Friday, February 10, 2012

Welcome to My Bunny Casa

Hello, my name is Sankanator. You may recognize me from many of the Rabbit posts published here, at Chickenblog. I was named after a 4H pig who, like me, had one blue eye and one brown eye. Olivia is the girl who raised me, for her 4H project, and then she let me come home and be Maria's bunny.

Last week, when Geoff and Natalie were putting the finishing touches on my marvelous Bunny Casa, a reader asked for more pictures of my new digs, because her daughter is planning a 4H project.

Well, Stephanie, come on in!

I used to live in a standard hutch, and come out for lawn visits, so I could hop and stretch. The weather here is mild, and life was okay, but fortunately, my family saw some interesting options for my comfort and well being. So, I started spending weekends and vacations in an empty, raised garden bed. And I loved it! They covered the top with a trellis, and weighed that down with stuff, and I got to dig and tunnel and run around. Good stuff.

These are the other raised beds. They are on the tall side, and four feet by four feet square. The bottoms are lined with wire fabric, to keep gophers and moles from entering. I guess this is helpful for keeping me from digging out, too, but I never dig all the way down, anyway.

So. Basically, what Natalie did, was take her old chicken coop and set it on top of the raised bed. The coop was an Ikea picnic table that she and Geoff modified with additional framing, a door, and chicken wire. It has served them well, but now all the chickens are together in the shark cage, and the coop was sitting around waiting for a new purpose.

Since the table is about six feet by three feet, there were open gaps, and an overhang. With scraps from around the yard, Natalie covered the gap, and the overhang. Geoff used wood screws to attach the wood pieces to the bottom framing of the chicken coop. This should help keep out unwanted visitors, and will make it easier to raise the whole top off when they want to move it, clean things... etc
Outside of the Bunny Casa, the scrap wood makes a nice shelf, where things can sit. The painted, blue shelf makes a ledge that I can hop up to, and enjoy a stretch in the sun. Sometimes I find treats there, like Timothy hay, carrots, and even a little popcorn. I love my lookout ledge.

I hope these pictures are helping. It's easy to see that this was pieced together, and not actually engineered with a design. Everything was convenient and on-hand, which is nice, and of course it has room for improvements. The table is slatted, and lets in light and air. When it rains a tarp is brought out, and I don't have to get soaked and muddy.

Inside, I have lots of room to hop, run a bit, and dig. I love the digging. It feels so good. I have special corners, and clever tunnels, and sometimes I fill in my tunnels and make new ones. It's pretty much awesome. I am happy.

The raised bed is very accessible, and makes it easy to welcome guests. I get plenty of visitors, and attention. I like that.

I imagine when summer is here, I will be cool and comfortable, too. And later, they can pop off the top and switch me to another bed, and plant new things in this bed. And then I will find roots and leftovers in my next home.

Rumor has it that tomorrow they are planting spinach between the strawberry rows. They have been busy devising ways of keep those neighbors of mine, the chicas, out of the garden beds.

Thanks for dropping by. If you have any questions, I am happy to let Natalie answer them. I have some questions... what are you doing for your garden? Turning the soil, shopping the seed catalogs? Starting seedlings? Enjoy!

{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.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Put A Brownie On It

I was about to go see my friend, and I realized this would be a nice opportunity to share one of my crocheted kitchen towels with someone really special. But then I thought: this looks a bit lonesome... like it wants a purpose.

So I put a brownie on it.

That's better.

And if you are looking for something indulgent, tasty, easy, and slightly tweaked for the health(ier)... then try this:

Get a box of Trader Joe's Brownie Truffle mix... it's an additive free, no dyes mix, and makes really luscious dessert. I prepare it with a light cooking oil (4 ounces,) but this time I finely grated half of a medium zucchini into my measuring cup, and then added oil to make it 4 ounces of zukes and oil. The rest was as directed on the box... they came out as yummy as ever, less greasy, slightly more cake-like, and definitely moist. Just good, you know? One advantage of having seven in the house, frequent visitors, and special friends: baked goods get divided up, and disappear fast!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Matt, Asa... this one's for you

It seems we are long over due to check in on our favorite FRC team, FIRST 2102 Team Paradox. They've been designing and building since kick-off, January 7, and now, according to Bill's Blog there is less than two weeks before the end of build.

Matt and Asa are team founders, and since they are studying way out east, they miss the smell of the metal shop, the sound of the machines grinding aluminum, music blaring, and the sight of a robot coming together. For them, I popped over to the metal shop... the truth is, I missed the smell, too. Here is what I found, enjoy!

Kyla and Andy, and dinnertime.

A chassis. Real descriptive, I know. Actually, I don't know, but Asa and Matt will have fun figuring this all out, and so, I don't have to!

Hey, it's a chassis and a Rebound Rumble Ball.

This. This is gorgeous. It's El Gabe Box.

I think this means a serious upgrade to wiring and electronics.
Go Paradox!

Andy, Gabe, Maria, and Geoff.

Let's see... new guy, and Chester, and Alex J., Andy, Kyle's shoulder, and Greg, and Tots. Plus, part of Darrahl's handsome head.

Guy I don't know, yet. (*update: nice to *meet* you, Alex D.) Greg, Andy, Gabe, Victoria, Kyle, and Tots, and some wood, and the big shop door that rolls up. I love this place. I love these people.

Well, guys. This is either going to satisfy your appetites for robotics, or it's gonna make you hungry for more. Either way, I hope you like what you see.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Chicken Stitch

Little Debbie,
Come to see what I have in my basket?
Sorry, it's not treats.
Well, not for

I am still working on my sewing basket. It has to be purse-like, too. Keys, camera, phone, id, first aid, provisions, flashlight, carabiners, sonic screwdriver... I need all of this handy + the supplies I like for embroidery, mending, and crochet. I did not give up on my idea of making a sewing roll, though I still kind of slacked on the planning stage. Still, I like my flannel soft carrying case.

Recognize Anna Maria's Folksy Flannel? I don't have the entire collection, but I feel really good about finally having the nerve to cut into this one piece I have been hoarding safely stowing for something special. It's pretty and soft, and it makes me happy just looking at the colors and print.

And the kitty? Well. That is Maria's portrait of Benjamin Franklin Thunder Cat. Do you see the soft and woolly resemblance? She and I are learning how to needle felt. He is our second or third attempt. Are we ever hooked! Needle felting is easy, fun, easy, fun, meditative, and fun. She drew the kitty, and got started felting his cheeks, and then she asked for help, and then I couldn't stop... she helped, but I helped a lot. The next project she assured me she could do all by herself. And she did.

Since I had no idea what to do with a small felted portrait of our cat, I decided to use it as the backing for the pin cushion... some extra security against needles poking through from the inside. He is also a pocket. And naturally I added blanket stitching, and crocheted the outer edge.

Inside is a small, felted heart for needles and pins, and a heavy pocket for the little scissors. When I realized I had nothing to secure the scissors, and keep them from flying out, I added a button and catch loop. All is secure, and pretty.

This pouch, cut with pinking shears from a scrap of wool, holds my smallest crochet hooks. Another button and thread loop keep the hooks safely stowed.

Four tiny hooks, and plenty of room for more. I guess I can bring along bigger hooks, too, for days when I am making hats, and blankets. The pretty embroidery is on a vintage apron I picked up from the thrift store... I am getting to the point where I wear my aprons most days, and I may just give up taking them off before leaving the house.

More cotton Perle, ready to play with. I love that they are tangle-proof and easy to carry, and after I secure their label, and wrap the Perle on the clothes pin, I can be sure I will not lose track of what color I am working with.

For no particular reason at all, I am looking forward to adding more features and details to my sewing case. It feels like a soft and enticing invitation to enjoy myself, and that's kind of nice. A treat, for me.

Betty would sew. I'm sure of it. She has an eye for detail. I think she would wear aprons, too, if they came in her size. Happily, I am not the only one around here who fancies a bit of chicken whimsy. The other day, Maria was illustrating chicken weddings, with extra drawings of the hen bride's dress, and all the flower girls' pinafores.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Sunday Light

A little art from Maria.

Our friends have returned from Australia. Michael and Patricia will be our neighbors, again, for a few more days, before they are off on their next adventure. Practically the minute they were in their driveway, Maria and I were over there to hear their sweet voices and enjoy warm hugs. Last night we popped over to keep Michael company around the campfire, and soon there will be a Biergarten Party, where we can catch up with even more friends, and celebrate life's rites of passage.

Sitting around the fire last night, Geoff played a hand-carved flute, and Maria practiced dancing, in the moonlight. She counted twenty days to rehearse before the next garden party. And, I think I need to see about purchasing one of Odell's flutes for Geoff. Seems my husband is a natural... no surprise. He flatters me by suggesting we can duet, together... him on the flute, and me on ukulele! (Jess, if you see this: can we book some more lessons, please?)

Do you know what is a truly wonderful gift? Music in the home is a truly wonderful gift. I miss my brother's piano playing. My own skills were always a bit pedestrian, but I did like playing. I most definitely miss hearing Max play piano. He has a gift. Tamsyn's recent summer visit was a dear reminder of how much I missed hearing her singing in the TreeHouse.

Seems like ever since we've known Eli, we have enjoyed a musical resurgence around here, and happily, it keeps growing. Eli would come by with his ocarina, a funny looking instrument, which he plays beautifully. Then Suki took up the ukulele, and we have had many occasions to listen to her sweet voice and playing. Just hearing her practice, the sounds filling the Bird House, makes me feel lucky, and happy. I think Eli has adopted at least half of the world's known string instruments, and new concerts spring up, with our talented friends keeping the beat... it's fantastic.

If music be the food of love, play on...

Sunday Light?

I sat here, in the pale Sunday morning light, and started thinking about all the good things, like Michael and Patricia, then last night, then music, and how live music has become this lovely tune that keeps recurring in my life... and it seems I just let my wandering thoughts play out in this post...

Well, the sun is full up now. The sky is blue, and the happy notes are still playing in my head, so I will go on...

Anna Banana sings. Cristina plays violin. My friends, up north, enjoyed a warm and hearty kitchen concert this week. Caia started ukulele, and I bet she's good, too. Ukuleles, and making music... I keep seeing and hearing this message, this gift, everywhere. I think my friend, Suzie, has a great handle on how easy it can be to embrace something new, like unschooling ukulele lessons!

You know what? We got something really, really beautiful for Christmas. I haven't mentioned it, yet, because it still has me in its magic-grip-of-awestruckedness. Remember the auction for Guitars in The Classroom, and all my talk about Jack Johnson's ukulele, and Tom Petty's signed guitar, and the good we can do by supporting organizations, like Jess', that keep music in our schools? Do yeah? Well. Sometimes we don't even know our own wishes, but someone else can figure it out and make it come true... and that is what happened to me. (I know you can't tell, but I am almost whispering, and my cheeks are rosing up and warm... it's because of the awestruckedness)


Our very own mighty uke. A gift from Ruth, Tutu. She coordinated with Jess during the auction, and with Holly and Rich, too. Holly and Rich gave us the good case, and Ruth bought us the Koa wood, Hawaiian ukulele, signed by Jack Johnson. Thank you Ruth. Thank you Holly and Rich. I still feel Upside Down! (I know you can't tell, but I am crying... it's because of love, and light, and the way music just stirs my tear ducts, and makes me want to be a better person.)

It's tuned, and it sounds lovely. You can strum a ukulele, and it sounds beautiful, even without fancy moves. Easy. You can learn to tune it so you just run your thumb across the strings and it plays a C chord. Suki is teaching me, and Jess gave me a lesson. And I play often. Maria plays our other uke, too.

Jess and Ron, sharing music

Blessed! I know so many talented, generous, kind, thoughtful, warm, funny, creative, inventive, courageous people. Some of them share music, some of them appreciate music, some of them build a bonfire and invite us to join them in the moonlight. I love these people. I love all the notes we play, and learn. I love the light friends and music bring into my days, and nights.

Mom, when you come here in March... bring your uke. Let's strum together.