When Janece showed me how Chibi dances for a treat, I had a vision: A tutu for Chibi! Maria and I worked together to make this little blue tulle confection. Our two hopes were to get her picture in her ballerina ensemble, and that the whole scene wouldn't distress her. It was a success that far exceeded our hopes and imagination.
Maybe her treats are so fabulous, a little tutu isn't going to interfere. Or perhaps it's that a tutu is what she's been destined for, all along.
She wore it with ease, with grace, and natural refinement.
Maria and I made our delivery and were honored with Chibi's dance, Amira's smile. What a happy, gratifying start to our day. Later, Amira posted pictures of Chibi, all danced out, but still in her tutu, elegantly reposed, daintily napping.
Bird House Couture, where tutus are haute!
(You can see Chibi dancing in her tutu, on Instagram... follow Chickenblogger!)
My sketchbook was set aside, when I took up crocheting, again, and it's been months since I've painted. But the interests and pastimes that grab my attention shift from one thing to the next, and last night I opened my sketch book, sharpened a pencil, and began to revisit drawing lessons, doodles, tests, lines, shades, shapes, ideas. And again, as it is with any of my pursuits, I stumble and struggle, until I decide to be a student, a beginner, an explorer, then at least, I feel optimistic, curious enough to turn the page, try another.
The chicas almost always come when I call them. Almost always. In the evenings, especially, they are ready and willing to be in their coop, safe, roosting. Tonight, they didn't come. I offered treats, and made a few insistent hails for them. A couple of the hens reluctantly sauntered up, but most were too absorbed in their own pleasures to even give me a glance. They were, it seemed, each in a happy place. And happily, for me, I didn't need to hurry them, and I didn't need to hurry myself, either.
Some hens were scratching the earth, looking for the bits of whatever that appeal to chickens. One hen was so engrossed in her dustbath, that I chose to sit beside her, and see if I could take that singular photograph that conveys the bliss and silliness that is a chicken's dustbath. The little golden hen met my gaze for a passing moment but she was too intent in her pursuit to be bothered, or dissuaded. Pepper, or Pippi, came along... and I can only tell the two Wyandotts by their toes. Pepper's toes are black, and Pippi's are pale. Pepper, or Pippi, walked over and around Ginger, curious, envious, determined to take a share. The activity attracted Fiona, then Koa. The dustbath became the place to be. Pepper gave up, and then a Thompson arrived. The Thompson left, and Liberty moved in. Liberty is one of the older hens, about four years old. Goodness, where does the time go? She was the one that always would take off in her own direction, fearless, a loner, with a turned beak, and a sweet disposition. Apolitical.
Mister Foo, our polka-spotted cat, came around, keeping a respectful distance, occasionally meowing conversationally. It seems this was a happy place for chickens, a cat, and me. We'd had a good dinner, with lots of fresh garden vegetables. Some laundry was done, and errands run. Inside, I could hear engaging conversations. Outside, birds were talking, too, and the air was both warm and cool, stirring. Not everything is going smoothly, not all of my worries are small, but in this space I was aware of the contentment of fine. A moment when things were good enough, and plenty of beauty surrounded me that I couldn't not be grateful. Sometimes "normal" sounds dull, or unspecial, but I have come to appreciate how refreshing and generous normal can be. The simple pleasure of not being hurried, of noting the feel of the air, watching the evening light, hearing laughter, the sounds of a safe and quiet time... and acknowledging that it's wonderful to have this space, time, freedom from fear, angst, hunger, pain, urgency. It's a happy place to be aware of normal, of quiet beauty, reflection, the simple activities of hens.
Lilikoi. Passionfruit. There are so many of these beauties growing along both our north side and south side fences, so many that look plump, vigorous, and full of promise, that they are worthy of a festival. A Bird House Fruit Festival! We will be eating passionfruit, and sharing passionfruit, and giving away passionfruit (which is the same as sharing, really, but sounds more random, more "please! take them!") We will be jarring up lilikoi butter, and sipping lilikoi juice, making lilikoi syrup for lilikoi shave ice. Ono, ohana! We'll have more than plenty, for all!
This is only one half of two fences that are full of fruit!
And apples. These need eating, now. Such a delicious dilemma. Our Little Free Library will have lemons on the sharing shelf. Oh, and I received a garden zucchini big enough to hold in a loving embrace. I think we can turn that into an equally sizable zucchini bread. It's summer! It's garden abundance season, and sharing the bounty time. What are you growing, harvesting, sharing?
Bubbles. Slingshot rockets that whistle and light up. Peanuts for goats, and chickens who love a good roam across the lawn. Long evenings, in a breeze, with everyone home, and play... the makings of a wonderful time.
Well. Now I think about it, I am not sure which obsession I should be addressing with the title of this post. Initially, this was all about boba tea, and the cravings that have been overtaking my thoughts, but then I remembered that I already posted all about it... on Instagram. Seems like everything is going to Instagram, and poor Chickenblog is playing second fiddle. I am a bit obsessed.
Green milk tea and Jasmine green milk tea, and either of those with those lightly sweet, gummy tapioca pearls called boba, have been singing me a siren's song ever since the first one I ordered for myself, June 7th. Yes, I know the date and place and occasion, because it was that yummy. And I've had two more since then. And I am ready for another. On Instagram I was reluctant to post the picture, because it didn't seem good enough. When I started posting to Instagram I had this self-imposed ideal that I would try to share only special pictures, dear moments, better quality images of meaningful subjects. Nothing too commercial or superficial. A bit silly, I know, and it comes to this, I love the memory of the one I had when Lisa and I went to see the play in the Park. I love that it was part of a lovely evening, of a needed break, and an uplifting outing. I love that Geoff and I shared the second one, when celebrating our anniversary, how we were all piled into the van, enjoying sights and activities. And this one... it was a balmy afternoon, with beach crowds in town, and again, we broke with routine and enjoyed a treat. So, even though it's only a plastic cup of an icy drink, I look on it with a smile, and recollections of pleasure, and good company.
As for Instagram... I guess there is pleasure and good company, there, as well. Blogs really do not keep the company that they used to, though I cannot seem to cut the habit. It's refreshing, and slightly sweet, like a cool summer treat, to post pictures, and engage with friends, and see their pictures, and enjoy new views, and the happy moments shared. Instagram is like an uplifting outing, with some surprises, new flavors, inspiration. Instant gratification, long-lasting impressions.
Friday we left the Bird House for an explore... out to see the sea and whatever else struck our fancy. We ended up at La Jolla Cove, where we scored the best parking spot, and sights that never disappoint. The marine layer was heavy, obscuring our view to the north but giving the cliffs of Torrey Pines a dreamy, mystical look, and emphasizing the University, Scripps Pier, and our next destination, Birch Aquarium. We watched the cormorants tending their fledglings, sea lions basking in the sun, and the beach steadily filling up with sunbathers, beachcombers, divers, swimmers, kayakers, people like us... out to enjoy the beauty of the day. After exploring the Aquarium, we all wanted something refreshing and decided on a stop where we could get boba tea, onigiri, kapa maki, and origami paper. Origami paper isn't "refreshing," but Maria was thirsting for some more!
Back home, we settled in, fed our goats and chickens extra noms, admired Chango, and the other fur babies, and by nighttime we all enjoyed Paterson, which I recommend for its calm, soothing, poetic observations on lives. For sure, some will call it a "boring movie." I haven't researched it in depth, or even finished contemplating its message, the effect it's had on me, but I will say... it is not boring; it's simply a quiet look at a man's life, which, devoid of Hollywood drama, serves as a welcome antidote to hype, special effects, sensationalism, and even our own real world worries, and angst. I enjoyed the humor... so delicate, and natural. Everything in this film has been distilled and purged of hyperbole, I feel as though my palate was cleansed, and I can detect the light beauty of subtlety, virtue, human experience. Take it in, if you like, with an open mind, with... a suspension of disbelief, actually. I usually reserve that for fantasy movies, but funnily, this real life story might rattle our cynicism, and detachment from sincere, almost guileless, story telling.
Well! As you can see, the blanket that I have been plugging away at, and have posted on, that has been teaching me lessons about embracing my amateurness, about letting go of making something "perfect," when I am really a beginner... it's very close to being finished, and has, obviously, found approval with at least two Bird House residents. I really did struggle to find the best, "right" way to connect granny squares, and it made me stall and hesitate, self-criticize to the point of giving up. Finally, I listened to the very same messages I give the people I teach..."When you start learning crochet (or most anything,) it will be hard, frustrating, and it probably will not look great. Keep going. Let go of the outcome and get into the process. Eventually you will improve, and find a level of success where you are comfortable saying, This is pretty good. I like this. I am keeping this. Forever. So... yeah, there is a lot of wonkiness and poorly planned execution in this blanket, but I am getting better, and better, and loving it more, and I am keeping this, and I am even inspired to do another, better. Laughing at myself... I think it's hilarious how when I am confused and struggling, trying to learn technical steps, I cannot comprehend or even imagine an aesthetic direction! Like, creating a pattern, or organizing colors, even just counting stitches... any of the "art" of this creative project, was completely beyond my capabilities or vision! And I think it's funny that my brain slowly, after the fact, comes around to seeing the whole... which of course, by then, has become an utterly dear mishmash. My style might be called "Deliberate Unintentional Randomness."
We had a Breakfast Club with our friends Janece, Paul, and Amira, and they gave us some happy anniversary love, which was really sweet. What else? I admit, Saturday was slow, gentle, quiet, mellow, restful, and slightly unproductive. I think it means I am really lucky. I'll go with that, and be thankful.
To balance out yesterday's over-mellowness, today I am spicing things up! I got laundry going, and sliced up a large box of perfectly ripe strawberries, which I served with hand whipped cream, and a scrumptious platter of French toast. Then I sat down to crank out this epic blog post. More laundry, no doubt, more pet care, and cooking, and crocheting, and a walk. Yes, a walk. And plans. Yes, making plans. I am all spiced up and seasoned to get things accomplished.