Tuesday, December 31, 2013

i resolve...

today is the last calendar day of the year 2013---it was an amazing and beautiful year for me.  i always feel like the new year is a chance for rebirth and personal growth---of course, every moment offers that chance and i want to do my best to remember that and make the most of the opportunity in every moment of the new year. 

i resolve...

to listen better
to be more loving
to share more
to be more patient
to give more
to eat better
to be more forgiving
to help more
to be more accepting
to see differently
to smile more
to worry less
to trust more
to be more focused
to play more
to be more diligent
to take it easy

a wonderful 2014 to you all.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

christmas in isleton

this year was the first year i didn't spend christmas with my mother and brother.  i missed them but i had a great time in isleton with staal's family.  i got a few pictures but they're an active bunch and it was hard to get a shot that didn't come out blurry---here are some of the least blurred...

nick and staal getting reacquainted

jack, kirra, and zane gettig reacquainted

dozer playing it by ear

i finally got to meet aischa and her family in person---that was a treat.

aischa playing it cool

nick provided a lot of entertainment.

soumaya and malaak with uncle nick

creativity runs in the family---aischa headed craft time (stencil making for t-shirts)

hicham, nick, soumaya, malaak, aischa, staal


gabe made a beautiful (and delicious) christmas dinner for all of us.  later, aischa turned the leftovers into a great turkey soup that she sent home with us---we were grateful to have it after the long drive back to mariposa.

this was plate one of two---i think i ate twice as much as everyone else.  i'm sure it was frightening for onlookers.
salad, mashed potatoes, turkey, roasted carrots and persimmons, and bison

 after dinner:  coffee, fire, and marshmallows.


because if you're not singeing your knuckles and eyebrows the marshmallows just won't roast properly

the chef, always experimenting---roasted marshmallow coffee

i had a wonderful time---they're a generous bunch of people and i'm happy i got to spend the holiday with them.
next year...christmas in mariposa!

Monday, December 23, 2013

cat run

i got the cat run finished and set up for the kitties. 

i love what staal did with the cat door...


Saturday, December 21, 2013

winter solstice

for me christmas and new year's eve began to feel very commercial, materialistic, and artificial some time back.  i love getting together with friends and family and celebrating the coming of a new year but for me the symbolic day that inspires this celebration is the winter solstice.  the solstice marks the first day of winter, the longest night of the year, and the coming of the sun in the lengthening days of a new year.  
love, happiness, health, and a happy new year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

lunch at mama's

she's a damn good cook...

and a temptress...

thank you for a lovely afternoon, mama.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

he works

he works
and when he is not working
he thinks
and he thinks of work
he works
and it keeps him calm
keeps the anxieties at bay
for it's idleness wherein the danger lies
he works
and it's good for him
to move
to be occupied
he works
and he tells me he doesn't know what else he's good for
and i say plenty
but i don't think he hears
he works
and sometimes he's on the roof
or in the attic
or in the garage
he works
and i'm grateful for all that he does
and i wish, sometimes, he would (could?) rest
he works
and at night, sometimes, he sleeps
and when he is still and quiet and warm next to me
i hope he doesn't dream (too much) of work

staal spent the day on the roof working on the passage for the woodstove chimney.  this house has had some creative construction done in the past so he had to do a lot of work and repairs to the area to make it functional and sound.


pondering his next move

it's gonna work

i spent some time working on the cat run.  i'm building an outdoor enclosure that will sit up against the house where the cat door is (staal put a cat door in a couple days ago).  the kitties will have run of the little room at the back of the house and safe access to the outdoors---and we will be able to get away for a few days.  

sometimes i work a little too

 and i finally got around to making a new batch of sauerkraut today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

bare roots

the friedlands gave us a gift certificate a while back (a wedding/housewarming gift) so that we could get an orchard started up here.  i put in an order a couple months ago---our bare roots arrived this afternoon.  a dozen beautiful fruit trees.  i got them potted and put them in the kitchen garden until we can get an area fenced off from the deer.  thank you, fred and kerstin.

apples:  granny smith, pink lady, and sierra beauty
apricot:  harcot
peaches:  indian free, and o'henry
nectarine:  fantasia
pears (european):  bartlett, seckel, and warren
pear (asian):  hosui
persimmon (asian):  fuyu 'jiro'


a couple of recent poems inspired by hands:

my hands are small

hands can do so many things
some good
some bad
my hands are small
but strong
capable instruments
wrought of flesh and bone
sometimes the makers of fine things
and themselves finely made
marked but not marred by labor
palms calloused
nails home to garden soil
knuckles scarred here and there
my hands are small
smaller than my mother's hands
though sometimes when i look at them
i see something of her hands in mine
and i'm reminded of the comfort and care her hands brought to me when i was a child
the likeness itself brings me comfort now
and makes me mindful in their use
because hands can do so many things
some good
some bad

my hand, my heart

take my hand, love
hold it gently in yours
as wings beat
as hearts beat
walk with me, love
my hand in yours
as leaves fall
as grass grows
comfort me, love
palm to palm,
fingers entwined
as sun sets
as night falls
take my hand
my hand
my heart
take my hand, love

Monday, December 9, 2013


daytime temperatures have been in the low 40's and it's been getting down below freezing at night---last night we dropped to 19 degrees F.  so the snow has been melting during the day and then refreezing at night.  it's made some impressive icicles (aka icy death from above).

the longest was nearly 18"

i'm grateful for our warm house---don't know how the deer and other critters survive the freezing nights.  i'm also grateful for warm delicious food to eat (and staal's cooking talents)...

tonight's special:  the staal mushroom and onion burger

Saturday, December 7, 2013

first snow

we got our first snow of the season (and our first snow at triangle rd).  it started some time in the night and has been snowing off and on all day.  it's coming down pretty well right now (1:36 pm) adding to the 6 inches we woke up to this morning.  i got a few pictures...

this was the scene when we woke:
zane checking things out from the window

view from the house looking toward the road

front gate and bell

agaves that mark our driveway

Heteromeles arbutifolia---aka toyon or christmas berry

snow on pine needles

the mill office

my favorite pine tree

horrid man heaving a snowball at me

sorry mama, i just had to do it

tracks from two animals

kitchen garden trellises

kitchen garden fence

snow-covered snow peas

looking up through kitchen garden trellises

snow pea and tendrils

horrid man eating snow off the toyon

us in front of toyon

zane the snow dog

zane the snow dog in action: