Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hello From Tanglewood

Geoff has a lot more influence on Chickenblog than most people realize. I was a feliz Mexican finishing my frijoles, chorizo, huevos, tortillas, but he opened up his laptop and reminded me that there is wifi at the Tanglewood Ripplewood Cafe. If not for Geoff, Chickenblog would be a quiet, neglected corner of the blogosphere.

But can you blame me? it's vacation time! I am trying to make the absolute most of our time on the road, away from the usual duties and chores. I think I took at least two naps our second day in. Snoring, drooling, passed out, naps. The good kind. I needed those. And of course we ate at our favorite restaurant... enough about that.

We saw Bill. My brother gave us the best pit-stop, re-fueling, entertainment, laugh filled hour imaginable. And hopefully we can convince him and Alison to come to the woods and putter around with us. I would say "hike," but I do not want to set up any false expectations. Bill and Alison are real athletes, and the only muscles I regularly exercise are my typing fingers, and the arm that brings chorizo to my mouth. Yes, so I hope they will join us, and we can putter around.

I did try to post yesterday, but the clock ran out, and I had to quit before I could post.

Alex is with us, and William, Max, and Maria. We met Alex at the airport as he was flying homeward from his adventures in Oregon. He. had. so. much. fun. Mom and Ron, and their friends, kept him busy with great activities and art lessons, they had thrifting excursions, and of course Da Vinci Days in Corvalis. Pictures soon... there are so many great ones.

I am so glad we have this getaway, this time to explore, relax, and be distracted. My dear cousin may not come back to the Bird House for a year or more... after all the duties she has performed, and kindnesses she has bestowed upon us and our farm. I hope we have not completely worn her out!

Hang in there Becky! You are the best. I promise we will return ... life on the road is pretty darn wonderful, but we do miss our critters, and friends. And of course we have next Friday's "Firefly-Serenity" marathon!

So much for brevity... everyone is waiting for me to close this lap top and head out for some more puttering!

Friday, July 23, 2010


Do not read this top secret travel tip for the city of San Francisco.

House of Nanking.
Kearny Street, San Francisco, California.
Ask chef and owner, Peter, to order for you. It is a surprising, delicious, honor.

If word gets out (more than it already has) then we will have to wait in even longer lines when we return again to our favorite SF restaurant.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garden Stars

Our garden is waking up.
It was a slow start... years practically!
But we have buds, and blossoms.

We have the pumpkins that volunteered themselves from the compost heap.

I love to be in the garden early enough to see the massive she-flowers and he-flowers of the pumpkin vine wide open, waiting for pollinators to drop by for a visit.

And they are almost as pretty, certainly amazing, when they telescope closed.

We have zucchini, and we have these itty bitty cukes. I just saw a recipe where you give the zucchinis the french fry treatment. Oh dear... now I am wandering... "Cream Puffs in Venice" has a garden post too... hers looks amazing... I'll be right back... sorry, hold on a sec.

I love visiting gardens. It's inspiring.
For a rosy outlook, look no further than "Nikkipolani."
"My Home Among the Hills" gets in the garden with the pumpkins, beans, and garlic, and he cares for bees too.
"Em and the Gang" are growing Whoppers and Oreos. And Em is a bee keeper too!
The bee keepers really impress me.
It was graduation day at "Mucky Boots Farm" where the chickies have moved in to their refurbished coop, and the poppies grow in every size and color. I especially want to remember Miriam's imperfect widsom.
Many good things come from the gardens of "Bear Swamp Reflections".
I find inspiration even in some random pictures from "Try to Catch The Wind."

An old thrift shop find was recently unpacked. It looks good posted on the garden bed, where we happen to be growing some sage.

Here is another unpacked treasure... my rooster is a ruster.

The other garden stars.

I am happy.
The sun, water, time, the journey... it's not always easy, but there are moments, experiences, people, blossoms, and flavors that make everything so very, very good.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Healthy Cats

We have the best veterinarian in the whole wide world. I have said: We have pets so I can visit Dr G. And I mean it. I have often wished Dr G were a pediatrician. And I mean it. If it were possible I would bring the children and the cats to Dr G.

He is so attentive, and he has an amazing ability to sooth even the most restless pet. Look at Benjamin! Seriously. He is totally under the hypnotic and wise influence of his good doctor.

We have been visiting our vet since 1996. His wife is an attorney and her office is upstairs. When our dog was hit by a car on Halloween night, Dr G came in to the office and insisted on staying with her until the next morning. He saved Mitzi's life (yes, we had a dog named "Mitzi"... she was a six year old rescue dog, and I never knew how uncomfortable I could be with a name, until she ran away from home and we had to walk our neighborhood calling "Mitzi!)

If we ever get a dog again I will name her "Eureka," or if it's a him, I will name him "Hoover." Would you care to guess why?

After he saved Mitzi, we gave Dr G a stack of children's books from us and our pets, for his waiting room... books about dogs and other pets. Technically it was our only venture into endowing a library. He still thanks us for those books. We still thank him for being one of the most gentle and kind persons we know. Maria read some of the books today. By "read" I mean turned the pages and narrated. I love it when she reads.

Benjamin weighs eleven pounds and one ounce. And he is healthy.

Chango's appointment was later in the day. He was camera shy. He lost some weight, but he's still a meaty cat... sixteen pounds of South American Mountain Lion. He is healthy too.

Thank you Dr G.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Dear Alex,

We miss you.

We really missed you today when we were moving the movie screen back to the carport! Just kidding. But we do need to come up with a better system. Weren't we supposed to be able to take it apart? I suppose there is a lot of labor involved in doing it that way too. Your dad had the brilliant idea of moving the screen in to the living room for Firefly night, and of course we all reminded him that his idea was not new, but it is brilliant.

We've continued unpacking the garage. Sometimes it is shocking, the things we find... stuff we have not seen since 2003. Would you believe I found more dishes? haha... okay, maybe that is not too surprising. I do believe you will be impressed when you see the progress we've made.

We all ate lunch at the taqueria, where they serve pickle juice, as Maria calls it. We played rock-paper-scissors while we waited for our food.

Proof we were all there: William's arm, Max's scissors, your dad's paper, and Maria still making up her mind! She consistently pauses long enough to make her choice match everyone's, as much as possible.

It was getting so hot here, that last night I chose to sleep downstairs. Max, Maria, and I had blankets and pillows in the family room. On the floor, wedged between Maria and the sofa, and with Chango at my feet, I was comfortable for about eight minutes. And it turned out to be a cold night, and Chango kept me from having the blanket, and I was too much of a dork nice person to give him the boot. My plan for getting a good and cool night's sleep sure did go wrong.

How is the weather back at Grandma and Grandpa's? Cooler than in Corvalis, I am thinking. But the trip to Da Vinci Days had to be totally worthwhile. The fourteen mile race sounds amazing, and we cannot wait to see your pictures, and hear more about everything. Cool that you met another FRC team, that they let people drive their robot. Gee... that would be nice if more teams shared that opportunity, yeah?

This evening all the chicas were in the big yard, and Betty popped in to the kitchen. I grabbed Maria's unfinished nectarine and called Betty back to the shark cage, with the promise of a fruity treat. She followed me, excitedly. She does love fruit. In the shark cage she took one bite of the nectarine, and then she walked out, which really surprised me. She went to where the other chicas were scratching under the shrubs and she called them, talked to them. They walked up to her, listened, and then they marched to the shark cage, and she brought up the rear, and she stood outside the shark cage until Puff and Trudy caught up and went in too. After all the little chicas started feasting on the fruit, Betty joined them. It was so sweet! She was so maternal and caring, and Max decided that their pea sized brains may be as big as grapes.

Scissors! She won.

Tomorrow I am taking the cats to the vet. And I am cleaning out the van. Gosh, you are missing some good stuff! There's other stuff I gotta do. You know, I should be making a list. And I should be getting Maria to bed. Your sister is a night owl. Speaking of "night" and "owls," I better make sure the cats are in.

Hmmm... sounds like not much is new here. I hope you won't think it's too boring, too dull here, and then decide to stay in Oregon forever! I know you are having a good time, enjoying your adventures, and learning cool stuff, which makes us very happy, but we are really looking forward to our airport reunion, and the rest of the summer that we will all enjoy together.

Give the Grandmas and Grandpa Ron a hug from me, and Maria, and Max, and William, and Geoff. We will leave the cats, rats, and chicas out of this. If you cannot bring your paintings home, I hope you will take pictures, and be sure to take some pictures of all of you together too. Maria was right... I should have bought plane tickets for all of us.

Love to you.