December 2012



about keeping bees
is a joy.
It is gentle work:
learning about the fascinating lives of bees,
building homes for them,
providing food,
a healthy habitat;
harvesting the sweet nectar
of their prodigious efforts.
Ann is our happy beekeeper
and she loves sharing all she knows
about bees.
Her next beekeeping workshop
is January 12.
Participants will learn how to build hives,
make candy boards for winter,
where to get bees and supplies,
what goes on in a year in the life
of a bee colony.
And you’ll get to taste
Turtle Rock Farm honey.
It’s the best.
To register,
go to our website:




Waning Moon, and Venus


What could change the direction of today’s civilization? It is my deep conviction that the only option is a change in the sphere of the spirit, in the sphere of human conscience. It’s not enough to invent new machines, new regulations, new institutions. We must develop a new understanding of the true purpose of our existence on this Earth. Only by making such a fundamental shift will we be able to create new models of behavior and a new set of values for the planet.

— Vaclev Havel
Quoted in Navigating the Coming Chaos. A Handbook for Inner Transition, by Carolyn Baker



Our lives
have been made
much richer
by including chickens.
The original reasons
were for eggs,
for pest control,
for tilling,
for adding nutrients.
And they provide all that,
but they have brought
so much more
to our lives.
Now many towns and cities
allow its residents
to keep chickens
(if not roosters.)
It’s one way to grow
some of your own food.
There are challenges,
of course.
So we are offering our first
chicken-raising workshop
to share the knowledge
we’ve gained from our experience.
(Not that we’re experts!)
It’s January 5.
Register at our website.


Evening Sky

I’ve noticed
that the colorfulness
of the western sky
in the evening,
as Earth is turning up
and the sun disappears,
is sometimes
the same intensity
and hue
next morning
as Earth rolls over
just before sun appears
in the east.
to look forward to…


On this day
we celebrate
the birth of Jesus of Nazareth
he showed us
that there is a force of Goodness
whose true nature—
and the true nature
of everything in the universe—
is that Love expressing.
May all the connections
you make this Christmas Day
bring you
much gladness.

Two Eagles (one in highest tree, to the left,
one-third way from top; one in tree on right)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                            Photos by Pat Hoerth
IMG_7014                                                                            Photo by Ann Denney

Two winters ago,
we watched a Bald Eagle
at the Big Pond.
One February morning
we saw it make repeated attempts
to capture a Canada Goose
floating on the water.
(goose would go under water)
Eagle flew to the top of a tree
and sat for hours,
then disappeared.
We didn’t see Eagles here
last winter.
Last week,
neighbors reported
seeing Bald Eagles
in the neighborhood.
And then
Saturday morning,
Ann and Frank
spotted two
right at the corner
of Zig Zag Lane.
Soon after taking my place
to watch them,
one flew off,
soaring with that magnificent span of wing
to a tree near the Big Pond.
Shortly, it flew into the trees
on the other side of the pond.
But the one near Zig Zag Lane
stayed put —
all morning.
I watched it sitting
so far towards the end of a branch
that the branch bounced gently
up and down
when Eagle
ruffled its feathers,
and preened
with that powerful golden beak.
As flocks of Red-Winged Blackbirds
flew over and around,
Eagle turned its large, beautiful, white head often,
front to side,
to other side.
Moving its wings
to adjust its temperature
must have kept it more comfortable
than I was
in the electric cart.
And it is evidently
more content
to sit
for hours
without anything else to do,
but be.
it disappeared,
long after I had.
But we hope
that the two
are partners,
and still close by,
planning to nest.
Knowing they exist,
knowing they are visiting
here in the neighborhood,
getting to watch
and sit
and preen,
and just be,
and thrills
winter’s heart.


Houdi and Spot with their morning greens


Rooster, unable to reach the rabbits’ morning greens


Things seemed to have calmed down
in the barn.
The chicken population
has dwindled,
but we think we’ve trapped
the culprits.
We now set a trap every night,
just to be sure,
and were surprised
one morning this week
to find we trapped
a large skunk.
Our preventive measure worked:
we caught a predator
before there was evidence
of predation.
The chicken fort
inside the barn
is a safe night-time retreat.
Last night,
a guinea fowl came down
from the barn rafters
and joined the chickens
on their roost inside the fort.

Morning and evening
we bring fresh greens
from the high tunnel
to feed the guineas, chickens and rabbits.
Because rabbits, chickens and guineas
can intermingle
in the two-room rabbit village,
the fowl finish their greens
and then steal greens
right out of the mouths
of rabbits as they nibble.
So now, while the chickens and guineas
are still focused on eating the greens
we give them,
we dash to the rabbit village
and shut the door
to the room where the rabbits
spend most of their time.
The rabbits can eat their greens
in peace.
Rooster has found us out.
This morning he appeared
in the window
that overlooks the rabbits,
safely nibbling their morning treats.
Rooster raised his head
and crowed loudly,
seemingly in protest.
I laughed out loud.
I wonder if he’ll try to beat us
to the rabbit room
next time.
Already, he’s chased Ann and me
a couple of times.
Life with animals
doesn’t stay calm
for long.

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