A Whisper of Spring


On monday, there was snow and ice. It fell quietly and melted immediately. This time, V left the pup with me and took Trout back to ATL with him. The dogs had a fight over a pig ear, and Koby ended up with two puncture wounds on her face. I was severe with Trout and hurt her already fragile feelings. I think she realizes now that this pup is a part of our family, not a visitor, and she is alternately thrilled to have a playmate and blue and withdrawn. The pup must be managed constantly, there is no fencing here and miles and miles of wilderness around us for her to get lost. She hears the call of the wild now and then and puts her hound nose to the ground to follow a trail to adventure. She is excellent in responding to "come". I smell of liver as i have treats at all times ready to reward. V deserves much praise for the good training he has done with this pup; now i am just reinforcing what he has taught her.

The day moon floated in the rare blue. Its been a rainy winter and its been hard on me. The mountains are, in many ways, a lonely place. Light and radio waves are blocked and there is a sense of isolation. I drove to Lake Rabun last week and felt the shroud of anxiety lift as i entered a bright valley along the way. I see the recession in rural towns in a way i never do in the city. There isnt any work and store fronts that once offered the little extras in life are empty now. I read in the paper that the park service had relaxed the maximum time a campsite could be occupied. There are families that have been living on the lake now for months.

I worked on my raised beds yesterday. I have three, with a system of PVC hoops and plastic to make a quick greenhouse when the weather turns. The mountains have their own microclimate; sometimes the only place on the georgia map with snow will be my western corner of the county. The cohuttas are snow capped even today, but that may change as we are scheduled to hit the upper 60's. My beds are a mixture of compost ive been cooking a year now, fortified with hen manure and the loamy earth from decayed trees in the wood lot. I add some of the ash from my fire pit and commercial planting soil, some mulched leaves and a bit of sand.

I have swiss chard, spinach, onions, red sail lettuce, romaine, butter crunch and bibb started. Leeks and cauliflower, and some collards for the hens. Today i will put in my seeds for carrots and the fancy radishes i picked out for V - they are called the easter egg radishes because they are pink, purple, red and white. One of the carrot varieties i chose was "purple haze" which has a purple skin with the traditional bright orange inside. I also have the sunshine mix with the bright yellow carrots. In the field, there are little wild yellow carrots with the sweetest fragrance. What a great perfume they would make and i would if i could figure out how. Maybe i could just cut one up and rub it on my neck.

I'd like to try beets too. Im going to get a hydrator and make veggie chips this summer. Beets make some of the best chips, but judging from last year, finding ways to use zucchini will be time well spent. I also love the hydrated green beans. They are so sweet and crunchy this way. i really dont like them cooked that much. This year i might not do pole beans and try a selection of bush beans and peas instead. This will be year two of the garden, and i am still trying to figure out what works well here and what i like. I grew okra last year and really couldnt give it away. I only like it breaded in corn meal and fried so this year i wont grow it. I did like its flower though. Kind of like a pale yellow hibiscus with a maroon throat.

Koby conked out appropriately in a garden bed.

The hens hang out on the deck in the late afternoon. Ive spoiled them terribly. Easter and Vera are hoping for some pasta.

When i see the first star pierce through the sky, its time to go in. I have an exhibition in May, with 3 other artists, so i am painting in the evenings. I'm doing a series from the garden scans i have taken. When it's time for bed, i cuddle up in the quilts and read the blogs and news feeds. Safe in my little pumpkin cabin, i meditate on the sorrows and the beauties, and prepare to start the whole process over again.


  1. Thanks for the walk thru the raised garden ... and the pix of Koby, Vera, and Easter surveying their domain.

  2. you spoil your chickens with pasta.
    that's cool.
    The good news is, you may spoil them all you wish for all time.
    The bad news is, and even the kindest of friendly dogs fall to the sin, is that pigs ears are for dogs in different rooms (or one in, one out) but never together.
    I have no idea what that's all about.
    One of the most passive of dogs, a blind poodle, friendly as all get out, dropped off on us by someone who no longer wanted to 'play the game' (?)...when we passed out pig's ears one day, she chawed hers in a few wolfing bites, her nose to the sky and her ears led her to another dog, and she went off on him.
    Oddly enough, it was the biggest dog, an afghan, and he could have clocked her out in a grab and two shakes...but he left her to the ear.
    Chew chew chew, wolf gulp, nose to the air, hears to the next pig's ear...only, there's where the fight began.
    (trust me on this, you've never seen such a display of fierceness until you've seen a blind poodle go at it...( ')(' ) holy cow!)

    The Koby looks happy and fit to your life.
    Cool dog. Of course, most are when they're trained right, good people, forest.
    Heck, to tromp around chickory, I'de get down on all fours, bark, and chase sticks for you, too.
    (Of course, V would probably frown on me sniffing parts of ya...and, of course, about time he takes the car to take me to the vet for some part removal service, I be nothing but asshole an elbows running down the road!)

  3. I love your garden/mountain posts and this last picture is my favorite (even though seeing my Easter is always happy and Koby in the garden is great too.) I like it because it's everything Chickory .... your scent, your money, your Momma and your artifacts. The "velvet" bird...you know that's how I think of you.

    BEETS? bwahahahahah. Ok..... any corn? I'm planting strawberry pots this year and hoping for sun.

  4. Rus ruris vita. Esse quam videri!

  5. Koby is adorable! We have been a Ridgeback family since I was a little girl. A long succession of wonderful companions. My dog, Sequoia, passed away three years ago and I now have a cat. My brother and his wife just got a new pup 5 months ago. Wonderful breed:)

  6. God I am such a sucker for dogs, Trouty, Koby, smiling Ollie, my own two shepherd companions. They just make life better. Even if they do pee on the tomatoes.

  7. xl: and thank you for your visit. a white cat is a great addition to this menagerie. i need a goat. but first, a goat house. i learned how to make goat cheese last summer and loved it. and, i like goats.

    boney: im going to have to post a spaghetti dinner for you. the hens make short work of vermecelli - i think they think is like worms which they love. their days are so free...all day searching for food and then...afternoon treats. they are rewarding me with eggs...easter and wren are every other day but peggy jean, vera and edith are daily layers. and Koby! what a wonderful pup she is. i am dismayed the pig ear incident happened. they each had one, but Kobys was worked better...nice and wet and chewy and i guess trout wanted hers and koby's.

    boxer: i know! i still have a tiny bit of beet i threw out in the yard last year. but they are so pretty to look at. i love the velvet bird, it is a treasure and i think of you everytime i look at it. my mom is back in the hospital -its about every three weeks now -and so she is very much on my mind.

    troll: i think zsa zsa gabor said the same thing. btw, thank you for your recent comment elsewhere. youre a good friend; like a blue heeler, nudging me back into the flock. dont worry friend, im not lost.

    /t: grrrrrheahahahaha! oh boy. i have a new nephew story i should tell. i am making progress with "randall" though.

    shelagh! i am very glad to see you. i think of you everytime i use that leafy towel and flowery gloves. i have enjoyed your thoughtfull gifts very much.

    rhodesians are the coolest dog ever. very chill. content and self directed. i really am enjoying Koby. Sequoia is a great name - a reddish thing. thanks for stopping by!

    shamy: me too! you know, those garden beds were installed for you. i needed soil i could keep warm enough to grow things in time...well, there would have been radish and lettuce.

    Koby is definitely not understanding yet about staying out of the garden beds. gah!

  8. Another poetic walk through your world. Glad the dog is coming along nicely ... but makes me realize how much time they take to get them done right. Sigh. Let's hear more about your upcoming showings when you get the chance!

  9. I can't get over the beauty in Koby. What a great lookin' pup! Does he bother the hens at all?

  10. Oh, that Koby is a looker. :) Trout will adjust and they will be great pals. A fun summer is ahead for you! Love the pic of your dresser. I have that same little glass heart box (well, not the SAME one, but you know what I mean). xox Pam

  11. I love catching up with you this way, A. You make me want to go and do likewise.
    Looking forward to the show.

  12. Good morning Chickory,

    From the woman who said "its god damn beet" are you actually going to eat them or just look at them?

    What are your raised beds made of? I was looking at a composite material at the farm supply, it's kind of pricey. Although they say it will last much longer than wood.

  13. Pam: thank you. i will show you a painting i am working on - yep - i killed the other one i showed cause i needed the canvas. this one is a copy of one of the garden scans below. its awesome!

    Dani: koby will charge a hen now and then, but she knows its wrong. she is very easy to shame. just a stern look and harsh voice is sufficient. she is a pretty girl, isnt she? she the anti-fluffy dog.

    yobo: thanks - i hope you are right. i hurts my heart to see trout so blue. most of the things on my dresser were on my moms dresser -except for the stag head tray and the bird that holds my earrings. thats me and my mom in the photo. i look at it all the time and say "mom!"

    alicia: thank you. you know, you come up here often but have never been to my place. let me get the studio finished and then i am having a party! the show....well, i hope i have enough. do you?

    Karl: no! Boxer was the one who said it was a "goddamn beet". i was the one who said NYET to beets. however, my husband actually orders and PAYS for these fancy cheffy beet salads so i am growing some for HIM. theres all colors too...i think the golden ones are pretty. and then...there are the chips. i should have done chips for the beet challenge.

    i used cedar that has been treated with linseed oil for my raised beds. the treated lumber has chemicals in it and i dont want that leaching out into my soil. ive spent a lot of time and money on the dirt so i am all about protecting it. i bought a kit from home depot. it was cheaper in the long run then buying all the components and building it from scratch. when i priced cedar planks i thought i was going to faint. then i looked at oak. 5.89 a foot. i needed 64 feet. ouch. so i went with the kit. each raised bed costs 100 dollars -60 for the bed and the rest in dirt and amendments. but! it will be fortified and kept healthy year round so its a good investment. and with the greenhouse hoops and plastic, im hoping to overwinter salad greens next year. thats what im talkin bout! yeah!

  14. That's one hell of a good looking dawg right there. Her coat looks like velvet and she has the paws of a great loper. If she were Sioux, her name would be, "I gaze far into the distance in the hope of chasing deer."

    And those chickens, they have about them a most certain air of righteous busy body. Pasta, indeed :o)

  15. Delightful. Thanks for the tour.

  16. Wow!
    Can't believe your V let HIS dawg stay with you... maybe I misread your earlier posts but it seemed he was a tad territorial about Koby.
    Who is a beauty! Is that log she has her paw on a chew toy? Lookout, a big dawg is a coming to a future near you.

    While you are figuring on the garden contents, let me just tell you at the pull up your truck farmer's market here the smart growers bring in shelled butter peas in 1 lb bags in a cooler. Folks arrive before the trucks waiting for these peas and we pay $10.00 a bag for em too! Worth every dern cent. There has been more than one scuffle over these yummies but no guns or knives. yet.

    It looks glorious there.
    I am sure it is a struggle but also a solace as you speak and paint and photograph such love.

    So sorry to read in the comments your momma is in jeopardy. Like Boxer and some others, I know this heartache.

    Godspeed Chickory and Peace Be With You.

  17. i just love the photo of you below with your mama!

    good luck with your garden this year.
    and that koby is a fine looking dawgie.
    i do love these chickory posts of yours.

  18. I love your raised bed with the luschious chocolatey cake compost. Yum. So far, I all Im planting is flowers and lettuce. In my anxious to plant daydreaming I imagine them all to look EXACTLY like the pictures on the seed packets....Blue Forget me nots, Envy (lime green)zinnias, Bells of Ireland (also green) and John F Kennedy white rose. Just like the pictures...Mmmm Hmmm...

  19. Love the new look btw -- I didn't get the memo from blogger that there were new templates available ... now you KNOW I'll have to try them, but couldn't find them anywhere. I've been trying to find a 3 column I could live with for a long while. Well done YOU.

  20. Sorry I haven't been over sooner but I have been a little pre-occupied just recently.
    I love the new look of your blog it looks great ... so too the photos, Koby is certainly growing up fast.
    Enjoyed looking at the trinkets and photos on your dresser, the girls look very cute waiting for their pasta, Easter is so dainty compared to Vera, I didn't realise just how small she is.
    The twelve months have gone quickly, you are back in your vegetable garden once again,can't wait to see some photos of your bounitful harvest and those lovely yellow cosmos when they flower... I haven't found any seedlings yet.
    The swiss chard is a lovely green and the bright yellow carrots sound interesting.
    As usual I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit here, it's uplifting reading your words and looking at your photos, just what I need at present. xoxoxo ♥

  21. well now ..
    i just might like this one better .. :)

  22. love this post and the pix are lovely! Esp Koby and the one of you and you're mum. miss you, grrrrl.

    pig ears? you feed you dogs that .... "stuff" ...? isn't that sort of like junque food for dogs?

  23. i just read connell's comment about the poodle and the afghan. heee heee. afghan may be big in size, but s/he not the fighting kind of hound ... surprisingly, afghans are quite "frail" of spirit/character ... not at all bold like a poodle would be.



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