I must start by telling you that Bruce went to a house auction this week. He had some hope of picking up a true wreck of an old house for song, then doing the rehab and letting our son have it. It would have been a good opportunity to teach Ben some useful skills and might have been a good investment for us all. However, we lost the bid to the bank. We did walk out with a much better insight into how the housing crisis unfolded as the auction made it possible to see just how many lenders had a piece of what was a very small pie. It was just about impossible to figure out who owed what to whom. Now the house will be placed in the hands of an agent and sold on the open market. My guess is that it will sit empty for a very long time.

I had my first milk pick-up from my raw milk co-op. Think mozzarella, ricotta and cream; we had pizza last night and tonight it’s stuffed pasta. Maggie made a fabulous pizza crust, my least favorite part of pizza making. Sharing the cooking is going to be lovely. It’s so much less intense with two of us working.

The ramps are past but the asparagus has just emerged and I found my first peas too. The greens are nearly ready to harvest. In fact, I think I may have enough to add to the stuffed mannicotti. I found a good stand of fiddleheads and nettles. These little finds may not seem like a big deal but I get so much pleasure, not just from the find but from knowing about these things, what they are and how they’re useful.

Maxine asked a very good question about protecting my berries from winged thieves. We built raised beds for all of the berry patches. Bruce will build frames so that we can attach Remay and have a bird proof enclosure. I use Remay on the strawberries too but I hold it down with metal u-spikes. The look rather like big hair pins. We don’t used netting as it is too easy for small birds to get tangled in and then they die a horrible death. I would rather lose the berries than have that happen. We have tried just draping covers but the wind blows them around and away. This is one of those places where more work up front in building frames pays off in a more efficient system. We will build the frames so they can be disassembled for storage. If we’re careful, we should get several years out of them. Just be sure that you don’t cover your berries before the bees get at them for pollination.

Tonight is our sustainability meeting. My good friend, Sara, is giving a talk on medicinal herbs and I going to take Maggie with me. I see the coltsfoot is blooming and the first dandelions are up. I want to know so much more about these useful plants. I never see dandelions as a weed. Like so many plants, they are gifts from Gaia if we take the time to learn the secrets