> jumping into life.


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.


Ten thousand dead
in Haiti, all forgotten
when my mother's mother

the ground from which sprang
the ground from which I sprang

ceased, finally, to tremble.


the tears rise as from a pool
splashed by the stone of death.

they rise, peak, arc
and fall. the stones fall
erratic, one and another, and
though there was only one death

there seem to be many stones.
there seems to be no end of water.

outside, the snow falls.
the night gathers its velvet and cold.
i wish that i believed in heaven.

death stoops to choose another
stone. heavy. smooth.

it skips.


The snow falls and falls. We spend a full day in shoveling, clearing space around the greenhouse and the drive. We spend a day snowshoeing up a mountain, through crystallized trees and a flat white sky that encases us so completely I begin to think we are inside a snowglobe, and not in the world at all. Then on the hike down, the clouds lift just an inch above the horizon, just enough to let a stripe of liquid sunset light strike through and stain the whole mountainside orange.

In California over Christmas, I sat outside in a T-shirt in the sun, looking out over the greening hills, and I longed for Vermont and snow. For the tiny tracks of mice and rabbits and the stories they tell. For layers of wool and mugs of cocoa. For the snug feeling of being inside while the world whirls and freezes outside, and for the steam off my skin at the top of the mountain while the world whirls and freezes around me. And for the tightly-held dream of springtime, the thrum of the seasons that insists: You are alive.