Scoop from the Coop

April 30, 2010

April poem-a-day challenge finale!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 11:15 am

Well, here we are: the end of April and the poem-a-day challenge! I need to choose the five best attempts from my poems–will you help? Please vote for your favorite, and let me know by Sunday, May 2. Grazie!

(April 26)

Magic Five

If I turn around
five times fast
will the change come?
Five, a favorite number;
twice five is ten:
two hands clapping.
Find the brightest spot
following a five-pointed star,
turn into a fifth dimension,
beyond time and space;
turning five times fast
can make me dizzy,
fall down laughing, head spinning,
turn on stomach, smell the earth,
turn on back, see the sky,
and childhood returns.

(April 27)

(with gratitude to E.D.)

That brush of feathers,
lingering touch on my soul,
lightens the load,
the heaviness that kept me
down in depths of fear,
wingtips sweeping away
the dry-ash taste of despair,
and opening a peephole
to the sun.

(April 28)

Well Run Dry

No matter how hard I squeeze
grey matter dry as dust,
not one creative word
comes out the usual
juicy crevices;
time to prime the pump,
rest a weary mind,
and put the world on pause…

(April 29)

And Suddenly Stopped

Struggling to catch breath,
sick red hen, grasping at life,
and suddenly stopped.

(April 30)


Giving up perfection’s starched cuff,
freed from such high expectations,
good enough must be enough;

let go of all manner of clutter and stuff,
no more dramatic situations,
giving up perfection’s starched cuff

is not the end, is not that tough,
after all, without those sensations,
good enough must be enough.

More easygoing when life gets tough,
gaining balance, sweet exultations,
giving up perfection’s starched cuff,

gone is the extra, gone is the fluff,
take care of basics, no hesitation,
knowing good enough must be enough.

Give away what we have plenty of,
take only what truly sustains us,
giving up perfection’s starched cuff,
good enough must be enough.

(attempt at a villanelle; grand finale!)

April 28, 2010

April poems (20-25, coming to the end)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 9:17 am

Here, again, is the link to the Poetic Asides blog, and the prompts that inspired this month’s poems:,category,PoetryChallenge2010.aspx

(April 20)

Back Up or Look Back

Backing up is not so easy,
with a neck that won’t quite turn,
use your mirrors, he says,
and I try, and usually don’t hit anything.

Even when my neck was nimbler,
couldn’t quite get the feel,
of which way to turn the wheel—
but dwelling on the past is too easy,
holding on to regrets and what ifs,
perhaps it would be better to leave
all of that in the rear view mirror.

(April 21)

According to the Calendar

According to the calendar
another month is nearly done,
I don’t remember where it went,
where have the days and hours gone?
Spring races on to get to summer,
fall will be here in a moment,
then the cold of snowy winter,
blink and start it all again.

(April 22)

Earth Dance

Slow walk, mindful step
tread upon the one who bears us all,
mother, mama, madre, mater,
shed the weight of worry
in her mud pools,
decompose, refresh, renew,
abundance flows in greens and colors,
turn and look, lay flat and breath
the must, find an earthworm trail;
jump up, cannot leave her that way,
stomp dance round fire, linking earth to sky;
we are grateful: grazie, mahalo, thank you.
Blessed be.

(April 23)

Get Off the Crazy Train

One more thing, one more task,
add another? don’t even ask;
brain drain, brain freeze,
sitting numb, and dumb,
no words come,
muscles sore, circle run,
sometimes seems that nothings done,
speed through spring,
planting, tending,
washing, mending,
what else pending?

Take a breath, and do my best;
all is well, and leave the rest
to the stars to sort out.

(April 24)


With the day winding down
to the evening hours,
there are chores to be done
and I linger at them,
enjoying the quiet murmur
of the hens preparing to roost,
tasting last morsels and preening,
when they tire of my conversation
and fuss, it is off to the sheep pen,
and warm snuffle of nose, and lip,
and tongue that makes the corn disappear
from my hand, and even the lamb
can nudge no more from it,
and she leaves me for hay,
then I wander the pasture,
and collect bits of wool
from fence and branch—
woolgathering—and my mind
journeys far: didn’t I read somewhere that
Navajo women followed their
churro sheep, gathering the wool, that caught on
the sage lining the canyons?
In the same way,
ending the day with
warm breath and animal sounds,
light fading, coming together
into the night.

(April 25)

Never Lose Your Way
(Inspired by “Golden Feather” by Robbie Robertson)

Took a chance when I found that heart-shaped stone,
and two golden feathers
on the beach
sent the stone and one feather
in the mail across the ocean
not sure what to expect
but hoping it was right
got the answer:
Come, come come,
Home, home, home;
and with a breath of kindness
I let go of past and fear,
and flew to love.

April 21, 2010

Sunny days and lots to do

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 8:36 am

Well, yesterday we reached 80 degrees. Wow! So busy in these last two weeks before we travel–doubly busy because it is the usual “spring blitz” of planting and cleaning up and rebuilding, and we are preparing for our road trip, AND Steve is working and trying to finish his EMT course. Phew! the days are evaporating.

I need to get out and start painting the posts for the new chicken yard (set up in the garage in case the promised thunderstorm arrives). The old yard is sagging, and there are too many holes that predators can get through.

The flies are bothering the sheep something awful. Poor ewes! Little Storm has been squeezing in between two straw bales to lie down in the heat of the day to avoid them. I have been “woolgathering” out in the pasture; Nugget and Notch have been shedding their winter undercoats. Since they are hair sheep, this will be the only “wool” I get from these girls.

Skittles is eating, but still not gaining weight. I am concerned that he is so thin, but the jaundice is less. The other cats, Misty and Agatha, are still having problems with giardia infestation. Another round of medicine for them before we go. The cats are going to be “house cats” for the two weeks we are gone; perhaps that will improve their health (but not their tempers!). Hazel will be traveling with us; she is still full of puppy energy at a little over a year old and too much of a handful to leave with anyone.

Time to get to the gardens and the coop renovations while there is still sunshine.

April poems (17, 18, 19)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 8:25 am

Fragments, really. Time is running away from me. I am looking forward to working these into something more.

(April 17)

Not a Science Major

If observation science makes,
then my child-self was
Madame Curie,
looking into why and how,
but keeping all the magic;
what if and why not,
data, not just boring facts,
but the pleasure of finding things out.

(April 18)

To Viola odorata (Sweet Violet)

A pleasure to see,
not shy in color or in scent,
sweetness in the spring,
and purple hue amidst deep green,
gives hope to hopeless heart,
and strength to spirit weak.

(April 19)

Emily Dickinson

If I could write but
One thin line
That echoed weakly one of thine—
How contented would I be,
How foot loose and how fancy free,
To crack the code, to taste words sweet—
To share in the sweet mystery

April 19, 2010

April poems (13, 14, 15, 16)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 8:43 am

Yes, four haiku poems. That is all I had time and energy for of late. The next three (probably not haiku!) will be posted tomorrow.

(April 13)

Love Haiku

Packed like sardines,
two years in tiny cabin,
hearts beat still as one.

(April 14)

Chicken Island

The drive circles coop,
bright eyes, fluffed feathers, welcome
to Chicken Island.

(April 15)


Busy as a bee,
spotless house, files organized—
something else must be due.

(April 16)

End, No End

Let go of it all,
bury useless ways and fly,
chance to start again.

Rain, ravens and a sprained wrist

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 8:38 am

Mercury is certainly retrograde now. Yesterday I took a tumble down the ramp (third time) from the hay shed. Banged my arm and sprained my wrist. I can type today, but cannot grasp anything in my left hand. Everything will be done more slowly, I fear.

Much needed rain fell night before last, and into the morning (thus the slippery ramp….argh!). There are greens and radishes sprouting in the cold frame. Tulips and trillium, squill and violets, hyacinths and oregon grape: all are blooming.

A couple of days ago, the raven couple (for whom Raven Call Farm is named) were right down in the sheep pen. One large black bird perched on the gate, and another was hopping on the ground near the outer fence. Steve thinks they were hunting rodents. It was thrilling to see them down on our plane; they are usually flying overhead with the swoosh-swoosh of their wings. The sheep were surprisingly calm for such skittish girls. Just curious to see who was visiting.

More poems to post next. The sun is out; should reach 70s today. Hooray!

April 16, 2010

April poems (10, 11, 12)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 10:16 am

(April 10)


We all heard the screaming,

running out into the hall,

trying to get in the door

to help, somehow;

then silence,

and more horrible still,

the look of smug satisfaction,

dripping from her face,

as the blood dripped from her hands.

(April 11)

The Last Duck

(or Take Care in the Naming of Things)

We called the smallest drake

“Last Duck”, because he was

the last of the ducks to be caught in the yard

when we adopted the lot of them

from our neighbor;

he left us the ducks, and the geese,

and his chickens,

added to our flock.

First night out, raccoon took the white duck;

next year Runner Duck was coyote winter brunch;

Big Red Rooster died that March;

just last spring, poor ol’ Jemima Puddleduck

died from a tumor, of sorts;

Gimpy and Last Duck remained.

Along comes that duck-eating coon again,

the geese too busy with the spring mating madness,

to stand guard in the night,

and in the dark of the moon, poor Gimpy lost his head;

prophetically, Last Duck is the last duck.

(April 12)

Akron, Ohio

In Summit County,

it was a pinnacle of industry,

Rubber City no more,

factories moving or closing,

production is down,

and whenever I think of home,

I hear Chrissie Hynde singing:

“I went back to Ohio/but my city was gone.”

Still, my childhood was happy there,

with parks and trees,

fireworks and thunderstorms,

ice cream cones, and catching fireflies

on a hot summer night;

and in winter sledding down the hill

in Goodyear Park.

No going back, change is constant,

but family ties and roots run deep,

and there will always be a place

for me there.

First violet!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 10:03 am

My favorite spring flower, the sweet violet, is open this morning! Our spring is early this year (but there is still chance of frost at almost any time in the mountains). The crocuses and hyacinths opened yesterday. I have been waiting anxiously for the violets, as I have plans to make some violet-scented lotion.

Yesterday was in the upper 60s, and today will probably reach 70. It is quite warm already (but 35 overnight), and I have done some weeding and cleaning up around the yards. Everyone is anxious to get out and forage, so I will head out again soon to plant the grains for the chicken feed. The hens–and Rooster Boy–get to scratch about when I am out and able to keep watch for predators.

I am done with teaching Master Gardener classes for now, and my time is my own until we leave for Ohio the beginning of May. Lots to do to prepare; lots to do in spring anyway.

April 12, 2010

April poems (7, 8, 9)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 10:20 am

I’m falling a little behind, what with all the other commitments this week, but here are three more poems. I’m not entirely pleased with these drafts (and 10 & 11 are being stubborn). Constructive criticism (or praise!) is welcome.

(April 7)

Until We Share a Kiss

Icy roads and heavy snow,
rutted road between us,
a call had come, late in the night—
or was it early morning?—someone’s
house ablaze, the rush to the station,
in the dark,
and later still a crackled conversation,
on the road coming home;
but I won’t breathe or be content

until we share a kiss.

(April 8 )


Three tines for tilling the garden soil,
old-time cultivator, shaped like a chicken claw,
the hens work alongside, with their little sister claws
busy in the dirt,
contented with the current grub or worm—
but I have future plans:
neat rows and growing things—
a ‘meal-to-be’.

(April 9)

Crone in Training

If I’ve had a good night’s sleep,
you won’t see the dark circles
beneath my eyes, and good
genetics keeps the wrinkles
at bay, yet,
the ache in my back,
and a certain slowness in the morning,
remind me of time’s flight;
a cranky turn of mind
(now what was I saying)
oh, yes: what is it with kids these days?
It never used to be this way—
beginning to sound like my grandma—
years catch up to us all, eventually.

Sheep like tulips…yum!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kit Cooley @ 8:50 am

It was a bit warmer again yesterday. The predicted rain/snow did not appear. I’ve been in town so many times the past week (teaching, meetings, errands) that I was just happy to be at home. The chickens and I scratched up the former goose/duck yard in preparation for sowing some chicken forage grains and greens. I let the sheep out to “mow the lawn”, but those girls had other plans. They stood right in the flower beds and started munching tulip and iris leaves. I had to go grab the can of corn (they come to its rattle), and lure them back to their pasture and a flake of grass hay. Baaaah-d ewes!

My new friend up on Raven Ridge gifted me with two bags of fleece–one cleaned and one not–and I have begun to make myself a drop spindle (using a dowel and a round of wood off a small log, and a small cup hook). Now all I need are some hand carders, and I can try my hand at spinning soon. I have a whole seedling tray of different dye and fiber plants started this year, so I will save some fleece to dye later on. If I pull it all together soon, I will have something to do in the car on the long drive to Ohio. (I find it hard to sleep or read in a moving vehicle.)

The hens are laying eggs like crazy (I have four dozen in the fridge–$3 a dozen if you are in the Sandpoint area, come and get um!) I can hear the “nest wars” going on again this morning. The pecking order extends to who gets to lay her egg when, and where!

I’ll be posting more poems later today. If you are following the PAD challenge this April, make sure to tune in for the next poetic installment.

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