The heat broke and I’m walking up the hill on Sky Farm Road with our terrier cattle dog, Luna, holding her leash as she jumps for butterflies and digs for who-knows-what. She has an innate need to herd the rare car that comes by. She lies in wait, carefully eyeing it, getting ready to pounce when it passes. I hold the leash tight and tell her ,”Stay, stay, it’s OK” and most of the time now, she does. She’s about 9 months old now and, despite her rambunctiousness, is fairly well-behaved and responds to cues well.

After a year out in the country, we have 5 chickens (down from 8), 3 goats, 1 dog and 1 cat. Karen, our cat, is the matriarch but isn’t allowed to go outside, so that cramps her style. The wildlife is brutal out here. While I know she could rule the neighborhood in Melrose, here she has to deal with foxes, coyote, hawks and we’ve even seen a black bear to whom she would lose. She and Luna spar a lot but I have faith that they will work it out. We see steady progress, both of them on the bed and stuff. Luna just wants to play, I think, and she’s a puppy, so she has a lot of energy.

We take her out for walks at the park, a huge expanse of hills and fields and trails which is stunningly beautiful. Everything out here (Columbia County, NY) is stunningly beautiful. I just can’t get over it. In the park, at the top of the hill, there is a bench we sit on and look out at the fields, the little church in the town just to the north, hills in the distance. Wildflowers are everywhere, scattered like paint drops on the green fields. It’s as if Jackson Pollack and Norman Rockwell worked on a painting together.

Our house is a character all on its own. Rambling, red, with two bars (main and tiki), a great front porch, a balcony in the great room which hold one bar, a beautiful living room painted by Tony and a fully functioning modern kitchen, with a dishwasher! The house was built by the previous owners and they put all sorts of love and creativity into it. Each room is its own space and has its own character. It has G-clefs in the stanchions of the porch and eighth notes scattered all over.

I am playing a lot more music and writing a lot more songs. I play at the open mics in the area and have met a lot of cool people. The Hudson Valley music scene is very rich and there is no shortage of things to do. I thought I would be bored out here, missing the rich cultural life of Boston, but was pleasantly surprised to find that there is no shortage of cultural beauty out here. I haven’t missed Boston as much as I thought I would. Having been a city kid for 40 years, I thought I would have to adjust, but I don’t miss the subway and the traffic and the density. I miss the many cultures alive in the city and it is admittedly much more white here, but not completely.

Tami has gone through all the New York State bureaucracy in order to get here Occupational Therapy credentials moved out here. She is working and is also busy with our goats and chickens. The chickens we’ve had for a year. We have lost 3 to predators but the other ones are thriving. They give us lots of eggs!

The goats were a long time coming. We had to build a pen for them which was more work than I thought. Finally I got help and we got it done and got the 3 Nigerian Dwarf goats this weekend. They are very amusing and eat a lot of grass. I have made a see-saw for them and will build other playthings to climb on.

I am learning.