Friday, September 02, 2011

{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.
:: Idea from 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, September 01, 2011

Basket of Chicks

In a basket, the three chicas. Sitting in hatch order, one, two, and three!

They are still the smallest chicks I have ever seen, but they are getting sturdier, already. The one in the center came out wounded... or underbaked? Her head was soft, and bled a bit, but she seems to be healing and not too badly affected. Her baldy spot has put me in mind of calling her Tuck, because she looks like the bald friar from Robin Hood.

Naming chicks may be one the funnest parts. We have always optimistically given our chicks feminine names, but of course they don't always stick. So, Amelia became Emilio. Zoe is Zoltar. And when we realized what a terror Tesla was to become, we promptly renamed him Edison.

So, what if I name the one in the center Pancho? Do you think we can mess with fate, and ensure that Pancho would become a plump and proper hen?

Pancho and Tuck?


Tatiana suggested NASA names. We'll see if they have the right stuff to carry names like Buzz, Glenn, Gus, Sally, Onizuka... actually, those sound pretty cool.

They are adorable.

Mama Puff. Both hens have been sharing the big enamel basin. Both hens have been keeping the eggs, and tending the chicks. I think Puff was sad to be excluded from the fun when the first chicks hatched last winter. Now she is a proud mama, happy to share the duties of her post.

The chicks are enjoying long cool drinks from water we dropped on the fig leaf. We didn't plan on hatching more eggs, not for a while, but some times nature decides, and I can't say I am disappointed. There's still plenty of room on the roost in the main coop!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thankful Thoughts

I have two lists in my head. The First List is full of obligations, expectations, errands, grime'n'slime, and other domestic perils. The First List looms, and pulses. It wakes me in the night, like a leering ghoul, insistent, demanding...

Whoa, I am freaking myself out here. Maybe I should visualize something less powerful. Something I could take down in a back alley rumble, mano a mano!

The First List wakes me in the night, and reminds me that there will always be bills to pay, and laundry to fold, which is annoying, but not unbearable.

That's better. While I do feel overwhelmed, I don't think it helps matters to magnify the situation, to give it fangs, etc...

My Second List is full of good intentions, higher aspirations, wishes and fanciful ideals. In fact when I answer the call of my Second List, that's usually when the First List suffers, and grows, but for the most part, that is a consequence I can accept.

The Second List includes the things I want to do, enjoy doing, dream of doing. It is full of trivial pastimes, and social diversions, and it also includes the activities I intend to address, that I want to do, but tend to put off, because of that other list.

Gratitude is on the Second List... I enjoy taking the time to give thanks. In an alternate universe my thank yous would be hand written personal notes in homemade greeting cards, with printed photos, and tokens of affection enclosed inside. The envelopes would be affixed with sealing wax, and I would drop them off at the post, promptly and regularly.

If you have not received such a note from me, from the Bird House, I apologize. I am not living in my alternate universe, and I have proven to be lacking in the areas of postal correspondence, and traditional cordiality. But do not doubt my thankful heart, my good intentions, my deepest regard, and do please, kindly accept my thank yous in this new tradition... the blog of thanks.

Ruth, thank you for house sitting, for safeguarding our kitties and ratty-rats. Thank you for feeding and greeting our chicas, and the rooster. Thank you for sorting our mail, and navigating our messes. Thank you for leaving that life-saving casserole, which was met with cheers and delight.

Rebekah, thank you for bravery... for mitey-mitey bravery. Thank you for letting us leave with peace of mind, because you are a capable and caring soul. Thank you for facing our critters and meeting their demands, so that we could enjoy our getaway.

Thank you Anna Banana, for being my friend. You always take my side, which is naturally the very best thing a friend can do. Whether I am right, or wrong, it's so good to have a faithful ally. I feel I have your faith and confidence, and this gives me courage to keep trying, to do better. Thank you for yarn. Soft, blue, yarn goodness from a far off land that now feels closer, and more familiar. Thank you for bringing home some of your adventure, and sharing it with me.

Thank you Delia, Mommy. You do it all. You never stop giving me encouragement, and even gentle kicks when I need those too. In my alternate universe, I leave the kitchen sparkling before going to bed, and during your recent visit, you brought my ideal vision into reality: thank you. I hear you... your advice and wisdom, your caring thoughts, and I am paying attention. Honest. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Karen, Chica, you are amazing. Your smile gives me courage, and your accomplishments are an inspiration. Thank you for being a team mom, to our favorite team. Thank you for taking on new assignments... scholarship mentor? What a blessing you are! Thank you for luring us to a new school, where we are discovering a happy, comfortable fit, with wonderful opportunities, and even an easier rhythm for our days. Thank you for being an example of grace, joy, curiosity, and generosity.

Thank you Geoff, because when the fraud department of our credit card called you to report a huge charge at Chez Target, and I said "Tee-hee, I just bought all new clothes." Your reply was, "Oh, you did? That's great. Good." And you meant it, and you have always meant it. You have always been generous, and caring, and you never fail to want to provide and support, and encourage... me, the children, our families, our friends. Your generosity is biggest where it counts most: you are generous with your time and thoughts. Thank you.

Bill, thank you for calling me. You stay in touch. You check in on me. You share little things, and big things, and every call makes me glad, makes me feel loved. I will never stop wishing that we were in the same town, the same neighborhood, because seeing you more often would be the best, and knowing your family better would be a blessing. I really do love that you make the effort to bridge the distance with your photographs, and calls. Thank you.

Hans, I think about you all the time. And in recent days, you, and the service you do, have been even greater on my mind. I don't know if I have tried to express to you how deeply I feel the successes, and the losses, that you know. I stand taller, and my heart swells when I learn of your many accomplishments, and sacrifices... the things I know you do proudly and with honor. And those other times, when enemies strike, when your friends fall, my heart breaks, and I feel a deep sadness. I feel a regard and respect for all of your peers that cannot be surmised, that cannot be easily expressed, but it stems from my love and respect for you. Thank you.

I am thankful for...
my car, which is hanging on as best it can
popcorn and movies
camera phones
needles and thread
ice packs
seeing The Tempest
Biergarten gatherings
neighbor chats, over the fence
trash day, a modern miracle
sleep, when I can get it
thrift shops
tea cups
good smells
vacation memories
the peace I feel when I reflect on who I thank most of all
our days together in this lovely Bird House

Thank you for comments, for sharing your thoughts, for laughing with me, for taking my side, for showing me another side. Thank you blog friends, and Internet acquaintances, for making this space dynamic and worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One and Two and Three Chicks

A third chica hatched today, but she was camera shy.
There are six eggs, which may possibly yield still more chicas.

Of course, three cutie chicas is plenty sweet.

These are the teeniest little chicky-pips I have ever seen.

Feathered joy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Say NO! To Yucky Food

Keep them coming. Comments, rants, unspecified fast-food complaints. Apparently, I am a magnet.

"Good day Natalie,
After an unsuccessful visit to a KFC, I searched long and hard for a blogspot site exclusively operated by KFC affiliates, in order to file a formal complaint regarding my bitter experiences at their chicken joint, but I could not find such a blog, instead I found this one. A perfectly respectable (and quite professional) blog about family, friends, and... chickens. Now don't get me wrong, I love chickens, they're great... when they are tasty. But nothing bothers me more than bad meat... and KFC's meat was certainly no treat. As I'm sure you noticed, I tend to a blog about eating meat... feel free to look at the blog... I haven't worked on it as much as I'd like to, but that is past the point. This message is about my frustrations with KFC chicken... so from one chicken lover to another (although we love them in different ways) I warn you to avoid the dreaded place... or otherwise prepare for a dreadful experience. And please... if you ever prepare fried chicken your self, do it well... there's enough bad meat in this world already. LOVE YOU BYE BYE!!! <3333" ~From Maddams

Greetings Maddams.

It is a good day. And believe it or not, you have come to the right place. I am uniquely qualified to address complaints, and bitter tirades lobbed at take-out chicken eateries. I wonder, have you by chance met Tina the Lama? It's a small world. I could not be surprised if you two know each other.

To begin with, unless you are at Burning Man, or dependent on a dial-up modem, it is difficult for me to imagine any Internet search being either long or hard, or even time consuming and difficult. My forty-two second search yielded a website and a "customer experience page," where someone eagerly awaits word of your unpleasant experience.

Still, here you are, and I thank you for your kind remarks. I hope Chickenblog is respectable, but I can assure it is hardly professional. I have never earned a dime blogging, not even when blogging about chickens. I do have my hopes and dreams... (cue dream sequence: Terri Gross chooses me, for an interview... me, an awkward, mediocre, and mostly unknown suburban mom who loves playing, and making, children, gardens, chickens, FIRST robotics, li hing mui raspados. I am eloquent and stirring. Book agents and publishers begin calling, and I am asked to write about whatever my heart desires. They bring out the exclusive-retire-happy contract, and I sign it, confident of my bright, secure future. I buy the house next door and build a barn, and a guest lodge. We celebrate regularly with garden parties and... )

Ah, but I digress. You were saying?

I too love chickens. Walking across my yard, kicking in the underbrush, rolling in the dust. Two of my newest hens have begun laying. Another two are hatching eggs, right now. It is a sight to behold a new life emerging from a tiny egg. In fact I just took a picture of one in a teacup, and she sits at the bottom, as tiny as can be. Adorable. My chickens make me laugh, and watching them relaxes me, puts me in a grateful and peace-loving state of being. It's kind of remarkable and sweet. Of course not everything about keeping fowl is fair. They make huge messes, they raise the sun, they have wrecked total havoc in my garden beds. But what in life is ever perfectly gratifying and worthwhile that does not come with some work, some consequences? I seek moderation and balance, except when I want something else, like a miniature goat, or a live radio interview at a robotics competition. Even moderation and balance must be taken in measured doses after all.

Ah, but I digress. You were saying?

Tasty. So, you eat meat. And you blog about eating meat, but you "haven't worked on it as much as you would like to"? I did look at the blog. Technically speaking, it is up to date: "Eating Dead Things: Sunday, August 28, 2011. Today I Ate Something Yucky."

Gee, I hope you don't mind that I have just copied your entire blog, verbatim.

I also eat meat. I was a vegetarian. I was a vegan. I still eat vegetarian meals, and vegan meals, but one thing I do not do: I do not eat yucky things. Nope. I have eaten yucky things in the past, but that is passed the point. I do, on occasion, taste yucky things. But that's where it stops... I will unashamedly spit out yucky food, or discreetly bring a napkin to my mouth for a lady-like dab, and then just drop the whole yuck right into the napkin... it's a practiced move, very useful. From a very young age I vowed that as an adult I would not eat food I do not like, unless faced with famine, or some other equally horrible circumstance. And guess what? I am an adult, and the very best part about being adult, besides ditching school to go to Disneyland, is that I eat food I like! I like tofu, but I am allergic, so I have to look out for soy and avoid it, or I get hives. Fortunately, I like a great variety of foods... local, organic, indulgent, green, leafy, meaty, from the sea, from my neighbors, with cheese, without cheese. I am so blessed. I do know hunger, and have lived with limited means, and the bounty that we enjoy these days makes my heart glad.

Forgive me. I am prone to wandering. My deep thoughts and musings lead me I know not where. We were discussing... the hatching of Zelda and Puff's chicks? No, wait, I remember... your unsuccessful visit to a KFC. Right. Well. Bad meat is bothersome, but then again, what were you expecting? Or should I ask "what frustrated you?" Did you get hives? Although you clearly state that "this message is about my frustrations with KFC chicken," I regret to say I do not know what your actual issue or complaint is, except that the franchise where you chose to consume digestible material was both a "dreaded" and "dreadful" place. I take your warning to heart. Thank you. And I kindly suggest that in the future, whenever you are tempted to dine at a place that you already perceive as dreaded, that is to say one that you feel extreme reluctance to face or meet, don't do it! Life can be short. Why waste it on yucky food, if you don't have to? Grab some potatoes, get the slaw, or find some watermelon... those are in season, and sweetly gratifying.

Cheers for good food! Cheers for chicken fried well! Cheers for love, and choices, and blogging! Cheers for high speed Internet! Cheers for Chickenblog, defender of all who seek tasty meals, and solace for those times when food is yucky! Cheers for the randomness in the world that makes life so very interesting, and amusing!

And now, to sew a caftan-like Burning Man gown for Geoff, because he is going where Internet searches are improbable, and there won't be fried chicken. But he will look good, and feel good, and he will have bacon. Lots and lots of bacon...bacon is the golden currency of Burning Man!

Stay safe! Eat good food! Love one another.


Natalie, The Chickenblogger

Chicks, One by One

New since yesterday, the latest from Zelda and Puff's chicks and eggs.

A vigorous pipping came from under a wing. Another chick is breaking out!

The first chick to hatch bears a perfect resemblance to Zoltar, her bantam papa. Unfortunately she is not faring too well. It seems as though she came out too soon. She is frail and unsteady. We drop water in her beak and check her frequently. However long her life will be, we are trying to make it as good as possible. Her mamas are attentive too. Zoltar, was called Zoe as a chick, when we were wishing for a hen. His first daughter, will bear his first name... Zoe means life.

Happily, this second egg broke open with a confident pecking and pushing, and very little aide from the watchful mamas.

We sat closely, sighing and waiting, and eager for each new push, as the shell slowly broke apart.

Yellow, and bantam colors! Wet feathers, and limbs akimbo.

And suddenly!


She has her mama's blue beak, and her father's variegated feathers... browns and golds. She seems stronger. Maybe her warmth and coaxing will encourage her sister. They nestled together right away, which was dear to see.

All eyes are on these little ones.

And nine more eggs are tucked safely away under wings and feathers.