Friday, May 30, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to 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.

Leo's captured Maria "Black Bart," the outlaw! :: Open House Night

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Boiling Eggs

I sold two dozen eggs last week, but none this week. Eggs are piling up. Eggs in bowls, eggs in baskets. When this happens, I know it's time to test them for freshness, and consider whipping up some egg salad.

Someone asked me, "Do you have fresh eggs for sale? I'm making deviled eggs..." and I stopped him right there, to explain: Fresh eggs are not a good choice for boiling. An egg's shell is porous, and a fresh egg is snug against the inside of the shell, until it's had time to absorb air. Have you ever boiled eggs and been frustrated with the white sticking to the shell? That kind of mess does not make for good looking deviled eggs.

For boiling, I check my eggs. The very freshest eggs will sink in a bowl of water. And older eggs will bob, maybe one end will rise, and those are the eggs I put in a heavy bottomed pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil, take off the heat, then let sit for 12 minutes, before cooling them in a water bath, and peeling them.

This float test has not failed me, but here is one last line of defense, if you are unsure about the quality of your eggs: Never crack eggs into your batter, or into whatever dish you are preparing. Crack each egg separately into a small bowl, then when you can see, and smell, that it's fresh, add it to your recipe.

Selling eggs helps us offset the cost of feed, and reduces our surplus. If you want fresh eggs, we got 'em, and if you want to make deviled eggs, or egg salad... just ask, and I will check our stash, and find some good eggs.

As for zucchini and squash... I think I need to keep a closer eye on our fast-growing Cucurbita! Just when I believe I have a handle on their progress, I come back the next day, and suddenly I have ginormous zukes! One zucchini got so big, I had to convince myself it wasn't a pumpkin. That zuke monster went to the chickens! Extra eggs around here, means we're having egg salad for dinner. And extra squash? Could be time for for a ginormous batch of veggie lasagna!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Telling Stories

Mister Foo, outside, up a tree. I had my iPhone close at hand, and couldn't help watching our kitty maneuver in the branches, and I had to take pictures. He was cautious, then reckless, confident, then vulnerable. He reminds me of anything I try to do, when I am uncertain... sometimes I have to move forward, even when I cannot know the outcome, climbing without a safety net. There's a chance of falling, or looking really silly. There's a chance someone is watching. Sympathetically? Ready to laugh? I feel this way when I want to write, because I cannot be sure that what I am thinking, or feeling, can be represented by words, and there is a good chance I may get stuck, or fall. But can I withhold my stories? Nope. Forward I go, recklessly, vulnerably.

Sometimes I read a passage, a book, a poem, and I know: I know that it's true, and truth is a kind of goodness that raises my thoughts, stirs my soul. I know it as a connection, unseen, between myself and the other being who wrote the words, expressed the feeling, the thought, the moment, and it's a comfort to be connected as beings, fragile, and delicate, powerful, resilient. I sometimes hear music, see art, feel emotions, and it reaches unseen places, and reconnects me with depths, dreams, like a good breath when I break through a wave that took me under. Maybe. I don't know. Have you ever reached down, swimming deeper, to touch the bottom, then felt the relief and satisfaction of coming back to the surface? For me, that ecstasy of breath feels a lot like the stirring inspiration of music, art, true words, a story that resonates.

And so, when I find that truth, that beauty, that ecstasy of breath from something inspiring, I know it is good, and I aspire to understand it, to touch it, to be deeply thankful for it. Sometimes it hurts, like grief, like loss, like a story that is full of pins, and fires, and cruel acts. These truths stir my soul, too, and give me a longing for understanding, for hope, for renewal, and redemption.

I think... weren't we fortunate to have Maya Angelou? To read her books, and hear her poetry? Wasn't it good that she spoke for justice, and equality, for peace and understanding? I did not know her, but I did feel her works, like a deep breath that made me glad, that raised my thoughts, and gave me a longing for renewal and understanding. Today there are so many uplifting, insightful, poignant quotes of Maya Angelou's being shared on the Internet, and I found one, today, that spoke for me, that I thought oh my gosh, she knew, too! She said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” Rest in peace, Maya Angelou, and thank you for the stories you told.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

High Tide and Good Vibes

This kitty is living the Life of Foo:  laid back, relaxed, no worries.  I don't know if he's the Surf Addict, but I know he appreciates a sweet spot at Swami's.  

Hang loose, friends!  Only four days 'til the weekend!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Five Good Things

Built, installed, loaded, and open! The Bird House Library is here!

Our grand opening was a success. We had neighbors, family, friends, even some dogs, come to warm things up with books, great food, stories, and enthusiasm for the Little Free Library. We had cute woodland creature book marks from Lia Griffith, printed out, for party favors. Lemonade and cookies, as promised, and even a ribbon cutting.

I carried my camera around, and thought I would definitely document every precious moment... but apparently I was too caught up in the festivities to do much picture-taking. I got our bookmarks, and the Library waiting for the celebration, and the big reveal, with Izzy, and Maria and all those great books... thanks to Holly!

Some friends couldn't make the event, and Maria was so distracted running and playing in the backyard, she missed a bit of the pomp and circumstance. I assured Maria... this is only a beginning, and more celebrations, play, sharing, exchanges, and library stewardship is in store for all of us.

Good Things...

1. Rebecca, Eunice, and Delia finished everything to do with selling the Pasadena home, and are already comfortably resting from the first leg of the drive to Oregon.

2. Everyone that came to the Bird House Library opening added greatly to the success of the celebration... helping and sharing, and being perfectly enthused for this dear venture! Thank you, all!

3. Our many, many home improvement chores, and fixer-up projects are coming together, and progressing... we are wired for lighting at the gate, and have lights along the driveway... less stumbling in total darkness, yeah!

4. It's Memorial Day... a good time to reflect with gratitude and respect for the women and men, the first responders, the activists, the diplomats, and military, who have made the ultimate sacrifice, in service, to our country.

5. We have this day, free, and open for doing things we enjoy.

Do you have plans for the day, something you enjoy doing? I'd love to hear what good things you see.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Today is The Day

I am still putting everyone to work for the Little Free Library. Alex made a sign announcing the opening event for the Library... it's today! Maria was more than happy to add a second sign, something to pique the anticipation. Books, lemonade, cookies? Only a shady spot and a pillow are missing for a perfect afternoon. Maria and I also printed labels, and book marks... Little Free Library has great resources, and links to more resources. Maria and I were labeling books, cutting out bookmarks, and making other preparations for the Bird House Library. We are Library Stewards! {That's fun to say.}

All of this library business, and anticipation has my mind buzzing, and frequently asking:

Q: Why? Why a library, why free stuff, and one-more-thing to do?

A: 1. We love making things, inventing, creating, pondering, and tinkering, and those Little Free Libraries are charming and creative. Their purpose and mission are inspiring, but the initial appeal was that first impression I felt: They look amazing!

2. When I was about Maria's age, I loved asking my mom for stories about her childhood. I wanted to close my eyes, and connect with her, imagine we were girlhood friends, and I loved hearing about her experiences, her loves, and interests. More than anything else my mom would tell me about her pet cat, and about walking to the library. The long walk to the library. She was growing up in a pretty rough section of Los Angeles, I'd seen those neighborhoods, and I was duly impressed with her resolve to get to those books she loved. And I still have the books, the special gifts, she gave to me, which I always loved with extra fondness, for coming from her.

3. My Grandmother, Eunice, can read more books in one week than I can cover in a year. She is voracious. Anyone who knows Eunice, knows that the best gift for her is a book, a book gift certificate, or a trip to a library sale. She only finished school through the eighth grade, and moved back and forth between Mexico City and San Antonio, Texas, for most of her childhood. But, she didn't let anything stop her from learning. She even went to college, much later in life, to see what that was all about. She showed us all that an education doesn't stop outside a classroom, and resources are all around us. I've been thinking of her, most of all, when working on our Bird House Library.

4. We moved around a lot, too, and finding a book source became an important part of settling in to new places. I remember my first library visits in Ramona, the thrill of applying for my own library card(s). We had a card in Hawaii, we visited the library in Esquintla, Guatemala... talk about "little!" Perhaps the most thrilling and awe-inspiring was the mobile library that came twice a month to our street in Oceanside, California. I loved those days when I would see the big truck pull up to the curb. It was cool inside, and full of books. It smelled good, and we were invited to check-out two books. Hopefully, I could remember where I left the last two books I borrowed, but the librarian-truck driver was never cross. It felt good to be in there, and I loved the idea of bringing all these books anywhere, anytime. What a cool job, I would reflect. Later, in my teens, I would follow my mom to her college job, when she was at UCSD... she worked in the labyrinth basement of the Main Library, a stunning edifice above, and mysterious, winding, and fascinating below.

5. Books. Books. They can inspire countless good things, and changes, they can counsel, and console, instruct, inform, invite... they are a tool, that when shared, can provide opportunities for learning, for grace, for laughter, for ideas, for adventure.

6. Community. We live in a place that has brought us powerful and pleasurable blessings of community. We have friends, support, a network of mentors, teachers, gardeners, artists, inventors, scientists, and students... we can all be students, and we can all share our love of books. I am very excited about building another connection to share with our community.

So, that's some of the whys for this project, for making a Little Free Library, and making a big to-do over our little endeavor. I've seen good things happen with books, for books, about books, and I am thankful, and I want to keep those good things moving forward.