Friday, May 30, 2014


New Glasses

I've been dealing with eye glass prescriptions in the way that a kid might deal with carrots and celery packed into her lunchbox: throw them away with the sandwich and cookie wrappers. And so even though I do have my eyes checked every few years, I ignore the adjustments suggested by the visits. Bifocals are expensive and if a doc says -- only minor changes, well then why bother.

Small wonder then that when I picked up my new glasses today the world felt oddly different. It's like moving from gentle Impressionism in art to stark modern realism. My, we live in a sharply edged world!

And though I like the new frames (you'll see them in good time -- since my car cost less than these eye pieces, I don't intend to change them in the next decade or two), I feel wobbly adjusting to the reading line.  I keep thinking -- isn't it terrible when you try to do well by yourself and all you wind up feeling is dizzy! Ed would say -- next time buy the cheapest glasses on the market, then you wont bfeel so bad when you don't like them.

Old Tractor

In the last week, Ed again had to fix the old John Deere so that I could keep up with the "prairie" mowing. My idea was to mow it until flowers again begin to emerge, reclaiming the land from quack grass and underground vines. It was a noble idea, but by the end of the day I concluded that I would like to resign from prairie mowing.

Yes, I have, over time, removed rocks and boulders. And big chunks of wood. (During past mowings, I nearly caused irreprable damage by hitting these in the field.) And I learned the location of all the stumps, so that I would quit running into them. And truly, the field looks better than it did in past years. But enough already! Working that tractor over ruts and mole hills makes my insides bounce and as I step off that machine, I feel as dizzy as someone who has come off the world's fiercest roller coaster. 

And again the blades stopped churning toward the end of the job (the belt slipped off) and I think surely the message is that I should now just  let the field grow and if the flowers emerge -- wonderful and if they don't, well, it may just be that this land needs more than a mowing operation to have it reclaim its beautiful prairie face.

Winter Chickens

Today I heard from the owner of our chickens. She called to say that she was thrilled, thrilled that our cheepers were so happy (she'd driven by and witnessed their joy first hand, she tells me). So, all's well? -- she asks.

And this gives me a chance to reflect a little on the whole chicken project.

Yes, I like them.
Yes, it still unnerves me when they dig around my flower beds, but I've learned that their damage is minimal, so I no longer panic.
Yes, it's okay to let them free range all day long -- they know how to take cover when hawks circle overhead, they never go into the neighbor's yard, or the farmers' fields, or the road out front. And they put themselves to bed, so the night ritual of locking their coop could not be easier.
No, they do not mess up the yard with their droppings. Perhaps it's because the farmette is so large --for whatever reason, the only place we ever encounter their droppings is in the coop overnight and at our doorstep if they decide to hang out there waiting for me to come out and play.

On the less than perfect side, it's true that Oreo does not like lively little children. If they chase the hens, he'll very effectively put on his terror-monster act. Very effectively. His memory of a kid last year breaking his foot into a dysfunctional mess stays with him.
Then, too, there is the matter of winter. (You see? I always get around to answering a commenter's question!) We'll need a bigger coop for them. Chickens in Wisconsin can tolerate the cold quite well. Most of the time they don't need additional heat -- just shelter from the wind and snow. (Exception: this last winter was too cold. They will need a heat lamp if we get more polar vortex days.) And they need water. So in fact, we did introduce an electric cord into the coop to keep the water melted on freezing days and nights. But will they go out in the snow? I have no idea. I do know that they need more space than their current coop provides if only because I need to be able to enter and clean it to my standards (which are, admittedly, ridiculous). So in the next months, we'll be looking to expand their quarters.

But that's not this month's project. Right now, we're still at the early stages of presummer!

This Day

Oh, it is a beautiful day again! I didn't let the chickens out until 6:30, by which time I'm sure they felt themselves to be abandoned and trapped for life. The sun was up, even as there was a gentle dew on the fields and grasses around us.


The skies stayed blue and we puttered in small ways until breakfast...


...and then of course I had my weekly groceries to pick up and Ed had his various meetings and so I did not return to outdoor work until in the afternoon. A warm afternoon that caused the chickens to retreat frequently into pockets of shade.


So... what's missing here from this recount of this day?  Oh, flowers! We're in a transitional season: spring blossoms are spent, summer -- not quite ready. As I said, this is the time for irises...


...but not only. Here's a cute little Penstemon. Its pinky sweetness will end the Ocean post today.