Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Close to you

Luke felt the need for a little closeness last night. Some might say a little too much!


Monday, April 22, 2013

A Big Day!

 Today is Ulani's TENTH birthday!  

 She wouldn't smile near the Lenten roses.  
I guess she feels there's a certain dignity attached to double digits.

Even her birthday portrait is serious.  
There are a lot of big thoughts in that dog mind.
Maybe she's just exercising her gravitas?

(Even back at her sixth birthday, in this photo, 
she had a certain regal presence!)


Sunday, April 21, 2013


Frost is the price we pay for a clear, starry night.  But the clear sky this morning means quickly rising temperatures, so I guess we'll pay.

The frost emphasizes the hillocks forming all over the yard.  The old John Deere garden tractor finally  shipped off to a new home, where a mechanically inclined mind might just eke out a few more years use.  After weeks of checking in with the local store, I've discovered that they are not getting a shipment this spring, but instead they need to make a special request that a model be brought in for me to review -- why didn't we have that discussion weeks ago?  In any event, I'm hoping to be able to smooth out the hillocks soon.

Near the barn the grass was barely frosted.  More a function of the direction of the breeze than the temperature differential, I think.  Makes a pretty green pool on the lawn.

If only Ulani had lifted her head here, it would have made a gorgeous photo.  Sadly, her attention remained with whatever scent she'd caught in the grass, so this was the best we could do.

Here's hoping that the sunshine and warmer air will dry out this past week's flooding quickly, so we can get into the garden!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Extra! Extra!

Yesterday, for the first time in 2013, our temperatures reached the 60s -- in fact, 65 degrees.  The warm air blew in on strong southerly winds, making it a bit less pleasant to be outdoors, but it was, after all, 65 degrees!

I bought a flat of pansies and a couple of Hellebores to add to my front garden.  This section of the yard is inside a six foot privacy fence.  It blocked the wind.  A bit.  I extended the planting bed on the outside of the fence along the driveway in preparation for some climbing roses I ordered over the winter.

And I spread a little bit of composted chicken bedding on the garlic bed.  I'd read that garlic likes nitrogen.  Rain was forecast for overnight, perfect to incorporate the compost into the soil and move some food to the roots.

It felt terrific to be outside working.  I slept soundly.


This morning as the sun rose, I stepped out into the front garden to peruse my work and that's when the feeling swept over me.  A longing, wistful and deep.  An emptiness, colored with nostalgia.  A regret I could not repair.

I miss having a newspaper delivered.

There.  I admitted it.  I am old enough to remember when there was a morning newspaper and an evening newspaper.  When a family's choice of paper shouted their political leanings to all the neighborhood.  I knew boys who rose long before dawn to roll the papers, put a rubber band on them (long before plastic sleeves) and load up the saddlebags on their bicycles.  They had perfected the toss to bring the paper about six feet from the front door -- no chance of breaking a window, or a loud thunk before the family woke up.

Every morning without fail, my father could open the front door and retrieve the Chicago Sun-Times (and twice a week the Park Forest Star) to enjoy with his coffee and eggs. 

For the first twenty years of my adult life, I always had papers at home, nearly always delivered.  In my first apartment after college, my roommates and I had a Sunday ritual.  One of us was responsible for making coffee while another went down the block to the Mexican bakery to buy the Tribune and the Sun-Times, plus a selection of bakery items.  We had no living room furniture, so we would spread out with pillows on the floor, surrounded by newsprint, and immerse ourselves. 

Once I had an apartment of my own, my breakfast table never grew piles of other odds and ends, because I needed room to read the paper.  But when I moved to Michigan I had little money for extras like newspapers when I could read them free online.  Yes, I admit that, too.  I took advantage of the free online versions, participating in the killing off of journalists around the world.

And now I pay to read papers online.  Usually that's ok with me.  It's handy to be able to access the news online anywhere.  The most up-to-date information is always available; the feature sections keep me marking the days of the week.  I no longer have boxes and boxes of old newspapers waiting reuse or recycling and creating a fire hazard in the meantime.


And so this morning when I stepped out onto the front porch, I wanted to see a newspaper waiting for me.  I wanted to bring it into the kitchen, pour another cup of coffee and relax for the next few hours indulging in business and politics, arts and real estate.   Looking at those carefully layed out pages I would discover articles I never knew would interest me -- stumbling across new ideas or interests.

But it is not to be.  Here in this small town one must drive to get a paper.  The gas station is the nearest source, and you can get the South Bend and the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph papers there.  But no bakery goods.  So today I will wait until 9 when the little store the other direction will open.  They even have a limited number of New York Times.  And there's a great bakery across the street.

Then I will have a croissant and the NYT Magazine. 

But it's not the same.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Soft-shell egg

A week ago, someone laid an egg without a shell.  Only two of my hens lay brown eggs at the moment, so it's either a seven-year-old Cuckoo Marans hen (!) or a one year-old Speckled Sussex.  In any event, I suspect she just had a hormonal moment.  It happens.

 I brought the egg into the house, along with a normal green egg, and a "fart egg" which might actually be a sparrow egg.  They remained in a bowl on the kitchen counter for observation.

It only took a few days -- less than a week -- for the shell-less egg to shrivel up into a sort of walnut looking lump. 

Which only goes to show how very important the shell is to an egg!

Monday, April 1, 2013

This is going to change things

Have you ever noticed how really good, fresh eggs are hard to crack open?  What's your technique -- tap it on the side of a bowl?  Smash it on the countertop?  Or do you use the dull side of a knife to tap around it?

My hens lay eggs with thick, strong shells.  It sometimes takes two or even three attempts to get them open!  This really slows down my breakfast.

So imagine my delight when I collected eggs and discovered an easy-open egg!  This is going to change things forever!  The egg on the right in the photo above has a typical, hard as a rock shell.  Looks like any egg you'd get at the grocery store.

But the egg on the left comes with the new, easy-open shell including a groove that fits right on the edge of the counter!  One tap, out comes the delicious egg, and you're well on the way to your breakfast! 

Think of the time you'll save when you're not making two or even three attempts to get at that yolk!  More time to wash the dishes!  More time to vacuum the rug!  More time to groom the dog!

Oh.  Well.  Maybe it's not such a good idea after all.  Happy April 1!