Saturday, April 30, 2022

Poem for Saturday and Breezy Hill Barnyard

By Constantine P. Cavafy
Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Without consideration, without pity, without shame
they have built great and high walls around me.

And now I sit here and despair.
I think of nothing else: this fate gnaws at my mind;

for I had many things to do outside.
Ah why did I not pay attention when they were building the walls.

But I never heard any noise or sound of builders.
Imperceptibly they shut me from the outside world.


Most of my Friday was unexciting -- got some work and chores done, spotted a lot of birds and squirrels on the deck, took a walk in the afternoon and enjoyed the azaleas. We had dinner with my parents, then came home and binged the entirety of Heartstopper, which was as joyous as every single person had told me it was -- a world where high school LGBTQ kids triumph over their bullies and inner fears both, and all parents and teachers (and ostensibly public figures) are loving and supportive. 

Between this and OFMD, I would say it's been a great month for gay television, except that today the CW canceled both Batwoman (which I haven't watched this season) and Legends of Tomorrow (which I have absolutely loved, and will greatly miss) -- that's a lot of queer representation gone, and major female characters, while the out-of-ideas Flash and Superman and Lois get to stay. Hopefully Heartstopper will get a second season. Last weekend we met these residents of Breezy Hill Farm: 




2022-04-24 14.26.59




Friday, April 29, 2022

Poem for Friday and New Breezy Hill Alpaca

The Farmer
By Margaret E. Sangster

The dawn is here! I climb the hill;
The earth is young and strangely still;
A tender green is showing where
But yesterday my fields were bare....
I climb and, as I climb, I sing;
The dawn is here, and with it—spring!

My oxen stamp the ground, and they
Seem glad, with me, that soon the day
Will bring new work for us to do!
The light above is clear and blue;
And one great cloud that swirls on high,
Seems sent from earth to kiss the sky.

The birds are coming back again,
They know that soon the golden grain
Will wave above this fragrant loam;
The birds, with singing, hasten home;
And I, who watch them, feel their song
Deep in my soul, and nothing wrong,
Or mean or small, can touch my heart....
Down in the vale the smoke-wreaths start,
To softly curl above the trees;
The fingers of a vagrant breeze
Steal tenderly across my hair,
And toil is fled, and want, and care!

The dawn is here! I climb the hill;
My very oxen seem to thrill—
To feel the mystery of day.
The sun creeps out, and far away
From man-made law I worship God,
Who made the light, the cloud, the sod;
I worship smilingly, and sing!
The dawn is here, and with it—spring!


I spent all of Thursday morning on the phone -- first with my friend Deborah's daughter, with whom I discussed fannish stuff, then with Deborah herself because we hadn't caught up in a while. So that was lots of fun and I got nothing done besides some very minor rearranging/sorting of stuff in my bedroom while I chatted. After lunch I did a bunch of chores and tried to catch up on things, then we took a walk in the unusually cool but gorgeous late afternoon weather where we saw lots of birds. 

We ate Indian food for dinner, then watched the start of the NFL draft before my usual Thursday night fannish chat, which was long and covered a lot of territory. Paul talked to his parents, who feel pretty much recovered, which is great news. On Sunday we got to watch Breezy Hill Farm's alpacas get a new member of the herd -- here you can see the lookout, the other males very curious, and all the ladies very interested before they went back to their rough lives lounging in flowers! 








Thursday, April 28, 2022

Poem for Thursday and Dancing Leaf Farm

The Prairie Town
By Helen Santmyer

Lovers of beauty laugh at this grey town,
    Where dust lies thick on ragged curb-side trees,
And compass-needle streets lead up and down
    And lose themselves in empty prairie seas.

Here is no winding scented lane, no hill
    Crowned with a steepled church, no garden wall
Of old grey stone where lilacs bloom, and fill
    The air with fragrance when the May rains fall.

But here is the unsoftened majesty
    vOf the wide earth where all the wide streets end,
And from the dusty corner one may see
    The full moon rise, and flaming sun descend.

The long main street, whence farmers’ teams go forth,
Lies like an old sea road, star-pointed north.


On Wednesday morning we successfully got the car emissions checked! The county inspection station web site said the wait was eleven minutes and it was actually closer to half an hour, but the car is cleared to drive till 2024, so that's finished, at least. It's always good news when there's leftover labneh and soup for lunch, too, and then I had a nice long chat with my three high school friends -- two of us are dealing with senior family members with covid but everyone's kids are good, and Kay and I had lots of entertainment amusement to catch up on. 

I did some work and some jewelry repair in the late afternoon. It was cool for April but beautiful to take a walk among all the azaleas in bloom. We watched this week's episode of The Flash, so boring I couldn't pass a quiz about it, then this week's Moon Knight, which was extremely intense and upsetting -- I had no idea Marc Spector was Jewish in the comics so that was a nice surprise too and I hope it will factor into his story more, since let us just say he appears to have issues with his parents. Here are some more photos of beautiful Dancing Leaf Farm: 

2022-04-24 16.45.00

2022-04-24 16.39.59

2022-04-24 16.35.31

2022-04-24 16.35.38

2022-04-24 16.42.48A

2022-04-24 16.44.45

2022-04-24 16.45.25

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Poem for Wednesday and Azaleas in Rain

Spring Haiku
By Matsuo Bashō
Translated by Hogan Reikan

With plum blossom scent,

sudden sun emerges

along a mountain trail


We had a frustrating Tuesday morning in that we went to take the car to get its emissions checked, but the car refused to talk to the automated machine at the MVA in Gaithersburg, so we headed for the one with people in Rockville only to discover it had a very long line. So we came home, had lunch, and figured that was probably best accomplished at an unholy hour of the morning a different day. 

The rest of the afternoon was not eventful. I may have spent far too much of it making an Our Flag Means Death playlist from the show, songvids, and just music that seemed obvious to me. No news on Paul's parents, though they sound a bit better and I guess no news is good news! It was drizzling when we walked in the afternoon, so we got to see lots of beautiful damp azaleas. 

2022-04-26 16.38.22

2022-04-26 16.55.58

2022-04-26 17.02.29

2022-04-26 16.53.00

2022-04-26 16.41.38

2022-04-26 16.59.58

2022-04-26 16.42.52 

We had Lebanese Taverna for dinner for the first time in almost a year -- yay, labneh! My Voyager group minus one watched Scorpion Part I, which I can't help still loving ("Three years ago, I didn't know your name"). Then we watched Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood, which is a pretty delightful history of life in the '60s from a kid in Houston's perspective, particularly the moon shot.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Poem for Tuesday and Countryside Animals

By Yvor Winters

The little goat
new grass lying down
leaps up eight inches
into air and
lands on four feet.
Not a tremor -
solid in the spring and serious
he walks away


My Monday was pretty thoroughly uninteresting unless you're interested in how many loads of laundry got done, how many photos got organized, and how many phone calls about 's parents' health were made (they're about the same -- one being put on antivirals, the other not because of issues with medications interacting, but neither sicker than a head cold, fortunately). I did get to watch the last three episodes of Our Flag Means Death with via Zoom, which would be a highlight of any day -- leaving Twitter over Elon Musk won't be a sacrifice for me except that I won't be able to tweet demanding that show's renewal. 

We had leftover CPK from Friday night for dinner and watched baseball (the Red Sox didn't have a good night, the Angels did; Syndergaard wasn't pitching but they talked about how he had named one of his gloves Loki, which makes me happy). In between games, we watched this season's penultimate episode of The Endgame, which has gone from moderately silly to hilariously ridiculous, but I watch to see Elena flirt with Val, not for the plot. Here are animals we met on the Countryside Artisans tour, including goats and birds at Something Earthy, barnyard animals at Breezy Hill Farm, a cat at Art of Fire, and a dog at Dancing Leaf Farm: 

2022-04-24 15.43.28

2022-04-24 15.34.50




2022-04-24 15.57.00

2022-04-24 16.43.00 

ETA: I tweeted "I feel like 'The Endgame' jumped the shark the first week, jumped a Sharknado the third week, and is now jumping a three-headed shark that's eating three people at once, but I can't stop watching because of this [photo of Elena and Val gazing into each other's eyes]" and Ryan Michelle Bathe tweeted back, "Jumped is such a strong word." I may have shrieked and woken my husband and cats! 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Greetings from Countryside Artisans

This past weekend was the spring Countryside Artisans Tour at the farms and studios around Sugarloaf Mountain, so on Sunday after brunch, we went to several of them to see spring farm babies and lots of crafts. We started at Breezy Hill Farm, which has alpacas, sheep, many other animals, and fiber arts -- I may have bought an owl bag, and we got to see a new alpaca being introduced to the herd -- then we drove to Heron's Meadow Farm to buy local grown tea. 

From there we went to Something Earthy, the pottery-and-crafts studio where we often end up buying food and handmade soap, though we also go to see the goats and guineafowl. After that we headed to Art of Fire, the glassblowing studio, though they weren't doing demonstrations by the time we got there though three cats were supervising the shop. We ended up at Dancing Leaf Farm, where we saw more fiber arts, the sheep that made them possible, and the sleepy dog. 

2022-04-24 16.47.35

2022-04-24 14.30.46

2022-04-24 15.06.10

2022-04-24 15.30.55

2022-04-24 15.43.48

2022-04-24 15.57.35

2022-04-24 16.43.45 

We had chick'n with French bread and cheese for dinner, then we saw our kids on Google Meet along with my parents. Paul's parents tested positive for Covid last night (the only ones in the facility, so we're pretty sure they were exposed in church at Easter), so we talked to them too and their nurse who is optimistic that it will remain mild, since they've had their boosters. Then we watched some episodes of Is It Cake? because it's mindless! 


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Greetings from Local Parks

Saturday was a Pokemon Go Community Day with a brand new Pokemon, Stufful, that requires a lot of candy to evolve, and they've shortened the event from Covid-era six hours to pre-Covid era three hours so I knew I'd be busy with that from 2-5. So since it was a gorgeous day, we went for a walk early on the C&O Canal, which was full of turtles, frogs, some ducks, and tadpoles. During the Pokemon event, we went to Cabin John Park, which had both lots of kids (and the ice cream man) and lots of Stuffuls, not to mention people I know from raids who were there catching them! 

Paul made toad-in-a-hole for dinner for St. George's Day. We watched The Love Punch, one of that genre of middle-aged romantic comedies where a couple who were hotheads in love in their youth now have aches and mid-life crises in common; this one also involves a heist and stars a lot of excellent British actors (Brosnan, Thompson, Imrie, Spall), which makes it very fun. Now we're catching up on The Endgame, which has to be the most preposterous agent-vs-mastermind show ever -- the head of the FBI doesn't need to be confirmed! -- but the women are such fun! 


2022-04-23 12.33.08


2022-04-23 16.54.08

2022-04-23 16.32.46


2022-04-23 19.10.56

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Poem for Saturday and Squirrel in a Tree

From "Spring"
By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring –
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.


Friday was another gorgeous day -- I love spring! I had a bunch of indoor and outdoor chores to do in the morning and a bunch of chores in the afternoon, plus some unexciting online shopping, but it was a perfect day for a walk to see the neighborhood flowers and bunnies. Then we had dinner with my parents (CPK -- I had the new barbecue chick'n pizza with pineapple but they left the chicken off my mother's chicken salad). 

We just watched all three episodes of A Very British Scandal, which is well acted, well written, and pretty depressing, though it's also sympathetic to the Duchess -- in large part because Paul Bettany is terrifying when his character comes unhinged, whereas Claire Foy is more coldly calculating. It feels timely because of the Depp-Heard lawsuit, i.e. hard to root for anyone! Here's a squirrel eating flowers in one of our backyard trees: