Saturday, February 18, 2012

Coral Tree Farm and Nursery

Come on!
And I wave you in, inviting you to join us.
We're going some place new.
New to us. A farm, in the city.

You might not ever guess where.
It's late Saturday morning, the sun is shining, and we are thinking of lunch...
let's see what inspires us in the gardens at Coral Tree Farm!

A hidden oasis!

Twenty foot long, raised beds!

Friendly hosts!

Fresh eggs, of every color!

Lovely hens and a surprise duck!

Geoff's inspired already, "I'm getting big, fat hens," he declares.

Maria wants to try it all: guavas, peas, green eggs, beets, carrots!

My favorite juice: beets, carrots, apples, ginger and lime.

We have some at home, but who can resist these beauties?
Chile rellenos, anyone?

By next week there will be baby goats, too. Cabbages, kids, sunshine... beautiful signs of the spring that's coming!

Beet bed, and pretty, ceramic garden markers. Nice touches everywhere.

The cool season veggies are thriving.

We could do this... keep goats.
"Vegetarian dogs," I explain to Geoff.

They appreciate the garden leftovers.

We're all having a good time.

Thank you for coming along with us.

And thank you to the sweet people and farm animals we met today at Coral Tree Farm.

Friday, February 17, 2012

{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.
:: Inspired by 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, February 16, 2012


Guess what goes *click?*
My Big Black Beautiful Camera, charged and loaded! That's what.
Yes! After weeks of going around in circles trying to figure out where I left the charger for my camera, I finally discovered it at the bottom of an overnight bag. Where did I go overnight in the last month? (Don't worry.. that is a rhetorical question.)

Thank you for wishing the charger back home in my arms. And Miriam, I promise to remain on the look out for your wanderers. It was almost (almost) to the point where I was going to just order another one, and I even scared myself with the prices, looking online. Then I thought of one more seemingly unusual place to dig around, and thank goodness, there it was. Anyway, I will spare you all the details of my leaping elation, and ear to ear grins of finding-joy.

Do you know what else *clicks*?
Answer: me and wool.
We're in love.
Uh-huh. And we're gonna get married.
Not really.
But we are having a long and romantic affair.
I felt I should share this with everyone, because being in love with wool is grand!

Back in November I hinted at my new romance with wool, and all the fun we were getting into, like making bracelets, and the felting balls, and soap. I'd long heard of something called needle felting, but it wasn't until about two weeks ago that needle felting and I discovered each other. Now I am even more woolly, woolly in love!

I found a seven dollar kit at the craft store. It included wool batting, a foam pad, two needles, and a 4x6 cut of wool with a printed butterfly, with simple directions. Because I was unsure of how difficult this craft might be, I thought the kit was an affordable, possibly helpful, way to get my feet wet.

Needle felting is super easy, people!
Probably you already knew this.
But if you have ever wondered, then trust me: it is not difficult!

I whipped through the butterfly, and Maria punched needles into the roving, too, and in no time at all we had a decent looking, fluffy butterfly. So then I sketched a gnome onto some cheapy acrylic felt I had in the stash. I was hesitant to trust my amateur skills on real wool. The gnome is felted with real wool, but on an acrylic base. He's about the size of a playing card. It took about... an hour? Maybe. I was so meditatively blissed, I hardly noticed the time.

Maria and I both fell in love, and Suki joined us, too. She made a huge starfish bow. Maria started the Benjamin square, the one I went overboard helping her with. It does take patience to complete an image, and get the wool strongly attached and felted. She and I have both been poked, once each. No tears. It's no less an issue than any other sewing, I guess, but I wouldn't do either without paying close attention to what I am doing.

I like making small images, because it seems easier making small projects of them. I am not sure what I would do with a 12X18 felted daisy. Actually, I am not sure what to do with a wallet sized daisy field.

My button closure won't hold this bag closed as well as it does on the smaller coin purses I made. Also, I really ought to adopt advance planning and design skills, since I don't know what is going to fit in here... just a scant bit narrow for crochet hooks... tiny oversights are disappointing. But. I am not crushed. Just eager to try again, play some more...

A Valentine gift for Maria... a little bunny coin purse. It will hold love notes and treasures, and remind her of our dear Joe.

All wool. No more acrylic. Wool feels so good, and it is easy to work with. I've been using discount bin scraps, and I found some shrunk-felted thrift shop sweaters, too. Those will be re-purposed soon! The wool holds warmth, and has a sturdyness that is really nice. Did I mention? It feels good.

This one is for me. Just little scraps and found bits. It only takes the littlest bits of wool roving to make a whoo friend.

Inside I keep all my important cards and id. I do have to remember not to shove this in the pockets of my jeans. The wool felting does get roughed up. Maybe I need to felt it better, or maybe I just need to be a kinder, gentler wool carrier.

Buttons, crochet, hand-stitching, wool and felting... all of it together, for me to play with, and my camera charged and ready, so I can share the fun?! This is a happy affair, indeed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Going Around in Circles

Have you seen my small, blue camera?
I cannot find it.
I haven't searched everywhere. I haven't turned the house upside down, squeezed under beds. Not yet. But it's not in any of the usual places, and I can't think of any good unusual places to look.

How about the battery charger, for my Big Black Beautiful camera?
Have you seen it, please?
That's been missing for a long time now, and I have searched in earnest, fretfully.
Now I am without any camera, except my dear iPhone.

Dear iPhone,
Please, do not wander away. Do not find yourself in some unusual corner, where we cannot hear your marimba tone. I would miss you, too much. And if you have some mysterious digital power, some unknown-to-me app, that you can use to find Blue Camera, and Big Black Beautiful camera's battery charger, I would be so grateful to you if you would oblige me to use your power for good. Thank you.


Natalie, the Chickenblogger.

Some days I go around in circles, thinking of very important things, or forgetting very important things, and also thinking of extremely silly, useless things, like: I wish we could take a summer vacation to 1910 England. I cannot decide whether that is a silly, useless thing, or a very important thing. Happily, I don't have to decide.

A new storm is blowing its way here, and the hens are ruffled. They want to run around the yard, and hide their eggs in unusual places. I want to bring the children home, and listen to them discuss mono-wheeled vehicles, and electromagnets, then feed them soup, and make summer plans together.

Yoga was good. I am breathing slowly, feeling stretched, and relaxed. Geoff worries that between yoga and chamomile tea, I may mellow myself into a kind of hibernation. He smiles when he suggests this. He's happy to see me playing. And I have been playing a lot... which reminds me: I want my camera!

If I had a working camera I would show you wool purses, and felting, and the strawberry bed I planted, and chickens in the wind, with feathers all ruffled...

Gah! It's time to turn the house upside down and search unusual places.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Aging Gracefooly

Finally. I am doing it. Yoga. My first time in a real-life yoga class. I even have a squishy roll-up pad. For about five years I have been gently tapped, and heartily slapped... metaphorically speaking, but none of these hints from the cosmos seemed adequate to shake me from my rut. (Tempted to say something about my "butt," because of the rhyme, however that would be too obvious, physically speaking, so never mind.) Consider my rut shaken. I am on my way.

Corina, if I cry, or try to bolt,
just hang with me, sister.
I need you.

Yoga studios, in this area, are as common as memes on Youtube. They are everywhere. And everywhere I see the fit-stylish-fit-young-fit yogis, with their outfits, and their gear, and their confident yogi swagger, glowing, radiant in their chakra aligned temples. And believe me, none of this is the least bit intimidating... it is very intimidating.

I am about to puke.

How to pick?
Where to go?
What about conflicting schedules?
Will they be mean, or worse: excessively nice?
What if my body and their instructions clash, do battle, and I am left bloodied and shamed?
What if I *art? (Sorry. I am trying to be graceful here, but the anxiety is powerful, and I would be less than genuine if I did not share that fear of this possibility has kept me far, faraway from any yoga studio, or meditation retreat.)
What do I wear?
Does this require new clothes, because I am loath to shop, and completely opposed to wearing boutique outfits.
Can I wear socks?
Can I have the space at the back of the room, next to the wall? I won't even go if I cannot have the space at the back of the room, next to the wall.
Please, don't let there be mirrored walls.

I have amassed no less than forty-two reasons to stay away from public fitness arenas... and now I plan to suppress almost as many excuses, and concerns about going out today. Some of my issues, I like to believe, are valid, and worthy of contemplation, resolution. Most of them are weenie. This is the day I ignore my fears, common sense, weenie excuses, and go. Just, go!

Corina. We can do this. I will be there for you... in fact, I wouldn't be there if it weren't for you. It makes me happy to realize that forty-two excuses and fears amount to nothing, if I have a good friend by my side. I'm just sorry I ate baked beans for breakfast.


She did it again.

I wish I had one of those clever photo editing packages that would let me make collages. It'd be fun to see these three images in a side-by-side line up, or as a photo-booth strip.

Our funny Valentine... 2010

Our funny Valentine... 2011

Our funny Valentine... 2012

These take very little effort to make. It's a good reminder of how much she has grown since the first time we made these together, because it was quicker and easier than ever before. I was prepared for this to require a lot of time to finish, but now she is seven, and her skills are refined, she's focused. The printing was the only slow part. So with Trader Joe's organic and dye free lollies, and Maria's heart-bursting-with love... first grade Valentine's Day love was a cinch!

We hope you have a creative, sweet, and heart-bursting-with love Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Love Our Weekends

To Ponder... ~a quote by Buckminster Fuller.
And Albert Einstein said, "The laws of gravity cannot be held responsible for people falling in love."

What I am actually pondering is this: why, after a really good weekend am I even less inclined to embrace a new week of school, chauffeuring, errands, and the demands of the outside world? Every Friday, I think: I just need a good weekend, family time, fewer demands (or at least different demands). But by Monday, even when I've had some of just-what-I'd-hoped-for, I feel panicked and distressed, unprepared, slightly appalled.

Dear Monday,
I know it cannot be your fault that you are the first day, of the five days, of driving in circles, and making deadlines, of seeing everyone off to their jobs and institutes of learning. And it feels like we are not friends, because I dread your arrival, which is maddeningly early, always sudden. I like you better in July, parts of August, when you are more flexible in your demands. We must make our peace, somehow.

It was a good weekend. There was less driving, and more sleeping. The children were heard laughing in one room, then the next. We had friends dropping by, and good news of this and that. There were fun packages on the doorstep. Persian limes. Gifts from a garden. Books. A tea towel and chocolates. We watched a funny movie. We watched our funny chickens. Geoff was at work less time, managed to help at robotics, and still make a motor with Maria. I had wool to play with. William cleared off my desktop. Inventions, ideas, plans, exchanges... and more. It was wonderful.


But! Aha! We have a four day weekend coming up!!
This means on Thursday I can exhale and exclaim: I just need a good weekend, family time, fewer demands (or at least different demands). And maybe by the following Tuesday, I will be ready for a new week... maybe.