Saturday, September 01, 2012

Heart and Soul

Saturday: Princess flowers, half way through a morning walk with Geoff and Maria.

Accountability: this word popped up every day, all week, and kept me moving, even when I was very little inclined to do more than close my eyes, leave my shoes by the door... but after last week's post, so many of you shared your thoughts and hopes with me, and I was so inspired, that I really did feel like I had companions and coaches. One friend wants to share walks, another is on her rebounder, and from Spain, a nudge and reminder to keep my legs moving! Every comment and story is wonderful, and I am letting all of the encouragement and good examples sink in, so thank you!

So... I said Heart and Soul would be about moving, being accountable, keeping it simple and letting it be happy. Hmmm... that gives me MASH! Heart & Soul MASH.

Plumeria. We are not as far west as Hawaii, but still we get an amazing variety of tropical flowers.

(Alright, I don't want to linger on the subject, but I did get sick this week. It's painful, and demoralizing, and even though I don't want to talk about it, I am going to pat myself on the shoulder and say: I moved, it was simple, and slow, but I moved. Maybe a super awesome start to my plan would have been more encouraging and more fun to document, but if I have to start with a rough speed bump, then at least I can be happy that I am resisting all urges to succumb to a funk. The end.)

I have no intention of making this a habit, but my Thursday walk was around a medical building. You might be hard pressed to find happy scenes in shrubs and walled garden corridors, but this fountain was a welcome sight, and cooling just to hear the water falling down the tiers.

Wednesday: around the track with Maria and Geoff.

In the middle of the week, Geoff and I joined Maria at school, where we made some laps around the playing field before classes began. Without us there, she would have run, but Maria was too thrilled to have her daddy with her, to race ahead.


William read the Heart and Soul post, and took it to heart... he coaxed me, and prodded, and got me out for a night walk. Actually we all, six of us, went out into the dark. It was wonderful. Max wore a headlamp, which is smart. With the sun down, we felt relieved and perkier. Our eighty degree days, humid and sticky, have been draining.

I had spent at least two hours reconfiguring the goat's estate, moving fences and pavers, raking hay, wrestling two goats who were eager to participate in the chores. It was serious farm work, and in that heat I mentioned, so I really felt entitled to my quiet evening... but I am so glad William persisted, and persuaded. It was nice being together, talking, noticing the neighborhood after dark, making our plans. So nice, we went for a second loop.

Last night, I went to bed with some bit of dread about today's post, because I felt like I let myself down. I hit that speed bump, felt derailed, and worried I wouldn't have much to share today... then something dear happened: I woke up, and found Heart and Soul, in Spain. Annie and her Darwin are taking their walks, and taking pictures!

The fourth picture down, Darwin is looking back, and I feel like he's cheering me on, too! "Come on, Slowcoach!"

And not only am I encouraged by Annie's participation, but go see her post and take in those sights! ¡Viva España! I know, I am not there, but in spirit I feel like my walk, my heart and soul, are taking in much broader views and vistas!

Bolstered and inspired, I asked Geoff and Maria to join me on a walk this morning. A fog was lifting, and I looked out for something to share with Darwin... balls!

Look, Darwin!

Apparently, our little four legged friend makes playful use of pine cones, as balls! Clever boy.

Did you move this week? Share your comments, or link to your blog post. We want to see where you've been, too.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Shave Us From The Heat!

Still hot?
Still sweltering and summery?
Are you looking for something sweet to eat, to save you from the heat?
We may have what you are looking for... this is a raspador de hielo... an ice shaver! This clever tool rasps the ice, shaving away cool, fluffy layers of ice that collect in the handle.

With some downward force you push it forward across a block of ice... repeat, repeat, repeat, then peek inside and voila! Hielo. Fluffy, light snowy ice. Perfect for something sweet. What would you serve over it?

How about limes with mint? Almost, a mojito... which would be refreshing, too!

Tiny Key limes, not much juice in this little wonder, but good flavor. Since we have artificial dye allergies and aversions, we've learned to make our own syrups. We've made strawberry syrup, raspberry syrup, mixed berry, lemon, and lemon with mint and chile! The lemon-mint-chile recipe is still the all time favorite, of all ages!

Years ago the children gave me this marvelous juicer. I was touched by their gesture more than the gizmo, but they actually made a great choice. It does quick work, effectively.

Maybe the best part about our Krups juicer, it never fails to attract helpers!

All those limes made a cup of juice, which we added to a cup of water, along with a cup of sugar, then a bit more... maybe two cups of sugar? Long, slow, low heating on the stove top will cook off more and more of the water so that you can achieve the consistency and flavor you like best. We added spearmint leaves after we turned off the heat.

The next part is the hardest part... wait for it to cool down. So, obviously, the ice shaving part should come after your syrup is made, cooled, and bottled. We use any tall bottle and add a pour spout. The syrup lasts a long time in our refrigerator. Another treat... add a shot of syrup to bubbly water, for a homemade soda.

Got ice?
Max is our resident ice shaving expert. I was trying to lend my wisdom, suggesting the blade needed adjusting, discussing the surface temperature... I should have saved my breath. He had it all under control.

Ah... I should have one more picture, happy faces enjoying their shave ice treat, but my hands weren't free, because, well you know, I needed to make sure the almost mojito lime-mint raspados were coming out okay!

Some day we may find oil in the narrow strip at the bottom of our yard, or Spielberg will cast our goats in an epic movie, asking us to sign the rich and famous contract... when something like this happens, I would love to send a raspador to all! In the meantime, I have one extra, handy-dandy, ice shaving tool, and I would love to share it with a Chickenblog reader. A modest give-away, I know... please leave a comment, share your favorite cool-down treat, and we will throw your name in the fez for our Raspador Give-away!

{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, August 30, 2012

HUGE Pink Rat!

This is a vision test.
I may need a new prescription.
Normally, when I see weird stuff, it's because my glasses are on my head, but not in front of my eyes. This time my near-sighted corrective lenses were on my face, where they belong, but from across the lot, I saw a big, really, really big pink and white rat, going head first into the steel tub.

Okay... if you don't need to wear glasses, then try squinting, or look at this picture while standing across the room...

Am I right?!

It's a rat! Or a 'possum.

Or. Ahem... a scrub brush, used for cleaning. Maybe I _should_ be more familiar with these devices.

Oh, man... this cracked me up.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

I Love the Finer Things in Life...

Concrete floors... fine by me.
Sleep in a barn... any night of the week, thank you.
Water from a mason jar... sure, they're free, when we buy Trader Joe's organic marinara.
Home, laughing at old movies, reading aloud... a perfect evening.

This sink, with the drain running gray water out into the garden?

Uh, Geoff... honey... how 'bout you and me sweating copper and mixing concrete, together, sometime? Please?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lucky Penny

Sometimes, I hear our goats, and I think, "Did you hear that? It sounded like Goats!"

And sometimes, I see Ada Lovelace Goat, and Tasha Tudor Goat, and I think, "What? How? Where did these two come from?"

After all, when you bring home bottle-fed cuties, no bigger than a cat, and as fun as puppies, it can be easy to forget they'll grow to be as big and dear as... well, as goats!

We love them, those funny, frisky, frolicking two. And even the chickens have made peace with them, mostly. I wasn't sure they'd ever get along... the chickens were appalled at the sight of them, small and cute as they were. But Tasha and Ada don't hold a grudge, and the chicas seem to have accepted their farmyard companions.

In fact, they mix-it up on regular basis these days. Tasha and Ada love to go barging into the hen house, in search of leftovers and adventure, and the chicas slip into the goat yard, scratching for treats, rearranging the straw bed.

The other day we made some goat yard improvements... more secure, more room, more shelter, and more straw. The goats seemed to approve, at least they didn't mind, since their chow bowl had more, too. But it was the chicas who were really excited and appreciative... Can you find Penny? Look carefully. She's in there.

That's no shark fin, poking through the fresh straw. That's Penny's pretty tail.

Hola, Penny Hen.

We cannot let this become a habit. The goats are ladies, but they don't have the refinement and grace of their namesakes. They leap, they bound, they frolic, and fidget, they blunder and barge and burst with boundless bounding. We cannot count on them to step lightly around petite and hidden hens, or to tread on tip-toe around secret stashes of egg-nests.

Take care, Penny!

Brace yourself!

She made her nest high, and snug, and I could hear her practically cooing to herself. So content, so pleased.

And as long as these two were preoccupied, she was safe enough. Fortunately, she is not broody, and later, when I saw her dust-bathing beneath the fig tree, I found her pretty little egg, as yet unscrambled. What a lucky Penny.

Something special...
Our Tasha-Goat is named for a woman we admire, Tasha Tudor. Tasha Tudor lived an original, inventive, artful life, and she has inspired happy hours for Maria, and me. Tasha Tudor was born on this day, ninety-seven years ago. When Maria learns about this, I know she is going to be delighted... this calls for tea in the garden, and reading aloud to the goats and bunnies.

Thank you, Vicki, at Turkey Feathers,for your lovely Tasha Tudor birthday post. I agree, our imaginations are stirred by all she shared.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bird House & Barn

...a Farm Report

Hola, Chicas!
The slightest hints of a waning summer are beginning to appear. Sunset is no more a prolonged affair, mornings can be foggy, cool. The crows are gathering, in murderous, boisterous crowds. The chicas head for their shark cage a bit earlier each night...

Even nest devoted Zelda was seen strolling in the twilight. Surprisingly, she was the last one in... returning to her straw lined tub, while her sisters settled on the roosts.

Sweet Zelda. The only time she raises a fuss is when the goats barge into the coop in search of chicken feed. She gives them a serious scolding, then.

It's dusky out, the chicas are settling in. Penny, Puff, and Little Debbie, _calmly_ negotiating the roosting positions.

Little Debbie objecting to something, Puff taking it, Penny hunkering down, Zoe hesitant, and Lady Betty ready to peck at anyone who dares to challenge her place in the order.

Meanwhile, on the western end, Kamen and Shebot agree to keep clear of the negotiations.

Eventually, each chica finds her space, the sun sets, and all sleep peacefully, soundly... until morning!