Friday, May 09, 2014

{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, May 08, 2014

Bird House & Barn :: Part II

... a Farm Report

The fence and gates are finished! Okay: Almost finished!

Ladies. Lady Chickens, you are paying your last visit to the porch, to our table, and our garden beds, to the peas in the barrel, and the cat's food. This is it. We have you surrounded. It's round-up time at the Bird House & Barn!

The gates are built, and installed. All that remains is to find and block any little slippy spaces, here and there, but otherwise, the final stage of our critter management project is complete. Now we have an open air barn, where everyone can bunk down, safe and sound, and we have a fenced play yard, for barnyard frolicking! Even the goats will be free to spread out and gambol!

We all came out to see the goats released into the new enclosure, because we knew it would be too much fun to miss. Of course, their first interest was in getting to the chicken's feed, then the bunnies' feed, then when they saw all those opportunities were blocked, they ventured further abroad.

Ada, there is vegetarian's buffet awaiting you! Go forth and weed!

The goats and chickens, bunnies, too, have the xeriscaped garden for browsing, cruising, dusting, sunbathing, and exploring. And of course, we can enjoy the same... well, minus the dust bathing, thank you. At dusk, everybody will be escorted back into the secure comforts of their enclosure. Tasha and Ada have already discovered that the fence is a 100' long back scratching post!

When Tasha and Ada figured out there was room for jigging and cavorting, we were treated to a hilarious show. Goats on cans! Goats on boxes! Goats over the shrubs! Goats leaping, twirling, head-butting, and springing. The chickens looked dismayed. Why? Why let the goats out? The chickens were not impressed.


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Bird House & Barn

... a Farm Report

We are sorry to report that our dear Koa Hen passed away. We saw she was unwell, and did all we could to relieve her, but other than being incredibly listless, there was no clear cause for her droopy and quiet mood. Even the healing epsom salt spa treatment gave no relief. We isolated Koa, and some time in the night, she passed. It was fast, and that's a comfort. The other hens don't seem to be ill, or exhibiting anything alarming. Koa, with her darling white feathered beard, is missed. Sigh.

Can you see there is extra activity on the farm? Lumber, paint, power tools, sawdust, and plans. Lots and lots of plans. I am coming to anticipate spring for these amazing projects that are accomplished. Barns, runs, seesaws, and robots... all the plans and ideas we develop through the winter, suddenly take form in the spring. It's grand!

Every afternoon the hens burst from their enclosure, and out into the yard. The whole free-ranging yard, and the porch, and the garden beds. It's a happy sight, and a disaster! We have a poop deck for a porch, and the Swiss chard was decimated. Mako is the only one to enjoy strawberries, and she loves digging up carrots. Our lawn? It looks like the site of a great archeological dig, thanks to dust bathing hens. Happily, phase II of Camp-Whoop-Up is in full swing: We are fencing a section of the yard, where hens can have their freedom, and we can have a cleaner porch, and Swiss chard! It's a simple and effective plan, and we don't lose any space, it's only that we can control traffic flow. Goats, too will enjoy more frequent roaming opportunities! The five foot high fence is covered in a large mesh welded wire, practically a passive barrier compared with the wire covering the enclosure, but sufficient for keeping everyone in their zones. Geoff is framing one of the two gates... we may be putting it to the test by this afternoon.

The other project is one I am not going to tell you about. It's a secret. A good one, I think. Alex, Maria, and William have been helping me bring my vision to life, by cutting, painting, and adding to a thrift shop cabinet... we are converting it, and I promise to share the results, soon. Last night I sat on the porch and sanded the door, with my chicas, milling about. Those girls make even tedious chores a pleasure when they keep me company.

The weather has been like the height of summer... hot. Happy news for the garden, and our confused Jacaranda, which is blooming like it's June. It cooled the last few days, and I wish I could say it will stay this way through August. Bunnies, goats, chickens, children, and flowers... we are all happier in mild weather, and without fire watches and high wind advisories.

I deliberately put on painting clothes when I got up this morning. Seems I am actually an incredibly messy painter! No matter. It's time to get back to the projects, to be working side-by-side with my sweetheart.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Good Choices

This is my view from the kitchen window... or, from outside, beneath my kitchen window. The raised bed is planted with cilantro, artichokes, peppers, tomatoes, basil, zinnias, peas, cucumbers, thyme, and roses. In pots we have flowers, mint, lemon grass, sage, and chives. The pineapple guavas are super tall and full of blossoms, the rosemary threatens to obscure the path entirely! In the distance, the Jacaranda tree is a lavender cloud, a whole month early, because winter never came. Moving most of the roses out of the raised bed was a good choice.

Maria's cottage... her cottage is there, as settled and right, as though it's been there for quite some time. Moving her playhouse was a good choice.

With some fresh mint, this is all we need for Lemon Mint Cucumber Salad. Seriously, only three ingredients, and it's done. Of course, if you have some little tomatoes, or mozzarella around... those make a tasty addition.

This is from the day I had an epiphany about dinner. I must, without fail, prepare dinner early in the day. That's it. With this one small choice, I seem able to alter the course of destiny, write a new outcome, restore some semblance of order and grace.

Late dinner = frustration, over-tiredness, poor choices, despair, and irritability.

Early dinner = grace, balance, harmony, calm, renewed faith in our dreams, and a willingness to do better.

I tested my hypothesis on Friday, when I chose our meal, then prepped everything early in the day. Before anyone felt hungry, before I felt pressed for time, and overly tired, I cooked. Having a plan, having prepared, actually cooking was so much easier, with fewer hassles. We ate, together, we cleared the table, and then some of us went on an evening walk at the beach. {Okay... the "clearing the table & beach walk" were definitely bonuses that I would not expect every time I cook an early dinner, but those marvelous things did, in fact, occur. So, you know: Nice.}

Now, compare Friday with Saturday, and the difference is clear. Saturday we had obligations elsewhere, and it was really hot, and I just never rallied around a dinner plan. We had a late lunch and I thought Fine, good enough, but by seven at night, everyone felt ravenous. I think hot days can do that... kind of suppress the appetite, until things cool off. But we were tired, and uninspired, so dinner was take-out pizza. Oh dear. After dinner we were just as tired, and no one cleared the table, and someone {prolly, me} fell asleep during the family movie time, and woke up full of regret, and a sloth-like disposition. Not great.

Early dinner = grace, balance, harmony, calm, renewed faith in our dreams, and a willingness to do better. Early dinner is a good choice.

I do love the view from the kitchen window.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Five Good Things

The pocket doors are gone! There is a bathroom between two bedrooms upstairs, and for as long as we've been here we have battled with the doors... the pocket doors. I can appreciate the idea of doors that slide out of the way, where there is less room to have doors swinging out, or in. But oy. Those pocket doors were a nuisance. When they came off track, which was always, they were a cursing-maddening thing to repair. The hardware for them is between the walls, virtually inaccessible.

Anyway, you can imagine how useless those can become, when they worked so poorly. Finally, Geoff took them out. I thought we could hang curtains... the shower and toilet are on one side, with a regular, hanging door for privacy, so only the sinks were open. But, Geoff is more ambitious, and more talented, about these domestic dilemmas, and he resolved to turn the sliding doors into regular ol' hinged doors. They are a bit narrower, but after all his work, with William's help, they are nearly done! No more broken pocket doors! No more days of being locked out of the bathroom!

Maria asked to help, too. With the fresh coat of paint, the new doors are looking great. And we have one more project checked off the list.

This is how it goes when Geoff is off work... he gets to work! He's at the hardware store, now, getting lumber for the fence that will keep the free-ranging chickens slightly less free. Bringing me a 6"x6" post for my newest, and secret, Bird House enhancement and community connection scheme. I am super excited about this! Yesterday we discussed phase one of Operation Screened Porch; another project that I am thrilled to see taking shape. We were all discussing roof pitch and materials... looks like we are going with metal, Island Style! And, assuming it doesn't snow, our low pitch shouldn't be a problem.

Good Things...

1. We saw a video of Phil, on a therapy bicycle. His first ride since the stroke he suffered last month. Geoff's dad is making amazing recovery strides.

2. Geoff was able to spend time with Paul, and Grandma, his dad, and aunt Carol. And there was pickle ball with Holly and Georgia, too.

3. The heatwave broke. There was a deep, cool, lovely fog Sunday morning. What a relief!

4. Geoff and I are walking, together.

5. In our lasagna garden, our zucchini and squash are flourishing... lasagna, soon, I think!