Saturday, March 22, 2003

The Beginning :: Chicas

Here is our Rosie, curious as ever. We ate our sandwich dinner outside last night, and all the chicas circled our feet demanding corn chips. These girls are indulged! Suddenly I recalled that we must be close to their coming home anniversary. I was right, yesterday marked one full year since the day I came home with four bitty chicks in a brown lunch sack. For 4 or 6 years I had been infatuated with the idea of having chickens. I wanted to hear their murmuring, rummaging, scratching, cluck-clucks. I wanted to see their feather fluff and head bobbing scurry in the garden, on a fence rail, under shrubs and in the sand. Alas, I had not the courage, and was very much discouraged; friends and family gave me a litany of rationales for not keeping chickens.

Even when we came here, to El Rancho, to our mighty-mini farm, Geoff cautioned me with practical evidence: 'we have no coop, we have no clue, where, how?' and he added hopefully, 'wait.' I was vaguely discontented looking across our dry and bare acres. What kind of ranchers were we, with only two cats and one goldfish?

It was when I had two hours to myself (too rare) that my inner voice rose up and was heard. Janice, what a friend, came to relieve me from my domestic duties, "Get out of here," she said. "Go do something nice for yourself. The boys and I are going to bake cookies and we don't want to see you here 'til 1o'clock." And she sent me out in to the world with my inner voice. And my inner voice said: "Go to the feed store!"

There are several feed stores within range of our home and I know them all. I love the sacks of sweet, dusty grain, the rows of bottles, dishes, trays, and bowls. The bulletin boards with found dog notices, horses for sale, goat to a good home. The store cats, plump and contented, obliging you with a rub on your pant leg. Mice, so small and sleek, moving like scattered marbles, running everywhere in their terrarium world. And on this warm Spring day, in the back of the store, by the wide open double doors, are the heated and stacked incubators alive and chirping with dozens and dozens of chicks. Delight. Delight. Delight. And my inner voice asks, "What could be wrong with something that makes you so happy?"

Friday, March 21, 2003

Garden and Coop

Great harvest. Time to call up my friend Janice...this looks like suggestive material for her awesome carrot cake!

My First Link

Needed to find something to share, as I am learning to 'link:'

This article carries a lot of weight for us.

It worked! Oh. This is cool.
Of course we are accustomed to seeing these links throughout the internet, but I am quite thrilled to have figured out how to spin a web of my own.

In 1990, when Geoff first called me down to our basement to see the internet, surf the web, I had no idea. No pictures. Slow, and abstract. My favorite part was reading Dan Quail quotes. Now, I am hooked. For research, for fun, for staying in touch or just mouthing off, the internet is marvelous. Next I will figure out (read: make Geoff do it) how to include an "email me link" or "comments section."

Zest of lemon, children laughing.
Fresh cut grass, the eve of Spring.
Lemon slices, sugar and spices.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Good Grief People

So far my two favorite uncomfortable war moments include:

1. Katie Couric and retired generals discussing missiles and stepping all over the big map of Saudi Arabia.

2. The CNN journalist aboard a carrier: 'Okay, I don't know if you can see this at home ( and really we can't "see" because it is dark, static...fuzzy feed...) this is live everyone and if I can just point out to you...okay, Bob is in the aircraft and he's waving...this is live and he's waving from the aircraft...are you seeing this? There he is waving live from inside the aircraft. We are here live...'

Stuff like this simultaneously disturbs and amuses me. Katie can't just go clicking across all those countries rolled out across the studio floor- it's tacky. And Kymberly, or Kyra or whatever her name is, should go back to where ever she came from and stick to doing the weather or reports on the community softball league. Watching pilots and civilians wave at the camera, before taking off to drop bombs is not NEWS. It is undignified, shallow and mind numbing journalism, even when it's 'live.'

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I was going to Blog about low energy, stuff to do and being overwhelmed, but didn't I do that about a month ago? Is there a pattern here? Is this March already?

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Cape mallow blossom.

We planted an elm tree on Saturday, and more rosemary groundcover on the first slope, above the pasture. The rock rose has begun to bloom in the yard and along the street fence. The butterfly bush and the blue hibiscus need pruning. Both of these plants grow vigorously. The weeds are growing vigorously as well. We pull up weeds all the time, and in the pasture Geoff rode the tractor pulling a bush hog to level some of the mustard jungle.

Last night Max, Geoff and I walked under the full moon. We locked up the the chicas, just as the coyotes began to call to each other. And the frogs have been calling too. From every puddle and soggy spot, all over the neighborhood, the little frogs are singing their croaky song. "Spring is coming, Summer's near," the slippery amphibians sing. And on our walk we saw the last of the storm clouds in the deep and cold, moonlit sky.

From the street, looking to the house, we could see the lights in the windows. Inside Grandma and Grandpa were settled in their room, William reading, Alex playing. Can someone take our picture now? Can we preserve the quiet, healthy contentment of nothing grand and nothing dreadful? Would the colors of night and light, of new Spring and fading Winter be true? Could it capture the spectrum; from the family dinner to the bedtime stories, the laughter and the trust? How best to hold these delicate moments when the frenzied world and nameless dreads are, for the moment, far away?

Monday, March 17, 2003

Rock rose blooming in the front yard.

A white star in a blue hibiscus.

Flying Odyssey Reverie

Everyday I want to find mail. Everyday I want the dip in the front of my hair to lay flat. Everyday I want to manage a list of pertinent tasks, until finally there are no more. Everyday I want thoughtful meals. Everyday I want to have fresh breath and clear skin. Everyday I want to identify a new bird species.

Less clutter, more jokes, less confusion, more sit ups, fewer snails, weeds and black widow spiders. Lots more energy and hope and ganas. More carrot juice, with lime, ginger, apples, beets. More daffodil bulbs and sweet peas and tomatoes. Fewer magazine subscription inserts. Fewer doubts. Fewer dry lake beds.

I wish ours was a secret flying Odyssey, and we could buckle up and ride the skies to our favorite places, without traffic, resistance or fear. All the way to Oregon, Mexico, Wisconsin or through the Grand Canyon. We could switch the Button and our solar powered wings would unfurl and take us to our tropical Island, yellow guavas, blue bays and the rolling sugarcane hills. We would set down on some wide, warm beach and hula in the sand.

Summertime would find us alighting in my Mother's yard, with pails for blueberries and blackberries and raspberries; as fresh and delicious as her own Bogbeads. We could fly from festival to festival and choose our own inflight movie. Grandpa Ronnie could tell the stories of the stars, from high above the forest trees.

I would roll down the windows and fly in low over corn fields and across meadows, follow streams to creeks, and creeks to rivers, and rivers to Grandma's house. We could land gently in the back yard, spend a week or two raking leaves, baking pies and playing Scrabble. We would walk in town, and sit around the kitchen table. We would visit and laugh, listening to children at play.

Everyday I want to be safe to dream and imagine and hope. Everyday I want to enjoy the privilege of walking through my home and thinking very little or very much, and writing too.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

God is in the Details

"Okay. Everybody, attention. This day we are going to have another party. And to make this an original party, we are going to clean." Max, as we are all gathered together having cookies and milk for breakfast, is making the day's plan. He rummages through the kitchen drawer, the one with all the ladles, spatulas, tongs and runcible spoons. Gleefully he pulls out a pretty fork, with a scrolled handle and three extra wide prongs. "And this is for the salad! Mom, when are you making the salad?" Max marches around the kitchen, the fork is his baton, and he is drumming up support, "All the interesting things will be for the party. We will have a fire and salad and we will clean. Now, let's go."

To know Max is to know a leader. He is confident. He is honest, except when he lies. When he lies he is confident and relentlessly bold. He is a visionary.

"There are still some rules: It is that I am the judge at this party. At parties, children are the judges," Max has more to offer regarding his agenda.

It is raining, in a comforting and winter kind of way. The house smells of Sunday morning children, bathed the night before, and of oatmeal cookies, hot from the oven. The wind is scattering soggy leaves and blowing 'round the windows. Geoff built a fire that is crackling, popping and hissing, it implores you to sit beside it, read a book, watch the rain travel in little rivers down the window panes.

Did someone say 'God is in the details?' The details here are infinite. The poppies blooming in the pasture, as orange as the fruit in the neighbor's trees. The crows that fly spirals in the sky, black on gray. Fabrics, washed and stacked, quilter's squares for comforting warmth. There are details to see and hear. The washing machine humming and spinning, the children breathing and growing. I hear chickens discussing weather, and seeds. I hear the pages of a book turned slowly and I hear a boy reading, not aloud, but with a soundlessness that is somehow quite loud.

Alex is constructing weiner dogs from Zoobs, and a cellular phone, and a scorpion. He brings out each creation to explain its function or purpose, and Max follows him from the same playroom asking, "Okay, but is that for the party?"