Our darling buds of May

Apple blossoms

For the first time since the kids were born, May gave us a true spring day (an afternoon, at any rate). Poor Darcy had been cooped up in the barn for nearly a full week. It was time to throw the doors open.

The rest of the herd was down in the pasture, so I closed the gate between the pen and pasture, just to give the new family time to adjust to one thing before the next. Then I opened the barn door.

Darcy fairly bounded out, loudly calling to her babies to follow her. It took them only a few minutes to let curiosity override fear, and then all three were out in the sunshine. In her happiness, Darcy did a twisting joy-leap off the high drive, and galloped down the hill to the back of the barn. The babies followed with their first real run down the slope, their sturdy little legs gathering and reaching beneath them as if they had always known how do to this.

After awhile, Darcy, with her gaze focused on the pasture, started calling. I’m guessing she was calling after her last-year babies (the 3Gs). Soon the rest of the herd had assembled on the other side of that gate and I let them in to the pen. Everyone huddled around the fresh kids and there was much sniffing. Darcy kept an eagle eye on the babies, nickering constantly, butting away anyone who was a little too interested. The unconcerned babies were everywhere, trying out their running and balancing skills on the rocks and ledges. I’m sure poor Darcy felt like she had toddler twins loose in a busy shopping mall.

Eventually, everyone got busy eating hay, except for Gideon, who was fixated on the little ones (whether it was interest, curiosity, or jealousy, I don’t know), so Darcy kept checking him, heading him off, butting him, pushing him away. She was gentle as these things go, but persistent. After a time, he got the hint and left to eat some hay. I hung out for quite awhile, sniffing noses with goats and snapping photos until my camera battery died. And then I went inside to leave the herd to themselves.

When I checked a little while ago, the adults were all lying in the straw and grass, sunning themselves, while the little ones explored the run-in stall and the rocks of the barn’s foundation.

Just beyond the pen, the apple trees are budding pink. Dandelions have sprung up out of nowhere and I saw honeybees sipping from them. The lawn is suddenly long enough to mow. The snowshoe hare we’ve caught glimpses of this winter has turned mostly brown again. The goldfinches are brilliant gold. There’s no stopping us now.

p.s. If you have an insatiable appetite for goatling photos, you can follow along as they grow by visiting their album on my Flickr page.

Surveying their kingdom Heels Both sides Meeting the family Mother and son, reprise



Sometimes the only way to start is just to start.


The cats and I are playing a game today. The game goes like this: they sit on the windowsill to my left, close enough to my ear that I can hear their ears twitch. I get out of my chair and they dash for their food dishes in anticipation of a meal that is at least an hour away by my clock. I sit back down. They spread themselves like speed bumps on the rug behind my chair. I get up; they scatter. I sit down; they start knocking things off of tables. I get up; they race for the bowls. I sit down.

I can do this for hours.


Darcy the goat is pregnant, so we believe. She’s round and her udder is full and by our calendar’s reckoning she was due to kid last Friday. She has not kidded. She remains round and calm, lying sedately in the stall we’ve prepared for her, chewing her cud like a bored receptionist chewing her gum. We check on her at all hours. Early morning, late at night, sometimes the middle of the night. We get up in the shivery wet, pull on our jeans, slip into our boots, flick on the flashlight. She rests, and chews, and chews.

She can do this for days.


Spring is notionally here. No, I’m exaggerating. Spring is definitely here, but so reluctant it’s nuts. The last few days have been cold, the last 24 hours full of (welcome) rain. If I weren’t so lazy I’d build a fire, but I’ve had it with splinters and now I’m not even sure where I put the matches on that innocent April day when I thought spring was a bird in the hand. Every few days, spring puts on a bit of a show, peek-a-booing a few new buds, pushing up something vibrantly green from the brown earth, sprinkling the evening air with peeper song. Then we swing back to sweaters. This morning I was shivering in a little cafe, waiting for my car to be repaired, winter coat around my shoulders, hot mug of tea in my hands. On my walk back to the garage, spring scattered daffodils along my path.

She can do this for weeks.


What we are doing here right now is waiting. This is a good place to be, even when it feels frustrating sometimes. We are waiting for things to begin without having used up any of the things we are waiting for. I’m greedy and want it all: the warmth, the rain, the flowers, the warm tea, the moment before everything begins, before the curtain lifts for the next act.

The cats just want their dang dinner.

Hidden spring

Hidden spring

The internet’s serving up photos of crocuses and daffodils. I hear tell of apple and pear blossoms, kids and lambs, and Easter egg hunts.

Around here, spring seems reluctant. There’s tell-tale mud, to be sure. But there’s still snow. And nothing is blooming.

When I look up into the trees, they look as quiet and empty as the winter that’s just passed.

But just because we can’t see something happening, doesn’t mean it isn’t.


There’s a thaw beneath the fallen snow
And the geese don’t know which way to go
There’s a warm wind blowin’ round the bend
And the days are growin’ long again

And I will go down by the river
And wash the cold away
And gaze across the water all day

There’s a bird rehearsing on a wire
And a soft green underneath the briar
There’s a hazy ring around the moon
And the rains of spring are comin’ soon

–Cheryl Wheeler, from “Spring“, 1997

How Lowe can I go?

“Nick Lowe at Knuckleheads Saloon” by K8 fan

What can I say? It’s the man’s birthday. And I’ve loved his music since I was a young teen. And one time not too long ago he and I made eye contact.

This morning started off at 2ºF, but the sun’s brilliant out there and the bird feeder outside my desk window is bristling with a pair of Pine Siskins, a handful of yelllowing American Goldfinches, an embarrassment of Black-Capped Chickadees, a scattering of Tufted Titmice, and a single Downy Woodpecker.

I’m distracted by everything and anything today. By shiny things. Things with wings. Prints in the snow. Reddening buds on the lilac bushes. Something’s happening.

The geese haven’t made their comeback, but can’t you just feel they’re on their way? Winter coats and mittens are still required, but the light is distinctly softer, less oblique.

Something long frozen is shattering.

It’s a good day to be alive. Especially when Nick Lowe is singing.

Open to the rain and flowers

Wind and rain

Crabapple buds

Golden Russet bud

What happened between the time that poetry month started and now is that spring arrived. The piles of snow are long gone. The birds are raising a ruckus at dawn and dusk. There’s a bird at twilight whose call is a creaking thing, like a complaint, or an unoiled door hinge. We don’t know what that bird is, but we enjoy making its noise back to it. A conversation for us, if not for him or her.

What happened is that the brown buds on the fruit trees have turned furry and are peeling themselves open to reveal pink. Spring is coming slowly, as it should, and the blooms are pacing themselves accordingly.

What happened is that I’ve been basking in poems every day and spinning lines in my head, and sometimes even scribbling them down in my notebook. These are blooming slowly, too.

What happened is someone long from home finally returned to where she should be.

What happened is, on a spring evening, there were three of us, driving on a road parallel to the river just after dark, music on the stereo, and we were there. I was in the back seat, with my teeth in my mouth.

Everything is beautiful.


One last poem for this month of poems.

This one is written by my friend, Mary Kane. Her book Door was published earlier this year and I love her words. I’ve had a hard time choosing just one poem to post, but I finally decided to share the last one in the book, because today the rain is pattering, and the world is getting green.

There Will Be a Woman Written in as a Wren

I’m collecting folding chairs for use in the very big poem I
am getting ready to write, something about the size of a small
auditorium, only open to the rain and flowers. You wouldn’t
believe the way the look of a young cherry tree or a street or
a husband can be altered by even a single day without speech.
I might use a broom to paint the corners of the poem, and
there’ll be a young boy tossing a baseball in the air, higher
and higher, always catching it in his glove. I have shells in
my throat. It makes it easy to sit by the window watching the
world get green in the rain, not making any sound. The young
boy with his ball and glove has no fear of the sound of his name.

–Mary Kane, from Door, Copyright © 2013 by Mary Kane


Going pink

Swamp Rose


All Access


New leaves

Just as we all predicted, spring is springing.

Two weeks ago, we drove a few hours south, through slush, ice, and hail, and were met with a cold ocean and hibernating buds. And then the sun came out and we watched as spring unfolded in a matter of two days.

Then we returned home and, though the snow was gone, spring wasn’t quite here. It was dallying on the beach (can you blame it?), but, a few days ago, it finally decided that vacation was over and it was time to come back to Vermont.

So here we are now, with signs of spring everywhere.

The brown grass is suddenly vibrantly green. The budding maple trees are turning the hillsides pink. The apple and rose buds are relaxing from their knotted sleep. The irises are coming out of hibernation, stretching their green arms above the crumpled soil.

The local independent film festival was going strong all weekend and, thanks to my thoughtful sister, I had the chance to attend for the first time. It was sort of a shame to spend the pretty days inside, in the dark. But it was a glorious, childhood feeling to step out of a dark theater into the bright, warm spring day. And it was exciting to meet and talk with people who are passionate about images and words and sounds and ideas.

It feels like a time for new projects. New ideas. New ways of looking at things. (Yes, it’s probably just the sunshine talking.)

Last April, I started a daily photo project, which I completed a couple weeks ago. I still have to do more thinking about that project, and I plan to write about it here, but now I need a new one.

Hey! Remember back in January when I said I was going to do another weekly photo project, but this time I’d be choosing my own themes?


That didn’t go so well.

It turns out I need someone else to come up with the themes. When I try to do it myself, I’m just too predictable (read: boring). Luckily, just when I was casting about for a way to get myself thinking in new ways, I read about the 52 Photos Project, which just happened to be starting last week. The theme for the first photo, due by tomorrow, is “Conversation”.

Meet me back here tomorrow. And we’ll chat.

Here, and nearly there

Winter and spring

There are so many tictoc

there are so many tictoc
clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc
past six tic

Spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly

we do not
wind it up it has no weights
springs wheels inside of
its slender self no indeed dear
nothing of the kind.

(So,when kiss Spring comes
we’ll kiss each kiss other on kiss the kiss
lips because tic clocks toc don’t make
a toctic difference
to kisskiss you and to
kiss me)

–e. e. cummings