Friday, March 07, 2003

We have enjoyed three picnics this week. We spread a sleeping bag over the wood chips near the playset, or across the lawn in the yard out the dining room door. Sandwiches and chips, juice, pickles; Max chopped carrot rounds today. We bring books and drawing pads. We bring Diego. Nena and Chango stop by to visit. We talk about kite flying, egrets, Girl Scout cookies, Hawaii and farming, the snow that is disappearing from our view. We read a joke book and laugh. We tell jokes of our own and laugh some more.

The weather could not be more ideal; not for a picnic. It is warm and, even away from the shade, the sun is not searing. There is enough breeze to carry sweet scents, blow away flies. It does not chill, or lift waxed paper sandwich wrappers. The sky is the promise of Spring. It is blue, endlessly blue. Leaves are unfurling in the fig trees.

Today William and Alex finished their lunch and returned to their room. Max and I sat together. He offered me a corn chip. I declined. He said he liked our time together sitting on the sleeping bag. I agreed. He pointed to the faintest crescent of moon. And we marveled at its presence. I took off my hat, and stretched out on the grass. Max poofed (gas talk) and our eyes met. He grinned, and I grinned and then we laughed too. "What makes poofies funny, do you think?" I asked him philosophically, frankly. He knew and did not hesitate,"God."
My next ambition for Chicken Blog is to post links and create a page for reader comments. Really this means hoping Geoff has some free time to decipher all the Blogger techno language and to then install it somewhere in Chicken Blog. The result will be that I can share and You can share too.

As it is, whenever I try to make a web page link it doesn't light up and become 'linkable.' Very disappointing. A prompt for reader comments would be nice, because then...assuming there are readers...people could add their views or correct my spelling, whatever, and the remarks would pop up in the Blog. Neat, huh? The future is bright.

Much coughing and nose blowing from me. No more fever or bone grinding body aches. My favorite torture of being bed ridden sick is the time spent horizontal imagining all that I could be doing if only I were healthy. If I were healthy...I would clean the garage, heat and clean the pool, organize the pantry, drive to Capitola, finish hula lessons, finish a quilt and start another, sign up with a personal trainer and make a plan, clear the spice cabinet, turn the compost, prune the roses, read and discuss "Romeo and Juliet" with the boys, get a facial, get a haircut, do sit ups every morning, put photos in albums, burn cds of road tunes to carry in the Odyssey, take down the Christmas lights from the front porch, get passports, touch up the house paint, call a piano tuner, learn to knit, plant some trees, pull some weeds, mail Lily's fox tail (which I just found,) buy rabbit feed, make our bedroom look beautiful...
ambitious sick woman.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

I love to take pictures

Imagine my pure delight with this camera. The whole process is in my control, and the results are immediate. Really, really fast. Today is my first day having 100% non-glitch good results with transferring images from camera to computer, and exporting from iphoto to Blog. In technological geek circles my success is probably the equivalent of learning how to boil water, but this is the most awesome computer 'cookin'' I've ever done!

Since the boys are restless from doing nothing but watch their mom moan and blow her nose, I made a huge production of serving lunch al fresco. We had a backyard picnic, complete with potato chips and dill pickles. It is a clear sky day, warm and breezy. Sitting next to the playset, we observed that our beans in the barrel are ready to set flowers. And over our heads, Chango looked down on us and the chicas.

Chango will be 3 years old this Spring. He is as sweet as he can be, but his nature leans toward feral. Gophers fear him and mice won't go near him. Our dear monkey cat.

And this is Alex and his guava. We have been speculating about when this thing will be ripe. It is huge, but still hard as a rock. The variety is Asian, so anyone that knows what we can expect, please write. Alex is very proud of all his guavas.

And here we have the nest boxes. Of course since I went to the trouble of setting up official nest boxes, the chicas prefer to lay their eggs in the tub on top. That's Rosie in there now. She is talking to herself, and shifting the straw around.

Soon she will get comfortable (maybe after I take my camera and leave) and settle down to egg laying. Her sisters are busy having their dust baths under the bedroom window.

William, Alex and Max are together digging holes in the dirt. I like days that are noteworthy for their simplicity. I like to capture fractions and glimpses of life, in words and pictures.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Flu bug. Monday morning I woke up with a horrible headache, body ache, everything, even my toe nails ache. I have a fever, and a sad "woe is me" kind of feeling in my tummy. Sigh.

So, feeling like I do, is it any surprise Max came to me and whispered, "Mommy, I think I made a mistake with the popcorn. Come see."? He didn't see that from head to toe he was a walking advertisement for the mistake he made. Kettle corn clung to every square inch of his clothes and cheeks. A trail led the way back to the kitchen and this:

A good mother, especially good and desperate, is a resourceful mother. And so I called for help: "Chicas! Chick, chick, chick! Chicas!"

All three hens like popcorn, but Rosie is the bravest about coming in to the house!

Sunday, March 02, 2003

A March Day

Max and Diego, a mellow morning together.

Today is beautiful. Early this morning Max sat with his daddy on the front porch. Max blew bubbles, his feet tucked up under an oversized windbreaker. Even Diego Cat, who loves a moment outdoors, was too cold to stay and play. Max stayed and led his daddy in a bubble-blowing-popping game. Despite the initial cold, the outdoors beckoned.

The sky is blue with only a few, far flung clouds. The earth is water saturated and spongy. It smells good; not just from the dirt, but from everything growing. The flowers and trees smell good. The daffodils and other bulbs are smiling broadly. They smell sweet, like candy. The rosemary smells warm and intricate, and something, maybe the cape mallow or the butterfly bush, has a smoky, burning cedar fragrance. The ornamental plum tree has one faint pink blossom and ten thousand buds ready to burst open. And the mulberry tree too has just begun to hint at the leaves to come. Every branch and tip is covered in swelling leaf buds. Tiny pink roses are climbing the arbors and fences. Their blushing faces kissed by dew.

There is snow, looking far east to the mountains, and closer to home there are flocks of birds filling the trees, stealing seeds, fluffing their feathers. The hens have clucked and laid. After their rousing and boastful trio concert, I was not surprised to find that all three had left warm, smooth eggs in the nest. They took care of their business right away; they must have been eager to appreciate the light, the warmth, the intangible and special quality of the day.

This is a day to fly kites and picnic, poke a stick in the mud, search for lady bugs and tadpoles. William and Alex are on their way home with their daddy. They've been playing tennis. Grandma and Grandpa are sitting together, having breakfast, absorbing their coffee. Diego has been following the shaft of light from the kitchen window; he stretches and rolls in the glorious heat. This is a day to honor our senses to watch birds and cats, to smell lavender and sage, to feel the coolness of the shaded corners and the glow of the noonday sun. The green is green and shades between, and so are the blues and violets. The red is bright, the yellow laughs and all around the colors delight.

A very beautiful day.

Pin The Tie on Sponge Bob

Yesterday's celebration was meant to be, in William's words, "something quiet...not really a party...just dinner, maybe pie... some friends..." Well in spite of the initial Saturday morning panic cleaning, and a last minute request to have a Sponge Bob theme, we had a fairly close approximation of the initial proposal. Well whatever it was, it was fun.


garlic bread
luscious green salad
Hansens Strawberry Kiwi (a young, sparkling vintage, served cold, with straws)
pumpkin and apple pie


Adam, Jacob and Anne
Nicholas, Holly and Rich
Max, Alex, Mom and Dad
and the super-duper birthday boy: William

It never was "quiet." The boys (except for Nicholas who enjoyed an unfortunately timed nap) caught up on joke telling and laughed a lot. They played outside and in, blew bubbles and played the "Pin The Tie on Sponge Bob" game that William and Alex made. All their noise sounded like happiness, joy, silly amusement and fun. Good noise. Good friends.

By the time Nicholas joined us we were watching Geoff as he gathered the materials to meet the specifications of the Magic Rocks kit. My last minute attempt to honor the Sponge Bob theme included: yellow straws and plates, streamers (which sat, packaged, on the table through dinner), bubbles, construction paper (for the before mentioned game), Goldfish crackers, and Magic Rocks as a take home torment prize.

William enjoyed new books and new art supplies, and a new friend named Earth Worm Jim. He's been sung to and taken to Disneyland, and now he has even been praised in *poetry by his Grandma Ruth (Tutu, in Hawaii):

William's a kind and caring soul, a gentleman, it's true,
He loves to read and fantasize and tell a joke or two.
A hearty laugh's his calling card,
Adventure is his game,
He makes movies and rocket ships
And he's ready with the quips.
I must write, though I'm no Dickens,
I'm fond of William and of chickens.

Love, Tutu

*This is a first time, outsider contribution to Chicken Blog. While the author did not request publication, the poem merits being published and not just because she included chickens.

Thank you to all, near and far, who joined us in celebrating William's birthday.

Last night, as I lay sprawled across my bed, still wearing my apron and trying to muster the oomph to load the dishwasher, carry Max from the sofa to his bed, and possibly brush my teeth, Alex came to me with a pencil and notebook. "How many days until my birthday?" "More than a hundred." Undeterred, he suggests we begin planning now. Smart boy, my Alex.

Back-Blogging To March 2003

Back-Blogging... going back in time to post things that were left unshared; particularly to include images that were not digital, but have since been scanned.

This is my first-experimental attempt, testing whether or not I can fool Blogger into accepting my back-dated post.

::Shared January 31, 2016::
Eunice with our hen, Gracie. This is from March 2, 2003. Eunice and Oscar, Grandma and Grandpa, lived with us in a rambling ranch style home. We moved there in 2001, when it was a bare two acres, and sadly neglected. But it was spacious, and full of promise, and we made it beautiful.

We added this retaining wall, a perfect spot for all of Eunice's potted geraniums.

Some of these subjects were covered in ChickenBlog, but my photo publishing options were limited, and a lot was left out. I will really enjoy going back in time, enhancing some posts, and making altogether new posts for old times. William has been scanning a lot of our photos from the pre-digital age, and I like the idea of adding them to the ChickenBlog archives... Back-Blogging our family memories.

Here are Max and Diego, and when I originally posted this I used small images. ChickenBlog felt shyer, more tentative back then. Max was four years old. Now he's a senior in high school. And Diego is a fond memory, a cat we will always miss.

No wonder we loved having picnics here! I'll have to add a "before" picture, so you can appreciate how we transformed this place. If you can, imagine nothing green or growing. No pool, no walls, no trees.

And looking east... snow in the local mountains, and all of the beautiful backcountry hills. The views from our Rancho home were stunning.

Above the retaining wall, up the slope, we planted a peppermint willow and rock roses. Geoff brought my bench up here, where I loved to sit, reflect, inhale the beautiful fragrances of growing things. This was a happy place.

I spy Nena, at the front door. Max blowing bubbles. We credit Max with choosing this home for us, and we still call that place The Horse House. Not for any horses we ever had, but the ones he spied when we were turned around. So many details! So many memories. It's what makes me very thankful that I ever blogged to begin with, because we have some of the details and memories to recall.

Here is just the sort of picture I never would have published back when I took it. What is it that makes some things feel too personal or silly, at the time, seem worth sharing, now? I am pretty sure Grandmother will be a bit chagrined about this... but I love it! I love her! She was eighty, and decided that she wanted a moment preserved for posterity: When she was eighty and a half years old and could still hold a strong pose. She said, "I want to remember that I could do this!"

These pictures are for you, Grandmother; these memories and happy recollections, too. I reflect on them, and on you, with gratitude for beautiful moments, for strength, and happiness. I remember you, and us, and views, and sensations, hopes, plans, messes, mishaps, and a lot of laughter. What gifts we have, and have had. God bless you~