Friday, May 22, 2015

Because Goats!

{There's nothing I can add to make this any more great. Because, Goats!}

{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 I wait for the school traffic to ease before we head home.
Sometimes we visit with friends at the swings.
Sometimes she collects flowers outside the farm fence.
Always, I am thankful to be the one who can be with her, bring her home.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

One Potato, Two Potato, Egg!

The last of the raised beds is cleared and tilled, and ready for new stuff... like basil, peppers, carrots. Hidden in the weeds, beneath the untilled soil, we found three potatoes. Have you ever grown potatoes? The first time I did was a total accident. I tossed a bunch of gone-to-sprout spuds into our compost, and later (probably months!) I turned the compost and found loads and loads of potatoes! Firm, fresh, organic, gorgeous, dirty potatoes! Harvesting potatoes is fun. Or am I just easily amused? I spent a summer in Mexico sorting, cleaning, bagging and weighing potatoes on my Abuelos' ranch, and that summer we ate potatoes about every way you can imagine. As much time as we spent immersed in that spud summer, I hadn't actually seen them come out of the ground. I would love to have that for a memory... it must have been acres and acres of land to fill the rooms at Ojo de Agua with mountains of papas! It doesn't take acres of land to get some papas growing on your own rancho. Even a barrel will yield a nice crop!

I like digging up potatoes, and I love finding eggs! 'No kidding,' you might be thinking... I know, I do post about eggs, finding eggs, comparing eggs, pretty often, but every single day, every single time I find an egg, I wish I had my camera with me, and I consider posting about the discovery on social media... it's more efficient than actually calling all of my friends! Anyone here at the Bird House can confirm it; I will hold my hand out and share my find, express deep admiration for the hen, point out the colors, the flecks, the shape, the size. If it's especially fresh, I hand it over and say, "Feel it. It's so warm," and my voice glows with emotion. Would you believe Kamen laid an egg this week? I thought she'd laid her last in January, when she was the only hen laying in the dark of winter. Now she is more than four years old, and we don't much expect any eggs from her. It was an adorable, pale and pointed egg, small, too. I found it, like the blue one above, in the goats' hay feeder. Tasha and Ada don't get quite as excited as I do about finding a pretty egg, or dirty potatoes. They love pine needles, head scratches, and sprinting across the lawn.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Lemon Thyme and Geranium

Lemon thyme and geranium blossoms on our carrot cake.

This cake fulfills one of my resolutions for the new year: Bake a pretty cake. In recent years I've lost my cake decorating mojo, and I've documented many of the occasions when a cake has been remarkably ugly, yet delicious. Ugly Delicious is the name of my imaginary bakery, by the way. I owe my success to a new aesthetic, a bohemian nod, a minimalist's touch. My recipe was enough for three small rounds, but I knew better than to risk a towering cake catastrophe! Henceforth, I will turn to my garden for the pretty touches, and otherwise keep it simple.

{My other New Year resolution: Make a rice pudding that I deem my favorite rice pudding. Yes, it's true, I have really challenged myself to some grueling, life-altering resolutions. I am sure I will be a better person for it.}

ChickenBlogger Carrot Cake

3 1/2 cups grated carrots... we love the colorful ones... purple, yellow, orange!
2 cups sugar
1.25 cups of oil
4 eggs

Stir these ingredients together.

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of pecans
1 cup of oatmeal (I like the old fashioned kind)

Sift the dry ingredients together and then mix in the nuts, and oatmeal. I love oatmeal. Start adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir 'em up. I did this by hand, since I did not want to over-mix the batter.

Choose a favorite cake pan, and I lightly oiled mine, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. A cook time would be helpful, I know, but I don't have one. Expect it to take more than half an hour... it will smell good and an inserted knife will come out clean... you'll know when it's done.

I am not capable of following directions... I just made it up.

8 oz of cream cheese + a healthy scoop of some leftover whipped cream cheese we had leftover from breakfast.
A largish, perhaps 2, teaspoons of vanilla.
Powdered sugar... more than you want to admit, less than a box... I did not make it very sweet.
Whip it. Whip it good.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Thankful Blogger

Thankful for the friendships made, the experiences, and opportunities that have come through Chickenblog.

Thankful for the seeds sown, and all that's bloomed.

Thankful for the dreams that have come true, that I've pined for, whined for, celebrated, and reflected on.

Thankful for the new dreams, new inspirations, and all I can share with the people I love.

Thankful to see the people I love, to play with them, to encourage them, and be a part of what they do.

Oh, gosh, how I love to share my chicken love! Julie!!

Thankful to share my deep thoughts and other musings, and my chicken aesthetic... my flighty, whimsical, bird-brained passions.
Of course, any of it might be possible without Chickenblog, but I am glad CB is here to remind me of all that I am thankful for.

Good Monday Morning, friends. This is it, the official start week of Chickenblog, back in 2002. I am noting it, not because the original keyboard I wrote on is going to the Smithsonian, or I ever won a Bloggie. There's still a chance Terri Gross will reach out to me, ask me the big questions about my deep thoughts and musings, but really I am only marking this time, because I like numbers, patterns, celebrations, marked occasions, and making much ado about anything!

Calamity Kim sent us Chicken Lovers a card. I don't know if she was necessarily thinking of the Chickenblogaversary, per se, but as usual she was being very thoughtful, generous. She was one of the first A-list bloggers to give this blog a loving shout-out, and she has showered us with gifts from her endlessly creative artistic collection. This time she sent us seeds, and a lovely note. It's perfect... something to sow from the woman who sews! Something to spread around and watch grow, share with the bees and butterflies and friends.

Kim's card gave me something else, too... more to reflect on concerning blogging. She's active on FB, has a Tumbler site, but her blog is a much quieter space now, like so many of the bloggers I've known. Some have formally retired, and maybe I need to accept that and remove those links. But I am in a state of denial... a small part of me believes that leaving their names in the sidebar may summon them to pop their heads up, and let us know how their gardens fare, where they've traveled, to say they're feeling fine, doing well. There are a handful of bloggers who have simply cut-back. They post infrequently, and it's nice to see news from them, to have them drop by here, too. I can see that the hey-day of blogging, when it was novel, when we were figuring it all out, those days have past.

Of course, there are new bloggers jumping in, but the tone and function seems to have changed a lot. Gone are the homemade layouts and personable, familiar approaches... new blogs feel so slick and packaged. Did you know you can purchase traffic to a blog? A lot of blogs are really just window dressing for a business, a corporation, a news outlet. Big giveaways and loads of ads, promotions, and sponsorships make many blogs feel no different than glossy magazines. It would be hard to maintain, but who remembers swaps? Quilters, knitter, crafters... these bloggers would arrange for surprise exchanges between strangers, and all kinds of goodies would travel from one new friend to another. So many connections were made, talents shared. Even small gestures like linking back to other bloggers, acknowledging sources, inspiration, something good, so that it really was a web we were building, it felt connected to something of our own hands and hearts. I've always been aware that this medium is new, WeB-logging, and I feel like a pioneer, an old timer. And I feel really fortunate to have been around, blogging, when it was new, when we were pushing boundaries, exploring styles, networking, and making sense of these online logs, diaries, journals, scrapbooks. I'm glad I could participate before things got too glossy, too corporate. I am even more glad that there are other old timers still telling their stories, sharing garden views, travel adventures, recipes, and posting links. Be sure, I am neither complaining, nor criticizing... {a shocking network of blog shaming and bullying follows some bloggers. Sadly, most of the mean-girl nonsense is directed at women, by women... quite a pathetic, sometimes scary, development, where the anonymous and cruel attacks do nothing for good, for raising our thoughts, and actions.} I'm not bellyaching about the good old days; it's just interesting to see where we've been, and wonder what the next thirteen years may bring.

My favorite parts of blogging are staying connected with friends and family, and having a record of our days, mine and Geoff's, and our children's. This is an open letter to family and friends, a scrapbook for our children, especially when we are far apart. I also like blogging for the new friends I make, for the ideas I can share, and things I can promote because they matter to me, like high school robotics, STEAM education, the Make community, and chickens, of course. Shining a spotlight on the talents, interests, and endeavors of others is very meaningful to me; I always hope it will make a difference, give support. And You, the reader... readers make Chickenblog good, and worthwhile to me, because I enjoy learning, sharing, laughing, being understood, feeling connected. {And, I really should add: I like having a place to enjoy the pictures I take, because they make me happy, and I am too lazy to get any printed and into albums. Derp.}

Kim, thank you for those seeds, for your kind words. Weren't we lucky to make the friends we did, and to still find connections, exchanges kindnesses? I kissed those chicks for you... they're in their hysterically awkward phase! Like me... hahahahha.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Saturday Night Photo Booth Marathon

Big night on the town with Grandma Boo in town, Julie too. We went out for falafel and nachos, then out came those mobile phones, and all silliness broke loose! You know how it goes, first it's selfie time, then someone raises an eyebrow... and wait, can you raise one eyebrow?? Maria could not, but she was determined to master the skill. Did she nail it? For sure she came really close, and she sure had fun trying! Scary, skeptical, disapproving, giggly, and fun, with extra grilled onions and salsa, please!