A Day in the Life of a Carl Sandburg Barn Volunteer

This week, I brought along with me, hoping to catch the ins and outs of being a volunteer at the Carl Sandburg barn. The cool overcast day was in my favor…

I said hello to the Tiger-Cat-in-the-manger…

Bid the chickens good morning…

And laughed over the silly kids, who get a wheelbarrow of their own out in the yard, so they leave ours alone.

Tried to document the barn-cleaning process before a kindergarden tour came through. And then….

This happened. The last baby of the season was born a few days early, out in the pasture, surrounded by enchanted kindergardeners. And me. I was so happy that it was on my day to be at the barn! I had been hope-hope-hoping that I would get to be there for one of the births. Thank you, God, thank you, Bella, thank you, little goat for arranging it so nicely. ūüôā

There is more to this story, more about Bella’s mom, Brie (the matriarch of the goat barn) refusing to leave her side, more about cuddling the baby for hours as part of the imprinting process. But it’s time for me to get off the computer now, go forth and do other things. So, I’m leaving you with the following dose of adorable. (Last two photos by my sister, Lalie.)


Let’s make this easy…

There is a week or so left until my birthday. It’s not a big one – no 0 or 5 involved, but here is my birthday list, in case you were wondering.

* List of suitable Gift Card sources

  • blueridgebakery.com (I would like to take the gnocci class! Or Indian.)
  • kiwigelato.com (Because it’s delicious)
  • canvas.landsend.com (The sales on these¬†two are my wardrobe staples!)¬†
  • sundancecatalog.com
  • anthropologie.com (I’ve never gotten to order from either of these two. I just drool over the catalogs…)
  • ruche.com
  • etsy.com (Because anything can happen on Etsy.)
  • parkseed.com (Maybe, for the sale later this spring?)
  • newleafgardenmarket.com (Pleeease?)
  • coedcinema.com (Popcorn not included.)

Any of those. But it’s not special unless you promise to go on the shopping trip with me.

¬†** You know what? I don’t really need anything for the MP3 player – shucks, I barely have music on it yet! Except I did just get a free download of an¬†Allie Moss album on NoiseTrade. Spent last night listening to it and like it quite a lot. You should download it too!

Squirrel Dreams


A big little illustration for a White Squirrel Day contest.¬†All the things that I imagine squirrels dream about….chasing their friends, gathering nuts, tightroping over the highway, teasing dogs and cats, stealing birdseed and making daring leaps from tiny branch tip to tiny branch tip.


I didn’t realize until I was finishing up that this guy¬†would do just lovely for Illustration Friday’s ‘jump’ theme too! Jump, little squirrel!

Green, so much green!

I vanished there for a while. Sorry about that. But who can concentrate on blog posts when there is so much going on outside? (and on Facebook… and Pinterest…, but that’s another story…)

Mossy little patch beneath the oak tree. I’m trying to weed it into submission and make a full moss garden. I can’t tell if I’m making progress or not….but this macro shot makes me think that I am! Thank you, macro shot. We’re going to ignore the little weed sprout.

Woodland corner where I’m trying to encourage a natural colony of mayapples, ferns and phlox. I pulled out a lot of english ivy this winter and the others seem to have already doubled in number! Hopefully the trillium and jack-in-the-pulpit that I spied when we first moved here will come back too.

More english ivy to go. Don’t want to hurt the pretty ferns right now.

This blackberry is precious. 1) It’s a division from my grandaddy’s plants. 2) I thought I’d accidentally dug up a weed instead, because it did NOTHING the first year. Now it is looking like a proper blackberry and bloomed just in time for blackberry winter. Which is why I don’t begrudge the frost damage on the hydrangea – it means that this little blackberry is blooming. (Jack Frost and I, we have a very emotional relationship. I will never forgive the Easter Frost of 2007 that ate up all our wisteria buds.)

Happy garlic from a pantry shoot. It’s nigh 4′ tall now and¬†receives¬†ladybug visitors.

Woodland poppy, looking very plush this year. I love the fuzzy seedpods! Interesting fact. In the pictures you’ve seen so far, I’ve had to purchase none of the plants. Not one. They are wild, inherited and salvaged. This one was a freebie from Master Gardener clinic about 2 years ago.

Now this one came from the Park Seed sale last May. Viburnum sargentii ‘Onondaga’. Rather a spur-of-the-moment purchase. I knew I wanted a viburnum and, if I had had more time to consider, probably would have picked out one with sweeter smelling flowers or berries for the birds. As is, this one is supposed to have wonderful fall coloring. No one mentioned how charming the flowers are though. I rather like them.

Mounds upon mounds of rhododendron are blooming! Blackberry winter seems to not have affected them one bit.

The ancient mock orange just started blooming this weekend. This shrub is huge and really needs a haircut! (This shot is from standing underneath the arching branches – I love it in there.) At the old house, there was a pale pink rose that would bloom every year for my birthday. Here, the mock orange seems to do the same. It’s coming a little earlier this spring because of the warm winter I suppose. Does this mean I get early birthday cake?

Lemon balm looking quite contented on the sunny side of the house. I’m surprised that out of all the things that try to grow over there, the lemon balm is the least bothered by the blasts of air from the AC unit.

Oh look, the catmint is blooming!

This made me laugh and, even though the reflections are very bright, I had to take a picture. Do you see the wrinkly Bebe-dog nose sticking out of the curtains? “Um, Sara – what are you doing out there??” ¬†She works so hard to keep track of us all…