Friday, January 31, 2014

Ten Eggs in Five

You've probably noticed, around here it's been eggs, eggs, eggs! I love it. I love our hens. I love their eggs… the sizes, colors, finding them, sharing them, cooking with them, eating them, everything! As many as we've shared, we still have a lot on hand, and the other night Alex suggested we make egg sandwiches for dinner. Brilliant, tasty dinner and it should have reduced our stash. But something fun and rare happened.

Do you remember the jumbo egg our Cukoo Marans laid? She's laying them about every other day, and we had five of her gorgeous large eggs in the fridge. And every single one of those eggs was a twofer! One egg. Two yolks. No yolk. (Max thinks that is a bad joke. "Not funny.")

We didn't actually use up as many eggs as we thought we would. Five eggs, became ten. And I wonder, will she lay half as many eggs in her lifetime, because of those double yolks?

William made himself two fried eggs. Well, make that four fried eggs.

Geoff thinks we need to be on the lookout for the legendary egg in an egg-triple yolk! Poor hen that lays that monster!

{this moment}

A single photos - 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, January 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday

February 2007 :: Seven years ago. Alex, and Maria, and Max, Daniel's Barbershop. They're still inspiring me, still motivating me. William still knows how to kickstart me into action.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Virtual Cocoa

Rather than repair our bed, unload the dishwasher, clean the counters, prepare for dinner, tackle laundry, and weed the garden beds, I thought I could sit here, and make believe that you and I are sharing a cup of hot cocoa at the kitchen table. We could talk about your plans for the day, and what you'll make for dinner. We might look at my kitchen curtains and agree that they are not my style, and dream up a better choice, that I may, or may not put up someday. I'll make a note of any books you suggest I read. You can have some eggs to take home with you. I'd be so thankful if I could unload some dilemmas I have about summer… turning one travel adventure into two, dividing ourselves between the two places we want to be. Oh, and my other first world crisis: Do people really celebrate wedding anniversaries? Because I cannot muster the nerve to figure out whether or not, or how, to do this, but naturally there is a vague suspicion that I would love to look back on happy memories of a garden party, friends, laughter, romantic touches. Perhaps you'll interject and suggest I either 'look to Pinterest for inspiration,' or equally supportive, that I 'lay-off Pinterest, for goodness sake.' Maybe we can talk about raising children, living with young adults, living under society's microscope, and the gnawing feeling that it's not really possible to get things done right. Let's both agree to quit following any links with headlines that read: 10 Things You Are Failing At, 5 Ways You Are Wrong, Your Diet is Destroying World Peace, or 24 Secrets of The 1%.

The fog has cleared, we watched it rising off the lawn, and retreat away into corners and places beyond our view. And it's another blue-skied winter day, with no rain in our forecast. Oh, how I do wish it would rain. Thank you for sitting a while, for telling me your thoughts, and caring about mine.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

11 Hens :: 1 Day :: 7 Eggs

We've never had seven eggs, laid on the same day. This is a new record, if I am keeping record. The truth is I am reluctant to be a "genuine farmer," the kind that weighs the feed, and calculates the cost of straw, and the worth of our harvest, one whose hopes and next meal depend on vigilance and diligence. Let's face it, we aren't in this for profit. This love affair with suburban homesteading is more about a joyful privilege than sustainability, and self-sustenance. Backyard hens are a luxury, an honor, a worthwhile venture into food with happiness. I never want to give anyone the impression that I am living by my wits, standing in a field apart, where we imagine we will harvest our own feast, can it, preserve it, bake it, and serve it. In Mexico, with my Abuelos, I've had a taste of that existence. It's beautiful, and rough, not impossible, just more than I can dish out for us, right now.

Seven eggs is a lot. I collect them, gleefully, like I am finding gold coins left hidden in the crook of an old tree. It's dreamy.

Some eggs tell a story.

Once upon a time, all the hens managed to slip passed me, out the door of their enclosure and into the open yard. I protested. If they're out before they're done laying, I suspect they will lay eggs in hidden spots throughout the yard. Exasperated, yet amused, I resigned myself to letting them enjoy their freedom. It's no small task rounding up a flock of flighty hens, when they've just been sprung. Emma Thompson heard the kerfuffle and left her nest, hasty, and eager not to be left behind. I found five eggs in one nest, and none where Emma Thompson left in her hurry. As I was walking to the kitchen with the eggs I found, William called me back, a bemused smile on his face, and a small speckled egg in his hand. He saw the black and white speckled hen, Emma Thompson, stop in her tracks, nesting in the path just long enough to finish her business!

Whether I am a "genuine" farmer, or part of an urban trend, I cannot say, but I know that I love my hens, and I feel really fortunate to have these pretty eggs.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher :: Part III :: Yes, Part III

This began a couple of weeks ago, when I dashed out the front door for a chance to finally come face to face with some real life Bird Watchers. This initial venture into Bird Watcher Watching was gratifying enough, but the fun did not stop there, and yesterday, I heard the siren's call, again, and dashed down the street
and spied an even bigger flock of birders! This time was extra special, as I finally saw first hand the very bird that is bringing the crowds out with binoculars, monoculars, field guides, floppy hats, telephoto lenses and craned necks: The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher!

A dove. Common, I suppose, but I do love them, and their cooing song.

Geoff alerts me to the presence of the Bird Watchers. He sees them when he's left for work. Apparently I find watching Bird Watchers irresistibly appealing, because no matter what I am doing, I pull on my boots, grab my camera, call out to whomever might care, The Bird Watchers are out! as I head out the door. Maria has been sorry to miss all the fun. You may recall, she's been keen to do a Big Year, and we've tried our hand at backyard birding. Today, the timing was just right and she and William dashed out the door with me. Yes, we hoped to see the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, but now I am a confirmed watcher of Bird Watchers. I love their passion and enthusiasm, and, for a short time, sharing their adventure.

Our new friends today, are Debbie and Scot. They've come from Berkley, by way of the Road to California Quilt Show. Seriously? I could so totally enjoy a quilt show and birding road trip! Our friend, the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, was shy today. Like our friends, Bonnie and Jeff, Debbie and Scot were really hopeful of seeing a California Gnatcatcher, too.

Darling, little bird. I wonder if I'll know it, if we ever cross flight paths.

Knowing perfectly well that my lens won't zoom sufficiently, I still can't help trying to get a shot, especially of a bird as bright and pretty as this tiny Goldfinch. Can you see it? I took four pictures. He never did turn his face, but no regrets. I like the memory the picture keeps.

Debbie told me about a place in Patagonia, Arizona, where you can sit in Marion and Wally Patton's backyard, and birdwatch. That's funny, because I am starting to think I could do the same, here, at the Bird House. Rather fitting, I think. Then again, maybe chickens aren't what Bird Watchers have in mind!

I loved hearing their stories, the bird counts and sightings. Debbie is sketching the birds she sees, and Scot keeps a a small journal, where he names and counts his birds. They inspired Maria to find her book, and revise her bird count. Scot and Debbie are planning a trip to Texas... there's great birding in Texas, where Eastern and Western birds can be spied. San Diego is tough to beat for weather and bird varieties, and coming soon: the 2014 San Diego Bird Festival!

The best parts about Bird Watchers? They're generous, and engaged, they're quietly embracing the bird's world, and enjoying the bird's life, and they're happy to share what they know, what they're enjoying. It's so simple. An innocent pass time, Anna Banana reflected.

Meeting the Bird Watchers has become a nice treat. I like to think that these posts will be the first of many, and I will make more new friends, as I see new birds. I learn new things with each encounter, and the feeling of delight when seeing a bird, identifying it, observing it... it's sweet. The Cassin's Kingbirds were out, and making a joyful display.

After a few sightings, I began to recognize little patterns in his flight, and behavior. A couple of them were rising and landing off these high branches.

And this time, I think I am sure that Maria and I were definitely seeing the Cassin's Kingbirdsin our tree, a year-and-a-half ago! Scot and Debbie were happy to be seeing them, and one left the high branches and sat on the phone line overhead. We were able to enjoy nice, close views. Then we moved on to an open lot where we saw a field full of American Pipets. They were tiny and almost invisible, but once spied, you notice how charming they are, hopping about.

Technically, I might say there is a Fourth chapter to this Birding Saga, because later that afternoon Anna Banana rang me and asked if we could trek out in search of the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher? Indeed! Maria and I were happy for another birding excursion.

And we were rewarded with a tree full of Cedar Waxwings and more Kingbirds!

Five Good Things

When we have an extra loaf of Dutch Oven Bread, it's Sunday morning, and the chicas have been laying, laying, and laying... we get to make a special breakfast. Dutch Toast. Eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, and that barely stale, home baked bread, made even more spectacular with Maple syrup, from Laura and Gary in Wisconsin. Oh my.

Good Things...

1. Anna Banana came over and we shared a brisk walk, in cool weather, with birds in sight.

2. Jules cut my hair, and gave me tips for coping with my changing hair texture... I'm curly! And thanks to Jules, I have never felt so comfortable and delighted with my own hair, on my own head. This level of serenity is life changing!

3. Max said, Besides summer break, he hasn't enjoyed a break as much as this weekend. I'm so glad he has two more days to enjoy this rest.

4. My hens are gentle, sweet, big, beautiful darlings, who sit on my lap and make dear chickie noises.

5. We celebrated Geoff's birthday this week... and my heart bursts with gratitude and affection, for him, for our life together, our children, our dreams, and the sweet, safe, and hopeful way I feel when I think of him.

I enjoy your good things, too… won't you, please, share?