new photos and spring is here!

Spring is in full effect, except that the trees are JUST on the virge of blooming. It's delightful every day to see something new flowering and leafing out. M and I have been cleaning/clearing for some time now, always more to do, but we're getting O, so close to getting most of what is least useful out of our house and garage previously packed to the gills with "antiques." I think we're hitting a stable point, though, now that most of the garbage is out. Our yard only very vaguely reminds me of a garbage dump at this point. :D

Our new additions, the araucana hens, are doing splendidly. Eli still wants to eat them sometimes, but he's coming around. It's hard to name them because they don't currently respond to a whole lot. I might just continue to call them by whistles and clucks. They're laying pretty regular, now, 2 or 3 eggs each day. It's the easiest of chores to collect them and care for the ladies. There's a good reason everyone used to keep at least a few. We're getting together a chicken tractor, or a moveable pen to keep them in with a raised laying box that we can just reach into. The idea is put the hens on one spot of earth for a month or more while adding straw (carbon to balance the nitrogen in their poop/fertilizer), or to wheel the whole structure to a new spot each day for them to essentially mow down new growth and lay richer eggs than they can on feed alone. M's particularly interested in raising bugs for hen food. :) If we can get enough worm production going on in the basement, I suspect we could feed them those little red wigglers pretty regularly.

M got himself a Hammond organ a week or so ago that plays beautifully, and he is highly enthusiastic about it. He likes to break it down in the garage. Now that the garage is a little clear, there's plenty of room for it, but I suspect it's going down to the basement sometime in the near future. I wonder what the neighbors think, and I think it's enriching the neighborhood.

We went on a nice prairie hike at the Sugar Grove in Funk's Grove yesterday to make our trip to buy maple syrup more worthwhile. I think it's a large preserve with a bid sanctuary and lots of ... prairie, but also lots of trees. The forests were filled with ramps, which are sort of like green onions crossed with garlic. Delicious! We didn't have digging knives with us to cut through the black, wet, clayey earth, but maybe we'll find some in the woods near our land. We did collect a couple cups of beautiful new purple and deep green stinging nettles, which I put into a rice and goat cheese casserole today YUM. They are incredibly sturdy and strengthening plants and one of the best herbs for eating. I read this morning they used to be tithed because of their multitude of uses from every part of the plant.

Well, that's about all for now!
love, Abby



I've been thankful that the bus goes up and down 13th and 15th Sts and not mine, in the middle. I'm thankful today because I've come to realize that my neighborhood is ALIVE and vibrant, filled with people and pretty delightful. It's spring, and I'm starting to understand an experience I had upon my very first temperate spring. I moved in with my brother on Cape Cod one summer when I was 17 and had my first winter there. That's also when I walked up my first hill, acutely feeling it the backs of my legs. That first snowy winter I learned some things, like how great it is to watch movies at night and that you cannot expect much from an umbrella in a snow storm. In the spring I moved in with a boy who had grown up in Houston and Phoenix, and we had our first Grand Thaw together. The strangest thing happened that spring- in March, everyone had sour looks and many layers of warm clothes, but in April, one day, all of a sudden, EVERYone was outside in t-shirts. It was weird.

A few years have passed, and I've experienced springs in a few more places, after a few more winters. I'm reminded today of my bewilderment at the extreme and sudden change that first spring because today is that extreme and sudden day in my neighborhood. Sure, yesterday was pretty warm, and I bet a lot of folks were outside, but today it is almost 5pm and above 50F. It's Spring. :) I also saw a bunny hopping around in the field across from the house, just hopping, like it was frisky. The cherries and pears are beginning to make colorful buds, and M is getting worked up about co-op business ventures. The sap is on the move.

with love,