View From The Glen

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


I woke in the pre-dawn yesterday morning with a fragment of a poem in my head. So often if a thought comes to me that time of day, I go back to sleep and lose it. This time it begged to be written down so by the light of the moon, on the back of a paper butterfly, and with a scratchy pencil, I wrote down the single line.


Half an hour later my subconscious made an adjustment to the line and back up I got to scribble the change down.

I hate being woken from sleep, even for a line of poetry that won't go away.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Reads: Mid Summer Summary

I have a problem.

I take the kids to the library on Tuesday's and I always end up getting books out for myself. This is in addition to all the books I ordered from my summer reading list that I wasn't yet prepared to buy. In fact, last week, I had to renew the books I had taken out because I haven't had time to read them all, but do you think that stopped me taking out a pile more?

Of course not.

So now I have the original books I decided to read this summer, plus a long list of others to get through.

I have been reading though.

I read The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein. It was one of the books I ordered from the library that was on my original summer reads list. I picked it up one morning in the kitchen to take a quick look while I made toast. Two hours later, I still stood there, finishing the book, still standing because I didn't want to take the time to go and sit down. It's crazy good, and I don't usually go for books that are a) written by dogs or b) full of heart-tugging sentiment. But this one really pulled me in.

I'm reading The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, and although it is nice and the premise is one I should like, it is not grabbing me like I had hoped it would.

I read a youth fiction two nights ago. 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison about a girl caught in the faery world. I liked the world building and the fact that the fairies were not all cute but had malevolence written all over them, but found it a bit predictable and overblown. Probably because it is meant for a 9 year old, only we've all been spoiled with the quality of kids lit these days.

I was half way through Persuasion by Jane Austen when my Kobo gave up the ghost. Huge kudos to the kobo customer service team though who are sending me a new one with no hassles. As soon as I get it, I'll finish up with Miss Austen. Anyone seen the movie, Persuasion? Is it worth it?

Probably because of Persuasion, I picked up Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict at the library. It's by Laurie Viera Rigler, and I just started it with no expectations at all.

With the kids, I am reading Pirates! by Celia Rose and Erik's new series, The Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan. He loves it and knowing my book problem, I am convincing him to order them through the library rather than buying. Otherwise he will need a very, very large house. He is resistant, but it will be good for him.

Not that I can talk. I picked up a few more books at the Williamstown Fair last weekend. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Suite Francais (because I liked the title) by Irene Nemirovsky, and--joy of joys--Children of the New Forest by Captain Maryat, a children's classic I have never read. I saw the mini series as a child and have vague visions that come to me every once in a while. Now I can find out what they are about.

So that's it. The summary so far. Only a few short weeks to go, so we'll see just how much ground I cover between then and now.

The beauty of books is that there are always more to read.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Farm Humour

Grace came in crying this morning. One of the cute chicks we bought the other week is dead in the coop.

It happens. Chicks have a high mortality. What made this one worse was that it didn't die, exactly, but was more murdered. By one of its flock mates.

The pecking order is so named for a reason. It's brutal and disgusting, but there you have it.

Life on a farm has its share of horrible moments. Lambs die because their mother's don't feed them, sometimes even if we find them on time. Sheep die because coyotes attack. The other week the farm dog needed a paw treated for a really gross infection that had my stomach churning. All our cats vanished one week - probably fishers, but who really knows. And chickens can be really, really mean.

But these moments are few and far between really. And I like to think Erik and Anna and Grace are growing up aware of the delicate balance of life.

The children were sad. They were upset. They were looking for solutions to stop it happening again. Erik got to dispose of the body (because, you know, Mom is a wuss).

The three of them looked at it wistfully.It's head was off. Not completely though, just sort of detached.

You know, said Anna, we never named that one. I guess its name is Nearly Headless Chick*.

I've heard that doctors and police detectives develop a rather grim sense of humour to deal with the dark side of humanity. The dark side of farming has its own grim humour.

*Only funny if you're a Harry Potter fan, and familiar with the ghost of Griffyndor.