Wednesday, April 14, 2021

One Morning in April


It's day 5 with our Grace Hopper, and I am feeling like we have a routine. If baby goats are anything like my baby-babies were, then I am sure the entire idea of having a routine will be dismantled by the end of the day, simply because I imagine I am getting a handle on all of this! Even though I've become a morning sloth since the start of lockdown, moving as slowly as slothly possible to start my day, I have been getting to Grace with a warm bottle everyone morning at 6:30 am. Okay, today it was more like 6:50. She loves her bottle and leans into me, eagerly draining her breakfast. The chickens look on curiously, Ada and Tasha watch from the furthest distance possible, aghast. I wipe the foamy remnants from her pink lips (I thought, We could name her "Starbuck," because she's like a barista, expertly whipping up milk into a froth!") Then, she and I head out of the enclosure, and explore all of our yard, front and back, 'round and 'round. We hop, jump, run, explore and make discoveries. I water, pull weeds, put things away, talk to her, watch her, and take pictures. Keeping up with a baby goat, even encouraging her to run around by my example, is invigorating, and stimulating, and all of those positive expressions around activity, and it's tiring, too. I am going to bed ready to recover! The first morning session goes for about an hour, and then I do it again around 10 am, then noon, we have another visit and playtime about 3, then 5, and a last romp and bottle around 7:30!

Yesterday it rained. That's news. We are so far behind for decent rainfall, and the light showers, though not forecast, were very welcome. Even today, it seems like it could rain, again. I took lots of pictures, and I want to share them... almost all of them. It's been a good morning, an April morning, and I want to remember this day.
This little flower... it's one in a million! I scattered and tended a huge container of wildflower seeds, and so far this is all we have to show for it! If anyone can identify it, I'd be thankful. It's very pretty. Our scrappy deciduous tree, the one that looked uncharacteristically beautiful last October, is leafing out, and I am reminded of the poem... Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost: "Nature's first green is gold."
One Torrey Pine, white sage, and the rising sun casting a warm glow on everything.
I love our old apricot tree, the lichen, even the hope, that is usually dashed, that we will get one more big harvest of delicious apricots. Every year but one, I tell her, It's ok. You've done your best. She really is a good tree.
Purple, violet, indigo, lavender... I am delighted to find all of these shades of lilac and plum, and all of the synonyms for purple!
And now, a visit with the honeybees, for GretchenJoanna, whose borage is starting to bloom. She is waiting for the honeybees to arrive, and asked if we've seen bees, yet. Our climate, near the coast, in Southern California, is about as mild as can be, and we are fortunate to have honeybees year-round. I didn't notice, until I saw the pictures on my computer, how tattered this one bee's wings are. Poor fellow. Still, he seemed capable and busy, and, I hope, happy in the borage and nasturtium. If these links work for you, GretchenJoanna, you can watch the bees visiting our borage. And a few weeks ago, I revived a weary little bee that was resting on a window screen, with a drop of honey water.
Good morning, friends. I am sending wishes your way for invigorating activities, good rest, honeybees, and time to enjoy all that you love.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Some Happiness

The flower, I admit, is a ruse to lure you in, before I fill this post with pictures of Grace Hopper, our Chapulín! I might have some pictures of a cat, probably more garden pictures, but the rest will be goat, goat, goat! I am a goatherd, an idealized or romanticized rustic maiden in pastoral literature... I could not resist that definition when I looked up "shepherdess." It fits me to a tittle... I am a shepherdess, and not a lonely goatherd.
Seeing her in the ivy, I caught an earworm and sang under my breath, all day... Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey. A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?

Speaking of romanticized and pastoral, Janece noted that our backyard is a vision of spring. A mama bird built her sparrow nest over the door to the backyard, and the mama bunny that lives by the garden bed is as busy as ever, but she always stops to visit. The bluebirds are finely feathered, and flirting. The quail are calling, so are the owls. An ideal, true spring!

My Mommy sent me a gift this week. This patchwork quilt, which has been a dear favorite of mine for many years, and is in my mother's memory since her childhood, when they lived on East First Street, in Los Angeles. She's pretty sure the women of the church made it, using collected scraps. It makes me think of my Grandmother, Eunice, and of a lifetime of hearing my Mom's stories about East LA, Roosevelt High School, the LA River, and trains, the fountain on Olvera Street, Nena, her friend downstairs, walking to the library, the dishes Uncle Steve brought home from Korea. It makes me feel in touch with so much that is sentimental, and I get lost in the prints, imagining was this a dress, a man's shirt? Cairo sensed something good, too, and was immediately drawn to the soft spot. He's hardly left it since I opened it on my bed. It's a perfect light weight for spring, not that he's sharing.

Mother Nature is making it abundantly clear: If I ever want to be a commercial farmer, oregano should be my crop, and Rosemary. Rosemary and oregano thrive here, with very little effort on my part. The calendula came back, but it's not as widespread as it was last year. No rain is to blame for fewer nasturium, and spoon-tomatoes, as well. The borage is thriving, so I assume it's a little more drought tolerant, which is why I am glad I decided to add more native plants to our front yard. The sages, manzanita, and ceanothus are doing well.

If you are wondering, neither Ada, nor Tasha, have budged on their stubborn refusal to accept Grace. Old goats! They couldn't be more cliché! And I, I suppose, could not have been more naive. I didn't think they'd bond immediately, but, yeah... I vividly imagined romanticized and pastoral scenes with Tasha and Ada frolicking merrily with the little one, bringing Grace into the fold, nuzzling her affectionately, and the three of them curled up, beneath a starry night, sleeping soundly, like loving sisters. Well, at least I can enjoy the whimsy and the sweet temperment of our Grasshopper, our funny Chapulín! We weeded, and planted. We dead-headed flowers, watered. We hopped up steps, and leapt from rocks. We walked all around the garden, front to back, and back, again. We tidied spots, and did some rearranging. She's good company, I think.
Grandma Eunice's shepherdess, gazing at me from the sweetpeas, and our peach tree in bloom. I have a new found appreciation for this month of April. Has April always been a pretty month? I cannot say, but this time, this year... it's lovely, and I am glad to be taking notice, and enjoying it.
Baby goats, flowerbeds, and heirloom quilts are gifts, real treasures that I appreciate tremendously. I cannot always be in a romantic frame of mind though, and I want to say that the trial in Minneapolis of the murderous police officer, the murder of Daunte Wright, attacks on the Asian communities, the daily evidence that racism, gun violence, hate, cruelty, and indifference, are truly woven into the fabric of this country... these truths devestate me. I turn to my garden, to making and sharing, to celebrating any joy and beauty I can find, in hopes of spreading love, inspiring compassion, and keeping my own fears and grief in check. Good things are better shared, and this must include life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for all people.