Pampered Chicks?

July 6th, 2014

chicks 2Yesterday we decided to let the chicks out for the day.  They had grown so much when Jon was in the hospital, it seemed they were big enough to be on their own.   We originally planned to put them in the coop with the hens for a couple of days which would get them acclimated to their new home and they would then know where to go at night.   But it was such a beautiful day and I couldn’t stand the thought of them all being locked up together inside.

They spent the day hanging around the lilac bush in front of my studio.  Then, at dusk, when the hens hopped into the coop the chicks hopped into the crate in the barn where they’ve been living since we got them.  I closed the door then reached in and caught them one at a time and put them in the coop with the hens.  Both hens seemed to be roosting for the night so I closed the door on the four of them.  I closed up the barn then opened the roof to the nesting box in the coop and peaked in.

Both chicks were huddled together in a corner, the white hen pecking at them.  It looked like she was trying to go for their eyes but gave them a peck where ever she could.  I watched for less than a minute before opening the door, pulling out the chicks and putting them in their crate in the barn.

I understand the idea of the pecking order, but there was no way I could leave those chicks in the coop with that hen pecking at them.  I truly believe they would have been dead in the morning. And if not, if this is something they need to go through, then they’ll just have to wait until they’re bigger and I know they can defend themselves or at least have a fighting chance. I’m not into babying the chicks, but I don’t want to send them to slaughter either.


The Dirt of Life

July 6th, 2014
I found this moth on the side of the road on one of our walks this morning

I found this moth on the side of the road on one of our walks this morning

No gloves, no shoes,  skirt above my knees. My hands and feet are dirty. I can’t get the dirt out from under my fingernails.  My  knees are stained from kneeling on the grass.  And it feels so good.

I stepped into the garden in my bare feet and pulled a handful of weeds.  More weeds than flowers, shaking the soil from the roots then tossing them on the grass behind me.  Bending over, standing up the green staining my fingers, sharp rocks and soft earth greeting my soles, toes and heals.   It all feels good.  Focus like a meditation, only the weeds, not the flowers. Reaching under the leafy plants to pull the grass, yellow clover and purple flowering vine that would be pretty if it didn’t try to take over the whole garden.  The sun the wind touching my bare skin, my hair, the smell of green, unearthed soil,  blue sky.

Unopened mail piled up on the long table, dirty and clean clothes thrown over chairs, unpacked suitcases blocking doorways, boxes with the fabric of my studio lined up against walls, dishes in the sink, books on the floor making space on tables for pills and tissues, puffers and lotions, last nights sheets and pillows still on couch and chair.

So much to be done and all I want to do is pull weeds from the gardens. Feel the earth on my hands and feet. Like a baptism, this isn’t the dirt of cities and hospitals.  It’s the dirt of life. And I want to bathe in it, taking a lesson from the donkeys  who roll their  whole bodies back and forth and back and forth in a bare patch of earth, a different kind of clean.

I bush the grit from my knees and wash my hands, trying to scrub the dirt from my nails,  but I won’t wash my feet.  I like walking around the newly cleaned floors with my dirty feet, slipping them onto clean shoes, looking down at them as I write, remembering what’s real.

Back Home

July 5th, 2014
Jon walking on Route 22 this morning

Jon walking this morning

I knew Jon was doing well when, on her third visit to the ICU, Jon was encouraging his heart surgeon, who wants to write a book,  to start a blog.  Jon went from patient to teacher two days after Open Heart Surgery.  On the third day, yesterday, we came home.

Lots went on at the farm when we were gone.  Deb took care of the animals and even got Frieda to go for a walk, our farrier Ken Norman found and treated an abscess on Lulu’s hoof, the house was cleaned, a chair was moved into the living room for Jon to sleep in, the fridge stocked with food, the lawn mowed, air conditions put in the windows, loving messages offering support and help were waiting.

Jon was in the hospital for eight days, but hospital time is different from home time.  It seems like we haven’t been home in months and that we never left at the same time.  And being in the hospital I found I forgot what home was like, how good it feels to be there.  The hospital room becomes it’s own world, where day and night are interchangeable and the natural world doesn’t exist. It’s a place of connection in some ways and complete  disconnection in others.   On the ride home  Jon couldn’t believe how green everything was although it was no greener than eight days before.  But he had been staring at beige walls and curtains for over a week.  And home, the house, the animals, the earth underfoot, it’s the most healing place there is.

So now it’s healing time.  For the next two weeks, Jon will need my help doing the most mundane things,  no pushing, pulling or lifting for three months or so.  I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s tired of me reminding him how he’s supposed to get in and out of a chair, not to pick up his camera, or to take his pills, and I’m tired of reminding him.    I’m curious to see how well I do, what I learn and how well we do together.  A couple of things we have going for us is that we love each other and know how to talk to each other when things get difficult.  There’s also Jon’s determination and independence and creativity.

So for the next couple of  weeks, I’m putting on my Nurse Rached hat.   I’ll keep drawing, of course and blogging, somewhat of the caretakers blog I suppose.  I know I can do the Rached part, but I’m not as sure about the nurse part.

ICU Drawing

July 3rd, 2014

drawing 4

The Work of Living

July 3rd, 2014
Jon posting on facebook

Jon posting on facebook  yesterday So from the ICU

Jon asked me how I felt when I saw him right after his surgery.  He was still under the anesthesia, attached  to a wall of beeping and humming machines, tubes coming out almost every natural orifice in his body and a few new man-made ones.   His eyes would suddenly fly open like they do on the monster in the final scene in a horror movie, then close again as if they never opened.  Wildly circling, a look of fear, pain and confusion.  And what was I feeling?  Joy, a great happiness just to see him.  My tears were tears of joy.  Elation from relief ,I suppose ,and knowing  the surgery was successful.   Knowing he would eventually get better that his current state was temporary.  I could feel the real Jon, his essence, his soul,  deep down somewhere inside his healing and traumatized body.  Hunkering down, waiting for the right time to emerge .  Allowing the body, (which I could feel very clearly was not Jon, but Jon’s body) to do the work it needed to adjust to its new reality.

And the next morning when I spoke to the nurse on the phone and she said Jon was talking and had taken a walk, I pictured a semi-conscious mumbling,  an unsteady, stumbling shuffle.  How could it be anything else considering what I had seen just a few hours before.  But as I turned the corner to his room, it was like a miracle.  He was sitting up, eating, talking, his big green owl eyes alert and curious.  He had the complexion of a healthy person.  He was back, his body beaten up, bruised and painful, but the two were one again.     When Jon asked if I brought his Ipad, (which I had to go back to the hotel to get, I never imagined he’d be able to use it that day) I knew it would  be okay, that he was ready to get on with the work of living.

Jon Healing

July 1st, 2014
Waiting room drawing 1

Waiting Room Drawing I

Jon came out of surgery around 5:30.  It all went as planned and he is doing well.  He’s already healing.

Waiting Room Drawing II

Waiting Room Drawing II

Waiting Room Drawing III

Waiting Room Drawing III




Patience and Faith

July 1st, 2014

hops draw

Today is Jon’s surgery.  Like the winter solstice, after the longest night, the days will begin to be lighter longer.  A gradual process of patience and faith.

Thank you….

June 30th, 2014

donkeys fbI want to thank you all for your kind words and wishes.  I’m not able to answer or comment on  them right now, but  that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about them and appreciating them.  I read each one and they all mean so much.

Drawings from the Hospital Room

June 29th, 2014

drawings 4

drawing from hospital room 2

Love and Creativity

June 29th, 2014

portrait of jon and mariaJon and I were amazed when, just before I left the hospital, we both realized what fun we had today.  I ran back to the room to get my iphone so I could take a portrait of us in the convex mirror on the ceiling in the hallway.  This is what our day was like, in between the hospital stuff.  Getting excited about all the creative things that will come out of this whole experience.  How Jon will take pictures without picking up his camera for 3 months.  How for the next few weeks my work will focus on drawing and blogging.  How Jon will  write about this all on his blog and in a book.   And how our work will change.  Love and creativity is driving us and grounding us.