all the little secrets of the prairie

One of my favorite things about the prairie is all of its little secrets. You can look out at its panorama and fail to really see it. At first glance, it can seem kind of boring and not as lush as other places. But if you look closely, and even get down on the ground on your hands and knees and really look, it is amazing to realize the prairie is teeming with life.

Tiny wildflowers and succulents, a myriad of birds calling and singing and flying from tree to tree, trees slowly coming into bloom, rabbits and coyotes and beetles and worms. There is so much happening here, and so many lessons to learn about life, seasons, diversity, and the interconnectedness of everything. There is so much beauty here, some of it huge, much of it tiny.

My life is like that too. Sometimes I can look at a season or relationship and see with eyes of not enough. I can rush through the day without stopping to cultivate gratitude, hope, wisdom, or joy. It’s when I slow down and actually savor the moments and notice the details that I find a symphony of loveliness everywhere I look.

This weekend we planted raspberry canes, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, onions, cosmos and globe flowers. I still have so much to plant. We will be out in the garden working all week, every spare minute that we can. We started tearing the privacy fence down, and clearing out the overgrown raised beds.

The apple trees are blossoming. I have been watering them, and I top-dressed both with a bag of compost each, for a slow nitrogen drip all season. I noticed some big, fat bumblebees buzzing around today when I was out for a walk. Maybe they will come and visit my apple trees soon, and pollinate their blossoms.

The hens are laying daily now, and they love foraging for bugs in the afternoons. We have a couple of retaining walls on the property, built of big stones. I walked outside yesterday just in time to see a hen jump off of the wall onto the ground several feet below. She sort of flapped her wings, gave a panicked squawk mid-fall, and landed in a flurry of feathers, almost tipping over as she fought for balance. Then she stood up very tall, looked around to see if any of the other girls had noticed, flapped her wings a few times, and marched off into a tall shrub to scratch and hunt for bugs.

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yarn along and planting time

Well, Ginny inspired me and I am also knitting the South Bay Sweater, in a dark fuschia wool. I’m thankful for yarn along, which offers such inspiration that keeps me motivated to knit and share my new projects. I’m still reading At Home in Mitford. I read so slow these days. I used to blow through a book or two a week, but I am busy with so many other things in this season that I don’t have nearly as much time to read.

I found a solution for my chickens. You will remember they were in the barn after we lost one to a predator in the small yard around their coop. The barn was safe, but they could not have regular sunshine or fresh air. I had another coop with a run that I brought from the old house. I spent a few hours last weekend, me and Hubby, and we spruced it up, cleaned it out, built a quick little ramp, and set it up in a nice level place out of the wind. It is weathered and a little rickety, so I am planning to reinforce it and also, paint it in order to seal the wood from any more exposure to the crazy elements of Colorado sunshine and elevation. The run is not big enough for my flock, so I have been letting them out each day for a few hours to range while I am out there to watch them. But at least they can see the sun and breathe fresh air each day! It really is only a temporary solution, but I feel so much better. They seem happier too.

I finished the purple baby cardigan and only need to sew a button on before wrapping it up as a baby gift for a friend expecting her first baby.

I have been spotting wildflowers everywhere. My apple trees have tiny leaves and blossoms on them, some tall shrubs near the garage that I have not yet identified have sprouted, and the peas are up. It is planting time. This weekend I will be planting some perennial flowers along the front walk, berry bushes, lettuce, spinach, and kale.

That photo is a series of (overgrown) raised beds outside the privacy fence that we are removing this weekend. Once we remove the dilapidated fence, all of the raised beds will be together and we plan to fence them in with something simple for the growing season this year, and do something nicer and more permanent next year. I find it fulfilling to have projects for now, and plans for later projects too.

I have been going for long walks, listening to the birds singing in the warming air, noticing the plants that are waking up everywhere, and finding so much joy and beauty in the slowly greening prairie hills.