Friday, April 30, 2010


April 29. I watched for the moon to peek out of the dark clouds and so she did. I sent moon messages to everyone and settled in for a good snore. It began to rain as I lay dreaming. When I got up I opened the book "Never Cry Wolf" and enjoyed many deep belly laughs at Mowat's cutting humor. At last the rain paused so I quickly went out for a wagon load of dry wood. I stacked it in the wood rack and returned my old Radio Flyer to the shaded patio. As I returned to the Redd Shedd the rain began splashing around me. I laid a fire in the faithful old stove but will wait for Cedar to light it when she comes home from school tired and well-dampened by the persistent friendly rain. It is a gift from the sky and how the earth celebrates after such a long dry period. I watered the rhubarb yesterday as I saw it suffocating in the dry soil. This green sister has produced much fruit for us and I could not deny her a thirst quenching bath.
Then it was that Cedar came to get me to assist in the rescue of a great hairy bee that had fallen into her blue summer pool. I picked it up with a piece of birch bark and laid it on a lilac branch. While I saved the rhubarb from the smothering dust, Cedar returned with progress reports on the recovery of the bee. I'd told her when the bee was dry he'd fly away and so he did. We talked about how he'd explain his long absence. Cedar began by saying, "Every hive must have a queen..."
Since I'd loaned my only umbrella to Cedar so she could get to the bus without a soaking I would have to step briskly to avoid a drenching. Wallis will be expecting me and I must return some paperwork to human services. I don't have a brisk step left in me so I must weave my way between the rain drops. Or I shall resort to a rainproof poncho. But I do love the sound of rain a drum-tight umbrella.

April 30. Alexander Solzhenitsyn has written, "The task of the artist is to sense more keenly than others the harmony of the world, the beauty and the outrage of what man has done to it, and poignantly to let people know. In failure as well as in the lower depths - poverty, in prison, in illness - the consciousness of a stable harmony will never leave him."
Cedar has expressed herself in an artistic endeavor. I bought a pink king sized pillow case for 5 cents. Then I spread it on my floor, opened my paints and put a brush in her hand. She has spent a happy hour covering it with butterflies, flowers and valentines. Now it dries on the wood rack.
Today Cedar and I went to visit Wallis and Marcelus. I took a bowl of raspberries, cake and whipped cream. The children watched "ET" and I served raspberry shortcake.
It's raining again so Cedar has abandoned her bike somewhere and created a den from the 2 umbrellas. I peeled and sectioned an orange for her and her 2 cubs. Yes, she has become a mother bear.
Marcelus is coming about 7PM to help feed the goats. The female is still taking a bottle so she needs the children to hold it for her. Marcelus will be thrilled!
I purchased a wonderful book for 69 cents. I found it at the Salvation Army where I went to apply for a small dining table, 2 chairs, and a twin bed. It's entitled "Gorilla Struggle for Survival in the Virungas". There are many photos for Cedar to enjoy until she is able to read the text.
Today I got a small cozy chair at the rummage. Small is good for a small flat. Cedar and I will paint the wood frame and I will re-cover the back and seat. She thinks pink. I think blue. What will a compromise look like? P+B=Violet.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I've been packing and carrying boxes to garage. When I get a mover I want large items ready to go. I can collect smaller stuff with the car. Cedar and I can carry them. Then we'll go to Shelly's for an ice cream. "Always look for the silver lining behind every cloud and try to find the little rainbows waiting in the stormy sky."
Cedar wore the moon crown and waited for the moon rise so we could dance together. But she fell asleep and had to be carried home. By then the moon was up but she was down. Afterwards I wondered if she thought I was going to dance like Michael Jackson. Wouldn't that be a show!
I am totally approved for subsidized housing and my move in date is May 1st. The county will pay my first month rent. My new address is Apt 8. I have created a sacred space here and I will revisit it often. However, I go forth to create a new kind of sacred space in another location. I'm excited at this opportunity to expand.
Yesterday I received from Netflix "Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove: Readings from Voices of a People's History". Last night I watched it and when Zinn was introduced I gasped to find him so alive. I was in Minneapolis when he died. At the devastating new I thought of a fragment of an old poem, "A night without crickets! Oh, God! How shall we endure?" Somehow that expressed my deep sense of loss. But upon hearing the voices I realized that he is still very much present in the ideals, integrity and hope that he left for us. This great lover of life, this humanitarian, this gentle person of peace.
Cedar is frustrated because she still can't ride her bike. Today I took her to the cemetery to ride on the tar. Then I picked a bag of pine cones and she gathered discarded flowers for Fiona (the pig)'s grave. Then one of her training wheels fell off and she rolled over. We went home ready to try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Yesterday Cedar and I walked into the marsh. I wanted photos of the new flowers and she wanted to pick some for her mother's hair. We also found some wild strawberries in bloom. Then I took her to a fairly large abandoned den. It was neatly carved out of a sandy ridge, very clean and dry inside. Even though I knew where it was I had some difficulty relocating it.
I showed her my moon walking crown and she put it on. I told her she could wear it if we go moon walking. I wish I could make one just for her. I'll think upon it and see if a terrific idea finds me.
After it got dark I made a small fire to warm the concrete house. Then I made 2 pieces of rye toast, poured a glass of juice and sat at the wonderful window to visit the moon. She beamed over the earth and splashed me with her light.
Today Cedar was at my door early for a morning snack. She had red grapes and coconut wafer cookies.
Yesterday I met her at the bus stop with a boiled egg. She wanted me to crack it for her. She was shocked when I removed my hat and broke the egg on my head.
When I leave here I will take the glass drops from the crystal tree so Cedar can adorn it in her own way.
When you're young there are those who tell you you must wait until you're older to do certain things. But when you get old enough to do those things you've either lost interest or no longer have the ability to do them. I would have liked to walk across Scotland. I'm still interested but no longer able.
Today I have another appointment with human services. I must take Cedar with me as I won't be here to meet the bus. I'm just like an old bird looking for a suitable nesting site. But an old bird never wonders, "How many more good years are waiting before me?"

Monday, April 26, 2010


The seven noble hens are the survivors of a greater community. They all laid eggs in shades of brown. The hens that are producing now are black and white. They lay their eggs in shades of blue.
On my way to the bus stop I saw that the marsh marigolds had opened. When I pointed that out to Cedar she was just as excited as I thought she'd be. We saw the dandelions bloom first and now the marigolds are blinking their bright eyes at us as we walk along.
One lone junco has been coming to pick up seeds. I'll pour some out for him tonight in case he's still here at sunrise. That busy little chickadee has abandoned her project of enlarging the hole in the rotten tree. I thought the selected tree appeared way too rotten and would fall in a good wind. Perhaps she thought so, too.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


April 23. I wear an old pocket watch around my neck so I don't forget to meet the bus on time. It's a wind-up tick-tock clock. One day when Cedar got off the buds and hurried into my embrace she looked up at me and said, "Grandma, I can hear your heart." I pulled out the watch and showed it to her. She pressed it to her ear, closed her eyes and smiled to herself.

April 24. Today Cedar and I went to see "How to Train Your Dragon". Then we all left for a goat farm located between Hibbing and Virginia. We picked up a boy and a girl.
It rained lightly most of the day and into the night.
Cedar continues to practice her good manners. I'd like to believe that the two older kids would follow her example but for them rudeness is the rule.
I continue to dismantle my home in the Redd Shedd.
I've given my haircut and style a name now. I call it the Judy Dench.

April 25. Well, we got a good soaking. It should reduce the fire danger and give the fire fighters a rest.
I think the juncos have departed and seeking a more northerly habitat. The chickadees are not planning to leave. On my walk to the bus stop I watched a chickadee working to enlarge a cavity in a dead tree. She'd enter the hole and emerge, fly to another tree and dump a load of wood chips she carried in her beak. She did this repeatedly as I watched.
Annie is building a playground for the goats. I suggested a mountain made from old tires filled with sand. They love to climb and jump.
The seven noble hens that helped provide our eggs for two years+ will now be allowed to live out their remaining days retired from egg production.
Annie and Wallis are making skin medicine and I am making pea soup with ham and veggies. We shall be healthy within and without.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


April 20. "On the debris of your despair, you build your character." Emerson.
Yesterday on our return from the bus stop I caught the strong healing fragrance of the black poplar buds. Cedar smalled it, too. "What is it?" she asked. "Medicine," I told her. It heals skin problems. The wonderful ointment can only be made for a few days when the buds are fat but still closed. I remember helping Mom find and gather the buds. She would take us to an area that seemed like the kind of place where they would like to grow. We would walk until we smelled it. then we followed the fragrance until we found it. We'd gather until she had what she needed. We'd go home with sticky fingers and a pail of buds. She did the rest without me. She made enough for the family, friends and needy strangers that came begging for the balm of Gilead.
Well, I've spent the day looking for resources at the Itasca County Human Services complex in Grand Rapids. The professional staff is friendly, helpful and gracious. They seem to know that there are the elegant poor who may be struggling to survive but appear affluent in church box clothes and second hand shoes.
Itasca county must hold some kind of a generosity record. There is a senior nutrition program where I can eat dinner five days a week for $3.50 a day. I'd meet and dine with other oldsters. There is a reduced phone rate for tribal members, a Friendship Haven for adults, a foot care site, medical assistance (and dental), senior housing and food support. I was so close to falling through the cracks that I have splinters in my elbows.

April 21. When you're young you believe that all wrongs can be made right. You stand breathless at the cross roads carefully looking in all directions expecting to see that legendary hero coming in a shining pickup truck. When you reach your seventh decade you give up that idea, take a deep breath, roll up your sleeves, swallow your pride and see what human services is really doing with all that tax $.
One of the other things you can do when you reach the end of your rope... get your hair cut. Yes, I did it again. It's pretty short now but I think I am going all the way. Not to bald but short around the sides and a bit long on top.
"Poetry is the natural prayers of the human soul." Rilke.

April 22. Elizabeth A has sent a pkg from Scotland. It contained photos, post cards and a very interesting publication, "The Scots Magazine". It features a photographic tour of the Isle of Arran. The Island has about 60 miles of coastland a several mountains.
Today I washed my hair outside. With just a handful of hair left to clean I know the long hose to the barn would have plenty of warm water. After I toweled my hair dry and opened my eyes I found myself surrounded by 7 thirsty hens. With gentle clucks they asked me to fill a basin with water for them. They took turns dipping their beaks into the water and one by one they thanked me.

Monday, April 19, 2010


April 18. The morning is full of bird songs and drenched in sunlight bright as liquid gold. It was quite cold last night (27 F) and left a heavy coat of frost that is quickly disappearing. The crystal tree is stunning here before the Redd Shedd door. It was strategically placed to be enhanced by morning light. The birds often perch in the branches to check for the barn cat before going to the feeders. I saw a deer near the apple trees yesterday. I heard a phoebe. Cedar will be thrilled by that bit of news. I also heard a blackbird and saw a nuthatch and a grackle. I moved the 3 solar lights to the elevated log gardens. One for each island of flowers. The gardens are all ready so Wallis, Lamaya, Cedar and I planted 220 onion sets. It was fun to work with such an enthusiastic garden club.
I spent some time packing... what to take and what to leave behind. I wondered if that's how it is for refugees and other displaced persons. I remember an image I saw on TV several years ago. A long line of refugees were fleeing their homes. Some had horse drawn wagons bristling with things too dear to abandon. Others pushed smaller carts loaded with their treasures. Then a young family approached. The man pushing a wheel barrow covered with a blanket. The wife and children carried small bundles. When they reached the camera the blanket was pulled aside to reveal a very old woman. She smiled toothlessly and spoke energetically. She was the treasure of her family. Too dear to leave behind.
We finished the beautiful day with supper on the deck of the log house. The menu consisted of a delicious BBQ chicken and grilled veggies. I brought raspberry short cake. Cedar and I had picked the berries last summer.

April 19. The shaded patio has had a face lift and now boasts a low table and centerpiece with candles. Bill Miller's flute is trying to make me weep. He's the best, not Carlos Nakai. Bill is so versatile and multi-talented.
Taking a water break from laying out the garden plan. I know where most of the plants will go and have established Toad Abode Village among the strawberry leaves. I've set out my version of garden bells which are recycled milk jugs. I cut off the bottoms and hold them in place with long sticks. I'm thinking of how to make a cucumber trellis. Oh, how I wish I could get my green house moved from Oak Point. I could have plants growing and wouldn't have to purchase. It would save money and add to my gardening pleasure. We have the perfect southern exposure.
Today I carried my over the shoulder sling chair and a book to the bus stop and sat there reading and waiting for Cedar. We had a good lunch and watched the birds. She was enthralled by the busy little chipmunk. Then we laid on the picnic table, removed our shoes and walked barefoot across the deep blue sky.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


April 16. Among my wealth of daily birds I have discovered a single pine grosbeak. They usually travel together but this one is alone among the finches, chickadees, juncos and sparrows.
Chey and Lamaya spent the night at Wallis' so we all went to the St Mary Church rummage sale. then we took 10-10 to vet for shots. Chey and Gene will adopt 10-10 as I am looking for housing again. We are informed that it is not lawful for me to reside in the sub-standard Redd Shedd. But property taxes increase if we bring it up to standard. Solution! Move on, Granny. So we all went to see a couple of apts and I got an application for the one I liked best. Can you Believe that my old gypsy blood is still strong and has energized me for another move?

April 17. St Mary had her $1 a bag day so I went after Wallis, Chey and Lamaya. On my way I saw 3 large swans on the wing. We enjoyed our little shopping adventure so much we drove to Cohassett looking for more sales. But we were disappointed. Then on our return over the Mississippi River bridge an owl flew above us carrying a small rodent. How surprised we were by the sudden messenger. We all sensed that we'd arrived at that point by design so we wondered what secrets the owl carried in her dusty wings.
Well, the laundry has been washed, hung, dried and folded away for another week. It always feels good to put that task behind me again.
I moved a pile of scrap lumber so I wouldn't have to look at it when I am seated in the patio. I was going to work in the garden but my right wrist is still tender and not improved by carrying wood.
Still I should do something toward making my next move. Perhaps I'll find a box and pack some stuff I'm not planning to use for awhile. Then I'll feel that I am headed in the right direction as opposed to no direction but sitting in the shade watching the birds dine at the feeders.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


April 14. "... this morning (4-11) I heard the happy squawks of the pheasant, and there he was on the wall, fat and splendid after the winter." Mae S had a good reading tour and was home to enjoy a bit of privacy, greet the pheasant and walk the fields alone.
In 1934 Meridel LeSueur had participated in her first march. Not a military parade but an army of protest against unfair labor conditions in Mpls. People died in that strike. She wrote, "You could hear only lies over the radio. And lies in the papers." She reflected, "Our merchant society has been built upon a huge hypocrisy, a cut-throat competition which sets one man against another and at the same time an ideology mouthing such words as Humanity, Truth the Golden Rule, and such." Class struggle is not a new crisis. Poverty has been killing people for centuries. It is a form of political violence. I suppose that's why Jesus said there will always be poor people. But that does not justify or condone or excuse governments and leaders who allow it to continue. We pray Obama will find the courage to declare, "It is time to begin true and honest dialogue on how to bring about a peaceful and just world."
I rarely think much about old beaus but today I remembered Jimmy Manuelita. I'd met him at Fort Defiance, AZ. But I hadn't paid much attention to him until the bake sale and dance at the Catholic Church. I had come with a few of my fellow nursing students. We'd made cookies and cakes. Jimmy approached me and asked what I'd brought. I led him to the table, pointed to my cake and he purchased it. He put the small and neatly frosted chocolate layer cake on a table to be guarded by his friends. Then I slipped into his arms for our first of many dances. He was tall, dark and handsome. He had a perfect smile and laughed often. Our romance lasted two blissful weeks. We were not lovers and neither of us was heartbroken at our last goodbye. By then I'd met Leonard Stewart and was soon enjoying another brief romance. Just think Jimmy and Leonard are probably old now... like me. I think Fort Defiance was my Camelot and nothing terrible ever happened to me there. What has become of all those bright, beautiful youths? How innocent we were.
Feona the happy pig died today. She is buried under the flowering crab apple next to Ikwa the lame lady dog.

April 15. And so the days pass one by one, and step by step we move closer to our graves. When my Uncle Bob was 18 he joined the Navy. I have photos of him so handsome, so brave, so happy. In one he is holding me in his strong arms and I appear to be about 3-4 years old. He was 19 when he came home on leave. We lived in Fosston, MN. He was injured in a car accident. Everyone was drinking. He was a passenger. He suffered brain trauma that left him in a coma for months. When he woke up we had all become strangers. But many years later when I went to visit my grandmother, his mother, I took little Annie along. She was about 4 years old. My Uncle Bob was so glad to see her! She was someone he knew! He called her, "Annamarie". He embraced her and closed his eyes ... rapture on his face. "Annamarie," he kept repeating. He thought she was me. Almost 30 years had passed but in his mind I had remained a little child. And now I had returned at last, at last.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It's nearly 5AM as I enjoy my first cup of coffee. I make it one cup at a time so I have to consider the second cup before I prepare it. But the first cup is so good! Or is it? Have I been brainwashed by 60 years of commercials? No, I really enjoy coffee! That's what I think... I think and that's why I drink... I think.
I've been working too hard and have stressed my right wrist. Even the act of writing is painful today.
As you may know... it happened in the long ago that our brothers and sisters of the walleye nation met in council to decide how to assure the survival of their people. It seems that two-leggeds were so hungry in the spring that many-many-many walleye were being speared for food. The walleye leaders acknowledged the reality of hunger and that two-leggeds suffered more than finned swimmers during the long cold winter. "It's certain that the pitiful two-leggeds rely on us for their health and strength," a large female declared. "However, we must also be well and strong. Since it is the female who assures our survival as a nation, we must be protected." At last the finned ones reached agreement on these important matters. It was decided that when the ice melted the females would go to the deepest parts of the lake and the males would remain near the surface. So it is that spearers take more males than females.
From an old journal, T-day 2001. John and I met Kevin, Esther and Saige at The Backyard in Bemidji for dinner. On our way back home we all stopped at Wallis' in Cass Lake for pie. Brandon and Chey had helped her cook that day. Terry and Gina were there, too. Brandon told me that he really loved my baked pork chops and creamed corn casserole. That boy sure knows how to bless my bones.
Notes written to myself, Nov. 12, 2007. "Since I lost my grip to creeping arthritis I can't even hold a grudge." "Flattery is like cotton candy in July. Sweet and fluffy and full of hot air."
Someone has written, "By making good choices we can live without destroying life." It sounds like something from the pen of Wendell Berry.

Monday, April 12, 2010


April 11. Today I must honor a publisher's deadline so I will have to put the printer and laptop together again. But first I must feed the birds. Then I must feed the dogs. Perhaps I should find food for myself as well.
Cedar and I have put two chairs in the morning sun spot and there I had a cup of coffee while she decided to dig up the dead sumac near the front door. We fixed up the drift wood garden and two small black spiders were quick to offer an appraisal. We also moved the walk way closer to the driftwood display. I began moving black dirt into the area and hope to get some grass to grow around the door. We have that fine sand and carry it into the house on our shoes. So I am always sweeping and shaking rugs. I need more time for fun stuff.
Cedar and I went to see "Alice in Wonderland" yesterday. We found it truly wonderful. It was quite well done and Johnny Depp is terrific as the Mad Hatter. Then we lunched at Arby's with Justice and Geezis. When we got home Cedar and I resumed yard work. Then she went to the hen house and returned with 3 eggs which I scrambled for supper.
I just found out that my old friend and Oak Point neighbor Angie Ross died March 14. I didn't know she was 10 years my senior as she was always so quick, energetic and fun loving. Some of our funny stories were repeated and returned to us as reports of true events. Some of the rumors were shocking and we wondered how a harmless bit of fabrication could weave itself into lies and scandal! She always made me laugh. She and George were married for 60 years. How empty his days must be without her.

April 12. Today would have been my mother's 81st birthday. My son Steve is celebrating another incarcerated birthday. He has often been in prison or treatment during holidays and other important family gatherings. I always wish he would be with us as a physical presence and not just as someone we remember as being absent. Does he feel the loss? Are his memories incomplete? Happy birthday, Mom. Happy birthday, Steve.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


For family and friends I make time. For myself and other strangersI have no time to offer. Yes, I often feel impoverished at the end of the day. Hours gone never to be seen again. Minutes wasted and fretted away... like a handful of ashes. There are many ways to warehouse living flesh. Is this one of them? I've been sick for several days with flu like symptoms. In addition to the chronic discomfort of arthritis it can wear away my cheerfulness and bring me to the slough of despond.
The juncos come before the sun is up and become small shadows whispering to the grass. If I listen will I hear secrets passing between earth and sky. When the birds lift up and quickly scatter do they carry some new wisdom on their tiny wings?
Cedar and I are collecting things for toad housing. Toads have been designated the garden guardians and shall have beautiful ceramic homes.
When I shake this bug I want to have a celebration for Cedar. She helps me with so many things. Someone has said, "Willing hands make light the work." It certainly is more pleasant to share a task with one who does not waste time complaining. There's a song I used to sing with Lottie and Gene C and some of the words are: "That there be no complaining in the streets, happy are the people." Does that mean the people are so happy they find nothing to complain about? Or does it mean the less one complains the more happy one becomes?
We got the Spider man kite up to the end of his string! The wind played a supportive role as did our loud encouragement. "Up, Spidey. Up!" "The wind is with you!" "Don't fall!" "Don't panic!" The kite terrorized Harry the mini-horse and baffled a high-flying hawk.

Friday, April 9, 2010


April 8. Another frosty night but clear sky and a horde of early juncos. 10-10 had his breakfast of tidbits and milk to which I now add an egg to encourage his hair to grow lush and thick.
I have not kept up with Mae S but on the 2nd of April she wrote, "this morning I heard a robin. Yes, we have a few robins here, too. On Easter Sunday I saw a great blue heron near Bena. I returned Mae to the shelf and sat down to find the juncos had fled. Oh, well. Time for tea and toast smeared with Angeline's strawberry jam. Mmmm!
Today Belle pulled a blanket off the fence. She tossed it over her back, danced backward and bowed. The blanket slid from her back, she smelled it carefully and walked over it. Yesterday when I was in the yard she galloped toward me at full throttle. I did not move and she stopped abruptly, put her nose in my hand and smiled. I rubbed her face with one hand and untangled her mane with the other.

April 9. Cedar and I have been looking for stones that look like potatoes. We have found two. We keep them in a red wire basket at the bird bath table. The potato stones are guarded by an unidentified praying super hero. Perhaps he is the caped crusader guardian of stone potatoes.
The barn cat is preying on the juncos and Cedar has gone to counsel the cat. She said we'll call her Puff-Puff because she has turned evil. Now I see Cedar has given up counseling the cat against killing harmless juncos. She has recognized that counsel is not an effective deterrent. She is now practising swordplay with a stick. Cinnamon appears to be her coach. He lifts the left ear when he approves of her technique. Raising the right ear means, "Needs improvement".
I had to disassemble the saw horses to get them into the car. Now we are putting them back together. We had spent about 30 minutes and I said, "We need a break." But Cedar said, "I'm no quitter."

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I awakened early to salute a crescent moon, converse with an owl and welcome a large gathering of dawn feeding juncos. I made a small fire to warm my castle and went back to bed. I woke up again at 8:45. Then I took Justice to the Ball Club clinic. The nurse said she'd never seen a worse case of strep throat!
I composted the rose bush. We had one rose last year. This year we might get two. I filled the outhouse hole with gravel the snow plow left in the yard. Now I am too tired to blink.
I am having a romance with the new wonderful window. When I am outside and see something beautiful I hurry inside so I can see it from the window.
Cedar and I found an old wash tub in the woods. The bottom is rusted out but we carried it home. We both thought it was still good for something.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 4. Well, the elusive bunny has come and gone. Of course he left second hand baskets of goodies and toys. Gene got me a small plastic charm. Now the green dog swings with the purple Eiffel Tower on the strap of my handbag. The Easter Bunny brought Chey and Gene a 32 in. TV!
From the Sufi poet we learn "If you are wise you will not swim in (it) the ocean of love." I brought a quilt and 2 pillows to spend the night at Chey's and she told me that old quilt was her favorite one when she came to spend the night with me when she was a child. She'd seen the embroidery but had never read it until last night. She was amazed to discover I'd embroidered a love letter to John, my second and last husband, into the quilt. I'd done it during our brief engagement. Upon our separation he gave it back to me.
We have decided to watch "Easter Parade" and Judy Garland has never been more beautiful. What an outstanding array of talents she had. Then the family began to gather under the rotting box elder trees behind the house. I remember when those trees were saplings in my mother's yard. She released half her BIA land lease so I and my first husband had a place to build a house. Those trees were the end of her lot and the beginning of ours.
Chey and Gene live in the old house now and are hosting the pot luck dinner. Soon a spirit fire was lit to welcome the ancestors. The hunt for 54 colored eggs was soon over with 3 eggs missing. One was set aside for Brandon. The children ran and played together without serious incident. The table was spread with food, a prayer was offered and a spirit dish prepared. Then the elders were served and everyone filled their plates.
Nephew Amos stopped to share our meal. He was recently released from hospital having suffered 4 bullet wounds during a drive by shooting in Cass Lake. He will need additional surgery as his left lung is hardening. One third will be removed. The police issued him a bullet proof vest as two of the shooters remain at large. Other family members have received death threats and are being harassed by the drug dealer's goons.
Some of us went to the cemetery to clean Brandon's grave and put out clean silk flowers and cedar. I laid down near the stone and dozed as the familiar voices soothed and blessed me.

April 5. Cedar and I had a lovely day. I purchased 2 more bottles of cheap nail polish, purple and green. She spent some time painting the plant pots. Then she cleaned and rearranged our bird bath table. We went to the store where she selected a fresh pineapple. I cleaned and sliced it to her delight. We also went to the laundromat to wash my clothes. I hung them and when they were dried she helped me fold linen and roll socks. She also helped put things away. We brought in a load of wood, too. I spent much time looking for curtains in the garage storage. I let her light the ceramic fireplace and we roasted 4 brats. Justice and Geezis joined us for supper. Cedar colored in her notebook and went to sleep on my sofa.
Annie brought Morris B home to bless the eagle and begin removing feathers. Ron K and daughter Sadie came later. We added more wood and sat around talking until dusk. It was a wonderful way to end a beautiful day.

April 6. Today I've been cleaning the old chicken coop and carrying poop. I gave a good dose to the 4 rhubarb plants that have been working so hard for us. I dug some into the 4 barrel planters and all the small pots, too. I cleaned out one of the strawberry beds and put poop there, too. Well, I'm getting pretty tired of all this poop writing so I better find something else to do. I found something that needed mending. A beautiful tulip applique needed attention. My stitches are far inferior to the person who produced the piece. I spilled ink on it last summer and couldn't get it out. So I cut the piece and fit it back together with the stain concealed under a tulip.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


March 31. Put up my Elvis Cafe curtains. I am still looking for a suitable valance. I had a gold lame' valence but gave it away. I'll keep looking and soon the most perfect of valences will appear for a small fee. I am the frugal crone.
Today I prepared a picnic lunch when I went to get Cedar off the bus. She was delighted and we hurried to the Foss for our first picnic of 2010. Bender the dog came uninvited. We had agreed that the pig could join us but no dogs. Cedar chased Bender to the barn but he returned to hang round the fringe of the Foss.
A major creative project was the painting of the patio lamp posts with nail polish (bronze, pink pearl and terracotta rose). The tiny brushes were perfect for Cedar's young fingers. Then we fired up the ceramic Mexican fire pot and Geezis blacked 6 hot dogs for supper.

April 1. Today is Chey's fiances' birthday. I got him a second hand t-shirt with a very nice piece of faded art on the chest and a pair of previously worn and washed stripped socks from Mexico. I also enclosed a recycled singing card. I could see that he was disappointed so I also gave him a bag of pasta from France. They are multi-colored, multi-flavored and shaped like tiny Eiffel Towers.
Sugar bush is officially closed for the year. On this last day Michael Price, Chee and Lisa came out for a visit. I hadn't seen Chee since he was a wee tyke. He's 8 now!
Mae S had a journal entry on the 1st too. Half of it consisted of describing what her friend Ursula, 62, experienced when she was jailed for participating in a peaceful demonstration to protest the building of silos to contain 96 cruise missiles in Britain. She spent 2 terrible weeks in jail and was so ill treated that she'd determined to devote her remaining years to prison reform. In fact, she went on to say she would like "to see society deprisoned". It reminded me of Joan Baez' song that says we should "raze the prisons to the ground". So I've been inspired to get out my 5 old but treasured Baez cassettes. What a wonderful voice and such meaningful lyrics. Good music makes me feel good. My mother used to say, "Music soothes the savage beast." Well, I've never had an opportunity to sing for a beast but I do know that "Clementine" will stop a deer.

April 2. Annie said she will move the gas furnace from the kennel to the Redd Shedd so I will have back up for the wood stove this winter.
I've been putting out seeds for the juncos. They are ground feeders and so is the pig. When I looked out of the new window to watch the birds... I saw the pig vacuuming up the seeds. Well the finches and chickadees are still able to eat from the elevated feeders. Oh, you should see how fast that pig tail is whipping.
It began to rain in late afternoon so I got to enjoy a splendid rain show on the window. The rain piano is still in good tune.

April 3. Up at 5 to relocate the washroom and all other stuff to accommodate the move. Very cold and windy today. Wallis and I went to Cass Lake. Then on to Bemidji with Chey, Gene and Lamaya. When we returned we picked up Marcelus. Wallis played outside with her grands and I could remember all the days I spent in this house as a young mother with young children. My first husband and I bought an old house from the city for $45. With the help of my step dad, Eirving Arey, we tore it down and salvaged as much as possible, including the nails. I spent hours pounding them straight. So we recycled an old house and 4 generations have found shelter beneath this roof.