Wednesday, September 03, 2014


It has been a long time since I stayed up until 3 a.m. messing with travel plans and emailing people who live several time zones ahead of me. Please imagine what kind of a mood I was in when then, at 6, I stumbled out to let the cheepers out. (Hint: rhymes with weepy.)

Ed, too, had been up late, but he is (lucky him) quite capable of sleeping through the whole saga of sun rising, rooster crowing, cat meowing.  Me, I'm wide awake now, so I may as well be the one up.

(fields to the north, just before sunrise)

But as I make my way to the fenced in coop, I hear the familiar noises of Scotch, our most vocal hen. She comes toward me, a touch groggy but otherwise with all feathers in tact.
What are you doing outside the coop and on this side of the fence?!? I ask her, but she just does her cackling noises and follows me to where the rest of the cheepers are clamoring to get out. I unlatch the door, they go out, she goes in and catches up on eating.

So what happened here? Why did she spend the night outside?


In fact, it's easy to have missed her. She has always put herself to sleep in the coop. Always. The other hens doze off on the fence and each night, Ed gently picks them up and places them within, but Scotch is a self-help girl and no one ever bothers to check on her, because she's the kid who always knows the rules. She doesn't need a lift and carry. She puts herself inside.

Scotch (and Butter) on the run

But not last night. And not henceforth. Ed finds her tonight, up with the white hens, snuggled against them. How sad she must have been yesterday, to see the other two carried away while she was left behind! Lucky -- that's what she was. No one had her for dinner. She survived. Lucky.

In other news?

Well, after breakfast...


... Ed picks tomatoes -- which had been fun to imagine and anticipate when we were planting the seeds in March, and still exciting when we watched them sprout in April, and exhilarating when we put the tiny plants in the soil in June, but now, in September, you just want them all to be done already. It doesn't help that we've shared some with bugs and beasts, so you have to pick very carefully. Every two days or so, until the first frost.


The corn we planted is at its final stage. Pick now, or give it up. The cucumbers, too, are wrapping it up. Beans are done, peas too. Only the watermelons are straggling. They are just now about the size of eggplant. It was not a good idea to plant watermelon seeds into the ground in July.

So this is the end of the growing season for us. And it feels right to finally let go.


Tonight, Ed comes back late after one of the final evening bike rides of the season. So late that we're all on the brink of sleep. And still,  I take out a wooden board, throw some cheeses on it and we munch. All three of us. (Isis likes strong cheeses.) It is such a good way to end a very long day!