Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day

Long walk to swimming hole and then walked back along the river, aghast again at sycamores that were lost in the big flood last fall.  The root balls are huge and the bank is eaten back in large horseshoes, now a steep descent to the river. The river high, but crystal coke bottle green. Found a nice beaver stick. It was a perfect day to linger outside. I planted seeds when I returned home in the raised beds: spinach and cilantro in one; lettuce, beets and arugula in another and peas under the trellis. Rather early, but worth the effort on the chance that I might have an harvest before Easter! Now to find some onion sets.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

In the 60's

Delightful, perfect day - sat on the deck! Walked to the swimming hole though it is still under water. Evening walked to the bottoms to sit in the sand by the river looking at the shafts of light as the sun set behind the ridge. 
Hard to spend time inside. But chicken duty and garden coaxed me out again and again. Gathered manure from the coop and spread goodies on the raised beds. I will plant some seeds on Leap Day, arugula and lettuce and maybe more. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

out of a tunnel!

Feel like I just emerged from a tunnel of cold windy days which drove me to work on gathering tax information. The sun is out and I am done with my work. Dogs and I have walked to mail box to mail letters and are now contemplating a walk up to swim hole. Yippee. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ventoso - windy

Windy to the point of tornadoes; and, indeed, yesterday three touched down in central Virginia for the first time in recorded history in February. Fortunately, I have spotted no down trees in our walk to the river then up the road to the mail box. Cold; peepers have quieted (I hope snug in the heavy leaf mulch at the bottom of the pond). Cold until Sunday when a warming trend, 60's for 3 or 4 days. A score of gold finch are hanging out at the feeders and in the red bud - I wanted to get a picture, but couldn't get outside without the birds taking off. You can almost note the lumps in the limbs that are birds!
Super Tuesday primaries are this coming Tuesday, March 1st and I am still unsure of weather I will vote for Hillary or Bernie. I'd like to vote for both! I like what Bernie is saying, but I feel like Hillary is more pragmatic. I'm such a core feminist that my allegiance tends to Hillary. But I have strong socialist leanings, want universal health care and, certainly, free state college tuition. I like Bernie's authenticity. I am concerned that it appears people are as fearful of Bernie's social democracy talk as others' fear Trump's Nationalistic (anti immigrant) speeches.  i would like to see real change in the US; I would like to see the middle class thrive again. But nothing will happen if we elect one party and populate Congress with the other party.  A quandary. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

jelly eggs in the pond!

The peepers have been busy. Warm rain today, another 3/4 of an inch (mercifully no more) seems to have encouraged a party in the pond. I counted 8 frogs, and several blooms of eggs. The sun surprised me this afternoon. Dogs and I went up to mailboxes and later up to the blue house (peepers' eggs there too). Creek too high to hike to river, but we did go to the first crossing to peer
down at the snaking mud luscious water. On the way to the mail boxes, the wet weather fall through the pines was running. 
Treated Alma to a buffalo burger after she gave me a ride to Shelor to pick up the Subaru. Now I'm waiting for the biscotti to cool. Most most good to see undeniable signs of spring; and the forecast is for days in the 60's by next week. When I walked around the blue house, there were various clusters of rabbit scat - good fertilizer. Thinking of seeds.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

should I make biscotti?

I haven't made cookies of any sort in over a year; I didn't think that there was any sugar in the house. But I do have some. A project for the big rain due this evening after 3/4 of an inch today. My forced pussy willow branches are blooming.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Examining the maple

After a walk to the river today, Mojo and I crossed the creek below the old damn and hiked up to the maple. It was hollow inside - reminded me of the wide maples in the yard that were hollowed out when we cut them down to protect the house from limbs which might fall. I felt like I was mourning an old friend.This morning I had gone into Blacksburg to meet friends at the Lyric to see the movie "Carol." I enjoyed the film and was reminded of friends and relationships that I hadn't thought of in quite some time, especially a good friend from Sarah Lawrence.  She was similar to Carol, of wealth and sophistication. But she was more down to earth than Carol, more independent (after graduation she helped pay the phone bill of the Black Panthers). And I thought of our '51 Chevy with skirts, which I drove in the 70's. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

big orange maple down

I didn't hear it go down, but the rain was heavy. The first fall in the hollow, this tree put on the best show. Bryce perched on a lower branch and I handed one year old Ezra up for a wonderful photograph (I need to find). Two days ago I remember turning back towards the old pond damn to look up at this tree; nodding to the maple, acknowledging its age, but not at all imagining it would be felled so soon. When the dogs and I went out this evening for a short walk, I gasped "my God!" The dogs stopped. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

"I'll Miss Me," she said

Ruminating on walk up to collect the mail, what I was trying to say in my last post talking about Susan's videos, was that the video prompted me to see myself as another might, as a sister, or dear friend might and to realize that I am my closest friend. We might treat ourselves better, well, those of us who tend towards obsessive self-criticism. There was a Hospice patient who said something I will never forget: "I will miss me." I think I am beginning to understand her words, now having lived at least fifteen years beyond her age when she died. I guess one inherits bad practices; my mother, for instance, hardly appreciated anything about herself - and then my father killed himself and my twin sister so detested herself that she, too, killed herself. Not much to boost ones confidence. I suppose I feel fairly good about me, at least I haven't snuffed me out. And I do enjoy my company; I even like the things I like to eat.  Well, it took me awhile to figure out what I like to eat after having cooked what my husband liked for years. But Susan's video caused me to see me as a likable being! 

Sixty degrees, really!

If the sun would keep its perfect face in the picture, the day would be even more amazing. Nevertheless, dogs and I have made our way thru the slick parts up the road this morning to put mail in box and just returned from a trip to swimming hole. Still fueled by Thursday's party for Diane and thinking over stories shared and tasting again Chris's lemon curd cake (of my, so good). I keep reflecting on the wonderful photographs Susan collected and made into a video for Diane - how fleeting can a life seem and at the same time how rich and full. Susan has made videos for each of us, and I was amazed at how I could look at my video and like myself - when in body, I don't seem ever to stand back and look at me as I would a friend. But, who is this person, me, if not a friend? And I felt empathy for this person. It was quite a gift from Susan. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Catching up

Junco on the deck, snow still spreading to the creek and up the east slope, in my view.  Yesterday was my first excursion from the holler since last Friday, my road still looking ragged with ice and snow.  What great delight and inspiration to celebrate Diane's birthday, feeding body, mind and spirit! Much needed after a week watching birds at the feeder, burying head in a book, or bundling up for walk.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Monochrome weary

I despair of the still white landscape, and the road seemed more icy this afternoon than yesterday. I was planning on a practice run to make sure I can get out for tomorrow's lunch with good buddies, but have not done so. Walking up with the dogs to retrieve the mail was enough of a hike. I'm pretty sure that the Subaru will have no trouble tomorrow for qigong. Missing the pod in the land of color and family. Ah, will be good medicine to see friends tomorrow.
Worked on poems to send out, but find I am not able to post on blog as that disqualifies them for consideration by some magazines and readings. Stupid I think as I know I have few readers, and it isn't the same to see as to hear. I may post rough drafts as I've done before.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mercy, we have power

As I had figured, the rain wouldn't be enough to melt all the snow on my road; and I bemoaned the fact that Robin had not scraped yesterday when it was 8 inches of light powder snow - but c'est la vie. However, I did call Catherine to see what Piney Woods looked like. She hadn't been out, but Fred said that he would try to make a pass with his blade since he had it on his tractor. Fred came down before the dogs and I got out of the door! Now I at least have a road that I think I can negotiate with the Subaru. It is slushy and slick. Thankful for a very good neighbor.
This morning the sunlight through the icy branches was beautiful. I swung my leg over the chicken yard fence to clear a patch of ground for Pantaloons and his now 7 hens. They were eager to get out after a day shut in by the snow. Later, the dogs and I may hike again up the road to get the mail; they too have cabin fever and two walks is an unexpected treat. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Valentine's Day snow storm

Well, so far almost 9 inches and falling combined with some sleet at noon.  I finished the puzzle I began Saturday and am contemplating beginning another. Or I may, well, maybe not, start assembling information for taxes. Snow fairly difficult for Mr Lee to negotiate, but we've hiked to the chicken coop twice. Chickens are not venturing out.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Snow begins

Walking up the road yesterday afternoon, I discovered a deflated Valentine. The second mylar balloon I've found (not sure what that means in the scheme of things). Ezra sent a wonderful video Valentine of Fia dancing; and my friend Sharon sent a video of her new grand-daughter, Hendrix, sucking on red lips pacifier. 
The house and I and all animals have survived the cold night (10 degrees this morning). Now the snow has begun, fine white powder in 20 degrees. I managed a third lice treatment, thinking I may just do the comb out in the  morning without the oil. Tired of washing hair. Tired of this head cold that has been aggravated by freezing outside that I must negotiate bundled to the 10th degree. Dogs and I hiked to the river, through a creek with thick edge ice. Seems the forecast is for 3 to 7 inches of snow overnight, mixed precipitation tomorrow turning to rain. By Wednesday, temperatures will be in the 40's!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Plan

Day two of the lice torture, I hope more like execution. A good reason to stay inside on this feels like minus 5 blustery day. I'm going for 3 hours in cap and plan to do this again tomorrow. I thought I'd post a photo of the tell-tale scratch!
I've a new puzzle out on the table downstairs and I'm making a batch of granola. A chance this afternoon that I will layer in the extreme for a walk up the road to get the mail. A slim chance. Just googled home solutions for head lice, and they suggest every day for A WEEK applying oil and combing out any lice. Then comb every day with small tooth comb. So, I reluctantly alter my plans...

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Creepy Lice Cure - hopefully

My denial folded last night, I had to confront the fact that I had come home with the dreaded DR lice that  occupy heads of compound Cocoa Hollow. Paradise is happy place for parasites too. So I'm sitting here with hair coated in an olive oil/neem oil mixture (Neem is definitely an acquired smell) , head wrapped in a plastic bag, feeling as if the little buggers are trying to escape. Creepy  crawly feeling over the scalp. I want to scratch. Better not! Two hours in this cap MAY thwart the nasty ones. But I suspect I should adopt this routine for a few more days. Unsure of the best prescription - this is a test, trying to avoid the chemicals.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

This tree

The black walnut outside my bedroom window sports a piercing face which i have painted. This tree was merely a 3 inch diameter sapling when I moved here with husband and year old son; it grew by the gate to the fenced off garden area where farmers had kept calves years before 1974. I remember it particularly well, because my neighbor, Nancy, came over with a fence pole digger to demonstrate its use - ha! a difficult tool for a woman to use as our upper body strength is poor. Nancy and I managed to dig a hole. The black walnut was nearby. I didn't know then that it was a walnut, nor that gardeners don't appreciate black walnuts near gardens! As it is, I rake the nuts in the fall because I've found that left on the ground under a snow can prove hazardous - especially as the tree is in the path I take to the woodshed. But I admire this tree, its proud dancer's trunk. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dead Red Hen

Was amazed my red hen was still alive this morning; but while I was leading qigong, she must have gone further than the chicken yard and into cluck cluck heaven. Her body is now on the stick pyre that is I hope high enough to keep my dogs away. Now I've seven hens and Pantaloons. I wouldn't be surprised to lose a few more hens this bitter cold week. 
Just returned from the river with dogs. Bundled up, but not enough to bear the bitter wind. Looked for suitable photo that might demonstrate the cold. I am surprised that the creek is not frozen, but by this weekend the single digits should change that state. Here's what I found:

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An inch of snow over a slick coat of ice

The cold is here, this week's forecast, 30's during day, teens at night. I've doubled up on clothes. It's Mardi Gras; I'll have to celebrate in some way. I am reading a book about the cotton markets, The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn-of-the-Century New York and New Orleans in which my great grandfather, Frank Hayne, plays a big part. Fascinating story of how Wm P. Brown and Frank Hayne together managed to battle the NY Cotton Exchange who with the European mills were keeping cotton prices low, cheating the farmers. Tomorrow being Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, I'm thinking of giving up procrastination about making art!  Or maybe I'll give up moving to Alaska (which I've never considered). 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Big cotton snow falling

If I'm there, am I here too...I love the fringe, like eyelashes at the edge of the outside view. I'm pretending it is not snowing; no, I'm trying to ignore. It is, no doubt, a pretty show between the pines, so I may bundle up and walk with the dogs up the road to fetch the mail. And I do need to check on my sick red hen hovering under the feeder in the coop. We've hiked to the bottoms in a cold wind, but the sky wasn't falling then.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Hoya there, the hoya here

Baldwin's transformed table. We ate poached tilapia in coconut milk here last weekend, inviting their near neighbor who is originally from Australia to celebrate the new furniture. Karen is in the process of building a sleeping second floor on her small square yellow house. The kona roof is inplace and she has been sleeping upstairs. The walls will be slats with venting between. A wonderfully compact bungalow. She has a small motor bike, but unfortunately has not mastered the traffic in town - having had several wrecks. It is wild, motorcycles, ATV's scooters, cars and trucks! Now Baldwin seems to have started a trend: tuktuks. Karen has moved here with her mentally challenged daughter (a lovely young woman with piercing electric blue eyes) who lives in a tree house (well, plywood box on stilts) near her mother. Her daughter has walked away from several assisted living situations in the states; here in Las Terranes, she walks into town and is directed home. So far so good. 
True's water bottle which has acquired an interesting patina, on the kitchen window sill. The turquoise wall looks green. Hoya can mean hollow!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pantaloons Mean

My rooster spurred me this evening when I leaned down to check on my ailing red hen. I tried to thwart his aggressive jumps at me, but failed. He broke skin on the inside side of my right knee. If there was a cockfight down the road, like there is on Sundays just outside the gate at Jurassic Park, I would throw him in the ring. Fat breasted bully that he is, I'm sure he would meet his match. But instead I will just avoid Pantaloons; hopefully check on my red hen in the morning after rooster has left the coop.
Speaking of cock fights, Baldwin and Mindy left me with the kids and several kids from the neighborhood on last Sunday afternoon. They went to look for a tree they wanted to plant in the outer courtyard. The kids played until suddenly great excitement: men running through the trees just by the courtyard, one man clutching his rooster under one arm, jumped up onto the patio. They laughed as they ran. I figured the police might be raiding the cock fight. The two local boys who were playing at the house, ran off to see what was happening.  We returned to play and Baldwin and Mindy showed up as the excitement diminished. They confirmed that the cock fight had been stopped as someone in the neighborhood warned the participants that the police were coming.  There is a big public cock fight in town - legal. The one that goes on at the edge of Jurassic must not be approved!

More DR

Baldwin brings coffee to Mindy in the morning, and when I was in the pod across from this one, I also got coffee. Pearl and True would get ready for school and  Baldwin would take them in the tuktuk to town. 
Most mornings we had eggs scrambled with the delicious red peppers - Dominicans don't favor much spice, but their sweet peppers are fantastic, and easy to pepper! And fruit with yogurt or just a passion fruit alone. Papaya and lime juice. Pineapples. Bananas. I haven't forgotten mangos but there were few out this visit. Avocado every day. The house is surrounded by cacoa trees and I learned that the kids love the fruit. Our chocolate made from the seeds being an afterthought, I suppose. 
Cocoa tree, fruit just beginning to grow (red in the light).

Memories of a Visit

So many things changed in the 11 days I lived in Pearl's pod in the house in Las Terrenas. Mindy painted the turquoise wall in the kitchen area (which is half of the bathroom pod). The bathroom pod opens to the inner courtyard; whereas the kitchen opens to the outer courtyard. Baldwin made a wonderful door for the moon gate which secures the outside pod from public scrutiny, since there is a hotel  just up the road and construction just down the road! With gate up and also painted turquoise, the stove and refrigerator which were in the master bedroom pod could be moved. Next Baldwin made legs for the butcher block table top - and the kitchen was fit for use! Baldwin and Mindy are making a concrete counter top for the sink soon. While I was there we had a convenient outside faucet just outside. The large pod across from the kitchen in the outside courtyard, holds the two hammocks. Its roof is of woven kona alone (the other pods have more permanent wooden ceilings and roofing, then kona. A picture of the large pod with hammocks and the table Baldwin made from scrap wood that will be transformed!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Playa Coson

Have to begin traveling back in my mind to house in DR with a beach picture! Baldwin says that the many down palms are due to global warming, the beach being eroded by sea level rise and weather changes. It was cool when I was there, and there was unusual rain. We slept under duvets. The ocean (Atlantic here) was cool - I waded, but didn't swim until the last day. Pearl and her friend Zaden are playing on a palm down the beach. I miss this!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

I'm home, heart full of color

Pearl on top of the roots of the coconut palm speaks of the delight of every day in the DR (Dominican Republic). I am immensely grateful to have gotten out ahead of the snow storm that brought 1 foot of snow to the hollow.  The house Baldwin and Mindy are building, much of the heavy building is done, consists of an inner courtyard of  3 circular pods with a larger pod in the outer entrance. I have many pictures, so I can better illustrate the compound! I spent many mornings tackling a mold issue on their clothes which developed when they lived in one room at the Hotel.  Between rinsing clothes, I bent over the cracks between the concrete forms on the patio and carefully fitted river rocks into the spaces. We gathered the small stones from the creek bed near their house. The house has many cocoa trees, a giant African red tulip tree and many varieties of banana. The passion flower vine climbs around the electrical pole - my favorite fruit, chinola - is the fruit of the passion flower! Hyacinth  grow wild, hedges of them. There is bougainvillea, tree poinsettia and oodles of other tropical fantastic flora - including the flamboyant. Every afternoon to the beach!