Friday, November 28, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

William and his grandmother, Delia~
"Hold on to your forks, there's pie!" Who said that? It's brilliant.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


A panorama in Limekiln State Park, July 28, 2014. Happy Thanksgiving~

As I scrolled through the thousands of pictures I have in my photo library, I was once again reminded of the very many people, places, things, feelings, and ideas that I am thankful for. Naming them could take until New Year's Eve! So, I will say this much... I am thankful for Chickenblog, because this place, where I scratch the surface of deep thoughts and other musings, has become a treasure trove, recording happy memories, dreams coming true, friendships blossoming, surprises, reflections, blessings. I am thankful to have a small part of our lives, our days, our adventures, and misadventures captured in images, in words. Chickenblog is here to remind me of all the good, hard, wonderful, challenging, and dear things we have enjoyed in twelve years. I feel rich in friends, blessed in comforts and experiences, and inspired by the beauty all around us. And I heartily wish you healthy helpings of all that lifts your spirits, raises your thoughts, heals your heart, and fills you up!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Do Love Our Bad Kitty

In so many ways, frequently, constantly, and dependably, Mister Washburn Foo demonstrates how to be a bad kitty.

He drinks from a bowl on the kitchen counter.

He bites toes.

He drops to the floor, at your feet, just at the moment you are about to step out... especially if your arms are so full of laundry/lumber/homework, groceries that he can hardly be perceived.

He steals Lego parts, and hides them in clever little caches around the house. Always grey or black pieces.

He sneaks into my sewing basket and runs off with anything wool, never mind the needles and pins, which we have to search for in the wake of his destruction. Needle in a Foo stack!

Mister Washburn Foo stalks chickens, birds, lizards, and sweet fluffy unsuspecting things. His intentions are of the fatal variety.

He jumps on grandmothers, and great-grandmothers, kind women, small children, and sleeping bodies. He is unrepentant.

He torments Chango Biddy Bongo the Cubano Cat, and poor Chango is too old to do anything more than endure and suffer his usurper.

He sleeps on his back, in a heap of unashamed kitty confidence and contentment, tempting passers-by to indulge him with affection and cariños.

He poops two inches outside of the litter box.

When he gets outside, and knows he's about to be captured, he throws himself to the ground and rolls in the dirt, super-magnetically affixing all loose particles to his fur.

He indulges in all manner of uncivilized behavior, like parking his butt in the middle of a card game, then wears a smug expression, as though the game, or the company, is dissatisfying, or dull.

He seduces us with his polka spots, lures us with his deep purrs, tempts us with his swishy tail, snuggles us on chilly nights, and charms us with his Fooish ways.



And when I decide to make the bed, sweep the floor, sort the laundry, do paper work, or take the table cover to the washing machine, he is there, eager and ready to spare me the trouble, because he is such a thoroughly, adorably, irresistibly bad kitty.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Five Good Things

We had a veggie stir fry for dinner last night. These lovelies, plus green onions, a little garlic, and toasted almond slivers over noodles. Not just a delicious dinner, but a trial run for Maria's birthday lunch... she wants to serve ramen, like they do in Ponyo. It's fun, and challenging, when you're creating a birthday party theme without the benefit of standard issue party favors and decor. Happily, Maria agrees that our original ideas, and touches are great, and in good keeping with the very original director himself, and for good measure Maria commissioned a cake from her talented and creative Tutu. So, it will be, in some fashion or another, a Hayao Miyazaki party for Maria's tenth birthday celebration. We're happy as can be!

But first, Thanksgiving! My favorite. Halloween is great fun, birthdays are special, Christmas is dear, and lovely, and you know I can make even Groundhog Day an event... but Thanksgiving is like a lovely pause between the candy rush and the mild hysteria that the proceeding holidays can impose. Thanksgiving is warm, quiet, and comforting, it's gratitude and gathering, and makes me feel thankful for home, for family, for memories, and connections. It brings us to the basics of all good things, especially when we can be home, be with family, be safe, be in tune with our comforts and pleasures. {Also, I think we are going to try to make one of those Viking tents for the backyard, and shoot... who wouldn't want that for Thanksgiving comforts and pleasures??}

Good Things...

1. Delia has come all the way from Oregon. She left real autumn weather, and her sweetheart, too, so we think it's especially lucky that we have her here with us.

2. Our own weather forecast looks slightly less ghastly {hot, dry, windy} than previously predicted, and we even have some rain in the picture next week.

3. Lately, Mister Washburn Foo is inclined to snuggle on our laps and feet.

4. Friends... when they call, or text, or share pictures of their own laundry horrors, so you can feel normal, when they offer soup, hold your hand, tell you it's going to be alright.

5. The new roof that hangs over our porch and keeps out the rain... and Geoff, who built it, and fills my life with more goodness than I can count.

It's almost Thanksgiving time. I love the FB posts of travel, and preparations, the recipes shared, and plans being made. There is something warm and loving in the anticipation everyone feels... it's so very good.

Friday, November 21, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

After school time with Maria, Leo, and Mister Washburn Foo... Miyazaki and popcorn, too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Maybe Not Today

Mister Washburn Foo says,
No bed making today, thank you.
It's naps and baths, and more naps.
That is all.
You may be excused. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When We Gather Leaves

When we gather the fallen leaves...

We bring them to Tasha and Ada Goat...

Then, whoosh! The leaves are gone.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Five Good Things

Our last lilikoi of the season. Maria loves her passionfruit, with a passion. They smell of Hawaii, taste sweet and tangy, and look alien and cool. And that's just the fruit! Have you seen the flowers on a passionfruit vine? They are enticingly, wondrously strange.

Good things...

1. Jelly jars, watered down glue, glitter, and candles... our craft gathering was perfect. We were a small group, but productive. And I think we should add a second event to our calendar, soon.

2. Hearing from friends, near and far {Australia, Spain, Florida!} who were crafting, too. I really love the connections and friendships I've made in this big, beautiful world.

3. Diana showed me how to rescue the stitches I dropped in my knitted thing. The thing may be more than I want to deal with, after all, but I was happy to learn a new trick.

4. Geoff and William labored over the small mill, and finally got it to do something very cool... it's carved, in wax, a small replica of the lion's head knocker on our bathroom door. Next up a carving in koa wood.

5. Sharing our home, our ideas, our manias, and projects with friends. Life is better shared.

Happy Monday!! Just kidding about the exclamation marks... I'm not that perky and go-get-'em about Mondays.

Happy Monday. Happy new week, happy fresh start. I hope you find plenty of goodness to enjoy, and share.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bird House & Barn

... a Farm Report~

Can you tell Ada is bleating to beat the band? Seems it is the time of year when our dear Lady Goats, Ada and Tasha, are looking for romance. We've seen, and heard, the signs, before... long days of bleating, and when Tasha joins Ada in the cry, then we know it's a longing for some male companionship. I am sorry, dear Lady Goats. We haven't found any suitable suitors.

{Bird House & Barn now accepting interviews with handsome, fun-loving bucks, with family-minded intentions. Maybe next year... }

I expect to hear plenty from Tasha Tudor Goat and Ada Lovelace Goat through the day, and probably by tomorrow, they'll be over it.

The barn is really and truly a barn, now that it's painted red. Geoff insisted that we should paint it "Barn Red," but at the hardware store Kathy said that paint color would need many, many coats to get it right, and she led us to another section where we chose our own Barn Red, which Behr calls "Forbidden Red." We kept this minor detail on the down low, knowing Geoff was certain that only genuine "Barn Red" would do. Everyone, we must keep this paint secret under wraps!

"Forbidden Red?"


We painted our barn the truest, most genuine Barn Red.

We keep pretending it's autumn, here at the Bird House. Days are in the sixties, and at night, dip a bit cooler, still. We've had mornings so overcast and foggy we can almost imagine it's actually rained. Around town we've looked for fall color, like the four red maples next to the Taco Town. Janece captured some beautiful fall moments.

I watch our animals for clues, too. Seems a couple of the hens went for a last minute molt. Will they fluff up and feather out in time for a cold, wet winter? I am hoping for all of the above. Ada goat is the one I am really betting on, because her under coat is very wooly... we even felted her fleece! If she's starts to get more of that pale creamy fluff under her hair, then I will know we have a chance of enjoying some lovely winter weather.

They eat like winter is coming!

And not far from the goats, we find Little Debbie. All the other hens are on their side of the run, enjoying their dinner. And Little Debbie, the former queen of the barn yard? She has most assuredly {and deservedly?} been dethroned. Small as she is {think fat pigeon,} she really did rule the roost, hen pecking and chasing all the other hens. It was a bit mean, and awfully silly. Staying top hen among the chickens that towered over her was a full time job, that she relished in earnest. But I warned her, Little Debbie, be careful. Someday they'll realize they are four times your size, and then you won't be so high on the roost! But she was a chicken with conviction, and never gave her feathered sisters a break.

Well, no more. The tide has turned against Little Debbie, and it's not silly, or funny, or fair. Nine hens are chasing, pecking, harassing, and wearing out one wee little chickie. Poor dear. She earned it, true, but it's getting out of hand. There's talk of finding Little Debbie a cottage of her own. Exile, for the former dictator, where she can live out her golden years reflecting on her spotted past, and hopefully find redemption.

Ada, you darling goof. I love you, so.

And you, too, Tasha. Oh, these goaters of ours.

The barn was painted, and we chose paint for the Bird House, too. Of course, it may be another year before we can show you the after pictures. Two stories of house painting. Big walls. Oh my. But before we paint our house, Geoff is making improvements to the deck that leaks into the living room. He tore out rotted wood, and built an extension to hang over the porch. It's nearly complete, and the help from Paul made a nice difference. I love what it does for the look of the back of the house. The second story was a great expanse of siding, and the new little roof acts like eyebrows on a face... making a nice expression.

Except for a couple of flats of flowers I planted before Halloween, the garden is about as quiet as it was the last time I wrote about our neglected garden.

We do have three carrots, though. Salad any one? One. Salad. Small.

Let me wrap up this post, then I'll finish planting these Sweet William, and pansies. And honestly, how hard could it be to sow more carrots, add a row of spinach, and peas? I'll be so glad I did, come March.

You'd think we were in Maine, or Oregon. And seeing our wood stack, I must admit, gives me a comforting sense of readiness.

Come winter! Fall, at least. We want your rain, and wind, your, puddles, and rivulets. Welcome, seasonal weather, long nights, and muddy spots. We are ready for campfire eves, friends in the kitchen, and wooly goats.

The light, this time of year, is soft, pink, golden. It shimmers on the leaves, and makes everything glow. It's lovely.

Friday, November 14, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Bambi and Alex set sail...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Looking For Fall

Last year we took our picnics and cameras to a park, looking for fall, and it was a lovely and low-key adventure, one I am sure we vowed to revisit soon, and often. Seems soon and often is in the realm of once a year. That's okay. I think we are destined to arrive on the finest day of the year. The clouds put on a show, the birds were flighty and full of songs. We even had the amusing honor of being visited by Duke, happiest free-ranging pup on the green! We discovered a small pond (If you are in a region not stricken by drought, please refer to "small pond" as "concrete lined puddle.") Basically, we enjoyed our sandwiches and veggies, had yummy cookies Janece baked, then we settled into leaf gazing, picture taking, and throughly enjoying the activities Maria and Amira invented. Their first success was in finding a terrific length of rope, and from there all manner of imaginary play took root and bloomed. We were treated to fall color, which was lovely to behold. All in all, an ideal afternoon... and really, we should do this again soon, and often.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Five Good Things

Janece and I took a neighborhood walk, down in San Diego... should do this every weekend! Of course not every weekend in fall feels like a day in spring! We had a nice excursion, discovered a yummy cafe, learned about a {tee-hee-snicker-snicker} funny {aptly?} named milk weed variety. And all giggling aside, this plant was amazing... full of Monarchs and ladybug beetles. Of course we have plenty of nurseries in our own neighborhood, but Green Gardens looks like a nursery worth a much longer visit.

Meanwhile, back at the Bird House, Geoff and Paul were making great strides on finishing the new overhang on the porch upstairs... this is all part of Operation Keep Rain Outside. Our leaking ceiling is oh-so-very close to being all dried up, and ready for El Niño winter. There really should be a picture, so I am promising myself to get the camera out there. Not only is the new mini roof going to save our living room, but it's giving the back of the house great visual perks. It looks really good. I already have plans for sleeping on the porch, next summer.

I made another pot of the veggie soup we had last week. Maria offered to name the soup, her new favorite, Confetti Soup! It's green, mostly but with all the heirloom veg we get in there, this time including red spinach! it's festively speckled!

Hey, is today really the tenth of November? Seriously? We are thinking of Maria's birthday, and Thanksgiving, Christmas in the city, Winter Solstice, and more nights like Saturday night... fog rolling in, friends gathered 'round, games at the dining table, and even a fire in the fire place. Absolutely perfect. So happy for the moments when we slow down, because things are moving at unbelievable pace!

Good things...

1. Maria and Amira enjoyed a craft class together, and came home with new skills, and some darling minis.

2. Max hosted a card game party... so successful, their next one is today!

3. My friend Diana discovered stickers on FB message, and I got about fifty Pusheens with Pancakes!

4. We have, mostly, completed the planning phase of our A-frame tent scheme, and have made lumber and canvas purchases. Extra good... I think we've wrangled Paul and Janece into our new mania!

5. Dear friends have welcomed two little ones into their beautiful family! I could not be happier ... No, wait I take that back! When I get to finally meet them in person, and hold them, too, then I will be satisfied!

Happy Monday, friends. Happy Veterans's Day. I am grateful for this day to reflect on the generosity, bravery, skills, and sacrifices made by our service men and women, by all who serve, volunteer, protect, teach, heal, and give for our greater good.