Years and years ago, when I was just a fresh little bachelorina, flying around making friends with wonderful people everywhere, I had the fortune to stumble into this lovely family and one of their lovely traditions.

Ringraziamento (in short – thanks – in Italian)

Each year they invite folks they know and love to share a list of what they’re thankful for, as well as what has inspired them in the past year.  I haven’t seen my friend in over ten years now, and her family for even longer, but they still extend this warm tradition to share with me, and for that, I’m thankful.

The rules are basic – leave off the obvious things – job, family, health – include books, movies, recipes, places, all the rest.

Here’s my list for this year – feel free to comment with some of your own.

  • Snow flurries on Thanksgiving Night.
  • Homeschooling children, for the time we get to spend together, all the time, and the accompanying reminder that I have a LOT of spiritual work to do.
  • Ditto for self-employment.
  • A good growing season, an abundant harvest, and its end.
  • Reading aloud, with my children, and my husband.
  • Honest heat from the wood burning stove, and enough wood to keep it going, come what may.
  • Friends in unexpected places.
  • Children grown enough that they are no longer so tethered to my body – expanding possibilities.
  • Turning 40.
  • Iridescent feathers on the backs of our chickens.
  • Canoeing on still cold water with my daughter.
  • Laughing with Levon.
  • Bright stars – quiet nights.
  • Oh heck, the whole beautiful Living World!
  • Learning to crochet.
  • Loss, and the learning that comes along with it.
  • Creative outlets, any way they come (like the Radical Farmwives blog!).
  • Roasted sweet potatoes in three colors – white, purple, and orange.  Wow.
  • Homemade miso soup with daikon radishes and plenty of garlic on a cold night.
  • Bake It Like You Mean It by Gesine Bullock Prado
  • Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching series.
  • Shakespeare’s The Tempest (movie with Helen Mirren)
  • Springsteen’s “High Hopes”
  • oh, and a saying: “if its not the chickens, its the feathers”

I could go on and on.  And I’m thankful for that, too.corn tassle


right now :: sparrow

IMG_8418Sparrow is my sweet little heifer calf that was born to my milk cow, Lilly, back in August. Every evening, she gets separated from her mama so that  when I go to milk in the mornings, there is some milk for me, too. Otherwise she runs with the herd all of the time, by Lilly’s side. And she is a spunky little thing that has required some patience when it comes to the “catching” each evening. But cows are creatures of serious rhythm and routine, and she is beginning to learn the ropes. She is almost (almost) to the point of walking herself to the stanchion in the evenings when she sees me coming to fetch her. We’re making real progress, anyhow. Well, a couple of nights ago when I tied her to the stanchion for the night, she walked herself right around and put her head through the head catch, just like she has seen her mama do so many times now. I spent some time rubbing her down, cooing to her a bit, and rubbing her tiny little udder. She seems to know what her future roll is going to be! I don’t think I ever realized just how special my little cow friend was going to be to me. My buddy, Sparrow…IMG_8411 IMG_8415 IMG_8419