Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cold carrots in December

We harvested purple carrots out of the frozen cold frame today.  My son planted a variety of carrots in late August.  The window panes were frozen shut and buried under slushy snow.  After I preyed open the top and dug my hand down into the freezing soil I pulled up two beautiful purple carrots.  One for Bunny (that is who he planted them for) and one for us...

What a gift.  

The ground never had a chance to freeze.  The temperature last week peaked at 59 degrees Fahrenheit.  Usually the ground freezes a bit first, then the snows come, then the fun begins.  It threatened to rain today and wash it all away, but it didn't.  The wind is blowing and the temperature is 30 degrees F now.  Whenever the wind blows like this I always wonder, where are all of my animals?  Are they warm?  Are they safe?  It was so warm today, now the temperature is dropping.  A cold front pushing up against a warm front, making wind, high wind.  The other day the gusts blew over important things, things that broke.  Luckily they didn't have any animals in them...

It is late, or should I say early in the a.m.  

Spooky sounds abound.  

Eeekkk, I am off to bed.  Nighty-nite.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I was reminded again today about the beauty of life.  Raw nature, life as it is, streaming on.  This year is the emotional opposite of last year at this time, almost to the very day.  I was submerged in fear, deep sadness, and feeling totally helpless.  Bone cancer are two very scary words.  My journey began with the loss of my eyesight in my right eye, July 2008.  I flippantly thought that it was just an advanced sinus infection.  My eye doctor gently told me that he thought it might be MS.  I remember shaking, thinking, "no, not now, not me, I have never had a serious medical condition.  We just moved into our old farm house, we just got my nieces for the summer, we are just starting out on our dream.  We worked and saved and waited for ten years to get here, I am only forty-five, groan."  Neurological demise seemed terrifying, I felt so vulnerable.  I started crying.  My pupils still dilated, I had to sit in the waiting room, breathing, keeping my cool, staying grounded, in denial, sort of.  I used to be a hypochondriac in my other life so in my fear I easily slipped into feeling sorry for myself and in that moment thought, "ya, I knew it."  "Too good to be true."

The scheduling started, Thanksgiving was coming, Christmas around the corner, our first one on the edge of the hollow, I was ready to deal and to celebrate.  Two MRI's and CT scans later they thought it was definite, I had MS, but wait, what is this tumor here in your petrous bone?  They found it in July, it didn't seem alarming then.  Maybe nothing, maybe a scar from an ear infection, but no, Nancy Yazinski in the MS clinic of Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon wouldn't let it go.  In November I went to meet a neurosurgeon, by myself, again casually thinking it was just a shadow or an anomaly.  I had come to terms with my diagnosis of MS, I joined the national association.  So many wonderful people around the country reached out to me, called me, consoled and advised me.  I felt strong, I felt like MS is o.k., I can handle this, it is progressive, it is unpredictable but it is...  I said to him, "oh, no worries, as long as it isn't an aneurysm or tumor."  He quietly, kindly said, "It isn't an aneurysm."  So it was a tumor.  He thought it might be a chondrosarcoma.  BONE CANCER!  In the center of my skull of all places, talk about the possibililty of non-invasive surgery slipping away.  I thought maybe it was a blip from my late 70's high school over experimentation of altering my consciousness in an attempt to answer the question and drown my fear.  No.  His interpretation was scary, dangerous, life threatening.  Surgery, a hole in my skull larger than a silver dollar, brain clamps, seizures, coma, tremors, blindness, deafness, inability to swallow, and more.  I was shaking, I was sobbing, I had to drive home alone.  It seemed like an out of body experience.  I called my husband from the parking garage, I couldn't catch my breath.  He breathed for me.  He is always so calm, so rational, so steady, I just exhaled, felt the seat under my body, my feet on the floor boards, his words, anapana and it was o.k.  All the practice, the sitting, the breathing, the courage to look inside served me well.  I was ready, I looked up and turned the key.  I wanted to move forward, travel this journey with grace.  I didn't know what all of this meant for me but I knew my eight year old son would be watching, hearing, feeling all of this too.

So, I chose to step into the light.  To breathe in the light.  Noni gave me the gift of feeling the depth, the healing power, the letting go into the light.  It was real for me, it emanated from my heart.  I could easily breathe, I could let go.  My mantra for the last twelve months has been, "let go".  I understand on a cellular level what it feels like to loosen my grip, unclench my teeth, let go and not cling to life.  All of that clinging and clenching had been the symptoms of my greatest fear, my death.  I can remember asking my mom when I was very young what it was all about, why was I here?  What will it feel like when I die, where will I go?  I spent my entire life trying in so many ways to understand my fear and to find the answer to those questions....

and in one fell swoop, I knew.  I had been whispering prayers to the universe most of my life for help, for contentment, for peace, for the courage to face what we all have to face and that was it.  That was the great gift I described, the gift, the wrapping, and the bow.  I let go.

I remember early in December and January looking out of our bathroom window in the morning thinking about the things I had to do that day or some unhappy responsibility I was in charge of.  Just daily life, the dishes, dirty clothes, cooking, cleaning, my weight gain, whatever million little, silly or not-so-silly thoughts I would harvest and I would think to myself, "Oh YES, I'll take that, give that to me, those old 'problems', those worries, if that is all I had to bear that would be wonderful."  All of the silly and not-so-silly became sweet, worth cherishing, worth smiling about.  All of the mundane became beautiful rituals of my life, my gift to my self, to my family, and my life.  The life I was trying to create.  Even knowing that at some point in January I was going to have my skull drilled into I knew it was going to be fine, whether I died or whether I lived.  Being incredibly driven to the dramatic, of course, I assumed that I would die.  I began to embrace that.  Slowly at first, not morbidly, but beautifully.  I felt like it wasn't the end, the thought that we all have to die became so matter of fact, so o.k., kind of like a club I would join.  I started to think of all of the people that passed before me, known and unknown.  I thought of all of my ancestors, my friends, my animal companions and I felt........AH.  

It is beautiful.  I would make the most out of every second I still had consciousness.  I am breathing now, I would think, I am here now.  Wow, I wish I had felt that so many times before.  All of the petty worries, all of the micro-managing.  All of the little stuff seemed so little, unimportant, inconsequential.  I decided to call all of my friends, to make the most out of every conversation with every person I met, look deeply into every pair of eyes, Namaste all day long.  My son, my husband, I deeply embraced them with every breath.  I felt so strong, so awake, so present, so ALIVE!

My husband and our dear friend Jon found endonasal surgery and UPMC on the internet.  I can remember being resolved to get the craniotomy, my husband was not.  At the very end of December I sent UPMC an email and waited, hopeful.  They responded on Monday, asking for all of my records and pictures.  It was a whirlwind.  I flew alone to Pittsburgh, a big feat for me, and met with the team.  They said yes, I said yes and we scheduled my surgery for February 2, 2009, the Monday after the Superbowl, Pittsburgh Steelers vs St. Louis Cardinals.  I hadn't been to Pittsburgh since I was a child, I have wonderful memories of my time with my family in Pittsburgh.  My father was born in Pittsburgh, his father was born in Pittsburgh, it was my town too.  While I peered out of the taxi's window into the city that streamed by along the Monongahela and up to Shady Side I quietly thought about all of my ancestors that had lived there, breathed there...  I felt embraced, I wasn't alone.  The city was beautiful, changed, exciting.  The hospital was bustling with people from all over the planet.  Doctors, interns, nurses, workers, patients, families, children, it was a metropolis driven by hope.  I felt brave and free, what would be would be and I was no longer clinging, it all felt safe and I trusted...

Here is my garden in the wet, wet snow of December 2009.  My cold frames are buried but still filled with life.  Green, young leeks, onions, chard, carrots and some celery that just never grew.  I thought maybe it was a dwarf variety, you know, 4 cm tall?  No stalk, just leaves. ha ha....

Peace and Namaste

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thanks Giving

A sweet little Thanksgiving postcard from days gone by.  
The back of the card reads: 

"From your school-mate and cousin.  Margaret.  For-get-me-not."  

addressed to,
Miss Jena Zimmer
Humbolt, South Dakota

On Naming A House

When I a householder became
I had to give my house a name.

I thought I'd call it "Poplar Trees,"
Or "Widdershins" or "Velvet Bees,"
Or "Just Beneath a Star."
I thought of "House Where Plumbings Freeze,"
Or "As You Like it," "If Your Please,"
Or "Nicotine" or "Bread and Cheese,"
"Full Moon" or "Doors Ajar."

But still I sought some subtle charm,
Some rune to guard my roof from harm
And keep the devil far;
I thought of this, and I was saved!
I had my letter-heads engraved
 The House Where Brown Eyes Are


There are wonderful Brown Eyes here, in my little house, deeply loved and cherished...

Autumn Colors

The chestnut trees turned yellow,
The oak like sherry browned,
The fir, the stubborn fellow,
Stayed green the whole year round.

But O the bonny maple
How richly he does shine!
He glows against the sunset
Like ruddy old port wine.

This little, red book of poems is very sweet too.  There are so many poems about life with mummy and daddy.  He reminds me of the poet and author A.A. Milne...  

Have a blessed week, happy days and may you weave many memories of love and joy throughout this holiday season....

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winter is in the air...

My son's very first snowman, ever.  The spirit of winters past...  He lived in our front yard in the snow of my son's seventh year...  I love his face.

Every year Omi sends Christmas ornaments to her grandson.  
This was his very first ornament... a wooden pony.

My Christmas craft from years ago, when they were Handmade By the Sea.  Now they are Made By Hand in an Acorn Forest in the wee hours of the night.  Same energy, different little cottage.  I lovingly apply the glass glitter to the reproduced images from my antique postcard collection.  Some of the glitter is vintage mica, but most is from Germany.  Silver glass glitter and Frost Flake from Japan.  I buy most of my beautiful glitter and tinsel from D. Blumchen.  Go to, you will love their advent calenders too!  The silver lametta that I use to hang the decorations was made in the same factory in Germany for the last 300 years on the original Victorian machines...  It is real silver, it develops a beautiful patina with age...  Unfortunately, some how the world forgot, or no longer values beautiful, handcrafted Christmas decorations and the company closed last year.  A 300 year old tradition gone in the blink of an eye.  How many things do we have access to that are still being created from that long ago?  How many can we count?  How many can we honor and save?  

I love to collect vintage Christmas items.  I love to think of the mothers and fathers that decorated their house with all of the sweet little trinkets and the children that sat mesmerized by their magic in anticipation of Christmas morning... Those wonderful, old treasures remind me of my childhood, they feel sweet, they have soul.

I made 31 decorations as a gift to the Friends of our little library.  They are on sale at our local art gallery.  I had to be invited by the director before they would offer my decorations so I was deeply flattered when they accepted my work.  I love the way the glitter sparkles in the evening light.  
Hot chocolate, ginger cakes, Christmas music, dim lights and ahhhh, my favorite holiday is right around the corner....  but Thanksgiving first.  

I am thankful for my life... Namaste.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fruits of our labor...

Here are my raised bed gardens in late May.

We started the second phase of our raised bed vegetable gardens this April.  After my surgery in February I was unable to lift, dig or carry anything until May.  Phase two of our second year garden was smaller than we had planned but was still beautiful, productive and educational.

It was the year without a summer.  Rain, lack of sunshine and below average (read "cold") temperatures in New England took its toll on our region's food production.  We had so many cold, rainy days in June that it delayed the growth of our warm loving crops.  

The average temperature for June 2009 in the Nashua, NH area was 63.3 degrees, on June 1st it was 39 degrees in some areas.  The precipitation was on average 6.56", 2.56" above normal.  A late frost killed most of the flowers on the strawberry crop, so regionally strawberries were hard to find.  In our garden they were non-existent.  Our basil, tomatoes, cucumbers and eggplants were very late to start.  We ultimately lost the tomatoes and potatoes to the blight...we did get two eggplants and quite a few basil, but fall came early and it has already snowed.

I feel like our raised beds (3'w x 14' l x 18" h) helped keep the vegetables from flooding.  Last year the back garden was under water from all of the rain, the deep hardpan and the possible granite ledge under the yard... The soil was warmer too from the sun heating up the entire bed.  It was definitely easier to weed.  

We built a compost bin out of pallets from the local dump.  A local farmer sells composted cow manure.  His cows are raised naturally.  No antibiotics nor growth hormones.  Grass fed in our community.  We filled the raised beds with the manure and mulched with last years left over straw.  The straw is not a local product (Canada and NY) but we had it, we use it (about 5 bales a year) and it works.

My raised bed gardens in late June.

My garden and chicken yard in early October.  The chickens are molting and not laying as many eggs per day right now.  You can see our spiral rock garden.  We build a half moon bed farther to the right.  The back garden has been stripped bare by the chickens.  The purple kale look like prehistoric plants because we have been picking leaves from the bottom up.  Yummy.

I have dreams of starting a campaign for food justice in our community.  This is my beginning.  I feel like my health will hold out, I will spend the winter preparing and when spring comes around again...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reflections of a whirlwind...


New beginnings....

Flowers, herbs, legumes, grass....

Ducks, chickens, bunnies, children...

Birthday cakes, vanilla ice cream with dinosaur sprinkles...

Swings in trees, leaves, solid maple trunks....

Sweet, delicious, green, bountiful favorite garden vegetable this year.

Salamanders in the grass.

Covered bridges...

Instead of city lights, wooden boards...

Fresh picked apples...

Eleven pounds of late season blueberries, local corn and homegrown food...

Autumn raspberries....

Autumn is here, the summer flew past, the leaves are changing, the air is crisp, the rains are cold, Jack Frost has come and the gardens are drifting off to sleep.  
New seasons of life, thankful, peaceful, quiet, warm, filling.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The moments of my day

The moments of my day seem to drift in and out of my awareness.  I haven't touched down in a few weeks.  I have been a flutter of activity, of dreams fulfilled, struggles realized, relationships changed, growing, constricting, like my breath of late.  I have been whirling around in the top of my head with goals and expectations.  Not having to go to Boston has freed my schedule and so I filled it with visions of my garden, my sewing room, my son, the girls, the animals, my husband, my family, the projects - the many exciting projects.  Just what you would hope summer should be, the ideal feeling you hope for in the snowy February landscape...unfurling before my eyes.

Henry's peonies, they are already in bloom.  They are on the southern side of his house, sheltered and growing along a dark blue wall in full sun.  Or is it just Henry's touch?

I took a walk to my neighbor's house, a stones throw across the dirt road.  Henry just celebrated his 95th birthday and his 70th wedding anniversary.  A life time and more...he still cuts his grass, weeds his garden and plants his vegetables.  He planted the Iris' about 40 years ago or so in an old cistern that was used to water cows.  A pipe ran into the cistern from the spring up the hill.  I love that Henry just lets things be, lets them grow the way they will, rust, lean, weather without emotion, just acceptance.  There used to be a huge cow barn where the Birch are now.  

Henry has lived here in this house on the edge of the hollow for 50 years, he visits his wife every day in the home and comes back to his little house.  He gave me a collection of old hat pins his wife had tucked away.  He told me she loved going to yard sales.  He smiled a sad smile and said, "Poor Jenny".  Life changes, the world around us changes, sometimes the change is unrecognizable or unnoticed or seemingly unimportant until one day we find something to measure that change.  

My life is so completely filled with ideas, dreams, projects, people, activity, movement.  I sometimes see Henry take his quiet, slow stroll down the road a bit and turn to come back.  He walks in the yard or sits in his old chair under the barn and listens to his radio while I flutter around in my yard with the animals or in the garden.  Life is so different for him.  He lives alone, his house is very quiet, very still.  It seems a luxury to me to have time to sit and read a book or listen to the radio just to hear it.  When does that change happen?   The change from busy to quiet?  The change from not having enough time to waiting for something to happen?  Henry tells me it is lonely, I try to visit him every day.  I hug him deep and full every time, it has become our ritual.  Fill his world with touch, with embrace, my tiny, meager effort to fill some of the space.

When I lived in California I had an elderly neighbor, he had lost his wife just a few years before and lived alone.  He often left his door open and I would wave to him while I bustled by with all my stuff.  I started visiting with him on Wednesday evenings and we talked for hours about his life, about the old days, about his lovely wife.  He told me he left his door open in the hopes that he would see someone pass by.  He spent most of his time waiting.  Waiting for the meals he would take at the buffet down the street with his friends.  He would wake early, read the paper, meet his friends for breakfast, take a nap, go back, meet them for lunch, mill around, leave his door open, listen to a ball game, sleep, dream about his wife and wait for Wednesday evenings.  Sweet Harry Anderson, my dear friend. 

Simplicity, that is what life is about, beauty, peace, love, friendship and 
it is oh so sweet.

An ancient Butternut tree.  Henry said the squirrels planted it in the wall, it is still hanging on and still producing nuts.  Life is funny that way.  It would seem impossible that such a big tree, such an old tree, growing crooked and half fallen on its knees could still unfurl its leaves, reach up to the sun, grow new branches and yield sweet fruit.  It is fitting that it grows in Henry's yard, his friend for so many years, leaning to the south, still yearning for the sun and feeding the world around it.  Henry feeds our hearts.

The rain just started, it is a percussion of sound with cool air....

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lilacs at sunset

So I don't even know how to begin to explain a deep dream come true.  I was given a gift.  I opened my heart to the energy of the universe, I asked in whispers to see life more fully, to breathe more deeply, to feel it all, to be, now, present, awake.

You never really know in what package your gift will arrive.  If you are really open to the gift, you take it all.  My gift came wrapped in fear, a threat of death, a fading away, a son losing his mother, a family losing their girl.  I heard a story about my future that seemed unbelievable, sad, not a dream I had dreamed in the grass looking up into the sky so long ago.  Here I am in the place I dreamed, the heart I dreamed I would be growing but not this ending....and still I accepted it.  My heart grew bigger, my eyes clearer, my mind more quiet, spirit open to every possibility and still I felt thankful, grateful, sad and joyful.  I wrapped my arms around the package and cared for all of it, the gift, the wrapping, the box, all delicately carried under my arm and I said yes.

I looked farther, I stepped in and reached up.  Monday as I breathed into my unfolding day at Mass General in Boston I smiled at my circumstance and accepted it.  It was a great letting go. We met with Dr. Norbert Liebsch to discuss my 38 day proton beam radiation treatment.  I smiled, listened, and wrote down my questions.  He is so amazing, professional, gentle, generous, informed, on the ball and down to earth.  He told me a different story, a different version of my cancer, my chondrosarcoma, a version completely different than the one I had heard twice at two different places at different times.  There is no urgency, there is no impending doom, no sign of the cancerous tumor left, no re-growth, no fear of metastasizing. No need for radiation...

Take a breath, wait 6 months, get new scans, live my life, open to the hope that this is not the time.  I felt elated, relieved and grateful.  I was already so grateful for the journey.  I have been so very in the moment for months, I feel everything, so viscerally, every cell, every molecule, every heartbeat and my yes has become a thank you.

The gift is still under my arm but I can release the wrapping.  It may come in a different form and I am ready but the gift is here, with me now, always, in this very moment and this one and this one and this one.....


The hospital, the staff, Dr. Norbert Liebsch are all amazing.  The hospital is state of the art.  Dr. Liebsch is one of the top oncologists for chondrosarcoma in the world.  Mass General is one of a very few hospitals that offer Proton Beam radiation.  They have an amazing cancer treatment center, very inviting, friendly, warm, supportive staff.  They are cutting edge.  I felt very safe, I trusted every one I met.  It was very peaceful.  They are very helpful.  Chondrosarcoma is very slow growing, rarely, rarely metastasizes, doesn't usually cause other problems unless it grows into areas of the brain or brain stem that can be pressured by the tumor.  My tumor was touching my brain.  95% of his patients don't have surgery to remove the tumor, the radiation controls the growth.  It works.  It is very effective.  Talk to him before you get surgery, before you grow your fear.  My surgery was so thorough that Dr. Daniel Prevedello at UPMC removed 100% of the tumor.  Dr. Liebsch couldn't see any evidence of the tumor and thought that the surgery was well done, amazing.  I was blessed, I was lucky, I am deeply grateful.  I won't set my gift down, or store it under the bed in a pretty box, or tuck into the pages of my favorite book.  I will carry my gift always and I still say yes, I have let go of the grip and I feel free.  I dance with my fingertips grazing the veil of the night sky and I am not afraid, for the first time in my life.  This year, which started for me in July, seemed to be about endings, illness, but has been instead about beginnings, life, beauty and love, deep love, even before this Monday at Mass General with wonderful Dr. Norbert Liebsch.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A little old and a little new...

I took the dimensions of the nature bag I made for my son and made a smaller version of it for myself.  I love the pocket under the flap, I just used odd shaped pieces of fabric.  The flap is a little longer but when I fill it with books, my shopping list, my watercolor pad and water colors plus my wallet it takes up the slack.  I designed this bag a few years ago but made it 14" x 15" this bag is 12" x 12".  Smaller and lighter, I am an over-packer, my shoulder is grateful!

A little old, a little new, a little Amy and little Kaffe....

Inside and out!

I love fat quaters....happy spring.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The greatness in me is you.....

Have you ever really wondered what it will be like?  The light, the great light?  The dance is over, the music is a quiet symphony playing as you file out.  Quiet, hot with sweat from the dance, you smile into the dark, the wind twirls your hair, you eyes look up into the night sky and see the stars.  You reach up, mountain pose, high up, touching the very tip, reaching the veil, grazing fingertips across the edges.  Warm air around, toes barely touching the ground, light as a feather. Deep sigh, one look back and up, up, up, up, it is all so beautiful, smiling faces.

While I still dance here in my living room, poetry, rhythm, pulsing beat, beautiful moments, warm, deep, red wine, May evening, sky clear, moon just crescent smile, I dance this dance, moving, sweating, smiling, breathing, dress clinging, shimmering, toes peeking out, arms out stretched, singing the words, loving the dance.  

I am going to be great for me!  This is great for me.  I want to be great for you too.  I whisper your name, I look deeply into your eyes, searching for the white of your teeth just beneath the surface of your smile.  Kiss your life, the essence of all that you are, so full, so alive, good and bad, joy and terror, morning and evening....I wrap my arms around your love, breathe you in deeply and jump......

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A single drop of blood

I cry as I write this, listening to Loreena McKennitt and watching my son play with his dinosaurs in a giant pile of clean, beautiful soil that will be our garden.  It is funny, now that I know I have cancer everything feels so much more precious to me, even a single drop of blood.  I don't dwell too much on my new state of health, or lack of it, but it does cross my mind in a melancholy sort of way.  

There have been many times in my life when I sat quietly and stared into the reality of my own death.  But I have this name now and I can feel my death walk with me, beside me, in a tangible, peaceful way.  It is all unknown, every day, I know that.  But one of my possible moments is now named and that is o.k., it's all precious, every drop.  I won't waste a moment of it.

Today, washing old flower pots I cut my finger.  It was a quick, sharp, deep, tiny cut but it bled. A single, large drop of my blood fell.  That is me, that is my life, I thought.  I have this big fear, an even bigger sadness, but wrapped around all of that I have this deep sense of magic.  The beautiful gift of life, the sacredness of death, there is a beauty in it.  We all have to pass that way, I am just so conscious of it now.  I will, hopefully, have many more years of this Good Life but for now, processing this new state, I am somehow able to embrace my death.  I love life, I love my home, my family, my friends, my chores, me.

My husband returned from his trip yesterday.  He was happy to see me, I was deeply grateful for him too.  Every time he hugs me now I cry.  A deep, childlike, choking sob...of happiness, of love, of sadness, of fear, of a long, slow goodbye.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A tiny forest, algae and fungus....

A beautiful little forest clinging to a small, dead branch.  It is like a galaxy on to itself; independent, fragile, vulnerable, living out its life on a precarious limb.  

Frog eggs or Newt?

Notophthalmus viridescens - Eastern Newt
We watched their dance, male and female locked in a struggled embrace.

Two were silent.  Quiet, unmoving, still locked in their embrace.  Was the passion too strong?  Did their struggle overwhelm them?  It was sad.  The water did not move while the sun blazed across the surface of the pond.  I stared in silence.  Why this moment?  Another newt glimmered in the corner of my eye and I turned my head to follow him.  

The two dead lovers still haunt me, floating there at the bottom, waiting to complete the circle.....

Erythronium americanum - American Trout Lily or Yellow Adder's Tongue

They stand shoulder to shoulder. 
 Lined up, watching each other.  Small, curious faces reaching up from the forest floor.  It was unnaturally warm here today.  It felt like an intrusion, confusion.  There are no leaves on the trees to shelter us from the burning rays.  I think it was the abnormal humidity, the deep, burning heat that invaded our April...

Kerry's favorite spring wild flower

Two happy faces jump and splash.  It began as a walk on the edge, then off came the shirts, knee deep became head first and then, mud bath.

My long haired boy!
A covered bridge.  New, replacing the old.  The town rebuilt her, nail by nail, the story goes.  A youthful prank burned the old one.  Oxen and men slid this one in place, the old way, in honor of the fallen one.  Every nail, every board, all the effort, the entire town came.  
The ritual still survives; horns blow from the heart of the covered bridge.

Melissa officinalis - Lemon Balm

I have extended my nature journal to include a study of the herbs in my garden.  One by one I am going to draw and describe them in my journal.  I think that by doing the study I will remember the details.

Here is a page from my nature journal.  We laid on the grass in front of the stone wall for hours and talked about lichens until it was too dark to see.  

The little red insects?  Ticks, soft bodied ticks.  I thought they were precious little spiders until I put on my glasses...ticks.  They looked like tiny red skinned potatoes.  I still haven't identified them yet.  Do you know what they are called?