Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Sorting Beans and Other Deep Thoughts

This morning I had a brilliant idea: Pretend it's Friday. And I thought... I should recruit all of my friends, sort of band us together for a greater purpose. My plan was to take it to social media, rallying the troops around my Friday plan, because if we all agreed that today is Friday, then it would have to be so. Power of the people, etc. But then, I got out of bed, and got dressed, and one thing led to another, and real life took over, and my brilliant plan sort of dissolved. But, maybe next week. Next week we can all conspire to alter reality and have a little fun with time and space and stuff.

In other news... we have a rooster.

Let that sink in.

No. Not Pip O'Pep, whose gender is in question. This is a certifiable cock-a-Doodle-do roo!

I'm not kidding.

What else...

1. It's September! {Obviously, I am stating the obvious, but for my purposes it's helpful to state simple facts, reinforcing them in my thoughts, hopefully aiding my ability to relate and reason.}

2. Next month is October. {Also, a simple fact, but in this case I agree... I am getting ahead of things, and no one needs that kind of pressure.}

3. Maria and I have been taking our morning cup of chai to the freezer, and enjoying a very iced tea in the afternoon.

4. The roster's name is Doodle.

5. As soon as the weather turns, I will start making rice puddings, fulfilling the second half of my New Year's Resolution.

6. When Kamen met Doodle, she dropped her wings, puffed herself up and shuffled menacingly at him. Like. a. rooster. Our hen, Kamen, is a cocky little hen.

7. We have a big pot of beans on the stove.

8. Beans are a gateway food. Now, we need cheese, and tortillas de harina, for starters.

9. I bought flannel. Fabric. Plush, warm, cozy, snuggle-worthy cotton flannel. For pajama pants, and scarves. {This single act may doom any chance of having a seasonably cool fall. Forever. I'm sorry.}

10. I don't miss cable television... except when I want to watch old movies.

11. Some people have been leaving very nice, generous and thoughtful, comments here at Chcikenblog ChickenBlog. Those gestures really touch my heart. Thank you.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Some Feathered Friends

Our weekend was for the birds... in a good way.

The run got a tidy-up. Knocked down cob webs, raked everything, and put down new bedding... we're giving rice hulls a go, on a suggestion from Robin and Sean. We like it, so far. The chickens like it, too, and were happy to help spread it around, and sort through it. Good chicas.

Here's Pippi.



I've started calling Pippi and Pepper Pip O'Pep, because like the Cuckoos, Thomson, Thompson, and Tamsyn, we cannot tell the two Wyandottes apart.


Hold on...

Oh dear. I'm just noticing those tail feathers, and the ones cascading at her wing tip. Those look very rooster-ish.


Just... no.

Pip O'Pep? Hello? Are you a fellow?

Oh my... the steely gaze of Gallus gallus domesticus.

All five of the newest chicas... one Ameracauna sitting below. We still haven't named them all. I don't know why. They stick together, and roost in the oddest places. I've lost count of the number of times they've settled in for the night outside, on the roof of the run! Among five chickens I wish there was enough collective sense to figure out they're choosing the worst spot possible. William has to climb up, gingerly navigating the framing of the run... he slides a broom under each one, then extends them over to the edge so Geoff can grab them. One by one. It's quite a rescue operation.

Are you ready for my hypothesis? This really is based on limited evidence, but I am in love with my supposition! It goes like this... Friend was visiting all day, taking a record number of peanuts, and being as handsome and endearing as ever, because he knows something about El Niño. Geoff fed Friend. Alex fed him. William, Maria, and I fed him. Andy fed him. Leo fed him. Jesse and Jarett fed him. And we put down more peanuts for Friend's shyer companions. And I believe that this epic day of peanut stashing is because Friend, our wise prognosticator, Aphelocoma californica, knows winter is coming, and he knows it will be particularly wet, and wintery, and cold, and wintery, and drought dampening, and wonderful.

Clever Friend.

Handome Friend.

Prudent and wise, discerning and diligent, Friend.

We love our feathered friends.

We love introducing our feathered friends to other friends. I loved seeing Andy's expression. Unfortunately, I didn't have my phone on me when Jesse and Jarett met Friend, but I can still hear the awe and delight Jarett uttered when he fed him. The sound of joy is... well, I guess it's indescribable, and good.

Leo, meet Friend.

Warning: Connecting with Nature may cause spontaneous euphoria

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Goats, Chickens and Summer Heat

Not that I want to to talk about the heat, but it's hard to ignore. We are in the midst of our summer's high temperatures, and humidity, if I am not mistaken. I have melted so many times today... never mind. It's too hot to take account, or complain. Let's not talk about the weather.

Let's talk about darling goats, and their orchard grass, the peanuts I brought them for treats, the way they look as though they are grinning when I take their pictures at breakfast. Nom nom nom, and those funny teeth show between their hairy lips. I think they have the dearest faces. Silly, and dear.

In the afternoon everyone is released from lock up, and they all, goats and chickens, make for the shrubs and trees, for favorite dust bathing spots, and shade. I filled bowls with ice and ran a mister for a time... little things like this are welcome. I should clarify... the chickens like the mist from the spigot, the goats stay clear. Goats are well and fine with this heat, but water? No, thank you!

Our Silver Laced Wyandottes are so transformed from their black and downy chick days. I have been captivated and impressed observing their black feathers changing into white, black trimmed feathers. All the new birds are still a bit smaller than the big fat hens. We aren't getting eggs from the little sisters, yet. And there's probably some molting going on, so that slows down the regular layers. Unfortunately we are also in the middle of a stick flea war. I know a lot of backyard chicken bloggers love sand for ground cover, but apparently sand is also a favorite nesting material of these horrible little biting parasites. More diatomaceous earth! More Vaseline! More patience and vigilance! {If your backyard chicken book says "Easy" in the title... Beware! There's more to keeping chickens than fresh eggs, and dust baths!}

Today, before the heat makes it too loathsome, I will be cleaning out the coops and run, freshening things up. And I will be thinking about our rainy season, which is expected to begin about October... and is also forecasted to be exceptionally wet. El Niño. We need to resolve drainage/mud issues, and think about keeping goats dry and happy, and chickens from washing away in the storms! Rain... now, that's something lovely to contemplate.

Friday, August 28, 2015

~This Moment~

~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~

If you're inspired to do the same, please leave a link to your moment in the comments, for all to see.
Our Friend, the jay, couldn't wait for me to leave the car. Fortunately, I had a peanut handy.

Friday, August 21, 2015

~This Moment~

~This Moment is a Friday tradition, capturing a special moment from the week~

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments, for all to see.
An after school special... lime popsicle~

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Handmade Onigiri

It was nice of enough of Lani to invite me out, but she raised the bar when she brought me a gift from her trip to San Diego. I wish I could have joined her when she ran an errand to Ikea, then stopped for bento. Do you know bento? It's both lunch and art in Japan... and it can get downright adorable. Lani and I texted back and forth... I asked her to please ask me again, next time she goes, and mentioned my craving for onigiri! Do you know onigiri, or musubi? They're white rice formed into shapes, like triangles, or cylinders, and wrapped in nori. I lovelovelove onigiri with pickled plum, and furikake! Lani brought me a mold for making onigiri! That was so sweet of her!

Maria and I were looking over the package and noticed the little anthropomorphic onigiri character on the label. It's very kawaii. Do you know kawaii? Think adorable, cute, lovable. There is a lot of kawaii out there! This little Onigiri Guy gave me an idea...

Handmade onigiri! Made with French knots rice, and satin-chain stitched nori!

The hardest part was deciding where to put him when he was done. Since he's a tasty snack, I decided to add him to a snack bag. These bags are fun to make. I made this one lined. Also, I enjoyed trying my hand at some sashiko stitching.

It's a good thing I was dressed in a pretty skirt yesterday...
I couldn't possibly do housework in a pretty skirt.
Obviously, I had to sew, instead!

{Maria wants a whole bento box of handmade embroidered kawaii treats... what have I started??}

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Still Summer

{This is not a casual connection: I was sad because of the consistent, and persistently mounting, evidence that I am not destined to leave the hallowed halls of Blogging Anonymity, a private pity party I host for me, and my ego, and I decided not to post again until there was at least one new comment, because the universe always responds kindly to ultimatums from suburban housewives in pretty skirts, but being a compulsive blogger and glutton for humiliation, I formatted new pictures, and began composing something in my head, something about "balance" and "nature" and "restoring my soul" and "the life affirming power of stepping where waves are washing the sand," and I was debating whether or not to bother starting to make a new post from the photos and deep thoughts I had laid out, when a very dear friend, a kindred spirit, shared these thoughts:

"My theory is that summer lasts longer than school vacation and therefore, it is still summer; summer in a different way, through different schedules and experiences to be sure, but still summer."

And it was everything that I needed, everything I could say about our two evenings, after school, after dinner, after homework, before sleep... walking in the dusk, following the waves, and holding onto the goodness of our summer. It is still summer. And I am thankful to be reminded of this, and to have just enough gumption to go out and enjoy it. Thank you, Jennifer, for commenting, for connecting, for knowing just what to say.}