Saturday, February 06, 2021

Tasha Speaks!

It's breaking news! And not just because very little happens or changes around here... this is real news, up to the minute, and worthy of reporting, compelling, too.
Tasha Tudor Goat, about to turn 9 years old, is a Nigerian dwarf goat. She loves to be brushed, to nap in the sun, and to wander out into the garden. She has a fondness for flaxseed & multigrain chips from Trader Joes, as well as pine needles, and dried leaves. She is an excellent rose pruner, sticking to yellow and dry leaves, and long runners. And she rarely, very rarely, speaks. Her roommate and lifetime companion, Ada Lovelace Goat, speaks almost incessantly. Ada adores most any food, greeting vistors, head-butting, and making regular announcements on any happenings around the garden. When Tasha has something to say, her higher, more plaintive voice stands out, and brings me running, and this happens only a couple of times a year.
It's hard to believe we have had these darlings for nearly 9 years. I was being pretty bold adopting goats, like I did. I knew so little, besides all the reading I'd done, but no regrets! Not a one. They endeared themselves to us, and all of our friends, right from the start. And I am tempted to add another. Every now and then someone asks, How long do goats live? And it makes me whince, a cloud descends on my heart, because I know they don't live forever. And! Goats are herd animals, and one goat without her companion would be too heartbreaking... then what will I do? These are questions I have not resolved, questions that trouble me. A nice thing about goats is how much they ease my troubles, and set me right. I love to sit with them... they calm me, make me smile.
Tasha is so serene, but maybe you'll want to turn down the volume! The chickens are making a racket, pecking industriously at the pie pan that holds their breakfast!

Friday, February 05, 2021

Winter Spring Winter Spring

We never have to endure any particular season for too long. If winter is bearing down on us, it will pass in a day or three. Today spring has arrived, next week we could enjoy a day of summer, or perhaps we will have a week of fall-like rain and fog. Your guess is as good as mine. As I saw a blue sky and sunshine, I opened the bedroom window. I started a load of laundry with dresses that I can hang in the sun to dry. I gathered eggs, and peered at the veggie beds... one needs thinning, the other needs planting. And in the car strip where we have fruit trees orchard I found fruit, and blossoms. Peaches and apples in bloom, limes and blood oranges ready to pick. Just now I have decided that we can make wishes on picked limes. My wish is that we can be together to pick peaches and apples, then make pies, and jams, and share in a picnic.

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

It's Groundhog Day

We have no groundhogs. We have three cats, and a cat button. We have 15 hens, two goats, and countless wild bunnies. We are visited by owls, by quail, and doves, and crows, but not yet by any groundhogs. Groundhog Day is my holiday of choice for pure nonesense and delight. It's in my top three, or four, of days to celebrate. And the foremost thing I appreciate about it is how little is expected, planned, necessary, or warranted, so that whatever good or happy thing is accomplished is automatically attributed to the great prognosticator, the wise whistle pig, and we call it a Happy Groundhog Day! I've already read that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, and we are due six more weeks of winter. That makes it official. I wish we could add rain to our own forecast. To satisfy my winter fantasies, I have been gazing and sighing over pictures and videos from friends in colder climes... madgefaces has been documenting the steady accumulation of snow at her home... everything looks frosted! And further north, lori.s.h. has been sharing her own view of a wonderland! Those mounds and drifts seem almost improbable! There is no snow in Ireland, where patchworkmomma lives and creates, but she posted about Imbolc... I love celebrations, traditions, lore, and sharing.
Alex offered to make Groundhog cakes. And. And so far, that's it. Happy Groundhog Day! It really is a no pressure holiday, I tell you. I wish we could go to the mountains, like we did 8 years ago. Maybe, it's time I raise the bar a little, I considered, yesterday, while cleaning and reorganzing the sewing box that's been keeping me so busy these days. I agreed, with myself, not to start another project until I had things tidy, again, and while I worked, I thought about Groundhog Day decorations. We don't have any, and I am glad of it. I do not ever want to walk into a store and be assualted by the sight of plastic groudnhog dolls, ornaments, paper plates and cups, by groundhog balloons, banners, and boxed candies. Groundhog Day (I declare) is strictly handmade, homemade, zero-waste, nature inspired, it's a re-think, re-use, recycle event, with no call for anything fancier than pancakes for dinner, a pinecone on the dining table, a nature walk, or a nature video, and maybe, maybe a few things I can whip up, just for fun.
My gears were turning, and I started imagining a new little bag, this time with a groundhog. Embroidered? Appliqued? Something. I looked at pictures online, then made a sketch inside the tidy sewing box, then directly on the wool felt. It looks like a... like a large mammal, rodentia, like a rat, or muskrat, or some kind of marmot. Yes, I think this could work. The stakes are not particularly high. What would the consequences be, if no one recognized my tiny woodchuck? These are the small scale, gentle adventures I am made for, and I felt a little relief with each stitch, because it seemed to be going ok.
It's a groundhog (I declare!)
I added snow. And I was tempted to add his tunnel home... just a small cross-section of his burrow. That's probably a bit much for a pressure-free holiday. I lined the bag with spring, because that's how it seems, when you go through a snowy winter, and wonder how anything will ever grow again. Spring just seems to appear suddenly, as though all along it was wrapped up inside of winter, waiting to pop up! Okay, obviously a lot things cross my mind when I am curled up in bed making a groundhog out of threads!
This project was taking longer than the first two, and I was a tiny bit disheartened about not having it done before Groundhog Day. I set it aside, and convinced Geoff to go on a night ride. The day had slipped by, and it was already dark, and cold, and had even rained a bit, but a quick bicycle ride to the end of the street, down the big hill, and back up would be so welcome. He indulged me, and we braved the chill. And, since I've been listening to Lord of The Rings, the dark, the chill, the subtle fog were stirring my imagination, and ooh, this was a very invigorating ride! I came back shivering, heart rate elevated, and happy to get cozy, again, with my sewing.
And! Now we have a Groundhog!

Monday, February 01, 2021

Jupiter and Mars, Saturn and Stars

Our lockdown is over, though I wouldn't call it an "all clear!" Still, it's a relief to see numbers drop, instead of climb, and to resume our socially distant drive-way gatherings. Our last campfire night feels ages ago, then we had stormy weather, and that kept everyone home, and dry. This weekend was a gift... of finer weather, friends, and doing stuff. What a welcome little flurry of activities, and moments.
The weather was full of wind and rain. I don't think any of us enjoy the wind... it's just too much! But we need the rain, so it was welcome. And when I saw that we had dried out a bit, and it wasn't a school night, or holiday, or governor ordered pandemic lockdown, I asked a few friends over. Thanks to gifts, and a donation, we have four fire rings! Normally, four is a lot, but on a cold night when each pod needs space, four fire rings is brilliant. I made up camp spaces for each family, with extra wood at each site. I think the reason it never got as cold as anticipated is because I was so well prepared! Leo got to revisit his campfire skills, and eventually overcame damp wood, and built a roaring fire. Geoff left out his fluorescent chalk, and turned up the black-light, and we stood back while Bex, Spencer, Simon, Leslie, and Ido made our driveway into a glowing gallery! The reviews have been glowing, too! And please note, we are considering updating our dress codes: Onesies won't be mandatory, but favored. Highly favored. Thanks to Leslie, we had potatoes roasting in each of our fires, and those were delicious. Lots of talking, sharing, laughing, and a bit of astonishment that we have been at this for almost a year. Are things looking up? We hope so. It makes a world of difference to see friendly faces, to feel the warmth of kindness, good hunor, and encouragement.
After the pleasure and success of making the first little purse, I started a second one, again with no plan, or strategy. Red floss made me think of Mars, and the red planet made me think of the Moon, and stars, and then I was filled with gratitude for all of the star gazing, and sky watching I've enjoyed since last summer, culminating in the Great Convergance, and Solstice, Oh! Now I realize I should have stitched some shooting stars, too! I stitched Jupiter and three of its moons, Saturn, then I added a lining.
The lining is worth the effort, and I am firmly committed. Planning would probably be worth the effort, as well, and I am firmly committed to makng an attempt at that effort for the next one. I will definitely make another. These are fun to do, fun to see where they will go... from inspiration and ideas, to something small and whimsical. I fill them with my daydreaming, and hopes, with good thoughts, wishes, ideals. It's not hard to think what an awful year it's been, for many awful reasons, but I had Jupiter and Mars, Sirius the Dog Star, and the Geminids, and Venus. I have had campfire gatherings, movie nights, bike rides, a full house, and the comfort of having skills and resources to rely on, and to share. I am far from glossing over the injustice and deep tragedies that have transpired, but I cannot let hate and ignorance, grief and loss, take away all joy. I don't want to throw all of the year on the fire, as though nothing good happened or came of the struggle. I had a Solar System to look up to, and stars to count.
Suddenly, it's February. There is still so much to overcome, to heal from, to hope for. With sunshine we have shadows, and Spring follows Winter. I am hopeful that we can see it all, and still have more to look up for, especially more to share, and celebrate.