Bellies, Birth and Babies

Spring is in the air and so many babies are just opening brand new eyes to their first spring or are soon to be on their way here.  Such an exciting time for so many of my mama friends, and I have had the privilege of photographing many of them in these past months.  I am still an amateur, but have really taken some photographic leaps lately with a purchase of a new camera, my first new-born shoot and so many beautiful mamas around me willing and excited to have me take their picture.  I just have to share with you their beauty and glory.

Becca pregnant with Paloma January 2013 Image

Jenna & her hubby pregnant with someone we will meet any day now!Image

Shannon pregnant with her due date in just a week or two


Russel, Nicole & Sequoia who arrived in JanuaryImage

Brenna, Ida & Emmet and inside is Eden, who came last summerImage

It is such an honor to have these women share themselves with me, allowing their glory to be seen in such a sacred and open time of their lives.  Each one of these women has taught me; the way they cradle there belly’s or smile so deep from within, they have reveled their full beings to me and in doing so they have each shown me how to be a mother.  And even though I now am a mother myself and will be for the rest of my life, I am always learning to stand deeper in my own fullness and glory.  There is nothing quite as inspiring as being welcomed to behold each and every woman, baby & family that braves this courageous task of togetherness, on that sacred birthing day and every day from then on, holding each other on this journey of life.

Happy Early Mother’s Day!

Spring Morning

It is that time of year where the sun streams in from the East just as we rise, illuminating everything just so, that I must grab the camera before I put the kettle on and make breakfast.


The prunings from the Apricot and Peach are pushing blooms in our window sill


Everyone is sprouting up beautifully in the greenhouse.


Jaengy and I are spending a good portion of each morning now playing in the dirt and water & seeds.  Feeling so lucky to have such a playroom for us both.IMG_0265

Struck so deeply by the light of morning, the calm, the beauty… I seek the words but only find pictures to share this glory….But then of course I turn to this and I simply must share.

Morning Poem

Every morning

the world

is created.

Under the orange

Sticks of the sun

the heaped

ashes of the night

turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches-

and the ponds appear

like black cloth

on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.

If it is your nature

to be happy

you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination



And if your spirit

carries within it

the thorn

that is heavier than lead-

if it’s all you can do

to keep on trudging-

there is still

somewhere deep within you

a beast shouting that the earth is exactly what it wanted-

each pond with its blazing lilies

is a prayer heard and answered

lavishly, every morning,

whether or not

you have ever dared to be happy,

whether or not

you have ever dared to pray.

-Mary Oliver

Mid-day Meditation on Beauty


“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”
Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living


“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl


“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.”
Louisa May Alcott


“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.”
Albert Einstein


“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”
Edgar Allan Poe


“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself, tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for to the creator there is no poverty and no poor indifferent place.”
Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet


“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.”
Marc Riboud


“The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with joy are goodness, beauty, and truth.”
Albert Einstein


“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”
Maya Angelou


“The appearance of things changes according to the emotions; and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”
Kahlil Gibran


“the voice of beauty speaks softly; it creeps only into the most fully awakened souls”
Friedrich Nietzsche

All quotes courtesy of Good Reads.

Honey & The Bees

Our mid-summer honey harvest went smashingly well!!  Joel is really the bee whisper in this household, but I can’t be too far away.  I like to watch him work, so calmly, so carefully in that buzz of life.  This time I sat inside the house with babe and watched through the glass door, which was perfect cause I felt totally out of harms way, but could see the whole exciting event.  I technically know very little about the bees, but they speak to me in other ways.  These past couple of years I have had more than one serendipitous run in with my bees…( for better or worse)The first was the summer right before I got pregnant, I got stung right between the eyes and my whole face swelled up and I could barely see for days.  I was in the midst of a big shift in my life but someone asked, if I had read The Fifth Sacred Thing by Start Hawk. I hadn’t but did have a copy on the shelf, so when I could read again, I pulled it down and of course turned right to the page where a character gets the very same sting and is taken into the world of the bees for 9 days and given some pretty profound gifts.  “I am changed, Madrone thought.  The bees have marked me, as surely as their scar sits on my forehead.  She moved through a world that came to her now as much through instinct and smell as through sight.”  As chance (or magic) would have it within a week of the sting, I meet StartHawk because my husband was teaching a class with her.  Yes,  I did tell her the story and she just smiled. 

The next encounter was probably an exact year later when I was lounging in my garden waiting for my overdue baby to arrive and a Queen Bee landed on me.  I was enthralled, was she lost, looking to start a new hive, kicked out by the others? Queens rarely string humans, so I had no fear there, letting her bumble all around me.   They say that bees are the messengers of the soul, signifying rebirth and immorality…so I told her to bring me my baby!! A few days later she did.

This year seemed fine with the bees, but come February they just seemed to completely die from one day to the next.  Caught up with a busying spring we didn’t even get a chance to get into the hives to investigate, until…May 8th, our son’s birthday, when we witnessed the return… A swarm found our empty hive and recolonized it.  The set up shop and went at it.  Now Mid July is the first time we have been in to see their handy work, and let me just tell you, Pure Ambrosia!  What a blessing are the bees.!!

If you are interested in keeping your own bees- our friends and teachers Just put out a new Book about Top Bar Bee Keeping.

Farms, Gardens, & Greenhouses Oh My!!

Mountains top poppies

If you have ever read this blog, or know me at all you know of my love of for the wild and cultivated world of nature.  Growing things is not just a hobby but a necessity for me…and it seems most of Vermont as well.  Gardens are present in almost every backyard I have glimpsed, farm stands abound brimming over with maple syrup, berries, cheeses, produce and flowers and even the garden centers are places I would spread a picnic blanket under a tree spend the afternoon.

Rolling green lawns of Rocky Dale Gardens

Yes, I must admit, gardening here is”Easier” here in than in the high desert, things do just grow, seemingly overnight, on their own, with little help from the gardeners. But when I get pining for greener pastures I just remind myself that the weeds & pests also abound here and tackling those critters large and small are the work of the gardeners, often making it controlling opposed to coaxing.

Peeking over a backyard garden gate

Never the less the gardens are a sight to behold and as the perpetual garden tourist, I have spent a large portion of this vacation visiting as many plots as I can, and it hasn’t been hard.  The beauty of garden tourism is that is it mostly free and full of appreciation for people’s kind action and kinship with their land, and if you do end up spending money it is usually to feed your family and goes straight to the farmers hard working hands.  So far we have gotten at least a daily fix of garden tourism and here are the highlights.

Peas taller than Joel!!!

First day I noticed a flyer for the Localvores Garden Tour, which happened to be at a friend’s house, so we drove on over the see these awesome raised beds full of abundant produce loving gardened by the careful hands of an English couple.

Robin and Jenny Share their garden secrets

What a welcome, these crops were just glowing with life and love, we could have stayed for hours just chatting about garden secrets and techniques.

The rain sprinkled down and made everything all the more alive.

Garlic -I asked if they remove the scaps or not, as it has been on my mind this season.  Jenny answered quick as a whip, “Well of course, it may not affect the size of the bulb, but it gives you twice the yield, one harvest above and one below, so the question really is, why not!!

Next we made a special trip up to another county to see Rosemary Gladstar’s Sage Mountain Herb School and gardens. 

She has written many books on herbalism, so much of her herbal wisdom and wonderful recipes helped me through my pregnancy and continue to every day.  We made it a little homage to the medicines that so generously heal us and it was a delight to see them all growing together, emanating their healing songs on the sunny summer day.

Jaengus meets Arnica (growing above violets), friends and allies from day one

This place was amazingly alive and vibrant, I was so glad to be able to share it with my family

Herbal Interns working the hillsides of Sage Mountain

Next the greenhouses…

Von Trapp Greenhouses is just a walk away from us, is an amazingly beautiful hilltop farm with ornamental greenhouses with incredible gardens looking over the valley.

Millions of flowers in bloom and an incredible view of the Mad River Valley

The other greenhouse/ demo garden was Rocky Dale Gardens, nestled on a mountainside offered another beautiful spot to hang and smell the flowers

Borage with Calendula and Poppies

Oh and the farm stands…..

Gaylord Farm

There is Kingsburys which is a farm/ food bank collaboration, there is the Gaylord Farm, a farming family for generations, there is Hartsorns full of flowers and fruit, and there is Knoll Farm where we picked 7 quarts of organic blueberries and bought lambs wool from Icelandic sheep

Bucket of Blue

…I could go on, but I think the Vermont Tourism Dept should start paying me, though we know they don’t need my help, Summer in Vermont speaks for itself!!

Family Gathering

Oh summer is here, and the gathering has begun!  I feel so lucky to be a part of a family that loves gathering as much as I do (at least my husband does, baby is happy to be carried along wherever we are, especially if we are outside, such a great little guy!!)

Along for the ride

As the garden comes into it’s own and we wait patiently for it’s gifts, we look out into the wild for summer fare.

This little excursion was in search of Cota, a wild herb used traditionally in these parts forever for stomach ails and kidney support….a couple of years ago we found an amazing spot and harvested on the summer solstice.

Cota Harvest 2008

This year everything appears to be a little early, so we went in search…unfortunately the meadow got bulldozed and a horse was happily reigning over the spot…with not one Cota plant under foot….Luckily we still have some from that year!!

Summer gathering (pre station wagon)

This time we did come across an amazing Alfalfa stand

Alfalfa patch

And got to take a dunk in the old Rio Grande.

Sitting by the river

Just down the road we found Mulberries falling from the trees!!Mmmm.

Joel always prepared to pick!

Oh how beautiful

Mulberries in various stages of ripeness

And right across the street these ancient gifts..

Secret map to more mulberries?

And on the way home, we found the wild cherry stands, once I pick all ours, I will be back!! Grandpa is now our neighbor and makes a mean pie!!  Looking forward to that family gathering as well!!

Flower day

It seems everyday is a flower day these days, but none quite like today. The moon was in Libra……..So thus a flower day in the biodynamic calender, so I planted out Snapdragons, Verbascum, Thonia, and Calendula, cleaning out the greenhouse so the tomatoes, cucumbers and basil can now go full force.

…But as I planted and watered and doted on my beloved flowers I got an amazing show from the Oriental Poppy off in the corner of the garden, minding her own and only business of blooming.

At 7am she looked like this…

Pushing off her little hat, showing her blooming face to the world for the first time

And then by 11am she was open for pollination…

Full of powdery pollen

By 2pm she was all a glow in her glory….

Unfurling to the sun

Then when the light hit just right in the afternoon…

All a glow

By evening they had started to tighten back up…

Curling back in for the night

And I was reminded of one of my favorite Quotes by

Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

Though for only a few days, she shall remain open

I hope you too are enjoying these glorious flower days!!

Solar Eclipse

Just wanted to share this picture—- The big tree in our backyard filtered the light during the Solar Eclipse so that you can actually see the eclipse in the shadows on the house. Amazing!!


Water Moon

Oh spring rain we are so very grateful!!  Filling our buckets, calling the whole family outside to see the gifts you bestow upon us.  Some of you may know I garden religiously and for the past few years I have been planting according to the Biodynamic Calendar.  This Calender guides plantings not only by the waxing and the waning of the moon, but which Zodiac sign the moon is in.  Basically you plant roots, in earth signs, leaves in water signs, flowers in air signs and fruits in fire signs.  It is hard to say if it is “working” but it gives me guidance & rhythm, it also calls me to pay attention more to how my day activities are guided by the night.  I have started noticing all kinds of subtle things, the heat of fire days, the winds of air days…..

Good Friday-Full Moon in Virgo

What has struck me most this month is the water moons.  Right now the moon is in Scorpio, a water sign…and water it did bring, a spring thunder shower, first of the year!!  Last week, when the moon was in Cancer, yes, water again, though in the form of a luscious snow!  Just another way to pay attention, just a deepening of relating to the myriad of mysterious forces that are working on and around us every day in the subtle magical ways.