Saturday, January 26, 2013

Is It Hot In Here?

The Facts:

1. Our oven, The Thermafail 2000, has been operable, not more than, 4 times since October.

2. It has been seen by an appliance repair expert, who is still waiting for Thermafail HQ to report back to him about parts, and the meaning of a "code 43."

3. Geoff has diagnosed the "code 43"

4. The Thermafail 2000 is a 580lb beauty, with little, to nothing, to recommend it to people who like to actually cook.

5. At four o'clock, today, family is coming here to cook a birthday dinner for Geoff. Here. Cook. In our kitchen.

6. I ordered dessert. Thank you Karen's Kookies, and Moonlight Baking!

Just before Alex and Geoff lifted off the... the thing at the back of the stove, I asked: "Geoff, should I call your mom, and ask her about having dinner at her place?" And Alex replied, with admirable bravado, "We'll be baking garlic bread tonight!"

...they're still tinkering. I'm not worried.

Should I be?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bird House & Barn

...a Farm Report

Little Debbie, and Lucky Penny hiding behind Lil D, Shebot, and her hardy sister, Kamen.

These four are the laying hens. Two little bantams, and two Polish Silkies. Betty is our dowager, the hen we've had almost five years. We call her Lady Betty Orpington.

I cannot get used to there only being five chicas in our garden. I miss the ones we've lost. I miss Zoltar, the mighty cocky little dude. I miss the Silkie Sisters, Zelda and Puff. I miss Zoe. I miss Trudy, and Rosie, Luna, and Gracie.

Betty, mid-shake, loosens her feathers while out on parole.

When we lived in the country, in our rambling Rancho, our three chicas, Rosie, Luna, and Gracie, had free rein of two acres. They ambled and roamed, and foraged happily. I knew about the hawks, the coyotes, the bobcats, and skunks, even the feral cats that would show up and do their harm, but nothing ever happened to those three. And they were tame. I have never had friendlier, milder, more docile hens, than those dear chicas. They always came when called, and Gracie... she would sit in my lap, to be pet, and she would nod off, like a content kitten. Everything about having those original chicas was easy, fun, silly, confidence building. They made feel not only like a real farmer, but like a real good farmer.

I have always tried to keep it real, when sharing about keeping chickens. When I was being an outlaw, keeping chickens in a rental house, in a very suburbany neighborhood, it was stressful. Stressful, but fun, and I was never too deterred. I enjoyed finding solutions and making do with whatever new obstacle popped up. And whenever anyone asked about "keeping chickens," I was quick to encourage, happy to persuade, because I could not think of anything too difficult about making hens happy and safe... it just seemed so very easy.

Was I naive? Were we darn lucky? Yes and yes. I did take precautions, and I did adapt to improve their circumstances, but I never came up against anything, or anyone, that really stood in the way of keeping our pets happy and safe. Until this last year. What a year. Bobcat. Coyotes. Hawk. Weasel. Raccoon. Our poor bunnies and chickens have been stalked and hunted, and every time I thought I had got the upper hand, something new reared its hungry head and proved me dead wrong.

Losing our pets has been sad, and humbling, and nerve wracking. I have this anxious dread that wakes me in the night, and a constant feeling of unease about the safety our chicas. It is painful to admit that for the first time in my chicken keeping life, I am unhappy keeping chickens. I still love them. I still think they make wonderful pets, but I feel like I have failed them, and this realization takes away a great deal of my peace of mind and chicken joy. Oh shoot... that was no fun to put into words, but there is some relief in saying things out loud.

Maybe things are looking up. Our chicas live in the Casa de Rabbit where Sanka lived. The three levels create more space than the sixteen square feet of the garden bed. They can roost, they can hop up to the overhanging shelf. The ventilation is good, and they have deep straw and dirt to dig and bathe in. We double wired the chicken wire, and have three locking systems on the door. It's tight.

Every few days, in the late afternoon I open their home, so they can run around the yard. I am wary of the hawk. He took puff, and he attacked Shebot, so it's a problem. But I know that they love their freedom, their garden sojourns. When they are out, it's like they are on parole, but I like to think it is better than nothing. Soon, as soon as possible, we will build a new enclosure. It will be something that answers all the issues and known threats, so the chicas we have can be safe, and happy, again. Our latest system is good... good enough so I can sleep at night, but I am looking forward to making our plans a reality.

And the goats... well, since the chicas vacated the shark cage, the goats have moved up and in, and are living happy and safe in their new space.

Here they are, leaning in for their molasses and oats favorite treat. I kid about them leaning so far forward on that little fence that they pull down the barn! Goats!

{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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy To Celebrate

There is something I have been bursting to say...
I'm in love!
It's not new, you may have guessed. It's not sudden, or unexpected. It's just that I find myself so giddily, romantically, dreamily, and really enamored, that sometimes I want to announce it, proclaim it, make a grand declaration.... and then quietly, blushing, slip away with my sweetheart, where we can be alone together, to enjoy our happiness.

Geoff is generous. Without fanfare or self promotion, he works diligently, and in my eyes he exudes an excellence that is inspiring. He is optimistic, and has taught me to see possibilities, while showing me to reach for seemingly improbable dreams. He is fun to be with, to talk with, to travel with, to build with, to dream with, to live with, and he is my most best friend.

I smile, thinking of him.

When we were getting married there were times when the planning, the details and expenses, and public-ness of the whole thing seemed too much. It made me cringe a bit, because I questioned the point of making such a production out of joining two people, certifying our bond. But, then the love, the devotion, and affection I felt for him, would sweep through me, and the idea, the desire, to say it out loud felt insuppressible. I feel that way, still... out loud in love. Some people cringe a little too, when public displays of affection are put out there, when a couple can't help twirling around, gleefully broadcasting... I'm in love! I'm in love and I don't care who knows it! That's okay with me... we're quiet, blushing people, and we (mostly) keep these PDA's under wraps.

We would much rather slip quietly away, to enjoy our happiness together.