hard part  was getting it down the stairs without making a sudden new door at the bottom.  The rest is all threshholds and placement.  So far no tempers have been lost, no fingers mashed, no cats terrorized.  A few more days and it should be set up and ready to go.  Hooray for us.

Today I clean the chimney and the stove we're moving out,  still not sure what to do with it.  I'd like to see it go to a good home, but it's been in the family for over a hundred years, and it may just have to become an end table.  *s*

I sincerely hope this is the last major stove move we have to make. We're not gettin any younger, here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


August always presages fall, and toward the end of the month we are visited with hot clear days and chilly (er) nights.  The July humidity blanket lifts.   Now we see preying mantises, grownup crickets, and bees that also sense the changes, and cannot be dislodged from the flowers they're on, even when you cart them both to the compost bin.  The very earth seems to hum with cicadas, crickets,  and bees.

Insane chipmunks and psychotic red squirrels attempt daily suicide in their mad scrambles to the center line of the road and back, while you slow, swerve, and hope the thing doesnt panic at the last minute and run under your back wheels...the summer birds are gone--quietly this year, not with that raucous gathering and fussing as in previous summers.

Fall's coming. Too soon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Taking stock/Irene

We were luckier than most;  one large tree down across our driveway,  a huge amount of small limb debris the entire length of it (most of which needed to be removed by hand),  the yard had a brief moment of glory as it became Lake Overflow.  The power flickered, flickered, flickered, and finally went out and stayed out for about four or five hours.  When it came on we were still here.

Other people weren't so lucky and even the next day (and possibly even now) are still struggling with no power and large trees draped across their landscapes.

There is an outage map (local) that shows power status for NH, and how much has been restored.  it seems that this is a kind of rolling blackout, where x number of people get their power restored, and by the next day another group has lit up the grid.  They do not pay those line crews enough money,  ever, for the kind of work they do. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Some weeks are like that

Tuesday we had an earthquake here on the east coast, never felt a thing. 
Today I found that the Invisible Tomato Worm Horde has been cutting my plants down to size.
This coming weekend we are probably going to get a fairly juicy hurricane.

I can hardly wait for next week...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Roma paste tomatoes

The plants were so little in the containers, I thought, how many tomatoes can they have?   So I bought six plants.  The plants are now nearly five feet high, and while these are the size of small pears, there are at least a hundred to a bush.  That is a LOT of future tomato paste...

Friday, August 19, 2011


if you were to go from here
trailing your long white feet
in the dust like a flightless bird
wanting to fly, not knowing how,
I would wait to watch
you go, heart closed
against the weather
brewing in your eyes:
never saying stay or go

only wait for you
to come back
as if nothing
had happened,
to finish your
breakfast cooling
on the table,

or make that last long step
over the final rise and take wing

Thursday, August 18, 2011


this was the largest rainbow I can remember seeing here--one end of it actually was in the field *g* and it felt like looking into a round prism of some sort, just enchanting.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And the dark side of Sf Fantasy

has to be Terry Goodkind, hands down.  His heroines and all her friends, female relatives and children suffer horrible events, both psychological and physical, in great and dreadful detail.  I found two of his books in a book sale, and since Ive seen his books around forEVER I thought, what the hey, for 50 cents, im not losing anything.   yeuwww.

Of course the women are young, terrified, and magical, and of course there is both the Evil Oppressor from whom she is hiding or, it turns out, is actually her father or mother or both--and along comes the Wonderful Hero and manages to put them in even more danger by wanting to help.  The second chapter is where I gave up, on each of them.  

There is something disturbing about that kind of writing, you can almost see the author drooling over the blood and grue.  And you have to wonder why anyone would write this unrelentingly grim kind of SF Fantasy.  It puts me in mind of Stephen Donaldson (Donalson?), but even he lightens the load with a time warp now and then.  Too much leprosy can wear a reader down, after awhile. 

These are going back in the used book cart at the supermarket, may someone else enjoy them. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Took me 35 years but by gum I got some now

"Portrait of a Neighbor"
               --Edna Millay

Her lawn looks like a meadow,
And if she mows the place
She leaves the clover standing
And the Queen Anne's lace!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

You mean it's August again??

Jeeze, I just got used to June, and here it is August.  Im thinking that may account for the slightly puzzled look on many older people's faces;  they've given up keeping track of months, and sometimes years, and wonder where it all went. So do I.

Got our three cords of green wood (for next year) and are waiting for the three cords of seasoned, for this year.  Always have to hope it's enough, no matter how much we have. As I stack the rows now I thumbtack a numbered card on each one, so I can see how far we've got to go.  It only gets scary when we hit April and the card on the next row says "2"...

The Early Girl tomatoes are getting ready to ripen; I expect a tinge of red any day now.  and the six (my god i cannot believe I planted six) Roma pastes are setting fruit.  Late, but that's okay, I think we'll beat the frosts. And I have many many sheets, if there's a threat of frost.  Ive also started constructing next year's potato box, one layer at a time.  Always next week, next  month, next year. 

Live in the moment, but plan ahead

Sunday, July 31, 2011

One Love

Stand By Me

Playing for change

Thursday, July 28, 2011

symphony of one

Overheard in the checkout line:  "ya know, I worked, I slaved, I RUINT my health for thirty years,  and the thanks I get from those two ungrateful kids?  Nuthin.  I put my daughter through school, my son through college, not once did either of them come to me and say, 'ma, thanks, you did a great job.'  Mother's day?  I get a card, for crissakes, my DAUGHTER has to be somewhere else, can't even spend time with her mother,  my son showed up for ten minutes and left, and there I am (pending tears here) all alone on  a day that HONORS MOTHERS." (sympathetic murmurs from her new best friend)  NEVER brought their friends around, how do I know what kind of trash they're hanging out with, I worried over them, fed them, and never a thank you.  Kids, I don't know why I kept it up, (murmur murmur) all the thanks you get, that's all I can say..."

Monday, July 25, 2011

deja vu /Ursula LeGuin

Im up to the fourth book in the Earthsea cycle;  the pleasure comes from the reading, which is dark, and visual, and compelling.  However, in reading each of the first three I realized that I had read them before, apparently long enough ago to not remember What Happens Next but still, as it happens, I think, ah, I remember this...the fourth book so far hasn't given me any deja vu moments, so I'm cool with that.
The pain comes from having bought the entire set (two at a used book table and two in the bookstore at full price), apparently, again.  The fourth book wasn't published until 1990, and that may explain why I've not read it.  Thank heaven for small favors.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Its about the parts not the machine

Reading yesterday at another site, someone was saying how fragmented they felt with all the technology swirling around them.  I understand the feeling, big time.  Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook, iphones and smart phones and tablets and a new social network every week, it seems, all staring at me across the breakfast table. 

It's a bit like keeping up with a very powerful, insistent, Jones family.

When I first came online in the mid 90s message boards were the big deal, and once I realized what 'interactive' really meant I was hooked.  At one point I was in a board fight at one, writing poetry in another and finding people with whom I am still friends, even now, and joining at least four other boards, all in the space of two years.  How I managed to do that on dial up and a shared machine amazes me. 

But, it was the words, the communication, the interchanges, that mattered.  The day I found the 'net, was the day I gave up television. 

And I realize now, looking back, that I only went where I wanted or needed to go, avoiding that ferocious paddling some people indulge in in order to keep up with the rest of the world.  Simplify, simplify.  I don't do peripherals, I don't do cellphones or smart phones or kindle or Nook or social networks.  Not bragging, here,  just sayin'.  The only way I can keep this entire mess from taking over my life and brain any more than it already does is to skim off the stuff I don't need, don't want, and don't care about. 

Take what you need, let the rest go.

And I do miss the old (good) Speakeasy.  It was an amazing place to be part of.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Book day

The four book trilogy by Ursula LeGuin, Earthsea,  a Ted Kooser and (to even up the sides) a Merwin, and one Jesse Stone/Parker mystery.  This should keep me going (if you factor in the last half of my yearly hike through the Discworld series) until maybe September. 

I think of this as my sick stash,  and add them to the ever changing pile of books by the bed;  the last time I got sick enough to not move for several days I managed to work my way through an entire collection of these things, and that worried me.  What happens, I think, if I got REALLY immobilized?  what if I ran out?  The mind reels. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

What a well cap looks like

Losing an artesian (drilled) well is embarrassing.  Luckily we didnt need to find it (as in, emergency situation) but rather locate it now before we have to play Hunt the Slipper in the middle of the winter...

and YES we are going to mark it really really clearly this time...

now we get serious

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I know I left it out here somewhere

sometimes, through no fault of our own, things go missing.  We'll find it, yes we will.

Friday, July 15, 2011

been a looong summer

We seem to do a lot, here, with things of the earth;  stones, gardens, wood.  It keeps us connected in some way, reminds me that this, really, is all there is.  Under the city, or the parking lot, or the interstate. is the memory of stone, flowers, wood.  If you leave it unrepaired long enough, whatever was there will soon enough revert back to what it once was.  Man can only make a temporary mark on the land (Mt. Rushmore being one horrid exception) and that's somehow comforting to know.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Monday, July 11, 2011

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Silly and sad

Silly, isn't it.  Im not writing, so people say, oh what a good time to submit--you've got the time to rework, to revise, to put together stuff for all sorts of magazines...trouble is, submitting takes energy, and it takes the creative shove to get it moving.  And no, I don't revise or rework when I'm in this cicadian pattern.   Over is over,  clean to the floor.  I wish it were other, but this is the way this particular system works.  And reading improving 'how to write a poem" books, or journaling (that's another word I don't much like, right  up there
with scrapbooking), exercises, or all the other helpful things that simply do not work.  if, by some miracle a poem does appear, the fireworks go up, and the journal, the exercises, etc, get the credit. 

It's sort of like believing in a higher power to the point where if you succeed he/she/it/they gets the credit, and if you fail you get the blame. 

Couple more years. I just hope I can still remember my name by then.

Friday, June 24, 2011

the MOM-ing of America

I have learned to hate the word 'mom'.  Period.

Oh, wait. Is this a Sarah Palin word?  In the same way that Al Gore gifted  us with 'global warming',  did by some stroke of luck Sarah turn all our mothers into Moms?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Progress is progressing, albeit slowly

Finally got my 6 Roma paste tomato plants in, yesterday.  Between the rain and the ticks (shudder) and the rain and all the other 'hafta' things that needed doing, the tomatoes just had to wait.  I think theyll be okay, September babies instead of August.  Something tells me I am about to have a LOT of tomato paste.

We also have the shed half full of wood,  all of it either cut ourselves, or was left from last winter.  any day now I shall rush over to the phone and ask our wood guy if he will deliver us six more cords.  Yep.  Some part of me feels like this five cords of wood we have will (of COURSE) last us all through the winter. Luckily it's a very small part, easily shouted down by the older, wiser, chillier parts.

And the new cats are still 'the new cats' simply because they are.  They are assimilated with the other two, but not with us.  Whoever damaged them to get them to this point should be treated as badly for a few months, see how they like it.  Ive had cats like this before,  and it can sometimes take years for them to really
settle in.  But it's okay.  We gots a big house, and they have new friends, and that's what I was after, after all.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

kicking and screaming

slowly, being dragged toward the electronic edge of the latest century.

I am now the owner of earbuds, and a matchbook sized music player.  I ve been collecting 'tickets' from BestBuy when I turn in  monitors for recycling, and finally had enough to get one of these things.  Im still coming to terms with it, much the way you might come to terms with your kid's pet condor; slowly, no sudden movements...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

solstice come, solstice go

all year I slowly row
toward the longest day
and then how sadly
row back the other way

Monday, June 20, 2011

how I love the language

on a spray can of spot remover: "Permanently removes stains".   The implication, of course, is that some stains will just creep back when you're not looking, unless you use this product. Forever.

on two different strengths of pain reliever, same brand:  "Maximum dosage:  Do not take more than two in a 24 hour period..."

simplifying things is complicated

We have one of those older beds where the frame is for a 3/4 mattress and we are full mattress sized people.   Consequently the box spring and mattress have been resting on the siderails. I got sick of climbing up into a bed three feet off the floor (not to mention possibly falling out of it at some point),  and suggested that we just ditch the box spring and turn the whole thing into a platform bed.

What I didnt realize was that the platform part that would let the mattress rest on the side rails would need enough support to turn it into a 100 pound monster.  But the bed is now at a normal height, we are both pleased with it, and our old cat no longer has to claw his way up the side of the bed to find us at 4 AM.

However, we are now looking at a box spring with enough spring tension to take out a small army if it was released...

Friday, June 10, 2011

On paper, it sounds wonderful...

Our electric company is installing new digital "smart meters", which collect and send the signals back to the main office electronically.  Sounds fairly slick, and since we don't have a lot of say in it, I'm fully prepared to love them.  However. In reading over the literature that they sent out this month (installation of the meters, town by town, has begun) it seems that the signals do not go whizzing  back to the main office directly, but are sent along a chain, meter to meter, and every so often one of THEM is used as the delivery wagon.  Which means that anywhere along the chain, if one of these new meters develops a problem, or gets chopped up by an irate owner, or is hit by lightning,  the whole chain ends, right there. 

The only bright point is that no one will be able to do the old "penny under the contact" trick to lower their own bill, as one of our neighbors used to do.  I take comfort in that one, at least. *g*

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stuff to ponder

If I didn't have a computer I'd never know what day it was.

Two clocks are vital:  at least you know when one of them isnt running, if not which one.

I can remember 17 passwords without looking them up, I can go shopping without the list that I left on the kitchen table and get everything on it,  why can't I remember Saturdays?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

And the reason is...

I've not been around for the past few days because the blog (mine and several hundred others as well,  apparently) was in a state of total inaccessiblity.  We all seem to be in the same boat, but each one of us is rowing in a different direction, and has their own set of oars.  How it's possible for that many diverse Operating systems to have identical problems but varying solutions that work here but not there is a puzzle.

So if I fade in and out from view now and then,  it ain't me, and it ain't thee.  Gremlins, that's it. Gremlins.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Looking over my shoulder


ahem. If, as they say, the believers are going to be 'taken up' into heaven, that means they are going to be taken up bodily.  Which makes me wonder:  if you can't take it with you when you die,  why can't you take it with you when you ascend? 
Im not sure if I should be frightened of the coming Rapture (although the earthquakes do seem like a good show for those of us left behind), or more about the people involved in this.  If (and I always do like to hedge my bets about these things. You Just Never Know) it doesn't happen, there are going to be a lot of disappointed people and possibly a lot of penniless believers. 

And when you think about it, why DID they give all their money away?  If they dont need it, and we will be dead...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

blossoming pear

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Dogs can be easy.  They want to trust, they will return to an abusive owner again and again, simply because that's the way they are.  It's built in, that they need to be part of a pack, and if the head of that pack walks on two legs, well, it still counts.  Even if he thrashes them soundly, it's part of the strict discipline of the wolf pack, and something their doggy brains comprehend.  They keep coming back.

With cats, you don't command trust,  you just hope for it; and when one honors you with a purr or allows you to pat them, no matter how gingerly,  you feel as if you've been gifted.  These two cats have been damaged.  Hit, struck, things thrown at them, I don't know.  When you reach out to them they wince, they cringe.  I've seen it before, and it breaks my heart.  So we tread lightly,  talk to them, let them have all the time they need.  

It could take all summer, it could take longer. No matter.  It will happen, on their terms, not mine.  And that's cool too.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Word to the wise from someone who should know by now

One thing I do NOT like about Google is the way the word "edit" is used.  Click on it at the wrong moment, and you can, as I just did, lose an entire two years' worth of URLs, slowly built up into a pretty impressive string.
Edit can mean, in many instances, 'delete forever', and in many other intstances  'delete permanently' with no warning, no "are you sure you want to do this'. 


Monday, May 9, 2011

Small gifts

Some days are like that. In spite of a filling that is about to turn into a root canal, today felt like I was rolling  on oiled ball bearings.  Everything fit together effortlessly.

 yeah, yeah, I know. "don't get used to it, it can't last".  But the point is, it does happen now and then, and it's good to notice, in case the gods are watching, and we all know they do like us to take notice of such gifts.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Global Warming

In olden times when there was a volcano in the area, and it began to erupt, the king would select a lucky girl to be the Designated Virgin. She was tossed into the volcano, probably against her will. If the volcano stopped erupting, well, the gods were appeased.  If it continued to erupt, obviously she wasn't a virgin, and it was her fault for not stopping the erupting.

The other day I saw some comments made by people who should know better, saying that global warming was responsible for all those dreadful tornadoes in the south, in part because the legislators who were voted in by their constituents were doing nothing, simply nothing, about GW.  i.e., they weren't actively pursuing a path toward stopping it.  Which is one of the silliest/saddest statements one can make at this stage. And the implication was fairly clear: you voted those slackers into office, and because of that you got the weather you deserved by being so thoughtless. It's YOUR fault you're having tornadoes. 

GW has become the buzzword for heat in the summer, blizzards in the winter, and melting ice caps.  Which, by the way, are apparently re-forming. It is bad science coupled with people all too willing to spend entirely too much money to discuss a problem that does not exist, rather than actually spend that money in different directions that might just  help reduce emissions and stuff that does exist, and would make our quality of life on this planet a bit better. 

There's a lot of history behind us, stretching back before dinosaurs, and the temperatures have soared and plummeted dramatically, cycles within cycles, for millions of years. As the earth wobbles (wouldn't that make a great title for a soap opera) and tilts, and the sunspots erupt, climate changes.  Trying to stop those changes is as pointless as bailing the ocean into a bucket to lower the levels at high tide.  Or teaching a cow not to fart.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Works for me

There's a kind of lassitude that happens when you've put in a full complement of hours doing something you love, pacing yourself so that at the end of the day you're comfortably tired and when you look back at how much you accomplished,  a certain pleasure in it all. My garden never got its autumn cleaning, for various reasons,  and now I have to do that and the spring stuff as well.  I've learned not to look beyond where I am,
or toward where I will be in a week, because that way lies mental overload.  One of the few things my Dad taught me that was positive, was never look too far ahead, or you end up doing your work twice.  So instead I look at where Ive been, and how much got done. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kinda sad, when you think about it

This week here in NH it was officially declared that the northeastern mountain lion, puma, mountain cat, whatever you care to call it, was now considred extinct in New Hampshire.  The last one shot was in 1934.
There have been sightings of what some people considered to be a mountain lion, and I know I heard something years ago in the  woods that definitely was not a bear and defintitely not anything other than some kind of big roaring critter, and it is amazing  how quickly one can execute a 180 turn on snowshoes...most of me hopes that they are not extinct, but hiding out in the thousands of acres of forest we now have in this state,  moving from place to place like some nomadic tribe...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

spring again

Down in the run below the house the peepers have finally started their chorus.  Later in the season if you listen carefully you'll hear bullfrogs as a kind of background noise.  It's not quite 8 PM and still light enough out to see detail.  And warm enough (albeit a bit damp around the edges) not to need heavy jackets, or even any jacket.  All the jonquils are up, and the beginnings of trillium in the woods.  All the promise is there.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Thursday, April 21, 2011

So far, so good

it was a very complicated journey but i am now the proud if uncertain adoptive owner of two stunning tiger tomcats, one grey, the other  brown. They  have, unlike female cats, recovered from their trip, and are slowly exploring the house, one room, one hidey place, at a time.  Turn around and there is a cat with a strange face, looking at you.  Now and then they  meet Albert and Isabel on the stairs, or under a table, and someone hisses and moves away. 

so far, no arguments.  they arent pushy,  Just careful and curious. 

The names will be changed.  Right now I don't know which is which, but one was called Bear and the other, Micro.  The kinds of names guys give cats or dogs, why I do not know.  Once I can see them together and find some distinguishing marks,  Ill start working on names.

So far they don't seem frightened, or even particularly shy, just cautious.

Pictures will follow. Eventually.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Deconstructing Autumn

He thinned out the color with turpentine,
turning the leafy glare of cadmium and chrome yellow
into watery pastels; the house no longer seemed to fit,
and ended up on the palette knife.
With the autumn leaves turned pale and lusterless
October's bright blue dome seemed overdone.
Grey skies, he thought. Much better.
The country road narrowed, finally morphing into woods;
the horse-pasture lost its barn, the horses
transformed into dogs chasing an unseen deer
(you could almost hear the baying),
then disappeared with one stroke
beneath a row of trees that sprang up overnight.
A few boulders appeared and faded; the small
brook evolved into a larger stream but nothing
came to drink and it soon was painted out.
The barren field, now struck by frost, turned yellow and brittle,
a few weeds still bobbing--no, wait--someone mowed it flat
and took the hay, and that bit of blue water to the east
became a tidal wave, clearing the landscape,
leaving only a canvas scraped clean of everything
but grey sky and one determined, distant, goose,
rapidly flying south, and gone.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cbecking in

Been a busy and productive two weeks, we've been cutting up a huge number of logs that someone told us we could have for the taking, and when we're done it should figure out to about a cord of beech.  That, and getting the shed ready for the leftover wood from last winter to make room for the new batch coming in June.  Always working a year ahead, it seems. 

Next year, we say, we need to do this or that.  And suddenly it's not next year, it's last year.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Someone Forgot to Take Down the Sign

The national weather service has issued a winter storm warning for this area.  In general terms this is equivalent to shouting, LOOK  OUT,  ITS GONNA SNOW.  However,  Im not quite sure how the six inches that fell overnight should be classified;  if this is the appetizer to the real storm I do not want to be here when it hits.  If it isnt here yet,  what are we seeing?  Mirage snow?  Is this just a sample, and the true storm is yet to come? 

And happy April Fool's Day.  yep yep.  The man who invented this day was probably in a snit, standing knee deep  in snow,  wondering where his garden went. The one he just planted.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stone Bridge

Monday, March 28, 2011


The two cats remaining are now in the process of taking back the house. Albert is 15, little, white, and entirely too chubby, but quite sanguine about the newly expanded living area.  He is slowly reacquainting himself with the chairs, the warm place in front of the stove, the front storm door, where he can sit in the sun and look out over the fields--Isabel  is pretty tightly wrapped, less trustful, even after 10 years of living here, and while she uses the cat door she prefers to be let out, and has to be reminded that she's got her house back, too. 

And even now both the humans still reach for the screen door that separated the two floors, and that too will take time to adjust to.  Having a cat  or dog arrive, or leave, in whatever shape, changes the entire fabric of the household. 

Once these guys get used to the new spaces I'll be heading out for the local humane society and see what I can find for playmates for them.  I looked over the website for Cocheco Valley Humane Society, and came away wanting all the middle aged lady cats and their life long buddies.  All of them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Somewhere along the way to heaven
the music, which was lovely,
migrated from the hymnals and the church chorales
became music for its own sake
inspiring not only celestial hopes
but earthly joy.

Memorial rites became proscribed rituals;
prayer was transformed into poetry
even as the bible was morphing
into annotated metaphorical
stories for the young, and the crucifix
impaled on the wall above
our childhood beds
became a horrific symbol
of torture in living color
and plaster of paris.

We prayed to a panoply of saints
who died for their beliefs, often horribly.
Joyous. You have to wonder how many of them
at that last burning moment
repented of their holiness
and begged of their God to be restored,
left in peace in a small damp hut
at the edge of the forest
content to weave straw into brooms
for the rest of their days.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On the fourth day

I finally broke down and restarted the second stove.  The woodpile shrinketh, the wind bloweth, and even the sun is pale and wan.  The gods saw, and chuckled. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

and at dawn on the third day

there was a wailing and a gnashing of teeth in the land, and the sound of snowblowers broke the stillness

Monday, March 21, 2011

And on the second day of spring

it snowed.  The gods were not happy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

First day of spring

the robins seem to have arrived by tour bus. this morning there were half a dozen in the field,  by late afternoon there were at least 50-60, not to mention crows, chickadees, and the occasional pileated woodpecker. 
A very young (late summer) doe was at the garden, chowing down on my century plants, which tend to stay green all winter and as soon as warm weather comes they turn brown and fall over. so at least she was getting some greens to go with the icky frozen/thawed applesauce under the trees...

Still cold, but most of the snow is gone from the fields. I actually got all the way out to the little shed without touching snow. wow. it will be a few weeks yet before the frost goes out of the ground and I can get the door open, though.  One corner of the door rock rises up each year just enough, and we have to wait it out.

yes, yes, I know. raise the shed. lower the rock. something.

Friday, March 18, 2011

When you have an old cat, and it gets sick and dies, you sort of expect it. You see it age, and slow, and then the day comes when you realize it's time to see the vet for the last time.   But when you have a young seemingly vigorous cat like Cuffy,  its an outrage to have to have them put down.  He had stopped eating because his mouth hurt.  There was nothing that could be done in that direction, except keep him alive a little longer, and that wasn't fair to him, or us. 
But it's damned hard to wrap your head around the idea of losing such a beautiful cat, and so young.  He had three good solid years here, which is three more than he would have had where he came from.  So, there is that.  He got to sleep on the porch, and in all the chairs, and had his pick of the cupboard for snacks.
Sadly he was too hostile and too alpha to be allowed near the others, and the house became downstairs and upstairs with doors between.  The dynamics of the place changed.  Now, with him gone, the other two have been reintroduced to the cat door, the downstairs chairs, all the things they had been missing.  Albert has been out 10 times and its only early afternoon.   It's quieter.  The catfood cans no longer build up in the sink, waiting to be rinsed and stored for recycling.  

I miss the hell out of him.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cuffy 2007-2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

after the aftermath

Now and then there are things that happen which are almost beyond the comprehension of people not involved.  I watched yesterday the videos of the tsunami moving relentlessly across the  Japanese landscape at such an amazing speed, taking huge buildings, cars, anything in its path.  It was awesome, in the true sense of the word.

there truly is nothing to say beyond that.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I envy people who truly believe in the god they believe in.  They pass through this life with such surety that if they do this or don't do that there will be a  place for them in their christian or jewish or muslim or rastafarian heaven.  Some people even believe that this is hell and they must endure it to go to the 'real' existence, the next stage in their journey.
Oh, granted, there are the shouters and the hysterics, bible thumpers and scripture quoters, trying to get me on their side because they're afraid of what might really be out there, and they want company to reinforce what they're afraid not to believe in. 

I wonder sometimes if the believers ever wake in the middle of the night, terrified that there might not really BE a god, or a heaven, or a better life...when I wake like that, all I can see ahead of me is darkness, and nothing. Like looking down into the dark water that signals deep water, really really deep water...

But what that does is make me much more appreciative--and careful--of what's here, and what I've done, or will do. It's the only legacy I have,  and the only comfort, knowing that one very small piece of ground is a bit better than it was, at least for a little while.   My mother used to dismiss things she wanted to ignore by saying, 'well, after Im gone that leaky roof  won't matter,  someone else can fix it'.  Yeah, ma,  it does matter.

We're all connected, not only to each other, but to the earth, the oceans, everything.  What we do affects what other people do, even in a very small way.  And I truly wish I had a belief that involved an afterlife,  if only to be able to speculate on what it might be.  But all I see is the darkness out there, and silence. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Passwords are taking over the world, arrrgghhh

Companies LOVE passwords. This morning I realized that my electric company was still sending me notifications using our old email. uh-oh.  So I clawed my way into their website, cheerily registered, only to discover that I had done so weeks ago.  No idea what the password was.

In order to have them give it back to me (mine, I say,  mine!)I had to submit a form and then they promised to email me the seekrit word. what I got was a page with a cryptic box-that-would-not-open. click click click click.  Aha. Down at the bottom, a tab. (all those years of playing computer games just paid off) Click on the new tab, a new window opens." In order to access your password, you must register here.with a valid email address, street address, and password which must be 8 characters and contain a number."

Now I have a "secure password recovery site" where I can go securely and safely to retrieve my password anytime I need it. click on another tab and lo and behold there's my old password. Log BACK in to the site and THEN change my email address.  It only took half an hour, but I am now part of the power company happy family once again.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Horses--Edwin Muir

Barely a twelvemonth after
The seven days war that put the world to sleep,
Late in the evening the strange horses came.
By then we had made our covenant with silence,
But in the first few days it was so still
We listened to our breathing and were afraid.
On the second day
The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.
On the third day a warship passed us, heading north,
Dead bodies piled on the deck. On the sixth day
A plane plunged over us into the sea. Thereafter
Nothing. The radios dumb;
And still they stand in corners of our kitchens,
And stand, perhaps, turned on, in a million rooms
All over the world. But now if they should speak,
If on a sudden they should speak again,
If on the stroke of noon a voice should speak,
We would not listen, we would not let it bring
That old bad world that swallowed its children quick
At one great gulp. We would not have it again.
Sometimes we think of the nations lying asleep,
Curled blindly in impenetrable sorrow,
And then the thought confounds us with its strangeness.
The tractors lie about our fields; at evening
They look like dank sea-monsters couched and waiting.
We leave them where they are and let them rust:
'They'll molder away and be like other loam.'
We make our oxen drag our rusty plows,
Long laid aside. We have gone back
Far past our fathers' land.
And then, that evening
Late in the summer the strange horses came.
We heard a distant tapping on the road,
A deepening drumming; it stopped, went on again
And at the corner changed to hollow thunder.
We saw the heads
Like a wild wave charging and were afraid.
We had sold our horses in our fathers' time
To buy new tractors. Now they were strange to us
As fabulous steeds set on an ancient shield.
Or illustrations in a book of knights.
We did not dare go near them. Yet they waited,
Stubborn and shy, as if they had been sent
By an old command to find our whereabouts
And that long-lost archaic companionship.
In the first moment we had never a thought
That they were creatures to be owned and used.
Among them were some half a dozen colts
Dropped in some wilderness of the broken world,
Yet new as if they had come from their own Eden.
Since then they have pulled our plows and borne our loads
But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.
Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.

Edwin Muir

Friday, March 4, 2011

hark to the voice

There is an upper register, just-this-side-of-hysterical that is (at least to me) considered the voice of the true fanatic. Fast, loud, high.  They don't use commas, and they wave their hands a lot--slash, slash, punctuate. 

It's the voice of extremism, of causes (lost and otherwise), of people who make dogmatic statements and hold opinions that have hardened into truths.  Tonight I was in one room and my husband was in his, watching some news interview on the computer.  The voice of the woman being interviewed went on and on,  high pitched, didactic and militant.  an Avon Lady on speed.  I kept thinking, Im waiting for it to be an old Rosanne Rosannadana clip...
and when I went in to ask my husband who that WAS, he looked mildly shocked and said, why, that's Sarah Palin.

Ne-ver mind...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The stuff dreams are made of

in the last decade or so every dream Ive had that is memorable to, uh, remember, has, with a few exceptions, involved a car/truck and incredible frustration with it. It either gets stolen, moved, trashed, hashed, or taken away from me.  Sometimes when I go back the street isnt even there.  This time I was drummed out of the library where I volunteer in a kind of one-librarian tribunal,  and told never to speak or communicate with anyone on the staff ever again. Then I was conducted to my car, informed that it had been impounded, the keys were taken, and the head librarian left me in the middle of a place that was definitely city, definitely not Concord, with a locked car and no way to get home.  Waking up was my only alternative, so I did.

Librarians are tough, i'll tell ya.

Monday, February 28, 2011

You can't read it if you can't find it

Thinking about why people don't read poetry anymore.  When I was a kid, nearly every women's magazine carried poetry, tucked away in odd spots, so even though you might be reading a very good serialized story by Willa Cather, here was a poem by someone you never heard of, or someone you had, like May Sarton, or Robert Graves,  and often they would be so amazing you found yourself cutting them out of the magazine to save and to savor.  I had a whole small scrapbook just for things like that.  And in magazines of the 20s and 30s and later, there was always a full section devoted to a serial novel, several very long short stories, and a dozen poems, often. 
It was there, and you read it. Not tucked away in a precious lit mag that required a subscription and often could not be found anywhere else.  It was accessible.  It was written to be read, not to impress other poets.

One by one those markets dried up,  and now people say, well, I love poetry, but I can't find it anywhere.
It's the law of diminishing returns. You cant find it, because fewer and fewer newsstand magazines carry it,
and their excuse is, well, no one READS it anymore...sigh.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Too good to pass up


oh, look, look, it's snowing again

hard to believe that in a month I will be snowshoeing out to the garden to see what's working its way
up through the dirt snow...

now and then i am reminded of the journal I once saw kept by one man for 60+ years.   In it, he had a weather diary;  every day for all of those years he would describe the weather. "Jan. 3, 1804.  Cold. Some snow.  Jan. 4, 1804.  Colder. More snow.  Jan 5,  1804.  Warmer.  Sunny."    Whatever else went on in his life, once a day he took down this huge volume, found the right page, sharpened his pen nib, and wrote, "Jan. 6, 1804. Very cold.  Windy."  ...  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thought for the Day

If we're always protecting our kids from danger, real or imagined, if we're always shielding them from bullies and slings n arrows,  and water pistols that look like guns, from violence and poverty and strangers, how will they ever learn how to  handle themselves as adults?

How do they learn to distinguish real danger or violence or threats from the pretend kind?  Im not saying we have to throw them out into traffic to see if they can survive, only give them the chance to make their own choices now, when the choices are still small, and their own mistakes NOW, when the mistakes are (to our eyes) minor, and know that they need to find their own levels of fear and comfort.  

I dunno. It's a jungle out there,  and we won't always be around to navigate it for them.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

 When I start ignoring the chill seeping in around my ankles, and forgetting to check the stoves when I go downstairs, that tells me, that as far as this hibernating little bear is concerned, winter is over.  Oh, yeah, I know, we got lots more, but the psychological part is done with,  and I no longer have that push to get the wood--burn the wood--tinker tinker that I had all winter.
Burn or go out, damn you.

Friday, February 11, 2011


its stupid, it's silly, it's insanely addictive (oh, just one more level...)
and gets progressively trickier. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hi, Im Denny

I love what our local  shelter does to downplay 'difficult' dogs like this.  And for the past week have been thinking about what "leave it" actually entails: hands, feet, dead skunks, small cats...one reason I never go to shelters is the real possiblity that I would come  home with a Denny, a litter of something, and at least five new cats and a ferret.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winter Meditation

All day we face the sun,
winter blooming lilies grateful
for any thin light
while clouds overflow
with snow, covering the moon,
dimming the sun.

Life slows
to the rhythm of a hibernating heart
as the long night begins,
with that terrible sleep
and winter reverie
of darkness and cold yet to come.

We burrow into ourselves
and one another like puppies
blindly scenting warmth and comfort,
waking only to turn
in our cocoon of blankets and sleep.

Balanced on a point of time
while snow falls steadily around us
we begin the journey
across that far bridge
from longest night to longest day.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dog and Butterfly

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy New Month

Made it through January and to celebrate it looks like a goodly half of the country is going to be sharing a blizzard--all relative to where you are,  of course, since blizzard means different things to different people, and what is barely noticeable  here can be a snow of major proportions in a place like Georgia, or DC, or Texas.  I have a friend in Nevada who feels that no one should be allowed to live in a place where the temps drop below 32 deg.  I did tell him, well, when it gets chilly like that we do put our shoes back on and wear sweaters...

Our woodpile is shrinking at an alarming rate.  Partly because it took most of the winter to learn  how to use the new cook stove more efficiently,  partly because when my MIL was ill this fall it came in mid-September, and we just did not have the time or energy to deal with the mountain of wood outside--we're about two cords short of 'enough' to feel that we'll make it.  Oh, the wood is there, just Out There and not In There.

We'll survive, and if we have to hack wood out of the snow we will. Not for the first time.

You have got to love a weather map that looks like this...

Saturday, January 29, 2011


this is a recipe a friend of my mother-in-law's gave her.  Spelling has not been corrected.

1 Carnation Instant Breakfast
1 2t Milk, 1 Egg, spoonful cooked cerial
2 Tblsp Brandy
1/2 Banana or any fruit you like

Put in blender or beat vigorously until liquidified.
Drink one glass three times a day.
This is equivalent (in nourishment) to three meals.

Time flies like a banana

There is a lot to be said for getting older.  One of the things that I tend to view positively is the way time just hurtles by.  Some days it's tomorrow before I even know it's today.  Some days it's next week.  I plan on putting the rest of the christmas lights away, if I ever get a chance, but at the rate things are going, I may have to dust them and put them back in the windows before that. 

One other nice thing is,  no matter how awful January almost was,  boy did it go fast.  February is the next speeding bullet we have to dodge, and after that, March, the Month of Many Blizzards.  Damn,  we're almost into April already. Wasnt that easy?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Upscale Shopping Adventures

Went to a grocery store Ive rarely bothered with before. This one  has a specialty cheese and wine section, the herbs are now by themselves on a huge rack nearby, (SIX kinds of salt?  Oh, please) the visible milk case is heavy on soy milk and imported yogurt (some, Im sure, with bits of yurt added for authenticity), and gourmet/organic everything.  Upscale all the way. I felt like I should have dressed better.

I had to ask a clerk where the eggs, bread, and regular milk were. I also mentioned how hard it was to find what I wanted.  She laughed and said, "well, I think the designers wanted people to have a real Shopping Experience when they come here. They put that stuff out so you have to go past it, maybe try something new."  Really.  I told her I dont buy groceries to get a Shopping Experience, I buy grocieries to eat.

The regular food was way the hell at the other end of the store in a plain brown wrapper, so to speak, and the bread aisle wasn't even marked.  I think they were embarrassed to have to sell Wonder Bread at all. *g*
I like my aisles to make shopping sense.  Dairy has all the dairy stuff, the bread is all together in one aisle, and let's have the spices in the cooking aisle, please. Where you want them to be. 

Never did find the hand soap.