Saturday, February 04, 2012

Saturdayness and Finishing Touches

When I made Sanka's new and improved bunny loft, it was less a matter of 'new construction,' and more a case of strategic alignment. I placed a small chicken coop, constructed from an old Ikea picnic table, on top of a four foot by four foot raised garden bed. Then I found scraps of lumber to cover the gaps, where the coop didn't cover the bed.

Have you ever heard the word cattywampus? How about wonky? Yeah, those are applicable to a lot of things I do. But it was, no doubt, an improvement, and all it really needed to make it a whole lot better-safer-prettier were a few thoughtfully placed wood screws...

Hello, Betty.
Hello, Zelda.

No one was happy about the noise of the power drill, least of all Sanka. But I did thank Geoff for helping me get the finishing touches complete on the bunny casa. And now everyone is happier, and safer.

Sanka sat close, and we chatted together. Well, I chatted, and pet her, and she listened attentively, and her nerves settled.

And then she had to dash... something about burrowing, tunneling, digging, hopping, and other bunnyness.

And your Saturday morning, what's hoppin-ing?

Thursday, February 02, 2012

{this moment}

A single photo - no words* - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and 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.

*Thank you for the positive feedback. Alex's painting and collage was hung in the student gallery, last semester, and I managed to get a shot of it, with my not very great camera. It's hard to photograph. I am looking for posts that demonstrate its origins, and progression.

Scroll through this post, and you can see it began as an ink drawing on butcher paper.

I am happy to have this photograph of the ink drawing, finished. He does not use any tools, other than his imagination, hand, paper and pen. I love his mind, and his art.

This is Winter!

Happy Groundhog day!
Feliz Día de Land Beaver!
Merry Whistle-Pig Day!
Good Imbolc, to you and all of your kin.

Last night, Groundhog Eve, if you will, we had an unexpected and welcome encounter with nature, when there was a neighborhood power outage.

Sudden darkness. What a thrill! We scrambled around, opening our smart phones, which was not very natural, but it was seriously very dark and we needed a bit of help to find matches and candles. Once we had enough candle power going, the fun began in earnest. We wanted it to last all night. We wanted it to be widespread. We wanted school to be canceled! What we got was a little less than an hour of being in the same room, enjoying the same amusements, and time to reflect on our anti-zombie fortifications.

So, it seems we are in for six more weeks of winter. Well. Not much to complain about, here. Goodness. We've hardly had any winter to speak of. It's been all blue skies, and cool nights, breezes, beach side burritos, and flowers blooming. Personally, I would welcome the break from yard maintenance provided by a nice deep snowfall, but the most we can hope for is rainfall. Rain would be nice.

Not for Zleda, though. She looks frightful in the rain, when all her fluff gets muddy, and droops. But, rain or shine, she loves to be afield.

Here comes Puff, with her daughter, Kamen, a step behind. All the chicas are out, and loving our barely winter weather.

Photographing chickens? Not really very easy. They are on the move. So even though this is a bit out of focus, I love the poultry in motion, of She-Bot, the mini bot, dashing across the green.

Well, Chango. What do you think? Spring won't be here for quite some time. And you will have to endure these days as best you can. Nights, well... those will pass with you sleeping between my feet, curled 'round yourself, snoring.

And you, Benjamin Franklin Thunder Cat, Cowboy and Explorer? How much more of this can one kitty take?

No more bobcat attacks, thank goodness. Hopefully, this is the result of our new security measures, and the effects will be lasting. Bobcats and coyotes are more nature than I want at the Bird House Farm.

The chicas are happy, and calmer, too, now that Son of Zoltar has been relocated. I was very sad to let go of our last little rooster. He was nice enough to us people, but he was getting really abusive with Betty. She was becoming a battered and fretful hen.

These days, our most exciting chica events are about finding their eggs. They do lay in their box, but they also find new crannies and spaces where they like to nest. So, some days we get to enjoy an egg hunt. Even the youngest chicas are laying, now. The three baby hens are called Penny, and Little Debbie, and Little Debbie. The Debbies look just exactly alike. The sweeties-pies.

Little Debbie, is that your tiny, brown egg?

Today we will bake something in honor of the long winter ahead.
Does anyone, please, have a chocolate-beet cake recipe?
Or zucchini-chocolate cake, please?

This sweetie pie is Penny, as shiny, coppery, and small as a lucky penny. She is the chic-petite daughter of Zoltar and Zelda.

Still filling in her feathers, but her limp is almost imperceptible. I need to find the picture Maria drew of Kamen battling the bobcat, and all the other chicas cheering for their fearless sister.

Puff, with stuff in her fluff. She seems to kind of take after me, and is never quite as tidy as her sister hens.

Weazie Ratty-Rat doesn't mind winter, as long as her house can stay in the garage, where she is warmer. In summer she will enjoy cooler nights sleeping on the porch. Sanka's new bunny loft is still the best in luxury lodging. She is as happy as ever.

Many of our trees are blooming, and we planted a guacamole tree. I don't know how long it will be before we are picking avocados, but I know it will be worth the wait. My copy of Free-Range Chicken Gardens arrived, and I have been enjoying it, very much. I'll share my thoughts soon. And hey, you still have time to enter the Timber Press contest, and win a book, seeds, and chicas of your own.

What have you done lately, today, to enjoy nature, to relish your own climate, season, and local weather? After school today, we will enjoy some more of this Groundhog Day, and our delight in making something of nothing. I hope you find reasons to celebrate, too.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Bird House, On the Corner of...

We've moved around a lot.
Some would say, Too much.
Guess it was just as many times as it took,
To come home.
And it's starting to feel like home, here.
Right where we are.

I don't mind waiting, as much as I used to.
Feels like there's time to settle into our selves, our space.
Every time we make something the way we want it, fill it, cover it, embrace it as our own, I smile and think home.
However long it takes.
I don't mind the wait, like I used to.

And to settle in, to grow in one place, sometimes you water your roots.
And sometimes it requires concrete.
It cannot last forever, but I am loving it right now.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Needles Pulling Threads

A tisket, a tasket, a happy gingham basket...
I am forever trying to be a good bag lady... to have a properly stocked, well-organized purse, handbag, carry-all. My latest obsession has been edging everything in sight with simple rows of crochet, so my latest bag is geared toward sewing and crochet.

I fiddled around with the idea of sewing a fabric roll to secure tiny scissors, needles and pins. I thought the wool scraps I have on hand and some folksy embroidery could combine nicely for something compact and convenient. But the muses would not join me, and it started to become one of those spontaneous sessions of senseless frustration. It's not a bad idea, but I wasn't giving it the planning and thought it deserved. Maybe some other time...

So. Sew. I pulled Maria's little felt heart out of the jumble, and tacked it onto the lid of my thrifty basket. Instant needle station. The sturdy basket is small enough to keep things from getting lost, and sturdy enough to keep me from stabbing myself with scissors. I can just fit my essentials... lipstick, id, and camera + supplies to play with, like cotton Perle, crochet hooks, my strawberry needle sharpener, and a bit of fabric.

I blanket stitched this napkin, from the clearance bin. Next came a row of single stitched crochet, and now I am going around once more with a double stitch. But. I am out of DMC 5 cotton Perle #502. Last time I shopped I got the last skein from their inventory. I wonder if they've restocked, yet.

What do you think of my clever thread bobbin? The clothes pin is a nice weight and size for this purpose. I can slip the informative sleeve over the handle, so I know what color number I am using when I need to refill, and the loose end of the thread keeps from unraveling when I slip it into the clamped end of the clothes pin. I may forever struggle with being an organized bag lady, but I think this solution for embroidery floss and Perle, is my forever plan.

When Maria found the heart she stitched in my basket she was tickled.
Hmmmmm... maybe my budding seamstress needs a sewing basket of her own. Wouldn't that make a happy Valentine gift? Or, better still, a great project for her to assemble and make?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Groundhog Day is Nigh

We take liberties, and we build from from many traditions. We make stuff up, and we make do. We celebrate this day with squirrely abandon, and hardly any sense of what real winter is. It is our Groundhog Festival of Frivolity and Spring Anticipation.

It is possible that we will never have this holiday or our purpose clearly defined, or that it will ever make sense. But senseless measures, and whistle-pig whimsy go well together, I think. And so, we are happily preparing for Groundhog Day, and making something of nothing.

Please, join us. What are you doing or thinking of, in anticipation of spring?

Come West, Friends

We are getting very excited about April, and the friends who will be coming then, all the way from the East Coast. It will be a first time meeting, and I am thrilled.

Today we were on a relaxing families hike with Patrick and Mashid, their boys, and other acquaintances. Since I know that Jennifer, Ken, and Dean will be deciding what to see on their visit, I took lots of pictures today... okay, I always take lots of pictures, but on this occasion I especially had them in mind.

Welcome to Torrey Pines State Park! From this trail, we are looking north toward Old Del Mar, and the furthest point on the coast is Carlsbad. An exceptionally beautiful day. Probably very much appreciated by all the golfing spectators at the Farmer's Insurance Open

Gazing south, we see the bluffs where the golfers are playing, the airship, and the curving coastline of Scripps, and La Jolla.

And up close, the Ceanothus is in bloom. We could smell the coastal sage, too. I wonder what we will find in the spring? We've always had good experiences here.

Easy trails, and beautiful sights. All you need are sneakers and some water. Maybe a snack.

This was about midway from the bluff's edge, and we stopped to take in the ocean view. This is the time of year when it pays to look out for the migrating Gray Whales... they are on their way to Baja, where they will calve.

Deep canyons. Intricate formations in the sandstone. Keep to the trail! The cliffs are not stable, and people often underestimate their position and abilities when over exploring the area.

I picked up a brochure to send off, along with a guide book I found. I think I'll browse through those tonight. There is still a lot I want to learn about our backyard!

There is more to Torrey Pines State Park than the rarest pine species in the United States. The plants, the views, the bluffs and sandstone formations... there are beautiful sights around every turn. We watched para-gliders, a paddle boarder, and a pod of dolphins sharing waves. There are trails I have yet to explore there... and actually, I like the idea of saving those adventures, to share with our friends, in April.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Can You Give a Lady Some Help?

I'm looking you in the eyes, and asking for your help.

Recently a couple of readers have brought some things to my attention about Chcike Chickenblog: #1. They cannot comment, and #2. They have trouble loading pages, seeing content.

I have been to the Google help page, and to Blogger's page about known problems, and I have tinkered around with settings, but I cannot seem to make any headway, or even see the issues for myself. From here, everything seems to be okay, but that's not helpful, is it? And of course the very people having troubles with Chcike Chcieknblog... oy with C h i c k e n b l o g have probably given up and flown the coop.

Figuring out the core of the issue, whether it's Google/Blogger, or the way I have things set up, or ______________... this is not easy.

Calling all blogging pros, and Google Masters, calling all Geeks: what can be wrong? How can I make Chickenblog accessible, convenient, shiny, good, tasty?

Thank you. Have a beautiful day.


Lady Betty Orpington, and her beleaguered assistant, Natalie, the Chcikenblogger Chickenblogger


Filmed on location, here at Bikini Bottom, the music video we've all been waiting for:

SpongeSuki Square Dance and her masked chum, Alexton, the single-celled lovable curmudgeon. Tatiana would like everyone to know that orange screens are a music video editor's nightmare.

When "Pocket Stimson," the suspense film, and the Western film are uploaded, I am making popcorn and hosting a film festival! It will be the best day ever.