Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday, Cat and Flowers

Mister Washburn Foo, and all of us Bird House cats, wish you a warm, inspiring, playful, and bright weekend.

Friday, February 20, 2015

{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.

Mending sheets, building illusions, sorting papers...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bird House & Barn

... a Farm Report~

Sure, it's February, but one cannot assume that the month of February falls in winter. February 2015, here at the Bird House, will be recalled as the fairest summer in memory. No rain, so far. No blustery cold, nor excuse to don long underwear. Instead, beach weather, and parasols for shade. I stocked up on cold weather feed for our hens and goats... organic lay crumble with some bits of grain to keep the chicas insulated and content. The goats have a rich supply of alfalfa, a hay better suited for actual winter weather. The one nice thing about this unwinter is that the hens have decided to raise their egg production. I don't think the Marans laid anything in January. Now we are up from one or two eggs a day to four. This is a welcome increase. That's Mako Ameracauna in the goat cottage. She'll leave us a green egg, and later this afternoon, she will follow me into the garden, sit in my lap, ask for a treat. Only Mako and Little Debbie can fly over the fence. They are the wider open spaces free-rangers!

My sweet peas are lush and full {only leaves and stems, for now}, interspersed with the snapdragons that are in full spring bloom. I cannot wait to have sweet pea blossoms throughout the house. The orange trees and lemon are as white as they are green, with fragrant flowers, and fruit, too. The apple trees are blooming, the fig tree is waking up, fresh leaf buds are dotting its bare limbs.

You would think all this great weather would mean more fun in our Viking tent, but, alas, with the warmth came the mosquitos. Horrible bloodsucking wanton ladies of the dusk! They have been the bane of our festivities all our years here. Time for another mission to find out all the puddles and wet places... ironic plague for drought times. Do you want to know something special? You do? As long as we have lived here, we have imagined that our porch should be a covered, and screened porch, like Grandma Nancy's, in Wisconsin. More shade, no bugs, cats in, rain out, more open doors and windows, make space... it's been a favorite daydream and topic of wishful thinking. And now we are days away from commencing this big project... roofing the porch, building low walls, making screens, adding doors, and creating a space to escape hot summers, and rain {should it ever return,} an extension of the home so we can spread out our projects, and activities... we like to make things and we like to share and exchange ideas and events with friends. I am very excited about the prospect of all of this, and for the first time, I can actually muster some interest in the imminence of another hot summer. If we can add some cots {catres} then I will happily relive childhood Sonora summers, complete with chickens raising the sun.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Playing With Paints and Plates

Maria and I ran away from home, on an explore, in search of diversions, and play. Actually, it wasn't quite that adventurous... I knew exactly where we were headed. As much as I love painting pottery, as many times as she's asked to go, we don't do this fun activity very often. After nearly twenty years of dabbling in this activity, starting with William, then Alex, and Max, and Maria, two or three times, we have a fair collection of plates and bowls, a knick-knack or two. I keep meaning to take photographs of all the pieces we've painted, because I know they will not last forever, and I want to have a keepsake of the keepsakes. If my apple bowl breaks, I will gasp and wince, a bit, but I will not regret that we use these pieces everyday... especially if I have a picture to remember them by.

Have you been to one of these places, where you get an unglazed piece to paint? Once you've painted it, they glaze and fire it for you, and after a few days you return to pick up a glossy dish, or piggy bank, or vase, or unicorn, to bring home and treasure forever, and ever. My favorite part is the painting. I like slowing down, and losing track of everything but colors and brushstrokes. It'd be prohibitively pricey to rush through, amassing more and more pieces to finish... when the children were younger they would hurry through the painting, tempted to get another dinosaur, another cereal bowl. But I would try to persuade them to slow down, to make the most of their clay canvases. Some people have been caught by surprise when they see a completely different theme or scene painted on the backside of our pottery... there because I implored the children to double-up on their artistic expressions, making each piece a two-for-one.

Maria painted a flower. We were both happily reminded of Hawaii. It will be fun to compare these pictures with the finished results. The chalky and pale paints brighten and change when they are glazed and fired. On the back of Maria's plate, a heart, her name, and the year. We have plates with the year 1997 painted on them. It's such a remarkable sensation to think that far back, to marvel at so many years gone by, and yet to feel the moments as though they were only yesterday. Maybe it is "materialistic," but I am glad to have these things that recall times that we have shared and enjoyed. For my own plate, I decided to revisit my ratty-rat theme, and painted the same one I have embroidered on a dish towel. I cannot explain this rat-mouse attraction. I very much preferred painting the smaller rat-mouse on clay, than the Hobbit-like mouse I tried to depict on canvas. The chicken, and the needle pulling thread were done in more of a rush. Maria was finished, and hungry, my chance to lose track of time was done. Now for the wait, and wondering whether what we wanted to appear will translate in the end.