> jumping into life.

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The river shoulders its banks apart. Rain comes. The air hangs swollen: opportunity, promises, humidity, warmth. The aspens go first, their catkins unfurling into long swaying tails, the tiny leaves that start as a vague haze of green and then grow. They glow, florescent yellow-lime-life-colored, paintstrokes from a sudden new palette on the hillsides. Beneath, bloodroot and dandelion lift their faces, shy trout lilies and crimson trillium. Slowly behind them come the more hesitant: maples, alders, larches, violets and columbine.

An orange hen went broody back in April, and last week her eggs began to hatch. Having raised chicks only from cardboard boxes, nobody knew quite what to do; except, of course, the hen. She herded the chicks over to the waterer and showed them how to drink, settled herself carefully on the rest of the as-yet unhatched clutch and let the chicks burrow down beneath her, fluffed up all her feathers, and screeched at anyone who came too near.

The piglets came last week, as well. Two of them, one brown and one pink with spots. Both outrageously cute and demonstrably smart: they needed to stay in their crate for a day or so to get used to the new location, and we decided the best way to feed them would be with those bottles used for hamsters and the like. At first, of course, they tried just sucking as they would on any other bottle, and as had worked for them on every other bottle they'd seen before. Biting and head-butting came next, but within about ten minutes, they'd figured out the little valve and were grunting happily away at their milk. By the next feeding, they hardly spilled a drop. Once we let them out, they also figured out the electric fence and found the one spot they could wiggle under - and proceeded to do so immediately. Luckily, they're friendly and curious, so rounding them up involved more coaxing and little chasing.

Last week, the week of insanely cute baby animals, was our last week on the first farm. We start Monday on our new farm, where we won't even have dial-up. J has a pretty good video of the pigs that he's planning to upload before we enter into the internet desert, so keep an eye out over on farmtime. And if you happen to be in Montpelier on Saturdays, stop by the farmer's market and say hi.

address for paper letters? -n

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