Sunday, February 23, 2014


I am grateful for that blue sky! Truly grateful. All other weather issues pale when I see it. We, up here in the Upper Midwest, are somewhat weather obsessed, especially when people elsewhere begin their annual brag about how spring is almost here. For us, it's not almost here. Not even close. But look up at that sky and you have to smile. We've got cornflower blue!

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Sunday means farmhouse cleaning day, but I only do a half job. I want a clean house when I leave later this week. I'll finish things then. Which means that Sunday breakfast is, for once, not too late.

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And the day stretches before me in such a luxurious fashion that I do something that I haven't done in decades: I pack my little suitcase several days in advance.

Now, I have become a fanatically light packer. A change of clothes, camera, kindle, laptop -- it all could fit into a small backpack. But this time I'm charged with carrying things back and forth between Madison and Warsaw and so my carryon is full before I even pack my essentials. So I have to proceed with care. Because at all costs, I will not send a bag through. Will not will not will not. Ever again.

And even after the laundry is done, dried, folded, and the suitcase is packed, the bathroom sponged clean, kindle loaded with some terrific sounding book recommendations from you and you, even after all that -- the day is still young.

Ed suggests we go to Paoli. It's a hamlet of a place just a dozen miles south of us. In the summer, we would bike to it. Not now. It's cold again and the wind kicks it down to even colder.

Paoli is a curious place: it has several art galeries and a handful of shops that are clearly earmarked for visitors.

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Cheese. Ice cream. ceramics. And -- a store with all things chicken.

Though we're not in Paoli for the shops -- we actually want to climb the Observatory hill just west of here -- we do poke into the chicken shop. It's a lovely place -- with lots of hens and roosters on everything from cloths, cards and pottery to more functional items that you would actually give to chickens. Feed, for example. Roosts. Coops.
Are you here for the chicken lecture? -- we're asked as we enter.
Well now, we know the speaker. If you're into the farm to table movement in these parts, you get to know the players. Sure, we'll stay and listen.

It's a fascinating talk on how to get started in raising chickens. Oh, we're not novices to the idea -- we've considered (and rejected) it before. We always remind ourselves that traveling so much makes it difficult to also raise animals. But hey, if Ed's not traveling anymore, shouldn't we reconsider chickens?

After the chicken talk, we climb up the hill to the back of the village. The wind is bitter. But the views... ah, the views!

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We talk about raising chickens. Ed worries that it's too big a commitment. I can't protest that one. I'm the one traveling all the time.

The chicken project, briefly alive today, falls back down into the "maybe someday" category of projects. A category that we're great at filling with all sorts of ideas.

We drive home. I'm in a hurry. My girl and her husband are here for Sunday supper.

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This in between time -- as I prepare to be away -- is never my favorite. People ask if I get excited about leaving. Well yes, of course, but never on the days just before. Because, as much as I know that I will love waking up elsewhere, leaving people and places that I love is tough.

Still, the sky is blue and the days are longer and spring is around the bend. How cool is that!