The girls and I stayed out quite late at a party last night—1:30 for me, 2:30 for them! Fortunately it was close enough to walk home from, though I must say that was a long dark walk at 1:30 in the morning, through the woods with no moon. The stars (once I got out into the open) were stunning, though—the sky was so clear it looked like winter!

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We had a wonderful time on Ocracoke. We kayaked and clammed and fished and ate and bicycled and played cards. Actually, I’m exhausted, and looking forward to a little farming for relaxation!

Our farmsitter did a great job, as usual, though when we first got home, there were some little…mysteries. First, all the clocks in the house were missing, and were later discovered locked in the girls’ bedroom. Second, the lights and fans in my bedroom were all unplugged from their outlets. And third, we found a couple of labels in strange places: A label from a pair of new Schmidt work pants out by the puppy pen, and the label from a bottle of Rebel Yell whiskey on the floor in the kitchen. Interesting, huh?

We had a lovely evening out tonight at a little party at some friends’ house. They have a wood fired brick bread/pizza oven in their kitchen, and made vats of dough and vats of sauce and we all brought toppings and made pizzas. A wonderful way to spend a chilly rainy night!

I just got back from the barn—went down to check on Pearl. She’s not due until Tuesday, but it never hurts to keep an eye on them, especially since this is our first calf with Pearl. Her udder is growing, but there are no other signs of imminent labor. She was unusually affectionate with me tonight, however—she’s not normally the cuddliest cow ever, so that was nice. I got a warning yesterday from her previous owner—seems like she can get pretty scary when defending her calf. That’s good to know—we’ll take care!

Today is the full Rose Moon, and my birthday—it’s like two for the price of one! I’ve always thought that the numbers of my birthday were the very best—6/18/65—they just work so nicely together. Imagine my shock as an adult, when I realized that pretty much everybody feels that way about their own birthday!

Still on baby watch with MH, who may be getting a little tired of being watched.

Today we are supposed to go plant sorghum with our neighbors, which I’ve been looking forward to since last fall. However, I am so exhausted this morning that I’m just a tiny little bit hoping to get rained out!

Still needing to castrate and dock lambs, but I haven’t been able to find the dosage of tetanus toxoid to give a lamb. (Anybody?) The helpful folks at Jeffers should get back with me today, after talking to the manufacturer of the vaccine.

I attended a blessingway last night for my friend MH. She’s due in June, and I’m her doula (or “froula”, as her husband R* put it—their “friend who will be at the birth”). This will be my first birth in a couple of years (well, human, that is), and I’m very excited. The blessingway last night was lovely and intimate and in a gorgeous setting (our friend S*’s house). Yet another reminder of how lucky we all are to be here.


That, my friends, is a Krispy Kreme donut cake, decorated with Peeps. Those are two of my dear husband’s favorite foods (we were going to try to work marshmallow fluff in there, too, but just couldn’t take it). Yesterday was DH’s 60th birthday, so the girls and I planned a little surprise party with a few close friends. The plan was that DH and I would go have a night on the town in Ashevegas, spend the night (away from the girls—the first time in 16 and 1/2 years!), bum around town (an activity DH is very fond of) all day, and show up at the house here at around 4 in the afternoon, where the folks would have assembled.

It being a Tuesday night, I didn’t bother with trying to make any reservations, thinking that we’d walk around downtown and find a place in walking distance of everything, so we set off, never imagining for a moment that there would be a septic tank installers convention in town. Or that there are lots and lots of septic tank installers that would go to a convention in Asheville, NC. We also didn’t realize just how few hotels/motels there are right downtown, having had no reason to pay attention to that sort of thing before. So we narrowed our choices quickly down to the Days Inn on Patton Ave—a fairly down in the heels looking place, but right across the street from Jack of the Woods pub, so we thought,”What the heck.” We waited in line in the lobby for a bit, behind a young septic tank installer and his lady friend, and finally made it up to the counter, where DH was asked for an ID (?!). Upon examining the driver’s license the guy behind the counter started shaking his head, handed the license back, and said,”I’m sorry, I can’t rent you a room. You’re from Madison county.” We were flabbergasted! He wouldn’t budge, though, so we were out on the street! Have you ever?!

We ended up way out Patton Ave at the Rock Haven Terrace. I cannot recommend strongly enough that you Never. Ever. EVER. stay there. Do not do it. Do not let anyone you love do it. Just…don’t.

We did, however, have a wonderful supper at Bouchon on Lexington. Lovely atmosphere, all-you-can-eat mussels that were divine. And we had a ball in town all day the next day. And DH was surprised, nay, shocked when we got home to a houseful of people who love him, including his dear daughter and son in law and three wildly energetic and extremely lovable grandsons. ED and Bernard and their best bud JD had done all the housecleaning, decorating and cake assembling with the help of a few friends and neighbors. The place was festive, and the cake, of course, divine. If a little sickening.

I guess the actual astronomical solstice occurred last night, but we’re celebrating it today. Isn’t it so wonderful that the nights are not going to get any longer? That now the days will grow again? We’ve made it to the bottom of the year, and we’ll shortly be on our way back up. I am filled with gratitude.

On this wild and windy solstice day I offer this well-known poem:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Of course I wanted to post my favorite solstice poem again, but I decided to branch out a bit.

Tonight is the Solstice party at the D*’s. I can’t wait to see everybody.