Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The sun, a blood-red orange....

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding-cake.

Monday, December 26, 2011

"Winter" by Walter De La Mare

by Walter De La Mare

And the robin flew
Into the air, the air,
The white mist through;
And small and rare
The night-frost fell
Into the calm and misty dell.

And the dusk gathered low,
And the silver moon and stars
On the frozen snow
Drew taper bars,
Kindled winking fires
In the hooded briers.

And the sprawling Bear
Growled deep in the sky;
And Orion's hair
Streamed sparkling by:
But the North sighed low,
"Snow, snow, more snow!"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some wise words from Emerson

Finish each day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
Tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Line breaks at my whim)

Sunday, December 4, 2011


To the Roaring Wind
by Wallace Stevens

What syllable are you seeking,
In the distances of sleep?
Speak it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Winter imminent

The White

by Patricia Hampl

These are the moments
before snow, whole weeks before.
The rehearsals of milky November,
cloud constructions
when a warm day
lowers a drift of light
through the leafless angles
of the trees lining the streets.
Green is gone,
gold is gone.
The blue sky is
the clairvoyance of snow.
There is night
and a moon
but these facts
force the hand of the season:
from that black sky
the real and cold white
will begin to emerge.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

warmth in pre-winter

Winter Sun
by Molly Fisk

How valuable it is in these short days,
threading through empty maple branches,
the lacy-needled sugar pines.

Its glint off sheets of ice tells the story
of Death’s brightness, her bitter cold.

We can make do with so little, just the hint
of warmth, the slanted light.

The way we stand there, soaking in it,
mittened fingers reaching.

And how carefully we gather what we can
to offer later, in darkness, one body to another.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Presenting Edgar & Lenore

Lenore & Edgar


Snoozing, Snuggling

Sleepy Calico


Simon, former housemate of Edgar & Lenore


Sleepin' siblings

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A bard speaks on a barred owl

A Barred Owl

by Richard Wilbur

The warping night air having brought the boom
Of an owl's voice into her darkened room,
We tell the wakened child that all she heard
Was an odd question from a forest bird,
Asking of us, if rightly listened to,
"Who cooks for you?" and then "Who cooks for you?"

Words, which can make our terrors bravely clear,
Can also thus domesticate a fear,
And send a small child back to sleep at night
Not listening for the sound of stealthy flight
Or dreaming of some small thing in a claw
Borne up to some dark branch and eaten raw.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"have your heaven"

The Hurricane
by William Carlos Williams

The tree lay down
on the garage roof
and stretched, You
have your heaven,
it said, go to it.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Come on, Irene*! (Our day in pics)

My beardyman coming in from giving the sheep some hay to tide them over during the storm.

The Lovely Ladies of Lanolin finally venture out to graze along their new lakefront property. (They're not fans.)

We spent the afternoon eating quiche, knitting, & playing Scrabble.

My beardyman enjoying a post-Irene canoe ride in our new temporary lake.

*Reference to "Come On, Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners stolen from a friend's Facebook status. Have not been able to get it out of my head since.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Maple Goddess

Goddess of Maple at Evening
by Chard deNiord

She breathed a chill that slowed the sap
inside the phloem, stood perfectly still
inside the dark, then walked to a field
where the distance crooned in a small
blue voice how close it is, how the gravity
of sky pulls you up like steam from the arch.
She sang along until the silence soloed
in a northern wind, then headed back
to the sugar stand and drank from a maple
to thin her blood with the spirit of sap.
To quicken its pace to the speed of sound
then hear it boom inside her heart.
To quicken her mind to the speed of light
with another suck from the flooded tap.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dusty Wings of August


by Jennifer O'Grady

Adrift in the liberating, late light
of August, delicate, frivolous,
they make their way to my front porch
and flutter near the glassed-in bulb,
translucent as a thought suddenly
wondered aloud, illumining the air
that's thick with honeysuckle and dusk.
You and I are doing our best
at conversation, keeping it light, steering clear
of what we'd like to say.
You leave, and the night becomes
cluttered with moths, some tattered,
their dumbly curious filaments
startling against my cheek. How quickly,
instinctively, I brush them away.
Dazed, they cling to the outer darkness
like pale reminders of ourselves.
Others seem to want so desperately
to get inside. Months later, I'll find
the woolens, snug in their resting places,
full of missing pieces.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday morning visitors: Mama turkey & her feathery white turklets

This morning, our neighbor's adorable fuzzy yet feathery white turklets* came waddling and peeping through our yard, closely supervised by their mama. Please enjoy some shots, though please bear in mind I was apparently too enthralled by the downy white cuteness to fuss with the finer aspects of the photography. Oh well. I did bring out my tripod though, so points there, right?

*I am aware that "turklet" is not the proper name for baby turkeys. But I don't care.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Some of Summer

fresh eggs

lily about to bloom

black hollyhock

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Moonlight, Summer Moonlight"

Moonlight, Summer Moonlight

by Emily Bronte

'Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere,

But most where trees are sending
Their breezy boughs on high,
Or stooping low are lending
A shelter from the sky.

And there in those wild bowers
A lovely form is laid;
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers
Wave gently round her head.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sweet summer, cold & creamy...

R made black raspberry ice cream with fresh-picked blackcaps from across the road (& supplemented with some berries from my folks' place). Sweet summer on our tongues.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Facing the Fleece

Today I took a deep breath & faced the fleece. The washing of the fleece. First up, the fleece of one of our Jacobs, Lucy Van Fleece.

Unwashed fleece (a cleaner part, to spare your tender sensibilities).

Popeye is curious at first...

...but not for long. He was no help whatsoever, I might add.

Proper footwear is important.

Beardyman scored this tub for FREE last week. Perfect for washing fleece. We ran hot water from the basement.

Tub of fleece, second soaking.
...To be continued...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Practice getting lunar shots

Some practice shots taken last night from the back porch...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Who doesn't need a miracle now & then (especially a la Whitman)?

by Walt Whitman

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of
the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night
with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so
quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with
the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—
the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sheared at Last!

After much ado about plenty of wool, the Lovely Ladies of Lanolin have been sheared! Enjoy a quick cellphone pic until such time that I can get some more:

There was quite a bit of wool there! Compare to this or this or even this. I better get to know my spinning wheel! And fast!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Syrup sublime!

...simply sublime samples of sryup...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fleece therapy in poetry

Grounded and Elevated

or The Healing Power of Fleece

On a low dank day
I urge grudging feet out to the sheep,
my gait stuttering and reluctant.

Eager muzzles seek my waiting cupped palm
for apples or grain.

Grain gone,
my hands delve deep
into their thick, shy fleece.

I come away with the must
of wool and lanolin,
walk easily back toward
my cabin,
my small family,

a little lighter.


Posted for One Shot Wednesday. Curious? Click & see. Go on now.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

O for such agility...

Poem (As the cat)

by William Carlos Williams

As the cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right

then the hind
stepped down

into the pit of
the empty
flower pot

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The where, when & why of Edna's kissing

"What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why"
by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950)

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Monday, April 11, 2011

When to look for Emily Brontë

I’ll Come When Thou Art Saddest
by Emily Brontë (1818-1848)

I'll come when thou art saddest
Laid alone in the darkened room
When the mad day's mirth has vanished
And the smile of joy is banished
From evening's chilly gloom

I'll come when the heart's [real] feeling
Has entire unbiased sway
And my influence o'er thee stealing
Grief deepening joy congealing
Shall bear thy soul away

Listen 'tis just the hour
The awful time for thee
Dost thou not feel upon thy soul
A flood of strange sensations roll
Forerunners of a sterner power
Heralds of me

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Another tasty chestnut

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

As a fond mother, when the day is o'er,
Leads by the hand her little child to bed,
Half willing, half reluctant to be led,
And leave his broken playthings on the floor,
Still gazing at them through the open door,
Nor wholly reassured and comforted
By promises of others in their stead,
Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;
So Nature deals with us, and takes away
Our playthings one by one, and by the hand
Leads us to rest so gently, that we go
Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,
Being too full of sleep to understand
How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Welcoming in National Poetry Month with Slick Willie

Why not start out with the bard?

Sonnet 116
by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediment. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark
Whose worth’s unknown although his height be taken.
Love’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Poetry is a many faceted thing.

The Uses of Poetry
by William Carlos Williams

I've fond anticipation of a day
O'erfilled with pure diversion presently,
For I must read a lady poesy
The while we glide by many a leafy bay,

Hid deep in rushes, where at random play
The glossy black winged May-flies, or whence flee
Hush-throated nestlings in alarm,
Whom we have idly frighted with our boat's long sway.

For, lest o'ersaddened by such woes as spring
To rural peace from our meek onward trend,
What else more fit? We'll draw the latch-string

And close the door of sense; then satiate wend,
On poesy's transforming giant wing,
To worlds afar whose fruits all anguish mend.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The tapping of the sugar maples

Today we tapped the first sugar maples at the cabin! The sap is definitely on the run! Maple syrup, here we come!
The rest of the trees will use tubing rather than these lovely spiles, but it will be a lot easier than trudging up & down that steep hill with sloshity buckets of sweet sap.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night..."

Bright Star
by John Keats

Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

Monday, February 14, 2011

behind the cloud

Kay Ryan

A blue stain
creeps across
the deep pile
of the evergreens.
From inside the
forest it seems
like an interior
matter, something
wholly to do
with trees, a color
passed from one
to another, a
to which they
submit unflinchingly
like soldiers or
brave people
getting older.
Then the sun
comes back and
it’s totally over.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Uncanny Aim

Uncanny Aim

by HMMooreNiver

Somehow the narrow arrow’s point
aims right
and hits the hidden hollow,
that black splatter
deep in the pink
of your heart.

And why wouldn’t it
head straight
for the one scar
you struggled so hard
to heal
all these years?

The single fissure
you have tried
to forget.

for One Shot Wednesday

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winter Woollies

Lucy von Fleece (foreground) & Frieda with the Naturally Curly Horns (background)


Thursday, January 27, 2011

busy winter!

the redhead & her beardyman, out for a jaunty 'shoe

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowed in Emily Brontë style


by Emily Brontë

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

winter trees, liquid moon

Winter Trees
by William Carlos Williams

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind..."

As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII [Blow, blow, thou winter wind]

by William Shakespeare

Lord Amiens, a musician, sings before Duke Senior's company

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man's ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing . . .