Friday, February 24, 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.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Little Debbie and "_______"

::Little Debbie-Big Lipstick::

It's kind of obvious, now that I take a thoughtful look at their pictures:
Little Debbie, and Little Debbie do have distinguishing marks! Happy Zombie, Monica, and California Jenn, noticed it's in the lipstick! The comb under their beaks... one is bigger, and the other smaller. I noticed the shape of their combs is different, too. One's turns to the right, and the other's turns to the left. Maybe "obvious" is overstated, but there are distinctions.

::Little Debbie-Little Lipstick::

The lipstick may grow, and then I would be back to not being able to tell them apart. And, seriously, the difference is not as easy to make out when they are in their usual run-around-and-panic mode.

So, do I have a chica named Little Debbie and a chica named Other Little Debbie? Or does Other Little Debbie get her own moniker?

Penny, you look thoughtful. Any ideas?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Love Genetically Engineered B@boon Bottoms and Sweet B@bes in Barcelona

It is impossible to resist reading the statistics, gathered by Google, about traffic to Chickenblog. I am a curious being. The title of today's post is inspired by the top search words that have brought readers to this blog. The symbols are added to thwart the readers searching for images of b@boon posteriors... etc. Yes, it's true, this blog is a crushing disappointment, to many. But However, if you appreciate random musings, and variety, well, this may be an interesting place to browse, to explore, and be engaged.

A long time ago, I promised Max and Alex that they could have pet frogs. I asked them to wait until we were in our own home. This is the year, the season, of the frogs. Max is particularly eager. I may have delayed a bit too long for Alex. They both love frogs very much... enough to have researched, studied, and even to refrain from keeping them as pets. A recent visit to a nature center, and new ideas and information about local species has rekindled the interest. We are ready.

We have also debated bringing home another cat. We miss Ferris. And Diego. And Nena. And Bongo. And Mabel, Scooter, Burrito, Max, Mijo, and Mitzi (who was a dog, but you get the idea Oh, and to ease your concern that I listed a lot of dead pets, please bear in mind I am recalling the pets of two families, over forty years, plus we've had a lot of pets, I guess.)

When I was a girl we knew a dog named William F. Muttley. He was a Pekingese. William F. Muttley had a daughter, black and white, like her dad, and she lived with us. We named her ChiChi. She was a funny dog, or least I remember her as a dog that made us laugh, a lot.

I have this thing about other people's dogs. I love other people's dogs. But I don't want a dog. I just want to love Homer, Satchmo, Haley, Henry, Wall E., Rocko, Buddy, and all the dogs we give biscuits to when they are walked by our home.

I want miniature goats. Vegetarian dogs. There are two, female minis at a feed store, right now. I could go. Today, and bring them home. And then be in a heap of trouble, because it's crazy to want goats, and to bring them home on the spur, without so much as a rope or fence, or good sense about caring for them.

Common sense, and thinking things through, can be such a bummer.

The whole goat thing makes getting a kitten seem like a slam-dunk.

My mom made twenty-eight bracelets for FIRST 2102 Team Paradox. She made earrings, too. All the fun pieces are in team colors, red, blue, yellow. I passed them out this week. It was fun. And, Mom, you should know, everyone really loved them. They were very appreciative. I was appreciative too, because I couldn't figure out a snack to bring. It turns out there was more than enough food, but you can't have too much jewelery!

And sharing my mother's gift gave me something to do, besides take pictures. I am not agoraphobic, but I love my camera even more than I love other people's dogs, because it gives me a focus<---pun! It gives me purpose, an activity, distraction, object-to-hide-behind when I am out in the world, especially in social situations. I might be shy. I might be understating. I am shy, and something else I don't know the word for.

Today, I may go to the garden center and bring home more blueberry bushes. We have three, waiting to be planted. But I think with seven, sometimes more, people living and making and eating here, well... seems like it couldn't be too much to have lots and lots of blueberries growing and ripening, waiting to be plucked and enjoyed. That is the same reasoning I used when we took out four do-nothing-shrubs, yesterday, and started planting a guava tree, another apricot, and three blackberry vines. Now I am looking at a do-nothing-tree and thinking about replacing it with one more guava variety.

I see so many metaphors, and ideas in these pictures. And I recall wonderful utterances heard, and feelings enjoyed during our little outing. Whatever this blog is not, for me it is, at least, a dear collection of deep thoughts, random musings, and moments I hold sacred,
or pointless,
or funny,
or all of the above.

As for search engines, and statistics: Here are a pair of ducks. Mallard ducks. A drake and a hen. Ducks swimming up stream. One duck is male, and the other duck is female. The drake and hen are handsome, and winsome. The ducks are in the water, facing an easterly direction, and thinking of finding some duck weed, and a nice place to settle for spring, before they raise ducklings. Ahead of the ducks is a bridge which crosses the stream from north to south, or otherwise. When the ducks reach the bridge, they will not have to duck, because it is a high bridge, and they are in a low stream. Ducks like puns, very much, especially when they are feeling down. Nothing quacks them up more than a silly play on words.

If you feel you have reached this blog in error, please, leave a comment stating your actual interests, and we will share a list of suitable alternatives for you to explore in the future. Or just share any random, or ducky, thoughts you would like, and we can chat.

I leaf it to you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Big Hoops & Happy Loops

After our excursion to Coral Tree Farm, we picked up some lunch, then went home to our own little farm and enjoyed a backyard picnic, and some hoopla under the big, blue sky.

We love our big hula hoops, and if you would like to, you can make you very own big-hoop hula hoop, and enjoy the excellent physics of gravity defying rotating loops.

Monday, February 20, 2012

All The Chicas Pose

The chicas are happy. When the chicas are happy, I am happy.

I wonder if I can have too many pictures of my happy chicas?

Just kidding. I don't wonder. I know that I cannot have too many pictures of my happy hens. I waited a very long time to have hens, and now they are here... well, I simply do not tire of their pretty faces, their dust bath contortions, their chattering and clucking, their warm eggs, their absurd antics and mischief. And if they are willing to pose for me, well, how can I resist taking more pictures of my dear chicas?

Betty. Lady Betty Oprington, the dowager empress of our little farm by the sea. She hasn't laid an egg in months. Those days may be in the past, but she is my old dear, and I am content to watch her run across the lawn, and move through the yellow flowered sour grass.

Kamen... in honor of Dean Kamen, because she hatched during the FIRST Robotics Competition in San Diego, and she bears an uncanny resemblance to the man who wants us to put science and technology FIRST! The fact that she survived a nearly fatal bobcat attack, with the healing powers of science and love, gives her an even greater aura of celebrity.

And here is Puff. Dear Puff. She is Kamen's mother. She is small, and fluffy and round. She is a Puff. Maria named her.

The chicas must have agreed it was time to get new photos taken of themselves, because they all were so cooperative. This is one of very few good pictures I have of Puff, who usually appears as a little-black-puff of a rain cloud, on the move, and dusty.

Shebot-the Mini-Bot is another who is not easy to photograph. She moves, all the time, and her eyes are completely lost beneath her Polish pompadour. She is an FRC day sister, like Kamen, named for the fast moving Mini-Bots of LOGO Motion.

With a Polish rooster for a papa, and a Silky mama, Shebot is pretty, silky, and soft. She has that dark Silky skin... blue and purple, and her feathers feel nearly downy, though they are smoother than her fluff-puff mama's.

This is Penny. She is the daughter of Zoltar, the great, late rooster. Her mother is... well... either Zelda, Puff, or possibly Shebot. She has a lot of gray in her tail end. She is a bitty thing... even smaller than the Silkies. The eggs she and the Little Debbies lay are adorable.

Hello, Penny.

This is one of the hens we are calling Little Debbie. I cannot tell them apart. They are both petite and handsome... winsome? They are petite and winsome hens.

Other Little Debbie. I cannot tell them apart.
Hello, you winsome lady bird.

Well. I guess that's everyone.

Oh. No. Wait. Where is Zelda, our downy white puff of a lady bird?

Zelda is a mama. She loves her nest, and her clutch of eggs. She loves her chicks. And she has been broody, all week. We take the eggs, but she sits. We pick her up and hug her and cluck to her, but she sits. Poor dear. She doesn't realize that without a male suitor, her efforts are in vain. I know she will come around, eventually.

Zelda, Silky Princess. We love you.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Making of a {Moment}

Have I left you guessing, long enough? Sometimes those wordless moments are a bit tortuous for me, because I love the story. This picture fits into the middle of the story. The beginning of the story is three years ago, Valentine's Day, when Suki and Grant went on their first date...

Suki, creative and clever, decided that the sweetest gift she could give Grant for this special occasion would be a giant chocolate lolly pop of his own face. Okay, sweet and twisted.

She came home with a bronze mask that Grant himself made in a sculpting class... she felt pretty sure he would not notice it missing for a few days.

At this point we were all helping, in one way or another. Maria lent her play-dough stash. Alex suggested filling all the deeper holes and crevices. And we all stood around assessing and laughing, and contemplating the next steps.

The play-dough was in place to help the vacuum former from getting the hot plastic stuck into deep, tight crevices, and also to build up the missing eye and brow. And yes, we have a vacuum former. Side note: our country's economic course, and refusal to value domestic production and manufacturing has created a vast surplus of things... robots, machines, mills, parts, pieces, supplies, tools, materials, lathes, grinders, stuff! And it can be had for pennies on the dollar. Pennies! Geoff restores machines, takes stuff apart, the children help, and develop their own projects, and we are making. It is awesome.

The bronze mask was set on the table of the vacuum former, and Alex cut plastic and set it in the frame over the mask. Once the plastic is heated and becomes soft, it is lowered over the object you are making a mold of, and it takes the shape of the object.

The mold cools in seconds, the excess is cut away, and added to the recycling bin, and we are ready for the next step...

Alright, so the next step wasn't too glamorous. Alex was disturbed by the weirdness of scrubbing Grant's face. But we figured the mold ought to be especially clean for what it was about to receive... chocolate!

Suki inserted a note in a vial, and she added a nice sturdy lolly stick. I supervised chocolate melting on an improvised double boiler.

Suki and Alex got the hang of chocolate melting in no time, and soon two or more pounds of semi-sweet goodness was filling the empty cavity behind Grant's face. Not to imply there are any empty cavities behind Grant's actual face, which is actually full of laughter, cool ideas, and remarkable skills.

So. All that happened on the eleventh day of February. The next twenty-four hours were spent letting the mold and chocolate slowly and gently do their thing, cooling and firming, taking shape. When they released it, Suki and Alex opened a packet of clay modeling tools, and went to work carving away excess bits, and refining details... skillful and effective steps in giving the mask the best Grantness possible. Then Suki wrapped it, chocolate Grant face lolly, in red cellophane, and stashed it in the fridge, and we waited.

A note of apology: These were taken before I was reunited with my Big Black Beautiful Camera, and after I misplaced my little blue camera. The only thing I had was my iPhone, and low, night light... the moment was worthy of better than this, and I am sorry about the crummy pics.

ChocoGrant, GrantGrant, BronzeGrant and SukiGrant.
Happy Valentine-a-versary, SukiGrant!

Grant's reaction was priceless. He laughed forever. The echo is still reverberating around our kitchen. He was appalled-charmed, confounded-delighted, and also totally amused. I think there were emotions there as yet undefined by our language, which is good and fitting... love cannot always be defined, but you know it when you see it.