> jumping into life.


(aye, and the snow
shall inherit the wind,
and the wind
leave her with nothing.

and sorrow
shall inherit the sky,

and i the shovel.)


He holds the knife behind his back,
holds the chicken gingerly by her beak.
He looks up at me
deep breath
looks down at the chicken.
Okay missy.

She's upside-down in an orange construction cone.
She was easy to catch, slow, sick.

He looks up at me,
looks down at the chicken.
Knife steady but still,
behind his back.

Wind chills my fingers
wrapped firm around her legs.
I can feel her heartbeat.
There is a scar on the bottom of one foot.

Okay missy.

Deep breath.


He looks up at me, shakes his head.

The knife handle is warm from his hand.
The light is failing, cold night coming on fast.

Deep breath.
The blood runs hot into the bucket.
I can feel my heart beating.


Because that's how things are, the thaw last week preceded the coldest temperatures of the year for this week. With both heat lamps on in the chicken house, it got down to six degrees in there; as long as they have enough to eat, they won't freeze, but they can get frostbit. Egg production has dropped a little with the cold temps, but now that we're past the molt we're getting a pretty steady dozen a day. We're in the position again of needing to find some more egg customers - we were selling three or four dozen a week last summer to a restaurant that since has gone out of business, and now our regular customers can't keep up! In the meantime, I guess I'd better get back in the habit of baking lots of cakes and making lots of pasta. One day I'll post my "how to use over a dozen eggs in one day without anyone realizing they've eaten that many eggs" menu.

(cross-posted to the farm blog)



Hard rain scours away the snow, leaving the fields sodden and stripped. What doesn't melt entirely turns to ice overnight. The chickens scurry outside to stretch their legs and wings; they do not like snow, which covers up the compost pile and chills their feet. The deep bed of straw in their coop has reached nearly a foot deep. With a quarter-bale added every few days, it'll be deeper before the true thaw comes.

After going to California for Christmas, I went with J to Florida to visit family there. I'll be returning to California next week to mark and grieve my grandma's death. I feel as though I'm missing winter, though I'm sure there will be plenty of it left on the other side of February; still, I miss the feeling of hunkering down, burrowing in, of settling the body and mind for the long, dark cold. Bitter though it may be, I've come to love winter. And lovely as it may be to swim in the ocean in January - grateful as I am for the opportunity to do so, and to see all our far-flung relatives - I would almost rather stay home, wrapped in a wool blanket, sipping my tea.