Category Archives: nature

1. Earthworms 2. Coyotes 3. Egg 4. Cat


Yesterday when I pulled a length of arugula out from one of the hoop houses, there was an amazing show of earthworms in and around the plants’ roots. I had never seen so many worms. I kept stopping to watch them, to bump them along with my finger, to smell their soily home. Earthworms are no geniuses, maybe, but they do know what they want.  Yet the thing is, what worms want is likewise what I want. Is it possible that man and worm can somehow hookup over some common need? Some life force?

It is possible. This:

soil rich in organic matter


One night about two weeks ago, there erupted an astonishing brouhaha in the vicinity of our fire ring. It was coyotes, a great gathering of them, maybe ten or so, the most I’d ever heard so close to the house. Our dogs, which usually go crazy when they hear coyotes on the mountain, went mute; after an initial rush to the door, they returned to the fire, flopped down, and didn’t move. Turning off the lights, I slipped out onto the deck. The sky was massive, bright and constellated, yet dwarfed it seemed by the song of the coyotes. Coyotes make a variety of sounds, and for maybe two minutes their uninterrupted shrills and yaps gathered in the night, hovered, and covered me. Orion, who was directly overhead, seemed listening, too. But then they were gone, disappeared. When I stepped back inside, Quetzal was at the window, her nose against the glass, and when I turned on the lights I could see she was crying. I didn’t say anything, and she didn’t say anything. Everything worth saying had just been said.


When Quetzal found me in the pasture yesterday, she had the egg basket in her hand, and in the basket where five eggs: two browns, two whites, and a green.  Reaching into the basket for the green, she held it up. “Feel it,” she said. I felt it. It was hot almost. “One of the hens, one with the puffy eyes, she laid it right into my hand. It never touched the nest. It dropped out of her belly into my hand,” she said.


Farm cat Kiki done up by Quetzal.

Mostly Cold at Our Place, But a Little Warm

For the last five minutes or so, six wild turkeys have been reaching for the last of last year’s fruit from one of our dwarf crab apple trees. Back-to-back snowstorms have elevated the birds such that with heavy hops up they can occasionally score fruit.

But mostly they miss. Mostly the turkeys have been going slowly around the tree, necks up-stretched, only to plunge time and again through snow up to their bellies. That and in-fighting, shoo-shooing each other away from the tree. Continue reading

Why She So Often Stands Barefooted With Lettuces

Because even with seven billion of us notwithstanding, there’s always enough anxiety. And because barefooted, she’s noticed, is how lettuces do it. No matter the winds, the suns, the mid-morning spiders, no matter the hails that slice them down…it’s always earth they reach for, their tiny toes pushing down down. And kind earth, ever longstanding, holds them. That’s why, see. That holding. That’s why so she often stands barefooted with lettuces.

When Suddenly Small Black Birds Appear

This is how it went with birds in the snow the other day at my house, the snow, although April-born and thus fat and wet and not so confident, still reaching to two inches and redressing everything.

I was at the kitchen window looking out when suddenly small, black birds appeared, instantaneously above our herb garden, banking left and down, and dropping in. Black manna. This snowy revelation. Continue reading