Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hats and Lilacs and Old Roads

Proving that even a small getaway can make a big difference, we piled in the wagon and traveled east. You can't get very far traveling west from here, but moving east takes you to hill country, granite boulders, pines, cows, horses galloping among oak trees and manzanita. And everywhere, the silvery blue haze of the mountain lilac in full bloom.

Mountain Lilac: Ceanothus.

Entire slopes are covered in this beautiful color, which ranges from lavender to a heathered gray. It delights me to be in the country in time to see the return of this old friend, the mountain lilac.

We pulled over to get a closer look, to jump on granite, look for sage, and lizards. But. The. Cold. And. The. Wind. It about knocked us over! This was unexpected, and kinda fun, because why else go away, except to discover something unexpected?

Eli and Alex, taking in the view. To the west they see Santa Ysabel, oak woodlands, native grass meadows, and fields of cows and wildflowers.

On this rise, there was no place to turn away form the wind.

We remarked on the clouds... how fast they were moving across the wide sky.

We followed a dirt road, to the gate. Max was the only one who didn't bother with a coat. Maria was pressed close to my side.

It's fun to age these a bit. I have a few options I can play with on my Mac. I think I would be out of control if I got my hands on Photoshop.

William is waiting on a pecan colored top hat, but I think his fedora looks good too. You can see why I am thankful for thirft shops, and resale finds, having three sons that prefer dress shirts and bow ties over T-shirts and flip-flops.

In the mining town, I think it was even colder and windier than it was out on the hilltop. Many places were closed mid-week, but we found some lunch, and we found some pie, and we found it was fun to walk the quiet streets of Julian.

It was so much fun, we decided to make another venture, soon... this time with a campsite, maybe near a creek, some place where we can have a campfire and follow tadpoles, pick sage, hop boulders, tell stories...

Even a small getaway can make a big difference.

I never tire of traveling these old roads.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

We Have Fooled the Chicken

In honor of escaping the wrath of Edison, el Psycho Rooster.

El Gato Con Bigotes Blancos

Benjamin Franklin Thunder Cat, Cowboy and Explorer.
I love your whiskers.
I love, love, love your whiskers.
And when you talk, and purr.
I love that you claimed the thrift shop chair that I left in the hallway.
Stay awhile.
Do not wander. Do not go beyond the gate.
Stay, so we can love your whiskers.

Photo Therapy

Here's the deal: I am in a fowl foul mood. There aren't enough plates to crack, carbs to inhale, or primal screams I can utter, to give me relief. Stuff is going wrong, and people are frustrating me, and I really, really want to run away, and have an actual vacation... a change of scenery, but I cannot, because of...

You know what? Never mind.
If I cannot get away in real life, then at least I can try to escape in these photographs, these moments in my day, when I decided to just point and click, and try to lighten up.

Bright spots: Max dug a hole, and Maria removed the dirt, then William made it bigger, and Maria filled it with water, then it all drained out a gopher hole, then Max dug it up some more, and they all got extremely dirty, and happy.

And the chickens seemed to enjoy our company.

There goes Betty, Zoltar is watching out for hawks, Zelda is leading her chicks to happy pecking grounds, and the chicks... well, the chicks look goofy. They have random tufts of down, and big feet, and small heads, and just a lot of goofy parts that are all mashed together. Puff is in the nest box. She's acting broody, but she isn't laying. Poor Puff.

Bright spot: No Edison. Well, not entirely bright, because as much as he terrorized us, and needed to go, I still dreaded actually doing it, and I did cry, with him in the little cage, driving out to the happy farm that is his new home. But, hey. It's relatively peaceful out there in the chicken yard, and maybe we can keep the peace now that Edison is gone.

Oh my, how's he's grown!

Bright spot: as much as the children have grown, they still take pleasure in digging around our mountain. It's not quite as big as when we first piled up all the dirt from the trenches we dug, but it's a satisfactory heap of fun.

Max dug deeper, William dug tunnels, and Maria ran the hose and found buried treasures.

Alex and William discussed plans for turning one of the garden beds into a rabbitat... a sort of rabbit warren, where Sanka could dig and leap, and do rabbit-like things that rabbits like to do. They talked about a sky bridge between two of the beds, because they want parakeets.

Bright spot: listening to my children talk, laugh, plan, reflect, discuss, devise, design, and delight is one of my greatest pleasures.

What did he see? I was so absorbed in taking Benjamin Franklin's picture, I hardly noticed that his gaze was transfixed by something. Maybe it was that hawk that has been shadowing the chicas. Neither Benjamin or Chango has ever pestered our chicas, but the hawk has. Oh dear.

Bright spot: Zelda is a good mama, and keeps the chicks under her watchful gaze and well hidden in the shrubbery and underbrush. Underbrush? Do we have "underbrush?" Am I talking fancy, or do we actually have "underbrush?"

Have you guessed?
I have a new camera.
Lucky-lucky me.
It's big, and black, a bit heavy and very, very complicated.
I am still learning how to do everything thing with it.

I feel a teeny bit better. All the same problems are there, and it's probably not going to be rectified, but oh well.

More bright spots:
My car isn't dead, yet. I can still dare to drive it to the market, to the rooster orphanage.

Zoltar seems to actually like me, and yesterday he sat in my lap, dozing and cooing. It was very sweet, especially for this cocky little dude.

Chcikenblog only lost two readers during robotics season. At least, only two people bothered to remove the blog from their reader, many others have simply disappeared. The bright spot here is faint, but I am thankful for friends who have stuck it out with me, who still read chieckenblog Chickenblog. Thank you, friends.

Love and Rockets has launched successfully! Now, we have a dedicated Geek corner for all of our Maker Faire love.

I got the garbage and recycling to the curb, before the big trucks arrived to disappear refuse and debris. Magic!

My brother sends me iPhone pictures of Dominic and Marissa, so that even though I cannot drive up and see them in real life, I can be reminded that I love them, and wish that I could drive up and see them. Hmmmm... this is bright on one side and heartbreaking on the other...

I planted a pomegranate tree shrub. I hope it gets big and fruity, and makes a wonderful shade, and that come October one of our bright spots includes breaking open one of those jewel-like fruits and filling ourselves with sweetness.

Well, Zoltar. It's a brand new day, and I hear you calling. I might head out with the camera, ready to capture more bright spots, ready to fend off fowl a foul mood with more photo therapy.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Great Finds!

Thirty-nine days and fourteen hours from now, we will be at Maker Faire. As a Young Makers Club, we had hoped to bring our projects with us, but we still have some details to organize, and so we have next year to look forward to for that. This year we will simply arrive as ourselves. Our SteamPunk selves, and our creations and expressions, the things we make will be with us, and on us. From bowler hats to bow ties, with modified goggles, and our signature details... we hope to Make this a faire to remember!

We love a good thrift shop, second-hand opportunity, and do-it-yourself occasions, and last week Eli introduced us to a brand new treasure trove of thrifty-ness... new to us, anyway. We struck the mother lode at their tent sale. A coat from London, a leather jacket, and drop waist wool dress, and several vests... Now Maria has her very own bow tie. I have pretty hats, and shoes that make me want to lift my skirt and pretend I know a clever little dance. We may switch the buttons on the dress, and the hats need fresh tulle, a flower, or trim. Eli's new cane is perfect, but he has a knack for making perfect things even better.

Alex and I will be rummaging through our fabric stash, in search of something for a blouse and corset he designed. He is in another club, for fashion and design, and they will be putting on a show soon. I am happy to do a little sewing room mentoring, and this will give us more opportunity to complete our Maker Faire ensembles. Oh! And also, William has a Halloween event that Love and Rockets will be making for, so all of this thrifting, sewing, and Making is sure to keep us happily occupied for months to come!