Friday, May 15, 2015

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to 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 see.
Maria and Emma... good friends, good school, good fun.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May Days

Most visitors want to do this... feed Friend, our charming and daring scrub jay. He comes around quite regularly, now. Grant took time out from working on a project to feed Friend, several times, and I think he was as delighted and smitten as the rest of us have been. We are getting some neat pictures of the bird, but now I wish I'd photographed our friends' faces the first time the jay sat in their palm and took a peanut. I'd have an album of joy, of child-like wonder, and happy bemusement. I used to watch for the bird, and now, when someone new to feeding Friend holds out their open hand, I watch for that moment when the feeling comes across their face, a benediction, a grace, and their whole countenance shows their pleasure at making this connection with a wild creature. It's an uplifting, good thing to witness.

Hmmm... wouldn't Mister Foo just love to _make a connection with a wild creature?_

He sits, and gazes out on wild bunnies, wild finches, fly-catching Phoebes, big fat hens, lizards, spring chicks, and he yearns to get closer. What is it called when a cat, so entranced and overcome with their natural calling, begins to vocalize a twittering meow, lips almost vibrating with anticipation?

Isn't this fantastic?
Answer: Yes, it is.

We got this for a song! For a ditty! It was cheep-cheep! I cannot help myself, sometimes there is as much fun in a good deal, as in the thing itself, and so that makes this hay feeder doubly great. Geoff hung it up for me on Mother's Day, and now we are enjoying convenience and even more savings in hay. The goats were eating from a milk crate on the ground, and they would pull the hay out, and lose about 30% of it to the ground. Goats are not keen on eating off the ground, and are naturally inclined to pull things down, like from shrubs and trees. This feeder keeps them from wasting all that hay! I can give them more, at once, and none of it is wasted! Of course no system is totally perfect. You sometimes have to expect the unexpected... or if you have chickens, expect something goofy!

Something goofy, like hens that think a hay feeder makes a lovely nest.

Ada? Tasha? Eggs for breakfast?
They weren't interested!

You really are some goofy chooks!

Around this place, I never know what I'll find, from eggs in the goat hay, to the scrub jay's stash of peanuts in a belt sander, to a pencil rainbow. Matter out of order, or at least artfully displayed, seems to be the status quo at the Bird House.

And. If things are disheveled, cattywampus, and random, here, I am as much to blame {more to blame?} as anyone. When the street was getting new transformers, and cross beams for the power lines, and the old ones were coming down, I was the one who asked the crew, May we have those, please? Suddenly, going five hours without electricity was totally worthwhile, and fun. For the record: Scoring all of these pieces of wood, with insulators and secondary rollers, was literally a dream come true... during one of our Mother's Day nursery visits, we were analyzing a favorite aviary, with reclaimed lumber, including power line cross beams, and Geoff said, "It'd be cool to build one of these, but where could we get lumber pieces, like those? And we sighed in unison, for want of gnarly, old, "high voltage" signed, reclaimed lumber pieces for making funky things in the backyard. Two days later, and voila! {We know they are a chemical s#it-storm, and will, of course, handle them with care.} And don't they look lovely next to the rubbish bins, and assorted construction bits and bobs?

Also happening... Mike is back, and some last bits of our projects are getting done, like making our fireplace hearth stone after removing the broken marble tiles, trimming the flooring, and finishing touches on the balcony... the balcony that leaked, and was the motivation for all of these improvements in the first place.

No more shiny white, slick, but cracked, marble tiles. Without a plan, or hired designer, we find we have stumbled upon our theme and "Style:" It's called Contemporary Hobbit Interior. We are so very pleased.

Rocks. I love rocks.

Yes, this post is all over the place. Probably five times a year I read some new bulletin-points article about 'the real way real successful bloggers get 'er done,' and then I just break all the rules, and do it like I do it, and now you know my secret for being unreal, and unsuccessful at blogging. I think I should write my own 5 Blogging The Best Way Tips For Mastery of Your Destiny article.

Simply Cozy Living inspired this confection, a lemon cake. It's shining with a tangy and sweet lemon glaze, and Maria decorated it with the mint,lemon geranium blossoms, and the last surviving raspberry. Raspberries are quickly inhaled around these parts. It was a perfect treat for a weekend with friends popping in, hanging about.

May 2. The Ameracauna, on the left, needs a name. The wee Buff Orpington is definitely Fiona.

Chicks! However "success" is defined, I have been blogging for 13 years, and a lot of wonderful things have happened in this time, some because of Chickenblog. This is the month of our Chickenbloggaversary! Hard to believe it's been around so many years. But it started with me being utterly engrossed and thrilled to have my first chicks, and here we are with five brand new pips! Pretty nice, I think.

We are adding two Ameracauna, Fiona the Buff, and two Silver Lace Wyandottes... the dark ones. Maria wants to call the Wyandottes Pepper, and Pippy. I love naming chickens.

She may lay green eggs, or blue. I may name her Lola, or Hazel.

Mako came in for a closer look at her new roost mates. It will be a long time before they're actually hanging out together, but she was pretty chill about the chicks.

Gratuitous Chicken Selfie, from the Chieknebloger ChickenBlogger.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Five Good Things

Happy Mother's Day~

All of my wishes came true! I enjoy four curious, creative, beautiful and kind children with my brilliant, generous, and handsome husband {Post-Mother's Day gushing + PDAs are always appropriate and permissible}, a home to call our own, paints and beads, pillows, pots and pans... everything to make, and cook, and play with, add cats, chickens, goats, garden beds, friends calling, family, too, plus high speed Internet, and being served the very breakfast I described... and it makes for a complete Mother's Day package. Ruth joined us, and we made our way to two nurseries... saw goats, chickens, curious little finches, a tortoise, fountains, and veggies, flowers, seeds, pots! Our local nurseries are amazing. We brought home both veggies, and seeds for more veggies! We found a gorgeous string of pearls hanging plant for Ruth, and she found us a lush and feathery maiden hair fern to go with the beautiful green house she brought us as a porch warming gift. I took pictures of African violets, and other flowers, for Grandmother Eunice, and my mommy and I kept exchanging photographs and videos throughout the day, staying in touch and up to date with our Mother's Day apart. Maria wrote a poem for me... it's a love-laden-humbling thing to see ourselves through our children's eyes... I feel so loved, and eager to really live up to her vision.

Back at home, we hung out. Well, I hung out... and everyone else were my darling minions, willingly and happily doing my bidding. So, curtains were hung, and a rabbit hutch refurbished. Garden beds were watered, dishes washed, and William baked a cake. Geoff hung the goat feeder we dragged home from a farm sale last fall, and he built a goat tower of straw bales. Alex and Max cleared a garden bed, then the old bamboo tower came down to make way for the pumpkin patch, and watermelons. It's no fun only hanging out, so I joined in the fun, and planted beets, chard, and pole beans. We even managed to collect a decent stash of eggs for Anna Banana! We all fixed things, and moved things, laughed at goats, fed the Jay, and enjoyed the day, out of doors, right through dusk.

Then comes Monday morning, and for this shock to the system I have a modest proposal: After any holiday weekend, when we have savored the sweet luxuries of life, celebrated earnestly, we ought to agree that school, work, duties, and the return to reality should be a gradual and gentle re-entry, starting no sooner than noon. Not necessarily to postpone the inevitable, but to deeply absorb and appreciate all of the good effects of love, companionship, kindness, and mindfulness enjoyed the day before. I think this is a fine idea.

Good Things...

1. Our phones with cameras, and means of connecting... it was so dear and familiar watching the little video of Grandma, Becky, Debbie, and my mom playing their game of Contract Rummy, then seeing the gorgeous garden lasagna they baked, with our favorite recipe!

2. Chcikenblog Chickenblog. {Sure, there are times when it makes me feel silly, overexposed, underrated, obsessed strongly vested, but} I couldn't ask for a more thorough family album, a better record of things... it's such a surprising keepsake, which I feel thankful to have when I can use it to revisit our days, and events, and appreciate the details and success we enjoy. Hard to believe it was a year ago that we enjoyed a Mother's Day in Pasadena, and the changes about to happen, then.

3. Friday night with Max, Maria, Alex, and William visiting the kitties in the pet shop shelter with Max's friend, and shelter volunteer, Hana. It's probably easier to stay away from the temptations there, but it felt really good to be company to all those dear kitties.

4. On FB, seeing everyone's posts, their love and outpouring of affection for their mothers, for all the women who nurture, lead, shelter, encourage, inspire, and mother.

5. I found my keys. {You guys, they were at the bottom of my not-so-big purse, all along. Please, remind me to not lose my mind when I feel desperately useless!}