Friday, March 21, 2014


Again I am grateful for all your Ocean comments during my time away these past three weeks. As you can tell, I'm only a half-hearted hermit. The other half loves the back and forth and I surely profited from all your thoughts and reactions to various posts. Thank you so, so much.

Back home, the farmette is slowly emerging from hibernation. True, it's hard to love the last weeks of March: everything is so dismally brown, muddy, uninviting. When we walk the land, we see animal dropping everywhere. Deer have yet again attempted a complete destruction of our new orchard (only partly successful -- predictably, in places where we didn't provide enough cover for the young trees). The old barn has lost a few more boards and animals have dug trenches inside.

Truly, the whole place looks terrible.

So let me roll back to the prettiest part of the day: the morning. I catch the sunrise (more or less), behind the old orchard. It's warm enough that I can go outside without dressing for it.



And inside, at breakfast time, the sun is pouring in. The pots of annuals that I brought in for the winter have revived: they're flowering again. So much so that I snipped some of the blooms for our breakfast table.



A good part of the day is spent on restocking the refrigerator. And after, Ed and I take baby steps toward the pre-spring outdoor cleanup. Sweeping, righting felled tree protectors -- little things. But significant: they usher in spring.


Isis joins us. Somewhat reluctantly. He is less happy with the amount of wet ground at every turn.


Evening. It's time to resume cooking duties at the farmhouse. So what to make on my first night back in the kitchen? Beet soup. From a recipe handed to me by someone from Poland. Is there ever a time when you come back from a trip without changing your habits somewhat upon your return? No, I don't think so.


back home

Call it what you want: first day of spring, the UN International Happiness Day (it's true!), me, I'll call it the day of being home again.

Such a long but easy trip! Think of all the things that can go wrong here: a cab taking you at 4:30 a.m. to the airport, a flight taking off on a misty cold morning in Warsaw, connecting to a 9 hour flight to Chicago where, too, it's misty cold, though not as cold as when I left. Finally, a bus ride to Madison.

Nothing went wrong. Each flight came in ahead of schedule. The transatlantic Delta flight was half empty and the three men in the cockpit came on to reassure any jittery passenger that, between them, they had 80,000 miles of experience (unspoken subtext: we can handle emergencies!). I watched three movies in succession and slept through half of another. And the plane came in not at 3:30 as scheduled, but at 3:05. I walked through immigration and customs fast enough that I could take the airport train and still be on the 3:30 bus to Madison.

How is that for a trouble free journey!

Back home. It was an especially poignant return. Ed was out fetching dinner and Isis was out at the sheep shed and still, I felt so completely welcomed. May as well have had horns blowing and confetti flying -- home.

It's always interesting to survey things afresh the next morning -- what plants complained, what snow has remained.

So after breakfast -- yes, gloriously in the sunroom, with a cooperative Ed (imagine: three weeks of no one bugging him with a camera!) --


...I went out to look at the yard. And it became obvious that the snow we'd been pushing off the porch roof found a happy home just below. Meaning we'd created a mountain of snow in the northern shadows of the farmhouse and if I wanted the plants to awaken anytime soon, I would do well to move some of the snow out of there.

So my first task on this first day of spring/UN Happy Day is to shovel.


In the evening I have my monthly meeting with retired or nearly retired UW friends and even though I am feeling quiet tonight, it still feels nice to be embroiled in the pattern of regularity again.