Steeples and Stars


Spring has arrived in Vermont.

Iris coming up. You know what pops in my head when I see these new iris? “And these are my steeples” from that kids game where you fold your hands into a church. I like visiting churches… as a tourist. I’ve seen quite a few across the world, but not many inspire the simple awe of spring and sunlight on new green, or the grace of hands on dirt, or the benediction of brushing off damp gritty knees after kneeling to weed. Excuse me while I go look up the word benediction… Not totally sure what it means…

A little boy asked me not long ago what a church was, as we drove by one, and I tried to explain, I said churches were where people went to pray and talk to God. He asked me if churches where were God lived. Well, I said, it’s kind of his house, but he doesn’t live there. He’s everywhere. I thought that was the end of it, but then he asked me, “what are we made of?” What are we made of? What? What should I answer? Skin and bones? I reached way back and remembered a song lyric and something about carbon. We are all made of stars, I said. He was quiet the rest of the way home.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Every spring when the rhubarb gets big enough to pick, I make a strawberry rhubarb pie, from scratch.   This is when I know that spring has really, truly, finally arrived. sliced strawberries IMG_3586

a pie in the making.... strawberries and rhubarb and butter and sugar
a pie in the making…. strawberries and rhubarb and butter and sugar and a crust with some more butter… a lot more butter…
strawberry rhubarb pie means it is finally spring
… a mere two sticks of butter in each pie, one pie for a neighbor and one pie for us.  I use the Joy of Cooking recipe for the filling, and a recipe from my mother for the crust…

I think I have some new fans of this spring-pie-from-scratch ritual; the chickens love to eat the strawberry hulls.  Do you recognize these guys without their baby chicken fluff? Mottled java hen eating strawberry hulls

mottled java flock eating strawberry hulls
Pie is fine by us! Keep it coming!  The Barred Rocks are eating their own pile of hulls outside the coop.
Mottled java rooster and hen, almost two months old
Mottled java rooster and hen, about two months old
mottled java rooster and hen on some rough rock steps
Coop door, a young roo, a hen, and my improvised rock steps

And, we have a fancy automatic door, with a built in daylight sensor, which shuts once dark, and opens in the morning.  Powered by a small solar panel on the south gable end of the coop.  The chickens are in the coop about 15 minutes before their automatic door shuts each night, settled on their roosts well before it gets dark.  I check on them after the door shuts, and haven’t run into a straggler yet.  I’m glad there’s no chicken wrangling involved, no chicken herding, no coaxing necessary.  The door does re-open, one minute after closing, for a ten second final all in for the night last chance.

mottled javas explore the outdoors
Small section of the fenced in chicken yard (more on the fence in another post).  The Barred Rocks are also doing well, and both breeds have been integrated into same coop. Those windows open in warm weather, with hardware cloth screening inside.
A very old 5 gallon cast iron kettle near the coop door, now planted with hens and chicks sedum.

Happy spring to all.

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