Life in death

On a coffee break last Sunday, we sat outside watching the goats in their temporary pen. Large logs from the dead portion of the maple tree outside our kitchen door remained where they’d fallen—the goats like to climb on them, and one long branch looks like a sculpture of a praying mantis. So we had... Continue Reading →


With the arrival of Gus and Gwendolyn, our Oberhasli goats, I decided to return to Maggie’s Farm. To my horror, someone had hacked it, imbedding ads for Viagra, and jumbling the words I’d so carefully chosen. Thanks to my cousin Tom’s unfailing patience, we pieced it back together, and moved it to a safer platform.... Continue Reading →


This morning Featherfoot died. In our first batch of chicks, McMurray Hatchery sent us a free “exotic” which turned out to be a Cochin, and a rooster. He grew into a huge, gorgeous creature, with resplendent shiny feathers of black, red, and green. As do all Cochins, he even had feathers on his feet. From the... Continue Reading →

They grow up so fast

About six weeks ago a box of tiny, fluffy, cheeping chicks arrived; 19 in all, although only seven stayed. Friends went in on the order with us, and our choice of breeds caused some confusion. Of the seven chicks Cherisse and I ordered, four were Plymouth Barred Rocks. The coloring on their fuzzy little bodies was identical... Continue Reading →

Northern bees

To our dismay (but not surprise) neither of our hives survived the winter. We’ve heard that a lot of RI beekeepers lost hives, perhaps because many of us have southern bees—ours came from Georgia last spring. The two colonies were never very robust, and this winter was bitter cold, so perhaps they didn’t stand a chance. This year we... Continue Reading →

Winter loosens its grip

The last snow finally disappeared from the northern-most part of our yard about three weeks ago. Little bursts of color from the crocuses emerged from the thawing ground (only to be mown down by the too numerous rabbits eager for some fresh greens). Daffodils shot up rapidly, trying to make up for the slow start... Continue Reading →

Seeds of summer

Between my trip in January and the endless snow, the possibility of summer seemed very remote, and so I placed my Fedco seed order a month later than usual. Hopefully my order will arrive quickly because according to last year's records I started our first seeds on March 4th. One of the problems with ordering late... Continue Reading →

Happy anniversaries

This past weekend marked two anniversaries. Cherisse’s birthday on February 14; and the day my father died of cancer, February 16. Twenty-three years have now passed since then, and yet I remember that final night with perfect clarity. My mother, sister and I had watched while he fought for days, hanging on longer than the... Continue Reading →

Of love and tequila

Not only has 2014 begun, we are well into its second month. Storm after storm have left mounds of snow in the Northeast. Our wonderful neighbor Tom rescued Cherisse last week by pulling her car out of the snow (and then plowing the driveway). Icy snowbanks (now covered with layers of grime) line New York... Continue Reading →

Pecking order

Observing chickens provides an interesting perspective. When Ethel died, we wondered if Lucy would miss her. But after two-and-half years caring for chickens, we should have known better. Cherisse and I have mourned each chicken we have lost, but they simply reshuffle—and accept—their pecking order. We assume Ethel was at the top of the order... Continue Reading →

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