Each year, the blooming cherry puts on a different show. Some years the tree is a cloud of white flowers. Other years the rains knock so many blossoms off, it looks bedraggled. This year it is blooming with a thick carpet of blossoms on the ground below it. A blustery day last week sent a blizzard of flowers falling to the ground. The deep snow underneath the tree is too beautiful to walk on.
With today’s sunshine and tomorrow’s forecast for a sunny day, the tree should be at its peak tomorrow.
The 2020 Edison Chicken Parade was yesterday, Sunday, February 23. The parade happens every year at noon on the last Sunday of February. Which means next year’s parade will be on February 28, 2021.
The parade this year was eight minutes long, so I recorded the whole thing, and you can watch it from start to finish on the video below!
The parade starts at the south end of Cairns Court, the main street in Edison, WA. The parade proceeds north through the village. If you plan on going, arrive early. By 11:30 parking is hard to find and you may need to park a long way from the parade route. The best parking is at the elementary school on the east end of Edison. From there, it is a short walk to the parade route.
A great alternate is to bike into Edison, or go for breakfast at Tweets and stay for the Chicken Parade.
Until a short time ago the question was, “Will it snow this winter?” That question is now answered. It snowed this winter, a soft, gentle, beautiful snow. I can go ponder other things.
Many of the better things in life are the unplanned things that come along and keep us company, a stray cat, a sad dog that tells us we are its owner. In all the decades I’ve lived, I never once thought of wanting to make kefir. It’s a nearly daily ritual now. Such a simple ritual, just a few minutes of my time in the morning, and yet it’s so satisfying.
Kefir is a food that makes itself. The only thing I need to do is run it through a sieve until a tablespoon of the kefir grains are left.
I pour the strained kefir into little cups for breakfast.
The kefir grains I stir into a glass of milk and set the glass on the counter next to the happy porcelain cat, where it sits until tomorrow morning. All day and through the night, the kefir grains transform the milk into more kefir without me needing to do a thing. As I said, it makes itself.
Making kefir is so simple, when I see it for sale in the store, I think, There’s a con. Why would anyone buy something that makes itself?
The Prunus subhirtella is in bloom … delicately. From fall into early spring, this cherry is a pleasant reminder of what spring will bring.
On a warm, sunny, December day, King Richard struts his stuff. Have a few roosters, and you are never far from royalty. Roosters are as vain as any king. They all think they are nature’s gift to any hen. Hens often have a different opinion.
A carpet of fallen leaves greeted me when I went out to the cabin to make tofu this morning. “Whoa!” I said when I stepped through the gate and saw all the leaves, wheelbarrows and wheelbarrows of leaves for the garden. Yesterday’s bluster shook the trees. Leaves fell all day and night.
In the cabin the gentle sound of soybeans soaking underneath a trickle of water is so soothing. The beans have come all the way from the other side of the Rocky Mountains to fatten in a cool stream. Maybe someone in Anacortes or down in the valley is feasting on fresh tofu tonight. I’ve adjusted my schedule so that I always have some on hand. If you need any, let me know.
Snow geese by the thousands greet me on my way home from delivering tofu. It’s just in the past two to three years that the flocks are spending a lot of time in the northern part of the Skagit Valley. At times they fly overhead. Unlike other geese and swans which fly in small V-shaped groups, snow geese take to the air en masse, forming ribbons of hundreds and thousands of birds, noisily flying overhead, ribbons that at times stretch for miles.
When you approach a field of snow geese, from a distance, they look like fields of white daffodils, or snow covered fields. And then you get closer and see that they are snow geese from here to the horizon. Their summer homes are in the far, far north, on the arctic sea coast, all the way to tip of Ellesmere Island, Umingmak Nuna, or land of the muskoxen, less than 500 miles from the North Pole. Just a few weeks ago these snow geese were on the tundra, looking down at muskoxen and caribou as they flew. Now they are here, watching cars go by, and flying over houses and freeways. Lucky snow geese, no passports to carry, no border crossings to worry about, just wings to flap and sail over all boundaries. If humans had wings, we never would have dreamed of creating border crossings, or fences, or walls. What would be the point?
Raking leaves is so peaceful. Nothing says peace like a pile of fall leaves. We saw two swans flying over the fields today. Perhaps they arrived this morning. Perhaps they had just flown in off the sea and were looking for their first place to rest their feet. After flying so many days, does it take swans a few days to get their land legs again? I remember as a child crossing the ocean in a boat, and feeling the boat swaying back and forth for days after we got off it. Tomorrow is the first of November, the day I often see our first swans. Seeing the swans reappear was comforting. Not everything has gone completely kaput.
The peaceful pile of leaves is destined for the garlic and shallot beds. In a week, all the beds will be bedded down under a thick blanket of leaves. Underneath the leaves, tiny creatures and earthworms will slowly devour the leaves, taking bits of leaves deeper and deeper into the earth until the leaves become one with the earth. Perhaps by using wheelbarrows of maple leaves, I can flavor the garlic and shallots with a hint of maple. As they say, it’s all about terroir.
Frost left a light touch this morning, fringing leaves on the ground with a delicate white fleece. It was winter’s first soft walk through the garden. All the garlic is planted. Some tulips and shallots remain for me to safely bury in the earth before we get a real freeze.
On a misty morning, I hear the snow geese flying overhead. When I’m lucky, the mist parts, and the snow geese flutter across the blue sky.
A generous gift of pine needles from friends makes for nice, soft foot paths between the garlic beds. They make a pleasant place to rest my knees when I plant garlic cloves. Happiness are friends with a gigantic pine tree who don’t know what to do with all the pine needles and pine cones that fall from the tree.
The ducks are slurpling through water-soaked grass. Their feeding sounds like a babbling brook. In dry brush and grass they moofle along, filling the air with soft moofles. They chirp, whistle, and grunt too.
It feels like a spring day, not the middle of fall. 124 days from the summer solstice, the sun is as bright as a day in late February. Just two more months and the days start getting longer. The ducks have found a dry, sunny spot in a woodshed to dry and preen their feathers. Watching ducks preen melts all your worries away. It’s cheap therapy.
Bicycling to the post office on a day like today is cheap therapy too. Last week I heard Terri Gross interview sleep scientist Matthew Walker. In the interview she made a comment that made me laugh. When Mr. Walker told her that he tries to get eight hours of sleep every night, she gasped, “Eight hours in bed every night! How in the world do you do it? … Most people don’t have eight hours available to sleep.”
It made me wonder if that is really true, and if it is true, what sort of mad world have we made that most people don’t have enough time to sleep? I am a very sound sleeper. Once as a child, I fell off a top bunk onto a hard wood floor and didn’t wake up. When I woke up in the morning, I couldn’t figure out why I was sleeping in the lower bunk because I knew I went to bed in the upper bunk.
Plant rows of garlic, chop wood, clean out the chicken coop, bicycle to the post office and back, rake leaves, watch the ducks preen themselves, take in the beauty of fall, and you will sleep like a log for eight hours without any effort.
The days are woolly and windy. Leaves are everywhere. Branches, whole trunks at times litter the ground. “Go inside, you old fool,” they yell. “You can sweep us up when the sun comes out.”
Inside, it’s a chance to experiment. A time to wonder how to give whole wheat that special something. Give whole wheat two full days to rest and rise, and you have Whole Wheat Sour, whole wheat bread with a pleasing kick. A possibility for next year’s farmers markets, or if you’d like to try it, let me know.