font-family: 'Italianno', cursive;

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Who Gives a Hoot?

Tonight is the night before.

The night before the "Blue Moon"

I first realized this back on the 2nd day of December with a flashlight in my hand and my head stuck in a chicken coop counting.

Counting hens because something very bad was going on...

I was losing hens.

Late in the afternoon, silent and swift, with no warning.

Very alarming.

So as I was locking them all in for the night I pondered exactly which predator was my culprit?


You look pretty sleek and happy.

Is it what I feed you AND the fact that you sleep 18 hours a day OR is there something you want to tell me? Hmm?

A snake?

Not likely as they are all burrowed away for winter.

Dixie Dawg?

The one my son bought in a mini mart parking lot for $50.00 convinced he was getting a red nosed Pit Bull?

You little half breed you!

You, who is the only dog whose bark we can rely on to be about something other than a leaf blowing across the yard.

You who sleeps outside through hurricanes and frosts and refuses to come inside - no matter what.

You who trains the other dogs and "sets the bark" for the whole pack that lives here.

Did you eat a hen Dixie?

You look innocent but then again so did O.J.

In fact, isn't that one of the hallmarks of a really good criminal? Their ability to look innocent?


So in the intervening days between the last full moon at the beginning of December and the rare occasion of a full moon at the end of the same month I have lost 4 hens. I am watching the ones that remain extra close now.

It isn't the dogs.

I m sure.

Its something silent and swift that leaves no chicken feathers behind and no sign that a crime has been committed.

But what?

Tonight I carefully tucked my 4 remaining hens and my beleaguered rooster in the hen house and looked up at the moon...

We have a rain forecast for tomorrow night (the actual BLUE MOON) so I took a few pics just in case our "Blue Moon is covered with rain.

Very low riding moon - very so so pictures.

I tried again later, about 11 o'clock.

I kept moving around the yard trying to capture this dim moon against a stormy sky.

It took a while for my mind to register the soft "hoot hoot"

and the answering "hoot hoot " coming from the woods across the road.


Owls in my yard.

So close that when my shutter snapped they fell silent.

Watching me.

Me unable to see them but hearing the soft "hoot hoot" as they called back and forth.

There must be a nest nearby, no self respecting owl would think to hunt for chickens in the dead of darkness. Chickens are "roosting" long before that.

The one hooting from far away must be hunting and the one close by must be guarding.

That brings us back to the possibility of a nearby nest.

Somewhere around this tree.

Tomorrow in the dead of day I will look.

The hunter is about to be hunted.

Monday, December 14, 2009

When You Least Expect It!


we were all up late last night. Tending a sick cow and her little offspring, P.L.U.S. a hose busted in the milkroom and the water wouldn't shut off.

These are the times that try men's souls


the times I wish I worked in a store. Or a pawn shop?

Or anywhere but here?

Getting to bed about 3:30 made the morning come early.

I looked out at rain streaming down my windows and attempted to dive right back into the bliss of sleep.

Only the sleep thing eluded me no matter how much I kept my eyes tightly shut.

Muscles which felt like they had visited the gym, along with the gray rainy weather worked in tandem to convince me that I needed to have a slow day.

I made myself a cup of hot tea and curled up on the couch to watch early morning television in my nice quiet house.

Not being one who watches much early morning anything, I quickly came to a conclusion. Early morning television is loud and busy.

It seems like the networks take their job of stimulating the public into waking up very seriously!

Nestled on my couch with my hot tea, cozy cashmere socks and GMA blaring loudly, it was only by chance that I happened to look out the window and see a truck pulled up almost to my front door.

Springing up, I didn't know what to do first!

Scrape my bangs back pretend I am not in pajamas and try to look presentable?

Grab the remote, hit silence and pretend no ones home?

That sounded good, only I couldn't fine the remote!

I dove off the couch and ran to the bathroom.

Thank goodness I had a shapeless nondescript "bag lady" style dress hanging on the back of the door.

I whipped it on and made it back to the front door on the third knock!

I was prepared to say

"If you want hay, drive on back"


"I'm sorry, we aren't hiring right now"

But when I opened the door, this genuine smile accompanied by a man with a huge gift basket was what I found.

"Hello and oh my" I said, while me and my shapeless dress tried in a split millisecond to reconcile

thought A) who is interrupting my lazy quiet morning?


thought B)You are bringing me a gift?

Still disoriented with it all, I invited him in. He didn't look like a serial killer, they don't bring you gifts on rainy mornings do they?

"No thanks ma'am" he said. "I'm just here from the peanut company. We wanted to drop this off to show our appreciation for the peanuts y'all grew this year." That said, he handed me a basket weighing about 25 pounds.

"Hold on" I said and handed the basket back to him.

"This is so cool I just have to take your picture, do you mind?" I asked while I snatched my camera from a nearby table.

"No ma'am" he said laughing.

I took a couple of completely unfocused shots. I was trying to hurry since it was raining and he didn't want to come in out of the rain.

Maybe he shared my serial killer concerns.

Maybe he's seen "Misery". Maybe I reminded him just a tad of Kathy Bates. Maybe he had better things to do with the rest of his day than risk having his legs broke and being forced to write long interesting novels about peanuts!

Who knows?

After I got the picture he laughed and said

"Did I breck yor camera?"

We both laughed at that and I showed him his picture in the view finder.He smiled, handed the peanuts over to the crazy lady and got back in his truck.

What a

nice thing

to have


on a rainy morning.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tuesday's Lens

There is such great beauty in symmetry.

The changing of the seasons,

or in the words of Tevye, sunrise...sunset...

the reassurance we find in such timeless order.

That in all its careless and tangled beauty,

can be counted on.

To provide what we are expecting.

And then there is this,

the asymmetrical one....

The one who has the audacity to be a late bloomer among the dying leaves of autumn.

Don't you know the frost is coming?

You don't seem to care....

rather you seem to stand tall and fearless amongst all that has fallen around you.

One little statement that, despite all that we think we know...

there are still those things that surprise.

That break the rules

Defy the odds.

And in the process,

delight us with their existence.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Romeo & Juliet(subtitle: Blue & Kona)

This powerful and compelling tale has been playing itself out in my world this week.

"Juliet" lives bext door and her family does not approve of her relationship with my aging "Romeo".

The lovestruck Romeo and the adorable young Juliet have been carrying out their star struck courtship in my back yard.

Our cast of characters


Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life;
Whole misadventured piteous overthrows
Do with their death bury their parents' strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark'd love,
And the continuance of their parents' rage,

"Tis torture, and not mercy. Heaven is here
Where Juliet lives, and every cat and dog
And little mouse, every unworthy thing,
Live here in heaven and may look on her,
But Romeo may not."

Juliet:My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy.

Romeo:See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.

"O! she doth teach the torches to burn bright"

Juliet:O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?
Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I'll no longer be a Capulet.

Romeo:O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Sin from thy lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.


You kiss by the book.

We interupt this sad tale with a modern day update:

The fair maiden Kona was taken away to live the remaining weeks of her romantic "phase" in a kennel.

Blue dreams of what might have been.

A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

The End


A Wonderful Calling Card

It was a cold and dreary day here. The sky was a gunmetal gray and the weather is turning.

We have had a very long growing season. Probably the longest in recent years. We put up the last of our hay today.

Putting up hay in December is a record!

The hay rake is my favorite part of putting up hay, combined with the old German tractor that pulls it.

I feel invincible when I am on it.

The chickies like it too because it gives them new stuff to dig and scratch in

After the raking is done, I am done.

The baler still labors on in the background, gathering the hay...

I walk up to my door to find a gift.

A gift in a jar.

Fresh peppers from my neighboring farmers garden.

He is in his 80's.

He still says charming things like

"I am fixin too..."

(meaning he is about to)

and uses phrases like


As in

"Iffin it dont rain I'm fixing to go fishin!"

His dialect has fascinated me for years. I love listening to him.

A man with steely blue eyes and weathered apple cheeks and a big grin in bib overalls.

A man who prefaces mention of his wife with the word "The"

It sounds important,

much the way we would say THE President said...

My farmer friend would say:

"Iffin it dont rain, THE wife and I are fixin to to go fishin!"


I adore this old man, with his quaint phrases and down home charm.

And I especially love that he brought me the remains of the bright bounty of summer, preserved in a jar.

People line up in his driveway to buy his peppers he carefully preserves in Mason jars.

A little drizzle of the juice will spice up cooked greens or salad.

One pepper soaked for a day in honey will make a sore throat go away.

Good stuff.

Thank you Mr. T.C. For leaving your wonderful gift on my doorstep.