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  • It is winter

    The white-gray day is starting to grow dark. I feel ever so content. The rabbit water bottles have been thawed for the second time, the chickens are closed up for the night, and soup simmers warmly on the cook stove. I light a beeswax candle. It is winter.
  • Going for a walk

    Finally, we came to the gate at the end of the road and turned around to head home. There, laid out before us was the story of our walk. Greg's larger footprints and mine, sometimes close together, other times farther apart.

  • Crystal clear
    What a joy it has been to see clear blue skies for the past two days! I had almost forgotten what the color blue looked like.
  • Dogs
    I ran my hand down her forehead, between her eyes, and along her nose. She looked up at me, tilted her head just so, as if to ask me what I would make for breakfast, and then resumed her watch out the window. They sat by the table, a dog distance back, as we lingered and drank the last of our morning coffee.
  • Footprints in the snow
    As I stood on the porch, the new year dawning, it occurred to me, that our tracks across the snow clearly mark the pattern and habit of our lives. The weather forecast calls for continued below-freezing temperatures. I promised myself that when I do the chores tomorrow, I will step outside of the path, just to see how it feels.
  • 388 square feet

    I feel as though everything is in its place, but I also know that I look forward to the return of our young'uns, as they stretch the walls of our 388-square-foot world just a bit. Such stretching is good for the soul.

  • A gray day
    Our walk was longer than expected, as I frequently stopped to photograph our creek valley world. The weather was warmer than expected, and even though I did not wear a jacket, I was amazed that I managed to work up a sweat in mid-December.
  • My father's hand
    It had been only a few months since I had seen him. I called when I was just a few miles away, and as I pulled up in the driveway, I could see him waiting just inside the front door. I parked and got out quickly, trying to rush inside before he came out into the cold to greet me, but I was not fast enough. He met me at the curb with a warm hug.
  • Holiday crafts
    The gourds that I am working with now are perfectly dried from two summers past. At the end of the summer, I took them from the garden, and with bailing twine wrapped around their stems, hung them up to dry in the tobacco barn. Not a single gourd rotted.
  • Chicken mugging
    A typical late afternoon goes something like this. As I drive up the hill to the cabin, I can see the flock pecking around over by the windmill tower. I park in the gravel drive and get out of my car, and by the time I am walking up the front cabin steps, I know that I am about to be the victim of a chicken mugging.
  • Being thankful
    It will be 10 years this spring since we first stepped foot along the banks of Straight Creek. It might seem that 10 years is a long time and that we have done a lot with our land over the past years. We have built our cabin home, and we have walked the creek and seen it change with the seasons.
  • Cool morning chores
    Less than an hour later, I walked into the courthouse, papers ready to file for my first case of the day. I smiled at the guard as my lawyer heels clicked across the first floor hallway, and I could not help but wonder what a person's clothes really tell about a person.
  • Ever so precious young'uns
    I held her in my arms. She was so very small, my newest granddaughter. I felt my heart melt and knew that I did not want to ever let her go. She nestled into my arms so perfectly.
  • Backhoe farming
    A chore that could have easily taken me several hours, was finished in less than 45 minutes! But perhaps I would still get that wheel barrow out and spread some rabbit droppings on the raised beds, or perhaps I would go decorate a gourd and let the raised beds wait for another day. Backhoe farming has its definite advantages!
  • Weekend anticipation

    By CHRISTINE TAILER
    HCP columnist

  • Coyote call
    I locked the chickens safely inside their coop and returned across the yard to the cabin. There was not a star in the sky. As I climbed the front steps, my dog by my side, I heard the bay of coyotes far down the creek.
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