Friday, May 02, 2014

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

9:37 a.m.: Fall in love, again, with Alicia Paulson's blog, Posie Gets Cozy.

9:52 a.m.: Try to compose a personal, but not too stalkerish comment. It's at least sincere, if not too original.

9:53 a.m.-10:02 a.m.: Sit back in seat, staring at the monitor, and ponder the great imponderables, and question my existence, significance, worth, and purpose.

10:04 a.m.: Change my FB profile. We all have to begin somewhere.

10:05 a.m.: Resolve to reach, to be as lovely as my daughter pictures me.

10:22 a.m.: Epiphany! I shouldn't wait until we are hungry to start dinner, because it is the root of all evil... it is the beginning of problems. When I cook late, I am too tired to clean, then I face a disaster kitchen in the morning, and give the children lunch money, instead of a healthy packed lunch, and I despair at my inadequacies, which leads to crankiness, and poor posture, so I think about ordering a massive rubbish dumpster, and getting rid of our worldly possessions in a fit of frustrated rage, but then I recall that dumpsters are expensive, but nonetheless I reflect on the possibility of donating a great deal of our stuff, then moving to a small home, somewhere in Honoka'a, where we live simply, and eat mangos and guavas for dinner, as late as we please.

10:32 a.m.: I start preparing dinner. I love Hawaii, but we are home, now. And I don't need any more hassles.

11:00 a.m. Looking out the kitchen window, the one above the sink, I realize that I love this view. I love the colors, and the flowers, the Jacaranda tree in bloom, and Maria's cottage. I love that I removed the roses from the big bed, and planted vegetables, and annuals. I love that Anna Banana suggested we keep two of the roses, because biodiversity. I love that I can see two huge swathes of blue paints, and that we may not get this place painted for a long time, but that the blue on the left side makes me really happy, in a content, and serene way. So, I take a picture.

11:10 a.m.: It seems like my prepare dinner early epiphany is a really good direction, and as I often I struggle to get it right, to be efficient and productive, I resolve to write this new plan down. Start dinner early. I have a plan. A new one. I am still trying. If I cannot get this life right, I hope to live long, and keep trying.

11:56 a.m.: Start laundry.

{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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

William Bakes, and Sews

We still owe you a vegetarian meatball recipe. I'll get William on that as soon as possible. But first a word, or three, about William's egg bread. Challah. Three words: Beautiful. Delicious. Goodsmelling. (Is there a single word for "wow, this smells amazing?")

Egg bread is a fitting recipe for us, with hens giving us as many as ten eggs a day!

And just to complete the egg theme, we made egg salad sandwiches.
(Is there a single word for "wow, this tastes amazing?")

Also, William made his bow tie. Yeah, he's amazing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Free-Range Bunny Sanctuary

"Do you still have bunnies?
I don't see them in photos.
Are they in the coop with the chickens,
and where do they run, play, and explore?"

Thank you for asking, Zan. We do still have bunnies. Malcolm Browncoat, and Inara, are thriving. Ever since we moved their hutch into the open air barn, they have made it perfectly clear that they are done with hutch living! Now, the hutch is for hens and nesting and egg laying, and the bunnies run and hop all around the enclosure, with the chickens and goats. And beyond!

Most afternoons, the hens are free to roam our entire yard, but time and time again Inara found a way around my blockades to roam in the yard, too. She is a clever and determined bunny! It's not a problem getting hens back into the open air barn, but bunnies are another issue, so we were very concerned about having free-ranging bunnies. Still, no matter what I did to try and keep Inara and Malcolm from escaping, they usually found a way out. It was no small feat to catch them at the end of the day. Sometimes we were successful, other times we chased them into hiding. It was obvious that chasing rabbits is a waste of effort, and only making matters worse. We did not want them to lose all trust in us, or get overly frightened in the pursuit.

So, I talked to the two runaway bunnies, about an honor system. They could come out with the hens, and go back in at dusk when they were so inclined. For our part, we would not chase them, or fret too much for their safety. Maria expressed things quite eloquently when she said, "They love running around. I would rather have a happy life, even if it were shorter, than a long and unhappy life." Malcolm and Inara often slip back into the enclosure, joining the rest of the critters, but some nights they stay out and converse with the wild rabbits, dine on dandelions, and frolic happily. They are seven and eight years old, and I suppose in bunny years, that is old enough to choose to live freely. And when we are with them, in the garden, they do trust us to pet them, and remind them to take care, because we love them so.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Five Good Things

Stepping out of the space capsule, returning from their journey to a distant galaxy! Liberty did not hesitate, or stand on formalities. As soon as the hatch opened, she bolted, ready to get on with her day. Just look at her no nonsense expression. I love her unruffled attitude.

Lilikoi was less sure. I can almost imagine the thoughts in her wee head... What just happened? Was that a time machine? Is this place solid, will there be air to breath? Or maybe just... Food! Is there food? I like food.

Eventually, she was assured that it was safe to emerge, and rejoin the flock.

Slowly, gingerly, as is Lilikoi's sweet way.

Here is Totoro, in front. We know her by her single white feather at the corner of her beak. She would have enjoyed visiting the school farm and coop. She would have been in a tizzy over those three separate nesting boxes! Totoro can never just settle into one nest. She's always switching over, booting out other hens, when she thinks they have something better. With three luxury nest boxes to choose from, I don't know how she would cope!

And still in the space capsule, we see our dear Mako. She's in no hurry. Calm and mild, Mako probably thought the adventure was a hoot! The ride in the van, bouncing on the speed bump, new digs to scratch in, and new faces to greet. She was chillin' the whole day through.

Good Things...

1. William's diligence, research and tests have paid off: He's developed a delicious vegetarian meat ball for spaghetti dinners!

2. Sunday sweets... a half flat of farm fresh strawberries!

3. A regular stream of updates and good news from Wisconsin, where Grandpa Phil is in therapy to recover from a major health crisis.

4. Georgia, Phil's sweetheart, ally, friend, advocate, and steadfast love. She's been a blessing.

5. Mechanics. We've been getting our cars into the shop, and bringing everything into good working order... So happy to have the resources to get these things accomplished.

Our friends, Kellie and Adam, brought over their extra egg cartons for us. They also have chickens and a thriving egg business. Are you looking for good eggs? We have them, and egg cartons too! Fresh as can be, organic, free-range, pretty... good eggs are a great deal!

What's good with you? Please, share!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Gardens & Farms & Chickens & Friends

The school farm has a coop that is almost ready for its very own school chickens.
We were putting finishing touches on it last week, when it occurred to me that it might be fun to bring in some scouts... ambassador hens from our Bird House & Barn to pay a visit and give their cluck of approval. A formal garden tour event would be dropping by the garden and farm, and it seemed like a good time to add big fat happy hens to the mix!

Maria and I chose to bring Lilikoi, because she is especially big, fat, and happy. We brought Mako, the Ameraucana, that looks like a bearded hawk, because she is a docile darling. Liberty, our Cuckoo Marans, is on the low end of the pecking order, but she could care less; she's an adventure seeker, off on her own, and content to be so.

Maria, testing the floor of the coop. Mim loaded a wheel barrow with straw flakes, then Maria and I got busy tossing it around. It's a bit senseless spreading straw for hens, because they do it for themselves, and happily, too. But, we like to feel useful, so we fussed a bit over everything, filled their water, brought in potted flowers, and filled their feeder.

Looking OK to go, coop 'n' corral!


No. Hold on a sec...

The chickens were here as a small addition to a greater effort: The School Farm, organic, locally raised food for the schools, a gathering place for students and families to be together, planting seeds, cultivating community, and food. But chickens. I cannot suppress my own special fondness for my darling chicas, and as long as they were going to be out, and representing chickendom I wanted everyone who saw them to know them better. They would need some kind of introduction... but, what-how?

I headed back to the house, pressed for time, and not sure what to do about introducing the chickens. I decided to paint.

These wood scraps, leftover from building the cottages were what I started with. If I had planned better, I wouldn't have been rushed, and layering wet paint, and feeling like a hasty amateur.

Oh, I forget. I am an amateur, and I was hasty, and even though I have already decided to retouch them, I think they turned out pretty good.

Yellow on wet blue paint? You get a slightly green Buff Orpington... lol.

Alex helped me gather screws and the drill and we had a neat sign, so everyone could meet the chicas!

Mim and Chaz provided the girls with a big sprig of overgrown kale, and they were happy. I had my sign, so I was happy. And Maria was about to get very happy, too...

First time flying a kite! Thanks to Adin and Chaz, Maria finally got to enjoy a wish come true, kite flying! And let me tell you, yesterday was a high wind kite flying kind of day!

In the beginning, there was probably too much wind, actually. But off and on, they were at it all day, and there was a great deal of success. The shark kite also broke away and Adin and Maria had to chase it down, clear across the school... good they could experience all the ups and downs that go hand in hand with kite flying.

When was the last time you flew a kite? Holding on to that string, feeling the tug of the wind, I was reminded of being six or seven years old, hair in braids, flying kites off of old highway 78. My brothers beside me, my mom setting the table for lunch, out in the yard. Good memories.

Lilikoi looked like she might lift off the ground in that wind! Her fluffy posterior was ruffled and stirred.

Nice thing about a coop, there are places to shelter, spots for nesting, space for sunning.

Everything tidy and complete. Right, Mako?

I think we got a seal of approval from the three hens.

At the school, visitors to the Farm, and Garden were led on tours, invited to sample fresh grown root vegetables, and given the seed bombs made by the students... clay rolled into small balls, full of native seeds; toss these in an open area, and wait for flowers explode!

Adin and Maria, farm and garden friends.

And after lunch, Maria and I moved from the Farm to the Garden, where we could help lead more tours, and greet visitors.

When there was a chance to explore further, we walked to church, where Alex, and Maria went to pre-k school. They have a beautiful community garden there, too.

It doesn't seem so long ago, that this is where Maria began going to school. It really touched my heart to hear her talk to Gail, telling her I used to play in this yard, when I was little.

I know, she is still little, yet not so very little. Not any more.

A Garden Recipe for Enchantment

2 barrels
Potting soil
A large arbor
Passion Vine... lilikoi!

Plant your passion vines in the barrels, with the trellis and arbor between them.
Add water, sun, three years, and voila!
The flowers and fruit, are a nice bonus to this darling shelter.

"This property provides the four basic habitat elements needed for wildlife to thrive:
food, water, cover, and places to raise young."

National Wildlife Foundation.

It's nice to be reminded that we, too, thrive, in wildlife spaces.