Well, it's certainly not the Alps, here in west-central Ohio, although we are lucky enough to sit on top of a ridge here in the land of lovely flat farmland.  But even Julie Andrews would have to agree that the amount of music in these hills this morning is rather remarkable.  Taking advantage of this unusual warm stretch we're having here in mid-March, the girls and I enjoyed our Sunday brunch al fresco on the back deck and could barely hear each other over the incredible amount of birdsong from the woods.  An amazing private symphony being played just for us and our dining pleasure.  And I am sitting here right now, thanks to the wonders of a laptop and our home WiFi, while the smaller offspring points out the ten or so male cardinals as they flash red amongst the still bare trees that have just the slightest tinge of green, a sign of those lush leaves yet to come.  So far just in the last hour we've spotted: cardinals (a plethora of them it seems, but maybe it's just because those red coats are so showy against the dull early spring background), blue jays, carolina chickadees, goldfinch, house sparrows, titmice, nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers and even passing crows and turkey vultures (aka buzzards).  We all three just sat quietly for a while with closed eyes, listening to the chorus of birds singing from every direction of our outdoor amphitheater (no small feat for the very busy three year old, let me assure you).  The elderly apple tree just off the deck is also harboring beautiful mint green buds, nearly ready to burst forth with those lovely fragrant blossoms.  The girls are excited at the prospect of their own apples, but this poor old tree is mostly show and little action, probably due to it's advanced years and neglect until just last year.  But we just couldn't bear to cut her down when we thinned the patch behind the house.  So, she stayed and her main job is to hold a large bird feeder.  The girls like to think that it makes the old granny tree happy to be the center of so much attention from the birds.  I can also see just a bit further down the hill, a beautiful haze of my favorite color of lemongrass green.  Unfortunately, it's due to the very unromantic and unwelcome invasive asian honeysuckle that threatens to overtake the entire 40 acres (along with the invasive bittersweet and autumn olive).  The best feature of the honeysuckle (aside from the lovely green color of it's early leaves) -- the goats *love* it!  And because of that, we *love* the goats!  Which means it's time to move the portable electric fence and let the girls go at it!  Good goats :-)

I'm sure the Laird will be sorry to have missed this gorgeous morning here on the deck when I get the chance to talk to him and tell him all about it.  He is on a bit of an adventure today -- exploring his way around Edinburgh, Scotland (methinks he is taking this "Laird" title just a bit to seriously).  His high-tech job takes him to the UK quite often as they have an office in England.  Today is a rare down day, so he has taken advantage of that and took the high road (or was it the low road) and made it to Scotland afore me.  I'm trying not to begrudge him too terribly much, but I am expecting a nice gift upon his arrival home next week!  

So for now, I think I'll have another cup of coffee and listen a bit more to the sound of music in these particular hills that I'm so lucky to be perched atop -- along with all my bird buddies.
I felt compelled to write a post on a day that only gets its due once every four years.  I had to chuckle a bit this morning as I noted that this is the first leap day in the last three that I am not hosting a rather large parasite that enjoyed dancing about on my innards.  My two lovelies were each born following a leap day -- we actually thought, and dare I say it, may have hoped a bit that the eldest would make her appearance on the 29th.  But, no, never one to be in a hurry, she kept us waiting eight more days (and twelve past her due date).  And she is yet a child that can be still, like an owl hidden among the branches, just waiting and watching, reading or imagining.  She is an old soul, as many might say, content to just be.  The youngest arrived two months after leap day and a week before her expected date, with a fast entrance and a need to show everyone that she was ready to get on with this living thing right from the start.  And she is still always a bit like a little fish chasing after sparkles on the water, leaping out and over the brook, bouncing about the rocks in a rush to get to where she thinks she needs to be.  

So these are my little wild creatures, so happy and fresh, pink-cheeked and breathless from running about outside on this leap day.  This leap day, February 29th, right?  Here in Ohio?  Where it is nearly 70 degrees?  I have the windows open, listening to very confused birds twitter and sing.  We have started to notice during our first year here on the hill the signs that signal  subtle changes as the seasons progress - those zeitgebers that cue the flora and fauna when it is time for an entrance, or a costume change, or to exit stage left.  I need to start noting these in a tangible form (hmmm, maybe this blog will be good for something) instead of just saying, "Oh, the geese are on the move" or "I heard the coyotes calling to each other; it must be close to mating season".  And while we've noticed the lengthening of the day just as well as the birds have, days like this propel us weeks down the road in anticipation of what is to come, but alas, it's probably just an appetizer, because there is just reason for the old adage, "If you don't like the weather in Ohio, just wait five minutes."  I'm sure we'll see the snow fly again before long and feel the bite of the wind on our noses, but for now, I'll open the windows and watch the wild animals playing outside.
So the Laird tells me that he has decided to fancy up our little site here., and that I'd better sharpen up my quills because we were gonna be bloggin'.  Ummmmm, OK.  Now, while I am an expert blog reader, I can't imagine myself much of a blog writer, but what the hay, might as well give it go!  So the plan is for me to share some of the interesting, amusing, insightful, muddy, irreverent, poop-covered adventures and musings that make up daily life around here on our little green patch of land.     


    Monna Hess, aka the Laird's lady, is a full-time stay at home mom to two spectacular little girls and wrangles all the critters on the farm whilst attempting to promote mud boots and ball caps as viable fashion statements.  She has grand visions of managing to produce some kind of animal products from this little endeavor.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, she was an Animal Science instructor at a large university and had not yet completely lost her marbles.


    March 2012
    February 2012