Saturday, August 03, 2013

This Guy

Max and the rope swing, Pololū Valley

Happy birthday, Max. I am going to think of all the ways you blow my mind by being the amazing person that you are, and then I am going to find the words to express how much I love you, how deeply I admire you. And in the process, I will probably be profoundly moved, and inspired, and thankful, too... because you are such a joy to have for a son. But here, on the Chickenblog, I promise to be low key and subtle... I'll mention the chocolate cake you asked for, and say that I hope you enjoy this new year.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Bird House and Barn

... A Farmer's Report.  

The decomposed granite is, mostly, out of the driveway and into the run. DG is heavy.  It will hold down the hardware cloth we laid down, give bunnies something to kick, and chickens plenty to scratch and peck.  Everyone is pleased.  

Mornings, afternoons, evenings... I enjoy the time I can spend with them. They have habits, and personalities, and sometimes sitting quietly on that log, or the old shipping crate, I get to watch a show. 

These little ones are getting all their feathers.  Even Liberty is, at last, beginning to sprout tail feathers.  She's about two weeks behind her sisters.  

With some dread and regret, I admit both Mako and Totoro are behaving like... You know... r.o.o.s.t.e.r.s.   Sigh.  I really do want Ameracauna  hens, and Mako and Totoro also happen to be social and trusting. They're so sweet!

All of the Chiquitas are sweet, and great fun to sit with.  They're getting more daring, more adventuresome.  But they still meet in the same spot to take their naps.  

For years I have said, with a wink, I pretend to be a farmer.  And I have long felt that all of this has been an amusement, a wish... To have a farm, to live my idea of a cowgirl~goat herder, keeping chickens, tending a garden, and learning. Always learning. But I wasn't recognizing where I have reached in this wishful journey, how far we have come since the rental palaces and pining for our own space.  I've felt like someone at play, and so I would say I am a pretend farmer.  

But Maria taught me something.  She put her hand over mine, as though to assure me of what she wanted me to realize, and she said, "Mommy, you aren't a pretend farmer.  We are farmers.  We are really doing this.  Can't you see?  This is all real."  She saw it, and I understand now, I cannot dismiss what has been achieved, or diminish what I am doing.  I am a gardening, goat herding, chicken keeping farmer.  Learning, yes, but no longer pretending. 

Typically, I'm inclined to wait for outside approval, to find validation through official channels, to hope to see my worth through how others know me, or hoping for the standard indications of success.  But, listening to Maria, knowing what Geoff and my sons do to support my choices, I really want to embrace this moment... I am doing what I love, seeing wishes come true, now.  Now is very sweet. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Chicken Blog Planet

Sometimes, our home feels like the whole world.
Thank you, William... this is so cool!

This pretty planet spinning through space,
You're a garden, you're a harbor, you're a holy place,
Golden sun going down,
Gentle blue giant spin us around,
All through the night, safe 'til the morning light.

~Tom Chapin

I wish everyone could have a planet home of their own,
and love our Planet as home


Thank you, Bill Watterson.

Calvin and Hobbes have been dear favorites since I was in school. Geoff and I were Calvin and Hobbes for Halloween... most dedicated, sincere interpretation we could conjure. One of us had bleached hair, cartoon yellow, for the cause. Pictures? Somewhere. I hope I can find some.

As much as I love those cartoons, I think I am enjoying, even more, seeing each of my children discover Bill Watterson's genius for themselves. One of my favorite sights in parenting life has been watching Maria, or Max, or Alex, or William curled up, or sprawled out, and deeply immersed in the world of Calvin and Hobbes. Makes me feel like everything is turning out just fine.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Aloha Ka'u~

Our visit to Hawaii began with our late night arrival in Hilo, and a beautiful morning there exploring the neighborhood, and the town. Then we packed into our rental van, and made our way to Volcanoes National Park. Our stay was brief, but packed full. Next? We drove through the rest of the Puna District, moving south and west, and into Ka'u, where the sky and clouds, Kilauea and Mauna Loa gave breathtaking sights. We were headed to Kona, to our place at Keauhou, which is only a two hour drive, but we found too many beautiful temptations along the way, so the drive was more leisurely, long, and lovely.

Back at Thai Thai, the restaurant we enjoyed after a day of hiking, we were advised to be on the lookout for Punalu'u, the black sand beach. The waiter was pretty sure we would find it a worthwhile place to see. This place, pictured, is just some spot along the way where William and I had to get out and take some pictures. The postcard colors, so saturated and rich, the wind blowing up the pali from the South Pacific, it was enchanting.

Up until the 1990s sugar cane was the main crop growing in Ka'u. Now, this is coffee country, and every May, Ka'u celebrates with a Coffee Festival. Looks like fun.

We were on the lookout for the turn-off to Punalu'u. And sure enough, about thirty miles from Volcanoes, we found the Black Sand Beach, Punalu'u, and it was breathtaking. We sort of had it in mind to get to our destination, but why do we make these silly kind of decisions, on a vacation? There really was no need to hurry anywhere. And Maria made it her mission to get us to understand it was time to slow down and smell the plumeria!

This is what is meant when people say picturesque and like paradise. A fresh water pond, fed by springs and streams. The iridescent sand of basalt, the volcanic rock from lava that exploded when it entered the ocean. The coconut palms, swaying and graceful. And on the beach, swimming in the shallows, Hawksbill and Green turtles. This is no place to be in a hurry.

If we were better prepared, we could have camped here.

She didn't stop at her toes!

The sand gets hot. But the water is cooler than most. A lot of fresh underground water flows into the ocean here. "Legend has it that in the time of drought, the ancient Hawaiians living in the area would dive underwater with a jug to get their fresh water. In the Hawaiian language puna luʻu means "spring [water] diver for"

I think this is the Hawaii Maria had been dreaming of. Well, this, and hula dancers, and pineapples.

Then she spied something very special... a honu resting on the beach. This Green turtle was big, and looked old. That could be as much as eighty years old!

We walked up and down the beach. Maria dropped her dress and ran in and out of the ocean, as gleeful as could be. This would be one more stop, of many, where we agreed, this would make a nice place to live.

Monday, July 29, 2013

All The Time, Chickens

Shebot, our three year old Polish Silkie. She has the weirdest feet.  If you can possibly catch her, then you'll know she's soft, like a Silike.  But she's as wild and flighty as they come.  

Penny is mild and wild. She is two years old.  The daughter of Zoltar the Bantam, and Zelda the Silkie Princess, she won't be caught, but she's sweet company.  

Hello, Juniors.  I think they'll be flighty, too.  They are only barely trusting of me.  Barely. Mostly they just move throughout their run, avoiding Kamen.  Pele is the darker Ameracauna. 

About Kamen:  our Polish Silky, survivor of the bobcat attack, well she is no longer my little darling, nursed back from the edge.  She crows!  First thing in the morning we hear the earnest, but absurd rooster-like cockadoodling she tries to muster. Her other habit is to strut and stroll, like a rooster on patrol.  She chases her sisters, harasses the bunnies, intimidates the Juniors, and gives me stink eye from beneath her silly pompadour feather head!  Yesterday I admonished her bullying and even threatened her with the bucket.  Yep, I told her to settle down or she might become Kentucky Fried Kamen. 

That's Lilikoi peering at us.  She's deep into her adolescence and gawky phase.  It'll all come together.  Soon she'll be a fluffed and golden Buff Orpington lady.  

Now.  About Koa.  Well, we are noting some hints of what may be... Rooster signs.  Those tail feathers hold the first clue.  Rather than stand pertly with rounded or sort of cropped tips, Koa's tail feathers are tapering, and just barely tipping down.  Roosters' tail feathers come to a point, then cascade... Which is lovely, but we aren't likely to keep roosters, no matter how handsome. 

It's not all chickens, not all the time!  Remember these two?  Ada Lovelace Goat and Tasha Tudor Goat are as silly and dear as ever.  They don't fret, unless dinner is late.  They are happy with their chicken roommates and bunny buddies. We even had a little rain and so were able to test their shelter.  Goats are not keen on getting wet, and we hoped they'd have the sense to make use of their cottage.  Even though they never visit their shelter, for play or sleep, when the rain came down, they were in their dry and cozy home.  It was a funny sight, when they peered at us from their cottage, as though they were terribly concerned about us, out in the wet!

Maker Monday :: The Geodesic Eye Dome

This Maker Monday we are looking back, two summers back, to the year when Grant, Suki, Alex and Geoff went to Burning Man, and we all helped Grant finish his geodesic dome.

Making is even more fun with friends.

What are you making?