Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Last Night We Went For a Walk

Thank you for the support and kindness. Abuelo's passing is sad mostly because it brings to mind distancia... how far away I feel from family, from feeling at home and connected. And my heart aches for my Abuela... she lost a husband of 70 years. Thank God for her faith. I think it will sustain her.

Geoff has been gone since Thursday, and today we pick him up at the airport. He was going to shuttle directly to work, but I cannot resist seeing him, even if it's only to drop him off at the office. Thanks to our cell phones, I think we talked more while he was away than when he is home. Sometimes we didn't talk at all, but having him on the phone helped me get through the day.

Going to the car wash is one of my favorite... activities? Events? Pastimes? Something. I just get a big kick out of sitting in the car, and riding through dirty and coming out clean. No brakes. Put it in neutral. I turn around and watch the children's faces as water and suds and big rollers splash and spin. We wait for the 3 color foam soap and multi-tentacles of the dryer cloths.

And this time? Oh this time was awesome, because the triple foam failed to perform and we almost drove away crest fallen and rainbowless, but they hailed us back! They said, "Go through again. You didn't get the color foam." Sweet. Like finding $20 in an old coat pocket. It's your $20, but it feels like found treasure.

After the car wash we went on an evening walk. It was a good idea to get out of the house.

Another good idea was finally celebrating Alex's 14th birthday. We invited Adam and Jacob over for a double feature, on our big screen, with gooey cheese nachos, stove popped popcorn, cold grapes, lemonade and pizza. We set out all of the good eats, dimmed the lights and let the films roll. And Adam and Jacob brought Alex a huge Lego set. People are amused to learn that Legos are still at the top of Alex's wish list. Trust me, those Legos were a huge hit with all of the children living here.

As many of you know, I have been a rebel, an outlaw. I cannot deny my ranchera roots, my cowgirl spirit, and that is why in this manicured-Garage Mahal neighborhood, living in the landlord's columned rental palace, I have snuck-in chickens. First there were 2... Lola and Betty.
When we realized we wanted needed 3, we brought home Pip.
We thought this was our final line-up, but then sweet little Lola died.
Still committed to the idea of having 3 hens, we introduced Amelia.
And for a while we got to just sit back and enjoy the sight of our 3 chicas, Betty, Pip and Amelia.
And wow! did they start to grow fast!
And make us happy!
They have even inspired great works of art.

It was during our visit to Oregon, that my mind proved to my heart that we had a rooster in our midst. I could not be sure about Amelia/o, but it was painfully obvious that our dear Pip was growing proud tail feathers and a cocky stride. If we were in another kind of neighborhood, if our yard were wider, deeper and our own, then this might not have to be a problem. Some roosters are nice and capable of being fine pets, stately additions to a family farm.

I took all 3 chicas to the feed store where they came from and asked Martin to come to the car and see what he could tell me about our situation. Martin could see what I saw and confirmed that Pip is a rooster. He also admired his pretty plumage and unique appearance and he invited Pip to stay there, either as a permanent resident or possibly to be adopted. Some farmers want roosters, and he assured me Pip was destined for a good home. Sigh. You don't think this was a *the dog is living on a farm now* kind of story, do you? Don't tell me. I don't want to know.

All the way home, Maria sang "Pip don't be a rooster. Come home Pip. Pip don't be a rooster. Come home Pip. Pip don't be a rooster. Come home Pip. Pip don't be a rooster. Come home Pip. Pip don't be a rooster. Come home Pip." It was a very sad song. Thinking of it generates endless wishful thinking.

Naturally I called Geoff from the parking lot of the feed store. I had to tell him the sad news, and promote myself... the responsible cowgirl, who can make the tough decisions. And I was ready to drive home, move forward, take my losses, but it was Geoff who said, "But we need more than 2 chickens. There's no sense putting it off, if there are chicks available now we should just go for it." That's the honest truth. See? I'm not the only outlaw in the family.

We will have to raise these day old chicks separately from the teenage chicas, but I think they will catch-up and adjust soon enough. This dark chocolate baby is a Dark Bantam, and the boys were awestruck with the breed name and immediately and simultaneously declared: "Her name has to be Fantam the Bantam!"

And this little Buttercup is a is a Golden Wyandotte. Considered a friendly breed and certainly very pretty... she and Fantam look like peanut butter and chocolate together.

I just love the markings on these 2. They are very sweet together and we are enjoying their smallness... now that we are so *experienced,* we have a greater appreciation for how quickly this little chicky phase passes.

It's hard to get good pictures of chicks. They move so fast. Peck, scurry, peck, peck, peck. The camera captures dozens of fuzzy blurs, little feathery somethings, lost in the big picture.

Amelia can be almost as hard to capture. She and Betty are on the move and big! Amelia fancies herself a parrot. She loves to perch on shoulders, and she has no trouble flying up or down.

"Ooh arggh, Amelia!" She's setting a course for a patch of green grass.

The best times of this week have been in the garden, watching Joe and Amelia and Betty free range, while we keep very watchful eyes on the new chicas. The weather has been pleasant, comfortable. We have no big plans or commitments. Our carrots and tomatoes are getting full and plump. Lola's garden is abundant with blooms.

Even with a good camera, I cannot always get the picture I want, but these fuzzy farm photos are a happy reminder that we have had some good days, some enjoyable times... amusing and tranquil.

There are plenty of cold grapes and crisp nectarines to feed us the flavors of summer. I talk to my mom almost daily and she is making some progress, managing as best she can, and I am glad that her Mommy is with her this week. I finished 2 blocks worth of hand quilting on Ruth's quilt. One day at a time, recognizing the pleasures and blessings, appreciating what is good. I look forward to more evening walks and double features.

It's almost time to head to the airport. More joy ahead!


Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

I love the new chicks! Isn't it amazing how life goes on? It's all a big mix of grief, sadness, joy, excitement all contained by love. Okay, I'm in a corny mood but I just wanted to swing by and visit you and your brood - both kinds. Enjoy the upcoming weekend!! :-)

Em said...

How sweet! Great photos... I love the bunny running around the chica cage. Those new little ones are so cute! Thanks for sharing these nice days!

Katie said...

I always look forward to your posts - I love that you share your family, stories, hopes, wishes, and desires with the rest of us.

That's great news that Pip will have a good home.

PS - Garage Mahal cracks me up! I SO live there too.

Jennifer said...

Oh, Natalie. I'm struggling with what to say. What I want you to know that is that I am thinking of you, and that I'd like to be able to stop over with ice tea, lemonade, a big bouquet of flowers from my garden, and a hug. I'd like to be able to sit in the yard and listen to some Mexican folk music and watch the chickens and the children and just be there for you. And when it was time to go, I'd go back to my car and pull out the big cooler and then hand over the dinner I'd made that you could all have together later on without having to do anything. That's what I wish.

amy smith said...

i am sad about my handsome man pip. but pleased he will be loved. the new babies are adorable. :)

nikkipolani said...

Natalie, your homey descriptions make me feel like I could hear those little chicas. And if I just step outside, I could see you loading up the car. Thanks for taking me along :-)