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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Esperanza

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Our pockets and shoes are stuffed with snow, our eyes red from reports of ailing loved ones, world news and Michigan wind. Monthly retirement fund statements are piling up in unopened envelopes with gaping windows, teasing our fears. Dreams sputter above our night beds like deflated balloons. Though we're fortunate to even have jobs, before the first Monday morning meeting at work we heaved sighs along with the water dispenser as it released an air bubble. We are doing more work with fewer resources. The whole state feels it.

The drive home was brutal, and I almost got stuck in someone's driveway turning the car around to go back and shoot our neighbor's horses at feeding time. This is the same field as the photo at the bottom of my blog page CLOUDS ARE MY MOUNTAINS. I know you are tired of snow. I still love it, but I'm tired nonetheless.



This is another farm on the way home, shot exactly two years ago, but it looks just like this today.




After a week of busy work and unending snow, what can we do? Where can we turn to fill up again at the end of the week?

Chicks ready to hatch! Don brought home ten eggs in the incubator he had taken to school for the kids to watch. Two of them began pipping Friday, and one broke a tiny hole in the shell before the kids left. Last night here at home I heard the same chicks peeping through cracking shells, and when I got up to look, one was out, making a lot of noise and running around. But later, when I woke up again, I heard nothing, and I was too fearful to check and see if it was still alive. But there it was this morning, and the second ready to hatch. Now at 10:33am we have three hatched, with seven more working hard to break through.

I named this one Esperanza, which means hope. The name may change to Esperanzo if she turns out to be a he.

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In this photo you can see Esperanza's egg tooth, the part of the beak that helps chicks break through the shell - the tiny point on its beak. It will fall off in a few days.

Nature -Life - comes through again.




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80 comments:

Gwei Mui said...

The photographs of snow and live stock sure look pretty, but it must be hard. I feel such a fraud for complaining about the paltry seven or eight inches of snow we had a while back. Though they are suffering up in Scotland, they are very worried about the wild deer. If the cold spell continues may wipe out an entire generation

CottageGirl said...

Perfect name for a most adorable chick. I think a lot of us could use a little hope right now ...

... Our great state has not paid promised funds to school districts for almost a year. As a result, our schools are thread bare.

Our daughter-in-law found out that she will be RIF'd in March. Perhaps her husband ... our son will also be laid off. We hear of many districts who are giving pink slips with an added note of no possibility of being rehired ... even tenured teachers.

It's a difficult time for many, but to have the added worry about the health of a loved one is heart-wrenching. Hang in there! Esperanza is on the way!

shicat said...

peep,peep, spring is right around the corner. It's staying lighter longer in the evening. Soon we will be outside in the garden busy, not worrying about the world. Out of our control,right? I release control to the gods,I release control to the gods. Oh dear,I may be losing it.

I loved the snow yesterday but held my breath, my Andy was on a plane heading to Florida for college spring break. After a wild ride he arrived safely, ( I release control to the gods).

YOur photo close-up of the fence is really great,like the textures and feeling in general.

I am glad to have a job too. Working hard but the little ones are just so darn adorable.
peace my friend, off to snow shoe to the grocery store:)

ellen abbott said...

An incredible miracle, isn't it? It never fails to amaze me.

shicat said...

Ruth, I missed the part about an ailing loved one, I am so sorry. I hope and pray that all will be well. xoxo cb

♥ Kathy said...

Aw yay for baby chicks! You be careful in the snow!!

PurestGreen said...

It seems we are all so tired of winter this year. March is always the hardest month for me in Scotland, because it is still cold and it seems spring will never come.

Beautiful photos. I can hear the pip pip of the chicks in my mind.

Sandy said...

Love that photo of the cows. The chick is so cute! And oh....all that snow...oh!

Kamana said...

Esperanza is so adorable. i also like the photo with the cattle in a line across the white of the snow. wanna send me some of your snow??

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lovely name for the new chick. The new life of Springtime always bequeaths a little hope. Thankfully.

Oliag said...

LOL...I stopped in my tracks and had to read the line "and shoot our neighbor's horses at feeding time" a couple of times before I realized...with a camera of course:)...I must be tired...

Esperanza is a cute chick...and I do love the name...and the photos...and I do love the snow...and the photos of it...and I wish we got snow instead of 5 inches of rain...and I hope I don't regret saying that:)

California Girl said...

I LOVE the chick, Esperanza. Brings back memories of the newly hatched chicks my brother and I kept warm in our hands during California winters. We had a chicken coop in the "way back" of our yard; five hens and a rooster. I've probably told you before. If the chicks were born in the winter months, they could freeze and die. Dad had little chicken houses but it gets down to freezing some nights and the hens didn't keep the chicks warm so my brother and I did. They were so darn cute. The thing about a chick is its utter helplessness. Really grabs me.

VioletSky said...

aaaahhhh
so cute, that chick.
baby chicks make me think spring ... and Easter.

Babs-beetle said...

These are troubled times, but I hope things improve for you soon. The baby chicks are beautiful.

Like Oliag, I had to read that part about shooting horses again before the light came on :)

Barry said...

Welcome to the world Esperanza. May it treat you kindly and with respect.

Terresa said...

The pictures are lovely, especially as snow is a rarity where I live.

I stumbled upon your blog and I'm glad I did. This post is quieting and hopeful.

Nancy said...

How utterly life affirming. Don't you think? I love new life and baby chicks are the sweetest tiny creatures. Thanks for sharing. We too, are up to our knees in wet snow. A little sign of spring was just what I needed.

Ginnie said...

What I find hard, Ruth, is to be so far away from the daily news there in the States. Sometimes I don't know what's happening even when I turn on the Int'l CNN news...which covers the whole world and not always a snowstorm in Michigan! Sigh.

Esperanza is something we all need...and have, I hope. Hoping for hope. I love Don's maple syrup and chicks. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cows. I love that you still have your jobs and that the farm is still alive for you both. That kind of hope lasts a long time. Thanks for sharing it.

Shari Sunday said...

Beautiful pictures. Esperanza to you, Ruth.

Susan said...

Hope and worry...worry and hope. It's an ever-present theme these days, isn't it. David and I are so fortunate, but there are members of our family who have those two things on a daily basis. Mostly on the worry side. Sometimes it seems as if there isn't a whole lot of the other.

Esperanza is so cute. Can you believe when I first got my chicks, almost two years ago when Gaige was 6, he knew what an egg tooth was without my telling him! He is a smart little guy.

I want to see grass again, even if it's brown. :)

Pauline said...

It's wonderful to view photos of spring chicks in the midst of yet another snowstorm. But, it's March and winter has to give up sometime. We don't :)

Loring Wirbel said...

The struggle is lifelong, and both twice as hard and twice as fun as you anticipated. I'm over feeling glum, but feeling exhausted (particularly after the trip to Jemez), but it is a sweet exhaustion, knowing that all this insane energy to try and preserve a partial world helps make the journey memorable and enjoyable and sweet. Esperanza, esperanza.

distracted by shiny objects said...

Heard recently that the Indians' name for February's full moon is Snow Moon and Hunger Moon. Apparently we are not the only ones who become tired of winter's loveliness by now. Next month's moon??...Worm Moon. There is hope for little baby chicks. :>)

ds said...

Welcome to the world, Esperanza! May you find it a happy place.
Ruth, your snow is beautiful--love the cows, too. We got two more feet of snow the other day. It still is lovely, but this time it took out trees. Huge trees. Amazing the power of nature, both to create and destroy...

freefalling said...

Things can't be that desperate that you have to shoot the horses!!

(that would be too awful, wouldn't it?)
I remember a really bad drought as a child when my uncle had to shoot his starving sheep.

I hope your ailing loved one has some people around to hold them up.

College Term Papers said...

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margie said...

the snow will melt, the sun will come out, the chick will grow. in time.

dutchbaby said...

It is a tribute to your optimistic nature that you still love the snow; so many others wish it to all be over.

Those children as lucky to have Don as their teacher! Congratulations on your new baby chick! Love her/his name.

Jeanie said...

That cow photo rocks! And Esperanza(o) is one handsome chick! Ah, the thought of farm fresh eggs -- beats Eggland's Best any day of the week!

Lovely post, Ruth -- and glad you're not stuck!

gemma said...

Beautiful new banner Ruthie. Clothes drying on the line is one of those sacred in the ordinary things for me.
Sorry to hear of your ailing loved one. My prayers to all. Darling Esperanza/o to fill you up with hope.

C.M. Jackson said...

Ruth--Esperanza is so beautiful--what a wonderful post--winter has everyone singing the blues;I come here and I feel a little jazzier in spite of the cold--thank you -love the new header --warm breezes, lots of green and reds--yes, spring cannot be far away!

rauf said...

oh they are fine Ruth, no passports no bank accounts no credit cards. But they have to learn to avoid the roads and the traffic. i wonder what they would think of the speeding cars. Are they impressed ?

one lady owning a dog wrote that when ever she came home after shopping and placed, the chicken turkey or beef on the table her dog seemed to be very impressed probably thinking what an amazing hunter she is.

Deborah said...

Ruth, I was trying to pin down what it is exactly about your posts that works so well. the combination of beautiful photos and thougtful text is great, of course, but it's more than that. I think part of it is that when you write about daily life, it never gets dragged down into minutae. You paint with fairly broad strokes, although sometimes lingering on a fine detail that give added interest.
Your writing is so intelligent and interesting - I really enjoy your blog.

Ruth said...

Gwei Mui, it's hard to even imagine a deer population getting wiped out, sad as that is, because we are so overpopulated with them here in Michigan. They practically give hunting licenses away.

Ruth said...

CottageGirl, I'm very sorry to hear about your son's wife's job, and maybe your son's too. Yes, two schools in Don's district were closed. The school district where I grew up is huge, and they are ceasing the entire bus program for high school, which affects hundreds of kids. As the years go by, you begin to expect this, but it's a fearful way to live. I don't want to live in fear.

Ruth said...

Cathy, your mantra sounds like my sighs. I can't stop sighing. This tells me I am holding my breath. I hold my breath when I get stressed. I get stressed every March and April - it's the cycle of my job. I'll feel better in a couple of months. :)

Ruth said...

Ellen, everything was there, those little toe-nail claws, the perfect eyes. They're already getting wing feathers.

Ruth said...

Oh, Cathy, I'm sorry I concerned you, and others. We are fine, and our loved ones are fine. I was thinking in general terms - blog friends who suffer disease, friends and loved ones of friends and loved ones who have suffered, or died. And friends who just aren't as well as they should be. It's a general malaise.

*jean* said...

oo ruth...i'm glad you seemed to find hope and comfort in your chicks...they sure are cute! sending hopeful warm waves over the internet...i hold my breath too...

Arti said...

Surprisingly, we're almost rid of snow in the past couple of weeks... unlike our Eastern neighbors. We're enjoying almost spring-like weather. I don't think I'll miss the snow. But your second picture is so mesmerizing... it reminds me of the last scene in the movie Dances With Wolves.

I can't wait till spring to see what you'll have on your beautiful blog if you can make even winter so appealing!

Ruth said...

♥ Kathy, thank you, I think I need to get my tires rotated. And some of the chicks are having an overnight with friends this weekend - two families of kids from Don's school.

Ruth said...

PurestGreen, hello. Yes, March is drab and messy. I want to go out with the camera next week, have a couple days off, but what will I shoot? It isn't all that photogenic. Maybe I'll find some people looking for spring . . .

Stay hopeful, spring is coming.

Ruth said...

Sandy, I'm feeling quite envious of your Rubidoux walk in green California right now. Your photos are stunning. Wow.

Ruth said...

Sure, Kamana, UPS or FedEx?

Ruth said...

Pamela, I know you've had a wintry winter in the South and you must be ready for spring too. It must be getting beautiful there already.

Ruth said...

Oliag, oh dear! Haha, apparently you were not the only one who read it that way.

You had a gorgeous vacation in the Caribbean. I guess we all can't have everything. So sad. I just love your blue water photos.

Ruth said...

California Girl, that is a terrific experience for kids! Don sent the chicks home with one of his student's families last night. We had our broody hen insist on hatching out some eggs last year - in January! Don had a heat lamp, and she did fine - mostly. One egg froze when she left it to care for the just hatched chicks. :(

Ruth said...

Violetski, I think of babies in the spring too. But our broody hens seem to think chicks are a year-round phenomenon. This brood was hatched by the broody Don though. He must have felt spring coming on and needed to urge it along.

ewix said...

Yes, we all need Esperanza just about now!
Snowing/raining outside my window as I write.
Your photos are a delight.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Babs. Things are far better for us than for many. I was meditating on that last night while I was restlessly trying to sleep. The stress does mount, but we keep saying, we have jobs, we're healthy, we're happy!

Ruth said...

Barry, Esperanza thanks you. She's glad to be in the world with the likes of you.

Ruth said...

Welcome again, Terresa, it's lovely to have you, and find your blog too.

Ruth said...

Nancy, look at the individual hairy feathers. I couldn't possibly make anything like that, out of nothing. It was all there. It took just 21 days for it to develop. All it needed was what was in the egg, and heat.

Ruth said...

Boots, as you know, it doesn't take much to create bliss. We sure don't need wealth. I wouldn't mind if the news media would lose the fear mongering bit. Do we really need to be afraid? What good is that doing anyone?

Ruth said...

I feel it, Shari, thank you.

Ruth said...

Susie, when our loved ones worry, we worry too. I'm so sorry.

I think you will get spring before us, just a little south.

That Gaige is one smart cookie. Sweethowt.

Ruth said...

Good, Pauline, don't give up. That's it. That's all.

Ruth said...

Bravo, Loring. Twice as hard, and twice as fun. Twice as rewarding when you pay twice as much. Double Esperanza, my friend, ad infinitum.

Ruth said...

Yes, Distracted, I've heard those Native American names for the moon too. Imagine holding onto hope after literally barely surviving the winter, eating what little is left that you held from harvest.

Mama Zen said...

What a beautiful picture of the chick!

Ruth said...

DS, wow. Yes, it gets so heavy in the nearing spring months, and the trees have begun to open up with sap (Don is tapping them), so they are more vulnerable.

And yes, then Nature makes a little chick's toenail.

Ruth said...

Letty, I feel terrible that I conjured this image of shooting horses! I'm sorry, I live in camera world, not gun world, but I understand the immediate connection of course.

My ailing loved ones, and those of loved ones, are all around. I guess we do our best to hold them up, as you say.

Ruth said...

Hi and good luck, College Term Papers.

Ruth said...

Margie, and you will move into your condo, in time.

Ruth said...

Dutchbaby, you know, I really do love snow, mostly the scenes as I look out, or drive.

Yes, Don's students are VERY lucky. And this weekend two families are taking chicks home for overnights.

Ruth said...

Jeanie, isn't it a wonder how beautiful she is within an hour of birth?

Ruth said...

Oh thank you, Gemma. I can hardly wait to begin hanging laundry outdoors this spring.

Thank you for your wishes, it seems so many of us have loved ones who are not 100% well, who are suffering and struggling. It just seemed heavy this week, you know? Thank you so much for your wishes and prayers.

Ruth said...

Yay, C.M., you felt jazzier! I love that.

Let's choose jazzy (with Agassi).

Bella Rum said...

Ruth,
What beautiful photos these are. I know everyone is tired of snow, but I still can not get over the beauty of it. We had a few flakes yesterday.

Such a sweet offering of hope. What an adorable little chick.

So many are without work now and our entire country is ailing, but your part of the country has certainly gotten more than its share.

Take care,
Bella

Ruth said...

Oh, oops rauf, once I hit one of the chickens with the Aveo. She died. I got hysterical, but Don said, don't worry, her feathers covered her eyes, and she couldn't see. I was driving very slowly in the driveway. When I saw her lying down, I knew what had happened, and I was beside myself. Actually they seem to stay away from the busy road. But as you see, even the driveway is a dangerous place. And I was so careful.

Ruth said...

Deborah, that is a very nice and thoughtful comment. Coming from you, it is especially gratifying, you novelist you.

Ruth said...

Thank you, dear Jean. These are tough times all around. We personally are very grateful, we have so much, and we don't take it for granted.

Oh, and do you sigh a lot, like me?

Ruth said...

Arti, you must be pretty temperate in Vancouver. Yes, I can see what you mean about the cows picture. You can see that I was touched by the scene, since I stopped the car two years ago and took the shot.

Yes, spring will be such fun, showing you crocuses and the tulips I planted last fall!

Ruth said...

Elizabeth, hello. It's been quite a winter. And when you have to get around in the Wig and Bicked City, it's no fun. I loved your country photos, getting away.

Ruth said...

Thank you, MamaZen. Now that Esperanza is not the only one hatched, I am having trouble picking her out. They all look a like. :|

Ruth said...

Yes, Bella, you're right. Whatever is going on, it's a little worse in Michigan and California. Well a lot worse. I think our unemployment is close to 18% if you count all the variables. The affects on public education are brutal, and both Don and I are in that, so we are seeing friends lose jobs, and seeing the very nature of education and what we think of it, change.

But you know what? Humans keep surviving, and doing better than just surviving. We create, we grow, we flourish.

And babies are born with all the right pieces.

Vagabonde said...

That little Esperanza is so sweet. When we bought our house years ago the owner’s son had a 4H assignment on chickens. There was a chicken coop with 8 white chickens and a rooster. We bought a couple of Bantams for the girls and they named them. In winter they would bring them inside, under their coats so I would not see, but then they had to get back out. We gave eggs to the whole neighborhood. Then we had eggs which hatched and most were roosters. We could not keep them so someone came and took all of them since the girls were too busy with school. I miss the chickens. I used the dried chicken manure on my roses and they grew beautifully.

shoreacres said...

So many people all across the country are saying "Enough, already!" with this winter. It was fine, and then it wasn't.

Did you know that one of the most popular floral decals for dinnerware in the 40s was called Esperanza? It's quite beautiful, and nearly every company used it - it was manufactured by a New York Company. It is such a lovely combination of roses, bluebells, small daisies. Perhaps they were feeling some of the same ennui that we feel - war-weariness rather than weather-weariness, perhaps, but weariness nonetheless.

And I just have to ask - do you and Don know Chickenman, the radio show about the mild-mannered, crime-fighting shoe salesman named (ahem!) Benton Harbor? I wrote about him and a snowboarder in a chicken suit this week. Perhaps your Esperanza will grow up to be a snowboarder!

Ruth said...

Dear Vagabonde, I think a child can learn more in 15 minutes watching a chicken than studying biology in a book. Don sent two sets of four chicks each home with two families from school for the weekend. I am picturing the kids and how their hours will be shaped by the chicks. I hope they keep their cats in another room!

Ruth said...

Linda, well no I had not heard of the Esperanza dinnerware. Imagine if we knew the origins of various patterns and designs in all the products that have come about. I find those histories fascinating.

Now your Chickenman story, and your histories of Maytag and all the connections between the various entities, was really something. And now I'm also thinking of DS' post on Celery Farm - something we have in southwest Michigan in abundance, by Paw Paw.