Thursday, January 12, 2017


Before I forget, many have asked about how the couch turned out.  Reading Karen's blog, reminded me I needed to post pictures I took when we were over to Lyndy's house last week.  It looks especially good with Lyndy's accent pillows and the color of the couch is great.

Lyndy can store the cushions for extending the couch to a bed, under the couch.  Unfortunately, we haven't figured out the base for the extension yet.

Here is the couch without the cushions stored.

The best part is, the couch is super comfortable.  And John can lounge on it while Lyndy swings in her hammock.  Now Lyndy could sleep 4 if she needed to.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Breathing with Sal

Finally, after 4 days of volunteer confinement, the chickens and geese spent the day out and about.

It snowed last Friday and the temperature was down to 9 or 11 degrees for a few nights so when I would go down to let the chickens out, in the morning, they wouldn't even consider going out.  The geese would go out but immediately lay down and tuck their feet in.  Then they would wait for me to open the door to the goose run and go right back in.

  Last night it rained and melted most of the snow and the temperature was in the 30s, so today everyone was excited to come out.  There is still good green grass outside the barnyard so I opened the gate for all to have a fine outing.

Usually when the animals are out, I sit in the van and work on something and keep an eye out.  Today, I was working on a quilt/felt project when the geese came over to see what I was doing.  Sal decided to take a little rest with her head turned and tucked just outside the van. She looked SO relaxed and she was  doing some nice deep breathing.  I decided to join her in her breathing for a few minutes and realized we had a similar inhalation, but her exhalation was longer so I matched my breath to hers.  I think it would be nice to match breaths with a cat or a baby as well.  It is a good way to not think about anything else.

It has been a busy few days and life looks to continue that way for another few days with maybe Friday as a quiet day.  I guess I better check in with my breathing coach a few more times.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Reciprocity, My Definition

Reciprocity is the act of carrying salamanders across the road on a cold night of the first Spring rains because the sun shines, birds sing, sheep carry heavy wool on their backs, and plants give freely of their berries to all.

God created each addition to this universe with unique and different strengths and talents.  Can you imagine if you had the responsibility of warming all beings, waking up the day, and clothing and feeding all life on this planet.  Talk about stress...  But no, you just have to notice all that is done for you and remember what brings you joy and then go out and do a "little something" that other living beings can notice and be thankful for.

Reciprocity is just about taking what you need from the pool and making sure you are a supplier as well.

When I was caring for our two young daughters I was part of a mother's co-op.  The basic idea was that if you needed someone to watch your kids you could paint a different families walls or make dinner for yet another family in the co-op at a later date.  It was and is all about taking care of the needs of others (like salamanders).  It doesn't matter who does what or if the load is equal, it just matters that all thrive.

So, I have taken "Reciprocity" to be my word for 2017.  To live with on an intimate level.  I am not saying that I don't do for others and so I need to think about this more.  I am saying that awareness and caring for ALL in my every daily step does not come automatically for me.  That is what I want-- for me and all my fellow humans.  The plants and animals seem to have a better understanding of reciprocity but then they have been here for a way longer time.  Maybe we will learn in time.

Sunday, December 25, 2016


Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
(from over the rivers and through the woods)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Stories

I was telling the sheep the Christmas Story the other day as they were munching on their hay.  I told them about how important the sheep were in the story of the Christ Child's birth and how the shepherds took them to see the Baby.  I told them the sheep probably even helped keep everybody warm in the stable that was like their barn.

I decided Not to tell the geese about their ancestors roll in the Christmas stories.  Maybe though, they would be proud of all the people that were fed Christmas goose, as long as I don't tell them it is still a tradition.

I can't think of any Christmas story, off hand, about chickens.  Just as well, the chickens don't come to me and gaze into my eyes like they are looking for a story.  

Stories are important and story tellers.  What if the stories of Christ's birth had not been passed down.  

I like stories that you get to hear over and over by many story tellers, who all embellish their favorite parts of the story.  It doesn't matter if all the details are correct or if many facets are deliberately skewed to tell a different story.

When Wednesday and Lyndy were growing up we certainly read and told our share of stories.  Lyndy always seemed to be very interested in the characters, more than what happened in the story.  I guess I feel that way about The Christmas Story; I don't care what time of year Christ was born, I don't care what the timing was of the shepherds visit or the wisemen.  I am just glad to hear the story.

Susan Kerr, wrote a chapter, in her book Intersections of Grace, entitled, "Coffee with the Nativity".  She put out her nativity set and each morning invited a different piece of the nativity to have coffee with her so she could ask them about how they felt in their role in The Christmas Story.

I love all the other Christmas stories too.  Maybe I will dig out a few to read through the Christmas season.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Perfect Bite

One of our holiday traditions is the "Perfect Bite".

The perfect bite is when you sneak into the kitchen just before the meal is ready to be served and you load up one fork with previews of the dinner to come; a good example is: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, gravy, and maybe a slurp of cranberry sauce and into your mouth for a slow savor, um um.

I never know if it tastes so good because of all the combinations, or if it is just the "long awaited" first bite.  Often, one person loads up the fork and feeds it to another.  That too might be why is tastes so incredible.  My mouth is watering just writing about the "perfect bite".

The sheep at Cabin Spring Farm have the same tradition except it is not reserved for holidays.  Every time I go out to feed the sheep some hay, they get so excited.  Amelia always wants to help me get the hay.  She tries to open the gate with her foot.  I tell her, " thanks, but I can get it".  I load up with 3-4 flakes of hay and walk back to the gate.  I try to open the gate while they are pushing against it but eventually they step back enough for me to squeeze in.  And then, everyone but Zorra, comes over for the perfect bite.  I stay still for a few seconds and hold on tight to the hay.  Once they have all grabbed a bite and are chewing, I walk to the hay feeder to unload the rest of the hay, feeding Zorra (at the end) first, since she has not yet had any.

So, is it the long awaited first bite or the fact that I am feeding them, that makes the bite at the gate, the perfect bite?  It can't be the combination of foods, since it is all just hay (no gravy).

I get a similar reaction from the geese.  They like to take a few blades of hay while I am fastening the bungy on the inside of the goose run.  Unfortunately, the geese don't then go over to their bowls.  Instead, I have to walk in carefully, trying not to step on any feet.  Once the bowls are filled, all is quiet and I can go get some fresh water.  The geese also consider the first bite of hay under the hay feeders ( that they have driven the sheep from) another perfect bite. Or is that "the grass is greener" if you get it from someone else's stash.

I don't think the chickens get the concept of "the perfect bite".

Saturday, December 17, 2016


This was the morning sky when I woke up yesterday.  It was 17 degrees but the wind had died down so it didn't feel too bad to me.

It was so quiet that you could hear all the little noises, like you hear when you ride up a ski lift and there is a crack of a branch or a a gust of wind blowing by, or a porcupine in a tree.  One sound I heard yesterday, was  when one of theses sheep 

pushed into the cattle panel to get another bite of hay.  It was a metal on metal high pitched whining that carried through the thin air like on the chairlift.  The geese weren't even chortling or the chickens cooing?  

I love when everything goes right like 5 sheep grazing at this hay feeder and 4 at the one above; no crowding or pushing and the trough heater is working.

On these cold mornings, the chickens are in NO hurry to come out.  Note the black hen in the coop 15 minutes or so after I opened the coop.  

AH, so quiet and beautiful....  And then I let the geese out and the scene changed.