Our new northland

We bought land! Click the weeds to make them bigger. The open space is ours, plus the nearer of the trees. The hills beyond are not ours, but we do get to look at them. I intend to do that, a lot - when it rains, when it's sunny, when it's cloudily dramatic, when my eyelashes are weighed down with snow. I intend to do it with coffee, with whiskey, in my underwear, and while walking my ducks.

We've been making a lot of trips to Vermont. We've been looking at a lot of acres, talking and weighing and searching, and now, we've gone and done it. This ten acres of gently sloping, southern facing stumpy scraggly northland is to be our home! On Monday we picnicked there with my parents, and spilled a few drops of champagne on the soil. We heard a rooster crowing, and the wind in the pines, and not much else. I am already a little bit in love.

This is the beginning of a long haul for us. While there is already a lot on this land - chickadees, asters, balsam firs, bear poop - you might notice there is no house. So we have to put that there. I intend to document the process here, so if you'll stick with me for a couple years, you can see the "after" picture then. (We'll remain in Scranton, at least part time, until it no longer seems practical.)


Hopsecutioner, or Hop Wallop?

That was Matt's question, standing in front of the refrigerator, considering nachos-on-the-porch night. It was a tough decision, so I made it for him. I said Hopsecutioner! because it sounded more brutal.


A dachshund

I love dachshunds! This one was was drawn in response to a call for illustrated breadhats by Loaf, a comics zine of "thick sliced fun" for kids.

Incidentally, I know someone of roughly this fellow's size and shape, named Ozzie, who is Unbelievably Cute, lives in the South, and Sometimes Wears Glasses.


The unexpected

Last week was full of little highs and lows. There were migrating monarchs on the ridge where we walk - more than I've ever seen... clouds of them billowing up off the Eupatorium when we passed, quickly settling back to their task of nectar foraging. Fifty feet down the path, kids tending a little fire, for their own task: burning the coating off rolls of electrical wire, to earn a few more cents per pound at the scrapyard.

I've been sitting here for ten minutes trying to explain my dismay, and the irony of the contrast, but when it comes down to it, all I can say is, This shitty old city.

Friends are getting married. Lots of them (but not all to each other). So there was and will be baking going on downstairs. M made little braids, wheat sheaves, ciabattas, dense ryes... Little sister made matcha cupcakes in black papers (gorgeous). I ran up and down the steps with coffee and frittata and toast... And on my way, out the window at eye level, I spied...

...a parakeet! On the porch railing, wet, green, and gold, and watching the rain.


Golden-podded peas

I resisted planting these golden-podded snow peas for years because I thought "golden" was a nice way of saying "a pukey pale sick color, which peas should never be." But then one day I had a fit along the lines of... This whole world and my entire life are completely out of control! And my decrepit old dog is pooping everywhere! And it seemed like the only thing I was in charge of was my overflowing seed storage, so I cleaned that. And I said to hell with it, I'll stick these stupid peas in the ground. And aren't I glad I did, now? Yes.


August, spent


Above: Matt, victorious after having employed his rock climbing gear and a pole saw to safely scale an oak tree and retrieve the plump chicken-of-the-woods high on its trunk.

Below: Chicken, collected and piled after having plummeted and smashed on the boulders below.