Solar Tracking

Solar Tracking
How low can you go? Snow and ice and cancelled school.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Be In Love with Your Life

In the early 1950’s, the world was a grim place in many ways. We were just coming out from World War II and the destruction that created, both to property and human beings. We were just learning the details of the Holocaust and the impact of nuclear bombs on human populations. The Iron Curtain had come down, dividing families across Europe. China was closing in on communism, and, here at home, despite the  end of the war and the economic boom that followed, artists and writers were wrestling with some dark images and ideas. We could, after all, be taken out by an atomic bomb tomorrow. The Beat poets, in response to all of this, had a rule for living—Be in Love with Your Life. Embrace what you have, now, because who knows what will happen in the future.

In my ninth grade classroom, we study the Beat Poets while we read Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury’s novel  of burning books and ideas, brought on, not by the government, but by the people, who do not want to face difficult times and ideas. It resonated with students when I first began teaching it, but, every year, it feels more true. Despite deep struggles with drugs, sexuality, and life, the Beat poets strove to overcome the darkness of their time, to not be beat down. They suggest a way to embrace your creative energy and live. It is a useful lesson.


This feels, to me, like a dark time. We are not wanting to do the difficult work of talking through our country’s problems. Too many people are shouting past one another. Too many people are afraid and divided. We need to talk—because I know, at the heart, there is more holding us together than apart. So, this is what I love about my life this week—one photo a day, starting on Sunday morning.
Sunday morning tea in the chicken teapot.

Our old rescue couch has a new cover.

Tuesday-- the peas are up!


Wednesday: Tulips.




My backpack in the sun reminds me that summer is coming, with long hikes into the mountains.
























Friday does not have a photo. It is the feeling we all have as e leave school for the week. Yeah, it's cold, and sleety, and February, BUT anything could happen.

Saturday reminded me, once again, that I live in community. I spent two  morning hours shifting books around for the Big Library Book Sale, the  afternoon in a large crowd listening to our Representative to congress speaking, and the evening watching the high school version of "Cats." In each crowd, I was surrounded by people I k now from all over town.





Sunday: the contrast between inside and outside.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Great Storm is Over


                It has been a rough winter in the Willamette Valley. We’ve had five days off from school because of ice and snow, spread over a month (havoc to education and planning!), weeks of cloud cover, heavy rain, and just plain dank cold. My students are staring blankly out the windows as another day of rain settles over the hills, blocking the view.  We are used to some dark days, but, the weather here is usually more of a soft drizzle, suitable for a hoodie, rather than hard rain. Add in a nasty flu bug, fears of climate change, and concern over the political situation, and there are a lot of anxious, depressed people wandering the halls these days.

                Friday, the sun came out. When I came home at four thirty, I wandered into the back yard to insect the flood damage. The back area, under the hazelnut trees was still under water and what ground there was exposed was covered in mud. The raised beds were somewhat dry, however, and I could let the ladies out for a run. They leapt from the edge of the coop, flapping their wings joyfully as they dashed for the Big Coop, also known as the house, to check out sweepings. They then settled on the bench and peered into the greenhouse.  Lucy wandered out the back door, sniffing the air as she went.

                I wandered the yard. Snowdrops were up everywhere. The rhubarb was just beginning to push its way through the soil, a tight red bump in the ground. The Artichoke had some new shoots; the herbs survived; there were even a few small cabbages still growing in one of the beds.  Other bulbs were slowly emerging from the wet ground.  Everywhere, jays and juncos dug in the loose mulch, looking for bugs.

                In the far back corner, under the hazelnut tree, the beehive was perched on its bench, rising above the flood waters. Hazelnut catkins swayed in the breeze as I watched the entrance to the hive.  Were the bees still alive after this winter? I watched. Sun poured onto the hive and…a few bees came back from a flight, wandered around the front door, and moved inside.  While I watched, a few more wandered out into the sunlight and took off. The bees survived.


                This weekend, the sun has been out. It is still cold at night, but we have seen the moon, the sun, and the far mountains on the horizon. There is hope that spring is coming. In my mind, I hear the old song about the great storm is over—lift up your heart and sing.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Early Spring Moments

Seeds have arrived!



First round of early spring crops planted in the greenhouse.


Getting some warm spring rainwater.

A little too much rain....

New stove installation. Warm dining room!
Drying rack
Bulbs planted on the Solstice bloom at Candlemas.