Friday, July 28, 2006

On the road again!

So after a week of a larger bed, the loving attentions of my cats and chickens, and two days of Access training classes, I am back to the North country later this afternoon. They have been finding things since I was there; apparently they finally got close enough to the hotspot.

If you haven't visited the dig blog at, I hope you will.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Home again, for awhile

I am back from my two weeks at field school. There are pictures and a diary on the New Hampshire Underground blog. I am still groggy and itch from the blackfly bites, but I had a wonderful time. The chickens have grown; Doug has spent time getting more of them to accept affection and being picked up. Asterix,delighted to have me home brought me a large, dead vole in the wee hours of this morning... I hope I stop waking up before dawn soon.

More as I come back in real-life focus.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I love going places, but I hate leaving home. I want to pack _everything_. So I try to avoid packing anything. It's humid. My car is hideous. We are going to meet Dawn at the lab in two hours. As usual I cannot find my plumb bob. I will probably be home next weekend. Or I might stay up there. In any case, two (of two) waterlilies are blooming it looks like tomorrow. Otherwise, it looks like everything will keep. Doug is feeding the cats and the chickens and watering everything, since it seems to have stopped raining for who knows how long?

I will try to keep in touch, but if I don't, look at the weather in far Northern New Hampshire and hope for not too much rain and not too high temperatures.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Only natural

There is very little point to this entry, I warn you, except that I love my house (not that it wouldn't be nicer with $50K massaged into the kitchen with a toothbrush and boiled linseed oil).

Nature. Not a pretty thing, but it has its moments. On the Fourth, Doug and I found two sets of moose tracks in the driveway. Great big ones like a sandwich plate (a saucer at least) and little demitasse-saucer sized. Moose and mosling. We never see them but they're here, like Fair Folk.

Yesterday I surprised a hen turkey and about seven little tiny chicks in the same part of the driveway. They proceeded into the brush with dignity.

The chickens now come and check out the courtyard garden as soon as Doug lets them out in the morning, and if you come home from work and sit there and say "Hey chickens," very softly, Auk and Buffy and Spike and Faith rush up and ask to be given sunflower seeds out of your hand, followed more discreetly by the others. Today I grabbed Spike and put her on my lap. "Help, murder! " she screeched. "Oh. Food." And ate out of my hand.
A couple days ago Asterix got so jealous he tried to eat sunflower seeds, but they just weren't his thing. He's still jealous. Today, as I had Spike on my lap, Buffy (who also gets jealous; chickens do have expressions) fluttered onto my lap to crowd Spike. And then Joyce got crazy and flew up onto my lap, too, only there wasn't room, so she veered onto the firepit and knocked over the can of sunflower seeds. A very popular move.

I love the chickens. I also love the baby greenfrogs, about the size to sit on a fifty-cent piece (a little bigger than a dollar coin for you youths out there). There are four or five or six living in the courtyard Rubbermaid pond, and maybe thirty in the back puddle. Only there's one less than there used to be somewhere, because Cordelia was playing with a stiff little froggy corpse and eventually ate it. I guess you gotta be fast. And I guess it's good the frogs lay a lot of eggs.

Rather faint from horror after this, I went and sat in the hottub as it got darker. The hummingbird is usually around sitting on the TV antenna of an evening. No hummingbird. I did see many bright yellow goldfinches, the redwings from across the road, the rosebreasted grosbeak couple, the purple finches, the song sparrows -- and I would HEAR the hummingbird, but he wasn't in any of his usual spots. I heard him pass seven times and glimpsed him drinking from the feeder once. I found out that since there were canaille like the damn huge sparrows on his aerial, he was sitting on the porch swing about eight feet away, watching me. He was very calm about the whole thing, actually as hunkered down and relaxed as I have ever seen him, occasionally streching his wings or going for a quick trip around the house. We watched each other comfortably till the finches and the sparrows left and the cardinal couple flew in, and then the aerial was empty and the hummingbird could go sit there, as was only proper.

Monday, July 03, 2006


I think of the chickens as being quite grown up now, though Doug and Sarah assure me that they will get even taller. They live in the former toolshed at the bottom of the slope, on top of which the courtyard garden sits, so one can have tea and a pleasing chicken vista.

The other day I fed them and then staggered up the hill to the bench (I have a head cold and staggering was about all I could do last weekend). Asterix had followed me to the chicken shed and slowly followed me up the hill. The chickens had been watching him with interest -- they like to chase Mena -- and they followed him, clucking about it, up the hill. He gave them a Look and slinked under the porch. Spike and Buffy stood next to the porch for a good five minutes, looking under it (they are much too sensible to go into the dark themselves) and clucking and wondering if he would come out again.

After seeing my aunt last week and having a grand convocation of Jeffersons (all the ones extant in my family, meaning my aunt, parents, self and daughter, plus ex) last weekend, I was happy to have a glimpse of the other scion of my chromosomes, who is usually in Maryland. I was supposed to pick Sam up and meet my parents and his father in Boston, but as I was having trouble staying awake for more than two hours at a stretch they all came here, and Sam tried out my atl-latl (I tried to link to a video here, but no luck). It refrained from raining for at least 48 hours and and we had a sedate good time. The chickens are a great crowd pleaser; Buffy allowed Sam to hold her for a bit, and she ate sunflower seeds out of our hands.

After they left I took a nap.

On Sunday Sarah (I would link to her, but she needs to update. Poor dear is starting six weeks of day camp leadership today. We are hoping one week fails to have enough registrants so she can catch a break) came to visit. It still wasn't raining and I was still feeble (I mean more than usual. I am better but I think I am going to be spending most of Independence Day napping, which is okay as it is supposed to thunder) so we had a very pleasant time knitting and spinning.

While we were sitting admiring the view, Auk came up the slope to visit us, and after some indecision allowed us to give her a few sunflower hearts. In fact she liked them a lot, and seemed to wish there were more. She went back down the slope and returned with Buffy a few minutes later. Buffy was happy to eat more sunflower seeds out of our hands, and Auk decided maybe it was safe after all. They left after finishing the handful. About ten minutes later, Buffy and Auk and Faith and Spike came up the slope. Auk gave me the look I have seen in the eyes of a dog who knows I am eating Oreos. I went and got more seeds.

Spike thought this was dreadful. She may be a rooster; she spends too much of her time trying to keep the other birds in line. Buffy and Auk continued to get a bigger share eating out of my hand (the pecking hurts only when they pinch. Buffy in particular is very gentle, like a cat doing velvet paws), and then Faith tried it and nothing bad happened, and then Spike said that she, personally, had always eaten out of people's hands and any sensible chicken would. It will be interesting to see if they bring the rest of the flock with them the next time we are sitting out there.

I finished my Meilenweit socks and the '"why are you wearing a cooking-pot on your head?" "I can't hear you, I have a cooking pot on my head"'hat in the short intervals of consciousness on Friday and Saturday. Today I made great strides into a pair of fingerless gloves I am making out of a rare yarn that looks better knitted than in the skein. I finished spinning the lovely sagey green Icelandic lamb Juno gave me some of, and the packet of bright green Romney from Fantom Farm I bought at MA Sheep and Wool, and then the little package of Merino in sort of rosebush tones from year before this past one's NH Seep and Wool form the lamented, vanished Copper Moth. Then I plied these together and made a nice enough heavy worsted, which I have no idea what I will do. Socks, maybe, if there's enough.

I hope the rest of my brain and energy come back by the end of this week, as I must pack and get the last few plants on the porch planted before I go to archaeology field school for the coming two weeks.