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August 2009

Part One

There has been a tragedy here of some consequence.  I heard the sound of wood hitting wood somewhere in or near the house.  While the sound of something banging is not terribly unusual it was startling to say the least.  I didn't look to see from where it came.  A short time later I brought a bunch of my favorite orange day lilies into the dining room.  There on the floor was a square board and, next to it, a familiar pile of twigs.  I picked up the pigeon nest and turned it over.  One baby pigeon was dead.  A bleeding mess.  The other, the larger of the two, a fat little thing, picked up its head and breathed its last.  I had seen the mother pigeon fly through a missing piece of glass in the dining room window, twigs in its beak, building a nest on a piece of wood someone had nailed a long time ago, to a cross beam near the peak of the roof that comprised the ceiling.  Everyone told me to get rid of it.  "Screen in the windows.  Do something.  Anything. I couldn't bring myself to destroy the nest."  The last thing you need are more pigeons.  That was obvious.  But I still couldn't bring myself to block off the bird's access.  Of late, I hadn't seen her sitting on the nest.  Perhaps, I thought, she'd changed her mind.  Or the eggs weren't fertile.  So be it.  Until the sound of the board hitting the floor fifteen feet below.

The pigeon now flies through the open window.  Looks at me and flies away.  Once she flew over my head onto the rafter where the board had been nailed and looked all around her.  I had gotten rid of the dead baby birds and moved the nest to the side of the room.  I couldn't bring myself to burn it.  I shall.  But not yet.

Part Two

Two pigeons flew in and out over the next couple of days.  I repaired the quarter round window that had been their original door, however, glass is slipping out occasionally, of the other windows, begging me to replace them.  One missing pane afforded the pair a way in from the box gutter in the roof where some of the flock had made their home.  I watched them as they frantically flew out the moment they caught sight of one.  It was a couple of days before I saw a new nest being made.  So be it for the moment.

Part Three

The story for the month has many levels.  One level is high above my head where a pigeon has made her nest again in the dining room.  This room is a beautiful one.  To my eye.  It is two stories high within a peaked roof.  Eight windows plus two quarter rounds.  The farm surrounds me here.  The walls here are of cedar wainscoting.  The ten foot long table is covered in a white cloth.  The dishes are all white with a touch of gold here and there.  The only color comes from the flower garden outside of the windows that cover one wall or that I sometimes arrange in clear glass pitchers. I've designed one last thing here.  At the peak of the ceiling is an unfinished space that Dave Goldberg, master roofer shall help me create.  He shall cut a triangle of wood for me to stain and paint.  On it I shall paint in it in gold a moon and stars and perhaps a Capricorn and even a Sagittarius.  Benjamin Moore makes a gold paint that looks like gold leaf which I shall use for the moon and stars.

            Last evening I gave myself a moment or two to lie on the chaise in front of the wall of windows and watch the sheep wend their way into the barn.  A flash of which caught my eye from a small ledge high above me on the far wall of the dining room.  I looked up.  It was a pigeon.  She had grown bored sitting interminably on her nest and had taken a little walk to a place with another aspect of the room in view.  I clicked my tongue hoping to get her attention.  Instead, the dogs rushed in.  She looked at them and then turned her head to me.  This morning she is sitting, 6:47, as the sun breaks over the hill surrounding the house, back on her nest.  Waiting.  I don't want pigeons in here.  But I can't bring myself to block her way in and out.  Not now.

            I have started the winter's food preparation here.  Pickled sweet and sour cherries to go with the pig I had butchered. Peach marmalade. Black currant liquor. Brandied sour cherries. And today I shall pickle some magenta chard stems. Oh, I pickled some prunes as well, sweet and sour.  I'm trying to make rillets, however I ruined one batch by cooking it on the top of the stove rather than in the oven.  The fat that the pork was simmering in didn't quite cover the meat and in the end some of it fried rather than melted. Today, if there is more real time than illusion I shall try once more. Some of the pork I had had butchered came back to me in mysterious forms. No shape or cut of which I'd ever heard.  None the less, one form seems to lend itself to the making of the shredded pressured pork called rillets.  With any luck, my second attempt shall not be in vain.

            The wild thyme is coming in with abundance this year.  It is now on the near as well as the far side of the brook.  I love the stuff.  Some I dried last summer is almost as good as it was initially.  My daughter uses it in her restaurant and says it is unmistakable in the croutons they make for salads.

            I've started the green walnut liquor, smashing the nuts with a hammer on a wooden board.  My hands and fingers are stained a greenish brown from the juice coming from handling them.  Tomorrow I shall be operated on to remove two unhappy kidney stones (I don't think they want to leave the warm safe place they have been adding to themselves for the past year and a half).  The pre-op instructions say "no nail polish".  I wonder what they'll say to the stains on my fingernails.  Oh well. So be it.  How do I explain I've been making walnut liquor?

            It rains once again. I, who don't believe in requesting of God or Nature any variation on what the weather might be, found myself cursing the rain.  The thunder and lightening cursed back at me just now.  "How dare you criticize us?  We know what we are doing!", they called out in unison.  However, I cannot stand the despair in the hearts of the men who still have hay on the ground.  The sky has become white.  The leaks in the dining room roof clatter into the pans I have beneath them.   

            To my horror the newly created leaks in the living room, (for some reason the roofers never seem to believe it will rain and do not tarp properly what they have started and left unfinished, they tend to disappear if there are hay making days) have flooded the room.  My newly roof leaks where it has never leaked before. Only this time in spades.  Or should I say in rain.  The one area that has leaked, apparently forever, no longer does.  It is brand new places that have been created, a work in progress, that I find disconcerting.

            The view from the dining room windows now includes the phlox that bear the name cerise as their color. I had a dress that color when I was eight. With tiny green glass buttons down the front.  My mother chose the best colors for her little dark eyed daughter.  There is a child who has been visiting here lately.  Her favorite color is pink.  Last time I taught her to distinguish between pink and magenta.  Next time I shall teach her about cerise. 

Sylvia Jorrin  

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