Winter makes fragments more appealing than ever.
A scarcity of warmth, a scarcity of words,
a surplus of books-in-waiting.
A surplus of poems
A surplus of time.
First Snow Sonnet
And the world is sugared, softened
down & battened in. The snow a saucy
mistress touching every twig & every
trim. Nothing prim or proper to divulge—
staying in means fireheat & yokey eggs,
legs piled on each other’s legs. Aloe
plants abound indoors, spread
their prickled fingers wide, keep
their soothing goo inside themselves.
A chicken’s feet can freeze on ground
like this, she’ll lose her beak-picked
way. Inside the house, two lives can stay
preserved like bees in comb, can buzz
around each other in a home.
OUR CHICKENS LAID THEIR FIRST EGGS
There needs to be something MORE
than capital letters to convey my joy. I swear
I feel like my best friend just had a child.
I feel like I just won golden admittance
to Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. Our little
chickies, getting sexy, making chickies!
For breakfast tomorrow: eggs on toast
and sauteed shiitakes, all of which
we’ve grown ourselves, oh heavens.
(that’s a Brazilian bean soup in the process on the stove)
Let me tell you
about a spicy experience
a very spicy experience indeed
when I made pickled horseradish
from thick dirty roots Misha dug up
from our little vineyard in the frontyard
which I washed and scrubbed in the sink
with a round bristled brush and let them soak
in the righthand sink and peeled them with a lefty peeler
and chopped them and threw them in the Cuisinart with salt
and whey and pulsed it pulsed it added water blended it until HOT DIGGETY OUCH
I ran yelling from the stuff when I opened the lid and horseradish slid down
my throat and in through my eyes and cut off my breath and my tears
and cleared my sinuses. Hot damn, not since hot sauce have I been
that spiced outta town. Now the stuff’s in jars, stuff you’d say
you’d never eat and I rarely eat it either but every year
there it is on the seder plate and Geoff from work
tells me you can take a tablespoon of it
with lemon juice to cure an asthma
attack and hey if horseradish
is just out there growing
in your yard all free
and spicy, you’d
jar it, too.
Can you tell what that is? It’s a teensy tiny PURPLE cauliflower! Leaves and all! Like, OHMYGOSH!
This tiny cauliflower (the variety is called “purple graffiti”) is currently on display with some other small things, in front of the microwave, which we do not use. Oh, and Heather made me that oven mitt! Don’t you want to buy one for your best friend for Hannukah?!?
On the night before Thanksgiving, I am thankful for friends. Thankful for the emails I get from friends like Chase, with this enclosed:
because I’M LAUGHING and because that video is so much like my life, my life is so much of making up songs about loving the things I’m cooking, picking, making, seeing. Thankful for friends who have and will come visit, and thankful for new friends in the making, thankful to be back east nearby closefriends I felt so far away from and thankful for the busestrainsandautomobiles which transport me and them to and from the country where I live. I’m thankful for my family members who are my friends in the deepest sense, the friends I haven’t picked but who have made me and it continues:
winter sun and
a grownup rooster fluffed with feathers (his name is Claude!) and
the shoes on my feet and
good soup and a fire and
the ever-discovery of poems and
the way lighting a candle makes me feel sacred no matter the time of day I do it and thankful
and apologetic to the mice we’ve killed in the basement who did not deserve to die and
thankful for free health insurance from the state of Vermont!
and emoticons and
thankful for sage and sweetgrass and cedar incense and
for the pond that I hopehopehope will turn to ice and hopeful
for finding ice skates at the thrift store for our pond and
thankful for nice thick socks
thankful for nice coworkers and kind customers and a wall of windows
thankful for how cheap a stamp remains and
for letters and packages and our big box from “fungi perfecti”
which means we’ll grow mushrooms underneath the sink throughout the winter and
thankful for the boldness of 2012 and all the good change it’s wrought and brought and
thankful for mittens
and a yellow hat from my sister
and a red hat from the country store which makes me look like a hipster which I am a little bit I guess but mostly I’m just a farmer who likes clothes and colors and thankful for
a grey hat from amsterdam
and thankful for all the things that weren’t stolen from our truck
like eachother and my gorgeous blue rounded piece of sodalite
which a woman at the stone store told me to select
because she said the purple of my aura was sagging that day
and it was
I was sagging that day
I’m thankful for people who help me unsag
like that cosmic lady who made me buy a very dark sodalite and also for my family and friends and
now I’m back to where I began which is thankfulness and
yayness and love and thankful and giving
this tinysmall poemthing in thanks and
in preparation for a bigmeal tomorrow, amen.
Some men say an army of horse and some men say an army on foot
and some men say an army of ships is the most beautiful thing
on the black earth. But I say it is
what you love.
-Sappho, as translated by Anne Carson
photo of Littleleaf by Misha
Last week I met this man in the coffee shop. He was well-spoken and friendly and we chatted. Here he is:
(from Peter Money’s website)
I didn’t meet Allen Ginsberg; he’s dead and likely never visited White River Junction. The man I did meet recommended that I read Joanne Kyger. As it turns out, she’s great! She’s beautiful!
Then the other day I got in the truck and there were four pumpkins sitting shotgun. I put one out by the mailbox and two along the driveway and one is still riding shotgun.
(from this isn’t happiness)
It’s autumn and the mums are on display. I’ve been reading The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard and oh I love it so much I love it so much. Also, we’ve been drying sliced tomatoes, storing them in oil, stacking them in the cupboards where they’ll wait until they’re given as gifts. Here’s a painting by Joe Brainard, of a tomato.
(from The Met)
Outside, everything is in motion from the wind, the leaves flying to the ground like torpedoing birds.
(from Misha’s flickr)
We’ve named our homestead Littleleaf, come visit. Raspberries grow through the chilly autumn nights.
We bought chickens from a man named Dan; we haven’t named them yet. I visit them every day and hold each one for a couple of minutes. They don’t love me yet, but soon.
Last Sunday, we celebrated. We bought our first farm animals, and before that, we planted the greenhouse full of food. I harvested all the cherry tomatoes, which are still coming.
Homestead in the background, man in the foreground.
The day was warm. We inspected tools in the barn. Well, Misha did.
The sun sets earlier every day. The trees are the color of our chickens.
All photos by Misha. See more.