Sunday, January 1, 2012


IN BIRDLAND THE CHICKENS ARE GETTING USED TO THEIR WINTER COOP, BUT IT IS WARMISH AND RAINIY. They give us two eggs every day, a large brown one and a smaller white one. They’ll likely double that once we turn on the lights for warmth, but so far, their body heat in a closer space is a fine furnace. Soon enough the longer days will trigger more eggs with or without the lights. The upside on the unseasonably warm weather is that they can still find plenty of greens as they graze the yard in the daytime. I haven’t had to keep them in for the cold at all yet.

It’s hard to count chickens when they’re moving, but I think we have ten left. Yesterday, Michael called me into the kitchen and had me look out the window. High in the maple tree perched a big hawk, stark in the naked branches. The flock had taken shelter under the forsythia bushes below. I hurried outside, but the hawk had flown off. I still ran around the yard, windmilling my arms and shouting for good measure. I hope come spring we have enough hens left to set some eggs and increase the numbers again. The predators never get the roosters. The one time my little rooster got carried off, he came limping back across the back field a few days later, much the worse for wear, but still protective of his hens.

Here, on the cusp of the year, I like to think about new plans and new beginnings. In the Solstice—the longest night of the year—hides the hopeful seed of summer. That’s why it’s my favorite holiday. It’s dark; the days are short; but they can’t get any shorter. The sun will return. Gardening catalogs have been arriving for a while and I pour over them, planning. This year, how about the little cedar boxes that Cody envisioned for me so long ago? Or those tomato trees made of wooden slats—tall pyramids to provide structure for the unruly growth of July and August? Now, at Barb and Dave’s house they double as Christmas decorations, strung with tinsel and tiny lights. Or a salad table, like Susan and Brian have? I look to my friends for inspiration.

The first of January brings thoughts of resolutions, and I have a growing list. My friend, Sue, tells me that in Korea, people add a year to their age on the New Year, no matter what day they were born. She tells me, the kids welcome counting their age on the New Year, but “when we get older, we don’t like it.” She says this with a playful smile and I laugh to think how many many more New Years I have welcomed than she has. Eventually we learn to appreciate that growing number again. I tell her that by her reckoning, I would have had to wait for 11 months to celebrate my last milestone Birthday. Maybe an excuse for another party on January 1st?

The New Year brings me more organization—for a while, at least. Maybe just thinking about the opportunity to start fresh is therapeutic? All I know is that we have a new pantry shelf to hold 50 lb. bags of flour and rolled oats. I’d been talking with my friend, Sheryl, about our common desire to take more control over our food choices. One idea was to start a buying club, where we make quarterly orders together from a whole foods distributor. The first order came and a new pantry shelf was in order.

This morning I awoke to the smell of fresh crepes, Ellis’ specialty. Apparently he has resolved to “beat Zelda in one day.” This required early rising to greet a morning guest, and fortification in the form of a fancy breakfast topped with blackberry preserves and yogurt. I slept late, but found him and his good friend, Landa, in the kitchen making provisions for their long day of adventures in the Kingdom of Hyrule. I went about my own day, in the Kingdom of Birdland, enjoying the gentle music of the Ocarina drifting through the house.

Greet Beauty: Determine Peace: Blessed Be.


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