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moles and marbles

IMG_6352 IMG_6353 IMG_6354 IMG_6357 IMG_6358 IMG_6360 IMG_6378 IMG_6379 IMG_6380 IMG_6381 IMG_6386 IMG_6388 IMG_6390Busy in the garden.  That is where you can find us these days but more on that later.  A few weeks ago on a very cool day we were moving our last compost pile into newly prepared beds.  Each of us with a shovel or hoe.  Some digging in the finished or mostly finished compost pile and others moving the compost into the bottoms of our new very high hugelkultur beds.  As we neared the middle of the pile Nick pulled out a shovel full and something grey squiggled out.  My first thought was a baby mouse? But it was much too big.  A quick poke around inside the pile revealed a few more.  Baby moles.  How could they be living in there the kids asked.  One of them reminded everyone that moles live underground.  We all nodded and then continued the search for more grey creatures.

The search did not turn up a momma who probably left when we first started disturbing her nice warm compost nest.  Sadly one was killed by our shovel but the others were so cute.  Now please do not misunderstand me.  Moles are not cute.  They are distructive.  They create holes in the ground that cattle break their legs on when they trip in a hole.  They get into root veggie and ruin things.  They wreck the pasture but oh those babies.  They were so cute.  We quickly realized that we had to give them to the momma, wherever she was.  We are in no way going to try to save these babies.  I wouldn’t even know where to start and I shudder to think what would happen if one of our chickens decided to peak around our new findings.

After explaining to Livie who wanted to keep these little animals forever and ever, that we had to try to give them back to their mother, we made a plan.  We had only touched them with our gloves which were probably smelling like the mulch we had been digging in.  I’m sure our scent was on them in someway but we had to try.

Getting the little ones to abandon camp while we put them back in the pile and hoped for the best was no easy feat.  I remembered the week before pulling out my jar of vintage marbles.  What a great distraction.  So I told everyone to gather on the upper deck while I got them a surprise.

Everyone grabbed a jar and I let them each pick a marble as we went round and round until the bowl I had put them in was empty.   The rest of the afternoon was spent playing marbles.  A trip down memory lane to make up rules for a game I have not played since I was 8 or 10 during my summers in the caribbean.  We should probably find a resource for the real rules but for now we are all having so much fun.  Everyone of us.

My marbles are alive again.  The beautiful swirls of colors, spinning like tops as they collide into others in the attempt to gain many more while not losing your favorites.  I had enough for all to get a couple of shooters and a jar full of colorful glass orbs.  Of course the rule is that they must be kept at the top of the shelf where Mateo cannot reach them and anyone who leaves them out forfeits their marbles back to mommas custody.

At the end of the day we went to check on that nest and wouldn’t you know it… Those baby moles were gone.  These simple days are the reason that I blog.  For no matter how I try to keep them in my heart, I could never remember all of these details.  Their colors and feelings.  They are safe here.

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Chicks, old and new

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The past few days have been magical.  Totally magical.  It is still a bit cold out but once we are outside working for a little while, it is wonderful.  We have been exploring our woods every moment that we get free.  We are working on a redo of our garden.  Last year we just planted in the ground and did not make any changes.  Permaculture teaches to get to know your land for the first year without doing anything permanent.  Though it was hard, I am so happy that we did.  We took a year to follow all the seasons and get to know where the land gets too soggy after rain, where the water flows, where the sun lands during different times of day and year.  I pulled out a drawing that I made my first month here.  All those plans would not work now that I know this land a little better.

Yesterday we got the call we had been waiting for and took a break from the garden.  There was a box full of our chicks waiting for us to pick up.  A noisy little box of cute little fluff balls.  Just what we needed.  We left our brooder box in the barn back at the Florida house and I have not had the room to bring it back on any of our visits.  So the next best thing I could think of was a plastic baby pool.  We tucked it into a corner in the playroom close to the woodstove where its nice and warm.

If I need to find any of my children right now, I need only walk downstairs and I will find them.  In that corner, reading a book with a chick.  Playing closeby, taking an occasional break to visit a little yellow puffball.  And then there is Matthew.  He is obsessed and we are keeping him in our eyesite at all times.  He loves very deeply and chicks can’t handle that.  So, we let him hold his chick for a few minutes and then do our best to distract him with something else.  Luckily, I need say is the word “outside”  and he will gladly follow.

The older hens have been happily underfoot during our redo of the garden and I have to be very careful not to step on them or plow them over with the wheel barrow.  Anywhere that they see a shovel in hand, they are right by ourside in the case that a juicy earthworm should be uncovered.  I think they are enjoying early spring as much as we are.  This morning I got visual proof when the eggs were gathered.  A double yolk is a lovely thank you.

Tomorrow we will continue with the garden and I will be sharing that project with you.  Right now, I need to soak and diffuse some oils to help with the pains that always come with breaking my winter laziness and getting back into the swing of things.

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