Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Take Care, Internet Users

A new security bug means that people all across the Web are vulnerable to having their passwords and other sensitive data stolen. Follow this link and learn what you can do to protect yourselves.

Until they/we can resolve the issue(s,) we will be not be banking, purchasing, or passing around personal information over the Internet. I know there can be a lot of technology cautions, and dire warnings to wade through, but this 'Heartbleed' bug is a serious matter that needs to be addressed.

Chickenblog is going to take a wee break... time to stretch my legs, clear my head, and scratch around in the dirt for a bit.

Be well, friends.

Lemon Poppy Seed Sunshine Waffles of Happiness

A few weeks back I made some really yummy waffles. They had fresh squeezed lemon juice, with lemon zest, a little sugar, and lots of poppy seeds. What inspired me? Max had cooked with lemons the night before, and I didn't want the extra juice and zest to go to waste, so I just tossed everything into the waffle mix! What a worthwhile chance that was... those waffles were delicious. Trouble is, as usual, I have no recollection of what the ratios were. Arggh. Geoff is so very right... I should pay closer attention to what I am doing in the kitchen, and write it all down.

Craving some zesty comfort food this morning, so I am going to see what I can do to recreate Lemon Poppy Seed Sunshine Waffles of Happiness! Wish me luck, please!

****Update I****

Well, I won't be preserving this recipe. Today's waffles were not happy, or sunshiny. These waffles were dense and rubbery. Lemon Poppy Seed Sunshine Waffles of Happiness are light, with crisp edges and a soft, airy inside. So. Something with today's attempt went sadly wrong. Before I try again, I will be reading up on egg to flour ratios, for waffle bliss. How do you like your waffles of happiness?

****Update II****

Too many eggs? I used three, small ones, but this promising looking recipe calls for only one egg. I'm also looking for one of those handy cooking charts that compares how many eggs you use and the effect it has on the texture of what you're baking. Seems like something that could be found on Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

We Call Him Nature Boy

Most of the time Mister Foo is inside.
We want him soft, lazy, and utterly, blissfully domesticated!

But, the Foo hears nature's call, and he cannot suppress his longing to be in the tall grass, beneath the trees,
talking to the birdies, stalking the lizards.

Nature Boy! Don't wander off. Don't stay out late.
And leave those birdies alone!
Foo? Foo!
Are you listening to me?

Oh, dear.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Five Good Things

A nice thing about having traditions and rituals is that when you don't know what to do, or when you don't want to do anything, there is something in place to coax you, to encourage you to move forward. It helps, I think.

We have had a really lovely start to the spring break Max and Maria are on. Maria and I are playing a little game in which we make a deliberate effort to do something special each day. Friday her cousins came by, and she had a good time sharing her pets, playhouse, and stickers. Saturday we went to a ladybug event at a local nursery. Maria got to paint a tiny birdhouse, and feed a pony. William made friends with the-brown-pony-who-bites. Warning signs were posted everywhere, but Brown Pony and William are friends. Amira was over, and the evening was spent with all kinds of play, followed by a lengthy spell of funny video shorts, and a They Might Be Giants dance party in the kitchen. Sunday... we lounged and lolled, and nibbled the cake William baked. Anna Banana came by. Maria invented a method for making her own stamps. We saw James and John, and then we met Tutu, Holly and Izzy and saw Muppets Most Wanted. That would have been deluxe enough, but then Maria and I stopped at an ocean side restaurant and dined with a view! It was very la-di-da and tasty, too. Our favorite part was watching the bats! They use massive flood lights so diners can watch the surf, and the light draws insects, and the insects attract bats, and we had a great time with our cloth napkins, faux candle light, and the Bat Show!

The closer Geoff gets to the finish line at work, the tougher it gets, so we are all in the deep thick of it right now... counting down, and hoping for the best. He is working every single day/night. Those long hours are rough. Also, there have been some passages in our circles, and a crisis, or two, that have us deeply concerned. {Someone recently called me out for "vague-booking" on FB. Guilty. Hey, I figure... either you "get it" and you can add your two cents, or you don't get it and you can inquire, then add your two cents. But if it doesn't register, or matter to you, then move on!} One thing I've come to realize is no matter how much, or how little, I share, someone will always find something objectionable. Today, I am choosing to say too little, while adding that our prayers, and thoughts are heavy with care and love.

And because life is always mixed with the good, and the striving, the happy, and the messes, I will think about some good things.

Good Things...

1. There are so very many ways we can stay in touch and communicate. Granted, things can still wind up like an unfortunate game of telephone, but mostly our social media, texting, twitting, chatting, calling, writing, and face to face encounters are almost miraculous.

2. Reclining theater chairs. Very la-di-da, and comfy, too.

3. When you vague-book and friends rally around, and say nice things to help you get back on a good course.

4. Nurses, doctors, healers, and all their learning and resources put to best use, and the healing that we pray for.

5. Paint, glitter glue, wood, metal, clay, chocolate, eggs, gears, wires, batteries, paper, bits and pieces, and time to enjoy making.

Please! Come right out and say it... tell us some good things~

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Arm Yourself, With Chocolate!

Throwing caution to the wind, flouting all blogging conventions, I will write about cake and zombies, in the same post! Watching a certain televised Walking-Zombies-Not-Quite-Dead program has become a fairly regular event here, but in the last few months the unwatched episodes have been accumulating, so the guys called an emergency marathon viewing weekend. The first installment happened last night, and though they quit at 2 am, they are only half way through.

There are only two reasons you would come to our place tonight: 1. to get creeped out, grossed out, and freaked out, and squee with the rest of the zombie devotees, or... 2. to try some of this flour-less chocolate cake William made!

William wanted a gluten-free dessert to serve to friends, and he hit upon this recipe. I thought he was brave trying, not only a new recipe but one with new techniques, too. In the end, it all came together, and it tastes as rich as it looks. Unfortunately, he didn't notice the last step called for the cake to be refrigerated overnight. It was not ready in time for last night's marathon zombie event, but I am pretty sure there will be plenty left for tonight.

Maria and I will be upstairs, tucked in safely with books, flashlights, lofty quilts, and pure, happy thoughts!

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Bird House ~ Barn & Eggs!

... A Farm Visit!

Look at this beautiful picture my cousin, Adriana, shared with me!

When we say we have fresh eggs for sale, or for barter, we aren't kidding! Adriana came by with Araiya and Duke, so they could have a little farm visit.

It only took a couple of minutes for my niece and nephew to warm up to the eager menagerie waiting for them in our backyard, then they were feeling right at home!

Ada and Tasha are always happy to greet visitors.

Gathering your own eggs is a unique offer, reserved for special occasions, and premium tours! I wish I had recorded the sound of delight I heard from Araiya when she spied the nest of eggs!

Just when she started collecting from the nest, Mako hen came in to take her turn laying.

Suddenly, the eggs disappeared! We had to convince Araiya that she could still reach in, and under Mako, to grab eggs. When Araiya isn't too sure, she tells her mom, sweetly, You first. Mako's feather's were not ruffled, and soon enough, Araiya was pulling out very fresh, warm eggs! She found a creamy one, and two brown ones, then a green one, and then she started making color requests! That would be a cool trick if our hens could lay colors by order!

Adriana reached in with her phone and took this great shot. Araiya's all smiles, and Duke... he was on the move the whole time! There are things to be climbed!

After farm "chores," it was time to play in Maria's garden cottage, and for stickers and coloring, too. Maria whispered in my ear, "She's so cute!" And Maria thought it was really funny that Araiya selectively chose all chicken stickers!

We couldn't ask for a sweeter start to our spring break than these visitors to the Bird House.

Friday, April 04, 2014

{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, April 03, 2014

Maker Thursday

This is a Throwback Thursday post, Maker style!

And these are some Makers!
Alex, Max, Maria, Geoff, Natalie, Suki, James, William, Amanda, and Cameron~ Maker Faire, Bay Area 2013.

{Last year's visit to the Faire was epic, but something of a wipeout... we lost the brakes on our behemoth, in the middle of L.A.... this turned into a 15 hour mess... I will spare you the details. We came >< this close to turning back, but through sheer will, and passion for Maker Faire, we stayed the course. The long, exhausting, obstacle strewn course! I think I drained all my batteries, not just from the drive up, but from the insane levels of high pitched fun we had the rest of the time, too! Today, a small glimpse of a big adventure... one I hope inspires you to join us at the Faire, The Greatest Show and Tell on Earth! }

Delayed, and devising our plan a b c d... plan M, Brave Sir Robin reminds us to always have an emergency strategy. Never give up. Never surrender!

We got the RV serviced and safety overhauled, and ten hours later, with mere minutes to spare, Geoff dropped me at the gates just in time to collect our badges, and registration packets! We made it! And the relief and joy I felt were indescribable. I cried. It's true.

And for this, it was all worthwhile. I kid you not, the synchronized bass fish and lobsters, singing and clapping, to Rock Lobster, this alone, made all of our efforts pay off, and I felt like I could go home happy.

These four guys from Houston Texas, with their Sashimi Tabernacle Choir, have created my all time favorite art car, ever, ever, ever. Until I can ride in the Nekobus, Sashimi Tabernacle Choir will reign supreme in art cardom greatness.

Lobsters and bass... riveting performers, absolutely riveting!

First thing in the morning, we were just hearing them tune-up, and I was already totally smitten. "What can be more annoying than a singing fish? Try 250 of them bolted to a Volvo, singing opera."

Okay. Before we go forward, a few background points:

1. This is the Maker Faire, Bay Area.

2. We go and demonstrate the accomplishments of our Young Makers, and mentors, Love & Rockets, Art & Engineering.

3. We have been going to the Faire since 2010, and we were so smitten we organized a Young Makers Club, and determined to return with as many friends and makers as we could rally.

4. 2011 was great. Seriously. Really great.

5. 2012 was our Maker Prom, and it was seriously really great, too!

6. And last year Love & Rockets Young Makers Club was featured in the Make Blog!

7. It would be my pleasure to write at great length about everything. I could do that, except laundry etc. Also, I don't want to scare you/wear you out/overuse the word "awesome." I'll share a bit, and I hope that if anything captures your imagination, or raises a question, you will leave a comment, ask your question... I will be happy to tell you more, or just confirm that you really should get to a Maker Faire in your area!

Maria and James making sandstone beads with bamboo tools. Awesome.

You can buy things at the Faire, but there are many, many things to see, ride, do, make, and enjoy that are free with admission.

Makers are generous, and awesome. Robin is generous, and awesome.

This is a tire swing. It's making music, and lighting up, with Maria's movement on the swing.

In the tire swing is an iPhone.

Think-Love-Create is awesome.

Max, Alex and James, playing. I have never heard the statement "Don't touch that," at Maker Faire.

Maker Faire is a celebration for all the senses, for everyone. It is awesome.

Max and Maria sharing their Maker Faire projects. Maria taught wool needle felting, expanding on her wool demonstration from 2012. Max shared his methods for making foam weapons.

They taught, shared, exchanged, and engaged for four hours, and drew big, enthusiastic crowds.

Tots, Suki, and Alex. New visitors, every year. It is awesome.

This young maker enjoyed learning how to needle felt so much that she made a thank you gift for Maria.

Young makers, and experienced makers, all makers have a place at Maker Faire.

Everyone can learn something at Maker Faire.

Maria's turn to learn something new. Something MakeyMakey, from SparkFun.

Grant says Awesome!

Maria is making circuits, and the creative vibe is magnetic.

Cameron and Amanda, more awesomeness.

You can learn how to make cheeses at Maker Faire.

You can enjoy an awesome East Bay Urban Agricultural Alliance moment at Maker Faire.

The year before, he had one wooden arm and hand, and this year he has two awesome, wooden arms!

The Faire gets busy, but we always meet people that are happy to slow down, talk, and listen. Makers engage with each other, they share their ideas and their time.

Makers share their awesome hats.

We fell in love with the tiny homes Ward Hensill builds.

We think this over hang would look good on the side of our barn.

William and James, hanging out with a Bodega Portable Building.

Awesome biking power for music on the Pedal Powered Stage.

Awesome bike.

Every awesome mode of transportation... futuristic, artistic, real and imagined.

There is no end to all there is to see and do, to inspire, at the Maker Faire.

Anyone feeling nostalgic?

This year, Kits By Kids is working on a hovercraft. Reminds me of the hovercraft Alex designed and made. We met this Young Makers Club, Kits By Kids, at our first visit to the Faire.

A homemade sub. That's awesome. Scary, but awesome.

Also, awesome.

If you want to bounce in, out of the sun, you are welcome to enjoy the the Breast Stop.

We like to think, make, tinker, play, explore, and we like to see new things, learn new ideas, and bring people together to enjoy the same.

Maria, Sean, and the l.e.d's!

At the end of the day, we descend, en masse, at an area restaurant, where Robin and Shawn bedecked all the waitstaff, and us, with awesome light emitting diode creations!

Perfect ending to an awesome day.

Is it any wonder we look forward to going back?

We hope you can visit a Maker Faire, soon.