Monday, December 30, 2013

trying to get in a routine of morning writing

Dreaming Skippy

My young sons named her, I referred to her
as child support number two;
the fist was Malo, a large doberman, who adopted
Skippy, grooming her puli braids, pulling ticks
and tag alongs by teeth, one large paw
across her back.
She hunted with him and grew strong and broad
in the chest following his huge strides
up the mountain. Malo met with a 20 ought 20
shot, leaving Skippy gun shy,
but no less adventuresome.
We pulled her off a fawn
and once out of a trap she'd lugged home on her back leg.
Then one fall, I had to swim across a cold river
to coax her back home, untangling fishing line caught
in her matted hair. She was the last of the puli line,
her father, Toogoodoo from Natty and Faramir's last litter
raised in the kitchen.
When she became incontinent, sleeping through walks,
no longer lusting ground and smell,
losing appetite;
I put her down, holding on tight.
She runs through my dreams, and I call her
until I wake standing in a wood alone.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

resolution for 2014

First Thing, poem

after tea, after
qigong at window with bird cluster
at feeder, I go to my room.
I switch on the light
move to sit before screen, in this space
of books and pictures
trinkets, small altars,
my mother's life size sculpture of her Labrador, Doc.
All be distractions, a chaos
imploring the swirling consciousness about me,
about the hollow frosted ground,
encapsulating sky


Sunday, December 22, 2013

poem in process

From inside his shoes

His hand going up
signaling STOP,
Her voice piercing skin, quills
scripting down to boy's memory
when he forgot to close the chickens.
His father waking him at night
beating and beating his lower back
'til vertebra fused.
Hurt in the aim of words
as soon as he entered the trailer.
He had to hunker down


Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I'm beginning to suspect that this blog has become solipsistic, since there is little evidence of subject matter other than the self. Perhaps a blog by nature veers toward navel gazing. However, I would suggest that to understand the outer world, objective world, one does need to examine oneself. I guess my self still holds nooks and crannies of befuddlement. Admittedly, I have proven to be ignorant and naive when it comes to comprehending the world, mine or yours! Yet, my world is so amazing and Thanksgiving was magnificent! Alma's winter squash pie was delicious as True demonstrates. The fresh organic turkey from Weathertop farm in Floyd was absolutely delicious. I wish that the world were as blessed.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I NEVER associated shopping with Thanksgiving. For as long as my great grandmother was alive (until i was 11); it meant a huge meal, and if my sister and I were lucky, meaning that there were 13 grownups to be at the table, we got included (one aunt was superstitious).  Otherwise we ate in the kitchen (I wasn't too fond of raw oysters then having watched Netsie, the German nurse of my grandmother and her siblings, pull a gallon size mason jar of oysters out of the frig and unscrew the top, pick out one and swallow it while standing at the open frig door. Her head thrown back, you could watch her throat work that oyster down...gag). But when included I recall staring at my knife a lot while the grow-ups argued...Grampsie was a Yankee, Uncle Dixie, not! Oh, it was all about FOOD and drink and politics. 
Oyster stew was the first course, and though I avoided the oysters, I loved the soup. Then a salad whose dressing I have never been able to replicate, falling somewhere between thousand island and a remoulade. Grampsie carved the ham; Uncle Dixie (who called my sister and me, "Red Beans" and "Rice") handled the turkey; both portly men with what seemed like extra large carving tools. I can't recall the food on my plate, more than i could consume, no doubt. I'm fairly certain there were whipped sweet potatoes, and creamed spinach (I still make creamed spinach, but I ditched mashed sweet potatoes for roasted ones). Desert included a new box of Whitman Sampler, that I looked forward to. 


Monday, November 25, 2013

surprise at the chicken house

Wild Thing

last week I found an unfinished tunnel by the hen house
larger than a mole would make;
I gathered rocks from the dry creek bed
to cover the hole, to thwart the invader.
Last night, late from hearing Wendell Berry,
I strode out to shut the chickens.
It was pitch
at the corner of fence and house
where the tunnel mouth had gaped.
But I thought a hen huddled
and I reached out to retrieve her
but my fingers grazed coarse fur,
so I bent down to peer closer: opossum!
I repelled, disgusted, yet slowly delighted,
I had just touched a wild thing.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

drama in the green house

My lime tree's leaves look drawn, dehydrated
last week it threw down two fruit.
I suspect it is pissed that it was the only plant I failed
to pull out to the deck this summer.
Now that the green house is filled again
with chatty neighbors, the lime divests its own lament. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lush, a student

Have you noticed my pause / are you piercing
the space / conscious of the see-saw?

Am I walking through your seminary ghost, or do
those huge brown eyes lure from another cell?

Is there affinity in our shared history of detention
or merely our vulnerability -

a surface tension that
rapes the moment?

                           My hands are sweaty on the keys,
I tire at the filling of the script -
                                              are you an actor
am I? 


(I've been reworking poems, meeting with Ann and Diane who are keen editors and responders. Encouraging. Inspiring, I find more draw to the process of writing.)


Monday, November 11, 2013

Still Recovering

Relieved that election 2013 is over, well, except for who will be our new Attorney General. Cheers to McAuliffe. Too bad we couldn't pull off more Democratic wins to change the dynamics of the House of Delegates. I can only blow my nose on the situation, I would thumb, but I've a cold.

The light is so dramatically shortening the afternoon. I walked up to the Blue House to play with grand ones while their parents did garden work. It was three o'clock, I closed the vent to the green house when I left as the sun went low on Red Bud. But up at the Blue House, I took off my jacket and played with the kids on their porch. It was still light at four when I donned my jacket for a trip down through the now dark pine woods. We are in for several very cold days, maybe snow.


wounded deer

Wounded deer

but the rush of the river as I sit
by the stark clear water
sycamores stretching out, not a leaf more

to fall
the wounded deer on the path, skirting me
slowly following a higher trail painful to watch
season of dying


veteran's day

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dias de los Muertos

The first brave souls to trick or treat in the holler! They didn't eat at all; just clacked about, having to return to their baby in his car seat - cute little skeleton. 
Day light savings ends this weekend, just in time to lighten my pre-dawn work on Tuesday to set political signs on the driveway of the polling place in Bethel. Better yet, the forecast is for above freezing morning rising into the 50's by afternoon. Today a rally at the government center; perhaps I will survive another year. No less disgusted by the campaign, the money and the nasty barbs. One would think that all elected officials would want to put an end to the horror, especially having to raise so much money; but, NO. Je ne comprend pas. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lost October

Maybe not the whole month, but a good chunk is gone, as are most of the leaves, with my eyes on my computer screen. Many days have been grey, too many for my spirits liking. I've fallen into a quasi addiction to The Voice; I don't know why: the camaraderie of the judges, the music (?), tears, the possible steal. Vapidity. I was glad that the blue house was at the beach and missed four days of drizzle. 
Finally, I have nearly solidified my schedule for poll greeters on Election Day - the only black hole spinning in Pilot. I exaggerate. Next year, I have vowed, I will gladly help someone else do this job. 
I suspect that I will wake to frost and no more Impatiens; this morning ice covered the windshield of the truck, the deck was slick, some of the zinnia's petals burned. I filled the house with flowers from the blue house. The air was clear blue blue. Working on a case, interesting one, pulling out my folder of Herscu letters and reading up on Veratrum Album.
And this evening Ez and Sofia on Skype; Sofia saying, "nanee" and kissing the screen. I kissed the screen too, then pressed my cheek to my screen! ha! 


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

if you want something done...

ask someone who is busy. NO, wrong. At least not this busy person who is  overwhelmed by political call lists, a looming election with looney tea party candidates for governor to local supervisor and needy volunteer duties nagging me around the house in sleep and at night! Considering that the government is partially shut down thanks to the Republicans who want the Affordable Care Act to collapse; one might legitimately wonder if an election even f***ing matters. Obama was re-elected; nevertheless a wing of the Republican party has managed to get its way on Capitol Hill. I blame Boehner who will not bring the Senate bill to a vote in the House. Ach-Do. No doubt there is money in it for him; money can buy a state in the US now, as Pope his done in NC. I'd rather pull a blanket over my head and read a book, or work in my overgrown garden, work on writing - anything than call names on a sheet who if not already angry enuf to vote maybe shouldn't vote as they may be leaning tea-wards. Last night I had a glass of wine and stopped calling. Looks like a plan - reward.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 12th

I absolutely thought I had had my last swim for the summer
September, cooler water, cooler air
my older self was ok with it, then
Susan came out:
we walked to the swimming hole, hot
sun, air warm
Susan took off a shoe, saying,
I'm going in,” her clothes off
she took three steps and dove.
I had to follow,
a skinny dip for the last
fling! Ah yes.
And so I swam again today.

another process

So here I am the left behind, in this over grown cage I fail to tame
with dog and cat and time to kill
I should do this or maybe that
but don't
ambition somehow damaged
or defunct
happy enuf with the autumn light
the children crawl and hug
no ream of poems
half thoughts,
slight plans, mostly good sleep.

(last Friday the 13th poem! left behind, i hazard from the company of man)

use it or lose it

back behind the cat food and bird suet
in the bottom cupboard lies my paper bag
of dried silver queen corn. there was a cup left 
from what had made the most delicious corn bread.
But why I saved these kernels alludes me. I didn't
save my virginity, nor my skin. 
we've had a wet summer, I'm afraid to look. 

(work in process...)


Friday, September 20, 2013

Phone banking!

Who named this activity phone banking? I'm not a happy advocate; but I have 30+ pages of registered voters whom I need to call in hopes of finding volunteers  to help with this election, Nov. 5th. It is slow going: two hang ups today, several good democrats who will vote for McAuliffe, etc and a delightful woman who wants yard signs. But I haven't found anyone who will be a greeter at the polls. I have found a friend who will help me call next week, so there is hope! I find after 11 calls, I need a snack. After two pages, I need a walk. After any more than that I need a nap or coma. Ach do! If only I had these sweet diversions! I can only rationalize that I make these calls for their future.


Monday, September 9, 2013

three hens

I bought three 6 month old hens at the market Saturday (the first Saturday of the month small animal market in front of Tractor supply). They are attractive birds: two grey/blue and one black Copper Marans. One hen has braved the chicken yard, while two have hung around the chicken house for two days. Last night I went out to see if all chickens (I had 11 before these new hens) were roosting. All but the one blue were in the house. I managed to herd her into the yard by the house after tangling in the seven foot high weeds in the larger yard. But she didn't go in and I found her roosting on the wire fence when I returned to close up the house. Luckily I grabbed her before she flew out into the wild - which would have been a miserable hunt. I am a bit apprehensive about tonight!


Sunday, September 8, 2013

it's September already

for T

I am in love with chocolate toes
peaking from the child pack

for P and M

at my door two girls
with silver toe nails
prompting a dance.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

for T and Fia

You reach up and I pull you to me
you wiggle to be set down
I oblige
and tuck myself to your height
look into your eyes
and smile.
You smile that true smile
a bit lopsided
as if you can't help yourself
and I turn from flesh to butter.

*                  *                   *

for Ez, Jen and Fia

You won't be really gone
'til the cedar plank salmon is eaten;
I'm hanging on
to lemonade for Pearl.
The studio cleaned
booster seat stored, yet
Fia toddles in my heart.


Friday, August 23, 2013

the assembled family!

Ma and Paw came down from Charlottesville to see the one year olds cavort with DD. My heart got so full up, I fret it's enlarged itself. Amazingly the little white doggies got along like old buddies; Mr. Lee getting to show his city cousin how to get down and dirty. Good food, I am still eating the cedar plank salmon. Good weather, which is a miracle after Wednesday's flash flood. Lots of love, babies on chest! And laughs.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

So Much to Say

Wonderful, magical, endearing visit with Ez, Jen and Fia - the weather complied, have pictures of cousins playing together to post. However, I am pressed into road work, or rather the slow task of shoveling gravel out of the yard and pushing small wheel barrow loads back to the road. Yesterday we got a sudden deluge, 3 inches in a bit more than an hour. The road went river, the chicken house cut off, water up to my deck, leaving a canyon in the road! I fret that I should hoist the house up several feet! 
Baldwin saved the day, by mounting tractor, Muriel, and giving me back a road. He left this morning for New Orleans and the funeral of his grandmother. We did manage to hike down to the river through a wild creek which prompted me to carry Mr. Lee and Dew Drop to be ferried by her dad, T. packed safe to his mom's chest.

before I forget I wanted to put the link to Colleen Redman's
 blog post:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bird nest in a cage

The small bird is very well camoflagued; yet it seems an odd place to build a nest. I did manage to extricate one of the ripe tomatoes from beneath the nest yesterday. Look forward to baby bird peeps when I'm in the garden! 
Anticipating the arrival of my Houston grand-daughter with her people and small dog late this evening. A week filled with two one year old babies; one walking and one just about to (he's not quite one). Lucky me!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

summer incidents mount

I'm going to hell
albeit, I have a heart
but a third incident this summer
marks a clear descent:
first, discovered by my dog, rotting groundhog
I vowed to check the trap more often.
But weeks later a second
groundhog's dead scent as I walked back
to the corn rows.
Now, the worst: young small opossum
climbing over corpse
of mother and sibling.


Monday, July 29, 2013

revisited a poem from Rosicrucian workshop

May comes
dogwood blossoms curl, brown
glad orange poppies about the house.
On top of Red Bud mountain
my dog and I pause
our house between branches
down where the spring runs.
I understand cremation has the advantage
of stopping the desire body
from coming back.
Yet I know the lust in my heart
is huge for this spot
and it will be all I can do
to not return.

the desire body in May”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

with an empty feeling

Moving through the day, realizing about 9 am that I do not have to dress out of my old gardening garb, I slow down, even sitting in a chair on my deck under the shade of the red bud. Six shows and we began to gain a momentum as if the next weekend might repeat, but no we are loose into our own idiosyncratic habitats!
I vow to add committed writing time to my schedule, not just my afternoon escape from the heat reading/writing time, but a before opening the chickens hiatus! Well, it's a thought. I want to work on a poem that has been chasing my thoughts, usually when driving, that hinges on "I was that only one who could tell you apart." My mother's words to which she added the action of switching our birth bracelets. At Turo hospital in New Orleans in the spring of 1945, babies received bracelets which were made of small beads. I have mine still with "baldwin baby B." I wonder if I am really Mary. My twin Mimi certainly looked more like our grandmother, Mary, with her rounder face. Whereas I had the more oval face like our grandmother, Mildred.  I imagine that my mother got caught switching them, swearing that she had them right. Who would care, really. Only for 51 years, Mildred Baldwin has been engraved on the Hayne granite head stone in Metairie Cemetary. 
Identity has been an issue for me; I tend to twin with others. I do think that I married my first husband for among other reasons (that he stood up to  my mother's berating of me, for one) that he seemed to know what he was doing, he had direction. NORTH!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

He's Here

My new grandchild, True, is home. Smiling like he's familiar with this new space,smiling and delighted at Mojo, smiling up at me and right into my heart. He crawled over to his sister and pulled up, sturdy; and I wager soon walking. Oh, handsome little one, we are so glad you are home. 

Friday, July 12, 2013


The plan is to take a nap as Miss Katrina woke me up with her scratching on the closet door and meowing. I can feel excitement in my throat and chest. There will be much energy in the black box theater tonight with a full house. Dress rehearsal went well, a bit slow. Diane helped us all with make-up, but my lips were a little too bright - said Bob! I swallowed a few words of a line in my melanoma poem - but no one seemed to notice.We had not been able to coax many folks to rehearsal, but Molly and her friend Tacy and Andy came - which was certainly better than no one. It is more fun, now that we relate to each other on stage; Ann and Liz and I get to act up on stage at several points: we dance while Diane speaks her "Boot scootin boogie" poem, and we jostle on the ottoman while Diane does her "goddess"poem. Ann slipped slightly during her dance, but she giggled so very delightfully that - recovering as if it was nothing - I thought it endearing. Liz has a sore throbbing tooth which gave her some problem with her opening story - but she so valiantly rises to the occasion that the story unfolded more wonderfully than ever. It is as if, now that we have rehearsed this into our bones, we are able to be ourselves on stage - and it is fun. Whatever else the audience may take away, they will have a chance to see six women be their authentic selves.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

High Rver

Waking this morning surrounded by rushing water sound. Had to walk down to see the river, see the drama from all this rain.
The falls are running; galloping river, hardly Little
bringing silt, mud red
to New.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


I will not complain. Rain. The river is running much as it did when I arrived here, 40 years ago when the river was navigable and the garden seldom needed watering. We have taken to tubing; grand-daughter all by herself on a yellow ring. I have beaucoup sugar snap peas and I eat them at least for two meals. While the west roasts in record high temperatures, it is cool here in the mornings, cool enough for a quilt at night. I can not complain. Though the clothes on the line appear weary.
WE ARE IN REHEARSAL AGAIN: LOOSE THREADS in performance the 2nd and 3rd weekends in July in the black bog theatre at VA Tech. Susan is coming out today so that we can read over the script together. The space of this theatre confronts me with a panic push into NOW where I can still fumble lines, struggling with the sheer emotional surges the poems urge in present time. It is wonderful, frightening and illuminating.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ben Bernanke

Just a thought to the economist who I don't think is very much in touch with people. Stop encouraging bricks and mortar projects and begin stimulating community! Communities have been issuing bonds to build infrastructure to the detriment of salaries for teachers and county/city employees. Low interest loans do NOT prompt people to save money, not that they can save much on their frozen salaries, if they even have a job. What I'm saying is these low interest rates are promoting borrowing by communities, borrowing without much forethought to the interest they will have to pay. Ordinary people, on the other hand, are having a difficult time getting a loan. Ordinary people with salaries that have stayed the same for years can't afford higher taxes or to save money; it seems to be a stalemate. Sometimes I suspect that the middle class is doomed. Sometimes I think that community script is an answer. I know that I distrust the widening gap between rich and everyone else; it makes me think of gated communities, of houses with high walls topped with broken glass, of children sleeping on streets...Then i think that technology will somehow lace the gap, that ignorance can't withstand easy access. je ne sais pas! Somehow Bernanke got me pissed. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

not so here here

Eating edible pea pods when I go into garden, picking a handful for dinner - lightly steamed with quinoa or in salad. Big weeding effort this morning in the back corn field where Alma and I planted a second planting of corn yesterday evening. Wanting to mulch before the weeds multiply again and wanting to weed between the corn already up, but can't say "thriving!" The garden calls for attention in the morning and evening and I go. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June, continent rolled

Busy, anxious, excited. Wet June benefiting garden; blooms profuse in pea row, potatoes magnificent, beans just sprouting under teepees I assembled by myself! Caught a ground hog today in trap; poor one must have been in the trap quite awhile, as he/she died before the executioner arrived. We began practicing for our LOOSE THREADS performance in July with two dramaturge: Ann and Suzanna. The theatre 101 stage is in the round, black walls and floor, a black hole! perfect for "its all about death." Much to work on, but tightening up the transitions, intention, movement. Blocking new enough to catch me; swimming to ottoman at west end of stage. (Use compass directions to denote space in theatre in the round.) I've killed a copperhead  with Alma's help by the chimney, and liberated 3 black snakes from chicken house. We all anticipate news of date to return to Ethiopia to bring home baby brother. But most anxious development in June was Ezra's stay in the hospital with what was diagnosed as mono caused by CMV virus. He is mercifully home, gradually recovering from horrid night sweats, fever, painful cough and great fatigue. I feel I am slowly collecting myself, two weeks before we begin rehearsals in earnest at end of June. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

It began

This morning out the door to qigong, I was stopped by shattered solar outside light. Had a deer kicked it from several feet away to break against the stone paving? Or was it a bear thinking the color changing globe edible? Mystery. I ran back inside to retrieve whisk broom as the tiny shards of glass could be hazard to me or to Mr. Lee.
If that weren't enough to mark this day, this afternoon while Pearl ran about the house naked from playing on the water slide, I discovered a copperhead in the plants by the chimney (adjacent to the broken solar globe this morning). I grabbed a shovel nearby and pinned the snake calling out for Alma to bring another shovel. Alma was mercifully visiting, trying to enjoy a glass of wine on the deck! Together we shovel stabbed the snake, gritting teeth and exclaiming how much we hated to kill anything!
Enough excitement for the day! Perhaps I will get the sweet potato slips planted, shake off the memory of snake.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

some poems in the works

Fear Face

I make hideous faces with Pearl, we
can contort into monsters only
at four she's not as frightening
as I am at sixty-eight

Scraping razor, fire brand, or ice
I am losing face in layers
and chunks,
the numbing needles hurt.


I cease to follow the procedures to hooking up well to house
I thought an hour ago that it might be soon, water
flowing through familiar pipes
from this new deep source.
I clearly recall the ditch we hand dug to the spring
forty years ago, heavy breasts as nursing mom,
watching the ditch long slit lie open until the pump
was installed, with foot valve mouth into bubbling
water source. I had hauled water
until the house was plumbed 
and we rejoiced, got clean.


Red breasted Grosbeak, too big for feeder
manages in spite of bulk, he's red
not only on breast, but brush strokes under feathers.
His place swiftly replaced by red bellied woodpecker
just as ungainly an acrobat.
It rains until red bud blossoms are carpet.

May 14 and 20




Monday, May 13, 2013

Face saved

So I am good in my skin! Certainly a relief; but news that the world has reached 400 parts per million of carbon in our atmosphere has me pissy even after two walks. What keeps the industrialized world from changing? After reading an article in a recent New Yorker about new technology that can locate and map ancient ruins in thick rain forest; I wonder if we are just doomed to end our civilization as so many civilizations before us have - we all go back to the bush after whatever happens to make it impossible to continue our folly. 
Pissy too from having just read T.C. Boyle's novel (A Friend of the Earth) on the state of the world in 2026. I think Boyle captures a problem that to me is an issue now in 2013, that being THE WIND. There is hardly a day without it. We get a good rain then the wind arrives to help evaporate the moisture in the earth. We experienced here in the Blue Ridge mountains a derecho, a lateral wind sheer, last summer. The hurricanes are larger. The wind was never such a player here in the mountains until the last decade. I am sick of signing petitions, writing letters to congress folk and getting NO CHANGE. We suffer disasters and yet NOTHING CHANGES. Shootings fail to lead to gun control. Hurricanes fail to lead to climate control. No labels on GMOs. No control on hospital costs. I could go on and on.
At least I have discovered that the contemporary pablum in America to maintain the status quo, is to keep people sick, preferably with some cancer. Sick people turn inwards and don't protest much. Sick or on drugs (and that includes TV). Or both. 
And I am going to cry if it frosts tonight.  The wisteria is beautiful.

Friday, May 10, 2013

revision poem

May begun with rain and cold
and fifth biopsy of my skin.
Its been 5 days, 2 more to go
waiting for results. While
fear chats between my ears, I
pretend an interest in the news.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

another rainy day, cedars decked in orange blooms

The well sits under its blue cap; today the plumber/electrician came out to mark where the line to the house will go. As soon as the rain allows, I will have a new water source, two outside faucets and two shut off/drain spots for both house and studio. The holding tank will be in the shop; but I will need to keep a light on in winter or wrap it - now I'm wondering if I should go with the underground tank! There is always a depth to the dilemma that confounds me. Now I am in doubt! Grr, and the trouble with living alone is that I have no one but myself to blame! I forget that the shop door is difficult to close at times.  I will fix the window and caulk.

Trip to Ethiopia begins this afternoon; Baldwin brought down Mojo's bed and dog food. DD called to say that bear couldn't go because he just couldn't fit. And I am still in limbo about pathology report on biopsy of face. Nothing to do about that, but it does drag on the mind in that worry spot. Time for a walk to see the swollen river.

Friday, May 3, 2013

incorrigibly old

I look in the mirror and try to laugh; lately, I sob. What is going to happen with this face nags at me. I can understand how Walter's mother shot herself at menopause looking into her vanity mirror! I thought I was not particularly vain, ok with my wrinkles and age spotted skin. But the notion that if the pathology report on this latest biopsy proves dangerously approaching melanoma, I may lose a swatch of skin at my temple, near my eye, defeats me. Can I choose to leave it as is? Can I find a surgeon I can trust to not leave me with a dent in my face? And  can I live with the horror that this would be the 4th melanoma issue.

 And today is cool, tonight maybe 39 degrees; and tomorrow cooler - 61. 

May begun with rain and cold
and fifth biopsy of my skin.
Its been 5 days, 2 more to go
waiting for results. I have the scars
to show why fear chats between my ears.

or today this poem:

My face wears a bore hole at the temple, I
scare at the pain at cheek bone. What sutures
will tug at the skin on the rightside, while the left
side wrinkles and spots in age?
Balance me
Balance me, please!

Thank goodness this afternoon I'm off to Giles for practice of Loose Threads,
then dinner at Palisades. While over the Atlantic flies my son, his wife and their beautiful child in a "dream liner" bound for Ethiopia.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A large machine

Well drilling on May Day! Exciting to see the huge derrick backed up in between the shop and the studio, jacked up and ready for tomorrow morning. Mr. Lee has had a good time peeing on all the tires. 
Today I followed Alma home after qigong and we loaded fence posts (t-bars) and wire cages into the truck for the garden; we now have the most sturdy pea trellis in the history of the garden.The wet spring has been good for the early crops, potatoes are beginning to break ground, lettuces, greens, onions - all look good. Great to garden with a master gardener!


Thursday, April 25, 2013

that face

Thinking that you won't live "that long" is a bad bad idea. Of course, no way to convince most teenagers or people like me who had scant relatives who lived into their nineties (one!). Besides the fact that my "Irish" skin fell outside my easily tanned mother's cognizance. It is very difficult to get out of the sun on a sailboat; and I spent a fair amount of time sailing. So I wasn't surprised today at my "every 3 months" check up at the dermatologist to find that they want to biopsy a spot on my face. Just sad. 


Friday, April 19, 2013

Well, well...

I'm having to get a well. My strong, dynamic spring has been flooded since February; I have been boiling water. I have slowly diffused my resistance, bolstered by estimates for digging out the silted in spring/creek area. There are no local people who work with springs anymore. The county health department engineer came out yesterday to set a location for the well; when I get the paperwork I must choose a drilling company. The perks will be that I can have a washing machine that I don't have to fill with water by hose to avoid constantly cleaning the silt from the filter. I plan to work by hand on ditching out the spring this hot summer - on removing some of the flag irises that have almost blocked the exit to spring over flow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

a poem

Sun Package
for Patty

You ask me to pray for your friend
and her daughter, both dying
of cancer. I send you this sun package
here on my body
lying in a hammock
by the river.
Honking geese fly the water course,
the taste of wild violets on my tongue
the ephemeral warmth
coaxing the red bud blush behind me,

Mary North

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Sixty-eight yesterday morning at 5:58 AM. An inch and 3/4 inch of rain, wind and skies tumultuous. A fine April day, clearing until the view from the ridge took the eyes to West Virginia. And last night the new moon holding a grey sphere of itself. 
Sixty-eight, one year older than my mother lived which had been a nagging history in my mind. But I'm in uncharted territory now. Loose upon the world and angry at the insane politicians trying to pad the pockets of the rich and the white and the men and the corporations at the expense of the working poor and middle class and the women and the children and the environment. 
Sixty-eight and on my birthday a shooting at the local mall, two women hospitalized and an 18 year old male shooter arrested. I'm not unfamiliar with guns and of their danger. Without guns in the home there would be A LOT more people alive; people who might have survived suicide or family arguments or drive by shootings. Oh, but there is so much that we need to work towards; I have so much that urges me to get up out of the bed in the morning. This incredibly beautiful world that needs our respect and love.
Sixty-eight and most exciting of all is that I am a grandmother for the third time! There is a precious baby boy in Ethiopia waiting to come home. I am so looking forward to holding him. He's in my heart, in the heart of here, we wish him home soon with every walk.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

bipolar April

Yesterday temperatures rising into the 80's. This morning's red skies promising rain from a cold front moving in from the west that brought and is bringing snow - fortunately not forecast for us. Here the garden ground dry enough that my son tilled the garden and I can begin planting with my neighbor, Alma, who is sharing my garden until she has one of her own in a new house. Just a week ago we had snow and enjoyed sledding - tho not the cold!
Grand-daughter and I had a wonderful morning hosting a New York artist who has been commissioned to create a large landscape inspired by the New River Valley for Virginia Tech's new Center for the Arts. Adam Cvijanovic and Margo, the new curator at Tech's Art Center, hiked with us to the swimming hole talking about the land and of New Orleans!They walked the new bridge, huge downed tree, across the small back bay at the swimming hole - I still haven't had the courage or balance. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

50 years

Different perhaps, but we were familiar; we certainly connected with much care. Fifty years. We could say what we had no words for 51 years ago after Mimi, my twin sister, shot herself. It made for an intense meaningful meeting. I joked that it was like "coitus interruptous" - moving from one deep conversation to another, interrupted and then returning.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

planning on revisiting this temperature soon

The forecast for New Orleans next week has temperatures similar to today; I am so ready to stretch into a week of warmer weather. March has been bitter with strong winds and too many grey days. Perfect day for clearing more of the debris from winter on the lawn, still a line of gravel from the flood. And I tried again to trench the spring to no avail. I need some expertise. Much of the watercress was rushed downstream. I am still boiling water. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Too Loud and too close

I'd thought a good seat would be close to the stage; I knew I had to get up there to introduce the Barter Theatre play and I wanted to be near grand-daughter. A friend of hers with her mom sat with us. It seemed a good set up. In talking with DD, she said that she would like to come on stage with me to welcome everyone, so great I thought; why not? The Lyric filled up with children and their people; the population was mostly kids - and the volume went up. We made it to the edge of the stage and I welcomed the audience and introduced the play; DD hung slightly behind me - and managed to put her hoodie up. It was intimidating up there - but we did it and managed to get back to our seats. Just as we sat down a woman with toddler on her lap and scoop seat baby in the aisle blocked us into our seats. 
The play began. And in a flash I realized it was more for school kids - 3rd or 4th grade? DD and her friend leaned forward in their seats - then moved back. The songs were loud; I thought too loud - beginning to wonder if I could extricate us and find seats further back. DD covered her ears. I waited for what seemed a good time to escape; it wasn't going to be easy to get around the end seat with baby in the aisle. Finally, we managed a graceful exit. 
In the car on the way home, we decided we needed to check the book upon which the play was written out of the library so that we could find out what happened to Miss Nelson. We had a lot of questions. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

you want grandmother's house

you want grandmother's house
forever the same;
my grand-daughter visits
tugging me back 
into this archetypal spot.

I fall in with her
as we tumble off the sofa
that took us to the moon.

Nanee's back! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lonely duck?

No question I am anthropomorphizing, but ducky-san was all a quack this morning when Mr Lee and I came up the mosaic steps.  She does seem to anticipate our daily visits. She preens in the pond, rises up and flaps her wings, tilts her head and peers at me. I quack back. I tell her that her family will soon be home, that the chickens will be returned to their yard. I fill two of the bird feeders to encourage the chickadees, finches and doves to keep her company. And I leave. Mojo had run off to, I assume, some caucus he has discovered and missed our trek. Later the dogs and I can hike to the mailbox. All day I will query the skies, hoping for rain and not ice.

And my thoughts will return to the subject of friendship. I think good friendship thrives when each person accepts the other as he is, tries not to change him. Something that I have found by experience to be a problem in close relationships; he drinks, he will drink - you can't change that. Nor can you change the wiles of bi-polar. Not that I even stayed around to try that. But I have screwed up thinking a partner might, when confronted with a "death sentence" try to be healthy. No. We both attempted to change the other, or persuade (poorly) the other to adapt to our needs. But I'm aware of this fault, I think. I'm redoing a phone conversation and not understanding what happened so fast to turn it so sour. It wasn't a good time for me to talk. I like emailing too, she doesn't. We just miss being friends some how. Why I can't grasp - too much distance, and I'm not enjoying time with her? Intractable differences...I don't meet the expectations of the other; I don't know what they are? It all seems way too intense to me. And I'm not as lonely as the survivor duck.

Friday, February 22, 2013

oh, no - waking to painted white

Snow and ice, fairly slippery; supposed to turn to rain. The chickens and I don't like getting out into this stuff! I heard someone (with a microphone stuck into his car window in Kansas) say, "this is for Christmas, not now!" Got that right; of course, snow is not unseen here in April. grrrrr My adaption tools are getting dull. And I am fed up with the VA legislature. Looks like they are slapping an annual fee of $100 on hybrid cars, while cancelling the gasoline tax and raising the sales tax along with fees on wholesale gas and diesel. 

Monday, February 18, 2013


Finally pictures of happy duck. She had exited the pond when she saw me approach from the old goat yard. But I got out my camera and asked her to please take another swim and she obliged! voila.

A load of gravel arrived this morning. Although the mammoth truck nearly got stuck (leaving a terrible deep rut), I talked the driver into trying to unload the #357 stone again. He warned me that I would have to pay for a wrecker if needed or pay for the load if he brought it back to the quarry. I hastily kicked and shoved earth back into the rut as he worked to turn around. He was able to back down and dump rock careful to straddle the soft middle. I should have celebrated by driving up and down, but I was more inclined to walk to the river with dogs. Katrina meowed her way with us. Twelve geese honked while floating down river until they saw us. Halcyon day.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

One duck and the lotus pond

I can't say that I didn't anticipate the scene, surviving duck swimming in the lotus pond; but what a delight to see that she had found the water and recovered her ducky joi de vie! My next thought was, duck shit; but given the life expectancy of her sisters, I doubt she'll live long enough to turn the lotus pond green. I wish I had brought my camera.
Two days ago Mojo and Mr Lee and I tried to corral survivor duck back into her yard, but failing several times, I relented thinking that she might do better outside. So far she has made it to day three. She's nesting under the larger butterfly bush next to the chicken yard fence.


Monday, February 11, 2013

the turkeys were here before us

I followed the dogs this morning who wanted to go for a walk to the river; it being warm and not raining. Since gravel was not going to be delivered for my yet to dry out road, I had no reason to linger inside. I had to crawl under a clash of pines on the logging road, but it was the only block. The flood has washed the creek clean and etched a new bank all along the river. Pristine.
The river is coke bottle green. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Satellite Upgrade

I have a new satellite connection, much faster! Sunny day and high hopes for road to dry out enough for gravel to be deliverable on Monday. Looking forward to being able to Skype with granddaughter in Houston...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Damned if did, damned if didn't

Or just damned for being? I guess I shouldn't mention the ducks who are hunted now by day; the hawk seen soaring over the yard when I was hunting eggs. Perhaps they are safe tonight since the wind is gusty (35 mph) and I would think that might keep the owl or owls away. But then I don't presume to know the ways of owl. I don't know the ways of anyone. I certainly should not have mentioned what is happening in the hollar, like the road. And I really did want to tell someone about my neat solar lights that change colors! 
The snow was lovely this morning, maybe an inch, but with ice coating every stick or blade. I am thankful that we are not in the conjunction of two storm systems, now called storm Nemo, forecast to dump 2 feet of snow on Boston, Hartford, Providence.
I fear I am terribly misunderstood.  
Saturday, and only two ducks remaining; the cripple one was taken off - I suppose I should call it a mercy killing. It looks like a frozen gold fish in the pond, perhaps too near the top to survive . I'll know better this afternoon.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

2 and 3/4 Ducks

The winged night murderer returned for another duck and of the three remaining birds, one is hurt. I put off checking on them today as it was cloudy and I have a notion that I am witnessing the quickening demise of the duck experiment. I had lunch in town. Such a delicious hiatus from the dog life, dying duck, chicken drama of the hollow.
Rain forecast along with wintry mix; mercifully New England is due for a foot or two of snow - not us! I am weary of winter. And I miss Pearl and her people.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hollar Granola

Winter and my cravings turn to granola, here's my recipe:

warm up liquid: 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup honey, 1/3 cup coconut oil, and 1 teas. vanilla

mix together dry ingredients: 4 cups organic rolled oats, 1/2 cup ground flax seed, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (shelled), 1/2 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup pecans, 1/4-1/2 cup coconut flakes and 1/4 cup corn meal (optional). 1/4 teas. salt!

mix dry ingredients with the liquid. grease a cookie sheet. bake in 325 degree oven for 25  minutes or more. Check every 10 minutes and stir mixture - until golden brown. (I toasted the nuts and sunflower seeds a bit before adding them) 

add dried fruit: currants or raisins or cranraisins or whatever (i had candied ginger which i chopped and added) then add chia seeds - 1/4 cup or more. I also add hemp seeds to a bowl when serving.